Marijuana money from sales tax continues to climb in Summit County
December 15, 2016
Early numbers are in, and marijuana sales tax revenue remains on the rise.
The Denver Post's Cannabist reported that statewide, sales tax revenue for marijuana and related products have hit more than $1 billion for transactions through October, putting Colorado shops ahead of last year. Sales for the entirety of 2015 were just shy of the billion-dollar mark, reaching more than $996.1 million.
In Summit County, sales through October brought in $1.94 million in tax revenue, according to reports from the Colorado Department of Revenue. The county is currently more than $160,000 ahead of total sales for 2015, with two months still unreported.
Getting direct revenue from pot shops is a difficult task, as many are cautious to report numbers because of the divide between state and federal law.
Tia Mattson, a spokesperson for Native Roots, said that the company's shops in Dillon and Frisco remain popular destinations.
"We continue to see widespread visits from both in state and out of state," she said.
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Caution in the marijuana industry has become widespread throughout Colorado since Donald Trump became the president-elect, particularly on a legislative level.
The state legislation is looking to clean up current laws surrounding how much cannabis can legally be grown in order to cut down on out-of-state, black-market sales.
Within the county, both Breckenridge and Frisco break down their sales tax revenue to reflect what marijuana brings into the coffers.
During 2014, the first year of legal recreational sales, Frisco saw $96,258 come in from marijuana sales tax. The next year revenue came in at $172,764. Chad Most, the revenue specialist for Frisco, said that when Native Roots opened in December 2014, it added a new stream of revenue for 2015, which could account for the near doubling of revenue. The town has numbers in through October, but revenue has already surpassed 2015 totals by a little more than $9,000.
However, Breckenridge has not seen much change in the town's marijuana market. The town council placed a cap on licenses in 2014 and currently has four retail shops.
For many of the towns in Summit, sales tax revenue saw increases in revenue compared to 2015. Brian Waldes, the director of finance and information technology in Breckenridge, said that marijuana is just one of the categories that continues to see increases. A good economy has been boosting tourism in the county, which has added to sales across all businesses.
In Breckenridge, the town has not compiled numbers for October, but in September the year-to-date net taxable sales were nearly 18.7 percent ahead of 2015. Waldes said he wasn't sure why marijuana continues to pull strong numbers.
"It's such a short history that identifying any trends is difficult," he said.
Mattson said that while pot is still taboo for some, more people have been using marijuana since it was legalized.
"There's a growing acceptance of use that's contributing to sales," she said.
The trend of acceptance is a nationwide one, with five states putting recreational marijuana on the ballot in November. Of those states, California, Nevada and Massachusetts approved recreational ballot measures. Maine voters approved, but by less than a percent, and the state has proposed a recount. Arizona voters turned down recreational pot by a similarly close margin of less than 3 percentage points.
Mattson said that she's excited to see more states beginning to legalize. Because Colorado has a strong tourism base, she does not think that legalization in other states will impact out-of-state sales at Native Roots.
"Colorado will always maintain a solid tourism base," she said. "It's just business as usual here."
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