Arizona set to outpace Colorado in marijuana sales
Arizona is on track to outpace Colorado in marijuana sales just months after it became legal for recreational use in the Copper State, with total annual sales expected to surpass $1 billion by the end of this year, according to state data.
The Arizona Department of Revenue in its latest report on marijuana revenue revealed that total sales have nearly doubled since January, when the recreational sale of marijuana to anyone 21 and older officially became legal in the state.
The state collected about $75 million in taxes this year from both medical and recreational marijuana sales from January to May, according to a review of the state data by the Arizona Republic.
Arizona voted to approve medical marijuana use in 2010, and last November officially approved a proposition legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes, making it one of 19 states, along with Washington, D.C. and Guam, to fully legalize the drug.
The Arizona Republic reported that based on monthly sales of $117 million to $123 million over the past three months, the state could reach past $1 billion in total medical and recreational marijuana sales by the end of 2021.
Comparatively, Colorado reported about $684 million in total marijuana sales in 2014, the first year the state had both medical and recreational use legalized.
The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that in 2020, Colorado had a total of roughly $2.2 million in medical and recreational marijuana sales.
A May report from the pro-legalization group the Marijuana Policy Project found that since Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational pot in 2014, states have collected a total of $7.9 billion in tax revenue from recreational sales alone.
According to the report, California has become the largest legal marijuana market, recording more than $1 billion from recreational marijuana taxes in 2020.
The same year, the Washington state government collected $614 million in marijuana tax revenue, and the Colorado government received $362 million in recreational pot taxes.
The surge in sales and state tax revenue comes as Democratic lawmakers are aiming to make marijuana legal nationwide, with Democratic lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introducing a bill earlier this month that, if passed, would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
Schumer the day after unveiling the legislation said that ending the federal prohibition on marijuana would be a top priority for the Senate, explaining that “A number of states,” including New York, “just legalized recently.”
“The doom and gloom predictions haven’t materialized in any of these states,” he argued. “And as more and more states legalize marijuana, it’s time for our federal cannabis law to catch up.”