CALIFORNIA: Marijuana legalization advocates announced a plan last month to put an initiative to tax, control and regulate the adult consumption of marijuana on the 2016 ballot in California. As a retired police officer who spent more than 20 years on the force and who has closely watched legalization in Colorado and Washington, I’m here to tell you it’s one of the best things California can do to improve public safety.
In the two states that have already taken the marijuana market from the hands of cartels and street gangs and placed it in the hands of sellers licensed and regulated by the government, the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
Colorado has seen a reduction in traffic fatalities since legalization in 2012. Denver has seen a reduction in the number of violent crimes, as police have been able to redirect their resources from low-level, nonviolent drug crimes to more serious matters.
At the same time, criminal syndicates have seen a major source of their funding dry up. Mexican cartels, known for their gruesome violence such as mass beheadings and melting enemies in vats of acid, have been particularly hard hit as consumers move to legal markets and many farmers have given up illegal production of marijuana altogether.