DENVER — Just two weeks after the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, significant effects have been seen statewide. Colorado representatives confirm that legalized possession and consumption has lead to a boost in local businesses, and a bored police force.
Historically, the primary arguments used by legalization opponents include concerns about increases in criminal activity, health risks and dependency. These worries have since been proven unfounded.
In Denver, officials report a drastic decrease in violent crimes, speeding violations and drug trafficking. Sheriff Elaine McGuire explains that with the legalization of marijuana police forces have lost a significant criminal demographic.
“Aside from the fact that many drug dealers have been put out of business, an entire demographic of criminals has literally disappeared overnight. The fact that college students will now graduate with clean records might seem beneficial at first, but what about the prisons and police departments that rely on those transgressions for income?”
Along with police departments, major pharmaceuticals have also reported losses following the new legislation. Prior to September, there were seven million reported recreational prescription drug users in the U.S. Now that marijuana has presented itself as a natural alternative which people can grow themselves, the number of prescription dependent residents has been greatly reduced in Colorado, Washington and the surrounding states. These decreases have cost manufacturers millions in the past two weeks and threatens the pain-relief industry as a whole.
Nathan Hackman, spokesperson for Johnson and Johnson, a major manufacturer of prescription medications, confirmed that the corporation has already begun lobbying against the new laws.
“Most people might call them drug addicts, but we call them valued customers. Many people are excited about the recent access to marijuana because they think it’s a healthy and natural alternative to manufactured medicine. But we want people to remember that sometimes the best solutions for citizens are not the best solutions for corporations, and corporations are people too.”
Despite lack of revenue faced by pharmaceuticals and police departments, residents and small business owners in the northwest are reporting increased spending in local economies. Rapid growth has been seen in the baked goods and novelty gift industries. The influx of revenue from the imposed sales tax on marijuana has also benefited the public roadway and school systems of both Colorado and Washington, essentially doubling the respective budget of each.