In November, voters in Alaska and Oregon will decide whether to legalize and tax recreational marijuana. While both states may be optimistic that such initiatives will raise additional tax revenues, Colorado is experiencing lesser tax revenues from legalization than expected.
Through 2014, marijuana tax revenue from recreational use totaled approximately $12 million, a sum which was far below estimates of $33.5 million this year and the estimated $67 million in tax revenues for next year by the Colorado Legislative Counsel Staff.
In a recent study prepared by the Marijuana Policy Group for the Colorado Department of Revenue, medical marijuana patients are not purchasing marijuana in retail markets because the tax is considerably higher, prices are higher, and retail marijuana is available in relatively few markets. In order for revenue expectations to be met in Colorado and other states considering legalization and taxation, recreational retail and medical marijuana markets must be taxed equally or ease expectations.