POTITICS: Marijuana-Related Tax Revenue in Colorado


In terms of financial aid, Colorado marijuana has been a tremendous boon to the state. Millions of dollars of tax dollars have flooded into the state through both residents and visitors. These tax dollars have been directed to a variety of public works and improvements.

The Taxes Applicable to Marijuana Sales in Colorado

Marijuana sales are taxed through multiple agencies. When marijuana is first sold, it is subject to a wholesale tax. This tax is generally applied to the sale between the grower and the dispensary. Once the dispensary sells the product to the consumer, a sales tax is applied. This sales tax is both for the state and the locality. Finally, another marijuana-only sales tax is applied in addition to the other taxes. This marijuana sales tax is very similar to the current tax on nicotine. For each $20 of marijuana sold in Colorado, approximately $5 is charged in taxes. Over $135 million is estimated to have been collected in Colorado through marijuana sales in 2015. This was a considerable increase from the $76 million in 2014.

Projects Funded by Marijuana-Related Taxes

The state of Colorado has ear-marked the first $40 million in tax dollars towards local school grants. This money is designed to improve upon the school systems. This is a considerable portion of marijuana tax money, which is swiftly growing — however, it is a small amount of the local school budget. Additional money may be allocated to the school system after the first $40 million; it is only that the first $40 million must go to the school system.

Controversy Regarding Marijuana Taxes

Though marijuana taxes may have had a considerable positive impact on the community, it is not without controversy. Some believe that marijuana taxes are an unnecessary “sin tax” designed to dissuade participants, much like alcohol and cigarette taxes. This controversy is on a philosophical level, related to whether or not the political system should police this type of action in its citizens.

It is believed that marijuana revenue will continue to grow in the state of Colorado, and that the earnings could eventually become considerable. But this also only factors in the addition of marijuana taxes into the local budget. Marijuana activists also believe that the state will save money on criminal incarcerations and will bring in more money through tourism. Other states considering legalization may also consider the related financial benefits.