Annual Report Finds Cannabis Legalization is Working in Denver

Cannabis crime is down and tax revenue is up, according to an annual report released by the city of Denver, Colorado that analyzes the effect of cannabis legalization in the city. The report covers data from January 2017 to January 2018 and demonstrates the continued positive impact of cannabis legalization.

From 2016 to 2017, medical cannabis sales declined by 3% while retail cannabis sales in the city increased by 29%. Tax revenue generated by cannabis sales and licensing in 2017 increased by roughly 20% and for 2018 revenue is projected to increase by 8%. Overall, the tax revenue generated by cannabis sales represented approximately 3.4% of the city’s general fund revenue compared to 3.02% in 2016.

“We took on the daunting challenge of becoming the first major city in America to manage legalized recreational marijuana and we are having success,” Hancock said. “That’s because of coordination between Denver’s Excise and Licenses, Denver’s Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Health and Environment, Community Planning and Development, as well as our partners in other city agencies, the community from the marijuana industry and public health advocates.”

From 2014 to 2018, cannabis tax revenue contributed more than $11 million to the city’s “High Costs” youth prevention campaign as well as various youth-serving organizations funded by Denver’s Offices of Children’s Affairs and Behavioral Health. Additionally, $12.4 million in cannabis tax revenue was appropriated for deferred maintenance, affordable housing, and opioid intervention.


Regulation: $2,385,647, 12%
Enforcement: $2,805,803, 13%
Education: $3,652,116, 17%
Public Health: $2,363,375, 11%
Improvement to City and Facilities: $10,000,000, 47%


Cannabis-related crime in 2017 represented less than 1% of overall crime in the city and declined from 0.42% in 2016 to 0.30% in 2017. Likewise, cannabis industry related crime fell from 0.32% in 2016 to 0.21% in 2017. The report stated that “Violent crime related to the licensed marijuana industry is rare, with seven reported in 2013, 10 reported in 2014, eight reported in 2015, three reported in 2016, and 8 reported in 2017.” Marijuana-related DUIDs stayed flat at 63 in 2016 and 63 in 2017.

In a statement, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock praised the report and stated that its results demonstrate that the city’s approach to cannabis legalization is working.

To view the full report, click the following link.

William Sumner

William Sumner is a freelance writer specializing in the legal cannabis industry. You can follow William on Twitter @W_Sumner or on Medium.

One comment

  • Marihuana Planet

    October 22, 2020 at 9:25 am

    We look forward to the worldwide legalization of cannabis, not just only medically but also recreationally, we are trying to look on its better side and not to its negative impact, if we can only know how to make a way in order to avoid the misusage and overuse of marijuana.


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