Marijuana was first legalized for recreational use in Colorado in 2012, with the first retail store opening in 2014. Since then, anti-marijuana groups have argued that legalization may increase underage used of the substance.
Though much of the focus has been on the opioid epidemic, methamphetamine use is still a major problem in Colorado. In El Paso County, deaths from meth use almost doubled from 2016 to 2017. The Pueblo Chieftain states the use of meth also helped push Colorado drug fatalities to over 1,000 in 2017. This is a record number of drug deaths for the state.
The opioid crisis in the United States has gotten a lot of attention in recent months. President Trump declared the crisis a national emergency in late 2017. Many people find themselves addicted to prescription painkillers that a doctor prescribed for a legitimate injury or medical issue.
By now you probably already know recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado. However, there are many misunderstandings floating around about this topic. Whether you have lived in the state all your life or you just moved here, it is crucial for you to understand the restrictions on using and selling cannabis.
The passage of Amendment 64 legalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use by persons aged 21 or older. But Colorado laws regulate where recreational marijuana can be consumed and how it can be transported. If you run afoul of these laws, you could face serious legal problems, including the possibility of jail time.
Amendment 64 has allowed Coloradans greater recreation freedom when it comes to marijuana, even though it's still a controlled substance at the federal level. As is well known at this point, this has led to a number of challenges in the state. Colorado's position puts its new approach up against a black market that drives marijuana sales in other states. Many out of state residents have moved here and been arrested for large scale farms that take advantage of the situation.
While some may still sneer at the fact that Colorado legalized medical and recreational marijuana, there is no doubt now that it has had a huge impact on our state, particularly our revenue. As a 2015 Forbes article explains, by about this time last year, our state had accumulated $55 million in recreational marijuana sales alone. For medical marijuana, total sales reached a staggering $96 million.