An Archaeology of Marijuana


n June, the recreational and medical marijuana industry in my home state of Colorado reached US$199 million in monthly sales, a new record.

The growth of this industry has been eight years in the making. In 2012, with the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado became, along with Washington State, one of the first states in the U.S. where consenting adults could legally purchase and consume cannabis for recreational purposes.

Since then, the tourism landscape in Colorado has changed tremendously. The legalization of recreational marijuana has contributed to six of eight consecutive years of record-setting growth in the tourism industry. In June 2019, the Colorado Department of Revenue announced the total revenue line for marijuana reached US$1 billion since sales started in 2014. These monies provided the state with hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue to pay for education, transportation, environmental protection, and other initiatives.

Still, despite the obvious economic benefits, many in the U.S. disapprove of the legalization of marijuana. Some friends of mine simply complain about the smell of pot. Others worry about teenage marijuana use, the potential effects of secondhand smoke on children, or about people driving while stoned. [Read more at Sapiens]