Colorado continues its winning streak following legalization
Last update: February 19, 2016
Licensed and regulated marijuana stores earned just short of $1 billion in revenue in 2015, shattering the previous year’s total. Over $135 million was collected in taxes and fees, which will help finance important state programs. Instead of proceeds going into the pockets of criminals who answer to no one, regulated and taxed businesses are meeting the needs of adult consumers in the state. Those figures do not include added marijuana-related income taxes, property taxes, or tax revenues related to the increase in tourism to the state since legalization.
Colorado was the first to implement regulations for marijuana businesses serving adult consumers, and it has repeatedly shown how successful the approach is:
- Three years after Amendment 64’s passage, 55% of voters continue to support legalization.
- Gov. Hickenlooper, who initially called the law reckless, said that legalization is an experiment that should continue and didn’t lead to the problems he feared.
- Forbes recently rated Denver as America’s best place for business, despite concerns legalization would negatively impact employers. Four other Colorado cities appeared in the top 40.
- According to the state, use by minors has not significantly changed.
- Despite the increase in sales by regulated stores, the number of marijuana-related DUI citations fell slightly (1.3%) between 2014 to 2015.
- Since 2010, marijuana possession charges are down by more than 90%, marijuana cultivation charges are down by 96%, and marijuana distribution charges are down by 99%.
- Colorado officials believe that regulated stores now account for 70% of the market in the state.
- Legalization in Colorado has reduced Mexican drug cartel operations in the U.S., local law enforcement officials say marijuana laws have not affected crime rates in Denver, commercial real estate continues to boom, and the state is experiencing record-breaking ski seasons.
Revenue is up, the negative effects of failed prohibition policies are way down, and the rest of the country is taking notice. Click here for further details on life after legalization and regulation in Colorado. If you have not already done so, please sign-up for our free and state-specific email alerts so you don’t miss your opportunity to advocate for sensible marijuana policy in the Centennial State.
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
Rep. Jonathan Singer signaled that he and Rep. Kit Roupe are working on a bill that would establish cannabis cafés, similar to business licenses recently adopted in Alaska. The bill has not yet been introduced, but such legislation is long overdue, and both Washington and the District of Columbia are also considering cannabis cafés.
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. 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.