By Donna Westfall – March 27, 2017 –
In actuality, while the vote(s) were taken in Washington and Colorado in 2012, the laws were not put into effect until 2014.
23 states still prohibit cannabis outright, but the remaining states have either legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana possession.
The crime statistics are showing a definite trend:
Washington, D.C.: Possession arrests decreased 98 percent in 2015 from the previous year and overall arrests on any marijuana related charge are down 85 percent.
Denver, Colorado: In 2010, which was two years before the legalization of marijuana, Colorado prosecutors filed over 11,000 charges alleging a violation of marijuana laws. in 2014 the number of charges dropped to around 3,500 charges. Additionally, through October 2015, these charges dropped even more, to about 2,100. Denver is the center for legal pot sales. Automobile break-ins went from 2,317 to 1,477, which represents a 36 percent decrease. Homicides went from 17 to 8, which is a 53 percent decrease, and sexual assaults went from 110 to 95 — a 14 percent drop.
What about tax revenues to the states?
By the second year of legalization, marijuana tax revenues exceeded projections in both Colorado and Washington. In the most recent fiscal years, recreational marijuana brought in $129 million in taxes in Colorado and $220 million in Washington.
What about other savings?
- In Washington state – now saving millions of dollars in law enforcement resources that were previously used to enforce marijuana laws.