AP NEWS

Marijuana Revenues Continue to Increase in Boulder County, Still Add Up to Less than 1 Percent of General Fund

February 16, 2019
Longmont Times-Call

Marijuana sales in Boulder County in 2018 increased for the fifth consecutive year, surpassing $100 million for the first time since sales were legalized in 2014, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The $108 million in sales last year marked a 7 percent increase over 2017 and a 41 percent increase since 2014.

Statewide, marijuana sales have topped $6 billion to date, according to the Department of Revenue, and have added nearly $1 billion in revenue to the state’s coffers since 2014.

Annually, the first $40 million in taxes collected on statewide retail recreational marijuana sales is earmarked for the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) capital construction grant program. Ten percent of the tax is distributed to local governments based on sales within their boundaries.

Boulder County’s share of the statewide 15 percent sales tax has increased 87 percent over the last five years. Ramona Farineau, county budget manager, said that money added up to an estimated $257,365 in 2018, representing less than 1 percent of the 2018 and 2019 general funds.

In addition to its share of the state tax on recreational marijuana, the county also collects a .985 percent tax on retail sales, which generated more than $1 million in revenue in 2018. Proceeds from the local tax go to Boulder County Parks and Open Space ($668,698 in 2018), nonprofit human service agencies ($55,725), flood recovery ($206,182)), improvements and operations at the Boulder County Jail ($55,725), and road and transit improvements ($111,450).

Though that still doesn’t make too big of a dent in the $427 million annual county budget, the sustained growth over the past five years does hint that the industry could become a larger contributor in future.

Arcview Market Research and Boulder-based BDS Analytics earlier this year released a report that predicted Colorado’s pot revenue will post a steady growth rate of around $200 million per year from 2017 to 2022. The report did question if the growth rate will continue beyond that as prices drop and other states move to legalize.

John Spina: 303-473-1389, jspina@times-call.com or twitter.com/jsspina24