As Oregon voters consider Measure 91, a bill on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older, many are looking to how similar laws are affecting Colorado and Washington.
Colorado began implementation of Amendment 64 in January of this year. According to the state's department of revenue, the first seven months of legal marijuana sales resulted in more than $27 million in taxes and fees. Currently, $5.3 million has been raised to improve Colorado's Schools via the Best Fund as mandated by Amendment 64. Also after six months, there was a 5.2% decrease in violent crime since the same time last year in Denver. And, according to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, by removing criminal penalties for marijuana, the state could save anywhere from $12 to $40 million in one year. Read the Drug Policy Alliance Amendment 64 Six-Month Status Report HERE and the Brookings Center for Effective Public Management Report on Amendment 64 HERE.
In Washington, since retail stores licensed under Initiative 502 began opening on July 8, customers have bought more than $16 million of legal marijuana. Total sales doubled in August to $6.9 million from $3.2 million in July, and the first three weeks of September generated $5.8 million in sales. Meanwhile, these sales have generated $4 million in marijuana excise tax revenue for the state, plus state and local retail sales and business and occupation taxes. Over the next five years, tax revenues from regulated marijuana sales are projected to reach $636 million. And according to data from the state Administrative Office of the Courts, the number of misdemeanor charges against adults over the age of 21 for marijuana has plummeted from 5,531 in 2012, to just 120 in 2013. The ACLU of Washington points out that this reduction in criminal charges represents a freeing up of limited police and prosecutorial resources for more important public safety concerns like violent crime. Read the Brookings Center for Effective Public Management Report on Initiative 502 HERE.
WHAT: Press Teleconference: Impact of marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington. Hear from experts followed by Q&A. Read background summary on CO and WA marijuana laws here.
WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 30, 11am - noon PT / 2- 3pm ET
HOW: Please contact Tony Newman for details: 646-335-5384
- CO State Representative Jonathan Singer, who sponsored bills in the state general assembly addressing regulation of edibles and marijuana concentrates, and the marijuana banking bill
- Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney
- Lewis Koski, Director of Marijuana Enforcement, Colorado
- Norm Stamper, Retired Chief of Seattle Police Department
- Tony Ryan, Retired Denver Police Officer
- Art Way, State Director, Colorado Office, Drug Policy Alliance
- Alison Holcomb, Criminal Justice Director, ACLU of Washington
- Anthony Johnson, Chief Petitioner of Measure 91
- Jill Harris (moderator), Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives, Drug Policy Alliance