On Wednesday, June 12th, Colorado state had an astounding achievement. The Colorado state Department of Revenue released a statement that the state has surpassed one billion in cannabis tax, license, and fee revenue since legalizing recreational use in 2014. Cannabis sales to date exceeded 6.56 billion for the state.
“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis in the statement. “This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction.”
Colorado is the first state to reach this level of revenue, but Washington state is not far behind. Washington has made just over 942 million in cannabis revenue since recreational legalization in 2014. The annual report for 2018 stated Washington made just over 367 million in cannabis revenue last year alone. This is a huge leap from the 1.78 million made from cannabis in 2014 during the first year of recreational legalization.
The revenue Washington raised has gone towards critical state services, health care services, and other similar areas of disbursement similar to Colorado.
Just over 36 million in revenue was given to education and prevention. They fund substance abuse programs and mental health services, as well as public health programs and grant programs for the prevention and reduction of marijuana use by youth.
One exciting area the revenue was dispersed to is for research. Just over one million was given to research in 2018 with money given to the University of Washington and Washington State University to fund research on the effects of cannabis use. While one million is a relatively small amount, the amount given to research continues to grow each year. The research could lend a hand in motivating more states to legalize as more education on the plant can be given to the public.
The fiscal year for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board ends at the end of June. The report should be released in December of this year, and by that point Washington will join Colorado in surpassing the one billion mark.
This is an exciting time to be in the cannabis industry in Washington as 2018 showed 505 licensed cannabis retail businesses and 1061 producer/processors. This means more job opportunities for Washington residents as the revenue continues to fund state needs.
With Colorado surpassing the one billion mark this month, and Washington sure to follow, it will be a race for which state gets to this milestone third. To learn more about the revenue made by Colorado, check out this article.