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Denver by the Data, Vol. 6: Marijuana


This is the sixth installment of Denver by the Data, a quasi-monthly, data-driven belly flop into different topics of importance, inevitability and infamy to the city. We're looking at the booming marijuana industry this week.
Sales and taxes

Marijuana dispensaries in Denver (as of Jan. 2016): 212 (131 medical/recreational, 11 recreational only, 71 medical only)

2014 gross marijuana sales in Denver: $331,727,227

2015 gross sales: $410,361,282

That's roughly 24 percent year-over-year growth.

Total 2015 licensing fees (medical and recreational): $3,715,825

2013 medical marijuana sales tax: $6,806,426

2014 total tax (medical and recreational): $17,235,489

2015 total tax (medical and recreational): $22,632,000

Source: City and County of Denver

In 2014, about 60 percent of all of Colorado's marijuana sales were in Denver, totaling more than 42 tons of buds and 1.3 million units of infused products. For 2015, the estimated totals topped 50 tons and 1.5 million infused units.

Source: Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division

Jobs

Number of jobs in the cannabis industry statewide: more than 16,000

Number in Denver (est.): 10,000

Source: HempStaff

Crime & usage

After recreational marijuana became legally available, violent crime in Denver went down by 2.2 percent in the first 11 months of 2014, compared with the first 11 months of 2013. 

In the same period, burglaries in Denver decreased by 9.5 percent and overall property crime decreased by 8.9 percent as traffic fatalities dropped 3 percent.

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

Percentage of crimes in Denver that are marijuana-related: 0.5 to 1.0 percent

Marijuana DUIDs in Denver (2015): 65

Marijuana-related emergency medical visits increased 59 percent in metro Denver from 2011 to 2013.

Drug suspensions per 100,000 students (2014-15): 509, up from 506 in 2009-10 and 443 in 2004-05

Source: Colorado Department of Education

Marijuana use in past 30 days by:

Colorado residents, ages 12-17 (2013): 11.2 percent, up from 10.3 percent in 1999

U.S. residents, 12-17 (2013): 7.1 percent, down from 7.4 percent in 1999

Colorado residents, 18-25 (2013): 29 percent, up from 19.4 percent in 1999
U.S. residents, 18-25 (2013): 18.9 percent, up from 14.2 percent in 1999

Colorado residents, 26 and older (2013): 10.1 percent, up from 5.4 percent in 1999
U.S. residents, 26 and older (2013): 5.4 percent, up from 3.0 percent in 1999

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration

Public opinion

Margin of victory for Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado, in 2012: 55 percent to 45 percent

The vote was 66 to 34 in Denver. A 2015 Quinnipiac poll said statewide support increased to 58 percent two years after the election.

National support for marijuana legalization (2016): 52 percent to 34 percent against


The Pew Research Center has polled Americans on this subject for nearly 50 years. Support for legalization has increased from 12 percent in 1969 to 30 percent in 1979 back down to 16 percent in 1989, then up to 31 percent in 1999 and 42 percent in 2009.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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