First year numbers of $44-53 million for recreational Colorado Marijuana in paint a partial picture.
Its been one year for Colorado marijuana revenue, and the tax revenue numbers were just published by the state. While early estimates of 70+ million in tax revenue wasn’t realized, between 44 and 53 million dollars were generated, still a very substantial amount of revenue. Colorado has cut back on its expenditures for research and program maintenance as a result, but its clear that if anyone is to blame for the less than anticipated revenue, its the state of Colorado itself.
Lets be clear- this isn’t a new industry in any way, its an underground industry going legit. Its an experiment, of this there is no question. There has never been a problem with access in Colorado, whether legitimate or not. So when the state decided to throw on a ridiculous 28% tax on recreation marijuana, many of those in the state who either already had medical access(2.8% tax & very economically priced) or underground access(no tax, often cheaper than medical) had no need or reason to stroll into a shop and pay high prices, with a huge tax on top of that. So with such a thriving underground marijuana scene so entrenched in the society already, many had little or no reason to switch to the legal system.
Clearly the state set themselves up to not meet expectations. But what no one is talking about here is the 10,000 people that were getting arrested each year, that are now legitimate customers of legitimate businesses. That frees up the police and court systems to focus their efforts on things that are actually affecting society negatively. Marijuana? Its never been one of them.