Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported today in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business. The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes from about 160 state-licensed recreational marijuana stores. Colorado legalized pot in 2012, but the commercial sale of marijuana didn't begin until January. Washington state sales begin in coming months.
The pot taxes come from 12.9% sales taxes and 15% excise taxes. Voters approved the pot taxes last year, declaring that the first $40 million of the excise tax must go to school construction; the rest will be spent by state lawmakers. Monday's tax release intensified lobbying over how Colorado should spend its pot money. Budget-writers expect the nascent marijuana industry to be extremely volatile for several years, making lawmakers nervous about how to spend the money. Lawmakers joke that plenty of interests have their hands out to get a piece of the pot windfall. (Read more Colorado stories.)