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Medical marijuana revenues in Colorado for 2012: $199 million-plus

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Legislators working on bills pertaining to Amendment 64 nearly passed a repeal measure aimed at retail sales of recreational pot in part over fears that taxes modest enough for voters to approve might not cover costs. But a document revealing retail sales and state sales taxes in fiscal year 2012 (see it below) suggest such concerns may be misplaced. The state collected well over $5 million on sales of more than $199 million on medical marijuana alone over that span, at a rate much lower than the one approved by the legislature.

According to the document, which resides on the state's Colorado.gov website, retail MMJ sales in the State of Colorado were $199,118,715 for fiscal year 2012, generating $5,409,622 in state sales taxes.

There's also a breakdown for more than twenty individual counties. Sales in Denver were by far the highest, at $88,462,453, with a corresponding $2,407,341 in state sales taxes. El Paso County follows with $34,903,683 in sales and $924,509 in state sales taxes.

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Warren Edson.
Attorney Warren Edson, who stumbled upon the document while searching for something else on the state's site, provides some perspective on the numbers as a whole, as well as how they might give us a glimpse of the recreational-marijuana-sales future.

"Keep in mind two things," Edson says. "This is medical marijuana only, so this is based on roughly 100,000 patients statewide. And it's based on the state sales tax of 2.9 percent."

As Edson points out, "Denver has a 7.2 percent sales tax. So to get an idea of how much in city taxes Denver collected, take the state number [of $2.4 million] and double it -- and you'd still be underestimating it."

No wonder Denver's City Council voted to move forward with a recreational marijuana sales system yesterday.

Using these digits to predict recreational marijuana sales and tax revenue requires conjecture. But note that the sales tax voters will be asked to approve in November is 15 percent, plus a 15 percent excise tax -- and that doesn't include separate city taxes.

Edson concedes that "everyone is guessing" about demand -- "but let's make the math easy. Those 100,000 patients are probably going to turn into a million consumers. So take those numbers and multiply them by ten."

Using this formula, marijuana sales would be just shy of $2 billion for the state as a whole for a single fiscal year. And multiply the state sales tax figure by five -- representing the tax increase from 2.9 percent to 15 percent -- and the total is around $27 million. Add the tax revenues for individual cities, not to mention the money generated by excise taxes and, as Edson says, "you've got some pretty big numbers. Wow."

Here's the document:

Colorado Medical Marijuana Retail Sales and Sales Tax for 2012

More from our Marijuana archive from May 7, 2013: "Marijuana: How an Amendment 64 repeal measure almost passed last night."


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31 comments
alexandermwick
alexandermwick

Marijuana and math don't go hand in hand with most people. Double check the math to make a better point.

Monkey
Monkey

The DOR better set that wholesale price high and artificially stabilize the market if they want to achieve the projected revenue stream. That will be good for the black market too. I think the DOR setting the wholesale price, which the excise taxes will be based on, instead of taxing the actual payments received is a total price-fixing scam that no one is talking about. Probably because the regulated and unregulated will both benefit from a high priced stable market. No one wants the price of weed to plummet like it has been, so now illegal drug dealers, legal drug dealers, the DOR, schools, and the State of Colorado all have something in common, they need prices to remain high. I guess the customer is the only one getting screwed, and you can't call it rape, because they seem to happily give consent.

bong422
bong422

Why is DonkeyHotay allowed to troll every comments section of every article. Just wondering

betweenthepuffs
betweenthepuffs

There is no shortage of good weed in this city NOW. Retail stores will just simply allow people to purchase in a retail environment instead of from a dealer who may or may not be peddling harder drugs....Lot's of folks will opt for the retail experience as opposed to the latter....

Nobodywhorates
Nobodywhorates

15% of two billion is three hundred million.  So 15% of just shy of two billion would not be $27,000,000.  Unless just shy of two billion is $180,000,000.  The article should be fixed.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "Those 100,000 patients are probably going to turn into a million consumers. So take those numbers and multiply them by ten."

Fucking Nonsensical Idiocy.

Are those hypothetical million pot users NOT CURRENTLY OBTAINING Marijuana? ... just patiently waiting with empty bongs until overpriced government regulated overtaxed retail schwag appears next year so they can dump their current source/dealer, stop growing their own, and rush in and volunteer some tax $$ ??

LOL!





DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

$5 million in Sales Tax for Pot ... vs. $1.8 BILLION in total State Sales Tax Revenue ... whoopie!

That's 0.0027 of total statewide sales tax ... fucking pathetic for the massive Hassle, Time, Effort and Expense the State and Local Governments have to spend managing and regulating the Pot Clown Circus.

Pathetic Pot Revenues don't even COVER THE EXPENSE of Enforcement and Regulation.

Epic FAIL!


J.r. Wolfe
J.r. Wolfe

mild estimate...from what i smelled at pees fair..two trillion is more like it

Chelsea West
Chelsea West

I agree! Recreational pot is THE business.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@betweenthepuffs "... from a dealer who may or may not be peddling harder drugs"

Pathetic DEA Propaganda.

Why do you hate Independent Marijuana Growers and Dealers?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@gregtron2  ... Marijuana + Math = FAIL!

Ask Mikey how many Eighths are in an Ounce ... LOL!


FuckYouClown
FuckYouClown

@DonkeyHotay Where did anyone say that people aren't currently obtaining pot? It's merely saying that there will be plenty more people shopping at recreational stores than there are medical patients shopping at medical shops.

Sorry that reality disagrees with you, but you don't need to get so blatantly bent out of shape.

Matt-in_Boulder
Matt-in_Boulder

@DonkeyHotay

"Pathetic Pot Revenues don't even COVER THE EXPENSE of Enforcement and Regulation."

Do tell, Donkey, how did Pathetic Pot Prohibition cover the expense of enforcement and incarceration?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@J.r. Wolfe ... or perhaps a BAZILLION!


Matt_Brown
Matt_Brown

@DonkeyHotay I hate buying weed from "Independent Marijuana Growers and Dealers" for the same reason I don't raise my own milk cows, call a local farmer anytime I need some lettuce, or hire a chemist when I need an aspirin. When I need food I go to the grocery store. When I need tires I go to the tire store. When I need a TV I go to an electronics store. PLUS! all of those stores even have coupons in the local paper (or online!) that give me a discount for choosing their store over a competitor. 

I buy everything else in my life in a store. A store that is open pre-set hours, every day. And they have shelves of products that I can choose from, every time I want to buy something. And if I show up and they are closed, there's a nice simple sign on the door telling me when I should return to take care of my needs. Why shouldn't I buy marijuana in the same environment?

If given the choice, why on earth would I want to pay 2x as much and have to play phone tag with some dude who may or may not be able to meet me somewhere with a few grams of weed? When I hang out with grower friends, I love to sample their garden. But when it's time to restock my personal supply, I'll take a store any day of the week. 

betweenthepuffs
betweenthepuffs

@DonkeyHotay Not every dealer is 'independent', nor are they a 'grower'....The world is a big place....Explore....

RichDenver88
RichDenver88

@FuckYouClown Actually, yes, Donkey DOES in fact need to get blatantly bent out of shape.  Ironically, this type of apeshit over reaction is actually quite in character for old donkey.  I was wondering if such a article was going to make his/her (not sure which, but my guess is 'his') blood boil with the same vigorously volatile, & vociferously vulgar responses to which we, the Westword reader have become so benumbingly accustomed.  As John McClane would say.... "Welcome to the party, pal". 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@FuckYouClown "It's merely saying that there will be plenty more people shopping at recreational stores than there are medical patients shopping at medical shops."

Where are they shopping now, eh numbnuts?

Why would they PAY MORE for it at some Overpriced Government Regulated Retail Store?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Jose <== waiting with empty bong to purchase government regulated overtaxed overpriced retail schwag


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Matt-in_Boulder ... so you admit the Big Lie promoted by Prevaricating Pot Pimps who promised massive marijuana $$$ tax revenue windfalls that would solve the State budget crisis, rescue public schools, and place man on Mars?


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RichDenver88  "vigorously volatile, & vociferously vulgar"


Yippie-Kai-Yay, Motherfucker! ... +4 points for alliteration.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@FuckYouClown ... woooo weeeeee! ... what will the State of Colorado do with that $5 million sales tax windfall ... which represents a whopping 27 tenthousandths of statewide sales tax collected?

So answer the question -- where, exactly, are all the recreational stoners getting their pot now?




FuckYouClown
FuckYouClown

@DonkeyHotay

Yeah, because that's exactly how it worked with the medical marijuana industry  -- you know, the one that got $200 million out of 100,000 users in the last year alone. Even with all those private caregivers and all those patients growing for themselves....

I know it's hard for you to admit it, but you're a fucking retard. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@FuckYouClown ... and all the Recreational users are sitting at home WITHOUT ANY POT ... just waiting for overpriced and overtaxed retail stores to open up, eh clown?


FuckYouClown
FuckYouClown

@DonkeyHotay

Keep arguing against reality.

There's nearly $200 million in medical marijuana revenues alone in 2012 that prove you are full of shit.

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