When Colorado voted to legalize marijuana many people thought the world would come to an end. They ranted and raved about crime-ridden streets plagued by gangs of hopped up degenerates with their “jazz cigarettes” roaming around in orgiastic packs attacking law-abiding Christian citizens. But alas, it was not to be. Instead, Colorado has proven the naysayers wrong. In the city of Denver, six months after the legalization of marijuana, crime is down, tax revenue is up, and there are many more mellow souls roaming the streets.
Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver was one of the many people predicting bad things.
“Expect more crime, more kids using marijuana and pot for sale everywhere. I think our entire state will pay the price.”In some ways, Weaver was correct. Colorado is paying the price, but not in the way he expected. While there have been some negative reports associated with marijuana usage, which, to be honest, was expected, overall it has been a good thing for the state, especially in Denver.
According to the most recent crime data, the last six months has seen a 3 percent overall drop in violent crime compared to this time last year – homicides alone are down almost 40 percent. Property crimes – non-violent offenses such as burglary and car theft – have dropped more than 11 percent.
It is also interesting to note that burglaries targeting medical (and now, recreational) marijuana dispensaries are at a three-year low.
Crime rates may be falling, but state revenue is on the rise. Since January, retail sales of marijuana have totaled about $90 million, which translates into $35 million for the state from taxes and fees.
Many people believe that Denver provides a good example for other cities considering the legalization of recreational marijuana. Such decisions should be made based on real data instead of fear-inspired misinformation. Tom Gorman, director, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Area, a multi-agency group that combats drug trafficking, is one of those people.
“This is a great opportunity for us to find out what happens when you legalize a substance like marijuana. Just wait and watch what happens . . . then you can make a decision based on data and facts and not rhetoric.”So forget what you’ve heard about the dangers of legalized pot. Take a trip to Denver. Look around. Make an informed decision. And for those of you that believe in hands on research, remember it’s puff, puff, give.