An amazing thing has happened in Colorado since it legalized cannabis- marijuana-laced candy hasn’t been handed out to children and the highways haven’t been flooded with drugged drivers and overdoses. Most of the initial fears have subsided. The state’s governor has recognized that recreational cannabis is not that bad, after all.
After four solid years, the data has returned, and recreational cannabis hasn’t been a bad thing for Colorado. In many ways, it’s done great things economically for the state.
Governor John Hickenlooper has come a long way since Colorado first legalized cannabis four years ago. The governor originally said it was “reckless” for Colorado to legalize marijuana. “Colorado is known for many great things,” Hickenlooper warned. “Marijuana should not be one of them.” Colorado is known for its skiing, high altitudes and progressive laws.
There’s no doubt that Governer Hickenlooper didn’t want to be known as the first governor in America to legalize marijuana- But, after four years he’s warmed up to recreational cannabis. “If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it,” he said. “It’s beginning to look like it might work.” It has worked. $100 million in cannabis tax revenue proves that it is working. The state enjoys some of the lowest unemployment rates in America- an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. Hickenlooper sounded a lot more positive when he spoke about recreational marijuana on his appearance on “60 Minutes.”
Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project worked hard to pass Amendment 64. “The predictions of fire and brimstone have failed to materialize,” joked Mason Tvert,“Most Coloradoans, including the governor, recognize that the law is working.” Several tiny towns in Colorado, as well in other states, have saved themselves from imminent bankruptcy by tapping into the lucrative powers of the cannabis industry.
Andrew Freedman, who is Colorado’s marijuana czar, said marijuana arrests are down 80 percent.“In the short run, there have been a lot fewer public safety and health issues than the governor feared in the beginning,” Freedman explained. “In the beginning, we had problems with edibles and hash oil fires but now, for the most part, Colorado looks a lot like it did before legalization.” The US Government still equates cannabis with heroin, but the Obama Administration has kept their hands out of the situation. Colorado was a pleasant surprise for a lot of leaders. “I think [Gov. Hickenlooper is] pleasantly surprised that there were not as many challenges as he thought,” Freedman told the San Francisco Gate.
According to Mason Tvert, Colorado’s reputation is actually getting better. Business conferences that originally refused to be hosted in Denver now offer “pot tours” as day trips. Recreational cannabis has arguably improved tourism in Colorado. Legal cannabis has driven down the price of marijuana in the United States, making competition almost impossible for competing organized crime. Most now agree that recreational cannabis has been a good thing for the state of Colorado.