A Colorado Failure: The Truth About Marijuana Legalization
The impact of Colorado’s Amendment 64 (the legalization of “recreational marijuana”) has been disastrous.The current “State” of Colorado is in rapid decline on many levels.
Colorado Amendment 64 passed on November 6, 2012, and became effective January 1, 2013 for “personal use” and January 1, 2014 for “commercial” cultivation and distribution.
The immediately obvious results are bad… and getting worse:
- Marijuana use in Colorado is 42 percent higher than the national average according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014.i
- Marijuana use by high-school-aged youth in Colorado is 56 percent above the national average according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014.ii
- Teenage admissions for marijuana-addiction treatment rose by 66 percent between 2011 and 2014 according to Arapahoe House Treatment network in Colorado.iii
- Marijuana has as much as 90 percent higher potency levels in Colorado as a result of legalization due to higher THC concentrations in hash oil and other marijuanainfused byproducts according to the University of Mississippi’s federally funded National Center for Natural Products Research in June 2015.iv
- Tax revenue from marijuana sales in 2014 had a 42-percent shortfall, the Colorado Governor’s office reported to the New York Times.v The majority of the lost revenue went to the marijuana black market.
- Crime is on the rise. Disorderly conduct in Denver increased 45 percent in the first year after Amendment 64 became effective for “personal use” (from 2013 to 2014) according to the Denver Police Department.vi
- Marijuana has proven to be a gateway drug. Heroin and methamphetamines are flooding into Colorado. Last year, U.S. law-enforcement agencies seized more than 2,100 kilograms of heroin coming from Mexico and 15,800 kilograms of meth… more than triple the amount confiscated in Colorado during 2009.vii
- Colorado drugged-driving incidents are increasingly marijuana-related. As reported by the Colorado State Patrol in 2014, 77 percent of those tested were positive for marijuana and/or other drugs.viii
- In the year after legalization, hospitalizations due to marijuana exposure jumped 128 percent according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statistics released in 2015.ix
- Infant exposure is skyrocketing due to the marketing of marijuana as candy and cookies. Marijuana-related exposures for children aged five and under increased 268 percent for the 2010-2013 period in Colorado according to the Children’s Hospital of Colorado’s Emergency Department.x
- Traffic fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana doubled from 2007 to 2012 in Colorado according to a Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report.xi
- U.S. Mail interceptions of Colorado marijuana destined for 33 other states increased 1,280 percent from 2010 to 2013 according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.xii As an example, one county in Nebraska saw interdictions rise from 20 cases in 2011 to a projected more than 160 cases in 2015.
- Poison Control Center calls regarding marijuana poisoning increased 147 percent from 2012 to 2014 in Colorado.xiii
- Cross-border interdictions are rising. More than 40 states have reported seizures of Colorado-sourced marijuana according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.xiv
iv “Protecting Our Children’s Future,” SMARTCO, 2015. University of Mississippi, National Center for Natural Products Research, Quarterly Report #124. LaFrate, Andy, PhD. 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition. Denver (March 23, 2015).
viii Statistics available upon request. To be released in January 2016. Contact: Captain Brett Mattson, Public Affairs Section, firstname.lastname@example.org