Colorado’s marijuana revenue surpasses $1B

Colorado is raking in big money from its marijuana industry.

The state’s department of revenue said Wednesday it surpassed $1 billion in marijuana revenue since it legalized cannabis sale in 2014. The revenue includes marijuana tax, licenses and fees. Marijuana sales have also topped $6.56 billion.

“[The marijuana] industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a news release.

Colorado has nearly 3,000 licensed marijuana businesses and more than 41,000 licensed individuals working in the industry.

The state said money from the marijuana industry has funded several programs including youth drug prevention, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and school construction. Part of the revenue also goes toward licensing and regulating marijuana businesses.

“Five years ago, taxes from retail marijuana sales funded the first-ever retail marijuana public education campaign and scientific committee to review the health effects of marijuana as mandated by Colorado voters,” said Tista Ghosh, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Chief Medical Officer. “Today [Wednesday], as retail marijuana sales remain steady, our public awareness efforts include community-based youth prevention with more than 50 communities receiving funding to expand local efforts.”

In total, 11 U.S. states have legalized sale of the drug, with Illinois being the most recent to join the list. The state's law will go into effect in January 2020.

Not all states have seen a large increase in revenue from the marijuana industry. California has struggled to compete with the black market, and last month rolled back what it expects to collect in marijuana tax revenue through June 2020 to $223 million.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom said it was likely to take five to seven years for the legal market to reach its potential, a point that he has made repeatedly in the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.