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Last week, a family wedding occasioned a visit to Colorado, marijuana capital of the nation. I’d been wondering how our northern neighbor’s bold legalization was playing out. So far, the feared consequences haven’t materialized, but some unintended consequences have.
Observation No. 1: There is no big uptick in teenage marijuana use. As my youngest brother explained, “If your mom can smoke weed, it isn’t cool any more.”
Observation No. 2: It’s been great for the state’s economy.
Colorado approved medical marijuana in 2000, and it’s now a $200 million industry that pays more than $5 million a year in state sales taxes. The state and cities are now salivating over potential revenues from recreational marijuana sales, but must find the equilibrium between a “good tax” and one that drives cannabis sales underground.
The new law requires adjustments large and small. Police drug dogs are trained to sniff out marijuana and other drugs; now they either have to be retrained, or police have to ignore marijuana when they find it.
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