Colorado and Oregon have informed the Justice Department that its marijuana operations are running smoothly, yet Jeff Sessions might soon begin to enforce the federal laws on marijuana. Under federal law, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug and is illegal to use. In the reports submitted by these legal marijuana states, it is shown that the marijuana industry generates a large amount of revenue and has not seen a measurable increase in crime or health issues.
The report submitted by John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado, included data from multiple state agencies which shows that marijuana legalization did not increase drug abuse in children, juvenile arrests, or school dropouts. While statistics do show that there is a rise in automobile accidents and deaths among drivers who tested positive for cannabinoids, this may not be evidence of intoxication due to the fact that marijuana can be detected in a person’s body for up to a month. It is also important to note that marijuana DUI’s have dropped 21% through the first six months of 2017. As of May of this year, Colorado has collected almost $460 million in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana and that money is being used for building schools, setting up drug treatment programs, public education programs, and more.
The report submitted by Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon, acknowledges that there is still a “black market” for marijuana and concedes that there have been “hiccups” with the new legal marijuana system. It is also stated that some new laws must be passed in order to place limits on growers and to increase penalties for marijuana-related crimes. However, in 2016, Oregon collected over $60 million in revenue from marijuana taxes. It is unclear if any other legal marijuana states have submitted reports to Sessions, but from the data that had been submitted, it seems that marijuana legalization is working.
Frank T. Luciano has been practicing law in Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson County for almost 40 years. Much of his practice is dedicated to the defense of drug cases and, specifically, prosecutions relating to marijuana. He is a lifetime member of the legal committee for the National Organization for Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML). He is also a longstanding member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).