What better way to celebrate the coming of summer in Colorado than with weed?
That seems to have been the case in Colorado this past June, when tourists and locals purchased more than $24.7 million in recreational marijuana, concentrates and pot-infused food.
Recreational marijuana sales have been slowly climbing month to month in this state, according to recent figures released by the Colorado Department of Revenue; June saw the highest sales yet. Meanwhile, medical marijuana figures are starting to show a slow decline, though they still outpaced recreational marijuana sales by approximately 18 percent. In June, about $28.65 million worth of medical cannabis was sold.
From sales of both medical and recreational pot, the state saw about $1.53 million in combined sales tax -- down slightly from $1.56 million in May and $1.55 million in April. That's partly because medical cannabis sales having dropped more than $6.5 million since February. Medical marijuana patient number totals are only available through April, when there were 116,180 active red cards. Patient numbers had been rising slightly over the first quarter of the year.
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While medical sales dropped slightly in June, recreational sales were over $2 million higher than in April, until then the strongest month for sales to date, probably because of the 4/20 festivities and related tourism. Recreational sales are subject to a 10 percent special sales tax, and all wholesale transactions between dispensaries or between cultivation facilities and a dispensary are taxed at 15 percent. Combined, those two special taxes brought in $3.4 million, with $963,637 of that going directly to the state's public-school capital construction assistance fund.
Denver was home to the majority of June's recreational sales, with $12.6 million worth of pot sold; that also accounts for about 40 percent of all state marijuana tax revenue for the month. Boulder County saw the second-highest sales, with $2.65 million. Pueblo County came in third, with $1.75 million in recreational pot. Washington County, which began sales last month, sold just $3.8 million of legal cannabis in July through a limited number of dispensaries. By comparison, Colorado recreational pot sales in January, the first month such sales were legal, was more than $14 million. As of July 1, Colorado has seen more than $117 million in total recreational pot sales since the program began. State officials say combined medical and recreational usage in Colorado in 2014 will likely be around 130 metric tons, or the weight of a small diesel locomotive.