Marijuana and Colorado – How a product helped turn Colorado’s economy even bigger

Ishan Tandon


“Marijuana legalization is job creation, tax dollars … This is about jobs; this is about economics; this is about freedom”

— Jesse Ventura, Former Governor of Minasotta



What you need to know:

As a teen myself, in this day and age we constatly are remained of the various drugs and alchol that make us seem “cool”. While Colorado does have a beautiful landscape and great mountains to ski on, one main controversy that surrounds our society is marijuana. Countless times, I have seen teenagers in my grade, smoking marijuana and I have always wondered if the decsions to legalize it was the right choice. In 2012, Amendment 64 was passed which legalized the purchase and marijuana in Colorado. While there are many benefits to the legalization, as it has been benefiting our economy, there have also some downsides with many minors being able to get marijuana, for free. This hot topic is an issue that I wanted to learn more about and explore throught my GOA course on “Game Theory”.

Legal Marijuana in the United States–5 Shocking Facts [Infographic]


Colorado has taken many steps to ensure that teens do not use marijuana and regularly hold clinics at high schools about the pros and cons.


Using Game Theory:


Player 1 (column on left) is the Government, and Player 2 (top row) is the People of Colorado (society)

Strategies for the Player 1:

‘A’ which is to legalize marijuana and ‘B’ which is to not legalize it.

Strategies for the Player 2:

‘A’, to buy marijuana but the government will not collect taxes from these shops, so the owners keep all of the money

‘B’  to buy marijuana illegally through black markets for example (not government funded shops)

‘C’  – to buy Marijuana but physically cheat the government out of the taxes they are supposed to get from the given products

‘D’  – to buy Marijuana and give taxes to the government to help Colorado’s different projects 

*the main difference between A and C for Player 2 is that in A the government doesn’t take any taxes so shop owners keep all of the money while in C, they go against the law and keep the money.

What exactly do these pictures mean?

As seen above I used movement diagrams (these can outline which strategies are better) to find the Nash Equilibrium. We ended up at (10,6) which basically means that both players cannot play a better move to maximise their strategy now. We then take all of our payoffs (that are in the from of a coordinate point) and plot it on a graph. To find the Pareto Optimal Solution, we need to find that is farthest positive on the x-axis and farthest positive on the y-axis. This point is also (10,6) which is saying in this situation that (10,6) is the best possible solution for both players (which is to legalize marijuana and the people of Colorado should give back taxes so the government can use it to help society, such as putting stricter restrictions on who can buy it and teaching teens about the pros and cons).

This chart details how much money Colorado has been getting in revenue through marijuana sales.

My response: What can we do?

Throughout my research and game theory calculations, I realized that this is an extremley complicated issue. There is no one right answer. The main thing that we all need to be able to do together is insure that minors are not getting marijuana handed to them. While the government is getting A LOT of tax revenue from marijuana sales, they should use it towards educating teens and young adults in our community about the pros and cons. In this way we are able to still get a lot of money to our government so that they can continue to imporve society, but also ensure that it doesn’t lead to chaos with everyone taking drugs daily.

Take tiny steps: 

  • Educate yourself through articles, videos, etc that will allow you to get a stronger grasp on the factual details.
  • Talk to an adult. While this may seem tedious, our parents, teachers, counslers, etc do know what is best for us and so a simple convesation can go a long way.

Attached below are some links if you would like to do further reading on this topic.

Yahoo finance article

Chicago Tribune Article

How can you make an impact?

I’m excited to receive a lot of feedback from everyone when they visit my page! Since this conference will span multiple parts of the world, I would love to understand the different ways everyone sees this topic.

In the comments below, please let me know what you think by answering the following questions below.

  1. Have you ever felt peer pressure to smoke marijuana?
  2. Has anyone ever come to your school or done something in relation for the government to stop teens and young adults from taking marijuana?
  3. How do you think social media influences the way we see marijuana (either when people post pictures of them smoking or the ads we see)?

Thank you so much for taking your time to read my page, I really appreciate it! I will try to get back and respond to as many comments as I can!

MLA Works Cited

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