For Colorado, the month of April brought record-breaking marijuana sales and tax revenue.
Colorado once again broke its record of monthly cannabis sales, selling a total of $117.4 million of edibles, concentrates, and marijuana flower in the month of April. The state’s previous monthly revenue record came in December 2015 when total marijuana sales reached $101.3 million.
This is the third time that Colorado has surpassed the $100 million mark in monthly marijuana sales. The first was in August 2015, when the state pulled in $100.6 million.
According to marijuana tax reports provided by the Colorado Department of Revenue, most of the revenue came from recreational marijuana sales. Cannabis shops had $76.6 million in recreational marijuana sales in the month of April, also a new monthly record. The previous high mark in recreational sales was $62.2 million from December 2015.
The record-breaking marijuana sales also meant a hefty hike in tax revenue garnered for the state. Colorado applies a 2.9 percent state sales tax, a special 10 percent sales tax, and a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers. From April’s sales, the state collected more than $5.5 million in excise tax revenue, bringing the yearly total to $16.7 million. According to The Cannabist, Colorado has brought in a total of nearly $57 million tax and fee revenue from medical and recreational cannabis sales in the first four months of 2016.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older since voters passed Amendment 64 in November 2012. Since then, revenue from sales has surpassed initial estimates and has grown steadily. The state brought in more tax revenue from marijuana sales than alcohol sales for the first time in history between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. It collected more than $135 million in taxes and license fees from cannabis sales in 2015, a 78 percent jump from the $76 million generated in the year prior. Nearly a quarter of the state revenue from cannabis sales is reserved specifically for school construction, and cities like Aurora are using the excess tax revenue to help feed and house the homeless.
The state had been averaging $56.7 million in recreational marijuana sales in the first three months of 2016. The 35 percent hike in sales it experienced in April is likely due to the April 20 marijuana holiday. During the week leading up to April 20, the state had $34 million in retail sales and brought in $7.3 million in sales on April 20 alone.
Revenue from medical marijuana sales for the month of April reached $40.8 million, a 22 percent bump from the month of March. In 2001, the state adopted comprehensive medical marijuana program, which allows patients with written approval from their physicians to legally possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, nausea, cachexia, cancer, and chronic pain.
The continued growth of Colorado’s cannabis market shows that the state’s industry is still not slowing. The state reached nearly $1 billion in total cannabis sales in 2015 and is on track to surpass that total in 2016.