When Colorado voters approved a referendum to legalize the use and sale of marijuana in that state, the drug warriors made all sorts of dystopic predictions. Crime will skyrocket! Roads will become killing fields due to impaired driving! Dogs and cats, living together! It’s only been a few months, but so far things are going just fine.
Since retail sales of recreational marijuana began in Colorado, revenues from marijuana sales have continued trending up. At the same time, crime in Denver, home of most recreational marijuana shops in the state, has dropped nearly across the board.
Colorado and Denver’s experiment with legalization is, in other words, going well. The state is seeing its coffers filled with some extra revenue, as expected. And crime, despite warnings from law enforcement officials, isn’t rising…The Denver Police Department’s crime data shows that violent crime from January through April dropped by 5.6 percent compared to the same time period last year, and robberies in particular fell by 4.8 percent.
Major property crimes also dropped by 11.4 percent, with burglaries falling by 4.7 percent, compared to the same time last year…
All of that is despite warnings from law enforcement officials that crime, particularly robberies and burglaries, would rise following legalization. Two months back, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey told me that legal marijuana was already causing more crimes. But if that’s the case, it’s not showing up in the city’s crime statistics.
It’s early, of course, and these are very short-term trends and only correlations. But I’d be willing to bet that the trend continues long-term as well. They have nothing to sell but fear itself; reality rarely cooperates.