According to multiple reports from the State of Colorado, more than $1.3 Billion in legal cannabis products were sold in the state in 2016. This figure includes both medical and recreational cannabis.
What this means?
In basic economic terms (supply and demand), Colorado’s proven demand for legal cannabis is more than $1 Billion per year.
Because these legal sales are tracked, they are taxed to the tune of “… about $199 million in tax and fees revenue for the calendar year.”
Lastly, because the $1Billion of cannabis products was produced in-state, sold in-state, and accounted for – including taxes paid – that’s $1Billion in illegal drug traffic that street dealers, black marketeers, and “Mexican and Russian gangs” are NOT making in Colorado. Similar effects can be created in the 28 states and the District of Columbia, where cannabis sales are legal (some state programs are not operational yet).
It’s important to look closely at the benefits to the state more deeply. Of the taxes raised, the first $40 Million is promised for capital school construction. Additional funds went to the Marijuana Cash Fund, which provided funding for, among others:
$9.5M for Education
$15M for Human Services
$18M for Public Health and the Environment
$30M to the General Fund.
Because legal cannabis is not allowed to move across state lines, Colorado has a $1Billion industry that is totally captive – all dollars, taxes, jobs, stay in the state. As an example, the previous year’s sales were $996M, and generated 18,005 jobs and $2.39 Billion in total economic impact.
Brian Vicente, principal of Vicente Sederberg Law in Denver, summed up the benefits of Colorado’s cannabis industry succinctly. “The impact is really felt at the local level. Some counties have done 20 years of infrastructure work in just one year's time,” he said. “They've provided lunch for kids who need it. These are powerful things,”