Falling short: Colorado recreational pot revenues not as high as expected

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A customer purchases a marijuana strain (Reuters / Jason Redmond)

A customer purchases a marijuana strain (Reuters / Jason Redmond)

High hopes in Colorado concerning the revenue generated by the state’s legalized marijuana rules might have been nothing more than a pipe dream. Officials now say pot taxes are bringing in only a portion of what was expected.

Adults in Colorado have since January 1 been able to legally purchase weed for recreational purposes, and the state initially protected that it would pull in at least $33 million in taxes during the first six months. The release of new figures this week shows that the state fell short, however, earning only a comparably meager $12 million between the first of the year and the end of June.

The latest news contrasts heavily with reports from early January when sales in Colorado far exceeded expectations and netted over $1 million on the first of the year, and around $5 million during the first week. That high demand apparently didn’t last long, however, and sales have since slumped to well below what was expected.

State Rep. Dan Pabon (D-District 4) told CNN Money that “it’s too early to be worried” about the financial shortcoming just yet, but meanwhile some experts say they’ve already put their finger on why figures are only a fraction of what they had hoped for: Colorado’s legal weed rules indeed allow retailers to sell marijuana in licensed establishments, but high taxes are keeping many customers away from pot shops in lieu of the street dealers that peddle without a permit.



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