Just over two years after commercial cannabis sales became legal in California, the state has collected more than $1 billion in taxes from commercial marijuana activity. Last week, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) announced that as of February 18, 2020, cannabis tax revenues have totaled $1.03 billion since retail pot sales became legal in January 2018.
The total includes $498.1 million in cannabis excise taxes, $123.4 million in cultivation taxes, and $403.1 million in state sales tax. Most of the money, after regulatory costs, has gone to fund cannabis research, public safety grants, cleaning up environmental damage from illegal pot grows, and social programs including childcare for low-income families.
The growth of California’s legal cannabis industry has been slower than expected and the state’s underground market of unlicensed pot continues to thrive. In the fourth quarter of last year, growth in the industry was up only 1.5%, down from 15.5% in earlier quarters.
“It’s an industry that was supposed to be huge, going gangbusters with the green rush,” said Zachary Pitts, the chief executive of the Ganja Goddess delivery service and the president of the California Cannabis Delivery Alliance. “It has been growing, but it’s not