Colorado After Amendment 64
Everyone has been anxiously anticipating the release of the report that will show the statistics of activity after Colorado opened its first retail marijuana store on January 1, 2014. The Drug Policy Alliance brings good news, stating that there has been an increase in tax revenue and jobs while traffic fatalities and crime rate are decreasing as well.
According to the Drug Policy, marijuana possession charges are down by more than 90% since 2010. Possession cases in court have decreased from 30,428 in 2010 to just 1,922 in 2014. The rate of arrests against African Americans has dropped from 87 per 100,000 in 2012 to 25 per 100,000 in 2014. Marijuana distribution charges are down 99%, while cultivation charges are down by 96%. Distribution charges for men of color have not increased and the rate for African American distribution incidents has significantly dropped from 87 per 100,000 in 2012 to 25 per 100,000 in 2014.
Colorado has seen a decrease in synthetic marijuana arrests, most likely because Coloradans are more likely to purchase authentic cannabis since it has been legalized. Overall, drug-related incidents are down 23% since 2010, based on a 53% drop in marijuana-related incidents. Denise Maes, Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Colorado, emphasized, “What is often overlooked concerning marijuana legalization is that it is first and foremost a criminal justice reform. This report reminds us of how law enforcement and our judiciary are now able to better allocate time and energy for more pressing concerns.”