The legalization of marijuana has been a boon for states who have successfully rolled back prohibition and Colorado in particular has shown the massive benefits legalization can bring. They were the first state which recreational dispensaries set up shop and it didn’t take long for the money to start rolling in, and it’s still rolling in to this day.
Recreational marijuana was a hot seller from day one and that popularity ended up bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of 2014. To be exact, total sales were over $700 million. In 2014 the industry was just getting started and the black market was still deeply embedded in weed culture. So at the time many people predicted the profits would increase substantially going forward. It didn’t take long for 2015 to prove that assumption.
In 2015 there were more stores open for the entire year and the system as a whole had worked out a lot of kinks. Which meant profits increased pretty substantially and by year’s end Colorado marijuana sales were up once again. This time totaling over $996 million, just over 40% more profit. By 2015 the entire industry was more on its feet so a substantial increase was to be expected, what was unclear is whether or not such growth could be expected to continue, or if 2015 represented a ceiling on the state’s recreational Marijuana sales.
Well new numbers from 2016 have been released by the State of Colorado and the verdict is in, if anything 2015’s numbers represent a floor, and the sky is the limit. Once again the profits jumped substantially and in 2016 recreational Marijuana sales in the state of Colorado topped $1.3 billion. Which represented an increase of just over 30% from 2015’s numbers.
To put that in perspective Colorado’s entire state budget for fiscal year 2016 $26.4 billion. Although only Marijuana taxes are added to that budget, even a small percentage tax on $1.3 billion can add up to a lot of money in the long run. Considering the tax is at 29% were talking hundreds of millions of dollars, and for a state the size of Colorado that’s nothing to scoff at.
Washington State has seen similar success, Oregon and Alaska are still in the early stages and getting their industries up and running. But if Colorado is any indication states will have a lot of money waiting for them if they decide to legalize.