Different strains of pot are displayed for sale at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver, Friday Dec. 27, 2013. (AP/Brennan Linsley)
In 2012, Colorado and Washington state legalized the recreational use of marijuana, much to the dismay of anti-pot advocates. They frequently alleged that it would make it easier for children to acquire, that more people would use it, that there would be more people driving while high, and that it would be an all around bad deal for these states.
In Colorado, it’s safe to say that the doomsayers were 100% wrong. Sales of recreational marijuana continue to rise with more than $34 million worth sold in August alone. That means that the state raised $3.4 million for building and maintaining schools in the state. At the rate the state is going, some $30 million will be brought in from pot taxes alone. That’s some serious dough!
Even better, crime has suddenly and sharply dropped in the state, providing evidence that clearly counters the idea that crime would rise with the plant’s legalization. Overall crime has dropped by 15%, and murder is down by nearly half. The government is planning to allocate some of the state tax money from pot to improving infrastructure and employing more people, even now as the unemployment rate continues to drop.
Right now, there are 100 legal dispensaries in Colorado. Could they really be doing any more harm than the numerous bars? At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge: legal weed has not been harmful to Colorado, but rather, it looks like things in the Centennial State will only improve.