DENVER (CBS4) – Marijuana revenue in Colorado has surpassed $1 billion since it sales started five years ago. With that, marijuana sales exceeded $6.56 billion since 2014.

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The Colorado Department of Revenue reports there are nearly 3,000 licenses marijuana shops and businesses in the state — employing more than 41,000 licensed people.

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The revenue helps fund several efforts including licensing and regulation of legal marijuana businesses.

Cannabis flower on display at Lightshade, a marijuana dispensary on 6th Ave in Denver. (credit: Vince Chandler/The Denver Post)

“This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a news release.

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There are three sales taxes the state obtains from marijuana products: a 2.9% sales tax on medical marijuana, a 15% special sales tax on retail marijuana and 15% excise tax on retail marijuana.

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Those revenues help fund the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund and other programs within the Department of Education such as the Early Literacy Competitive Grant Program and the School Bullying Prevention and Education Grant Program.

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LINK: Marijuana Tax Cash Fund Appropriations (page 577)