Smoking their 2014 marijuana sales by an elevated 42.4%, the roots of Colorado’s fast-growing legal marijuana industry cultivated $2.39 billion during 2015, according to a new report published by the Marijuana Policy Group.
Now raking in more taxable green than Colorado’s performing arts and sports venues combined ($777.3 million), the legal marijuana industry is already generating higher revenues than many of the more familiar business sectors in Colorado. Bigger than gold mining in 2014 and projected to blaze past cigarette sales by 2020, Colorado collectively cultivated, extracted, produced, and baked approximately 132 metric tons of state-sanctioned marijuana in 2015; according to MPG’s 24-page report released Wednesday.
Green Tax Rush
Performed by a group of astute researchers that served as marijuana economists for the State of Colorado, the study’s findings indicate that Colorado’s historic marijuana vote cultivated approximately 18,000 new jobs during 2015, while harvesting $996 million in total marijuana sales and a respectable $121 million in new taxes.
And thanks to the federal government’s theoretical gate surrounding the Centennial State, the study concluded the marijuana industry enjoys a higher output and employment on a per dollar basis than 90% of Colorado’s other industries. Unable to cross state lines thanks to its classification as a Schedule I narcotic, employees within the marijuana industry generally live in the state, as do the shop owners.
With sales bolting by an impressive 91.1% on a year-over-year basis, this monumental revenue increase was primarily due to the introduction of recreational sales. Taxed at a substantially higher rate than medical marijuana, recreational sales are subject to a 12.9% state tax, plus any city, county, and special district assessments.
While amazing growth, the report offers one caveat:
“Legal marijuana demand is projected to grow by 11.3 percent per year through 2020. This growth is driven by a demand shift away from the black market and by cannabis-specific visitor demand. By 2020, the regulated market in Colorado will become saturated. Total sales value will peak near $1.52 billion dollars, and state demand will be 215.7 metric tons of flower equivalents by 2020.”
As pro-legalization constituents in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada prepare to cast their ballots in less than two weeks, MPG’s researchers predict the price for marijuana will vacillate dramatically in state – and ultimately stabilize sometime around 2020.
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