In November 2012, Washington State and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21, the first two states in the U.S. to do so. By 2014, the first legal stores to sell the popular drug opened their doors to customers.
So what does this all mean a year later? What have the effects been for a state like Washington?
Well, the world certainly isn't ending:
- Legal marijuana stores sold $250 million worth of the drug.
- Legal sales generated $70 million in taxes for the state and local government.
- Lawmakers had originally predicted $36 million in taxes in 2014.
More importantly, what happened to the crime rate?
Since the passage of I-502, the bill that legalized the drug, crime has dropped to a 40-year low. This includes:
- 10% decrease in violent crime statewide
- 13% drop in the murder rate
Although not all these crimes can attributed to marijuana, it shows that legalization has certainly not increased the crime rate.
Although only Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., have fully legalized marijuana, many more states have made it medically legal or have decriminalized possession.