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Dear Marijuana and Crime Researchers: Start Your Engines

(Photo: Coleen Whitfield)

Yes, it could all go up in smoke — legal challenges, including from the Federal government, and all that — but among the interesting developments from last night’s election (do yourself a favor and look at this map) is the news that Colorado and Washington voters chose to legalize marijuana. Here’s how the issue was phrased on the Colorado ballot:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?

We have previously addressed marijuana legalization and the many economic, legal, social, medical, and criminal implications. With a potential wide-scale legalization in two substantial states, I am guessing a lot of academic researchers in the drug, legal, economics, and criminal-justice fields are revving up their engines to start figuring out what happens next.