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Revenues From Marijuana Tax In Colorado Growing At Astounding Rate

By Stan Bush

DENVER (CBS4) - Marijuana tax revenues are on pace to shatter the total Colorado took in the last fiscal year.

"I think that it says is that there are more businesses that are converting from medical marijuana to recreational sales," said Barbara Brohl, Executive Director of the Department of Revenue.

Barbara Brohl
CBS4's Stan Bush interviews Barbara Brohl (credit: CBS)

Since July Colorado has made $76 million in new recreational marijuana tax revenue. From July 2014 to June 2015 the state only made $88 million.

"We're not trying to become dependent on that tax revenue because once you do you are not able to make really good policy decisions," Brohl said.

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According to the Department of Revenue, the business of marijuana is healthier than when it was first legalized. She says the growth is part of a "leveling out" process that was bound to happen when more credible operators got their businesses running.

But despite its growth marijuana sales have not been an economic cure-all for the economy. It only represents a small fraction of the $10-$13 billion the state brings in from taxes every year.

Marijuana Sales
(credit: CBS)

Approximately $40 million go to schools in rural areas that do not have the tax base to pay for improvements. The program that distributes that money predominately focused on repairing dilapidated roofs at schools across the state. The rest of the income is being used to make the industry pay to sustain itself.

"It's going to pay its own way and it's going to serve the purposes we expected."

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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