Licensed marijuana shops in Colorado brought in nearly $126.1 million in combined medical and recreational sales in February.
Colorado’s legal marijuana industry continues to surge, with monthly sales surpassing $100 million for the ninth consecutive month. The latest sales data made public by the Colorado Department of Revenue shows that the state brought in nearly $126.1 million in sales. The month’s figures mark the third-highest monthly sales total since retail sales began in 2014.
Recreational marijuana sales made up more than $86.4 million of February’s revenue totals, while $39.6 million came from sales of medical marijuana. The state, which applies a 2.9 percent state sales tax on both recreational and medical sales, plus a 10 percent special sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on recreational sales, collected roughly $17.5 million in taxes and fees for the month.
Colorado economics have grown to rely on the tax revenue generated from marijuana sales. In 2016, the state’s $1.3 billion in sales brought in almost $200 million in tax revenue, which is used to support Colorado schools, law enforcement, public safety, agriculture and local governments. The first $40 million of the collected excise tax goes directly to public school construction.
Seven additional states have since passed laws legalizing adult use marijuana since Colorado was the first to do so in 2012. The latest annual report from the state’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee, which monitors the public health and environmental effects of marijuana legalization, found several “encouraging trends” since the law was implemented two years ago.
Colorado’s impressive February 2017 sales figures are particularly notable, considering in the same month officials within the Trump administration alluded to a potential crack down on recreational marijuana states. Regardless of the uncertainty, the monthly sales were 15 percent higher than the month before, and nearly 36 percent higher than in February 2016.
Nationwide, the legal marijuana industry is valued at $6.7 billion and projected to grow to $22.6 billion by 2021. Regardless of interference from the Trump administration, the market is expected to continue its double-digit growth rate over the next four years. Fifty-nine percent of American voters now support full legalization, and five of seven oppose the federal government cracking down on marijuana businesses that are complying with state laws, according to a recent poll from Quinnipiac.
Recently, the governors of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska – four states with operating recreational markets — collectively sent an open letter to officials in the Trump administration, urging them to not interfere with marijuana states.
Colorado’s legislature is also developing a plan to help protect its marijuana industry from the federal government if a crackdown attempt were to occur. One bill introduced would allow recreational marijuana growers to immediately reclassify their cannabis as medical. Another, which has already passed the state legislature and just needs to be signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, would bar any marijuana business from retaining personal information about customers for more than 48 hours and prohibits the sharing of customer information.