Colorado was the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. It took a couple of years to create a recreational marijuana infrastructure in the state, beginning sales in 2014. Now, only 2 years later, marijuana revenue has reached record breaking heights, hitting $1.1 billion in medical and recreational marijuana related sales, up through October of this year. The figures are calculated from the state’s Department of Revenue and clearly show this year’s marijuana revenue exceeding last year’s, which totaled $996,184,788 million in marijuana related sales. According to the Denver Post, with 2 months left of revenue to calculate, the state may hit $1.3 billion in sales for the year.
The Climbing Popularity of Recreational Marijuana
Vincente Sederberg, a leading industry attorney said, “We think we’ll see $1.3 billion in sales revenue this year and so the economic impact of this industry — if we’re using the same multiplier from the Marijuana Policy Group’s recent report, which is totally reasonable — it suddenly eclipses a $3 billion economic impact for 2016.”
October alone saw $82.8 million in recreational marijuana sales and over $35 million in medical sales. Should the state reach the $1.3 billion mark, it would represent a 30 percent spike from last year’s total. 2015’s marijuana sales were 42 percent higher than 2014, which was the first year the public was able to buy recreational marijuana. All in all, the industry is booming and continuing to grow while bringing in much needed tax money to help schools, law enforcement and other state needs.
Up through October, Colorado has been able to collect over $150 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales, which includes $50 million from a specific excise tax that goes directly into funding school construction projects. Funds have been distributed to anti-bullying programs designed to improve the life of children across Colorado.
Marijuana Revenue Outside of Colorado
Since legalizing marijuana in Colorado, several other states have gotten on board. Oregon, Alaska, Washington and D.C. have all legalized recreational marijuana in the past few years and last month that number grew again. As of November 8th, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada have all joined Colorado in ending prohibition and setting up a legalized industry. The newly legal states may take up to 2019 to get all of the infrastructure in order but they are steadily on their way to reaping the same benefits experienced by Colorado and other legal states.
The Future of U.S. Marijuana
According to marijuana research conducted by ArcView Group, the legal marijuana industry in the U.S. could reach $22 billion in marijuana related sales in 2020. These figures rely on Donald Trump keeping his word about not interfering with state laws on the subject of marijuana. Having said that, the industry has grown to such a degree as to have a life of its own now. As of now, 20 percent of the country has legalized recreational marijuana and given the success of Colorado and its marijuana revenue, that number is only bound to increase.