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Colorado's increased tax revenue from the sale of marijuana isn't necessarily a windfall, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday. Instead, he's looking to use that money to maintain the state's high quality of life.
"We're not looking at it as a windfall in any sense. We want to make sure we have the resources to regulate it as rigorously as possible," Hickenlooper told CNBC's "Closing Bell. "
As of Jan. 1, adults age 21 or older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana in Colorado, and give up to an ounce to other adults. They can also grow up to six plants and possess marijuana from those plants as long as it is at the location where the plants are grown.
The state has come under fire from critics, notably New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who told the local radio station 101.5, "Go to Colorado and see if you wanna live there. Headshops popping up on every corner, and people flying in just to get high. To me it's just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey, and there's no tax revenue worth that."
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Hickenlooper said the state is conducting vigorous background checks for everyone connected in the sale of pot. His main concern is keeping it away from children.
"Early indications are we don't see a sudden spike in kids using it, or in parents," he said. "We're very worried about it, but so far the regulations seem to be doing well."
To that end, the governor is looking to educate the public about the effects of high-THC marijuana on kids by rolling out a full-blown advertising campaign.
"Now it's legal, they think it's harmless," he said. However, he noted that studies show that smoking high-THC pot can potentially diminish long-term memory of children and accelerate the onset of symptoms of schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder.
“We’re taking it very seriously,” Hickenlooper said.
—By CNBC's Michelle Fox