The bullish predictions about the revenue Colorado would accumulate from sales of recreational marijuana may have been quite premature. In February, Governor John Hickenlooper’s budget office estimated that recreational pot shop sales added to medicinal marijuana sales would approach $1 billion in the fiscal year beginning in July; the budget office suggested $134 million in tax and fee revenues entering state coffers.
But in January of 2014, Colorado only brought in $2 million from recreational pot shop sales, far short of what would lead to a successful prognosis from Hickenlooper’s budget office.
When the sum from recreational pot sales was combined with taxes and fees from medicinal marijuana in January, the total was still only $3.5 million. At the end of last year, the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly projected a total of $578.1 million a year in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales.
The state’s first $40 million in pot revenue must go toward school construction – but at this rate, the entire sum of that revenue won’t even hit the mark. As a percentage of Colorado’s general tax revenue, the projected revenue won’t chart; the state will likely collect $9.7 billion overall. Just last week, Colorado police chiefs asked the state for significant funding in order to enforce the new pot laws. They say they require new funding for training officers in spotting drivers who are high, as well as buying better testing equipment. Just about $3 million has been designated for law enforcement, out of the $134 million projected by Hickenlooper, although Hickenlooper wants to spend $5 million.