Legal Pot Gave Colorado's Economy a $2.39 Billion Boost, for Starters

Normalization is the windfall that keeps on flowing.

In the four years since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, the weed industry has injected billions of dollars into state coffers and legitimized previously illicit businesses, all while serving as the nation’s foremost experiment in fully legal pot. 

Colorado’s legal-cannabis industry powered a $2.39 billion surge to the state economy in 2015 alone, according to "The Economic Impact of Legalization in Colorado," a recently published report from the Marijuana Policy Group (MPG), a research and business analytics organization. 

As both a social movement and tax-revenue generator, Colorado’s legal-marijuana industry continues to inspire change. In November, voters in Denver passed Initiative 300, creating a pilot program in which public consumption of legal devil lettuce is allowed in appropriate, licensed venues for adults 21 and over. That shift is measurable progress. Remember, in some states, being charged with possession of even a dime-bag of dirt weed can have lifelong detrimental effects.

Keep scrolling for more Colorado weed-world highlights drawn from the Marijuana Policy Group:

 Weed Is Cooler, Generates More Tax Revenue Than Booze and Gambling: According to the MPG report, in 2015 the legal-pot business generated "$121 million in combined sales and excise tax revenues. Marijuana tax revenues were three times larger than alcohol, and 14 percent larger than casino revenues." 

Taxes From Weed Sales Are Saving Department of Revenue’s Ass: Recreational adult-use sales have increased by nearly 90 percent since 2014 ($313.2 million to $585.8 million in 2015). According to the report, “These gains are helping the Department of Revenue to offset losses from other tax streams.”

Cop a Fat Bag: Colorado cannabis consumers purchased 71.6 metric tons of marijuana flower in 2014, the first year of fully legal sales. In 2015, 112 metric tons of flower were sold by licensed retailers. 

Legal Marijuana Creates Jobs, Gets You Stoned: Though more than a quarter of revenue from retail weed sales in the Rocky Mountain state still goes down in gray or black markets, the Colorado cannabis industry created 18,005 new jobs in 2015. This spur in employment is not confined only to cultivation warehouses or retail pot shops––"ancillary jobs include security guards, commercial real-estate agents, construction and HVAC specialists, consulting, legal, and advisory services."

Colorado Weed World Is Worth More Than Gold-Mining, Crop Farming, and Sports Venues: According to the report, in 2014, the state's cannabis industry was "larger than gold mining ($634 million) in 2014, and was almost on par with 2014 cigarette sales ($1.05 billion) in 2015. The cannabis industry is now larger than performing arts and sports venues ($777.3 million), new multi-unit residential construction ($761.5 million), and bakeries ($753.5 million)."

So, technically, the industry that produces marijuana-infused edibles, is also a real bread-winner for all Colorado.

All images via Marijuana Policy Group.