March 11, 2014 in Nation/World

Colorado pot taxes generate millions

Early revenue in line with expectations
Associated Press
 

DENVER – Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world’s first accounting of the recreational pot business.

The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold from 59 businesses. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes.

Colorado legalized pot in 2012, but the commercial sale of marijuana didn’t begin until January. Washington sales begin in coming months.

The pot taxes come from 12.9 percent sales taxes and 15 percent excise taxes. Including licensing fees and taxes from Colorado’s pre-existing medical marijuana industry, the state collected about $3.5 million from the marijuana industry in January.

That’s a relative drop in the bucket for Colorado’s roughly $20 billion annual budget, but still a windfall that has numerous interests holding out their hands. By comparison, Colorado made about $2.7 million in liquor excise taxes in January of last year.

Colorado tax officials say the January marijuana reports were in line with expectations.

Monday’s tax release intensified lobbying over how Colorado should spend its pot money. Budget-writers expect the nascent marijuana industry to be volatile for several years, making lawmakers nervous about where to direct the funds.

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