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How Cannabis Taxes Have Help Colorado’s Budget

From 2014-July 2018, over $5.37 billion in cannabis sales occurred in the state

One of the most obvious yet nebulous benefits of cannabis legalization is the influx of tax revenue that states are receiving. Each state makes its own individual decisions about the size and nature of its taxes and how much they funnel to specific funds and departments, so until a particular law is written, all that is apparent is that state programs will benefit, but exactly how much remains unknown. But with Colorado, which legalized in 2012 and began legal sales in 2014, no such ambiguity exists. The benefits the state has enjoyed from legalization are quantified and visible, especially when examined through the lens of the state’s public school system.

From 2014 to July 2018, over $5.37 billion in cannabis sales have occurred in the state of Colorado. Of this massive sum, the state siphons off a state sales tax of 2.9 percent on medical cannabis, plus a retail marijuana sales tax and an excise tax, both of which started at 10 percent and bumped up to 15 percent in August 2017. The state also collects roughly a million dollars each month in licensing fees. The excise tax is levied on the sale from the cultivator to the next stop in the line, whether that’s a shop or a processor. While funding from the excise tax has risen slowly and now brings in $5 to $6 million in an average month, the retail tax increases almost monthly and brought in over $16 million for the first time this August.

Total all that up, and the state has added a nifty $816 million to its coffers from 2014 to August 2018 from cannabis. What does that buy you these days?

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