COLORADO – The group Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a pro-law enforcement group, has updated its annual report on the impact of legal marijuana in Colorado.
The organization’s numbers paint a negative picture of those who use marijuana. Keep in mind, this organization is comprised of law enforcement agencies in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah with a mission “to support the national drug control strategy of reducing drug use.”
The group divided their report into several categories, including traffic fatalities and impaired driving, marijuana use, public health, black market, and societal impact. Rather than publish a new study for 2018, the group chose to piggyback off its numbers from 2017, comparing the change in its figures from its initial report back in 2013.
The group said its intent was to “provide the latest data and information so that policymakers and citizens can make informed decisions on the issue of marijuana legalization”.
The data is also being added to and supplementing studies conducted by the Police Foundation as well as the Colorado Chiefs of Police.
The information shows marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 151% from 2013 to 2017, and traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people killed in 2017.
It also reports that marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased by 9.87% from 2013 to 2017.
Additional findings show there was a 45% increase in past-month use when comparing the three-year average of marijuana use prior to its legalization to the three years after legalization. Past-month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is ranked third in the nation and is 85% higher than the national average.
A particularly key finding from their research shows that generally speaking, the cost to purchase legal recreational marijuana in Colorado has fallen 62 percent from 2014 through 2017. According to the group, the THC level, the component of marijuana that gets you high, has steadily increased over that same period of time.
RMHIDTA also wanted to provide a perspective on how much the industry has grown in Colorado since recreational marijuana became legal. They report that as of June of 2017, there were 491 retail marijuana stores across the state of Colorado, compared with 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonalds restaurants.
RMHIDTA makes no bones about the fact that their mission is “to reduce or eliminate the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of illegal drugs and money laundering”. And adhere to the fact that marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law.
Click here to read the entire report.