The sales and taxes of cannabis in Colorado remained strong in November 2015 despite a dip one month earlier, the state’s Department of Revenue has confirmed.
The October-November haul of $51 million –an improvement over the previous month’s $29.6 million– puts the state on track to eclipse $900 million in sales for the entire year. Final tabulations still have yet to be completed, as the December 2015 sales figures won’t be available before February 2016.
A $900 million total for 2015 would also mark a significant improvement over 2014, a year in which less than $700 million in medical and recreational cannabis was sold in the state.
The revenue garnered by the state from the sale of cannabis stems from the three kinds of state taxes levied on the product: in addition to a standard 2.9 percent sales tax, there is also a 10 percent special cannabis sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on the transfer of wholesale cannabis.
Alex Mason is 25-year-old transplant from South Carolina, now living in Colorado. He moved there back in 2012 to spend some time enjoying the Rocky Mountains and the outdoor activities associated. In 2012 though, Colorado voters did something that nobody expected, legalized marijuana.
Alex watched on the front line of marijuana legalization, and he took not in the industry’s biggest and most daunting problem; banks wouldn’t accept their money. Mason called up his father, an attorney in South Carolina and laid out the problem. Since weed is illegal on federal level, most banks and credit unions won’t take a dime of cash that comes from the cannabis industry. The risk of federal fines, seizures, and the exorbitant amount of red tape is too much to ask of banks, and as a result ganjapreneurs are left holding hoards of cash.
With his father Mark, mother Rhoda, and sister Delaney on board, Alex charged forward with the idea. He used the help of former Denver City Attorney Doug Friednash, who helped draft city guidelines for cannabis. Friednash and Mark Mason worked with Alex day and night for months to put together the Fourth Corner Credit Union. Alex leaned on his father and other establish law and banking professionals to cut through red tape, while they relied on him for industry outreach (citing that their appearance and background painted them as ‘the man’).
Meanwhile, Alex’s sister and mother were fielding emails and even reaching out to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s office to move the project forward. Other experts recruited to work on the projects were folks like Denver City Council member Chris Nevitt and Martin Kenney, an expert who’s made a name for himself fighting financial fraud and money laundering.
Kenney says, “The Fourth Corner Credit Union holds the promise of getting an estimated $650 million in proceeds of annual cannabis sales per year in Colorado off of the streets and into a safe and well-regulated environment. The centerpiece to the Fourth Corner Credit Union will be a highly intelligent, cutting-edge anti-money laundering compliance unit.”
Although it could take up to 2 years to hear back from their FDIC application, the Fourth Corner Credit Union represents tumultuous change for the cannabis industry. The lack of banking has been, and remains the biggest problem for the legal marijuana industry.
Along with his vision for change in cannabis banking, Alex aspires to launch a non-profit to facilitate medical marijuana research and save lives using the plant. Alex says, “My friends in the legal marijuana business have been given an amazing opportunity, and they all want to do good things for society. Charitable work is important to me and to them.”
via: Rolling Stone
2014 marked one of the most historically significant years for cannabis legislation since Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The wheels of the legislative process are slowly turning, and laws are starting to reflect the views of the growing majority of marijuana supporters in the United States. This infographic takes a close look at the changing tides of legislation and the rapidly shifting social perceptions of marijuana in 2014.
Yes, last year was a good year for cannabis proponents. Although Federal prohibition on marijuana remains in tact for the foreseeable future, the attacks on medical marijuana growers and providers were officially put to a halt this year. Now, almost half of the country allows some form of medical marijuana and 2 more states (and the District of Colombia) have decided that the use of marijuana should be legal for adults. Cities like Philadelphia, Houston, and Cincinnati are lessening penalties for possession in an effort to quell the harsh and unjust racial disparity in marijuana related arrests.
The 2014 midterm elections went favorably for marijuana proponents. A strong showing of support in Oregon and Alaska changed marijuana laws and DC overwhelmingly passed their initiative to legalize marijuana. Florida voters showed up to polls with 58% supporting the legalization of medical marijuana, but Florida laws say that 60% of the vote is needed to pass constitutional amendments.
Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington underwent their first year of legalization without any major calamities. Money is now filtering into state treasuries and crime rates in Colorado were down at the 6 month mark. Colorado recreational shops opened in January and combined with medical sales, brought in $60 Million in tax revenue by October. Washington recreational sales opened up on July 8 and raked in about $15 million in the first 6 months of the program. While it may take a few years to get the kinks worked out, the sky has yet to fall from the so-called ‘social experiment’ with legalized marijuana.
Beyond tax dollars and new legislation, leading voices in our country are now becoming more friendly with marijuana. From President Obama’s straightforward talk on pot to the grandparents lighting up for the first time, it seems that American society is reconsidering how they think about marijuana. Even the New York Times boldly chimed in with a plea to change our National drug policy.
The future is undeniably bright for cannabis in the United states. One estimate projects that the cannabis industry could reach a whopping 10 Billion dollars by 2018. Money spent on marijuana is now being channeled into schools and research, rather than the pockets of Mexican cartels. As proponents for legalization march onward toward 2016, the next 2 years will set the stage for the future of cannabis in America.
After a one month dip in Colorado marijuana sales, the numbers are back on the rise. Sales numbers increased month after month from the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in January through August 2014. The trend continued for seven months. Then, sales decreased for the first time from August to September 2014. The numbers for October have been released, and Colorado is seeing green once again.
In total, with medical and recreational powers combined, more than $60 million has been collected from marijuana sales, taxes, licenses and fees in the state of Colorado since January 2014.
During the month of October, recreational cannabis sales, alone, totaled over $3 million. Beginning this month, the number of winter adventure tourists traveling to Colorado to enjoy some of the best skiing and snowboarding the world has to offer will increase, and as a result, recreational cannabis sales are expected to significantly increase.
photo credit: aljazeera