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Drugs

Independent Think Tank: Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Is a Success

The Brookings Institution said Colorado's system addresses “key concerns."

Photo Credit: Bruce Stanfield / Shutterstock.com

The Brookings Institution released a report today confirming what many Americans already suspected: the rollout of legal marijuana in Colorado is a success. The independent think tank concluded that the state's regulatory system for marijuana properly addresses “key concerns such as diversion, shirking, communication breakdowns, illegal activity, and the financial challenges facing the marijuana industry." 

The report, titled "Colorado’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana Is Succeeding," states that good communication and leadership have contributed to the success. The report makes it clear that it is an assessment of the government, not a commentary on "whether the legalization of retail marijuana was the correct decision."

"Instead, it takes for granted that Amendment 64 and its progeny are the law and should be implemented successfully, per voters’ wishes."
 
The report attributes the positive results of the experiment to cultural changes among the public, the government and interest groups. It contrasts Colorado's successful implementation of the new law with the federal government's recent shortcomings in implementing new laws in recent months.
 
"Recent failures at the federal level show Americans daily what happens when a government refuses to govern and is unwilling or unable to makes changes in the face of policy realities," it states. "Colorado has made a conscious effort to preserve enough flexibility for its policy to remain effective over time. A strong rollout is important, but what happens after that is just as important. With its emphasis on flexibility, Colorado is taking out an insurance policy against unintended consequences." 
 
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition said the Brookings Institution proved what many have known for a long time:
“Legalizing and regulating marijuana and other drugs can be done thoughtfully and responsibly to the benefit of our communities," he said. "As legalization spreads across the country, regulatory models will only continue to improve, crime continue to drop, and public understanding of drug addiction as a public health problem, not as a matter for law enforcement, continue to expand.”      

April M. Short is a yoga teacher and writer who previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor. She currently works part-time for AlterNet, and freelances for a number of publications nationwide.

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