Leland Rucker, the Senior Editor of Sensi Magazine says that the Colorado Department of Revenue reports a record $1.51 billion worth of medical and recreational cannabis, edibles and concentrate products were sold here in 2017. “Adult-use sales topped $1.09 billion, with $416 million coming from medical marijuana taxes. The state received $247 million in taxes and fee. The numbers eclipsed 2016’s $1.3 billion in sales and 2015’s $996 million.”
Amendment 64 mandated that the first $40 million of state-wide cannabis tax money should go to a state program called BEST, which awards grants to local school districts to build and improve school facilities. Cannabis tax money also goes toward funding the regulatory system that is in place around Colorado to monitor the legal marijuana industry.
A recent study estimated that, were it to happen, legal marijuana across the country could generate more than $132 billion in federal tax revenue and l million jobs in the next decade. That figure might have to go down since the study, which was done by New Frontier, a data analytics firm focused on the marijuana industry, was done before the new tax law kicked in.
In other news this week, Leland Rucker tells us about a headline in the Independent, an English paper. “Marijuana sales overtake alcohol in US city for first time.”
“That’s a bit misleading. It’s true that legal pot sold in dispensaries hauled in $11.3 million in revenue in 2017 compared with $10.5 million for liquor stores, the first time that’s happened in Aspen, which has six pot shops and five liquor stores.”
The numbers were pulled from the city’s annual, year-end sales tax report. It’s true that cannabis revenue showed a 16 percent improvement over 2016, which produced $9.7 million in sales. And cannabis showed higher growth while liquor sales are relatively flat. In December, liquor sales beat pot, $1.6 million to $1.2 million. So it doesn’t seem to be hurting the liquor business all that much.
“The Independent story didn’t take into account that marijuana is taxed at significantly higher rates than alcohol or what people were buying or the growing numbers of people looking for cannabidiol, or CBD for its medical benefits, rather than as a buzz alternative to alcohol. Booze and pot combined for 3 percent of all of Aspen’s retail sales last year. Perhaps most significantly, it leaves out liquor sold in restaurants and bars, which rang up nearly $130 million in sales last year, and the two were only separated as single categories beginning in September.”
Leland Rucker joins us on the Morning Magazine on Thursday mornings at 8.20am to talk about the latest news in cannabis.