MARKETWATCH, By Trey Williams Reporter
Published in MARKETWATCH: Feb 11, 2017 11:33 a.m. ET
Marijuana sales grew 30% in 2016 and are expected to reach $20.2 billion by 2021 according to market research
The state of Colorado pulled in nearly $200 million in tax revenue last year thanks to its $1.3 billion in marijuana revenue.
The Colorado Department of Revenue announced Thursday the state’s revenue had pushed past $1 billion. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, along with Washington state, and this was its third year of regulated sales. In its first year revenue hit $699.2 million, followed by $996.2 million the second year. “This money is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for the 42 states that still choose to force marijuana sales into the criminal market and forego millions of dollars in tax revenue,” said Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project’s Denver-based communications director, in a statement. “The state received nearly $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, whereas just a decade ago it was receiving zero.”
Overall, U.S. marijuana sales grew 30% in 2016, according to data from Arcview Market Research. And using research from cannabis business intelligence and market research firm BDS Analytics, Arcview forecasts cannabis sales will grow at a compound rate of 25%, from $6.7 billion in 2016 to $20.2 billion by 2021.
The industry is on edge, however, because of the uncertainty about how President Donald Trump and a Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department will approach regulation and enforcement.
Also read: Jeff Sessions says if Americans don’t want him to enforce marijuana laws, they should change them
Tvert says Colorado is an example of how legal recreational marijuana can work.
“Marijuana is now being sold in licensed businesses, rather than out on the street,” Tvert said. “It is being properly tested, packaged and labeled and it is only being sold to adults who show proof of age. The system is working.”