Five years ago, Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana. A great deal has happened in those years, and we wanted to uncover the drug’s true impact on our state. To do that, we hosted a symposium with law enforcement, medical, youth, family, education, business, and public policy experts at Colorado Christian University. Here are just some of their findings, and they show a troubling reality:
- Colorado youth use rate continues to be #1 in the nation. (RMHIDTA Report 2017)
- The number of Colorado drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana use jumped 145% — from 47 in 2013 to 115 in 2016. (The Denver Post)
- One Pueblo hospital is reporting nearly half the babies tested in one month had marijuana in their systems. (CBS4)
- Between 2013 and 2016, Douglas County Schools have seen a 149% increase in juveniles caught with marijuana. (Deputy Jay Martin, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)
- “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.” (Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull)
- The Institute of Medicine, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The American Glaucoma Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology all agree that smoked marijuana as medicine is unacceptable. (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
- Chronic use of smoked marijuana is associated with increased risk of cancer, lung damage, bacterial pneumonia, and poor pregnancy outcomes. (American College of Physicians)
- Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. (National Academy of Sciences)
- 58% more Black youth and 29% more Hispanic youth have been arrested for marijuana possession since legalization. (Colorado Department of Public Safety)
Anyone reviewing this startling data can see, legalized marijuana poses a clear and present danger to the people of Colorado.
To grow revenue, the predatory pot industry seeks to get as many people as it can hooked on this drug, especially young people and minorities. Drug dealers in suits are making millions while Colorado taxpayers are stuck with the bill for the impact of marijuana on our communities.
Jeff Hunt is Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University and Director of the Centennial Institute.