First good stats and reports about Colorado and marijuana
(About half-way down.)

Very long PDF, but has a great deal of interesting information–

Since it was always illegal to drive stoned, do we have those sames stats for before it was legalized? I’m curious as to if it went up, down or stayed about the same.

Washington legalized marijuana, too, but it seems like all the media coverage I see about the aftermath is about Colorado.

Has anyone else noticed this discrepancy, or know why it might be?

This is just a WAG but Colorado borders more vocal states that are opposed to marijuana legalization. Nebraska in particular is trying to inject their opposition on legal grounds because they claim it infringes on their rights because of cross-border traffic or some bullshit like that.

Colorado is just a more high-profile state because it is in the western center of the country and people associate it with lots of things from high priced ski resorts to the Continental Divide. Washington is stuck way up in the far northwestern corner in the country. We know that stuff happens there because it has Seattle, Microsoft and other things but most people view it as British Columbia Lite and we all know what to expect out of those types so there is no surprise. Washington has got hipster Oregon and desolate Idaho as neighbors so there isn’t much of any anyone to complain about them.

It is a good question though. Almost all of the press that I see talks about Colorado rather than Washington. I go to Colorado several times a year for both work and pleasure and I have never smoked marijuana. People mention it sometimes but I still have never seen anyone smoking it there. It isn’t like the whole state suddenly became a Cheech and Chong movie.

I would have guessed it gets more media attention because it was sort of a marijuana mecca to begin with (at least Boulder anyways). Even back when I was in college in the 90’s, people talked about going out to Colorado or going to visit their friends in Boulder and talking about the pot they had out there always came up.

So now that it’s legalized it should be interesting to see what happens to it.

There is a major difference in the way the two states implemented it.

In Colorado, the initiative basically just legalized it and the legislature has been scrambling to set up the regulatory and tax framework. In Colorado, recreational pot sales started the first day the law went into effect (Jan 1) and the stores were able to open pretty much everywhere.

In Washington, the initiative stipulated that sales couldn’t begin until all the regulatory and tax framework was in place. It created a marijuana control board (similar to a liquor board) that spent months and months getting all the rules and regulations hammered out. The first legal sales in Washington weren’t until the middle of the summer, and even then some of the control board rules for supply meant that those sales were very limited.

So, basically, Colorado has about a 7-9 month head start.

The story specifies that stats only began to be accumulated last year.

Not exactly. It took a year before retail sales began. There was a ton of work to do in the legislature first before you could open a shop. Tax issues, security measures, tracking of plants, etc. All had to be put into law first. That said, Colorado was very organized and there wasn’t any real opposition or disruption as the laws were passed, so they did get open well ahead of Washington, and CO’s regulatory framework is the defacto model for Washington and every other state to come.

As a Colorado resident, it really isn’t even a thing. We had medical dispensaries before, so seeing a pot shop is no big deal. If you want to buy it, you just go and buy it. If you don’t, you’ll never come into contact with it, except maybe at a friend’s house. You can’t smoke in public, so it is all but invisible. Life is exactly the same as before. except the government and the schools suddenly have a large new influx of money.

I’m in the next state over from Colorado, and mine will very probably be the last state ever to consider legalizing marijuana. Colorado being literally stuck between Utah and Nebraska is the big reason why it is, and will be, under so much scrutiny.