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‘We have to sell more weed!’: Colorado county issues first-ever marijuana tax figures

Published time: February 26, 2014 03:05
Edited time: February 28, 2014 10:50
Reuters/Rick Wilking

Reuters/Rick Wilking

A recreational marijuana store located in southern Colorado became the first business of its kind in the state to announce the tax totals from the new industry that pot advocates say will be a boon for state education and struggling local economies.

Finance officials in Pueblo County, the tenth most populated county in Colorado, announced that the two marijuana shops there have earned approximately $1 million in sales in January. That sum has produced approximately $56,000 in local sales taxes.

Pueblo County is the only community between Denver, Colorado and the New Mexico state line where recreational marijuana stores are permitted by law. Two shops were opened in January, the first month in which recreational marijuana was legal in Colorado, and three more stores have since opened in February.

Along with the sales tax figure, officials told the Pueblo Chieftain that the county also collected $70,400 in licensing and renewal fees in January alone. County Commissioner Liane McFayden said that $100,000 in the first month is far ahead of the $400,000 in revenue she predicted for the entire year.

The irony is that the only new revenue we have coming in is in marijuana and yet we have to open a new judicial building,” she said.

County Budget and finance Director Cal Hamler responded by joking, “We have to sell more weed!”

The state taxes recreational marijuana at a 10-percent rate, but then refunds 15-percent of that total back to the counties where the drug was first sold. There are 160 license pot stores throughout Colorado and each has until February 20 to publicize its sales tax totals. Pueblo County was simply the first to do so.

County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz told the Associated Press that the marijuana industry could generate as much as $670,000 in new tax revenue for Pueblo County in 2014. If the current pace continues, Gilbert said, the state will earn $11.2 million in marijuana sales this year. That is especially remarkable when considering that the county’s annual budget is $165 million.

Being really the only real retail marijuana outlet in southern Colorado, the numbers don’t surprise me,” Commissioner McFayden told KRDO-TV in Colorado. “Certainly we have a sheriff and a prosecutor in our district attorney not very excited about marijuana. The likelihood is it’s going to be the best avenue for us to open up our judicial building.”

It’s impossible to predict the total amount of revenue the entire state will receive by the end of the year, yet tax officials have forecast that the additional revenue could amount to $67 million. An estimated $27.5 million will be put aside for education and other regional needs, while a large percentage of the remainder will be recycled and used to regulate the marijuana industry itself.

Comments (34)


stephen 07.07.2014 19:56

Poppy Potts 26.03.2014 16:35

You dopers are just that: dopers. You are not mainstream people, you are drug addicts.


we are drug addicts, just like a man who goes to McDonalds everyday is a cheeseburger addict. or a person who takes 3 Tylenol whenever their head feels a little achy. addiction is a the most common human characteristic, and it isn't always substance abuse


JimmyFear912 01.04.2014 15:32

You can see from the increasing legalization about the drug that everything you have previously been taught about it is wrong. There are no deaths or increase in users.

Mayb e update your views, get your head out of the prohibition era and get with the times. More and more people are consuming cannabis

So what if we are dopers. Being a doper happens to be amazing and does not effect your ability to live a regular life with a job, home,friends and partner. If being a doper means that I can live life exactly the same as POPPY POTTS but with more open minded and with weed then yes I'm happy to be a "Doper" lol


JimmyFear912 01.04.2014 15:27

You are so ignorant Poppy, So many people smoke, 7/8 of my workplace smoke including the managing director and we are all young professionals. Lots of people keep weed smoking a secret from bigots like yourself who may report it to our superiors at work or look down on us.

Getting high is amazing and I do think that a lot of people hide behind the pretense that they are "just taking medication", however, cannabis is a very effective medication and was used in concentrated form in medicines before it was made illegal.

It was made illegal when black jazz singers began to smoke it (a bit of a xenophobic&paran oid move)

View all comments (34)
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