Home / Be The Change / War on Drugs / After Year 2 of Legal Pot in Colorado, ALL Drug-Related Charges Drop Significantly, Record Revenue

After Year 2 of Legal Pot in Colorado, ALL Drug-Related Charges Drop Significantly, Record Revenue


Two years have passed since Colorado residents began legally buying cannabis under voter-approved Amendment 64, and the state is seeing enormous benefits on multiple fronts.

First and foremost, thousands of people are not being thrown in a cage for possessing a plant. Charges for possession, cultivation and distribution have dropped more than 80%. Besides sparing people the stigma and financial burden of a cannabis arrest, cops and courts aren’t wasting taxpayer money going after pot smokers.

“It’s heartening to see that tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding Coloradans have been spared the travesty of getting handcuffed or being charged for small amounts of marijuana,” said Art Way, Colorado State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “By focusing on public health rather than criminalization, Colorado is better positioned to address the potential harms of marijuana use, while diminishing many of the worst aspects of the war on drugs.”

There is another interesting statistic coming out of Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis. According to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), all drug-related charges have dropped by 23% on a judicial district level. It seems that ending pot prohibition can have positive effects in other areas of the war on drugs.

On the issue of tax revenue, Colorado has beaten expectations with a projected $125 million collected in 2015. This is almost three times what the state collected in 2014. Analysts attribute this to a variety of factors, including more dispensaries open, more tourists visiting those pot shops, and more people deciding to try cannabis.

“I attribute it to … more and more people … comfortable with the legalization of marijuana,” said Tyler Henson, president of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. “They don’t see it as something that’s bad for them.”

The revenue from cannabis tax is used for a variety of purposes, such as improving local public schools, behavioral health programs and youth prevention. For example, the Tony Grampsas Youth Development program, which “provides necessary services to youth at risk likely to be disproportionately targeted by punitive prohibition policies,” will receive $23 million in the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

READ MORE:  MSM Finally Admits It, Cannabis Can Cure Cancer, It's High Time We Stop Arresting People for It

The overarching message here is that Colorado has embraced a public health approach to cannabis, instead of making pot users into fodder for the criminal justice system. By accepting the reality of cannabis, including its medical benefits, states can be laboratories for research and the development of humane policies.

The Free Thought Project has documented several other good things about Colorado’s cannabis legalization.  Cannabis businesses have donated large sums of money to clean up highways, teen cannabis use has declined, prescription drug use is down, and deaths from opiate painkillers have declined dramatically. Highway car accident deaths are at their lowest ever, and even violent crime has significantly decreased. It is more difficult to attribute these last two to legalization, but the trends are nonetheless there.

The best way to validate these statistics is for more states to free their citizens from the shackles of prohibition.

  • Every time you click (Y) + Comment (even a single word or picture) you are helping this story reach more people.

    • Freedom doesn’t exist if your involving the Government! https://reason.com/archives/2014/12/05/eric-garners-death-shows-how-stupid-laws

    • Ironic your involving the Government and claiming to be Libertarian. It’s a Natural drug and so is Opium. I wish you Anarchists and Addicts would understand that we have drug laws to protect the innocent and young!

    • Now clean your room little kid!

    • Christopher Smith, love your passion, as we do agree on several things. What people do in their own homes, as long as their is no victim, should be allowed to do what they like. Having the government create prohibitions, isn’t freedom either. If they want to smoke pot, go for it.

    • How I envision the end result of any attempt to reason with Christopher.

    • Opium and coca is natural too,just saying.The drug war has to end though.

    • Howard Wood Marijuana is destroying decades of progress we made in educating generation as to the effects of drugs on our mental health and society. Children are affected. 80% of abused children are abused to to drug abuse. When a parent suffers from depression and anxiety, the children suffer the consequences. We have become a Nation of addicts. I’ve seen to many people lost to drugs, both legal and illegal. No one goes to prison for Marijuana use. People’s records tarnished for use just as people’s are that suffer from Alcohol abuse or use. Is everyone an Alcoholic that has a record for drunk in public, DUI, or disturbance? No, but they have to obey the law like everyone else. We’ve made laws to prohibit the sales of Alcohol and Tobacco to kids, yet we do not have the same laws to protect kids from Marijuana. That is ignorant as hell. Libertarianism isn’t about just letting people take advantage of the weak. John Locke, the creator of Natural Rights and Libertarianism, clearly explained that a free society should establish a judge and rules of law to protect the weak. That is what I’m about. Yes people should be allowed to f’ up their lives or bodies if they choose. But when it effects other’s like children they be held to the same standard as the rest of society. If they want to compare it to Alcohol then they suffer the same consequences as those that let alcohol effect their lives or others. Same goes for Legal drugs as many people are finding out. Just because people have a prescription doesn’t make everything they do legal.

    • Christopher Smith, you know not what you speak of.. After 20 surgeries, with MJ at night I have reduced my opiate use more than half. Broke my back in nine places shattered pelvis in five, unable to sit or stand. Died a few times in the process. MJ has fewer side affects, and I only use it at night . I live in CO and a Dr.is the one who approved me. We have restricted usecto adults only. An addict is an addict and will become addicted to something with out help, be it sex, drugs, alcohol or gambling. We don’t create addicts they are born.

    • Christopher Smith Just stop talking, I am sure whatever you got to say can wait until you are smarter,

    • so true

  • Hell yeah, who the hell came up with the concept of reefer madness?

  • Good to know that this is exactly what I predicted to be the case.

  • Your asking the Government to extort you for what was free? lol

  • sounds OK to me.

  • Not just drug-related crime, but also violent crime, traffic fatalities and ER admissions for street drug overdose, have ALL dropped exponentially, except arson for some reason.

    • It is hard to draw a correlation between arson and drug use, maybe? ….” He was burning buildings for drugs!” I’ve never heard those particular words arranged in that particular order in my lifetime… 🙂

    • other than insurance scams, arson is a mental health issue

    • Oh, watch your step, there, son. You dont want to medicalize human behavior, as nefarious as it may be. I was actually thinking it has more to do with the fact that Denver is still a pretty small town & two or three outliers can tip the scale pretty easily. One or two dedicated, hard-working individuals could easily skew a number like that in Denver.

    • That’s probably because arson is committed by criminals not regular people smoking the herb!

    • probably feds burning plants

  • The question is, weather we want the gov’t to regulate the industry. Cartels of companies will soon dominate it if were not careful.

  • Great now everyone is addicted to crack

  • Much better story then your love fest with the terrorist in Oregon.

  • They want a drunk America ,it’s easier to control a drunk.

    • That’s wrong. Drunks are way more our of control than some dopey stoner. I know cuz I’ve been both.

  • There will be dui revenue for weed , just like beer.

    • Being high while driving is not a real equivalent to drinking and driving

    • and traffic fatalities are down 35% because less people are drinking

    • I know and agree , but controlled freedoms are for safety , folks will never be in agreement of freedoms , a divided country is a good revenue source , it always has been that way.

  • So many POSITIVE effects fron this. It can help ease symptoms from Parkinson’s disease, beneficial for cancer patients, etc.. Meanwhile the ‘common’ drugs prescribed are coated with nasty and harmful side effects. 🙂

  • Excellent fact based story.

  • Government control and revenue is sad , they have sold the idea of America being out of control a long time ago , laws before most were born , do we know the real deal.

  • So in other words the government you don’t follow or Like. You are waiting for them to do something for you?. What’s definition of insanity or just dumbass

    • Blind stupidity of guidelines

    • And what is the citizens supposed to do there robby? They don’t make laws. It’s the government that makes laws. You can’t vote in a law maker. You fucking maggot

  • Charges dropping? Eww, the lawyers, prosecutors, judges, prison corporations and prison guards are going to HATE THAT! Double win for taxpayers. More tax revenue, less lawman salaries! Probably fewer shootings as drug dealers stop settling their once illegal business affairs by gun. Probably fewer burglaries which will mean lower insurance rates!

    Too much money there. Expect our lawmakers to get more bribery money to keep MJ illegal all over the country.

  • In the 60s dad could support a family with several kids , what happened to that dream of pro family . We have failed and fallen into the love of being controlled .it’s a sad dream to live for and live with.

  • And this is the proven fact why the untied states government does not want cannabis legalized. Not because of some fabricated story on how it will harm our childern. Cause if that’s the case, children wouldn’t be given deadly pharmaceuticals.

    • Kids get Oxycontin, and people talk about educating kids on weed. Ok, so heroin is cool? Weed totally destructive? Only in America

    • America is a capitalism country, and big banks and big pharma rule the land. Sadly.

  • of course!

  • Taxes collected were 66 MILLION above expectations, although the RATES have not been reduced and pot smokers are GLAD!!! WHY? Because it goes to schools!!!

  • mellow…

  • Kyle Peterson. Here’s another good one. Proof that legality should happen everywhere

  • End prohibition now. #BernieOrBust !

  • ya think !!

  • Am I the only one who see the stupidity in the headline. Duh! Let’s just state the obvious and make it news.

  • Hallleluia!

  • Weren’t we saying this all along? I’m going to go burn a bowl now and chill.

  • Hemp could change our planet towards peace.

  • Slaves ave no rights to being happy.

  • Pot has caused me nothing but problems…After 79 years of smoking I am still wondering how all these straight people lived with ever knowing what lies they’ve been told.

  • The good here outweighs the bad

  • Now they can go to work and be productive instead of sit in a cell doing nothing but learning more about crime. They can shop at stores and feed their families. I wonder what the stats are on public assistance. I bet those have dropped since people can get jobs without having to quit smoking to take a test to get a job that pays enough not to need those benefits. Business should be booming since people now have money to spend. School enrollment should also be up since that is now a viable and affordable option for higher learning and better paying jobs. Too bad other states haven’t totally gotten it. It is a win win for everyone except those who were making money off it being illegal.

  • Judes Erban

  • Come on Nevada, it’s up for a vote this year!

  • #DinosaurForeplayEndorsed

  • Surprise, surprise. You mean their not shooting heroin yet. Lol

  • The quality of life here is better than ever, and the use of MJ was our Right all along.

  • #freetheweed

  • Gateway drug!!!

  • Come on Ohio

  • Warning, pot has side affects of peace and happiness.

    • And raiding the fridge

    • Getting fat might be a gateway drug, All those chocy biscuits, Lock the fridge, Hahahahaha

    • Actually studies have proven that even though it gives you the munchies it actually helps to balance your metabolism. After using for awhile it can help you to lose weight. There is a saying to go with it even “real stoners don’t get the munchies”

    • Government experts agree that reefer causes men to rape women and jump out windows. Usually in succession, in a state of insane rage. We need prohibition. God bless the U S of A #belieber2012 #bushdid911 #roswell

  • This is just my opinion BUT I DON’T THINK this is good news. The powers that be is exactly what they want people to do with this !!! Don’t think for yourself at least with a clear clean sober intelligent mind. The only thing that I say it would be really good for is for serious medical conditions

    • Not good news? The Natives smokes weed and there’s no recorded deaths nor addictions from it. It’s cured cancer numerous times in children and it is a pain reliever and natural antidepressant.

    • So what pharmaceutical company do you work for?

    • Living is a serious medical condition.

    • Being a indigenous human being Dakota NATION as well as a alcohol and drug addict – 23yrs clean and sober now how do you think I started off??? Smoking pot and I lost my life/soul to it. But hey free will right??? I have seen the damage its done to others. So simply put I SIMPLY WILL HOLD MYSELF ACCOUNTABLE remember I just expressed my opinion I know many people who are enlightened and don’t need drugs to feel better or anything else to feel like a true human being

    • Lol, really!?

    • Darrin Vizenor Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug. If anything it is alcohol

    • Can’t forget sugar the 1st gateway drug.

    • Darrin Vizenor.

    • If its what the powers that be want us to do then why is it still illegal in just about every state?

    • This isn’t what they want. Once this is completely legalized, hemp production will be fully utilized. That’s what they are afraid of. Hemp. Literally can make almost everything we use as a species.

    • I’ll choose weed over pharmaceuticals any day

    • ….. a fair opinion; incorrect and proven not to be accurate, but a fair opinion none the less…..

    • Jacob Gordon Big Pharma is killing people at the rate so high, that it’s not even trackable. Big Pharma = got monies. Not too hard to figure out.

    • Seems like you are the issue here being the drug addict and alcoholic. First and foremost marijuana is not addictive, habit forming sure but not addictive. When I smoked weed I didn’t get the urge to go do other drugs when the people I hung out with did drugs that’s what made me want to also. But I never did it in excess to become addicted. Look just because you can’t handle yourself with mind altering substances doesn’t mean the majority can’t handle themselves. Just look at portugal. Perfect example of how slapping a big law on something and calling it illegal just makes people want it that much worse. But Colorado proved it, drug addiction is down and drug related arrests are down. Plus if alcohol is legal and most people are ruining their bodies with that poison long before they ever find marijuana. Assclown.

    • pharmaceutical companies will lose money, statistics show 80% of pot smokers stop using pharmaceuticals .

    • Darrin Vizenor you were smoking pot before you were drinking? That seems needlessly hardcore. Naw, I’m pretty sure booze was how your life went south, not pot. Kudos for 23 years sober though.

    • if you start out stupid pot might actually make you smarter nimbrod

    • Darrin Vizenor Folks that aren’t in recovery – will not want to understand and will react the very way you’re seeing here. Fortunately we have our community for support and our experience, strength, and hope. Keep walking the walk the brother.

    • Alex Lobato , slow your roll Brother simply expressed a opinion that I thought was a person’s life/right to do.

    • THANK YOU BROTHER Stan Sanders

    • You can express your opinion all you would like but remember your expressing it on the Internet where others have opinions and sometimes harsh and opposing views. Congrats on being sober though.

    • I’m just curious which part you don’t think is good news. The fact that a lot of people are choosing cannabis over hard drugs and alcohol? The fact that there is less crime in Colorado? Do you not like that were taking American money and keeping it in America instead of funding Mexican cartels? Let alone that legalization has very little effect on supply. You could find it anywhere in America. Yet, you don’t like that people now can go to safe store and by it? Or that they only sell cannabis, meaning you won’t be offered crack or meth too while you’re there? Btw, legalizing doesn’t turn the masses into zombies. Some sure who otherwise are lazy anyway. But there are a lot of very successful potheads.

    • I function quite well smoking weed and have never said or done anything to have it ruin my life… Without it, I am a mess of anxiety…. With pills I am a drooling mess and unproductive…. Alcohol helps me make bad decisions so I haven’t touched it in years…. Legalized weed is life changing for people like me…. I am happy Oregon legalized it…. It should never be illegal.

    • marijuana can help with recovery addicts so does psychedelic therapies. THE POWERS TO BE ARE THE NE THAT GOT YOU HOOKED ON ALCOHOL AND PILLS



    • The fact is you are really mis informed if you think this is what they want. this is what they dont want

    • To those who say Marijuana is not addictive; Yes the substance itself is not. Yet a human can become addicted to anything.

    • In the name of all victims of the drug war in my country, go fuck yourself big time. Legalize. Now. If you dont want to use it, great, that would end drugs cartel´s bussines, but enough is enough.

    • I disagree and agree with you, as my opinion I totally agree that it can become addictive, anything can become addictive, and to anyone who says it’s not really needs to rethink that. But it does help people with a lot of illnesses such as mental illness, but a big problem here in Canada at least are poppers (weed and tobacco) which becomes very addictive. But I’m glad you have recovered, any addiction can lead you towards worse addictions, it’s just about controlling your use (of certain things).

  • Roxann Hawley

  • The results would be EVEN MORE POSITIVE if they decided not to tax it since doing so to the extent that they did (28%+ premium over street price) has directly contributed to greatly expanding the black market of cannabis in those states, regardless of the extra tax revenues. The best solution for cannabis is for the State to completely ignore individual’s voluntary arrangements associated with the substance. Period.

  • I live in CO and it’s really not a big deal. The only problem is I don’t see where all of that tax $ is going, gov pockets I assume.

    • Bingo!

    • Well, anyone who’s actually read up on the proposition that legalized it would know that a majority of it is earmarked for education and city repairs

    • Follow the money!! There absolutely needs to be ACCOUNTABILITY!! They brought the lottery to California years ago and it was supposed to benefit the schools there!! They put a Backdoor Deal on it that allows the State to distribute the money to whatever area they choose when there is a Shortfall!! Guess what every year there is a Shortfall in California’s Revenue!!! It’s CRIMINAL!!

  • The true lazy test.. if almost everyone stops working in colorado, we will know POT makes you lazy. Otherwise, we are good to go

    • Pot only makes you lazy if you choose to be lazy while smoking it and depending on strain.

    • Tell the damn truth. you just want to get what you call “high”. What I call a LOW.. One small tote for me and I am like almost passing out stage. So the point was, some can and some cant

  • Love to smoke POT

  • Long story short.. these “aliens” “greys” are demons..

    • Um. What?

    • Follow the rabbit hole.. I’d start with the Rothschild, bilderberg, masons, illuminati, satanic music industry, false flags, you know …

  • Well it should be legalized everywhere pharmaceuticals and alcohol are the real problems

  • More money than those insane drug busts or faulty traffic “safety” citations lol

  • Meanwhile my dumbass state is trying to take them down….what ever happen to keeping up with the Joneses

  • Why is alcahol legal and not pot? Open your eyes isn” this like prohibition.? Who is benifitting from it not being legal? Have yoy ever heard of the cartell?This is my personal opion. Teresa ?

  • Imagine that

  • Let’s see, people are not going to jail in Colorado for simple possession of marijuana saving the state money on prison accommodations and law enforcement expenses enforcing such laws and gaining massive revenues in the process. Sounds like a win-win for the people and the state. The only losers are the corrupt prison corporations and pharmaceutical industries.

  • the elites finally realizing there is more money made from legalizing pot than not.

  • Something our “war on drugs” has failed to accomplish after more than 50 years of incarceration efforts…

  • Yea I can really as these people causing a revolution.
    Fighting the oppressive government.

  • Ok as medicine but recreation.
    People will always abuse it.
    Plus no passion no activism from being stoned.
    See my earlier statement

    • as a Dutchman I can tell you that abuse actually goes down when recreational use is decriminilized. one thing I will say, is that the modifications of the plant to become as potent as it now is in Holland, is not good. THC levels are way too high. a naturally grown weed is much less addictive, and does not make a zombie out of people. and it stimulates creativity and such. but saying abuse will go up when it is readily available is false. it is also much harder for a teen to get weed in Holland than anywhere where it is illegal.

    • Ok Niex Knox understood.
      Still it’s not high on my priorities. No pun intended.
      Palestine.. Iraq.. Syria etc are more on my mind.
      The Banksters and Corporations destroyingthe world
      society and everything in between.
      How do we stop this???

    • Smoke all day get high grow your own shit but be a part of the solution to the world’s problems.
      Or your just another sheep.

    • Sorry if I come on hard. Or sound fanatical. No offense meant.

    • Define medicinal. Is using it is a stress reliever at the end of a hard work week count?

    • just like booze.

    • Over 100,000 people die every year from the proper use of LEGAL prescription drugs.

    • Randy McHeathen yup!

    • Kathrina Wilhelm except that booze actually kills people.

    • Have you been to Colorado? Have you seen “medicinal” pot? Probably not… If you have than you would think it was different from recreational. The vast majority of “medical pot” users are just potheads who wanna pay less for thier “medicine”.

    • And what you mean no passion no activism from being stoned!? Ever heard of the 60s!?

    • Trevor I said it’s ok for medicinal purposes

    • I’m referring to those who abuse pot and its been explained to me by Niex Knox that its cause of the crazy potency that people become vegetables.
      So chill brother.

    • Still 60s were sex drugs rock n roll.
      We need awareness protests and revolution.
      Because these bastards are literally Destroying the planet Killing millions Destroyin societies creating fascist states America well on its way to becoming one.
      So lets use our energies facing this threat making others aware waking them up…
      Fight the power cause their already fighting you. Your just not aware.

    • Bullshit.

    • Bullshit.

    • Yes my wonderfull brother Bob Henry
      Is that it Bullshit.
      Nothing in particular to critasice.
      Bring some intelligent criticism.
      Hate is for fools anger is for the weak insults are for children.
      Grow up and put up or shut up.

    • If someone has “no passion, no activism” after smoking pot it only means they had no passion or activism to begin with.

    • Correct. But I’m agreeing in moderation it’s ok.
      BUT. There are a lot more people who abuse it and smoke the super strong shit.

    • Anyway forget that.
      I’m just saying people it’s better to talk about the cirruption the murders the bankers corporations who are stealing the world’s wealth enslaving nations and slowly destroying Everyone’s lives Inc yours.
      Wake up to this.
      It’s far more important relevant and necessary to Address and confront these issues.

    • Blanket statements are very rarely accurate. I know many people in CO who are activist stoners.

    • Ok. Peace and love to you All.
      As long as you know what’s going on.
      I’m sure your all doing your utmost best to bring the light of truth to those around you and the public in General.
      Thanks for hearing me out.
      Much love

  • http://www.donmurrayastrologer.com/news.html ….jockeys and cannabis cushions

  • No victim, no crime. If it makes you happy, smoke on!

  • Cops can’t be liking that at all.

  • Like it or not, it works for everyone.

  • Duhhh, it’s called legalization

  • Why would this surprise anyone!? Most “drug” arrests are because of weed!!!

  • There could be half the prisoners half the court cases yet there has been no reduction in costs of govt lol lol empty jails with lots of big fat abusers waiting to police asses but none are there.

  • Take notice Texas and Marijuana is not a drug it is a natural herb it has no man made chemicals it that make it a drug

  • Of course it dropped.. excuse me but… duuuuuh!

  • Just add a little free market, boom freedom. Because evil capitalist shit.

  • More tax revenue is a bad thing

  • We saw the same happen in Holland.

  • If it’s legal now shouldn’t everyone that got charged for possession of it be made innocent since its all good now??

    • Because prisons are for profit. They aren’t gonna release all their slaves *coughs* *ahem* workers I mean.

    • Because prisons are for profit. They aren’t gonna release all their slaves *coughs* *ahem* workers I mean.

  • I agree but it makes ya lazy and not get anything done on time and paranoia

  • Love the headline, basically: “Now that it’s legal, people aren’t going to jail”… duhhhh…

  • While I don’t think it should be illegal, I do find it shameful that so many people need to drown their problems and sorrows in mood and mind altering substances like this.

  • Sorry I had to unfollow.

  • DUH

  • That easy huh

  • Free the Weed and Fill the Need!!

  • Assertions.

  • This is not an invitation.

  • Record driving under tge influence, record crime, increasing unemployment and welfare

  • Duh! It’s legal now.