Imagine walking down a sidewalk and entering a convenience store to purchase five grams of marijuana, legally. It sounds absolutely absurd and ridiculous, but it is now quite common in the state of Colorado, the first US state to ever legalize marijuana, even for non-medical purposes. Legal for those in Colorado 21 or older, marijuana is now as accessible as a roll of toilet paper and taxed heavier than imported tea from the 1780s. However, the causes and effects of Colorado’s new amendment are even more notable and even act as a catalyst towards a national recognition towards a regulated, recreational use of marijuana.
The actual cause of marijuana’s legalization in Colorado would seem to be very difficult to understand, spanning over many years. But actually, according to the Colorado state website, Amendment 64, “which directed the Colorado Department of Revenue to promulgate rules governing businesses that cultivate and sell Retail Marijuana…was proclaimed into the Colorado Constitution on December 10, 2012” (Hickenlooper 2). The passing of this amendment was based primarily on the votes of the people, who agreed in unison that marijuana should be allowed to be used freely by those of or above the age of 21. And as of January 1st, 2014, the state of Colorado welcomed stores, dispensaries, and markets selling marijuana, pipes, and other paraphernalia.
Obviously, an effect, that was known to exist the minute the first marijuana dispensary opened, of legalizing marijuana is the predicable, expensive, and heavy taxies placed upon the drug. The state of Colorado estimated they would earn about $184 million in tax revenue after the first 18 months of the legalization act being put into law. Legal marijuana is now taxed three times throughout the entire process of distribution, including producing, selling, and buying. Although the profits of selling “weed” in Colorado only benefits the producers and distributors, or “budtenders”, the tax revenue is actually used for beneficial purposes. The Colorado state government allocated a great portion of tax money, including “$45.5 million for the prevention of youth marijuana use; $40.4 million for treatment of substance use; $12.4 million for public health; $1.8 million for regulatory oversight; [and] $3.2 million for law enforcement and public safety” (Smith 5).
Going one step further, the government, education systems, and local stores are actually not the only ones raking in cash and benefiting. Locals and organizations are also taking advantage of legalization of marijuana, whether medical or recreational. A thirteen-year-old Girl Scout from California, Danielle Lei, set up a cookie stand in front of a local medical marijuana clinic, hoping to make money for her club. Because THC, the active substance within marijuana, causes feelings of hunger and “the...