Recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado on Nov. 6, 2012.
By January of 2014, marijuana was commercially available, forever changing the state of Colorado. But are those changes for the better or the worse?
The Marijuana Boom
There’s no denying that marijuana has been good for business and for the state’s coffers. In 2018, marijuana sales in the state surpassed $1.55 billion, according to the Denver Post. What’s more, the state has collected nearly $1 billion in fees and taxes since the law took effect in 2014.
But while there’s no question that the drug is profitable and popular, the larger issue remains of whether the legalization of marijuana has been good for the state as a whole.
Marijuana Abuse in Colorado
While the majority of Colorado residents polled say they don’t regret the legalization of marijuana, there are still questions.
In 2018, Colorado’s former governor (he has since been term limited out of office) John Hickenlooper told CNN that he had not ruled out trying to make marijuana illegal again due to a crime rate that’s been rising since 2014. Pot supporters, meanwhile, point out that there is no proven link between the rise in crime and the legalization of marijuana.
Other Concerns about Marijuana in Colorado
Other concerns about the drug include a lack of minority-owned marijuana businesses, the difficulty of assessing drugged driving and the potential dangers of children accidentally consuming marijuana edibles like gummy bears.
So what’s the bottom line on the issue? It’ll probably take time to asses all of the long-term effects but, in the meantime, Colorado is not alone. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states, as well as all of Canada.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some 30 percent of people who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. Like other drugs, marijuana can turn the dial down on your body’s own natural ability to regulate mood, meaning that regular users can feel lifeless and agitated when they stop using.
There is also evidence that marijuana truly is a gateway drug, leading to addiction to either alcohol or other drugs.
Addiction Help in Denver, Colorado, at The Raleigh House
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