Sales of marijuana in the state of Colorado are predicted to hit the $1 billion dollar mark according to figures in Governor John W. Hicklooper’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year. Additionally, his budget also reports sales tax on marijuana for the year to pass $100 million. Colorado’s marijuana farmers and vendors reported and paid their January sales taxes on February 20 and gave the governor a good idea of legalized marijuana’s effect on the budget.
This comes as a result of last November’s election when voters OKed Amendment 64 which legalized the use of marijuana. It also authorized a 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana. On March 10 the state of Colorado publishes its first account of marijuana sales tax revenue to the state’s Department of Revenue. This will report specifics on the first month of legal marijuana sales there. It’s believed that officials in other states will be studying the numbers too.
Meanwhile, the state of Colorado plans on spending $40 million to build new schools and has earmarked other funds for health care and substance abuse programs. Despite all of this, some economists have their doubts about the projected figures. Opponents believe that their will be an increase in costs in both law enforcement and industry regulation which could exceed potential profits.
The opposition also argues that the illegal marijuana market will continue. A recent survey in Medical Marijuana Business Daily revealed that 61 percent of the state’s marijuana users would rather buy their marijuana from a legal vendor rather than a drug dealer on the street. Furthermore, a recent Gallup poll shows that the legalization of marijuana is now supported by 58 percent of Americans. Supporters of legislating legalization are currently hard at work in several other states including Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona and Alaska. Considering Colorado’s projected numbers from the legalized sale of marijuana this should be no surprise.
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