Colorado’s Experiment with Legal Marijuana Shows Signs of Working

Hold off on waving that magic wand to eliminate Colorado’s legal recreational marijuana business. That’s the latest word from Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to a news report.

After the approval vote four years ago, Hickenlooper said that if he could “wave a magic wand” to reverse the decision, he would, calling the decision by voters “reckless” and then, later, “risky.”

A new report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety shows that most marijuana arrests are down and state revenue is up after year two of legal commercial marijuana.

File/Joe Mahoney/Rocky Mountain PBS Newsws

A new report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety shows that most marijuana arrests are down and state revenue is up after year two of legal commercial marijuana.

But during a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, according to David Kelly of the Los Angeles Times, the governor said, “If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it. It’s beginning to look like it might work.”

Andrew Freedman, director of marijuana coordination for Colorado, told Kelly the governor’s shifting view reflects a growing sense of optimism about how the industry is regulated.

“The governor has called this a grand experiment from the beginning. He looks at data points as he goes along and I think he’s pleasantly surprised that there were not as many challenges as he thought,” Freedman told the Times. “He would say the jury is still out on this experiment but he’s optimistic.”

Reporter Kelly, based in Denver, noted that Colorado is booming, with one of the nation’s best unemployment rates, an influx of tech companies, and $100 million in taxes coming into state coffers from the $1 billion-year pot industry.

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