Marijuana tax revenue starts rolling in

Colorado has started selling marijuana in dedicated retail stores. Photo / AP
Colorado has started selling marijuana in dedicated retail stores. Photo / AP

A county in Colorado, one of two states to legalise recreational marijuana use, has become the first to announce tax totals from the new industry.

Pueblo County finance authorities announced that its two shops had about US$1 million ($1.2 million) in total sales in January, producing about US$56,000 in local sales taxes.

Pueblo County is one of the first outside Colorado's Denver metro region to allow recreational pot stores. Its two shops were to be joined by three more opening this month.

"We recognise that the eyes of the world are watching us, and we are proud to have erected a robust regulatory environment in Pueblo County," county commissioner Sal Pace said.

Pueblo county clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz projected the marijuana industry would generate roughly US$670,000 in new tax revenue for his county this year. The money is a combination of a 3.5 per cent pot sales tax approved by county voters last year, as well as "share-backs" from the state on general and pot-specific sales taxes.

If Pueblo's sales continue at the January pace, the county's pot industry will make about US$11.2 million in gross sales in 2014, Ortiz has projected. Colorado has more than 160 licensed recreational pot stores, all of which had to report sales taxes this month. Most of the stores are in Denver County, which has not yet reported its January tax haul.

Pueblo County is the first local government to make its marijuana sales tax totals public.

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