Before it even became legal to sell recreational marijuana on Jan. 1 of this year, the state had already collected over $3 million in licensing fees.
And in the first three months of this year alone, Colorado's raked in nearly $22 million -- over $16 million of that was in taxes, the rest in license and application fees -- according to a report from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
The license and application fees may represent the boom of a new economy, and might eventually slow as that market stabilizes and fewer new shops open. Still, the tax revenue so far continues to climb month to month, as recreational sales jumped to $19 million in March -- up nearly a third from $14 million in February.
But despite the excitement of recreational weed, medical marijuana -- which has been legal in Colorado since 2000 -- still outsells casual pot by a large margin. Medical sales in March were over $34 million, $15 million more than recreational. Taxes are much higher on recreational sales than on medical, so recreational weed could generate more tax revenue for the state than medical as the market continues to grow.
In a report issued in February, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) predicted a combined $1 billion dollars in sales between medical and recreational cannabis, and estimated the state could stand to bank up to $134 million in taxes and fees during 2014-15 fiscal year.