Since recreational pot shops opened in Colorado in January, sales have topped medical marijuana sales for the first time. According to recent tax figures released by the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state received $838,711 from a 2.9% tax on medical marijuana and $2.97 million from the 10% sales tax on retail marijuana. According to the report, retail sales were estimated at $29.7 million and medical sales approximately $28.9 million. The report has been considered a victory for legalization advocates who predicted that the revenues from retail priced marijuana would be profitable for the state.
Still, some reports indicate that the revenues have lagged behind some earlier projections. Regardless, the massive revenues have been a guidepost for other states considering the potential benefits of legalization. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of users, dispensary owners, and others involved in the marijuana business. Our firm has continued to track legal trends and developments in California, Colorado and nationwide. In addition to staying abreast of local trends in marijuana law, we also provide strategic advocacy to protect the rights of our clients who are under investigation or charged with marijuana crimes. We can also help to insulate individuals and business owners by helping to ensure regulatory compliance.
Records that retail sales have soared beyond medical marijuana usage indicate that most adults are using marijuana for recreational purposes. For the majority of Colorado residents and visitors who use marijuana, purchasing from a retail store will become the norm, even with the 10% sales tax. For many residents, this has already become the norm. In July, some concerns were voiced about the medical marijuana outpacing the recreational pot shops, thereby reducing the tax revenues and state profits. The evidence that the majority of sales have been retail have quelled concerns that the state will have to force some users back into the retail market, where they presumably belong.
Medical marijuana advocates have voiced concerns about legalization infringing on their rights and benefits. For genuine medical marijuana patients, the concern is that some recreational users will try to take advantage of lower taxes. According to analysts, the legalization experiment will be considered a success if recreational users continue to purchase from retail shops with the 10% tax, rather than take advantage of medical use tax breaks or purchase on the black market. The new report signaling retail sales outpacing medical use is a good sign, however there is only data to account for the first six months of marijuana sales.
Analysts project the retail market to grow, however it is impossible to draw long-term conclusions from the study. If recreational marijuana use and retail taxes continue to increase, advocates can remain hopeful that there will be a revenue windfall as a result of legalization. In the state of California, advocates have already pointed to the significant revenues accrued in Colorado as one benefit of recreational use legalization. Whether you are a dispensary owner, medical marijuana card holder, or legalization advocate, it is important to stay abreast of changes in the law and to know your rights. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and penalties can be severe, even in states where the drug has been legalized.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
D.C. Decriminalizes Marijuana, Federal Land Raises Legal Complications, July 16, 2014 Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
United States Marijuana Laws Influencing Other Countries, February 14, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog