Trinidad’s retail marijuana sales set a new record through Nov. 30, 2016, with total sales of approximately $18.7 million, as compared to approximately $8.654 million for all of 2015. The 2016 sales generated almost $2 million in total tax revenues for the city through November 30, as opposed to the $891,000 in total tax revenues for 2015.
The city imposes a 5 percent sales tax on those sales, along with a 4 percent general sales tax. It also receives 1.5 percent in tax rebate revenue from state marijuana taxes, though the state rebate revenues have a one-month lag before the city receives them. That’s a total tax of 10.5 percent.
The tax revenue goes partly to the city’s general fund and partly to the city’s Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) fund. The CIP fund gets one cent from all city retail tax revenues, both for marijuana sales and all other retail sales.
Assistant City Manager Audra Garrett said in a Thursday phone call that the rapid rise of the marijuana industry, and the related boost to city tax revenues, had come as a complete surprise to her and other city staff members.
“I don’t think anyone could have anticipated that our local retail marijuana industry would have grown to the size it has in such a short period of time,” Garrett said. “Certainly, the increase in city tax revenues has been far greater than what we thought it would be.”
Retail marijuana sales climbed steadily throughout the first half of 20l6, peaking during the summer months with more than $2 million in retail sales in each of the months of July, August, September and October, with November retail sales coming in at approximately $1.837 million.
The city also collects licensing fees from marijuana businesses. As of Nov. 30, 2016, the city had collected $84,380 in licensing fees, while the yearly total for all of 2015 was $138,655 in licensing fees. Garrett said the reduction in licensing revenue was in part due to a reduced licensing fee scale that was a part of the city’s updated marijuana ordinance passed by city council in April 2016. The new license scale reduced the cost of a retail marijuana license from $2,500 down to $1,000, while the cost of a medical marijuana business license was set at $1,000. The per square-foot cultivation fee for marijuana growing operations was eliminated. She said it was important that the city recover some of its costs through the licensing fee process.
“Our city staff has to do a lot of work in the licensing process and it’s important that we can get back some of those costs,” she said.
Attached below is a month-by-month picture of the 2016 marijuana sales and tax revenues generated through Nov. 30, 2016.