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Location of Colorado within the U.S.

Colorado is a U.S. state and part of the Western United States, the Southwestern United States, and the Mountain States. It is the 8th most extensive and the 22nd most populous of the 50 United States and is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and Arizona to the southwest, at the Four Corners.

Colorado was the first state in the United States to legalize cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use.



Medicinal use

A grow room in Colorado

On November 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters passed Amendment 20, which amends the Colorado State constitution to allow the medical use of cannabis.[1] Patients can possess no more than two ounces of "usable cannabis" and not more than six cannabis plants.

Currently, Colorado has listed "eight medical conditions for which patients can use cannabis; cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, muscle spasms, seizures, severe pain, severe nausea and cachexia or dramatic weight loss and muscle atrophy."[2] Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has allocated about half of the state's $13 million "Medical Marijuana Program Cash Fund" to medical research in the 2014 budget.[3]

Recreational use

On November 6, 2012, voters amended the state constitution to protect "personal use" of marijuana for adults, establishing a framework to regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol. The first recreational cannabis shops in Colorado, and by extension the United States, opened their doors on January 1, 2014.[4]

Tax Revenue

Colorado’s total tax income from the sale of cannabis in 2014 was about $76 million with $44 million representing tax on recreational pot only. The states tax results underscore a big conflict facing public officials considering cannabis legalization in other states across America and the rest of the world. "Taxes should be kept low if the goal is to eliminate pot’s black market. But the allure of a potential weed windfall is a powerful argument for voters, most of whom don’t use pot" said Kristen Wyatt of Associated Press.[5]


Colorado is home to one state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML):[6]


  • John Hickenlooper, 42nd and current Governor of Colorado
  • Ed Perlmutter, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 7th congressional district
  • Jared Polis, member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Colorado's 2nd congressional district

Additional Resources


  1. Active State Medical Marijuana Programs - NORML, NORML
  2. Marijuana stops child's severe seizures, CNN
  3. Colorado to spend millions researching medical marijuana benefits, Colorado Public Radio
  4. Colorado Stores Throw Open Their Doors to Pot Buyers, New York Times
  5. Colorado pulls in $76M in marijuana taxes and business fees for 2014, The Cannabist
  6. Colorado Chapters, NORML

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