Legal Cannabis Businesses
Colorado has been the trendsetter in legal cannabis businesses for more than two years. But debates rage on about marijuana’s economic and social effects around the country. Arguments stand or fall on the data backing them up, but the newness of legalization is leaving state governments strapped for information (and flush with cash).
But the City and County of Denver recently released a report which provides necessary information about the booming and blooming cannabis business around the state. The report describes one of the first comprehensive efforts to track legal marijuana’s effect on a major metropolitan community.
One of the highlights from the report, which covers crime, revenue, sales and license data from 2014 into 2015, is renewing concerns about the legal cannabis industry.
The report shows conclusively that there have been more reported marijuana-related crimes in the industry than in the black market.
From January 2015 to November 2015, Denver averaged more than thirteen crimes a month within the sector in which marijuana was the target. Most of those were robbery situations.
Compare those numbers to the fewer than seven a month related to the black market.
In only one month — November 2015 — there were more marijuana-targeted crimes in the black market than in the legal, licensed industry.
Cannabis-related crime still accounts for only a small portion of overall crime in the same reporting period.
According to the Denver Office of Marijuana Policy, marijuana-targeted crimes accounted for only 0.4 percent of all Denver offense during that eleven-month span.
These numbers tell us that legalizing marijuana has barely created a blip in the city’s crime stats.
What’s not included in this stat, however, are violations of marijuana law, which covers offenses such as distribution and public consumption, and “sensitive” cases, which involve minors, homicides, and sexual assaults.
Things, like separating marijuana-related crimes from other drug crimes and tallying industry tax revenues take time, and presenting that information in a readable format, takes even longer. Now, however, the City of Denver has a better sense of the impacts of legalization.