Colorado marijuana legalization gets good grades

It is now six months since legal adult-use marijuana sales started in Colorado, and roughly a year and a-half since possession was legalized. So far, most indicators show things are going well.

1) 100% compliance with checking IDs – On Thursday, the Marijuana Enforcement Division announced the results of their underage sting and found all the legal marijuana businesses checked refused to sell to minors. Illegal drug dealers don’t check IDs but the licensed marijuana industry in Colorado does.

2) $17.9 million – That is how much money Colorado collected so far this year from all taxes, licensing and fees for marijuana.

3) 5.2% drop in violent crime in Denver – Since regulated adult-use marijuana stores opened in Denver crime is down. There was a 10.1 percent decrease in overall crime and a 5.2 percent drop in violent crime. While legalization might not be responsible for this drop, it shows legalization hasn’t cause an increase in crime.

4) 77% Decrease in state court marijuana cases – Legalization has prevented thousands of arrests for marijuana. The Denver Post found “the number of cases filed in state court alleging at least one marijuana offense plunged 77 percent between 2012 and 2013.”

5) 73% Increase in hotel searches for 4/20 - Legalization appears to be driving increased tourism to the state. Hotels.com found a 25 percent increase in hotel searches in Denver during the first three months of this year, and a 73 percent increase in hotel searches for for the weekend of 4/20.

6) 52% think legalization has been good for their stateQuinnipiac found that a majority of Colorado voters think it has, on net, been good for the state and that support for the law remains roughly as strong as when it was approved by voters in 2012.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo by marsmet tallahassee under Creative Commons license