The 4 Takeaways From The Latest Colorado Marijuana Sales Numbers

February 18, 2020
Jars of different type of marijuana sit on counter during a sale at the Denver Kush Club in north Denver, Nov. 27, 2015.Jars of different type of marijuana sit on counter during a sale at the Denver Kush Club in north Denver, Nov. 27, 2015.David Zalubowski/AP
Jars of marijuana buds displayed to customers at Denver's Discrete Dispensary, known as 3-D.

Colorado has seen nearly $7.8 billion in total marijuana sales since 2014, according to the state’s latest data. That’s six years worth of recreational pot revenue following legalization.

In 2019, sales hit nearly $1.75 billion for the year, the largest amount to date. Here are a few other interesting things to note:

  • Recreational cannabis made up the bulk of those sales, to the tune of $1.4 billion. That’s an eleven percent increase compared to 2018. 
  • Medical marijuana sales continue to decrease overall. That amount dropped 7.6 percent from the year before, reflecting a trend over the last few years.
  • Another trend: Marijuana sales once again spiked in the summer. In 2019, August saw the most sales for the third year in a row. That's largely because of seasonal tourism, according to cannabis businesses.
  • Last year also broke a record for tax revenue from marijuana, with more than $302 million. Since 2014, Colorado has brought in $1.2 billion in taxes. 

While medical marijuana only gets a state sales tax, recreational gets a 15 percent excise tax placed on the wholesaler and a 15 percent sales tax on the consumer. Cities and counties can also place a local sales tax on top of that.

The first $40 million from the excise tax goes to the Colorado Department of Education’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) fund, and 10 percent of the sales tax goes to local governments. Much of the remaining money goes to the state general fund and the marijuana tax fund, which helps cover the costs of educational programs addressing substance abuse and treatment.

CPR’s Jim Hill contributed to this report.

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