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Is Legal Weed Causing Increasing Crime Rates in Colorado?

Marijuana Plants
Photo by Gracie Malley

Joint Opinions

Is Legal Weed Causing Increasing Crime Rates in Colorado?

In the foul grips of the prohibitionary mindset there is a legion of imaginary demons fiendishly ripping at the core of common intelligence that will inevitably ensure the wound inflicted by decades of Reefer Madness continues to bleed for many years to come. It is for that reason it has become necessary to aggressively combat this scourge of hemophilia by applying a journalistic chokehold fierce enough to put these snarling beasts in a state of eternal sleep.

One of the latest monstrosities to emerge with remedial anti-pot swill dripping in excess from its chin is the ultra-conservative magazine American Thinker. Earlier this month, one of the publication’s veteran writers, Sierra Rayne, published a ridiculous piece that suggested Colorado’s decision to legalize weed has contributed to an increase in crime. Using a shoddy analysis of the latest data provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Rayne suggests, “the evidence is starting to mount that Colorado’s experiment with legalized marijuana has led to increased crime in the state.”

While the writer is quick to point out the slight increase in violent crime for 2014, she failed to reveal the brass tacks of the situation in the Centennial State: there was actually an overall decrease in criminal activity last year. And while the article is an admirable attempt at painting a skewed portrait of a state on the verge of a vile Thunderdome courtesy of marijuana legalization, the truth is no one has been able to come up with any hardcore facts to explain the nature of Colorado’s decade long roller coaster ride of transgression.

Denver Marijuana Management Analyst Netia Ingram said earlier this year that the numbers are not an accurate representation of how marijuana legalization has impacted crime rates in Colorado.

“She says the apparent increase in crime is related to the Denver Police Department changing the way it reported stats in 2013, as well as changing policies that increased the number of petty citations but decreased violent and property crimes,” according to the Denver Westword.

Even Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who once called marijuana legalization “reckless,” told reporters last week that the state has not experienced the outlaw horror show that many predicted was on the horizon after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64.

“After the election, if I could’ve had a magic wand, and I could’ve waved it and reversed the outcome of the election, I would’ve done it,” Hickenlooper said. “Now if I had that same magic wand, I’m not sure I’d wave it.”

The feared social issues that some would like to believe comes with legalization, which has yet to be revealed an actual detriment to populations that have embraced this reform, are no match for the economic benefit that has been proven in Colorado throughout the course of the past two years. Some of the latest reports indicate the state has surpassed $100 million in tax revenue during the current fiscal year.

What’s more is the latest Crime in Colorado report has not incited alarm with leading state officials. Andrew Freedman, the governor’s “Marijuana Czar,” told Mic there were concerns that legalization would lead to “crime-ridden streets and everything would be incredibly dangerous,” but “we’re not seeing any of that.”

What do you think? Does cannabis legalization lead to an increase in crime?

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