Legal marijuana sales in Colorado have passed $1 billion so far in 2016, marking the best year since the state began allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in 2014, The Washington Times reported.
The state's Department of Revenue released figures showing that Colorado's state-regulated pot shops sold $1.09 billion in marijuana and marijuana-related products between Jan. 1 and the end of October.
In 2014, their first year of operation, there were about $700 million in sales of recreational and medical marijuana, which went up last year to $996 million.
The sales this year have generated nearly $150 million in taxes for the state budget, $40 million of which will be used for public school construction projects as mandated in the law that allowed recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, according to The Huffington Post.
"This milestone continues to show that the cannabis industry in Colorado is an engine of growth for the economy, a job creator, and one of the biggest industries in the state," said Christian Sederberg, an attorney, who played an integral part in legalizing marijuana in Colorado, CNN reports.
"People were consuming cannabis before, but now they are buying it from tax-regulated businesses that are benefiting the economy. This has replaced an underground, illegal market."
The marijuana industry overall in Colorado is estimated to have created 18,000 full-time jobs and generated $2.39 billion in economic activity in the state last year.
The success of Colorado's recreational marijuana program has resulted in similar initiatives elsewhere. Last month, four states — California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts — passed ballot measures allowing for the decriminalizing of marijuana.
By Brian Freeman - NewsMax/Dec. 13, 2016
Ilustration: JeremyNathan, alternet
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