The tax revenue that the state of Colorado has already generated in the 3.5 years that recreational marijuana has been legal is rather staggering.Over $500 million just in tax revenue is going to the state to fund things like sidewalk and road repair. Money will be used for scholarships and to help the homeless. In general, the quality of life in Colorado is getting the fertilizer it needs to improve dramatically. Other states that have recently legalized marijuana look to the pioneers like Colorado and Washington for what to expect with their future. From an economic perspective, Colorado is certainly setting expectations high as to how legalized marijuana could improve the quality of life for everyone.
Colorado began sales of adult use marijuana on January 1, 2014, and a myriad of taxes and fees has boosted state coffers by a total of $506 million through May 31, according to a report from VS Strategies.
The Colorado Department of Revenue also reported that combined medical and recreational marijuana sales in the month of May were $127.7 million – making this the twelfth month in a row in which sales have gone over $100 million. Since the beginning of the year, the industry has delivered $620 million in sales with $95 million going into the state’s coffers.
VS Strategies’ Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente, who co-directed the successful 2012 campaign to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use, will present state Representative Jonathan Singer with a jumbo check for a half-billion dollars. Tvert who used to be the communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project recently joined the Denver-based cannabis advocacy and strategic communications firm as vice president of public relations and communications.
“Legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adult use has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for Colorado,” Tvert said. “Marijuana tax money has been used to improve a wide range of programs and services. It is funding everything from school construction to substance abuse treatment to fighting homelessness. While it might not fix every school, or help every person who needs it, it is having a significant and positive impact on our community.”
51.2% of the money has been directed toward education with $117.9 million used for school construction projects. 14.2% went towards substance abuse prevention and treatment and 11.9% went towards regulation.
Local municipalities have also shared in the extra revenues. VS Strategies noted that Pueblo County used $420,000 to provide college scholarships to local students. Aurora City managed to put $1.5 million towards fighting homelessness and the city of Edgewater repaved all its streets, fix miles of sidewalks and help fund a new city complex with cannabis tax revenues.