Colorado cannabis store sales believed to have exceed $5m in first week

If correct, at least $1m of this revenue is destined for the state’s tax coffers - to be spent on the state’s schools, roads and other public projects

Los Angeles

Just one week into Colorado’s landmark experiment in legalisation, the state’s regulated recreational marijuana stores are believed to have sold more than $5m worth of cannabis products to about 100,000 buyers.

The number of approved recreational shops has increased from the 34 that opened on 1 January, to about 50. At least one such store has sold out of weed, while others have imposed maximum purchase amounts beneath the 1oz mandated by the state.

Though industry insiders say the $5m (£3m) estimate is a “ back-of-the-envelope calculation”, that figure would include at least $1m destined for Colorado’s tax coffers, to be spent on the state’s schools, roads and other public projects.

Aaron Smith, co-founder of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Independent: “That’s $5m that would have been in the hands of illegal drug dealers and black marketeers, which instead is going to small business owners, who will reinvest it in the community, creating jobs and tax revenue.”

Possession and use of recreational marijuana has been permitted in Colorado since late 2012, when the state’s voters passed constitutional amendment 64, legalising the drug. However, cannabis has not been legally available from retailers to non-medical consumers until now.

Michael Elliot, of the state’s Medical Marijuana Industry Group, said: “We knew there was going to be a lot of demand, but we didn’t know much. The amount of people who are interested has been staggering; they’re excited to be a part of history.”

The major hurdle facing the industry is the financial system: federally-regulated banks remain reluctant to accept marijuana businesses as clients, not least because the drug remains illegal at a national level. Mr Smith said: “We’re talking about millions of dollars circulating in Colorado outside the banking system, which is a recipe for disaster.”

On Monday, the Denver City Council issued a proclamation calling on the US Treasury to take action on the issue, arguing, “Forcing Colorado’s legal marijuana industry to operate on a cash-only footing creates heightened risks of crime – risks that marijuana businesses themselves will become targets of crime, risks that criminal elements will seek to become involved in the marijuana industry, and thereby risks that governments will be defrauded, employees will be victimised, and customers and nearby neighbourhoods will be put in danger.”

So far, the legal marijuana trade appears to have caused few problems for Colorado law enforcement. Police in Denver reportedly wrote no more than four marijuana-related citations in the first week of January.

Other local businesses have embraced legalisation, including Hapa Sushi, a Japanese restaurant chain based in Denver and Boulder, which has created a cannabis “pairing menu”.

A poll by CNN found that one third of Americans believed marijuana legalisation in Colorado was a good thing, while 29 per cent said it was a bad thing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas