Colorado, one of the first states to legalize adult-use marijuana, has made more than $1 billion from legal marijuana sales according to the latest reports. Colorado legalized recreational pot in 2014 and over these six years, the state has accumulated $1.02 billion, a combined total of marijuana tax, license, and fee revenue. Marijuana sales alone have topped $6.56 billion.
Billions In Sales And More Coming
On June 12, 2019, the Colorado Department of Revenue released a news release announcing the historic accomplishment. According to the state’s press release, Colorado has 2,917 licensed cannabis retailers and over 41,076 people who are legally working in the industry. Colorado is proving to be a worldwide leader in marijuana innovation and sales.
“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation, and development for this growing economic sector,” said Governor Polis in a news statement.
Changes To Expect In 2020
Colorado is set to have an even better 2020 and following years in terms of marijuana sales. For instance, social cannabis-use permits will soon be available for dispensaries or restaurants, hotels, and music venues. Mobile cannabis lounges including limousines and tour buses will also be able to apply for the license, but can’t sell weed. Additionally, individuals can apply for temporary licenses for special events.
Colorado is also loosening its laws around commercial cannabis delivery. The state legalized pot delivery for a one-year pilot program in 2020.
Participation from municipalities is voluntary. If the program goes well, both medical and recreational delivery would become an option in 2021. Local jurisdictions can choose to ban delivery.
Starting in 2020, Colorado dispensaries will be able to sell hemp-derived CBD products. Previously, CBD products sold at licensed retailers must have been derived from the marijuana plant. Pot shops are now able to sell edibles with THC and CBD derived from hemp, as long as the products undergo potency and contaminant testing.
An expansion of Colorado’s medical program rule also sets up the state for success. In 2019, Colorado added autism to the program’s list of qualifying medical conditions. Lawmakers also pushed to allow a wider range of healthcare professionals including dentists and psychiatrists to prescribe medical marijuana and for shorter terms than the previous one-year minimum.
Funding State Programs
Governor Polis acknowledged the importance of the industry by saying: “This 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.” Marijuana revenue supports a variety of state-funded efforts including:
- Licensing and regulation of cannabis businesses
- Youth prevention efforts
- Behavioral health treatment
- Protecting public health and safety
- Coordination across state agencies
Specifically, cannabis tax revenue funds programs such as the School Bullying Prevention and Education Grant Program, School Health Professional Grant Program, Early Literacy Competitive Grant Program, and the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) capital construction assistance fund.
Tista Ghosh, Colorado Department of Public Health Environment’s Chief Medical Officer, also showed her support by saying: “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. Today, 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.”
Join the Fastest-Growing Industry In the Nation
Colorado is just one of the many states experiencing a cannabis revival and generating billions of dollars in sales and tax revenue. In 2018, cannabis business owners were predicted to owe a total of $2.8 billion in taxes to the federal government. The marijuana industry is also expected to employ up to 300,000 people by 2020 based on data from a cannabis analytics firm.
As marijuana sales in Colorado have expanded, so has employment. Colorado residents can find a variety of entry-level job opportunities such as budtender and trimmer, as well as higher-paying positions that may require an advanced degree. Positions like cultivation or extraction manager or edibles chef are now fast-growing job positions.
How to Start a Cannabis Career
If you want to get your foot in the door of the country’s most exciting marijuana job markets, invest in your knowledge of the fundamentals of cannabis. SIgn-up for CTU’s online marijuana college-level classes on growing and cooking marijuana, as well as learning the skills needed to become a budtender or open your own dispensary.
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