Colorado’s budget proposal published on Wednesday estimated the state’s marijuana industry could reach $1 billion in sales with sales of recreational marijuana constituting $610 million of that sales.
The office of the Colorado Governor estimated the state could collect $134 million in taxes from the sale of marijuana for the fiscal year beginning in July. The numbers so much exceeded expectations that Gov. Hickenlooper seems almost on a damage control exercise cautioning other states about legalizing pot, and not only look at the revenue.
While sitting on a situation close to monopoly in recreational marijuana, Hickenlooper warned other governors at the National Governors Association, “We don’t know what the unintended consequences are going to be and we’re going to regulate it every way we can. What I do is urge caution. Make sure you look at it very thoroughly.”
Hickenlooper said the state would use the first $40 million in revenue for school construction, $45 million to go toward youth marijuana prevention, and another $40 million would go to combat substance abuse, generally. $20 million has been earmarked for various public health programs.
He said further, “This is going to be one of the great social experiments of the 21st century. But going out and getting tax revenue is absolutely the wrong reason to even think about legalizing recreational marijuana.”
If the estimated sales projected by the Colorado Governor’s budget office is anywhere near accurate, one can understand the amount of money that goes into the hands of drug cartels every day in the entire nation, just by managing to keep marijuana illegal.
Hickenlooper also warned governors of other states that marijuana doesn’t make people smarter and healthier. He said, “We’re going to not use this as a source of revenue to help education or expanding health care … We’re going to use it in health care where it will relate to marijuana activity.”
He cautioned other governors, “I don’t think governors should be in the position of promoting things that are inherently not good for people.”