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Published February 21, 2014, 08:12 PM

Colorado predicts $184 million in tax revenue in first 18 months of marijuana sales

Denver, CO (CNN) - We're getting a clearer picture of how the marijuana industry in Colorado is doing since the state voted to legalize pot.

By: Ana Cabrera, CNN

Denver, CO (CNN) - We're getting a clearer picture of how the marijuana industry in Colorado is doing since the state voted to legalize pot.

High hopes for a Colorado green rush are being realized.

Tim Cullen – Co-Owner Evergreen Apothecary: "It's just exceeded all my expectations"

Business at Evergreen Apothecary, previously just a medical marijuana dispensary, has more than quadrupled.

More than a month after recreational pot sales became legal, people are still lining at the door to get their hands on this stuff. This place, packed at 10 o'clock when doors opened."

In fact, this pot shop averages about 500 customers - a day. The state of Colorado is reaping the benefits, as well, collecting sales and excise taxes over 25%.

Marijuana dispensaries were required to turn in January tax reports on Thursday.

Tim Cullen: "We paid about $190,000 in sales tax that we collected during the month of January."

While official numbers won't be made public until March, the governor's budget office just released its own tax projections. It estimates the state will collect about $184 million in tax revenues in the first 18 months of recreational pot sales.

Here's Colorado’s plan for spending that money:

- $40 million automatically goes to public school construction. That was mandated by voters.

- Then the governor wants to spend: about $85 million on youth prevention and substance abuse treatment, $12.4 million on public health, about $3 million on law enforcement and public safety and nearly $2 million on industry oversight.

Mason Tyvert – Marijuana Policy Project: "I don't think the people who are buying marijuana want the tax money to be used to discourage adults from buying marijuana."

While not everyone agrees on how that money will be spent, and although still early, there's no denying the apparent economic boost that's come from recreational pot sales.

Right now, Colorado and Washington are the only states where recreational pot is legal. Washington is still working through how to regulate sales. Eight other states are considering this.

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