Colorado retail pot sales see slight bump in 2nd month

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DENVER — In the second month of legalization, Colorado recreational marijuana sales showed a slight increase, according to state tax estimates.

The Colorado Department of Revenue released estimates on Tuesday, which showed that the retail pot industry in Colorado made about $3.5 million from medicinal and recreational marijuana sales in January — the number spiked slightly to $4.1 million in February.

Despite the increased revenue, Colorado legislators are hesitant when it comes to spending that money.

According to the Associated Press, the reason for this trepidation was because a large percentage of that increase stemmed from medical marijuana businesses, not additional sales. The sales taxes collected from retail pot during February yielded an increase of about $30,000, suggesting that the recreational market hasn’t grow significantly despite more dispensaries opening their doors.

In January, the state collected taxes from 59 retail marijuana shops. This number increased to 83 in February and, according to tax analysts, to 190 by the end of March.

LINK: Map of retail marijuana stores in Denve

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they are wary of spending that money until they have more tax reports to look at.

Currently, next year’s state budget doesn’t take any pot taxes into account, said lawmakers. Rather, they have decided to look a separate bill regarding marijuana taxes.

Governor John Hickenlooper proposed the funds go towards youth safety programs as well as law enforcement training towards stoned-driver prevention and a project to study the effects of pot on expecting moms.

But, on Tuesday, legislators stressed they aren’t ready to start designating the funds derived from pot sales, at least not until they have more evidence that this will be a stable industry.

Members of the Joint Budge Committee said they want to give marijuana tax the same treatment as gambling taxes, by delaying spending the funds for a year.

The Committee continues to discuss how and when to spend marijuana sales on Thursday.

LINK: Colorado launches informational marijuana website

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