Well fuck me sideways; no one saw this one coming: legal pot has made a shitload (that’s a measuring system that equals a large number) of bucks. Fun fact: Washington state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council predicts recreational pot will bring in a whopping $190 million. Hell, that’s almost as much money as Facebook spent buying Instagram! Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado stated that sales and excise taxes are expected to bring in $610 million in the next fiscal year, (Which well exceeds the predicted $70 million.)
We, as Americans, live in a capitalistic society, and in a rollercoaster economy other states will most likely follow. In the worlds of legalization activist Matt Tvert: “Voters and state lawmakers around the country are watching how this system unfolds in Colorado, and the prospect of generating significant revenue while eliminating the underground marijuana market is increasingly appealing.”
But it’s not all fun, tokes, and games! Colorado proposes to spend roughly $99 million next fiscal year on substance abuse prevention, public health, and youth marijuana prevention, generating the money for these programs via the statewide 12.9 sales tax on recreational weed.
“We view our top priority as creating an environment where negative impacts on children from marijuana legalization are avoided completely,” said Hickenlooper.
Still, not everyone is playing ball with legal pot crew. On Wednesday, The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Colorado’s two largest banks, Wells Fargo Bank and FirstBank, won’t offer new loans to landowners with leases with pot businesses. Wells Fargo and Vectra Bank have told commercial loan clients they either have to evict marijuana businesses or seek refinancing elsewhere.
Quote from a Wells Fargo Spokesperson: “Our policy of not banking marijuana-related businesses and not lending on commercial properties leased by marijuana-related businesses is based on applicable federal laws.”
Bottom line: Banks love the green but don’t want to do business with those who deal in the green.