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.
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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.