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California Reports Cannabis Sales Tax Revenue: Massive Growth, But Still Below Expectations

Javier Hasse

California just made public its cannabis excise taxes numbers for the first quarter of 2019.

Based on the reported figures, total adult use sales rose by 92 percent year-over-year, from $213 million in the first quarter of 2018 to $409.3 million for the first quarter of 2019.

“Most of the growth is attributed to ‘preregulated’ inventory that was sold through in the first quarter of 2018 but not taxed,” Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner of GreenWave Advisors, told Benzinga.

Since medical marijuana sales are not taxed, the state government did not provide any stats around them Thursday.

GreenWave Advisors estimates medical marijuana sales to be roughly 40 percent of total sales, meaning total cannabis sales in the first quarter of 2019 should have hit $682.2 million.

“While these results are still below the state's original expectations, we believe the growth trajectory is encouraging and expect California to ultimately reach its full potential of approximately $6.5 billion over the next four to five years,” Karnes said, adding that licensing procedures remain problematic in the near term.

Related Story: California Marks 1 Year Of Recreational Marijuana: How Much Cannabis Was Sold?

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