So, we’re now heading for the three-year mark since it all kicked off in Colorado and the weed legalisation debate started to bear welcome fruit. 2014 will of course go down as one of the American pot community's most memorable, with Colorado having proven once and for all that to legalise weed is not in any way to welcome anarchy or a public health crisis.
If anything, things have gone the exact opposite way on both accounts.
Of course, most of the stuff you’ll have been reading as to what’s been going on in Colorado over the last year or so has been theoretical or anecdotal at best – it’s much easier to script a story from what you’ve heard as opposed to what you know. So, in order to add a little balance into the mix, what follows is a quick look into some of the most important and impressive iron-clad statistics to come out of Colorado’s year in pot, 2014:
130.3 Metric Tons
If you’ve been wondering just how much weed the great public of Colorado is now craving each and every year, the figure for 2014 came out at 130.3 metric tons of the stuff. Or to put it another way, split it all up into eighths and you’re looking at 36.8 million baggies…nice!
Chances are you’ll have wondered from time to time just how big a chunk of the adult population in Colorado is now using weed on a regular basis. Well, the answer to your question is around 9% of the population, or roughly 485,000 people. This of course doesn’t incorporate occasional smokers.
Among Colorado’s weed-smoking population, the percentage of individuals who now happily admit to smoking pretty much each and every day without fail stands at around 23%. Or in other words, one in every four pot smokers across the state now enjoys what they crave day in and day out.
Prior to weed going legal, it was theorised that the vast majority of revenues generated in Colorado’s mountain towns would in fact come from visitors as opposed to state residents. Sure enough, this turned out to be right on the money, as a full 90% of all pot that’s sold in such towns and resorts goes right into the hands of vacationers and travellers.
By contrast however, only around 7% of pot sales in total across the state are made to tourists from other states. As such, this suggests that folk are not simply flocking into Colorado to make use of the legal weed as once theorised – it’s the good people of the state itself that are buying up 93% of the stuff.
It was pretty obvious from the start that as time went on, weed would become at least a little bit cheaper to get hold of. So it has proved to be, as during the course of 2014 alone the price of weed on average dipped in Colorado by 9%. Just in case you were wondering, an eighth now goes for around $50, which is still pretty pricey.
For the first three quarters of 2014 alone, the state of Colorado chalked up total recreational weed sales equating to $246,810,599 – and that’s without the final three months including Christmas and New Year being taken into account. Perhaps even more impressively, medical marijuana sales came out at $326,716,273 for the same nine-month period. All in all therefore, that’s a massive $573,526,872 from one single state in less than a year.
In terms of tax contributions and all other fees, licensing charges and so on, 2014 saw an extra $60 million pumped into the economy by weed alone. Once again, the economic contribution of weed legalisation is doing an incredible amount of good for the areas sensible enough to allow the stuff to be sold.
Zero – the number of deaths so far attributed directly to the smoking of marijuana anywhere in the world. Yes, there have been a few accounts of folks going OTT with cannabis edibles and ending up in more than a bit of a mess, but in terms of actual weed smoking and sensible smoking at that, there’s still never been a single account of anyone dying from use or overuse of the stuff. Try saying the same about alcohol or cigarettes.
All in all it makes for pretty impressive reading, but what’s more important than anything else to take away from it all is the way in which the worst fears and predictions of critical parties haven’t just been laid to waste, they’ve been rolled up and smoked. Colorado continues to be a living, breathing example of progress being made in the right direction – whether or not the rest of us will get the same taste of such common sense, however, remains painfully unclear.