The first state to go legal has made bank.
Since Colorado legalized marijuana, the state has sold over $7.6 billion — yup, you read that right — in total cannabis sales since legalization started on January 1, 2014. The state has consistently topped prior year sales, making 2019 the fifth year in a row Colorado has done so.
The Colorado Department of Revenue data shows that the state’s licensed marijuana retailers sold $1.54 billion in cannabis products in 2018. By October 2019, Colorado sold $1.46 billion in weed. The state has generated a whopping $1.8 billion in taxes from legal cannabis sales.
Other states have been making money off legal marijuana sales, too.
While Washington state was the first state (technically) to legalize marijuana, it was the second state to start recreational adult-use sales. It tallied $1.37 billion in cannabis sales in 2018.
During the same period, in 2018, California, which boasts the largest recreational marijuana market in the world, sold $2.5 billion worth. It’s expected that the state will be able to claim more than $3 billion in sales by the end of 2019.
These are huge numbers.
In an ironic twist, while the feds still treat cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, tax coffers increased by $4.7 billion in taxes paid by state-legal cannabis companies in 2017. The figures for 2018 haven’t been publicized, but imagine what kind of tax revenue cannabis could bring to the table if legalized on a federal level. Some estimate that if weed was legal across the country, it could easily generate up to $129 billion in taxes by 2025.