It is going to be fascinating to watch what happens in Colorado and Washington State. My guess is that they will see benefits in not only tourism and tax revenues, but hopefully also a reduction in some violent drug-related crimes.
In Brazos County, we have had at least four marijuana related murders in the last few years. In none of the cases did marijuana consumption itself make people behave violently (they weren’t so high that they killed somebody), but the illegal sale or theft of marijuana was a crucial part of each case.
In 2013, Phil Banks and I represented Christopher Hernandez a quiet nineteen year old who was charged with murder along with two other young men after a weed deal went South. Throughout the case I couldn’t help but think whether or not the murder would have happened if marijuana was legalized. Could the lives of the victim, the three young men charged, and all of their families been saved if possessing weed was not a crime?
Obviously no one can answer that with certainty, but I am hopeful the Colorado experiment might shed some light on the larger criminal repercussions of decriminalization.