Colorado Marijuana Statistics Since Legalization
Even as a federally prohibited and a Schedule I substance since the 70’s, a call for the repeal of marijuana prohibition has fallen on deaf ears because so far various states such as California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada have legalized the use of recreational marijuana while Arkansas, North Dakota, Florida, and Montana states have approved medical cannabis measures.
Being one of the most liberal states in the U.S., not only has Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adult (as long as they don’t do it in public), but it has gone a step further and legalized the sale, cultivation, transportation, and possession of up to an ounce of recreational marijuana since 2012 – a legislation that has seen the legal marijuana market in Colorado reach over $1 billion dollars in 2017.
Despite costing the government over $51 billion annually on drug wars, not much impact can be felt in terms of reducing drug use. In fact, a little over 30 million Americans use marijuana every year, even after decades of its criminalization. There is no negating the effective medicinal benefits of doctor approved use of marijuana, especially in alleviating epilepsy, glaucoma, pain from AIDS, nausea from chemotherapy, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms.
However, there is very little evidence to support the idea that legalizing marijuana won’t lead to increased use and in fact, it has had little to no impact on Colorado teens’ attitudes toward the damaging effects of marijuana use. We can argue until the sun comes up that marijuana is less addictive than tobacco and alcohol, but the fact remains that it is a habit forming drug that boosts dopamine levels and could possibly give way to harder, more dangerous drugs that lead to addiction. In fact, those who use marijuana at a young age are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than non-marijuana users in the future.
While marijuana has been financially beneficial for Colorado, created jobs and boosted tourism, one of the biggest nuances that residents of Colorado have to deal with since the legalization of marijuana is that it has attracted a vast number drifters and squatters from other states that are wreaking havoc.
In addition to that, not only has the presence of marijuana in fatal car crashes across the state risen to 145% since 2013 but according to the Denver post, in 2016 alone, 63% of drivers that tested positive for marijuana were 5ng per milliliter over the state legal limit for driving.
There is no change in the number of marijuana users in Colorado but here are the pros of its legalization thus far:
- It has made its dependency socially visible for non-users to want to steer clear of it and those addicted to seek help
- It failed to produce the predicted increase in crime
- It has created new job opportunities
The con: There has been an increased number of children admitted to the emergency room after taking Marijuana-laced candy and other treats.