- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 13, 2019

Colorado’s trailblazing marijuana industry has generated more than a billion dollars in revenue since the state became the first in the country to legalize recreational sales, regulators revealed Wednesday.

Marijuana taxes, licenses and related fees have resulted in Colorado collecting around $1.02 billion between February 2014 and May 2019, according to statistics released by the state Department of Revenue.

“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition,” said Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat. “We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector.”

Coloradans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2012, and the country’s first retail pot shops began operating within the state in January 2014.
Including both recreational and medical marijuana products, Colorado’s licensed dispensaries have since reported combined sales of more than $6.56 billion, said the revenue department.

Six other states have followed Colorado in allowing licensed dispensaries to sell marijuana to adults, and most of the country — 33 states and counting — have enacted laws allowing patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Marijuana is federally prohibited, which puts medical and recreational laws alike in conflict with the government’s ban.

Recreational marijuana sold in Colorado is subject to various fees, including a 15% excise tax on wholesale marijuana and a 15% tax on retail sales. Combined, they have generated tens of millions of dollars allocated annually toward the Colorado Department of Education.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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