Marijuana: Business

Marijuana for recreational use marks five years of legality in Colorado turned into a lucrative industry and an important source of tax revenue, but still questioned for moral and health reasons.

In 2012, through a constitutional amendment, Colorado was the first state in the United States - now there are ten - to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana.

The first store opened on January 1, 2014 and since then recreational marijuana has been sold for about 6,000 million dollars, of which 1,500 million corresponded to 2017.

That number will probably be exceeded this year, according to the Colorado Department of Taxation, which collects more than $ 200 million a year from recreational marijuana sales.

“Marijuana continues to be illegal at the federal level and for good reasons, because it leads to violence, crime and immorality,” says Fidel Montoya, former chief of public safety in Denver and leader of the anti-legalization movement. In his opinion, “the recreational marijuana, brought by the seduction of the almighty dollars, has diminished our quality of life”.

Montoya believes that the use of marijuana “leads to other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine.” “Educators have informed me that recreational marijuana has caused an increase in student absence, school dropouts and emergency room visits,” Montoya said.

Today, however, the biggest challenge for the industry and for the authorities is illegal farming and the black market, consisting mainly of sending marijuana to states where it is not legal. According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, illegal marijuana crops on fiscal land grew by 73% as of 2012, cases of organized crime for those crops increased from 31 six years ago to 119 in 2017 and seizure operations illegal marijuana went from 286 six years ago to 608 last year.

Statistics from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) confirm that since the legalization, more plants have been seized and more illicit marijuana crops detected than before 2014.

A report published by the DEA last month indicates that the black market “still predominates” in the ten states in which recreational marijuana is legal: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, in addition to Washington DC.