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The economic effects of Legal Cannabis

On April 24, 2018

The economic effects of Legal Cannabis

Colorado on Track to Collect More Than 1B in Total Cannabis Tax Revenue by 2019
Cannabis Tax is Helping State Budget

The Colorado Department of Revenue recently released Cannabis tax data for Q1 of 2018, totaling $63,688,122 in collected cannabis taxes for the period of January – March 2018. The Q1 revenue falls just short of the total tax collected in the state for all of 2014, $67,594,323. The 2018 numbers so far puts Colorado on pace to by year-end have earned more than 1B in total revenue since the state legalized adult-use (recreational) cannabis consumption in 2014.

Where Does Cannabis Tax Revenue Go?

The Colorado cannabis tax revenue is split up to help multiple public services in the state. According to this article in Entrepreneur, the first $40M in revenue goes towards the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) fund which supplies much needed renovations and construction to public schools. For the fiscal year 2016-2017, more than $18M went to the Department of Public Health and Environment, to fund various programs. The same fiscal year funds also went to the state’s departments of Education, Agriculture, Attorney General; and the Governor’s Office.

Cannabis Helps Colorado’s Economy
In addition to the tax revenue, Colorado’s tourism industry is booming as well, adding more to the state’s bottom line. A 2015 survey of visitors to Colorado indicated “22 percent of survey respondents said [cannabis] was “extremely influential” in their decision to visit Colorado. Twenty percent said it was “very much influential” and nearly 7 percent said it was “somewhat influential.” In addition to spending money at cannabis dispensaries, local economies are given a boon by tourism dollars as they eat, shop, and lodge in the area.

Colorado has only legalized adult-use cannabis consumption for the past 4 years, so the long-term economic boon has yet to be realized. However, 2018 cannabis tax revenue for the State is on target to be the largest ever, and there’s no telling how much money cannabis legalization with generate for the state in the years or decades to come.

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