A proposal submitted on Wednesday by Colorado governor John Hickenlooper estimates that sales in pot stores will approach $1 billion for the fiscal year, the Denver Post reported today. Recreational pot shop sales will account for more than $600 million of the figure—a 50% increase over what was originally projected. That’s pretty staggering.
The recreational marijuana is being taxed heavily, and taxes and fees associated with the recreational stores are expected to quadruple the amount of government revenue brought in by medical marijuana last year. The state expects recreational marijuana stores to bring in $118 million in the next fiscal year.
From the Post:
Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, agreed that the projections will likely change as new stores open, old stores close and marijuana tourists come and go.
“It’s tough to make these predictions,” Elliott said, “but the idea of this being a billion-dollar industry seems reasonable.”
The bottom line: Recreational pot could bring in a not-insignificant amount of funds to Colorado’s coffers. But after spending $40 million on school construction, Hickenlooper says he wants to spend almost all the money to pay for projects designed to mitigate and “better understand the consequences of marijuana legalization.”
Over the next 18 months, Hickenlooper has proposed spending $45 million on youth marijuana use prevention efforts, $40 million on substance-abuse treatment, $12 million on public-health projects, nearly $2 million on an anti-stoned-driving campaign and another almost $2 million on regulation of marijuana stores. Hickenlooper has also proposed spending money to study trends in drugged driving and to gather intelligence on the “illegal production, sale and distribution of marijuana in Colorado.”
The proposed expenditures are in addition to $29 million already allocated for marijuana-related issues.
The industry says it supports the taxes.