This post in Denver Westward points out that the social costs of cannabis are crossing county lines in Colorado into areas that have banned retail marijuana. The post points out that "banned" counties are experiencing the same increase in arrests, traffic violations, and other new demands on law enforcement seen in regions open to the industry. Other unexpected costs in these areas include those associated with additional demands on child welfare and social services linked to marijuana. There are also calls for additional funding for youth education/ prevention campaigns and additional services in counties without a visible industry footprint.
|Map of Colorado Counties|
As Washington State considers legislation to mitigate the impact of legal marijuana, it is important to consider all the hidden social costs. For example, when debating "pay to play" funding that rewards only those cities and counties that DO NOT BAN marijuana with a share of tax proceeds, one should consider lessons learned in Colorado-- that the true costs of the retail marijuana industry do not stop at the city or county line.
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