One of the primary intended consequences of marijuana legalization is becoming a reality in Colorado, as pot-related arrests are down 65 percent in Larimer County Jail since recreational weed was legalized in the Rocky Mountain State in November 2012. Overall drug-related bookings are down 34 percent during that span, which includes pot busts.
As Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith explained: "It's more of a licensing issue than it is a criminal violation, from where we're seeing it … Trying to prosecute any of the violations that weren't massive has not been a good use of resources."
Sheriff Smith confirmed that the department's drug investigation unit has shifted priorities from cannabis to hard dope, and this is reflected in the raw statistics. The number of individuals facing pot-related charges declined from 268 in 2012 to merely 95 since cannabis was legalized last November. Those arrested for pot offenses tend to be under the age of 21, who remain prohibited from using marijuana recreationally – though not medicinally – under state law.
Other pot-related crimes that result in arrest involve perps stealing weed from those possessing it legally, as even those who are dealing recreational cannabis illicitly prior to retail stores opening in January 2014 are generally not being pursued by police.