The state of Colorado has reached a new milestone in legal weed. Since making both medical and recreational cannabis legal, the state has pulled in tax revenues of more than $500 million. That money has been used to improve infrastructure, fund education programs, fight homelessness, and other similar programs.
Analysts at VS Strategies released a new report that calculated how much Colorado has made in weed taxes. Voters in Colorado approved medical marijuana back in 2000. Then recreational weed became legal at the beginning of 2014.
Since then, the state has seen significant revenues from cannabis taxes. In particular, the state levies a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent special sales tax on recreational weed. Both of those are on top of the state’s regular 2.9 percent sales tax.
This year, the state made changes to how it taxes recreational weed. It is no longer subject to the state’s 2.9 percent sales tax. Instead, there’s now a 15 percent special sales tax on recreational weed.
As for medical cannabis, Colorado imposes a 2.9 percent sales tax. In addition to all that, the state also pulls in revenues from licensing and application fees. These are paid by cannabis businesses.
Adding it all up, Colorado has raised more than half a billion dollars since January 1, 2014. This marks an important landmark, both for Colorado and for legal cannabis as a whole. Colorado has long been a leader in the legalization movement, and so far, the state has found success bringing in sizable cannabis tax revenues.
Where The Money Goes
In Colorado, weed tax revenues are used at both the state level and at more local levels. The funds are used for a variety of public programs. Here are some examples of how counties and cities in Colorado are spending weed taxes:
- Pueblo County uses cannabis taxes to give college scholarships to local students. So far, 210 students have received these scholarships.
- In the city of Aurora, more than $1 million has been used to combat homelessness.
- Aurora has also used cannabis taxes to improve roads and to build a new recreation complex.
- The city of Edgewater has seen a huge boost from weed taxes. In fact, that accounted for 20 percent of the city’s 2016 budget. Edgewater used those funds to fix infrastructure and to construct new buildings.
Final Hit: Colorado Has Now Made More Than Half A Billion Dollars In Weed Taxes
People in favor of making weed legal often cite weed taxes as one big reason to legalize. More recently, some have argued that weed taxes could be more important than ever under Trump’s administration.
Earlier this year, Trump’s budget proposal called for tons of cuts. Under this kind of pressure, local governments would have to look for new sources of funding. And weed taxes could be one way to find that extra money.