Colorado became the first state in the nation’s history to make more annual revenue off of taxes imposed on marijuana sales than taxes on alcohol, according to numbers released by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
A report from the department, which looked at the taxes collected from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, found that the state collected about $70 million in taxes from marijuana sales, and only about $42 million in taxes from alcohol sales.
The Marijuana Policy Project noted that out of the $69,898,059 raised on taxes on marijuana-related sales, $43,938,721 came from a “10% special sales tax on retail marijuana sales to adults” and $25,959,338 came from a “15% excise tax on wholesale transfers of marijuana intended for adult use.”
KDRV reported that Colorado is having a “marijuana tax holiday” on Wednesday, which will suspend all taxes on marijuana-related sales.
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of the 2012 initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Colorado, released a statement saying that marijuana taxes have been “incredibly productive over the past year,” and Wednesday’s holiday will be a “much-deserved day off.”
“It’s crazy how much revenue our state used to flush down the drain by forcing marijuana sales into the underground market,” Tvert said. “It’s even crazier that so many states are still doing it. Tax revenue is just one of many good reasons to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulation.”
The Associated Press reported that the holiday is due to Colorado’s “unusual tax law,” and is a rare move in a state that “has many times rejected sales-tax holidays on things like school supplies, clothing or energy-efficient appliances.”
The Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights “requires voters to approve new taxes based on estimates of collections and state spending.”
The Denver Post noted that although the tax revenues from marijuana sales have not exceeded projected figures, “total state spending exceeded initial estimates because of the improving economy,” and as a result, lawmakers settled on a one-day tax waiver.
In Sept. 2014, investigative journalist Ben Swann looked into the federal government’s involvement with marijuana used for medicinal purposes, and he found that although the government acts as if cannabis is not medicine, they actually own the patent to cannabis as medicine.