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Legal Weed Sales Eclipse $1 Billion In Colorado

The state’s tax coffers are overflowing.

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A bright spot in the 2016 election was that four states, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine all voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Now 26 states and the District of Columbia have legalized pot in some form whether for medical or recreational use. Given recent sales figures out of Colorado, states that have chosen to legalize it should be in for a major economic boom.


In 2012, Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana but the dispensaries weren’t open until 2014. In 2015, the positive economic impact began to take hold with over 18,000 full-time jobs and $2.39 billion in economic activity attributed to the marijuana industry. In the first 10 months of 2016, Colorado reached another milestone, legal, regulated sales of marijuana eclipsed the $1 billion mark.

“This milestone continues to show that the cannabis industry in Colorado is an engine of growth for the economy, a job creator, and one of the biggest industries in the state,” Attorney Christian Sederberg, who played a major role in Colorado’s legalization efforts, told CNN. “People were consuming cannabis before, but now they are buying it from tax-regulated businesses that are benefiting the economy. This has replaced an underground, illegal market.”

The bong boom, if you will, is great for the state’s tax coffers as well. Colorado has three different taxes on marijuana: the state’s standard a 2.9-percent sales tax, a special 10-percent tax, and a 15-percent excise tax on wholesale transfers which goes directly to schools. The state collected mover $135 million marijuana taxes in 2015, with over $35 million going to school construction projects.