Colorado marijuana shops estimate they made $1 million in revenue statewide on Wednesday, their first day in business after the state opened the sale of recreational marijuana, local NBC affiliate KUSA-TV reported.
Colorado’s Department of Revenue says the official figures for Jan. 1 won’t be in until next month when tax reports come in, but the state estimates that sales will hit $600 million for the year, bringing in $67 million in taxes.
This estimate is based on tax regulations put into effect with the passing of Proposition AA in November, which creates a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana and a 10% sales tax on retail marijuana sales. The 15 percent excise tax will go fund public school construction and the 10 percent sales tax will go to help regulate marijuana in the state.
Colorado had 24 shops open on New Year’s Day. Many saw lines stretching out of the door into the cold January weather. Barbara Brohl, the head of Colorado’s Department of Revenue and the state’s top marijuana regulator reported no significant issues on the first day, although a brick was later thrown through a window of a Denver marijuana shop.
Marijuana enthusiasts were reported to travel from Michigan, Iowa, and other faraway states to experience the first day of legal pot sales in the US. Marijuana industry officials estimate that out-of-state visitors could make up to 30 percent of recreational sales.
While the enthusiasm over Colorado’s decision to open up recreational marijuana could be seen across the state on Jan. 1, many critics worry about the state’s image being tarnished by effectively making it the prime U.S. tourist destination for marijuana enthusiasts, or how it could affect the state’s youth. It’s a reminder that 45 percent of Coloradans opposed Amendment 64 in 2012, which essentially "legalized" marijuana in the state. However it plays out, Jan. 1, 2013, was certainly a historic day for the Centennial State.