Marijuana Facts

Colorado marijuana sales crack $6 billion since 2014 legalization, state says

Colorado marijuana businesses have sold more than $6 billion worth of weed and related products since a voter-approved measure allowing adults over the age of 21 to consume recreational pot took effect in the state on Jan. 1, 2014.

The milestone figure was highlighted Tuesday in a news release from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, the agency tasked with overseeing both recreational and medical cannabis businesses in the state.

Colorado crossed the $6 billion sales threshold thanks to a record-setting 2018. Sales surpassed $1.55 billion for the year, beating the record of more than $1.51 billion set in 2017.

The sales have Colorado on the cusp of another milestone: $1 billion in marijuana tax, licensing and fee revenue. As of the end of January, the state had collected $927 million from those categories — covering both recreational and medical marijuana businesses — since adult-use pot became legal in 2014. Colorado collected more than $266.5 million in taxes, fees and licensing payments in 2018 alone. 

Many in the state have questioned why marijuana tax money can’t be tapped to pay striking Denver Public Schools teachers more money, but the system set up under Amendment 64, the measure that greenlighted recreational pot use in Colorado, earmarks that revenue for school repairs and construction and other programs, not teacher pay.

A baseline report covering the state’s first five years of legal rec sales released last year found that youth use had not increased over that time, but pinpointed stoned driving and an increase in organized crime activities as areas of concern.