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The Drug Policy Alliance held a large teleconference press conference yesterday to report on and analyze the impact of six months of cannabis legalization in Colorado. Here’s hoping that policy makers in other states are paying attention, because there’s little question that the crime and addiction explosion predicted by Drug War advocates has not happened.
First of all, while there’s no way of knowing exactly how many people weren’t arrested for cannabis, it’s reasonable to say it’s a significant number of people. Each one of those arrests represents a major expenditure of law enforcement funds and energy that has since been re-allocated to more serious crimes.
Beyond simply not flooding local jails and prisons with cannabis offenders, there appears to be an overall lessening of the violent crime rate. The overall violent crime rate in Denver has dropped 5.2%, and the DPA report also indicated that break-ins and robberies at dispensaries have become less common as well.
The financial impact of legalization should be what really interests other states. The collection of taxes has raised $10 million so far, 20% of which will be going directly to schools. Additionally, there has been an influx of jobs related to the cannabis industry, and an increase of over 8% on average of real estate values.
In brief, if trends continue, it looks like cannabis legalization reduces crime (and violent crime), increases tax income for the state, and improves the overall economy as well. Here’s hoping this analysis will help other states adopt more common sense policies toward cannabis.
You can read the full report on the Drug Policy Alliance website here.
Photo Credit: The Drug Policy Alliance