Retail pot is the Rocky Mountain high for taxes

In honor of Monday's unofficial holiday celebrating marijuana, we took a look at the most recent data from Colorado, where recreational pot has been legal for a little over a year.

Before the first retail stores opened their doors in January 2014, the state had allowed medical marijuana use for over a decade. At of the end of last year, there were still 583 more medical marijuana businesses than retail outlets, but the latter segment is catching up quickly, according to a recent report by the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Medical marijuana business licenses saw only a 6 percent increase over that period, while the retail segment has grown about 110 percent. Colorado officials are likely pleased to see consumption shift toward the retail market, because that's where the most tax money is going to be made.

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Colorado's retail marijuana tax is set up as a 15 percent excise tax on the market rate of wholesale marijuana, as well as a 10 percent state tax on retail sales, the standard 2.9 percent state sales tax and local taxes. Medical marijuana brings in only the standard sales tax and some additional money from separate licenses and fees.

The state brought in about $53 million in taxes, licenses and fees from marijuana in 2014. Only about 22 percent of that amount came from medical marijuana licenses or taxes, and the rest came from the retail market. Many found the state's total pull from marijuana taxes to be underwhelming, but the shift toward retail is a good sign for next year.