Denver Mayor Who Opposed Legalization Calls Regulated Marijuana a Success

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was once vocally opposed to recreational marijuana legalization, but now admits it was a good thing for his city. Back in 2012, Hancock campaigned against the statewide measure that allowed voters to legalize the drug for adult use in Colorado. Now he calls regulated marijuana in Denver a success.

For Hancock, deeming marijuana a success for his city is not merely an observation, it is a measurable fact supported by job creation and increased tax revenue. His support comes along with a report released Thursday by Denver officials that details the progress the city has made regulating cannabis.

In a press release, Hancock summed up the report saying it proves Denver's approach to marijuana regulation, which involves organization between multiple agencies, is a system that works. The once vocal marijuana opponent praised Denver for becoming the first major city in the nation to successfully manage adult-use marijuana regulations.

Recreational sales first surpassed medical marijuana sales in Denver in 2015. Last year, the retail market was nearly double the medical market – $377.5 million compared to $206.4 million – for a combined $584 million in total cannabis sales. Of that revenue, the city claimed $44.7 million in taxes, representing a 20 percent annual increase.

And while the recreational use has continued to grow each year, marijuana crimes have decreased. Cannabis crimes accounted for less than half of one percent of all crime in Denver last year. The majority (82 percent) of those crimes were related to theft and attempted burglary of licensed marijuana businesses.

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