Today, Nov 4 marks five years since Colorado and Washington were the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana. Amendment 64 passed in Colorado in November 2012, legalizing marijuana for adults over the age of 21.
Gov. John Hickenlooper formalized it as part of the state constitution. The governor then declared that Colorado wouldn’t try to block marijuana legalization, nor would it ask the federal government, which considers pot illegal, to intervene.
According to the state the total revenue driven from recreational and medicinal marijuana sales has risen from 2014-2015. Total revenue started at almost 68 million in 2014, but nearly doubled by jumping to over $130 million by 2015.
In 2016 total revenue was over $193 million, so far this year from Jan-Sept total revenue is at almost $182 million. This revenue includes the sales tax on both medical and retail pot, retail excise tax, marijuana application and license fees, and overall sales.
“The last 5 years have been very exciting and undeniably successful for the overall Cannabis Industry. During that time, we have seen the industry grow to over 50% of the states in this country offering some sort of legalization of cannabis, including some that have approved full recreational use, such as Washington and Colorado. While overall the last 5 years have been considerably successful on a number of fronts such as access, tax revenues, and new jobs, there are still steep challenges that have been further compounded as a result of that success, such as banking and on going contradiction with federal laws,” said Founder of BurnTV Jason Santos.
But despite the considerable amount of revenue driven by marijuana sales, Senate Bill 13-283 requires the state’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee to monitor the science and medical information on marijuana use and report its findings.
According to the report released in January of 2017, six percent of pregnant women choose to use marijuana while pregnant, at least 14,000 children in Colorado are at risk of accidentally eating marijuana products that are not safely stored.
The report also says more than five percent of high school students use marijuana daily or almost daily. This has been the case since 2005.
In the state one in every four adults ages 18-25 reported marijuana use in the past month. This is a trend that hasn’t changed much since the legalization of marijuana five years ago.
However new safety measures have gone into effect as of October 2017 in properly labeling marijuana products. The state is also prohibiting certain shapes of marijuana edibles making them less appealing to children.
According to a news release from September edibles may not resemble humans, animals, fruits, artistic, caricatures and cartoons.
“Marijuana products in shape and branding should not be enticing to children and we want consumers to be educated about the potency of the products they are buying, these rules ensure that to be the case,” said Mike Hartman, executive director for the Colorado Department of Revenue.
The new requirements went into effect Oct 1, 2017.
The Department of Public Safety said the total number of marijuana arrests decreased by 46 percent during the early stages of legalization from 2012-2014. Marijuana possession arrests, which make up most marijuana arrests was nearly cut in half.
But, in 2017 the Highway Loss Data Institute, a leading insurance research group, released a study that links increased car crashes to legalized recreational marijuana. The study found collision claims in Colorado, Washington and Oregon went up 2.7 percent in the years since legal pot sales began, compared to surrounding states.
While there are many sides to the discussion on legal marijuana, it is used in medicinal practices. A medical dispensary in Colorado Springs is looking to help treat PTSD with medical marijuana.
The state recently made a decision to recognize PTSD as a mental health condition, which is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
The Colorado state website has many resources available to the public in regards to marijuana laws, annual reports, health effects, trends, tips on responsible marijuana use and more.