While some of the more conservative opinions against legal marijuana predicted that as soon as Colorado legalized recreational sales the state would become a anarchists’ playground, recent reports, indicate that just four months after legal sales began in Denver there has not been an increase in crime.
In fact, the city’s latest crime data indicates that between the period of January and April, Denver felt a significant decrease in violent crime from the year before. Statistics show that all four major categories of violent offenses — homicide, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault — dropped off by nearly 6 percent from rates recorded during the same time in 2013.
Interestingly, this data paints a different portrait of legal marijuana compared with the messaging delivered by local law enforcement before the passage of Amendment 64. Police agencies warned citizens against voting in favor of retail marijuana because they said it would sever the moral jugular of the community.
“Expect more crime, more kids using marijuana and pot for sale everywhere,” said Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver back in 2012. “I think our entire state will pay the price.”
Despite the unheeded warnings of local law enforcement, Colorado marijuana commerce has continued to flourish in an optimistic and civil environment — generating somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 million in tax revenue for the state since its retail sales began in January.
In a recent PLOS ONE journal entry, a study entitled “The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006” found that crimes rates did not increase with the passing of medical marijuana laws, and in some cases, there were even reductions in violent crime.
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