Colorado Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Marijuana Legalization

Colorado Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Marijuana Legalization

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Officials in Colorado recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of legalized cannabis in the state.



This past Tuesday, top Colorado elected officials presided over an event in Denver celebrating the 10th anniversary of the state passing Amendment 64, which paved the way for the legalization of adult-use marijuana in the Mile High State, according to the Denver Gazette.


Although a few weeks early, advocates, industry operators, and government officials, including Governor Jared Polis (D), marked the occasion held at the History Colorado Center with speeches and celebratory moments. Polis was presented with a giant mock check for $2.2 billion, symbolizing the amount of adult-use cannabis tax and fee revenue the state has collected since legal sales began.


Voters in Colorado and Washington State went to the polls in November 2012 and voted to approve first-of-their-kind initiatives legalizing cannabis use for adults. Both state-level experiments have been credited with providing a template for effectively regulating marijuana sales, collecting tax revenues, and creating sound socio-economic and public health policies. As a result, with each passing election cycle, more and more states have followed suit in passing their own medical and adult-use cannabis legislation.


An overriding theme shared in many speeches was relief and validation, as the state’s experience with legal cannabis overwhelmingly proved that concerns around increased teen consumption and public safety were unfounded.


Governor Polis shared, “It’s a milestone for Colorado, the country, (and) the world. Colorado’s positive experience shows that not only did people’s worst concerns never materialize but charted a new way forward in a positive way for reducing underage use, driving drug dealers out of business, making our communities safer, empowering people to have the freedom to make the choices they want to make, to treat themselves for medical conditions.”


"It’s a milestone for Colorado, the country, (and) the world. Colorado’s positive experience shows that not only did people’s worst concerns never materialize but charted a new way forward in a positive way for reducing underage use, driving drug dealers out of business, making our communities safer, empowering people to have the freedom to make the choices they want to make, to treat themselves for medical conditions.”

- Governor Jared Polis (D-CO)


Many political figures in attendance, including U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, governor of Colorado at the time, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, initially opposed the groundbreaking legislation in 2012.


In his speech, Sen. Hickenlooper said, “I did oppose Amendment 64 based on the concerns about youth use and health impacts.” However, with a decade of experience and evidence to the contrary, he now confidently shares with his Senatorial colleagues that “since we’ve legalized marijuana, there has been no increase in teenage experimentation, no increase in consumption, no increase in driving while high.”


"I did oppose Amendment 64 based on the concerns about youth use and health impacts.... since we’ve legalized marijuana, there has been no increase in teenage experimentation, no increase in consumption, no increase in driving while high.”

- Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)


Along with touting the incredible success of legalized marijuana in Colorado, the Senator also plans to introduce legislation soon calling for creating a federal task force to explore national rules for a regulated cannabis market once federal prohibition ends.


Once the most ardent opponent of having Colorado be the “Petri Dish” for marijuana legalization, Hickenlooper now feels, “We really did lead the way in marijuana legalization. I am a convert today. I was wrong ten years ago. You can do this right. You can do it responsibly.”


"We really did lead the way in marijuana legalization. I am a convert today. I was wrong ten years ago. You can do this right. You can do it responsibly.”

- Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)


In the decade since Colorado stepped up to take on more than a century of prohibition and false propaganda to allow its citizens to decide on the issue of whether or not to legalize adult-use marijuana, 38 states now have medical marijuana programs, and 19 have approved recreational cannabis for adults. Moreover, with the recent actions of President Biden in pardoning all those convicted of federal marijuana possession charges and calling for a rescheduling of the plant, the eventual demise of cannabis prohibition seems closer than ever.


Election Day is a little over three weeks away. By the end of that pivotal day, almost half of the country could have legal adult-use marijuana. However, none of these revolutionary moments would be possible had the voters in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado not courageously chosen to say YES. That is the best part about the American democratic process. If the people will it, it shall be so. Get out and VOTE!