Some big ups and downs in this week’s COS By the Numbers. The economic news for Colorado continues to be great, which seems to be reflected in the State’s continually growing marijuana market. On the “not so great” front – the Supreme Court has decided a case that originated in Colorado and featured a Christian baker and a gay couple who were denied baking services. We have more below on that case (spoiler: don’t freak out). We hope everyone had a great week!
Total (legal) marijuana sales in Colorado from January to March of this year. Colorado is on pace to surpass 2017’s record marijuana sales year, which reached $1.5 billion in total sales. The additional sales mean, of course, additional tax revenue for not only the State but for cities and towns throughout Colorado. We looked at the actual tax impact of marijuana on the educational system back in Episode 80. (The education system isn’t fixed, people!)
Anyway, Colorado’s pot economy continues to grow, despite some belligerence at the Federal level around shutting it down. In Colorado, we are all just humming along, downing crazy colored edibles and trying to figure out why the carpet tastes like purple. [CO Department of Revenue]
The Supreme Court ruled this week in the Colorado baker case, which pitted a gay couple against a small business owner who refused to bake a cake for their wedding. Finding fault with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Court held that the Commission essentially did not appropriately balance the baker’s discriminatory behavior with his sincerely held religious beliefs. It is a very fact-specific opinion, one that relied heavily on the specific circumstances and does not really set precedent for courts that are dealing with similar cases.
Which brings us to what this is not – it is NOT a sweeping victory for “religious freedom”, nor is it an attack by the Supreme Court on gay rights. Everyone calm down! It is a narrowly drafted opinion, specifically written to apply narrowly. It actually gives me hope that the Court has shifted its thinking so much on gay rights issues that it realizes it has to draft opinions in a very specific way so that dipshit business owners don’t feel they have carte blanche to start denying services to people because of some dumbass argument based on “religious freedom”. Jesus wants you to be less of an asshole! [Vox]
The current ranking of Colorado’s economy relative to the rest of the States in the U.S. of A. Way to go pot users!! Colorado comes in behind Washington, Utah, Massachusetts, and California, tied for first in the lowest unemployment rate and ranking second in the highest GDP growth. The ranking is great news for the people that seem to be flocking here for better economic prospects. Not so great news for our wary neighbors to the north (Wyoming) and south (looking at you, New Mexico) who have not captured the economic boom that Colorado is currently experiencing. [CSBJ]
2,500 square feet
The size of the new taproom that our friends FH Beerworks will be moving into in the near future as the brewery expands to the east. Projected to open on Labor Day, the new space will allow FH to expand their production while making their beer available to the expanding east side market. Very exciting news! [Focus on the Beer]
The percentage increase in suicides in the U.S. over the last two decades as reported by the US Centers for Disease Control. This week, fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef and icon Anthony Bourdain brought the mental health issues facing millions of American’s back into the light. Write this down and use it or give it to someone who needs it: The national suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK. You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. [CNN]