Colorado Marijuana Business

A worker waters marijuana plants at the Colorado Harvest Company in Denver.

(The Center Square) – Marijuana sales in Colorado reached $186 million in December, the state Department of Revenue said Tuesday.

For the year 2020, marijuana sales reached $2.1 billion, marking the first time sales topped $2 billion since the state began tracking this data in 2014. The totals include sales of both recreational and medical marijuana.

Between 2019 and 2020, marijuana sales spiked by over $400 million. Colorado’s total sales to date since January 2014 exceeds $9.9 billion.

In return, state tax and fee revenue from marijuana sales hit $34 million in January, DORA said. Since January 2014, Colorado has collected more than $1.6 billion in tax revenue.

Tax revenue data is reported monthly as posted in Colorado’s accounting system. Meanwhile, total sales figures summarize all sales made by medical and retail marijuana stores monthly by county.

Colorado collects three taxes from marijuana sales: a state sales tax, a retail marijuana sales tax, and the state retail marijuana excise tax on wholesale sales or transfers of retail marijuana. The state sales tax is levied at 2.9% of sales, while both the retail and excise taxes are levied at 15%. Fee revenue is collected from marijuana license and application fees.

Retail marijuana sales became exempt from the state sales tax in July 2017. That same month, Colorado increased its excise tax from 10% to 15% and increased its share of the funds from 85% to 90%.

State law requires marijuana tax revenue to be appropriated to local governments and the state’s education, transportation and marijuana cash tax funds, depending on which tax source it comes from.

Sixty-five percent of the total revenue comes from the state’s 15% retail excise tax, and 90% of this subtotal is reserved for the general fund while local governments are given the remaining 10%.