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Colorado Collects Millions In Marijuana Commerce, Crime Rate Decreases

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colorado legal marijuana salesIn the last fiscal year, Colorado has collected roughly $22,000,000 in cannabis related taxes and fees. That number is expected to climb significantly in the next fiscal year. During the first three months of 2014, Colorado’s marijuana industry has generated $12,600,000 in marijuana taxes and fees from both the recreational and medical marijuana industries. Not only is millions of dollars in new revenue coming into the state coffers, but prohibitionists’ claims about an increase in crime and mayhem have not come to fruition as crime has actually decreased since regulated cannabis sales began.

From The Huffington Post:

Four months after recreational marijuana sales were legalized in Denver, crime still hasn’t gone up, according to the city’s latest data.

Overall violent crime in Denver for the four-month period that includes January to April fell 5.6 percent from the same period a year earlier. Crime is down in the four main categories of violent crime — homicide, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crime dropped 11.4 percent from the first four months of 2013.

The crime data stands in stark contrast to statements made by law enforcers in 2012, before Amendment 64 legalized marijuana in Colorado for recreational sale and use.

Multiple members of the state’s law enforcement community warned legalization would bring bleak and “harmful” consequences. “Expect more crime, more kids using marijuana and pot for sale everywhere,” Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver said in a 2012 statement . “I think our entire state will pay the price.”

Colorado certainly hasn’t paid the price that Sheriff Weaver warned about, but plenty of consumers have been willing to pay for quality cannabis as the recreational marijuana industry is growing at a rapid pace. In the first three months that recreational marijuana sales have been legal, that sector of the industry has generated $7,300,000 in tax revenue. Recreational sales were $14,000,000 million in the month of March, up from $14,000,000 in February. I’d expect that number to keep climbing as more outlets come online, and more customers continue to travel to Colorado from out of state for ‘marijuana vacations.’

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has predicted that Colorado’s marijuana industry will reach $1 billion dollars a year, and that taxes and fees would reach well over $100,000,000 a year. Medical marijuana revenues still exceed legal marijuana revenues, but that gap is getting smaller every month. The customer base for medical marijuana is much smaller than the potential customer base for recreational marijuana.

The marijuana industry in Colorado is a model for other states, and countries, to mimic. Implementation of legalization in Colorado has been very smooth. Why is every state not doing this? What state doesn’t need a billion dollar industry right now, and the taxes and fees that are generated by it? What country doesn’t need a booming multi-billion dollar industry? Prohibition is a dismal failure that only wastes tax dollars, diverts law enforcement resources, ruins innocent lives and enriches dug cartels. It’s time for a new approach in every state across the union and every country across the globe.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference

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About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.