Commentary

Video: Colorado Marijuana Legalization Update

Last month Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 to the state Constitution, which essentially legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado. My colleague Leonard Gilroy and I explained the implementation hurdles that policymakers face in the months and years ahead at Real Clear Markets, we wrote:

Cash strapped states no doubt are salivating at the potential deluge of new revenue. (Both measures are unique, so for clarity this piece will focus on Colorado.) The Colorado Center on Law and Policy estimates Colorado’s Amendment 64 will generate $60 million annually, a figure that could double after 2017. This fiscal bonanza would come primarily from new tax revenue generated from excise taxes on wholesalers and new state and local sales taxes — but also avoided costs to the criminal justice system. However, these revenues will materialize only if the legalization is done right.

The piece goes on to explain the various tax and regulatory concerns that constitute legalization being “done right.”

More recently, I appeared on Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara (a program hosted on Colorado Public Television) to discussion the subject in depth. I appeared on the program alongside Joe Megyesy who consulted the Yes on 64 campaign and will remain involved to oversee its implementation efforts. This episode is approximately 27 minutes long, watch it online below:

For more of Reason Foundation’s work on implementing marijuana legalization, see our Real Clear Markets piece here (which also appears on reason.com here) and this blog post (which I wrote the day after the election after attending a press conference held by Yes on 64 across from the State Capitol.)


Follow Harris Kenny on Twitter @harriskenny.

Harris Kenny is a state and local government policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Harris has worked alongside policymakers in Colorado, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Oregon and elsewhere to implement public policy solutions. Harris is currently serving as a member of the Local Authority Working Group of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's Amendment 64 Task Force, which is providing guidance on implementing recreational marijuana legalization. He conducts research on public finance, public-private partnerships, privatization, public safety, criminal justice and regulatory policy issues.

Harris has appeared on various television and radio outlets, such as National Public Radio, HuffPost Live, Al Jazeera, Voice of Russia and Colorado Public Television. His writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Denver Post, The Sacramento Bee, The Orange County Register, Real Clear Markets, reason.com, and other print and online outlets. He also serves as co-editor of Reason Foundation's Annual Privatization Report (reason.org/apr) and Innovators in Action (reason.org/innovators) publications.

Prior to joining Reason Foundation, Harris worked at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. He earned a BA in Economics from Pepperdine University, where he worked as a research assistant to Dr. Luisa Blanco at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.


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