Marijuana’s impact in Colorado is not what you would think. A new report came out today on the impact that marijuana production, sales and consumption has had on Colorado. You may know that in 2013, Colorado and Washington both approved the recreational use of pot for those 21 and over. In Colorado, retail pot shops opened on New Year’s Day this year while in Washington, the first few retail stores have just opened.
Marijuana’s impact is the exact opposite of what many claimed it would be. Pro-marijuana advocates have been loudly proclaiming all the benefits of legalizing the use of marijuana for many years but oddly, they never seem to see a downside. They have insisted that legalizing the use of this addictive substance will practically put the drug cartels out of business, will not increase use among the young, will be healthful and beneficial and bring in millions in taxes as well. In short, marijuana is being touted as a wonder drug – all good and just about no harm of any kind.
Today’s report comes from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area investigative office. Did this new report support these assertions or not?
Let’s take a look at a few of the statistics and statements in this report.
Were they correct that marijuana use among young people would either stay the same or go down (the allure of this relatively legal drug now dimming)?
Here’s what the report says:
Past month marijuana use by Colorado youth aged 12 to 17: 10.47%
National average: 7.55%
In 2006, before the medical pot industry saw explosive growth, the rate in Colorado was 7.6%.
In fact, the rate of marijuana use by those 12 and older IN DENVER is now close to TWICE the national average.
In the US, the average is 6.58%.
In Denver, the average is 12.2%.
And what about the health effects?
Because the marijuana grown now is so much more potent than the product that’s been brought in from Mexico for years, it’s relatively easy to overdose. And with an overdose can come panic, difficulty breathing, racing heart, vomiting, paranoia, hallucinations and severe, unrelenting stomach pain. A few people have died when these effects made them psychotic and a few people appear to have died directly from the effects of the drug itself on their bodies.
Since 2008, emergency room admissions have climbed from 8,198 to 12,888. Hospitalizations came close to doubling in that time.
Is it now true that because this industry is legal and controlled, there will be less illicit trafficking?
First of all, you have bags of marijuana being sent all over the country from these farms and stores despite the fact that this is completely illegal. In 2013, there were 288 seizures of pot destined for 40 other states, totaling 3,790 pounds. In 2008, there were 58 seizures for 2,763 pounds.
Between 2009 and 2013, the number of parcels of pot traveling by post or package delivery service that were seized increased from zero to 207.
And while pot proponents claim that “crime has gone down,” in actual fact, property crimes have increased each year since 2008 except for 2011. The next two years, however, there were substantial jumps, more than making up for the pause.
This report quotes an article from www.mainstreet.com: “Black market marijuana, which many expected to disappear after the substance was legalized, is thriving. It is grown on public land owned by the federal government in the state…Since 2008, almost 95% of marijuana located on US Forest Service land are believed to be controlled by DTOs.”
One US Forest Service spokesman said: “As of yet, we do not have any evidence that the legalization of recreational marijuana has diminished the production or cultivation of marijuana on national forest system lands.”
This is only a tiny taste of the fairly massive amount of data in this report. It is safe to assume the impact marijuana will have on treatment centers in Colorado, specifically those that the taxpayers are footing the bill for.
If you’ve heard the promises of the pro-marijuana advocates, you deserve to hear how things are really turning out in Colorado. You can find this report here: http://bit.ly/1lSgXFo. The picture is not pretty but it needs to be seen before we have marijuana legalized in every state in the Union.