Monday, September 21, 2015

In Colorado, Marijuana Sales Are Generating More Revenue Than Alcohol

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 9:31 AM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN
  • Courtesy of Photospin

History was made in Colorado, guys: Tax revenue from marijuana sales was higher than revenue brought in by alcohol. 

The state raised about $70 million from weed in fiscal year 2014-2015, compared to the less than $42 million from alcohol sales, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Last Wednesday, Colorado celebrated a "marijuana tax holiday," where the state suspended marijuana sales for a day. And I guess it was a well deserved break. 

“Marijuana taxes have been incredibly productive over the past year, so this tax holiday is a much-deserved day off,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, and a co-director of the campaign in support of the 2012 initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Colorado. A similar measure in Arizona is currently gathering signatures to make the ballot for next year's general election. “This will be the one day out of the year when the state won’t generate significant revenue. Over the other 364 days, it will bring in tens of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in our state.”

Tvert  said it's crazy to think the state missed out on so much money when it suppressed marijuana into the black market. "It's even crazier that so many states are still doing it. Tax revenue is just one of many good reasons to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulation."

The nearly $70 million include: $43,938,721 from a 10 percent special sales tax on retail marijuana sales to adults; $25,959,338 from a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers of marijuana intended for adult use. Alcohol-wise: $27,309,606 from excise taxes collected on spirited liquors; $8,881,349 from excise taxes on beer; and $5,646,692 from excise taxes collected on vinous liquors. These figures do not include standard state sales taxes or any local taxes, MPP said.

The Arizona initiative MPP is pushing would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of weed; cultivate six plants per person or 12 total in a household; establish 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, with much of the revenue going toward Arizona schools and public education programs, among other guidelines. MPP recently said they expect to see at least $40 million annually invested in education thanks to the revenue. 

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