Colorado Benefits from Legalization of Marijuana
Posted on June 06, 2014 by Jeffrey FeilerLegalization of marijuana, as we all know, has stopped being just an idea and become a viable option. Colorado and Washington were the pioneer states in cannabis legalization, since locals approved it in 2012. Across the country, the aftermath was feared. Opponents wouldn't stop talking about their apocalyptic view of the consequences: the imminent rise of crime rates, violence, property damage and, generally speaking, a state of drug abuse and madness.
Nearly six months have passed since recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado, and we're starting to see results. The crime rate in Denver has actually dropped! By the beginning of 2014, there was a decrease of 2.4% in violent crimes in comparison to the same time period in 2013. Property crimes also dropped 12.1%.
The truly remarkable rise in numbers is in revenues coming from marijuana sales. According to a report in CNNMoney, Colorado is expected to take in about $184 million in tax revenue from legal marijuana in the first 18 months of sales – money that will mostly be invested in public schools. This kind of economic boost proves one thing: even considering high tax rates, people are still migrating away from the black market and toward the legal system. Also, in another noteworthy advantage in legalization, Hopper reports that airline flight searches for Denver have increased 6.3%, which is to say that the Mile High City has become a more attractive tourist destination.
Taking all this into account, an interesting turn of events has occurred: Colorado residents are increasingly supporting the now-in-use legalization law. Currently, after seeing its effects, 58% of voters in Colorado support the law, with only 39% opposing it. Noteworthy indeed considering that ballot measure won by barely ten points in 2012.
However, a legal problem has arisen after legalization began: discrimination toward Colorado residents in surrounding states. There are numerous reports of police officers illegally stopping Colorado citizens in search of marijuana. One case in particular stands out: a man was stopped in Idaho under the claim of transporting cannabis – an accusation made solely on the grounds of having a Colorado license plate. An officer asked to search the car and, when the driver refused (exercising his constitutional right), he took the vehicle into custody and inspected it anyways, finding no trace of drugs. A clear sign of the unfair way Colorado residents have been treated outside the boundaries of their state since the legalization of marijuana.
Colorado's quality of life has certainly improved since the legalization of marijuana. Lower crime rates, higher tax revenue and more tourist appeal seem to be the leading factors in a change for the better. Only time will tell what sort of other benefits the legalization of marijuana might bring – and maybe the flag state for legalization will lure others into their right paths.
Jeffrey Feiler is a well-established Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer and Miami DUI Lawyer with vast experience. Mr. Feiler, along with the Feiler Law Firm, provide legal advice on the subject of Medical Marijuana.