Colorado Pot Exodus (copy)
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FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2013 file photo, employees tends to marijuana plants at a grow house in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

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DENVER — Colorado has surpassed $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales since recreational use of the drug was legalized in 2014.

The Colorado Department of Revenue says sales since legalization have topped $6.5 billion, generating $1.02 billion from taxes, licenses and fees. The state has more than 2,900 licensed marijuana businesses and more than 41,000 licensed workers in the industry.

Gov. Jared Polis says, "This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue."

The Denver Post reports marijuana revenue funds a variety of public health programs, including mental health services, youth literacy initiatives and anti-bullying programs in schools. The tax revenue goes to state and local governments.

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Nine others and Washington D.C. have followed suit.

Colorado marijuana investment bill strikes pay dirt early

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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