What will happen to states that will legalize cannabis?
A report from the Colorado government reveals the results of the first major legalization experience in the world: unlike the opposition, the consumption of minors did not increase, the percentage of graduates continued to grow and the percentage of school dropouts continued to decline. In addition to all this, the state has earned hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
This key issue has delayed legalization for many years, for fear of the authorities against the consequences that might ensue. Today, five years after the opening of legal cannabis stores in Colorado, you can already see the results that surprise even the biggest advocates of legalization.
Un new report from the Ministry of Public Security Colorado reveals the results. Here is the summary.
Number of offenses
The number of cannabis offenses decreased by 55% from 11 753 2012 indictment to 5 288 2017. In general, the number of small offenses in the country has decreased by 62% and the number of indictments for minor crimes of 13%.
The number of arrests involving cannabis decreased by 52% between 2012 and 2017, from 12 709 to 6 153 arrests. The number of arrests for cannabis use decreased by 54% and the number of arrests on 17% sales.
The report points out that "any presence of cannabinoids in the blood is not an indication of driving under the influence" and explains that the country's legal limit for driving is 5 THC nanograms per ml of blood.
In the case of fatal accidents where the THC level of drivers was above the legal threshold, it represented only 8% of all fatal road accidents in 2017, against 13% in 2016.
Use in adults
From 2014 to 2017, cannabis use among adults has increased slightly in Colorado, but it should be noted that the rate of cannabis use in the United States and around the world is generally rising.
According to 2017 data, about 15,5% of adults in Colorado reported using cannabis last month versus 13,6% in 2014. 7,6% of adults reported daily cannabis use in 2017 versus 6% in 2014.
Visits to the hospital
In 2015, according to the report, 913 100000 visits to emergency rooms were due to cannabis use, against 739 emergency room visits to 100000 between 2010 and 2013: slight increase due to people who do not consume cannabis cannabis and who have used products highly concentrated in THC. The main complaints concerned: panic attacks, anxiety, rapid pulse, confusion and breathing difficulties.
The rate of cannabis use during the last 30 days in miners remained practically unchanged and even slightly decreased, from 19,7% in 2014 to 19,4% in 2017. The rate of cannabis use among Colorado high school students in 2017 was slightly lower than the overall US average - 19,4% in Colorado, versus 19,8% in the United States.
Colorado's degree eligibility rate continued to increase after legalization, and the drop-out rate continued to decline.
State takes advantage of taxes
The profits from the cannabis tax in Colorado have gone from 67,6 millions of dollars in 2014 to 247,4 millions of dollars in 2017, an increase of 266%.
In 2017, 40 million dollars of these taxes were invested in school construction and 27,7 millions of additional dollars in public education.
The five-year experience of innovative legalization for recreation in Colorado now contains enough data to do more than demonstrations and discuss its success.