Colorado is expected to bring in $100 million in new tax revenue generated by the newly legal marijuana industry. This represents almost three times as much tax revenue as through alcohol, which fetched about $39 million for the Centennial State.
Coloradans legalized pot in Nov. 2012 and initiated the tax and regulation of state-legal cannabis sales starting Jan. 1, 2014. Up to 156 marijuana retail stores are expected to open in Colorado, giving added context to the late John Denver’s anthem to the colorful state, “Rocky Mountain High.”
A survey was conducted by NBC News based on the first 27 days of tax data of 18 licensed pot retailers. The findings estimated that pot businesses coughed up anywhere from $1.24 million to $3 million in tax in the first 30 days of operation. Although the marijuana taxes are borderline confiscatory – coming in at a whopping 29% – demand is still high for the popular plant.
Just under 2,000 miles away in Rhode Island, State Sen. Joshua Miller is keeping a watchful eye on Colorado. He has proposed legislation to change marijuana laws in his state in a way similar to what Colorado voters did. Presently, Rhode Island has a $100 million state budget deficit: “The kind of money that could be generated through this is an amount that could take care of more than 20 percent of the deficit that we’re running every year,” he said. “So it’s a very important revenue source potentially.”