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Studying the impact of marijuana legalization

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2021 | Marijuana Charges

The impact of marijuana legal legalization in 2012 continues to be studied. Following passage by Colorado voters, the state legislature mandated the Division of Criminal Justice to investigate the impact of legalization when it comes to crime, traffic safety usage, hospitalizations, and other consequences.

The state released a report that couldn’t draw firm conclusions due to what the report perceives as a “lack of historical data.”

The findings

Marijuana users continue its increase among both state residents and those visiting from other areas of the country. Overall use increased from 13.5% in 2014 to 19% in 2019. Sales skyrocketed to $2 billion for the first time, based on data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. That number represents a 220% jump from 2014 when revenues were close to $700 million.

Additional stats from 2019 include:

  • Men (22.9%) are more likely to use marijuana than women in the past thirty days than women (15.1%)
  • Those aged 26 to 34 are at the highest rate of users (29.4%)
  • Those 18 to 25 come in a close second (28.8%)
  • The lowest demographic are those 65 and older (9.3%)

Opponents claimed that more drivers would be impaired on Colorado roads, presenting potentially deadly dangers. An increase in DUIs or DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) has grown over the past few years.

However, the number could be based on increased peace officers identifying impairment and choosing to forego testing due to obvious signs of alcohol consumption before driving.

The Colorado Department of Transportation reported that fatal crashes caused by marijuana use or a combination of various substances increased from 47 in 2013 to 120 in 2019.

Colorado’s economy has grown since the legalization of marijuana. Arrests are down but still can occur.