As more states adopt medical and recreational marijuana laws, the 420-pioneer state of Colorado continues to demonstrate to taxpayers the benefits of lighting up. According to new financial reporting from the Colorado Department of Revenue, cannabis sales reached nearly $1 billion in the first 10 months of 2016. This number already surpasses the total medical and recreational sales for 2015, which came in at $996,184,788.
An October report from the Marijuana Policy Group calculated a $2.39 billion economic impact in 2015. With that data as a guide, cannabis industry attorney Vicente Sederberg told The Cannabist the state can expect an even higher total for 2016. “We think we’ll see $1.3 billion in sales revenue this year,” Sederberg said. “[A]nd so the economic impact of this industry—if we’re using the same multiplier from the Marijuana Policy Group’s recent report, which is totally reasonable—it suddenly eclipses a $3 billion economic impact for 2016.”
The high sales mean huge donations to state initiatives like the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) fund, which alone has received a $40 million investment. Other Colorado state departments, such as the Department of Public Health and the Environment, Department of Human Services and the Department of Transportation, received a combined $116 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
During the 2016 election, pot won in eight of the nine states with measures on their ballots, including legalizing recreational use in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. If Colorado’s successful marijuana laws are anything to go by, it’s high time those states start updating their budgets for the better.