On November 6th 2012, the U.S. state of Colorado voted in favor of total cannabis legalization; both medicinal and recreational use are now authorized within the state’s borders, for citizens and visitors aged 18 or more. The law took effect on January 1st 2014, the date on which licensed dispensaries started selling hundreds of different cannabis strains, edibles, and more.
Outside of the cannabis community, reactions to this tremendous step forward ranged from vague concern to complete hysteria, but all predicted the same thing: legalization would surely result in an unavoidable increase in all sorts of criminal behaviors, especially in large cities in which most marijuana business would take place.
Needless to say, a few months into this new statewide situation the supposedly unavoidable disasters predicted by detractors remain to be seen. On the contrary, some of the communicated statistics actually work in favor of cannabis legalization. Back in June 2014, the authorities of the city of Denver, Colorado, released information in regards to their crime rates, and the numbers were rather impressive, compared to the same period of the previous year, 2013:
- Homicides reduced by 53%
- Sex crimes reduced by 13.6%
- Robberies reduced by 4.8%
- Assaults reduced by 3.7%
Besides, the budding business of legal cannabis is bringing a tremendous amount in tax money to the state of Colorado. This amount measured at $12 million in June 2014, and is expected to reach around $30 million by the end of the year.
But beyond these figures, the cultural impact that this legalization has had, together with the Uruguay initiative of nationwide, total legalization, is prodigious. The fact is that a U.S. state such as Colorado, cradle of a massive tourism-based economy, originally completely unrelated to cannabis, is it a perfect spot to develop local cannabis business as well as cross-cultural awareness.