By Jennifer Brice
DENVER (CBS4) – The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area wants you to read their latest report about the impact of legal weed since 2013. So you know, they’re the feds.
Tom Gorman runs the local office and says his study is filled with valuable facts for other states considering legalization. He says it’s a must read for parents, too.
“Here it is,” he says candidly. “You decide whether you think (marijuana) is good or bad.”
Gorman says his group pulls the data from national drug usage surveys, highway transportation statistics and police investigations.
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Here are the highlights in just three years since legalization:
- Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 48 percent.
- Over 20 percent of all traffic deaths were marijuana related compared to only 10 percent six years ago.
- Marijuana-related emergency department visits increased 49 percent.
- Marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 32 percent.
- Marijuana-related calls to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center increased 100 percent.
- Diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states increased 37 percent by vehicle and 427 percent by parcels.
- Colorado youth now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 74 percent higher than the national average.
- Colorado college-age group now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 62 percent higher than the national average.
- Colorado adults now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 104 percent higher than the national average.
Brian Vicente is with Sensible Colorado. He’s a marijuana activist and co-author of Amendment 64, the measure passed by voters to legalize marijuana. He questions the Rocky Mountain HIDTA’s data.
“They kinda just hand pick statistics and try to present this case that the sky is falling in Colorado,” says Vincente.
He believes the average Coloradan is happy with legalization based on jobs and tax revenue.
Gorman says there’s a dark side too. Colorado youth, college age and even adults now rank number one in the nation for pot use according to RMHIDTA.
Gorman believes are kids are mostly paying the price based of legalization based on what school resource officers are seeing on the front lines.
“These kids are going out at lunch and getting loaded,” says Gorman. “They sit in back of the class and are not being educated. Is this good? Is this the workforce that we want? Are these the people we want leading this country later on?”