People who want to make marijuana legal just got a kind of upgrade from Moody’s Investors Service.
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The latest investors report, Colorado’s Legalized Marijuana Tax Revenues Exceed Expectations, breaks down the numbers. Colorado raised the estimate for tax revenue it expects to collect this year 40%, from $70 million to $98 million. And that’s just for sales of recreational marijuana.
Total tax revenue from the sale of medical and recreational marijuana is expected to raise $134 million. Moody’s analyst Andrea Unsworth says the benefits will continue to grow, “…as the Colorado market matures and as legalization lessens the appeal of black market sales, which should redistribute revenue from illegal traffickers to state coffers.”
While the ‘smokin’ tax collections are better than expected, they represent just 1.4% of Colorado’s general fund budget. School districts will get the largest disbursements from the pot windfall, $40 million.
Cities and towns are also collecting taxes from the legal sale of marijuana for recreational use. Denver leads the tally, collecting $1.9 million in the first two months since sales began.
Moody’s highlights the potential to save the state money spent enforcing laws which once prohibited marijuana and allowed the black market to flourish. But the report points out the final effect on law enforcement costs is still unclear.