Six months ago, Colorado passed a trailblazing statewide policy that legalized marijuana. Not only have the consequences been greater than expected, but they’ve also happened sooner than projected!
It turns out that the marijuana industry is much more profitable than initially anticipated. In February, the taxed and legal recreational sale of marijuana was $14 million and in March, that figure shot up to $19 million. In the first four months, Colorado earned more than $10 million in taxes! However, Gov. John Hickenlooper anticipates that over the next year Colorado will earn about $134 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales. This additional tax revenue is expected to improve Colorado’s public schools and infrastructure and even fund campaigns to educate the youth about substance abuse. Additionally, since the legalization of marijuana, there has been a soar in job creation as thousands of new jobs have emerged. Approximately 10,000 individuals work in the marijuana industry and 2,000 of those individuals were employed within the first four months since the legalization of marijuana.
Moreover, crime rates in Colorado have unexpectedly gone down since the legalization of marijuana! Since arrests related to marijuana have dropped, Colorado police officers have more resources to use to target other crimes. Additionally, combatting the notion that the legalization of marijuana would yield higher crime rates and increased criminal activity is the decrease in murder rates. When comparing murder rates from the previous year, the murder rate in Denver has dropped about 52% since the legalization of marijuana.
The positive effects that have spawned from the legalization of marijuana in Colorado are surprising to say the least. Economic benefits have turned a slow economy in Colorado into a booming one. More so, the legalization of marijuana may have turned Colorado into a safer place.
It may be time for the country to turn over a new leaf in regards to sentiments about the legalization of marijuana. The rest of the country could benefit from an economic boost and a decrease in crime. And, if Colorado is any indication, the legalization of marijuana could make that happen. The Department of Drug Enforcement (DEA) is currently asking the Food and Drug Administration to take off marijuana from its lists of dangerous and harmful drugs. This may be a small step in the right direction as this could shift the Federal government’s current strict regulation of marijuana. Additionally, Washington D.C. is expected to pass a marijuana ballot measure this November which could persuade other cities to follow suit. Even more so is the public opinion that surrounds this issue. In 2013, it was reported that 58% of adults favored legalizing marijuana for adult use.
There is no doubt that Colorado has become a pioneer in proving that the legalization of marijuana generates beneficial outcomes. More money and less crime, which state doesn’t want that?
If you are interested in finding out about your state’s current marijuana or drug laws, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Christopher Pagan and Julian Stroleny at Pagan & Stroleny, P.L. to learn more about Florida drug laws and current efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.