Photo (cc) by Amy Aletheia Cahill
The sale of legal recreational marijuana is rapidly filling the tax coffers in Colorado.
In just the first seven months of 2015, legal marijuana brought in $73.5 million in tax revenue, The Guardian reports. If that pace continues, Colorado could collect more than $125 million in pot taxes this year.
Although Colorado’s legal marijuana sales brought in $44 million in tax revenue in 2014, far less than the projected $70 million, this year’s marijuana sales are exceeding projections, The Guardian noted.
An increasing social acceptance of pot could be fueling the sales growth.
“People who would never have considered pot before are now popping their heads in,” Tim Cullen, CEO of Colorado Harvest Co., told The Guardian.
Cullen said the company is planning to expand from three to four dispensaries in the near future. He said his store sales have grown an average of 8 to 12 percent month-over-month this year.
Colorado collects application and license fees from pot distributors, as well as a 27.9 percent tax at the cash register — which includes a 2.9 percent retail and medical marijuana sales tax, a 10 percent retail pot special tax, and a 15 percent pot excise tax, Money reports.
The tax revenue generated by marijuana sales has already surpassed alcohol taxes, the Colorado Springs Business Journal reports. Alcohol is taxed at 2.9 percent sales tax plus $0.60 per liter for liquor and $0.08 per gallon of beer, Money noted. Cigarettes are taxed at 3.74 percent.
In July, just one year after recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington, the Evergreen State had collected $70 million in pot tax revenue from its $257 million in marijuana sales, according to CNN.
Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nov. 2014.
What do you think of the amount of money Colorado is collecting from marijuana sales? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.