Colorado Legalization Talking Points

No buyer’s remorse:

  • 58% of Colorado voters support the state’s marijuana legalization law – an increase of 3 percentage points since the law’s passage in 2012. Only 38% of voters oppose the law.
  • Source: Quinnipiac University poll, February 24, 2015

Reduced Arrests:

  • Criminal marijuana possession charges are down nearly 80% since 2012. Marijuana cultivation charges are down 94 percent during this same time period; marijuana distribution charges have fallen by 98 percent. “The change in the composition of arrests demonstrates the extent to which legal distribution has replaced illicit distribution," concludes a report assessing Colorado’s arrest figures.
  • Source: Colorado Bureau of Investigations; data compiled in “Marijuana Arrests in Colorado After the Passage of Amendment 64

Increased revenues:

  • Revenues and fees for marijuana retail sales in Colorado for 2014, the first full year of retail cannabis sales, totaled $699,198,805.
  • Source: Colorado Department of Revenue
  • Revenue derived from marijuana sales, licenses, and fees totaled over $9 million for the month of March 2015, the last month for which data is available – the highest monthly total on record.
  • Source: Colorado Department of Revenue

Decrease in serious crimes:

  • Incidences of violent crime in Denver, the epicenter for the state’s marijuana retail industry, fell more than 10 percent following the opening of marijuana business in 2014. Between January 1 and April 30, 2014, violent crime and property crime dropped 10.6 percent compared to that same span one year earlier. Homicides fell to less than half of last year’s levels, and motor vehicle theft decreased by over one-third.
  • Source:

No increase in youth use:

  • The percentage of high-schoolers who reported consuming marijuana within the past 30 days fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013. High school students' lifetime use of cannabis declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years. Overall, Colorado teens' use of marijuana has fallen steadily since the mid-1990s.
  • Source: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

No increase in traffic fatalities:

  • An assessment of roadway fatalities in the first seven months of 2014 reported a decline in fatal traffic accidents compared to the first seven months of the prior year, and a decline from the state’s 13-year average.
  • Source: Washington Post