Colorado Issues 3rd Marijuana Report

Colorado published its 3rd report on the Impact of Marijuana in Colorado.  Colorado opened commercial marijuana stores in January, 2014. That year also saw the following, according to the report:

  • a 29% increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits,

  • a 38% percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations,

  • 30 injuries from THC extraction labs (also called BHO labs or hash oil explosions), compared to 18 in 2013

  • 32 fires from THC extraction labs, compared to 12 in 2013.  (The number for these BHO explosions are still much smaller than in California, where “medical” marijuana is the industry.)

  • There were 16 marijuana ingestions among children under 12 last year, compared with two in 2009.

Youth Use and Adult Use

  • In 2013, 11.16 % of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 years old were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.15% nationally.   Colorado is 3rd in the nation for youth usage.
  • In 2013, 29% of college age students (ages 18-25) were current marijuana users, compared to 18.91% nationally.  (This statistic benefits the marijuana industry which has much to gain by attracting young people, continuing to find new users and making money off of addiction.)
  • In 2013, 10.13 % of adults ages 26 and older were current users compared to 5.45% nationally.
A hit-and-run driver high on pot caused a 6-vehicle crash in Denver on the morning of August 7, 2105. Stoned driving continues this year.

 Driving under the Influence, Crime

Of course the legalization of marijuana has led to more driving and traffic problems.  The state put had a television announcement: “Drive High and Get a DUI.”  Yet the problems continued to be higher than before the marijuana expansion.

  • In 2006, 37 people died in crashes where drivers tested positive for marijuana, making up 7 percent of total crash fatalities. In 2014, 94 people died in crashes where drivers tested positive for marijuana, making up 19 percent of total crash fatalities.

  • In 2014, toxicology reports with positive marijuana results of active THC for primarily driving under the influence increased 45 percent in one year.

  • Average potency of marijuana is 17.1% THC, up from national average under 4% in 1995.
  • Crime in Denver rose 12.3%, from 2012 to 2014.

Legalization in one place affects other states and countries:

  • The average number of seized parcels containing Colorado marijuana, destined for outside the United States, increased more than 7,750 percent between 2006-08 and 2013-14. The amount of marijuana seized in those parcels, measured in pounds, increased more than 1,079 percent.

  • The number of pounds of Colorado marijuana seized in U.S. mail, bound for 38 other states, increased 722 percent from 2010 to 2014.   (Two states, Nebraska and Oklahoma, filed a lawsuit against Colorado because of legalization.)