Since legalizing cannabis across the entire state, Colorado has seen some amazing profits. In 2016, the first state to legalize marijuana for medical as well as recreational use has sold nearly $1.1 billion worth of cannabis and related products. Wow.
Think about all that money that didn’t go to drug cartels and other various illegal dealers. And what about the tax? That is a lot of tax on $1 billion!
How Much Money Was Made From Taxes?
Colorado has three different kinds of taxes on its recreational cannabis sales: the standard 2.9% state tax, a 10% sales tax, and a 15% excise tax on wholesale transfers. In October alone, $6 billion was collected in excise tax off of a staggering $82.8 million in sales, bringing the yearly tax total to $49.7 million, well above the $40 million mark – a major point of discussion during the 2012’s Amendment 64 campaign.
$40 million of those taxes will go toward school construction projects, and the leftover remaining excise tax will go into the state’s public school fund.
What Are People Saying?
“This money is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for the 42 states that still choose to force marijuana sales into the criminal market and forego millions of dollars in tax revenue,” said Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project’s Denver-based communications director, in a statement. “The state received nearly $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, whereas just a decade ago it was receiving zero.”
Tvert believes Colorado stands as a great example of how legal recreational marijuana can work, highlighting that “Marijuana is now being sold in licensed businesses, rather than out on the street. It is being properly tested, packaged and labeled and it is only being sold to adults who show proof of age. The system is working.”
What Does This Mean for the Future of Recreational Marijuana?
Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, three more states have followed suit — Alaska, Oregon, and Washington — and have launched their own recreational cannabis programs. In November of last year, voters in Maine, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts all approved ballot initiatives to legalize the drug for recreational use as well. After these ballots are approved, more than 20% of the U.S. population will live in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal.
And it’s about time. This drug is relatively harmless and offers seemingly endless therapeutic benefits. While there remains the potential for abuse, it is nevertheless nowhere near as risky or harmful as alcohol — a legal and detrimental drug that is pushed on us as a society. With no good reason not to legalize marijuana, I think it’s safe to say other states will soon make the transition, if only for the clear economic benefits.
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Something To Note
Although cannabis is legal, it is important to consider that it can still be abused, just like anything else. Sure it is a plant that comes from nature, but it can still be used in harmful ways. The main reason why it is important that cannabis is legal is for medicinal purposes as there are many potential benefits from using it in this way. It should be noted that those benefits are best obtained by ingesting cannabis juice or oil rather than smoking it.
If alcohol is going to be legal than by all means so should cannabis. But both can be used in unhealthy and destructive ways, so we must make sure we are using it responsibly.