The Colorado Department of Revenue has revealed that the state's regulated marijuana industry sales have topped $6 billion since sales began in 2014. In addition, taxes generated by the industry grew by nearly 8 percent last year.
Last year, regulated marijuana sales in Colorado were nearly $1.55 billion, an increase of about 3 percent from just over $1.5 billion the previous year. And the state's marijuana taxes, including licenses and fees from dispensaries, were more than $266.5 million in 2018 — up nearly 8 percent from $247 million in 2017. To date, marijuana tax, license and fee revenue totals for Colorado are over $927 million.
The state's marijuana business doesn’t show any signs of slowing, either. In October, the agency said that marijuana business licenses comprised 77 percent of all new licenses in the first half of 2018.
In comparison, California's marijuana market has struggled since sales began in January 2018. Its marijuana tax revenue came in $101 million below projections in the first six months of last year. According to CNBC, the state has blamed its issues on higher taxes placed on the industry and limited access to banking. Legislators are trying to find ways to help: Last year, California policymakers introduced a bill that would allow banks and credit unions to provide account services for legal cannabis companies. Other policymakers have considered the establishment of a state-backed bank to provide financial services for the industry.
“These businesses handle significant economic activity, yet they are forced to operate under the table and with little government oversight, as if they’re a black market operation,” said State Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) at the time. He added that the legislation would “integrate these businesses into the fabric of the California economy.”
And last month, a bill was introduced in the California state legislature to give legal cannabis businesses a tax break. The state's recent estimates show that it expects marijuana excise taxes to generate $355 million in 2018-19 and another $514 million in 2019-20.