colorado springs, co
Posted - 09/21/2015 : 4:24 PM
This is kind of long but I'm wondering about the historical data with regard to these new stats as a 'comparison' and recent uniform testing thresholds etc.... I have little doubt the subject in general terms points to some impaired drivers having more crashes but I'm a bit skeptical of a one year study.
EDITORIAL: New data paint dismal picture of pot
Few thought the sky would fall the moment legalized, commercialized sales of recreational pot began in Colorado. Instead, critics feared steady increases in marijuana use and problems associated with it. They thought the drug would more easily find its way into the lives of children. They anticipated social costs that could rival or exceed the value of new marijuana tax revenues.
They were correct, as shown in data released this week by the federal government's Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a program that assists federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement in critical drug-trafficking regions.
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The Gazette Editorial Board's ongoing series "Clearing the Haze" provides a snapshot of the report.
The more serious concerns of the report are pretty simple to understand. Since legalization:
- More kids, ages 12-17, are using marijuana since retail medical marijuana took off in 2009. Nationally, 7.2 percent of youths report marijuana use within the past month. In Colorado, the number had increased to 11.2 percent by 2013. (Expect this number to grow when data are available for first-year recreational sales, which began in 2014).
- The black market is flourishing. Seizures of Colorado pot, shipped out of state, soared in 2014 ? the first year of recreational sales.
- Marijuana-related emergency room visits also soared in 2014.
- Colorado road deaths involving marijuana have increased substantially the first year of recreational sales.
- Pot arrests increased on federal property in 2014.
- Social costs of marijuana have increased, but pot sales and excise taxes combined generate less than 1 percent of state revenues.
Nothing in the report shows legalizing marijuana as a means of making life safer, healthier and more prosperous. If marijuana use continues to grow, we can expect future reports showing even more disconcerting trends. We may endure more deadly traffic problems, more intoxicated kids, more hospitalizations and more illegal trafficking from Colorado to states that don't want these problems.
All Colorado adults should read this report, from start to finish, regardless of their positions on the electorate's controversial decision to legalize pot. Look at the findings and ask whether they represent progress for Colorado and neighboring states. Ask if the data in this report portray a state that is reaping enviable rewards from legalizing recreational drug use.
With an objective mindset, ask whether commercialized, legalized pot has been a good idea.