Marijuana

Colorado Reports $1.3 Billion in Marijuana Sales in 2016

The Colorado Harvest Grow is part of Colorado's booming marijuana industry.
The Colorado Harvest Grow is part of Colorado's booming marijuana industry. Kate McKee Simmons
The Colorado Department of Revenue just released its final statistics for 2016, the state's third year of recreational marijuana sales — and MMJ and recreational marijuana sales combined totaled $1.3 billion in sales. In 2015, total sales came close to a billion but didn't top that number.

Recreational marijuana accounted for $875 million in sales, while medical sales were just under $440 million.

Combined sales reached nearly $100 million in eight of the twelve months of 2016, and the total topped $1 billion after a record-breaking summer. Sales in July, August and September alone totaled $376.6 million.

The state collected nearly $200 million in tax revenue, and Colorado plans to use some of the additional revenue to help the state's homeless population and chronic drug users.

In Governor John Hickenlooper's 2017-’18 budget proposal, he'd asked that $12.3 million in marijuana taxes be put aside to fund housing for Colorado's homeless. Last week, he also proposed that $6 million annually from the marijuana-tax cash fund be used to fund a new program that would offer help to chronic drug users instead of criminalizing them.

“Roughly 70 to 80 percent of all homeless people have some drug-abuse problem, and one of the best public-health solutions is to give them housing and get them out of the cycle of dependency,” says Andrew Freedman, former director of Colorado's Office of Marijuana Coordination.
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Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.