Cannabis Sales in Colorado Exceed $10 Billion Since 2014

The state serves as yet another example of the economic benefits that cannabis legalization can provide.

In the United States, Colorado was the one of the first states to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis when it did so in 2012. As such, Colorado provides a useful litmus test for what the long-term effects of cannabis legalization are, and so far it's looking pretty good.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state has generated over USD $10.5 billion since 2014 from cannabis sales, with the annual sales growing year after year.

For the first three months of 2021 (Jan-Mar), Colorado has brought in over $561 million, which puts the state on track to raise over $2.4 billion for the year – a new record.

Since Colorado has legalized cannabis, the state has brought in over $1.7 billion in taxes, 71 percent of which goes into a pool of cash that funds programs such as education, law enforcement, health care, and more.

While Colorado has had its battles with THC potency limits and hospitalizations (largely due to individuals consuming too many edibles and feeling extremely anxious afterward), overall the state has managed to generate significant funding for community programs while ceasing the penalties associated with marijuana possession. This allows law enforcement in Colorado to shift their focus from drug use (marijuana, in this case) to crimes such as theft and violent crime.

Moreover, it's estimated that the cannabis industry in Colorado has generated roughly 30,000 jobs, helping to make cannabis one of the primary job creators in the U.S.

And, with states like Illinois on track to generate over $1 billion from cannabis in this year alone, despite having only legalized the plant for recreational purposes at the beginning of 2020, it's clear that it isn't just Colorado that's having success.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.