With the headway made into the legalization of marijuana in past years, for both medical and recreational purposes, it would be useful to analyze the effects of this legalization on the states in which it has been legalized. This article aims to do that via an examination of Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
The Effects on Business
The most obvious and impactful effect of the legalization of marijuana, in terms of business, is the sudden and extensive market that is now available to any corporation established to sell marijuana, CBD, and other cannabis-based products.
Not to mention the advent of businesses that provide the equipment needed to properly and effectively farm and process cannabis. This includes everything from the land needed to plant the crop to the hydrocarbon extraction equipment needed to extract CBD and other cannabinoids through solvent extraction.
In the state of Colorado alone, the sales of medical and recreational marijuana totaled over $2.1 billion in 2020, which is a fifth of the total sales of over $10 billion since sales began in January 2014. The distribution of these sales illustrates not only that the sale of marijuana is a lucrative business but that it is steadily and increasingly quickly becoming more so.
The Effects on Economy
The above sales have resulted in over $387 million in taxes in 2020 and total tax revenue of around $1.6 billion since collections began in February 2014. This is evidence that the sale of marijuana has been an incredibly beneficial influence on the economy of Colorado, and these statistics are specifically for the sale of marijuana. These numbers do not include the effect that the ancillary business surrounding the business of growing and selling cannabis will likely have had. Such as businesses that ship, house, and plant cannabis sativa itself.
Based on the extremely lucrative nature of the sales of marijuana, it is safe to assume that businesses that enable its production and sale would share some portion of the success that the marijuana sales industry has found. The positive economic effects of the legalization of marijuana are likely even further-reaching in Colorado than the $1.6 billion dollars’ worth of taxes that have boosted the economy.
The Effects on Crime
One of the main concerns around getting involved with the marijuana industry is related to the previous criminal nature of the plant and how involvement with marijuana might reflect on the company. A good way to investigate the connection of marijuana to crime in states where it has now been legalized is to look at the crime rate.
According to a 2018 study titled ‘The Cannabis Effect on Crime: Time-Series Analysis of Crime in Colorado and Washington State’ the legalization of marijuana has had little long-term effect on the rate of crime in both Colorado and Washington. This data suggests that there is little lasting connection between marijuana and criminal activity. A conclusion that is corroborated by another 2018 paper titled ‘High Crimes? The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Crime in Colorado’ echoes the findings of the previously mentioned paper.