The Colorado Department of State Revenue says marijuana stores in Colorado sold over $996 million worth of cannabis last year, which was only the second year legal marijuana retailers have been in operation in the state ($699 million worth was sold in 2014).
The state itself took in about $135 million in taxes from cannabis last year, $35 million of which is earmarked for schools. Before legalization, opponents liked to scoff at marijuana’s ability to raise any serious tax revenue; now they are seeing the error of their projections, and the legal marijuana industry is just getting started.
As more shops open and more supply becomes available, these numbers will only continue to go up. And all this money had previously gone to the black market; much of it made its way back to the cartels in Mexico.
With more supply comes more jobs. More investment. Increased economic activity. There was a time in the U.S. when these things were important to many people. Now they are taken for granted; people assume these things will always be there. But jobs don’t appear out of thin air. There has to be a reason for the job.
That’s why marijuana legalization is so important from an economic standpoint, besides all the civil liberty issues. It will take an already-functioning and thriving illegal market and bring it into the legal realm. This switch over has incredible potential. People love weed, and they WILL buy it.
The question is: who will they buy it from?