Colorado cannabis sales tax revenue tops $1 billion since legalization
Pot sales have sent $240,000 in tax revenue so far this year to Eagle County
- 2014: $67.6 million
- 2015: $130.4 million
- 2016: $193.6 million
- 2017: $247.4 million
- 2018: $266.5 million
- 2019: $111.6 million
EAGLE — Local and state marijuana tax revenue is up, with statewide taxes topping $1 billion total in the five years since Colorado voters legalized marijuana.
Pot sales have sent $240,000 in tax revenue so far this year to Eagle County’s coffers, a small piece of Eagle County’s $145 million annual budget, according to county financials.
And while state and local officials say they’re happy to have the money, marijuana sales tax revenue also doesn’t make much of a dent in the state’s $30.5 billion 2019-2020 budget.
Marijuana sales run in the same business cycles as all other retail sales. The county’s marijuana tax revenue was down in 2018, and is running 30% ahead of budget projections for the first half of 2019.
“We had snow. Visitor numbers were up,” Eagle County Finance Director Jill Klosterman said.
The county’s top revenue is still property taxes, fees and sales taxes, Klosterman said.
Mental health and more
Eagle County’s marijuana tax money is earmarked for behavioral health programs. In 2017 Eagle County voters approved the state’s first retail sales and excise taxes on marijuana products, and earmarked the money specifically to fund behavioral health programs.
Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2014.
Colorado collected $48 million total in April and May in marijuana sales taxes, $24 million in each month, according to the state’s department of revenue. That makes April and May the two highest-grossing tax revenue months.
Since voters legalized pot, Colorado has seen more than $6.5 billion in total sales through the end of May, according to the state’s monthly report.
Cannabis sales contribute to the state’s general reserve fund, as well as education and health care, including mental health services, and youth drug-prevention programs.
“Today, more adults know the laws around retail marijuana, more parents are planning to talk to their children about the risks of marijuana
use, and most young women know the danger of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding,” Tista Ghosh, Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a press release.
Colorado has 2,917 licensed marijuana businesses and 41,076 individuals who are licensed to work in the industry. Of those, eight marijuana businesses are in Eagle County.
“This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going toward preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a press release.
Colorado is no longer alone in the marijuana market. More than 30 states have approved medical marijuana, and Illinois became the 11th state to approve recreational cannabis.
“Colorado will continue to be known for its regulatory leadership,” Jim Burack, Director of Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division said in a statement.