The Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado
Marijuana legalization in Colorado, according to numerous studies, has had a generally positive impact on the Colorado economy and crime reduction.
Colorado is one of the states in the country where marijuana is legal. Since its legalization, marijuana has had varying effects on the people, economy, and general existence in Colorado. Identifying the benefits and risks of marijuana use in the state is vital for CBD enthusiasts.
Marijuana laws in Colorado first changed when the amendment of the constitution of Colorado state in November 2020 allowed the use of medical marijuana. This was meant to be used by chronic patients battling debilitating medical conditions. However, a change in federal laws derailed the implementation of marijuana laws in Colorado.
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It was not until a few years later that the combination of the federal policy change and permissive local laws liberalized the use and sale of medical marijuana in the state. According to Colorado marijuana laws, anyone with the outlined conditions can be issued a medical marijuana license. This license does not have an expiration date.
Effects of Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado
Legalizing marijuana has had a wide range of effects in Colorado. Knowing the impact of legalization will enlighten you on the trends in Colorado since it made the step to legalize marijuana. Here is an overview of the effects.
Financial and Economic Impact
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has positively impacted its economy. When marijuana was legalized in January 2014, the state’s Department of Revenue reported a whopping $3.5 million in fees and taxes that month alone.
The sales trajectory increased until August when the amount remained at an average of about $7 million. The massive increase in revenue and taxes has boosted Colorado’s economy over the last decade. In December of the same year, Colorado recorded the highest revenue, with over $8 million collected. This is attributed to the legalization of marijuana in the state.
By the end of 2014, which was only the first year of marijuana legalization, Colorado had collected $44 million in revenue from taxes and fees. As if that is not enough, an additional $32 million was generated from taxes and fees on medical marijuana. Therefore, in total, Colorado received $76 million that year. Today, the state enjoys massive financial and economic gains as more money is generated from sales.
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While some argue that the legalization of marijuana has increased crime rates in Colorado, statistics show the exact opposite. In 2010, half of all drug-related arrests involved marijuana, with over 90% of the victims only owning the product. This high number of arrests cost the 50 states a total of $7 billion in court fees, law enforcement costs, jail time, and probation. The high prosecution cost also impacted Colorado as the state spent a fortune on these cases. Since Colorado legalized marijuana, there has been an 84% drop in arrests related to medical marijuana. This has saved the state billions of dollars since 2014. Besides, the crime rates have generally reduced across the state.
The financial burden on law enforcement to patrol for marijuana-related offenses, using personnel to track down culprits and arrest them, has been reduced. Instead, these efforts are focused on more severe crimes that put the lives of locals in danger.
While some argue that marijuana legalization in Colorado has increased neurological tendencies toward aggression and violence, this is not precisely the case. Marijuana legalization in Colorado has reduced crime rates as those who used to sell marijuana in underground markets are now buying and selling the product through legal venues. This has reduced marijuana-related crimes and increased revenue in the state.
There has also been a change in road safety since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Legalization improves traffic safety if would-be drunk drivers substitute the bottle with marijuana. While some parties claim that marijuana also impairs driving ability, its usage does not have devastating impacts on road safety as alcohol. Marijuana legalization in Colorado hasn’t led to an increase in accidents, as the rate has remained relatively the same since legalization.
Effects on Health
Medical marijuana has had a significant impact on health. People with chronic conditions have benefited significantly from medical marijuana. However, despite the benefits, marijuana has also negatively affected health. One example is its impact on children’s health. The number of children admitted to the hospital for unintentional marijuana ingestion has increased from 0 in 2014 to over 1000 in 2022.
Marijuana legalization in Colorado has generally positively impacted the state. From enhancing the financial and economic state to reducing crime, marijuana legalization continues to have a positive impact on Colorado.
Anna Joubert is a cannabis enthusiast and a digital marketer working with State Cannabis Organizations. Her main goal is to help reduce the stigma around cannabis in the USA by educating people about the many uses of the plant. She is passionate about cannabinoid medicine and cannabis awareness.