Medical marijuana on the decline in Colorado
Medical marijuana on the decline in Colorado

DENVER (KDVR) — There are fewer patients registered in the state of Colorado using marijuana for medical purposes than in any other year before.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports the number of patients registered on the medical marijuana registry each month, and in May there were just over 65,100 patients. The numbers in Colorado have been steadily and slowly declining since about September 2021, after rising for about a year and a half.

The number of registered patients using medical marijuana reached an all-time high in Colorado in October 2014, with 117,239 registered patients. The state hasn’t exceeded 100,000 registered patients since November 2016, but that also means the current numbers are just over half of the state’s record — 55%.

Decline in the number of patients using medical marijuana is reflected in the tax cut

Medical marijuana is subject to different—and lower—taxes than recreational use. In Colorado, the medical cannabis tax rate is 2.9%, while recreational use is 15% or more, depending on the county.

So far this year, Colorado’s medical marijuana has brought in just over $1.5 million for the state, according to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. That’s a roughly 37% drop in revenue compared to the same period in 2023: The state reported $2.39 million in medical marijuana taxes from January to May 2023.

Retail figures reported through May show that the state’s sales tax on recreational marijuana has brought in just under $503,000, compared to about $546,744 during the same period in 2023. The total amount of taxes and fees collected on medical and recreational marijuana, including retail sales tax, has exceeded $109.8 million.

Total state tax revenue from medical marijuana sales was about $58.9 million from January through April, according to state data. Last year, medical marijuana sales during that period totaled over $65.6 million.

In April alone, tax revenue from medical marijuana marketing this year totaled $14.7 million, compared to about $16.7 million in April 2023. However, in 2020, the state reported $36.5 million in revenue in April, meaning medical marijuana sales have declined by about 60% over the past four years.

At the same time, retail sales across the state are still over $100 million per month. In April, retailers across the state sold $105.5 million worth of recreational marijuana, and for the full year, sales totaled about $417.7 million.

By Everly