Marijuana sales in Colorado reached 996 million dollars for 2015, and the trend seems to be continuing. According to the Cannabis Business Alliance, Colorado saw a 42 percent hike in sales over this past year. This is all part of an industry that generated 5.6 billion in sales nationwide in 2015. Overall, this trend has people in the legal bud business feeling confident in their product’s sell-ability.
These sales in Colorado highlight the even more beneficial element of these huge profits, tax revenue. The nearly 1 billion dollars in sales generated 135 million dollars in tax revenue, money that will in part go to schools of Colorado. Bud sales in Colorado now generate more tax revenues than alcohol does. The Colorado Tourism Office surveyed summer tourists and found that 48 percent were attracted to the state because of legal cannabis. Former CTO Boss Al White said, “I think it is rearing it’s head as a significant travel and tourism amenity for visitors coming to Colorado.”
The money coming into the economy from the cannabis industry surprises many, including one of the legalization bill’s drafters attorney Steve Fox, “These are amazing numbers… especially on the tax revenue side.” From November to December alone, recreational sales in Colorado increased 21 percent, totaling 62.2 million dollars. On the medical side, sales during the same time were up 32 percent reaching 39.1 million. Marijuana Policy Project’s communications director Mason Tvert commented, “It’s remarkable that less than seven years ago, all of that money was being spent in the underground market.” Mason continued, “Clearly there’s a large demand for marijuana, and we’re now seeing that demand being met by legitimate businesses that are answering to authorities, instead of criminals who answer to no one.”
“Tax revenues specifically for schools were almost double as well, going from 13.3 million in 2014 to 35 million in 2015.”
This trend of increasing sales has been climbing steadily for the last two years, in 2014 marijuana sales were at 699 million dollars. Translating this number into tax revenue, Colorado saw 76 million, a number that was almost doubled in 2015. Tax revenues specifically for schools were almost double as well, going from 13.3 million in 2014 to 35 million in 2015. Cannabis business attorney Christian Sederberg said, “I’m really proud of our state and proud of our legislators and local officials, who have helped us transition away from an underground market so quickly… so that our state can see the benefits of tax revenues, regulated sales, jobs and economic development.”
This trend is bound to continue as well, and Fortune magazine speculates that legal marijuana sales could reach 6.7 billion dollars nationwide in 2016. These numbers have shown the financial sector that this isn’t some ragtag industry. This sentiment is obvious in the tagline for the Fortune article, “It’s time to take America’s legal marijuana market seriously.” With all of this in mind, it’s looking like legal marijuana might be the next big boom.