More revenue and more jobs bring more support for marijuana legalization
Last update: November 4, 2015
At the beginning of 2014, Colorado became the first jurisdiction in the world to usher in a new era of regulated retail sales of marijuana for adults’ use, and today the results are overwhelmingly positive. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state has received nearly $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, easily beating the nearly $42 million in taxes on alcohol. Voters continue to support legalization. According to a November 2015 Quinnipiac poll, 55% of Colorado voters surveyed support the 2012 legalization law, with 41% opposed.
Meanwhile, overall crime in Denver is down slightly as compared to 2013. The state has licensed hundreds of retail dispensaries throughout the state and more than 16,000 individuals to work in the industry. That does not even include jobs created in collateral sectors, such as construction, law, accounting, and tourism. The success of Colorado’s unique industry has contributed to Denver’s commercial real estate boom and may have boosted the state’s record-breaking ski season. And despite dire warnings from prohibitionists, teen marijuana use has either remained steady or gone down, and driving fatalities have gone down. Click here for further details on life after legalization and regulation in Colorado.
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Families find hope high in the Rocky Mountains
In the summer of 2013, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta released a documentary about medical marijuana called Weed, featuring a CBD-rich cannabis oil that could save lives. The oil successfully treated seizures caused by intractable epilepsy, which sometimes occur hundreds of times per day. Soon, more than a hundred families flocked to Colorado, most with a child suffering from similar seizures. They called themselves “medical refugees,” and Colorado’s medical cannabis was their last hope.
If you or someone you know would like to become a registered medical marijuana patient in Colorado, please visit the Department of Public Health and Environment’s website for a list of frequently asked questions, application information, and materials.
State and city officials addressing social consumption
Government officials and business organizations in Colorado have expressed a commitment to developing laws that allow for the social use of marijuana by adults in commercial establishments.
Rep. Kit Roupe has drafted a bill which would establish a retail cannabis club license category, which she expects to introduce when the legislature reconvenes in 2016. Adult marijuana users would be allowed to consume at licensed establishments that admit only those 21 and older, and some could qualify to also serve food and alcohol.
Denver civic and business leaders also agreed to work on the issue after the Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use withdrew a city initiative to create such a law, which was poised for the 2015 ballot. The campaign arrived at the decision after engaging in several productive discussions with city council members, the city attorney, a representative from the mayor’s office, and leaders of several major business organizations, including the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, the Colorado Restaurant Association, and the Downtown Denver Partnership.
Initiative backers are engaging in conversations with city officials and remain hopeful that they will result in a sensible social use law that the city is willing and able to implement. If not, they will have the option of putting one on the ballot during the 2016 presidential election, when increased voter turnout will create a more favorable electorate compared to this year.