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New report on impacts of marijuana legalization in Colorado

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 8:14 PM MDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:53 PM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - Recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado back in 2012, and since then data has been collected in the Centennial State with hopes to track the impacts tied to sales of the drug.

Recently, the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice’s Office of Research and Statistics published the latest “Impacts on Marijuana Legalization in Colorado” report. The report is required by law. It is important to point out that in the executive summary of the report, there is a note stating the information should be “interpreted with caution.” The cautionary note points to lack of pre-commercialization data, the “decreasing social stigma,” and the challenges to law enforcement.

“This report provides a wealth of valuable information to help policy makers, law enforcement, schools, the marijuana industry and the public understand the effects of legal recreational marijuana in our communities,” said Stan Hilkey, Executive Director of the Department of Public Safety. “The information is presented in a comprehensive and unbiased manner, and I am proud of the detailed and extensive work our DCJ researchers have done to collect and analyze this vast compilation of data.”

Some highlights of the report include marijuana arrests have dropped, which was expected. The total number of marijuana arrests decreased by 68% between 2012 and 2019. However, law enforcement continues to battle marijuana being sold illegally and the illicit activity is hard to track. Marijuana use among youth did not experience a significant change, according to the report.

The nearly 200-page report includes data on the following topics:

-Public Safety

-Public Health

-Youth Impacts

-Additional information on a number of topics

According to the report, as of June 2020, 2,709 licensed marijuana businesses were registered in Colorado. Total revenue from taxes, licenses, and fees increased from $67 million in 2014 to $387 million in 2020. The amount of taxes transferred to the school capital construction fund and public school fund increased 264%, from $33 million in 2015 up to $120 million in 2020.

As shown in the graph at the top of this article, El paso County has the most medical marijuana cardholders with 24,553, followed by Denver with 11,120. The sale of recreational marijuana is not legal in El Paso County per a county ordinance.

You can read the full report below:

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