What Cannabis Crime Wave? Marijuana Sales Steady, Colorado Crime Down

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Once again the collapse of civilization has been averted. While opponents of the legalization of recreational marijuana sales predicted outright bedlam, the reality is quite the opposite: crime in Denver, Colorado is declining since the advent of retail pot.

Also See: Does Marijuana Cause Violence

January and February crime statistics in the city and county of Denver show violent crime -- including homicide, sexual assaults and robbery -- have declined by 2.4%, according to the Denver Police Department. In fact, robberies fell more than 7% during the period, while sexual assaults declined by more than 12%. Homicide fell more than 66%. Aggravated assaults were the only violent crime category to rise in the first two months of this year, gaining nearly 4%.

Property crimes overall fell nearly 15%. Burglary and larceny were both down approximately 2% while theft from motor vehicles fell over 43%. Auto thefts fell nearly 4%. However, perhaps ironically, arson cases more than doubled.

Meanwhile, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has reduced his projection of medical and recreational marijuana sales taxes and fees for the state's fiscal year beginning in July, trimming $20 million from his previously projected $134 million in expected pot revenue.

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Last summer, the Denver Post reported District Attorney Mitch Morrissey confronting the Denver city council with dramatic testimony of what was in store for city with further expansion of the cannabis industry. At the time, Morrissey said that violence was "exploding" in the city due to the cash-driven medical marijuana industry and that his office would need additional funding to prosecute the crimes that would surely come with retail legalization.

Other Colorado cities are considering recreational sales of pot, with Aurora, Glendale and Fort Collins planning to authorize retail sales prior to the end of the year.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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