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Pot Legalization Gets Thumbs Up in Colorado Focus Group

Apparently, it can be easy being green.

A year after Colorado voters OKed an amendment legalizing marijuana, most participants in a Denver-area focus group Thursday night said they think the move has been a positive one overall.

Out of 12 participants in the group – which was comprised of seven independents, three Democrats and two Republicans – 10 gave the outcome of the ballot initiative a thumbs up.

“It’s great for the economy,” said Rick Lamutt, a 40 year-old independent who participated in the focus group conducted on behalf of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Charlie Loan, a 52 year-old independent who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, and Andrew Reagan, a 28-year old Democrat who supports Elizabeth Warren, both pointed to tax revenues from the regulation of pot. Republican John Casessa said the move had reduced crime.

A Denver Post poll in December showed that a majority of Colorado adults – 61 percent -- believe the legalization has had both upsides and downsides. Just 19 percent said that the downsides dominate.

Jenny Howard, an accountant who is independent who leans Republican, said she opposes the legalization because of unexpected costs.

“Even though there was tax revenue, there was a lot of cost and spending that we didn’t count on, like increased enforcement,” she said.

- Carrie Dann