Regulation Works

The legalization of marijuana has occurred in 4 states and DC, but the early states, Colorado and Washington are now able to provide data on how well it is working for residents.

Here are some of the highlights.

In Colorado

  • Over $135 million was raised in taxes just in 2015. (Source)
  • $35 million in revenue automatically went to school construction. (Source)
  • This adds to the $63 million in tax revenue raised in 2014 with an additional $13 million derived from licenses in fees.  (Source)
  • Since 2010, Colorado’s marijuana possession charges are down by nearly 80%, marijuana cultivation charges also dropped nearly 80%, and marijuana distribution charges are down by 97%. The number of marijuana possession charges in Colorado courts has decreased from 8,736 in 2010 to just 1,922 in 2014. (Many of Colorado’s 2014 marijuana busts were for public consumption, which is still illegal, or for possessing more than the 1-ounce limit.) (Source, Data from Colorado Judicial Branch)


In Washington

  • Filings for low-level marijuana offenses are down 98% for adults 21 and older. All categories of marijuana law violations are down 63% and marijuana-related convictions are down 81%. (Source.)
  • The state is now saving millions of dollars in law enforcement resources that were previously used to enforce marijuana laws. (Source.)
  • Violent crime has decreased in Washington and other crime rates have remained stable since passage of legalization.(Source.)
  • Washington has collected nearly $83 million in marijuana tax revenues. These revenues are funding substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, youth and adult drug education, community health care services, and academic research and evaluation on the effects of marijuana legalization in the state. (Source.)
  • The number of traffic fatalities remained stable in the first year that adult possession was legalized.(Source.)
  • Youth marijuana use has not increased since legalization was passed and implemented. (Source.)


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