FILE - Colorado marijuana tax revenue

In this Nov. 27, 2015, file photo, a bud tender holds two marijuana buds on his fingers on the way to a customer at the Denver Kush Club in north Denver. 

Colorado has collected more than $1 billion in tax revenue on marijuana sales since the drug was legalized five years ago.

The Colorado Department of Revenue announced that it’s collected $1.02 billion in taxes, licenses and fees since marijuana was legalized in 2014. Total sales have topped $6.56 billion since then.

Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement that while the industry is thriving the state needs to continue to be at the forefront for industry innovation.

“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector,” he said. “This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction.”

Colorado has almost 3,000 businesses licensed to sell marijuana and more than 41,000 licensed people working in the industry, according to the department. 

“Marijuana revenue supports statewide efforts such as licensing and regulation of legal marijuana businesses, youth prevention efforts, behavioral health treatment, protecting public health and safety, and coordination across state agencies,” the department said.

An analysis of the state’s marijuana revenue by Vicente Sederberg LLP, a firm that specializes in marijuana and hemp laws, found that 42 percent of cannabis revenue is allocated to K-12 education, while 15 percent goes to substance abuse treatment and prevention, 10 percent goes to health and human services, and 8 percent goes to local governments.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News. He’s also an editor at The Daily Caller.