The official number, which is just over $1.02 billion, comprises revenue from marijuana taxes, licenses and fees. Along with the overall revenue numbers, the CDOR said that marijuana sales to date have exceeded $6.56 billion.
“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 Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “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.”
In the five years since recreational sales began, 2,917 licensed marijuana businesses have sprouted up across Colorado, while there are now 41,076 people licensed to work in the industry. The massive tax revenues from legal weed have been used to benefit a variety of state-wide programs, including regulation, mental health services, substance abuse programs and various public education projects.
In 2012, Colorado became the first state, along with Washington, to fully legalize marijuana. Since then, 11 other states — California, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont — have followed suit. In Illinois, a bill recently passed both chambers of the state legislature, and is just waiting on the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has said he is going to sign the bill.