Sample Literature Review On The Legalization Of Marijuana In Colorado

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer


The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of the legalization of marijuana in the state of Colorado by covering the following issues: 1.) the positive and negative effects of legalizing marijuana within the state; 2.) the effect of marijuana on public health and safety; 3.) the economic advantages after Amendment 64 was approved in the state of Colorado; 4.) the effect of decriminalizing marijuana to the police and law enforcement agencies. The outcome of the research will be an evaluation of the overall impact of the legalization of marijuana to the taxing power and criminal justice system within the state of Colorado.

Research Questions:

The research questions are:
What is the effect of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado?
What are the advantages and disadvantages brought about by legalizing marijuana in Colorado?
What is the effect of Amendment 64 in the taxing power in the state of Colorado?
What is the effect of decriminalizing marijuana to the police and law enforcement agencies?
What is the overall impact of legalization of marijuana to the entire criminal justice system?
Hypothesis: The legalization of marijuana in the state of Colorado is beneficial not only for the patients who depend on the medicinal value of the drug, but also became an advantage to the tax revenue and law enforcement agencies of the state.

Dependent and Independent Variables

The dependent variables include level of enforcement of Amendment 64 by the police or law enforcement agencies and the imposition of taxes on the sale and distribution of marijuana to business owners. The independent variables include the number of crimes reported in the state and the overall income generated by the state on marijuana sales after Amendment 64 took effect.
The unit of analysis shall be the marijuana business owners in the state of Colorado and the law enforcement agencies and police departments within the state. By gathering the number of marijuana business owners will determine the income generated by the state after Amendment 64 took effect. The number of crimes reported to the police departments will determine if Amendment 64 lowered the crime rate in Colorado.

Sampling Method

This research will apply a random sampling population that will include 40 respondents that is evenly distributed among male and female individuals. Moreover, the sample will take into consideration the social and economic status, age, race to represent the core elements to determine the overall perception of legalization of marijuana to the economy and peace and order situation of the state.

Statistical Technique

The statistical technique will make use of analytical and computational methods using the characteristics of the population used and to make thorough observations by focusing on the representative sample gathered by the researcher.

Methodology and Research Design

For this particular study on the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the qualitative research design shall be used since it has been considered as the most efficient method that can be applied to a number of diversified participants in the study. The researcher shall make use of various sources to collect data that will include text books, peer-reviewed articles and journals, and results from previous studies that deal with related issues and research questions.
The reliability the proposed research methodology can be tested through document analysis and literature review of the information and data gathered by the researcher. The process of validation and data analysis will be used in order to make an assessment of the accuracy of the information gathered by the researcher.

Literature Review

The decriminalization of marijuana in Colorado was intended to reform the previous drug laws for three reasons namely: public health and safety, elimination of black market sales and to increase the overall tax revenue of the state (Bushan, 2015, p.191-192). Based on the public health and safety perspective, Colorado discovered that the past marijuana regulatory laws had inefficient use of law enforcement resources that can be maximized by shifting the focus on violent crimes. The state of Colorado’s analysis showed that legalizing marijuana and imposing bigger taxes will result in a decreasing the in black market sales and at the same time, double its tax revenue. The legalization of marijuana in Colorado will increase the funding for government to implement and expand the social assistance programs. As a result, marijuana can be treated just like any other commodity that should follow that standard regulation and taxes.

Effect of Legalization of Marijuana to the Criminal Justice System

Many reports reveal that most of the arrests recorded by the FBI generally involve drug law violations. From the total number of these violations, the most common offense that represents the 82 percent of the arrest deals with the simple possession of prohibited substance (Szalavitz, 2013). Half of those arrests reported to the FBI involve marijuana use. Therefore, the increase in the allocation of budget for law enforcement and incarceration doubled every year for the past decades. One of the most logical recommendations is the creation of stricter polices that will prevent the dissipation of money by government officials through legalizing marijuana use.
Additionally, the legalization of marijuana will help the police and law enforcement agencies to take off some of their work load by allowing them to focus on the investigation of other equally important cases. In effect, the law enforcement agencies will save time on conducting investigations of drug-related incidents. The legalization of medical marijuana can also leads to fewer traffic fatalities involving alcohol, since most experts believe that young adults are expected to drink less since recreational marijuana is now available (Renner, 2015). Aside from generating additional tax revenue for the states, the police and law enforcement agencies will have more time to focus on more important investigations.
The legalization of marijuana will improve the criminal justice system wherein majority of the reported cases involve drug related offenses, more particularly the use and sale of the marijuana as shown in the FBI reports for the past decade. By decriminalizing marijuana, the police can now focus on other equally important cases that affect public security and safety such as nationwide terrorism. It will also prevent the abuse of drug cartels from pursing their commercial transactions as they illegally earn profit from the sale of marijuana. At the same time, the police law enforcement techniques will not be abused through seizure of drugs and to justify the search of illegal substances, and to document the testimonies of witnesses and drug offenders (Blumenson & Nilsen, 2009. Hence, the legalization will aid the law enforcement agencies in decreasing their work load that will require the arrest of drug offenders and investigation of drug cases.

Medicinal Benefit of Marijuana

Marijuana should be decriminalized in other states to offer the public the option to take a holistic approach to their illness rather than rely merely on addictive prescription drugs. Aside from the additional income for the state, it bears to note that one of the major considerations for the legalization of marijuana is the medicinal benefits derived from the substance. Marijuana has been shown to be an effective pain killer due to its anti-inflammatory effects, for treatment of nausea, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and cancer (Weil, 2015, p. 127).

Background of Amendment 64

While it may be true that the implementation of Amendment 64 in Colorado continues to be controversial, there are also positive effects which the public will benefit from. It will also take time to see the results of effective implementation though systematic policy analysis that can affect the health and safety of the public. The new marijuana policy in Colorado is created to serves as flexible administrative infrastructure to boost the economy of the state (Hudak, 2015, p. 677).
Colorado adopted its marijuana legalization policy through a ballot initiative and it disregarded the key national influences on state action, including the party politics (Bulman-Pozen, 2014). Thus, when the state officials who lack distinctive state interests because of their close connections to federal officials and national networks, the same is not true when it is the state’s people making the legislative choice. Under the Amendment 64, the marijuana substance is regulated by the state of Colorado to meet the objectives of the federal government and federal drug control laws. It is the responsibility of Colorado to ensure that the objectives in the enforcement of marijuana shall not cause detrimental impact on the member of the community.
The new law, Amendment 64 was intended to control the distribution, sale, cultivation, and commercialization of marijuana and to improve the policies and laws on controlled-substances enforcement policies that are currently implemented (Hudak, 2015, p. 677). The primary main objective of the new law is to strengthen the federal drug-control laws and federal drug-control policies that affect the sale and distribution of marijuana (Hudak, 2015).
Under Amendment 64 on the state-wide drug policy concerning marijuana of the Colorado State Constitution, the amended law had included the three tier supply chain system, wherein the tax rate compounding on each tier of the supply chain now cover the additional sales tax for the end consumer and oversight of the Colorado state marijuana regulatory system by the state liquor control board (Bushan, 2015, p.193). However, while the federal government has permitted state regulation of recreational marijuana, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. As a result, the banks are prohibited from handling profits that were derived from marijuana sales transactions and have to comply with anti-money-laundering rules. In effect, all marijuana shops in Colorado are unable to use basic banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, making everyday business transactions in compliance with the money-laundering rules (Bushan, 2015, p.193).

Negative Effects of Decriminalizing Marijuana

Some of those who oppose the legalization of marijuana argue that there are several adverse effects of the substance that outweigh the medicinal value of the drug. Compared to other prohibited drugs, studies show that marijuana does not produce the same kind of addiction brought about by morphine or other kinds of opiate drugs. Despite the medicinal value of the drug, its continued use may lead to psychological dependence and deprivation which can result to severe depression, restlessness, anxiety, and fear (Goode, 2010, p.159). A person who is addicted to marijuana results to severe depression that may transfer to suicidal fantasies and suicidal attempts. Hence, only shows that the prolonged use of marijuana can cause severe psychological damage. The other reported effects of marijuana are nervousness, paranoia, apprehension, panic attacks, palpitation, euphoria and anxiety. There are also studies that reveal that the frequent use of marijuana may result to fatal heart attack and lung cancer since the users are exposed to toxic chemicals that may also contain cancer-causing compounds that can be found in tobacco.
While there are positive and negative effects caused by marijuana, it is important to consider the long-term effects of decriminalizing the drug. In fact, some experts opined that growing and selling of marijuana may result to greater harm than good. While it may be true that marijuana is known to possess medicinal value and therapeutic purposes, the negative effects of the drug to the human body should be the primary consideration. Although the sale and distribution of marijuana can generate profits for the state of Colorado, it should also protect the youth from the recreational use the drug. While it may be beneficial for Colorado to earn income by imposing taxes on the sale and distribution of marijuana, the state should not disregard the overall well-being of the community.


While it may be true that legalizing marijuana can stimulate the economy of the state and raise revenues for the country by imposing taxes on the sale and distribution of the drug, it can also save government funds to be used on offenders who end up in prison. Legalizing marijuana will not only establish a new revenue stream for Colorado, it may result to lowering the tax rates and minimize the deficit. It is also recommended that the state officials must be able to strike a balance between the imposition of taxes by keeping the drug prices costly and decriminalizing marijuana to prevent excessive recreational marijuana use. It is also important to stress that while the patients are given access the drug to relieve them from pain, legalizing marijuana can also prevent the black market to abuse the sale and distribute the drug.
In conclusion, the legalization of marijuana carries several benefits aside from the medical use of marijuana since it will also generate additional tax revenue for the state of Colorado. Finally, the decriminalization of cannabis will also aid the police and law enforcement agencies to lighten their work load by focusing on more important cases, aside from conducting investigations of drug-related cases.
The autonomous realm of state action and independent state officials with common interest should be set aside. State officials often pursue their own personal interests and effectively oppose federal policy. The state officials must actively participate in the same statutory scheme as federal actors instead of operating in a separate, autonomous sphere (Bulman-Pozen, 2014, p. 1067). The state officials should not only depend on the autonomous lawmaking and executive powers of state governments by creating policies that will be beneficial to all stakeholders, especially the public.


Bindel, J. (2014). The ups and downs of legalising highs. New Statesman, 143(5198), 12-14.
Blake, D., & Finlaw, J. (2014). Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Learned Lessons. Harvard
Law & Policy Review, 8(2), 359-380.
Blumenson, E. and Nilsen, E. (2009). No Rational Basis: The Pragmatic Case For Marijuana Law Reform. Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, 17(1), 43-82.
Bulman-Pozen, J. (2014). Unbundling Federalism: Colorado’s Legalization of Marijuana and Federalism’s Many Forms. University Of Colorado Law Review, 85(4), 1067.
Bushan, A. (2015). Note: An Evaluation of the Effects of the Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado and Washington from an International Law Perspective. Canada-United States Law Journal, 39187-201.
Colorado Amendment 64. Use and Regulation of Marijuana. Web. Retrieved on
October 10, 2015, from
Goode, E. (2010). Marijuana. New Jersey, USA: Transaction Publishers.
Hudak, J. (2015). Colorado’s Roll-out of Legal Marijuana is Succeeding: A Report on the
Renner, S. (2015). The Colorado Experiment. Saturday Evening Post, 287(3), 42-91.
Szalavitz, M. (2013). Viewpoint: How Marijuana Decision Could Signal Turning Point in
the U.S. War on Drugs. Web. Retrieved on January 28, 2016.
Weil, A. (2015). The Integrative MD on are There Really Medical Benefits From Marijuana?. Prevention, 67(10), 127
Williamson, K. D. (2015). The High Way. (Cover story). National Review, 67(11), 22-25.


Read more