- Views & Opinions
For the first time in history, a state has generated more annual revenue from taxes imposed on marijuana than from taxes imposed on alcohol.
The Colorado Department of Revenue says the state collected nearly $70 million in marijuana-specific taxes and just under $42 million in alcohol-specific taxes from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.
The news comes as Colorado prepared for a “marijuana tax holiday,” during which the state was suspending marijuana-specific taxes for one day.
“Marijuana taxes have been incredibly productive over the past year, so this tax holiday is a much-deserved day off,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of the campaign in support of the 2012 initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Colorado.
He added, “This will be the one day out of the year when the state won’t generate significant revenue. Over the other 364 days, it will bring in tens of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in our state.”
Colorado raised nearly $69,898,059 from marijuana-specific taxes in FY 2014-2015, including $43,938,721 from a 10 percent special sales tax on retail marijuana sales to adults and $25,959,338 from a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers of marijuana intended for adult use.
The state raised just under $41,837,647 from alcohol-specific taxes in FY 2014-2015, including $27,309,606 from excise taxes collected on spirited liquors, $8,881,349 from excise taxes on beer, and $5,646,692 from excise taxes collected on vinous liquors. These figures do not include standard state sales taxes or any local taxes.
“It’s crazy how much revenue our state used to flush down the drain by forcing marijuana sales into the underground market,” Tvert said. “It’s even crazier that so many states are still doing it. Tax revenue is just one of many good reasons to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulation.”