Marijuana Legalisation in Colorado Sends Clear Warning

Media Release 13 September 2018
Family First NZ says that the experience of Colorado with legalisation of dope and the rise of Big Marijuana should send a clear warning to New Zealand families to resist any weakening of drug laws or allowing another Big Tobacco into the country.

A just-released Colorado report compiled by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RHMIDTA) finds marijuana-positive traffic fatalities, hospitalisations, marijuana use, and illegal market activity have all increased since marijuana legalisation.

“Liberalising marijuana laws and empowering Big Marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people. Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. Legalising marijuana will create the next “Big Tobacco” of our time. A new industry of lobbyists and special interests will put profits over evidence-based policy protecting public health and safety. In the US states that now have legal marijuana, regulation is failing, the black market continues to thrive, young drug use is increasing, and the number of car crashes involving marijuana is sky-rocketing. New Zealanders only need to look to Colorado as good evidence for saying no to any referendum which attempts to legalise weed,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Findings from the RHMIDTA Colorado report include:

Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving
 Since recreational marijuana was legalised, marijuana related traffic deaths increased 151%
 Since recreational marijuana was legalised, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people killed in 2017.

Section II: Marijuana Use
 Colorado past month marijuana use shows a 45% increase in comparing the three-year average prior to recreational marijuana being legalised to the three years after legalization.
 Colorado past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is 85% higher than the national average.

Section III: Public Health
 The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 52% after the legalisation of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
 The yearly rate of marijuana-related hospitalisations increased 148%

Section IV: Black Market
 RMHIDTA Colorado Task Forces (10) conducted 144 investigations of black-market marijuana in Colorado

Section V: Societal Impact
 Violent crime increased 18.6% and property crime increased 8.3% in Colorado since 2013.
65% of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses.

Section IV: Marijuana Industry
 According to the Marijuana Policy Group, Market Size and Demand for Marijuana in Colorado 2017 Market Update:
o “The average THC content of all tested flower in 2017 was 19.6% statewide compared to 17.4% in 2016, 16.6% in 2015 and 16.4% in 2014.”
o “The average potency of concentrated extract products increased steadily from 56.6% THC content by weight in 2014 to 68.6% at the end of 2017.”
 As of June 2017, there were 491 retail marijuana stores in the state of Colorado compared to 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonald’s.

READ the full Report here