The Irony of Marijuana Tax Revenue in Colorado
- Feb 25, 2014 | Gail Cole
During their first month of business, the two new recreational marijuana stores in Pueblo County, Colorado, made just under $1 million in sales and collected more than $32,000 in sales tax. The county also collected more than $70,000 in licensing fees during the month of January, from both new and renewing medical and recreational marijuana businesses.
The $100,000 in tax revenue is a windfall for Pueblo County, where county commissioners have been striving to find revenue streams to boost the county’s general fund. Sales of recreational pot are taxed at 3.5% in Pueblo County; so long as business remains steady, that will provide a steady flow of tax revenue.
“The irony is that the only new revenue we have coming in is in marijuana and yet we have to open a new judicial building.”
That was noted by Commissioner Liane “Buffie” McFadyen. In response, County Budget and Finance Director Cal Hamler joked, “We’re going to have to sell more weed.”
It looks like that won’t be a problem. Pueblo County is on track to surpass the projected $400,000 in marijuana tax revenue for the year (The Pueblo Chieftan).
According to Governor John Hickenlooper’s recent budget proposal, revenue from the recreational pot industry is exceeding statewide expectations. The first $40 million of that revenue will go toward public school construction. In addition, the tax revenue will fund a number of marijuana prevention programs, substance abuse programs and drug education programs.
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