FILE - Colorado Marijuana

Quiet street near LivWell Dispensary in the RiNo District in Denver, Colo.

(The Center Square) — Colorado’s marijuana sales eclipsed the half-billion dollar mark in the first quarter of 2021, the state Department of Revenue (DOR) said on Tuesday.

In all, marijuana sales were over $560 million between January and March. More than $10.5 billion in marijuana has been sold in Colorado since it was legalized in 2014.

Those sales translate into over $1.7 billion in tax revenue that goes towards public schools, infrastructure projects, and local government programs.

DOR compiles its monthly marijuana sales report by adding the state’s medical and recreational sales together. The total does not include marijuana accessories or any products that do not contain medical marijuana.

Marijuana sales reached $207 million in the month of March alone. In exchange, the state collected $39.6 million in taxes.

Marijuana tax revenue is collected through three state taxes: a 2.9% sales tax on marijuana sold in stores; a 15% tax on retail marijuana; and a 15% retail marijuana excise tax.   

State law requires 71% of the total to be remitted to the marijuana tax cash fund, a budget account that is statutorily required to fund health care, health education, substance abuse prevention, and treatment programs, and law enforcement.

The remaining 29% is then subdivided between the state public school fund and the general fund. Schools receive just over 12% of the total while the general fund receives greater than 15%.

In April, the public school fund received over $14 million. The account supports school construction projects and is controlled by the School Board Investment Fund, a three-member panel responsible for maintaining the fund’s capital that was established in 2016.

Meanwhile, the marijuana tax cash fund received over $16 million and the general fund received $3.5 million.