The Great Colorado Marijuana "Experiment" Spreads Across the Country
Photo credit: Legal Marijuana Cultivation
Colorado Licensed Marijuana sales totaled roughly $1 Billion in 2015.
In combination with a great reduction in law enforcement costs and benefits, many, if not most, State legislators are moving to emulate the Colorado Marijuana Legalization Experiment.
Recreational Marijuana sales began in Colorado in January, 2014. In fiscal 2015, government tax receipts and fees totaled a whopping $135 million. Law enforcement and human capital savings are estimated at $100 million. That is roughly $235 million in Marijuana dough in year one folks.
“These are amazing numbers, especially on the tax revenue side.”
-- Attorney Steve Fox, contributor to Colorado’s Marijuana-legalization Amendment 64
The three types of State taxes on Recreational Marijuana:
- 2.9 percent regular sales tax
- 10 percent special Marijuana sales tax
- 15 percent excise tax on wholesale Marijuana transfers
Major Savings for Law Enforcement
In addition to the Marijuana Tax windfall, a major financial tool for organized and petty criminals was effectively eliminated. These are the types of facts and figures that make Marijuana legalization convincing and attractive to other State's legislators, law enforcement and citizens alike.
According to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, the State has saved up to $40 million by removing criminal penalties in 2015 alone. From 2010 to 2013, the State had averaged over 10,000 arrests and citations per year for minor Marijuana possession at the levels that are now legal. Legalizing Marijuana has tremendously reduced pressure and freed law enforcement to pursue serious crime.
Poll: Colorado Citizens are Happy with their Choice
After a year of legalized Cannabis, 9 out of 10 Coloradans that voted FOR in 2013 say that they would do so again. According to a survey conducted for the Denver Post, Colorado citizenry overwhelmingly supported full legalization of Marijuana nationwide. The only segment of the population that disagreed were retired folk.
Quotes from Colorado Lawmakers
“It’s remarkable that less than seven years ago, all of that money was being spent in the underground market, Clearly there’s a large demand for Marijuana, and we’re now seeing that demand being met by legitimate businesses that are answering to authorities instead of criminals who answer to nobody.”
-- Mason Tvert, Director of the Marijuana Policy Project
“I’m really proud of our State and proud of our legislators and local officials, who have helped us transition away from an underground market so quickly,so that our State can see the benefits of tax revenues, regulated sales, jobs and economic development.”
-- Colorado Attorney, Christian Sederberg
Other States Follow Colorado's Example
Washington's Recreational Marijuana sales started slowly, with 18 stores originally licensed to sell Cannabis, yielding $1 million in tax revenue in the first month (August, 2014).
In the first year of legalization, Washington State collected $67.5 million in Medical and Recreational Marijuana-related taxes. Funds were deposited into general funding for health-related services.
2016 Marijuana Tax Revenue - Estimated at $150 Million plus!
Steve Lerch, executive director and chief economist for the State’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council says that Washington is already making more than $12 million per month on Marijuana tax. Mr. Lerch expects the total 2016 windfall to be about $155 million. Marijuana-related revenue is expected to increase yearly, with revenue projections of:
- $267 million in 2017
- $333 million in 2018
- $369 million in 2019
"When Recreational legalization started, there were very, very few stores open and there was a huge shortage of supply. We’re expecting their market share is going to increase dramatically."
-- Steven Leach, Revenue Forecast Council, Washington
MMJDOCTORONLINE Notes: Our company is among the first to offer online Cannabis Consultations and 420 Recommendations by licensed California Physicians. Our Telehealth services are in compliance with the California Medical Board guidelines. We also provide patients with MMJ ID Cards that verifies their legal right to purchase, possess, consume or grow Medical Cannabis.
According to Oregon State Department of Revenue, approximately 300 licensed Marijuana retailers sold $14 million in Recreational Cannabis in January, 2016, which generated $3.5 million in taxes, exceeding the wildest of government expectations.
Oregon's Marijuana tax receipts from January amazingly surpassed even the first-months take from Recreational Cannabis in both Washington and Colorado.
T|he strong Oregon sales numbers are now attributed to the State's gradual approach to Cannabis taxation, which gave time for businesses to get established and report earnings. It sounds like someone is doing their job well in government land.
In 2016 and moving forward, a 25 percent sales tax went into effect. It is expected that the tax will drop to 20% (17 % State, 3% municipal).
Adults over 21 are now permitted to buy Marijuana from dispensaries and are untaxed.
Patients with a MMJ ID Card can still purchase Marijuana tax free in Oregon.
Cannabis use remains classified as an illegal narcotic under U.S. federal law, putting the national government at odds with Oregon, California, Washington, Alaska and eventually it would seem the entire Union. It now seems inevitable that Cannabis will be legalized Cannabis for both Medical and Recreational, in more or less every State, within the next five years.
Alaska legalized Recreational Marijuana in 2014, with stores open at the end of 2015.
The District of Columbia legalized Recreational pot as well, but a congressional bill bars sales until 2017 or later. This is just one more example of the Federal Government being out of step with the times and the worldwide movement to legalize Marijuana.
Further Reading about Telehealth and Medical Marijuana