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Following Marijuana Legalization, Criminal Charges Plummet

By Timothy Bussey on February 3, 2014

The number of criminal charges filed on suspicion of marijuana-related crime dropped sharply after the state legalized limited possession of the substance for adults 21 and over, according to a recent article by the Denver Post.

An analysis by the news publication found that the number of marijuana-related cases filed in state court dropped by 77 percent between 2012 and 2013. Charges for small amounts of marijuana possession dropped the most: 81 percent fewer cases were filed in 2013 than in 2012.

Part of the difference can be attributed to the new law making it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for their personal use. However, analysts say that prosecutors have filed fewer marijuana-related charges overall since the new law took effect. For instance, 73 percent fewer cases based on suspicion of possessing more than 12 ounces of marijuana were filed in 2013, and charges based on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute fell by 70 percent.

According to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, one possible explanation is that local prosecutors, rather than trying to disentangle the complex rules that now govern marijuana use in the state, are changing the way they charge individuals who are suspected of violating marijuana laws. However, the analysis did not address this question.

At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our experienced team strives to provide the best possible defense for every client we serve. If you’re facing criminal charges and need the help of a focused Denver criminal defense lawyer, call us today at (719) 475-2555 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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