It’s good to be in the marijuana business.
During a work session on Monday, County Budget and Finance Director Cal Hamler told the Pueblo County Board of Commissioners that two recreational marijuana vendors turned in more than $32,000 in marijuana sales taxes on Friday, the deadline for January sales.
During the first month of retail sales, just two stores were open. The county taxes recreational marijuana sales at a rate of 3.5 percent, meaning total recreational sales in Pueblo County for January were just under $1 million.
But in addition to the recreational marijuana tax income, Hamler said the county collected $70,400 in licensing fees in January.
Those fees come from both medical and recreational marijuana businesses and are from both new licenses and renewals.
The $100,000 in new money proved to be good news for the commissioners, who continue to work to find savings and revenue streams in the county’s general fund.
“The irony is that the only new revenue we have coming in is in marijuana and yet we have to open a new judicial building,” said Commissioner Liane “Buffie” McFadyen.
Hamler responded by joking: “We’re going to have to sell more weed.”
A month doesn’t make a trend, but Hamler said the initial numbers are coming in higher than the county’s projected $400,000 for the year.
And there’s more money to come from the first month.
The vendors turned in $32,643, but that just represents what the county collects from its marijuana tax.
The state taxes recreational marijuana sales at 10 percent, but then refunds 15 percent of that money back to the counties.
Daria Serna, communications director for the Colorado Department of Revenue, said the state doesn’t have all of its numbers ready yet and won’t post those totals until the second week of March.
But if Hamler’s numbers hold true, the state would collect about $93,000 and the county could see about $14,000 from it.
The county also levies a general, 1 percent sales tax on all items sold in Pueblo County businesses and the state collects that tax on the county’s behalf.
That would be another $9,300, putting the county’s total take from recreational marijuana sales at nearly $56,000 for the first month.
The state numbers for medical marijuana sales also will be released in March.
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