For the first time since it legalized recreational marijuana, Colorado is releasing revenue figures: The state made $3.5 million in taxes and fees in January.
As KUSA-TV reports, $2.1 million of that came from the sale of recreational pot and $1.4 million came from medical marijuana.
"The figures from the state Department of Revenue also give a preliminary idea of the size of the marijuana trade in the state, showing $14 million worth of marijuana was sold in the first month of legal sales.
"The report provides the first concrete proof of what pro-marijuana advocates had promised, that growing and selling the drug locally would generate economic activity here rather than sending drug money out-of-state, and that the drug could provide a windfall to the state government.
" 'This is revenue directly out of the hands of cartels,' said Brian Vicente, who helped legalize pot in Colorado. 'These tax numbers will probably grow over time, but since it's a new market, we'll have to wait and see.'"
The Associated Press reports that the state has 160 state-licensed recreational marijuana stores. The state imposes two taxes on pot: a 12.9 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax.
"The first $40 million of the excise tax must go to school construction; the rest will be spent by state lawmakers," the AP reports.