Sales of recreational cannabis in the US state of Colorado have reaped more than $2.1 million (around 1.5 million euros) from tax revenues just one month after the drug’s legalisation, state figures revealed on Monday.
The result was in line with expectations, said the Colorado Department of Revenue on a statement. The figures add to over $1.4 million (around 1 million euros) collected in taxes and fees from the sales of medical weed in the same month, for a total of around $3.5 million (around 2.5 million euros) of state income generated by marijuana sales.
According to the department, the data for recreational marijuana also include revenues from:
• a 2.9 percent state sales tax
• a special 10 percent tax on retail weed sales
• a 15 percent excise tax imposed on cultivators
• other licensing fees.
The statistics suggest the state-sanctioned marijuana business generated about $14 million in gross sales for the month. Over the course of this year, the first $40 million of tax revenue is designated for school construction and building under the Colorado legalisation law.
The figures also suggest that pot, the third most popular recreational drug in the US after alcohol and tobacco, is one of the most heavily-taxed consumer goods in Colorado.
Colorado became the first state in America’s history to legalise recreational marijuana and craft a regulatory framework to license, tax and enforce its use for recreation in January. Just as with alcohol, residents aged 21 or older can present their Colorado IDs and purchase up to one ounce of pot. Visitors from other states could purchase up to a quarter of an ounce.
An ounce of weed for recreational use reportedly costs about $200 (144 euros) in the state.
Private personal consumption, cultivation and possession of pot by adults for the sake of recreational use has been legal in Colorado for more than a year now, after voters approved a constitutional amendment in November 2012.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who opposed the legalisation of recreational cannabis, has told lawmakers he would like to see the bulk of state revenue derived from both recreational and medical pot sales to go toward addiction treatment and programmes to prevent young people from using the drug.
Approved patients with official recommendations from licensed physicians have been able to purchase medical weed from specific dispensaries since 2002.
A dozen retail pot shops opened for business in Colorado on January 1 2014, marking a turning point in America’s drug culture.
After a similar vote Washington state will introduce legal sales of marijuana later this year.