Colorado marijuana tax revenue in the month of January stands at $3.5 million of which $2.1 million is for the recreational drug, while the medicinal drug accounted for $1.4 million.
These are the first tax figures from the first state in the US to legalize marijuana after much debate and strong opposition from conservative groups.
The Colorado Department of Revenue’s figures indicate that $14 million in sales across the state took place during the month of January, the first in which legal sales are allowed.
The Centennial State legalized marijuana in 2012, but the law took effect at the beginning of this year and as The Inquisitr reported on January 3, $1 million worth of sales took place on the very first day it was legal to buy the drug.
Proponents of marijuana legalization all around the country are now using the figures to push forward in their campaign to make the use of pot available in other states.
Brian Vicente, who helped legalize marijuana in Colorado compares the new law to the end of prohibition:
“We don’t go to the alley to buy a six pack anymore. We go to stores. And that is what’s happening with marijuana. This is revenue directly out of the hands of cartels. These tax numbers will probably grow over time, but since it’s a new market, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Marijuana sales in Colorado are also subject to an excise tax of 15 percent of wholesale price — voted by taxpayers in November of 2013 — paid by growers when they transfer the pot to a store, which yielded $195,000 for the month of January.
Governor John Hickenlooper’s (D-Colorado) office estimated that all taxes and fees related to marijuana sales in Colorado will reach more than $35 million for the fiscal year ending on June 30 and $188 million for the following fiscal year.
It is yet unclear how the excess funds will be spent. The language voted by taxpayers indicates that the first $40 million in revenue from marijuana sales taxes in Colorado will go to school improvements.
Lawmakers are debating how to distribute the remaining funds, which are expected to reach $77 million in the next fiscal year.
Governor Hickelnooper has proposed that some of the funds should be used for anti-drug campaigns focused on education as well as law enforcement oversight.
However, police wants the available money to go towards training officers and cracking down on people who drive while under the influence of the marijuana, which is a whole new challenge for authorities in Colorado after the drug was legalized.
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