The Lawless Hellscape Colorado Has Become

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Here’s the lawless hellscape Colorado has become six months after legalizing weed:

In March alone, taxed and legal recreational marijuana sales generated nearly $19 million, up from $14 million in February. The state has garnered more than $10 million in taxes from retail sales in the first four months — money that will go to public schools and infrastructure, as well as for youth educational campaigns about substance use.

According to his latest budget proposal, Gov. John Hickenlooper expects a healthy $1 billion in marijuana sales over the next fiscal year. That’s nearly $134 million in tax revenue.


By removing marijuana penalties, the state is estimated to save somewhere between $12 million and $40 million, according to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

According to government data, the Denver city- and county-wide murder rate has dropped 42.1% since recreational marijuana use was legalized in January. This is compared to the same period last year, a time frame encompassing Jan. 1 through May 31. Violent crime in general is down almost 2%, and major property crimes are down 11.5% compared to the same period in 2013.


An October 2013 Gallup poll found that 58% of adults favored legalizing marijuana for adult use.

In 2013, 52% thought that marijuana should be legalized, with 45% opposed. According to Pew, this is a 13-point jump from 2010, when 41% thought it should be legalized and 52% opposed. The year 2010 was when Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana in California, was defeated with only a 53% majority. And of course, this is a dramatic swing from 1969, when nearly 8 out of 10 Americans opposed legalization.

Ending prohibition saves money. Since 1970, the government has spent $1.5 trillion on “drug control,” though addiction rates remain constant.


  1. Joey Joe Joe Jr. says:

    It seems to me that they’re allowing the legalization of marijuana because it will make us more complacent and more willing to accept the garbage future that is laid out before us.

  2. Alrenous says:

    Not forgetting (Foseti’s?) theory that drug law is not about drugs.

    Since everything else government can be summarized (X law is not about X), it’s fairly plausible. (Social security is not social and harms security.)

    Drug law is mainly about having an excuse to jail people. Cops in fact jail criminals more often than not. I don’t know how much impact just marijuana will have on this, but it will stop cops from jailing at least some criminals.

    For example most of the ‘innocent’ weed convicts, in minimum security, are only innocent in the most technical sense of not having been convicted of anything else. Cops are not (usually) invading suburbs and dragging off fifteen year old NORPs. (Otherwise universities would see regular raids.)

    This is one of those cases where both opponents are criticizing correctly. Yeah, explicit drug law is incredibly dumb. If you get rid of it entirely, it will only make anarcho-tyranny worse.

  3. Alrenous says:

    By the way, ancap theory predicts less policing will produce lower crime, since tax-funded agencies cause perverse results.

    If policing reduced so much that vigilantes weren’t prosecuted, crime would drop precipitously. It’s just that reducing policing less than that amount has disparate impact.

  4. James James says:

    Alrenous, I’m not sure ancap theory does predict that. You have to be more explicit about how policing in general produces perverse results. For example, imagine a landlord who owns a big chunk of land builds a small city, a “gated community”, charges his citizens tenants rent instead of income tax, and provides “private” security (i.e. policing). Would this lead to more crime than the above without any policing?

    Would such a landlord tolerate vigilantes on his land? Maybe a bit. Probably not.

  5. Alrenous says:

    The landlord’s tenants can leave, which means we have Exit, therefore discipline obtains. They will allow vigilantes in the sense of self-defence. A rent is not a tax. Of course they probably need neither cops nor vigilantes much since they’ll filter out criminals.

    I don’t know how tax-funded police cause violence. I predicted it anyway. It’s the ancap null hypothesis.

    But probably anarcho-tyranny? If the shopkeeper shoots a shoplifter or a spraypainting vandal, they’ll be charged with aggravated assault or murder, but the cops won’t ever arrive in time to stop the criminal, and generally won’t even chase them. (See also, bats etc.) The cops prevent citizens from defending themselves but don’t provide an alternative, because they get paid regardless.

    In the case of pot, it’s the fact that criminals don’t cherry-pick. College tokers don’t think of themselves as criminals, but somewhere up the chain you have to. Either they don’t worry about anarcho-tyranny because they’re going to jail anyway if they’re caught or they don’t worry about it because fuck the police. Since they can’t get their trades insured by courts, they insure it themselves with guns. Their trade partners, also being criminals, tend to be bad at long-term thinking and impulse control, so they have to use the guns. Once legalized, the criminals are pushed out of the market by court-insured businesses.

    So…this all makes sense as far as I can tell, but it’s not like I have any empirical backup. I just have the null hypothesis leading to substantiated predictions. I’ll repeat it: since cops don’t need to do any work to get paid, and bad money drives out good, their presence incentivizes crime instead of discouraging it.

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