- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2017

Colorado’s legal marijuana dispensaries generated over $1 billion in sales during the first eight months of 2017 — a 21 percent year-over increase putting the Centennial State on path to having its best year yet in terms of retail pot sales.

Licensed pot shops in Colorado sold a total of about $1.02 billion worth of marijuana products between January and August 2017, including $733,057,112 in recreational sales and $291,978,141 in medical sales, according to data released Wednesday by the state’s Department of Revenue and analyzed by The Cannabist, the Denver Post’s marijuana news portal.

The latest sales figures demonstrate a 21 percent increase over 2016 when Colorado’s state-authorized marijuana dispensaries sold roughly $846.5 million worth of recreational and medical weed during the first eight months of the year before eventually cracking the $1 billion threshold two months later, The Cannabist reported.

So far, the state stands to collect more than $162 million in taxes and revenue as a result of marijuana sales this year, taking into account a newly imposed taxing structure that went effect in July, the report said.

Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana, paving the way for the country’s first state-licensed retail pot shops to open at the start of 2014.

Seven other states and the nation’s capital have since passed laws of their own legalizing recreational marijuana, but only four — Alaska, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state — have followed in Colorado’s footsteps by allowing dispensaries to sell retail weed; California, Maine and Massachusetts are slated to follow suit in 2018.

California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Twenty-eight other states and Washington, D.C., have since passed similar laws allowing doctors to recommend marijuana to patients afflicted with certain medical conditions.

Combined recreational and medical marijuana sales generated by Colorado’s pot shops during 2014, the first year of legalization, amounted to just under $700,000. Those dispensaries sold about $996,184 worth of legal marijuana in 2015 and roughly $1.3 billion worth of pot the following year, according to Revenue Dept. figures.

Marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government. The Obama administration largely agreed not to intervene in states where voters passed laws legalizing the plant for medical or recreational use, and the Trump administration has failed so far to change course.

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