Cannabis Tax Revenues Outpace Other ‘Sin’ Taxes in Colorado

Colorado’s cannabis tax revenues from the 2022-2023 fiscal year are outpacing the state’s tax revenues from cigarettes, other tobacco and nicotine products, and alcohol.

Full story after the jump.

Cannabis tax revenues in Colorado are outpacing those of cigarettes, and other tobacco and nicotine products, and alcohol, according to an August 16 analysis from the Colorado Legislative Council Staff (LCS). In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Colorado collected $282.3 million in cannabis tax revenue, compared to $233.9 million from cigarettes, $60.5 million from tobacco products, $56.4 million from nicotine products, and $56.1 million from alcohol. 

Adult-use cannabis sales in the state carry a 15% excise tax, 15% special sales tax, and 2.9% general sales tax; the general sales tax also applies to medical cannabis sales.  

Colorado cannabis taxes are used for a number of programs, including:  

  • $55.9 million for school construction; 
  • $52.4 million for school funding; 
  • $30.7 million for the general fund; 
  • $21.9 million got local governments; 
  • $16.6 million for substance use disorder services; 
  • $15.3 million for affordable housing construction grants and loans; 
  • $15 million for school health and professionals grant program;  
  • $6.1 million for mental health services;  
  • $4.4 million to combat the illicit market and for the state toxicology lab;  
  • $1.2 million for pesticide control; 
  • $1.1 million for a cannabis impaired driving awareness campaign;  
  • $1 million for school bullying prevention and education. 

Additionally, the revenues are distributed among state agencies including: 

  • $57.5 million for the Department of Human Services; 
  • $23.6 million for the Department of Public Health and Environment; 
  • $17.5 million for the Department of Local Affairs 
  • $11 million for the Department of Higher Education; 
  • $7.6 million for the Department of Public Safety; 
  • $14.1 million for “other,” which includes a number of smaller agencies.

The state has seen its cannabis-derived tax revenues from their fiscal year 2020-2021 peak of $425 million to $366 million in fiscal year 2021-2022 and $282 million in fiscal year 2022-2023.  

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