Two years ago, on January 1, Colorado began selling marijuana legally, after residents voted to fully legalize it in the 2012 election. Regardless of what opponents of the law argued then, the first year of legalization was increasingly beneficial for the state, and the situation did not reverse in the second year. While naysayers continue to make broad assumptions about legalization’s effects on society, marijuana policies continue to grow under the auspices of state regulators, reform advocates, health practitioners and responsible industry affiliates.
Two of the most important aspects that legalization brought the state are: a drop in incarceration rates for marijuana possession and use, and also an abundance of tax dollars for youth development and other programs in Colorado. Since the passage of amendment 64, marijuana-related arrests in Colorado have dropped by 80%, and all drug-related charges have decreased by 23%. Furthermore, over 125 million dollars in taxes were allocated in 2015, which demonstrates the “public health” aspect of legalization.
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