Colorado cannabis sales break billion dollar mark

Colorado cannabis sales broke the $1 billion mark for the first time since the plant was legalized in 2014. And it dd so in just the first 10 months of the year.

Figures recently released by the Colorado Department of Revenue show dispensaries sold $720.7 million USD of recreational products from January through October, and $371.4 million of medical cannabis for the same time period, for a total of almost $1.1 billion.

That translates into nearly $150 million in taxes for the state budget, $40 million of which is earmarked for public school construction projects, as required by Amendment 64, which allowed for legal recreational cannabis sales.  The remainder of the excise tax goes to the state’s public school fund, while a handful of other marijuana sales tax proceeds are directed to substance abuse treatment and prevention, law enforcement and health care programs.

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is hoping to spend some of the fundson an “aggressive” campaign to help curb homelessness in the state.

“We spend more than twice as much … perpetuating lives of misery by letting people live under bridges than we would getting them into housing and giving them wrap-around services ― by which I mean, job training at the top of the list, counseling for addictions and medications for mental health,” Hickenlooper told The Denver Post of the initiative late last month.

Industry experts told The Denver Post’s Cannabist blog they’re projecting $1.3 billion in sales for the year. With that amount, the total economic impact in the state for legal marijuana sales would surpass $3 billion.