Critics of legalized marijuana have warned for decades that legalizing marijuana would lead to a spike in crime—even organized crime. But so far, Colorado is proving that there are some unbelievable effects of legalized marijuana. It seems that violent crime in Denver has actually gone down—drastically! We’re talking murders, assaults, rapes, and other violent crimes plunging. Unbelievable right?
Just how far has violent crime declined? See for yourself!
- Homicides declined 43%
- Automobile break-ins dropped 36%
- Sexual assaults are down 14%
- Violent property crimes declined 10%
- Burglary was down 6%
- Robbery was down 4%
During the first 3 months of 2014, only two types of violent property crimes actually increased, arson and larceny. Yet during that same time, marijuana sales have soared to $19 million and Denver residents and visitors were responsible for half that revenue. After all, Denver is host to more than 60% of Colorado’s licensed retail pot stores.
While correlation does not necessarily equal causation, this recent decline in Denver’s violent crime is certainly sweet news for all proponents of legalized marijuana in Colorado and throughout the United States.
Legalized Marijuana: Know the Laws
This January, Colorado was one of two states to begin selling legalized marijuana in retail stores and shops across the state. Even though selling, consuming, and possessing marijuana is now legal, there are still strict rules in place. According to Colorado law:
- You must be 21 years or older to consume, purchase, or sell legalized marijuana
- It is still illegal to consume marijuana in public
- It is illegal to take marijuana out of the state
- Only licensed establishments may sell marijuana or marijuana containing products
- It is illegal to drive high
- It is illegal to sell or give marijuana to minors
- Medical marijuana requires a state red card
- Adults 21 years or older may purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana
- Penalties for breaking Colorado’s marijuana laws range from fines to possible prison sentences
- Possession laws are the same for edible marijuana products as well as smoked products
- It is up to the Denver hotel’s discretion whether consumption of marijuana is allowed to be smoked in their smoking rooms or on private balconies
- It is illegal to consume or possess marijuana on government property or land
5 States Poised to Follow in Colorado’s Footsteps
While not everyone is on-board with legalizing marijuana, the early results are promising for other states that are attempting to follow in Colorado and Washington’s footsteps. Even Attorney General Eric Holder is cautiously optimistic about ending the prohibition on marijuana. After all, if legalizing marijuana can have a positive effect on violent crime and potentially bring in as much as $8 billion in annual sales by 2018, what’s not to be optimistic about?
With the legalized marijuana experiment in Colorado and Washington going better than expected, other states are trying to follow suit. Currently there are 5 states poised to become the next states to legalize marijuana. Those states are:
- Alaska – a ballot measure to tax, regulate, and legalize pot for recreational use was moved to the November general election.
- Arizona – efforts are underway to get the legalization issue back on the 2014 ballot, but it seems morel likely destined for 2016.
- California – While legalized marijuana failed in 2010, it seems likely to pass in the next few years and will likely pass closer to 2016.
- Massachusetts – Legalization activists are eyeing the 2016 elections to push legalized marijuana and it very well may pass. In 2008, voters decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and medical marijuana was legalized in 2012.
- Oregon – Being in close proximity to Washington, Oregon residents have an up-close view of legalized marijuana. In 2012, legalized marijuana initiative barely failed. It seems likely to pass in upcoming years.
- Washington D.C. – A city council recently voted to decriminalize marijuana and make possession of less than an ounce just a fine. Legalized marijuana may very well find its way to the 2014 ballot. Voters who were polled favor legalized marijuana by 63%.
Boulder Marijuana Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested and charged with a marijuana crime in Colorado, the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices can help. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297.