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What effect has legalization of marijuana had on Colorado?

As we pointed out at the end of last month in another one of our blog post, Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana, therefore allowing the sale of it for recreational use. Across the nation, many wondered how legalizing the drug would affect the state and its residents. Would it cause arrest rates to soar or would it cause the complete opposite to happen?

Even though it's still too soon to tell the full effect the law has had, a recent report published by the Colorado Department of Public Safety shows a potentially positive future for marijuana users in the state, provided they continue to abide by the rules laid out by Amendment 64. 

So what did the report find? Let's take a look.

Marijuana possession charges have decreased

Many across the nation assumed that the legalization of marijuana would cause arrests to soar in Colorado. But according to CDPS's initial findings, arrests for marijuana possession, which made up a majority of drug arrests in the past, actually decreased in the state by 46 percent from 2012 to 2014.

Marijuana sale arrests are down

Many also assumed that arrests for the sale of marijuana would increase, particularly among juveniles. But results indicate that arrests for marijuana sales have decreased by 24 percent since the passage of Amendment 64. In fact, of all the arrests made in Colorado in 2014, marijuana arrests only accounted for 3 percent of the total.

Arrest of juveniles and young adults has dropped

As we said above, many assumed juveniles - and in some cases young adults - would be most likely to get arrested after legalizing marijuana because they made up the major demographic of users prior to the law changing in 2013. But according to CDPS's findings, court filings for marijuana-related crimes fell 69 percent among juveniles ages 10 to 17 and an astounding 78 percent among young adults ages 18 to 20.

What effect did the law have?

From what we can see from CDPS's findings, Amendment 64 did not have nearly as negative of an effect on our state as some thought it would. In fact, some might argue the law has greatly helped residents who might have faced potentially serious litigation that could have created problems for them for the rest of their lives if the law had not been changed.

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