Has Colorado Gone To Pot?

The state has become a political football, as proponents of marijuana legalization praise it as a success and opponents label it a disaster.

Has Colorado Gone To Pot?
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​It's been six months since Colorado legalized marijuana, but observers can't seem to hash out whether the experiment has gone up in smoke ... or lifted Colorado to a higher state. 

When dispensaries opened on Jan. 1, the conservative Heritage Foundation predicted the law would hurt Colorado's children and increase crime.    

"If we don't keep young people from smoking marijuana there will be a brain drain inside this state." (via ABC News)

Others said the law would mean hundreds of millions of dollars for public services and schools. (Via Colorado Marijuana Initiative

So how is it actually going? Well, there's still not a lot of consensus, even though the state's stats suggest Colorado's doing pretty well.

Most national attention has been focused on edibles. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd became convinced she "had died" after eating a pot-laced candy bar. (Via Getty Images)

And in April Fox News reported two deaths caused by an overdose of edibles. 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pointed to Colorado as a reason why his state wouldn't be changing its laws any time soon. 

"I am not going to be the governor who tells our children and our young adults that marijuana use is OK, because it's not." (Via News Jersey 101.5)

But Vox notes that so far in 2014, crime in Denver has dropped while state revenue has surged. 

"​Colorado is cashing in on pot. It has been six months since recreational marijuana became legal and the state has already collected more than $11 million in taxes." (Via CNN)

And a Quinnipiac poll shows a majority of Coloradans consider marijuana legalization good for the state. 

Similar proposals are set to be voted on in Alaska and Oregon, where the Colorado experiment has become a political football. (Via Christian Science Monitor)

Daina Vitolins, an Oregon district attorney, told Politico that “Colorado is a disaster, and I don’t want the same thing to happen in Oregon.” But Alaskan Democrat Forrest Dunbar cited the Colorado experiment as a positive, saying "the sky hasn't fallen." 

Ultimately, it might be too soon to draw any sweeping conclusions. As Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper put it, "We don't have the facts."​ Not yet anyway. (Via Washington Post)