Summit County’s April marijuana revenues lag as rest of the state soars

According to reports released last week by the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state recorded more than $3.5 million in marijuana sales and excise tax revenue in April, which was more than any other one-month total so far this year.

Officials speculated the 4/20 holiday could have contributed to the revenue surge, but unlike the rest of the state, April tax revenue lagged in Summit County.

“Four-twenty could have been a crazy day for sales, but we can’t isolate revenue streams down to the day,” said Brian Waldes, financial services manager for the town of Breckenridge. “Overall, April would be our lowest month yet, so I’m afraid we didn’t feel the same 4/20 love like the rest of the state.”

Breckenridge pot shops reported $597,000 in April sales, which was down about $200,000 compared to the previous low set in February. Year-to-date sales reached about $3.4 million in April, Waldes said, which equates to about $378,000 in sales tax revenue for the town thus far.

Waldes chalked low marijuana sales in April to the typical slowdown in local tourism activity.

“We start to see tourism numbers go down in April, so my suspicion is our marijuana sales are tied to our tourism numbers, but that’s just a theory,” Waldes said. “Just like every other business in town, things start to taper in April.”

Donna Braun, finance director for the town of Silverthorne, said marijuana sales and subsequent sales tax revenue also slowed in April. Braun would not release numbers due to there being just one shop in Silverthorne, but said, like Breckenridge, April was the lightest month since retail marijuana sales were legalized Jan. 1, 2014.

“It’s hard to tell because we don’t have another April to compare it to, but April is usually a down month for us anyway,” Braun said. “I haven’t investigated it too deeply yet, but the numbers are telling me our marijuana revenue is more tied to tourism than it is serving the local consumer.”

The town of Frisco reported year-to-date sales and excise tax revenues of just more than $74,000. Frisco is home to one retail marijuana establishment and one medicinal marijuana business. The year-to-date total reflects revenue collected from both streams, said Bonnie Moinet, Frisco’s finance director.

As was the trend locally, Frisco also saw a dip in marijuana sales and revenues during April.

“We saw a big spike from February to March, but dipped down in April,” Moinet said.

As for the rest of the state, the Colorado Department of Revenue reported recreational marijuana stores sold more than $22 million worth of product in April. The lower taxed medical marijuana industry continues to outpace recreational sales with more than $31 million in sales reported for the month.

After just four months of recreational sales, Colorado has brought in nearly $11 million in sales and excise taxes. The total take of recreation and medical marijuana taxes and fees is nearly $18 million.

The Denver Post contributed to this report.


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The Summit Daily Updated Jun 18, 2014 03:40PM Published Jun 19, 2014 04:53PM Copyright 2014 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.