Adult-use recreational cannabis has been legal in the state of Colorado for five years now, proving that statewide legalization programs can be highly successful. So successful, in fact, that the state government has collected nearly $1 billion in taxes on cannabis.
According to Colorado.gov, retail cannabis locations have sold almost $6 billion worth of cannabis products, and the state collected $883,885,907 in cannabis taxes. These figures only cover up until the end of October 2018, so the tax figure could easily be more than that by now, especially after the holiday shopping season.
In just the city of Denver alone, $12.8 million worth of cannabis taxes has been allocated to education funding, according to The Denver Channel. Eight specific youth diversion programs have since been created, along with training programs in 15 different public schools in the Denver area. Denver public schools also used the funds to create the “High Costs” youth education campaign, which encourages students to make wise, informed decisions and peer-to-peer conversations, the Denver Channel reports.
The funds allocated to education only scratches the surface of the positive things to come along with the legal cannabis marketplace in Colorado. Legal cannabis creates a lot of new jobs and employment opportunities, stimulates economies, promotes entrepreneurship and attracts potential investments in the state. In addition to the market for cannabis products, there is a thriving ancillary marketplace, which features a wealth of innovation and interesting new products and services.
In 2012, voters in both Colorado and Washington decided that they wanted legalized adult-use recreational cannabis. Colorado got the ball rolling in January of 2014, launching the first recreational cannabis marketplace in the nation, receiving just praise in the process. Thanks to Colorado and Washington, the state has acted as a test that shows the positive impact that legalization can have. Eight other states and D.C. have since followed Colorado’s lead, with several more states set to legalize sometime this year.
Almost none of the prohibitionist claims that were made have come to fruition in the five years since cannabis was legalized in Colorado. Underage cannabis youth saw no significant rise in the five years since legalization, and problematic use of the plant medicine didn’t increase either. There has been no significant increase in motor vehicle related deaths, according to a Global News report. Not to mention, there are no more arrests in Colorado for simply possessing a plant, which could be the biggest win of all. Naturally, this frees up the time of the police to focus on real crimes with real victims.