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New Schools, Less Crime: Colorado Sees Benefits Of Marijuana Legalization

Published in partnership with MintPress News.

DENVER — Colorado’s successful experiment in marijuana legalization is bringing in millions of dollars of revenue per month while simultaneously benefiting schools and contributing to a drop in crime rates.

Colorado reached over $50 million dollars in recreational cannabis sales in June, breaking the state’s previous record, according to Ricardo Baca, a staff writer for Denver Post’s The Cannabist. In addition, medical sales reached $25 million.

Based on the state’s various taxes on marijuana sales, Baca reports that the state has earned over $60 million dollars in marijuana tax revenue so far this year.

Along with legalization, Colorado voters approved a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales that is only to be used for school construction. According to another recent report from Baca, Colorado schools have earned $13.6 million in just the first five months of 2015, a sharp increase over 2014, when the tax generated a total of $13.3 million for the whole year. Putting that figure in perspective, Baca quoted a local Colorado school superintendent, who said that $40 million would fund the construction of “two well-equipped elementary schools, or one well-equipped middle school with an athletic field.”

Tax revenues for Colorado schools and infrastructure are not the only benefit of legalization for the state. Astudy released in January by the Drug Policy Alliance showed that legalization has led to a decrease in crime. In January, Laura McCauley, a staff writer for Common Dreams, summarized the study’s findings:

According to statistics compiled by the DPA, in the first 11 months of 2014, the rate of violent crime fell 2.2 percent compared with the same period in 2013. In the same time frame, burglaries in Colorado’s capital, Denver, decreased by 9.5 percent and overall property crime decreased by 8.9 percent.

Further, arrests for marijuana possession have continually dropped since 2010 and are now down roughly 84 percent.

Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and