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How Has Marijuana Legalization Changed Colorado?

As perceptions change about marijuana and the dangers associated with it, more and more states are taking a lighter stance on the drug. Colorado may be the primary example of that, having legalized cannabis five years ago in 2013. So now a half a decade later, what are the real repercussions of it all? The site Yahoo Finance offered some telling insights, which the whole country may want to take note of.

First, the site focused on the “good.” So what were the biggest benefits of having legalized weed over the past five years? Namely, Tax revenue. When looking at the totals, marijuana sales helped Colorado’s tax revenues jump 266% from 2014 to now. Last year alone, they were able to collect over $247 million. This, of course, came from dispensary profits and sales from other small businesses across the state.

But what about the negative effects of legalization? Truth be told, there were some tangible detriments to having marijuana readily accessible to Colorado citizens. DUI’s did appear to be on the rise, as were intoxicated traffic fatalities. The number of deaths attributed to high drivers increased 153% from 2013 to 2017.

Marijuana-related hospitalizations also saw an uptick. This jump actually appeared to be the most significant, from 575 in 2000 to 3,517 in 2016. The stats included emergency room visits, as well as calls to poison control centers. Yahoo Finance even presented a chart, which showed the breakdown of Colorado hospitalizations year after year.

Marijuana addiction was actually a topic that the site did not cover; but from stories that we have encountered, it is a very real occurrence and one that should not be taken lightly. Though not as harmful as alcoholism or a cocaine habit, per se, side effects that can accompany a weed addiction include depression, weight changes and lung disorders (for those who choose to smoke it). It has also been called out many times as a “gateway drug” that can lead to harder substances.

Our own state of California is a bit newer to the legalized marijuana phenomenon, but it will be worthwhile to see how it impacts Southland locals over the course of the next decade. Impaired auto accidents and hospitalizations are just as common here in relation to the drug. And it will be interesting to see how the tax revenue totals play into our own busy economy.

For a full glimpse on the Yahoo Finance analysis, take a look at the video below. And if any marijuana habits in your household appear to be troublesome, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for support.