Happy weed-iversary, Colorado! Legal cannabis turns five today

by Angelica Leicht

Happy anniversary, Colorado! In case you weren’t aware, January 1 was the fifth anniversary of legal weed in Colorado, which…you know…is why we’re wishing you a happy anniversary. Perhaps we should call it a weed-iversary. Who knows.

While it may seem like yesterday that the first pot shop popped up in Colorado, it really has been five years – flash back all the way back in 2014 – that this state changed the way the nation thinks about the sticky-icky.

When Colorado launched the first legal cannabis market in the WORLD, who’d a thunk it would become the model for a nationwide green rush? But it did! And, eight other states, one U.S. territory, and Washington D.C. have followed suit and gone fully legal, while even more states have gone on to create legal medical markets.

As the prohibition dominoes continue to fall, it’s good to know that Colorado was the state to spearhead that movement. Legalization has done some great things for our state.

Here’s how legal cannabis has affected Colorado since 2014:

Marijuana-related arrests have plummeted. (Obviously.)

Colorado has become the model state for other states looking to legalize or decriminalize, and we’ve also become the go-to for cannabis research.

Colorado has seen decreases in overall crime rates, violent crimes, and property crimes.

Underage cannabis use – i.e. those youngsters smoking doobies out back or whatever – has not increased in Colorado, and many studies show that legalization has actually caused teenage use to decrease.

Legal marijuana has not lowered graduation rates in Colorado. According to “Impacts on Marijuana Legalization in Colorado,” a report released in 2018 by The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics, the graduation rate actually rose steadily from a 10-year low point of 72 percent in the 2009-2010 school year to 79 percent in the 2016-2017 school year. Over that same time period, the drop-out rate decreased from 3.1 percent to 2.3 percent.

According to the same report, as of May 2018, there were more than 3,000 licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado.

As of October 2018, cannabis retailers had distributed nearly $6 billion worth of cannabis.

As of October 2018, the state of Colorado had collected $883,885,907 in cannabis tax revenues.

In 2018, Denver sales ALONE were over $300 million for recreational cannabis, allowing the city to create $12.8 million in educational funding.

The legal cannabis industry generates more economic output than 90 percent of all other industries in the state of Colorado.

And, you know, on top of all that, there are plenty of chill, happy folks walkin’ around thanks to the legal weed industry. Here’s to five more years of uphill climbing for cannabis in Colorado. All hail the sticky, icky state!

Angelica Leicht

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