It’s hard to believe that it was over a year ago that many Coloradans lined up outside their local dispensaries early in the morning to be part of history. On Jan. 1, 2014 recreational cannabis sales opened across The Centennial State, marking the first time in the country’s history the previously banned substance was available legally to the public.

Anticipation and excitement were at all-time highs…pardon the pun. For the first month of the year, dispensaries lucky enough to be approved to open Jan 1 saw lines out the door of typically smiling faces ready to make their first legal purchase.

Amazingly, despite the rush of making that first green transaction, cannabis sales in January, 2014 were not the highest on record. In fact, it’s not even close. And that’s a great thing for a sector you may not expect: public schools.

 Shattering Records

The truth is, January 2014 was the lowest month in terms of revenue streamed from recreational cannabis so far in Colorado. A year later, however, January 2015 set a record with a whopping $2.35M raised in excised tax, alone.

This shattered the previous record (Dec. 2014) by nearly a half-million dollars, and was an increase of over 15% in just one month. This increase itself is nearly double all of the excise tax raised in Jan. 2014.

Add to that the fact that recreational cannabis now outsells medical cannabis and it’s not hard to imagine the amount raised in excise taxes only continuing to rise from here on out.

Cannabis income is on a steady rise, with the past two months seeing record income. Courtesy: Colorado Department of Revenue & The Denver Post

Cannabis revenue has been on a steady rise from the start, with the past two months seeing record tax revenue. Courtesy: Colorado Department of Revenue & The Denver Post


What Does That Mean, Exactly?

Speaking of 15, in total Colorado has raised over $15M in excise taxes since the beginning of recreational legalization. All of this will ultimately go to public school construction and repair under the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program. The first grants will be awarded to the deserving public school systems sometime around July or August of this year.

While the most deserving schools and school districts will be awarded grants first, many if not all school districts will see some of that cash – so long as the county in which the school district presides is participating in legal recreational cannabis sales.

Green making green for the next generation, now that’s a beautiful, wondrous, and magnificent thing. And I’m not even high.

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