Colorado finds its pot of gold

Colorado has a new cash crop.

New figures show that the state has been raking in profits since January, when it became the first in the nation to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

This green gave the state of Colorado a lot of that other green -- tax dollars.

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Colorado is raking in the bucks since legalizing marijuana sales for recreational use
CBS News

April set a record with $3.5 million in taxes for recreational use.

Add in sales taxes from lower taxed medical marijuana and so far this year the state has banked nearly $18 million.

We met Sally Vander Veer at the Medicine Man pot shop, where customers spend $16 for a recreational joint.

"As the stigma of marijuana use goes away, we're going to continue to see more and more customers come in," Vander Veer said.

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Sally Vander Veer says marijuana is one more reason to visit marijuana
CBS News

More money for the state?

"More money for the state," she said.

One big sales boost - the marijuana celebration on April 20 that drew an estimated 80,000 people to downtown Denver.

Along with the big bucks have come some big problems.

Like 10 toddlers so far this year overdosing on edible marijuana products.

And from January through May, the Colorado State Patrol handed out 289 tickets to people driving under the influence of marijuana - that's over twelve percent of all traffic citations involving drugs and alcohol.

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Customers can buy a joint for $16
CBS News

Part of Colorado's sales-tax boost come from marijuana tourism that may be as much as a third of sales.

"Colorado has always been a fantastic place to come visit," Vander Veer said. "We have so much to offer and now marijuana is just one more reason to come to Colorado."

The tax money is supposed to be spent on schools, but some of it may be earmarked to hire more people to regulate this booming business and more cops to arrest those driving under the influence.

  • Barry Petersen

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