California records $260mil in cannabis tax for first quarter

California’s cannabis tax has totaled around $6 billion in its 6.5 years in effect.

California has collected over a quarter of a billion dollars in cannabis tax revenue for the first quarter of 2024. 

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced that the reported cannabis tax revenue was $259.9 million. 


The big picture: So far this year the state has received $152.5 million in cannabis excise tax and $107.4 million from sales tax collected from cannabis businesses. 

  • The first quarter figures represent a $10 million jump from the first quarter of 2023, where cannabis sales generated $249 million, according to CDTFA data.
  • The first quarter totals will likely increase as outstanding returns come in and returns that are still being processed are recorded. 
  • The total also includes nearly $1.2 million retained by eligible cannabis vendors as part of the state’s vendor compensation program, allowing certain retailers to retain 20 percent of the cannabis excise tax for a 12-month period. 

Zoom out: In total, California has collected over $6 billion in cannabis tax revenue since January 2018. 

  • That breaks down to $3.1 billion in cannabis excise tax, $2.4 billion in sales tax and $501 million in cultivation tax, which was eliminated by the Legislature in 2022. 

The backstory: California’s cannabis tax was approved by voters in November 2016 and went into effect in January 2018. 

  • The tax supports programs for childcare and early development, medical research, youth substance abuse prevention, environmental recovery and other programs. 
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