Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, wrote in The Economist that Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization is a resounding success.
“In 2014, retail cannabis sales raised some $76 million in tax revenue and fees, according to data compiled by the Colorado Department of Revenue,” he said. “Under prohibition, this money is diverted to black-market entrepreneurs, not to licensed businesses.”
Marijuana prosecutions also fell dramatically in Colorado, saving the state millions of dollars in court and jail costs.
“Ultimately, however, the case for legalization is not solely an economic one,” Armentano said. “Criminalization of cannabis encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties and disproportionately affects communities of color. That is why a majority of Americans recognize that a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the limited, licensed commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults is preferable to criminal prohibition.”