U.S. states still weighing whether or not to legalize cannabis can certainly list “taxes” in the “pro” column.
Just look at Colorado. In just the first eight months of 2017, the Centennial State has generated more than $1 billion in sales of recreational and medicinal cannabis, according to state reports. That means an influx of cash for legal, local businesses, as well as more than $162 million in taxes funneled into state coffers.
Of those funds, nearly $50 million are already set aside for Colorado schools. A 15% excise tax on wholesale transfers of cannabis is earmarked for the state’s education system. The first $40 million of that annually must go towards school construction projects — any more money that than lands in Colorado’s public school fund.
This is the second straight year Colorado has hit the $1-billion mark. In 2016, sales of legal cannabis, recreational and medicinal, reached $1.313 billion. The state passed the $1-billion point in October — in 2017, it did so two months earlier, in August.
In 2015 Colorado realized $996 million in sales. The year before, the first year that recreational retailers — the first in the country — began operating, the state took in $699 million.
The continued rise in sales also comes at a time when Colorado has upped the taxes on such products. In July the state’s special sales tax rate on recreational cannabis increased to 15%, though the law also stipulated that recreational products are now exempt from the state’s 2.9% standard sales tax.