April saw a lot more than crop-watering showers in the marijuana world. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, about $22 million in recreational pot was sold in April, up nearly 60 percent from January, when retail sales started.
Meanwhile, medical marijuana sales -- which still far outpace recreational sales -- dropped from about $34.47 million in March to $31.7 million in April. April medical marijuana patient figures aren't available yet, but the state's MMJ registry has been slowly increasing over the past few months and had 115,208 patients as of March 31.
The huge jump in recreational sales means a sizable increase in tax revenue for the state. Colorado collected $3.5 million in combined state sales tax, 10 percent marijuana tax and 15 percent excise tax on recreational marijuana sales in April, as well as nearly $1 million from state sales tax on medical marijuana. According to the state, $1.9 million in excise-tax revenue has been collected since the start of the year, all of which will go toward public school building construction and maintenance.
The City of Denver -- where the majority of the state's recreational dispensaries are located -- saw about $13.25 million in recreational sales in April and contributed $384,369 in state sales tax alone, according to tax figures.
Given a city tax rate of 7.12 percent on recreational marijuana, Denver saw $943,692 in marijuana tax collections in April. Since January 1, more than $40.75 million in recreational marijuana has been sold in Denver, and the city has collected more than $2.9 million in city sales tax -- on top of $596,661 from state sales-tax kickbacks.
Medical marijuana sales are also subject to a 3.5 percent Denver sales tax. So far this year, Denver has seen $63.3 million in medical sales, bringing in about $2,217,603 in sales taxes.
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No doubt a large portion of April's big haul came from the 4/20 holiday. As Westword reported in mid-April, hotel searches were up nearly 73 percent as visitors from around the world arrived for the annual Civic Center event and the High Times Cannabis Cup.
But we reported yesterday, not everyone is pleased with the tax windfall for the state. Marijuana attorney Rob Corry has filed a lawsuit arguing that the taxes (and, indeed, the entire medical and recreational marijuana system) are illegal and should be struck down.