By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – It was five years ago on New Year’s Day 2013 when legal sales of recreational marijuana began in Colorado. Pot is helping fix Denver’s pot holes. No, the weed isn’t being used to fill the holes. The marijuana tax revenue the City of Denver receives is partially used for that.

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“So that money goes into a big pot called the General Fund, no pun intended there with pot,” Eric Escudero, spokesman for the Department of Excise and Licenses, told CBS 4’s Rick Sallinger.

The pot holes form due to snow and ice in the winter seeping through cracks then expanding creating pits in the road.

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A lot of people had no idea that’s where marijuana tax revenue was going. We asked people who are Colorado voters.

“You know I thought the money was going more towards schools so did most of the public,” said James Breitzman.

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In fact, only the first $40 million from marijuana revenue was dedicated to fix schools. Pot holes are just one of many things pot tax revenue helps pay for.

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Escudero pointed out it also goes for drug education, opioid addiction prevention, affordable housing (aided by an increase last year in Denver’s pot tax), regulation and enforcement.

“It’s not going to fix every thing in Denver. It’s not going to fix every pot hole in Denver, but it does help,” he said.

Denver brought in $48 million in medical and recreation pot revenue this past year. That can help fill a lot of holes. People don’t seem to mind.

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“Do you think it’s a good idea?” Sallinger asked Breitzman.

He didn’t hesitate to respond, “Good idea. It gets the job done.”

Alexander Elbanna said, “You are doing something great for our community, and it’s a good idea to spread the wealth.”

Denver’s General Fund totals $1.4 billion, but only 3.4 percent of that comes from marijuana tax revenue according to the department of excise and licenses.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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