DENVER (KDVR) — Marijuana was officially the state’s most lucrative “vice tax” last year.
Marijuana legalization advocates leaned heavily on marijuana’s possibilities as a state revenue generator in order to gain support for statewide legalization. Nearly a decade later, their predictions have come true, according to an analysis of state tax data from the Colorado General Assembly Legislative Council Staff.
Colorado made more in tax revenue from marijuana in the 2022-23 fiscal year than from either alcohol or cigarettes and nearly as much as the two combined. The state collected $282.3 million in tax revenue from marijuana, nearly $50 million more than it collected from cigarettes and over $226 million more than it collected from alcohol.
Together, cigarettes and alcohol taxes totaled $290 million in tax revenue.
Marijuana tax revenue has gone toward school funding more than any other tax obligation, followed by drug programs. This tracks with bill language designed to funnel most cannabis taxes into school construction and counseling.
“Taking into account the statutory distributions and the MCTF (Marijuana Tax Cash Fund) appropriations, K-12 education received about 37% of total spending from marijuana revenue for school funding and school construction,” the report reads. “The Department of Human Services received about 20% for a variety of programs, including those focused on behavioral health and addiction.”