When Colorado voted to legalize weed, many cried anarchy. Prohibitionists predicted legalization would turn neighborhoods into dens of iniquity, scare away tourists and most importantly corrupt our youth. Except, it didn't. One year after Amendment 64 went into effect, here's what changed.
1. Black Market Weed Dealers Lost A Ton Of Money
What happens when three adorable Grandmas rip a bong for the first time in their lives? Viral perfection, that's what. Besides being hilarious, this vid is certain proof that social attitudes regarding marijuana use are changing...fast.
Thanks to Colorado for forging the way, and proving that legal marijuana will not usher in the apocalypse. The rest of the U.S. looks forward to joining you soon.
1. Black Market Weed Dealers Lost A Ton Of Money
Flooded with legal weed, the market in Colorado has not been kind to illegal growers and sellers, who now face stiff competition from dispensaries. Many have stopped operating altogether, while others have chosen to go legit.
2. We're Finally Spending Serious Money To Study Marijuana's Medical Potential
The Colorado state Board of Health recently approved nearly $8 million in grant funding for studies that will explore marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson's disease, pediatric epilepsy and brain tumors, and pain, reports the Huffington Post.
3. Someone Built A Tinder For Weed Smokers
Called 'High There,' the app pairs weed-smokers based on smoking preferences and what kind of personality they have when high.
4. The Tourism Industry Is Booming
"...We saw huge amounts of travel around the beginning of the year and in April," said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. "...what we can say with absolutely certainty is that the fear-mongering about how having a legal marijuana market would destroy Colorado tourism and the state's economy has been proven 100 percent wrong."
5. A Surprising Number Of People Would Rather Eat Weed Than Smoke It
"The proliferation of marijuana-infused edibles stunned state and industry leaders, making it one of the biggest surprises during the first year of legal recreational marijuana sales," reports the Denver Post. "Potent cookies, candies and drinks — once considered a niche market — now account for roughly 45 percent of the legal marijuana marketplace..."
6. Weed Created Over 10,000 New Jobs (And Counting)
As of November 2014, 10,000 people had already "become licensed by the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division, working as growers, trimmers and budtenders, but also as bakers and chocolatiers and tour guides," reported MSNBC.
7. Colorado Has Raked In Over $60 Million In Tax Revenue
From January to October 2014, the medical and recreational weed sales were over $572 million, resulting in around $60.1 million in taxes, licenses and fees in just the first 10 months of 2014. A huge portion of that money will go toward building and maintaining schools.
8. So Much Money, In Fact, They Have To Refund Some Of It To The Citizens
Under a 1992 voter-approved constitutional amendment named the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, Colorado is faced with the prospect of giving a portion of this tax revenue windfall back to the taxpayers. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are scrambling to prevent this, of course.
9. Your Vagina Can Now Get High On Cannalube
Foria is the first marijuana infused personal lubricant designed for female pleasure. And the reviews have been highly favorable.
10. No One Gave Marijuana Edibles To Trick-or-Treaters
Graphics like the one above garnered wide-spread criticism for the Denver Police Department last Halloween. And wouldn't ya know it? Not a single marijuana edible ended up in anyone's candy bag.
11. Colorado's Economy Became One Of The Strongest In The Nation
For the second time, Colorado ranks among the top 10 states in the country for job growth. "Not only is the state's economy solidly in positive territory, but it is ranking in the top five nationally for population growth, employment growth, wage and salary growth and personal income growth," said economist Richard Wobbekind of CU-Boulder's Leeds School of Business.
12. Grandmas Are Hitting Bongs (And Loving It)
13. Marijuana Journalism Is Now A Thing
14. Colorado Cops Have Some Extra Time On Their Hands
In 2012, Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver told voters to "expect more crime, more kids using marijuana and pot for sale everywhere." Instead, marijuana-related arrests, which made up almost 50% of all drug-related crimes as of 2012, plummeted in Colorado in the first six months of legalization.
15. In Denver, They Also Get To Wear Smell-O-Scopes
Thanks to Denver's new "odor ordinance," anyone found guilty of polluting the atmosphere with the smell of marijuana can face up to $2,000 in fines. "So, to investigate odor complaints more effectively, Denver Police are using a ridiculous bit of tech called the Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer – a device that's basically a handheld smelloscope," reports DigitalTrends.com.
16. Awesome New Weed PSAs That Tell You Almost Nothing You Don't Already Know
"Instead of detailing how to mitigate the health risks of cannabis consumption or touching on how to consume edibles for the first time without ending up on the floor in the fetal position, 'Good to Know' repeats information that anyone who’s remotely interested could find in less time than it's taking me to type this sentence," reports Slate's Betsy Woodruff.
17. (At Least Seattle PD Got Creative)
When faced with a similar task--i.e. explaining the do's and don'ts of legal pot to Hempfest attendees--Seattle PD had a much better idea.