Do CO Marijuana Revenue Declines Prove Pot Tourists Drove Summer Record?

The headline of our post reporting that Colorado marijuana sales topped $100 million in August asked the question, "How long will they keep climbing higher?"

We now have the answer to that question.

Sales dropped from that peak in September, and again in October, the most recent month for which figures are available.

Colorado Department of Revenue data showed $59.2 million in recreational sales and $41.4 from medical marijuana sales during August. But in September, those totals reportedly dipped to $56.4 million and $38.2 million respectively, with the October totals coming in at $49.1 million and $31.3 million.

The reasons for this slippage are under debate. However, a Colorado Tourism Office survey showing that nearly 50 percent of tourists to the state over the summer were at least somewhat influenced to come here by the presence of legal weed suggests that the huge revenues generated between April and August may have been significantly boosted by folks who live elsewhere.

State of Colorado graphics demonstrate that the sales declines took place in many localities — but for the sake of simplicity, let's focus on tax figures in Denver.

As you can see, the August 2015 medical marijuana sales taxes for Denver were $554,013.

By October, however, they'd fallen to $341,421 — a decline of more than 38 percent.

The situation is similar when it comes to recreational marijuana.

In August, the 2.9 percent retail marijuana sales tax in Denver was $586,938 and the additional 10 percent sales tax brought in $1,770.292.

Compare those figures to the ones from October, when the 2.9 percent tax brought in $459,988 and the additional 10 percent sales tax raised $1,348,913.

Granted, all of these totals are well above where they were at this time last year, as you'll see in the overall figures for September and October, which can be perused in the following documents.

But the lower tax amounts imply that the State of Colorado should be grateful for tourists who come to Colorado because of legal marijuana, even if officials would rather pretend they're only stopping by to look at the scenery.

Check out the aforementioned docs below.

Marijuana Tax Figures September 2015

Marijuana Tax Figures October 2015

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts