Published On: Mon, Sep 12th, 2016

Florida activists point to Colorado study on marijuana arrests, increased use, pot deaths to object to legalization

Public domain photo/Naturally via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain photo/Naturally via Wikimedia Commons

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area has released a new marijuana legalization impact report.  The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 4, shows increases in marijuana-related traffic deaths, youth use, adult use, marijuana-related violations on school campuses, marijuana-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations, marijuana ingestions among children, and many more negative impacts.

“If marijuana becomes legal in the state of Florida we will be facing a public health and safety crisis with long-term, irreversible consequences. With this year’s initiative on the ballot Floridians need to know and understand the consequences coming out of Colorado before they make any decisions,” said Amy Ronshausen, deputy director of Drug Free America, Inc. and Save Our Society From Drugs. “This is proof that legalizing marijuana for any purpose makes the drug more accessible and normalizes its use, especially by our youth who are targeted by a commercialized marijuana industry.”

Some highlights from the report:

  • In 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, there was a 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013.
  • Colorado marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 92 percent from 2010 – 2014. During the same time period all traffic deaths only increased 8 percent.
  • Marijuana-related traffic deaths were approximately 20 percent of all traffic deaths in 2014 compared to half that (10 percent) just five years ago.
  • In 2013, 11.16 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 years old were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.15 percent nationally. Colorado ranked 3rd in the nation and was 56 percent higher than the national average.
  • In 2013, 29 percent of college age students (ages 18 to 25 years old) were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.91 percent nationally. Colorado, ranked 2nd in the nation, was 54 percent higher than the national average
  • In 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, there was a 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations in only one year.
  • In the three years after medical marijuana was commercialized, compared to the three years prior, there was a 46 percent increase in hospitalizations related to marijuana.


One shocking piece of data which contradicted the legalization movement: Overall, crime in Denver increased 12.3 percent from 2012 to 2014 and the majority of cities and counties in Colorado have banned recreational marijuana businesses.

Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a national and international drug policy organization promoting sound drug policies, education and prevention. www.dfaf.org.

photo Bart Everson  Armstrong Legalize Marijuana

photo Bart Everson Armstrong Legalize Marijuana

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

Displaying 5 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Rich says:

    Anyone in FL who wants to smoke ALREADY DOES you MORON!!

  2. Rich says:

    People in FL who want to smoke ALREADY DO you MORON!

  3. Rich says:

    People in FL who want to smoke, are already smoking you MORON!

  4. Rich says:

    That’s one of the most ridiculously one sided posts I’ve ever seen! Why didn’t you mention that teen use did NOT go up after legalization in COL?
    If cannabis gets legalized in FLA, the BIGGEST difference is that smokers will pay taxes.

    NEWSFLASH: People in FL who want to smoke ALREADY DO. You MORON!

    • Brandon Jones says:

      We didn’t include a lot of facts from the data. You are WRONG about teen use. This is the study’s findings:

      Drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40 percent from school years
      2008/2009 to 2013/2014. The vast majority were for marijuana violations

      Positive THC urinalyses tests, for probationers ages 12 to 17 years old, increased
      20 percent since marijuana was legalized in 2013.

      A 2015 survey of school resource officers and school counselors revealed similar
      results about increased school marijuana issues since the legalization of
      recreational marijuana.

      Let’s examine taxes.

      Colorado Governor John
      Hickenlooper’s office projected $118 million in taxes from recreational marijuana and
      modified that projection down to $69 million. The Colorado Department of Revenue
      commissioned report estimated 130 metric tons of marijuana would be consumed in
      Colorado, but just 77 metric tons were sold through medical or recreational retailers.
      The rest was sold through an unregulated and untaxed gray market and the black

      In February 2015, state officials released tax
      revenue figures from recreational and medical marijuana for 2014 at around $63 million.
      “The 15 percent excise tax dedicated for schools – projected alone to raise $40 million –
      has generated about one-third of the original estimates. Excise taxes totaled $13.3
      million from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 according to data from the Colorado Department of
      Revenue.” Colorado’s governor had to drastically modify his $100 million plan for tax
      revenue. “We ended up with much closer to a $33.5 million budget for this fiscal year,”
      said Andrew Freedman, director of the Governor’s Office of Marijuana Coordination.
      Freedman said the first priority is to cover costs of regulation. Apparently about $7.6
      million is needed to enforce regulations and $5.6 million for a statewide public
      education campaign.

      According to Andrew Freedman,
      director of the Colorado Governor’s Office of Marijuana Coordination, most revenue
      generated from legal marijuana sales will be used to regulate the industry. “Freedman,
      who is tasked with keeping tabs on the regulation of Colorado’s retail and medical
      marijuana markets, said the tax dollars brought in largely go toward the ‘cost of
      legalization.’” He said, “You do not legalize for taxation. It is a myth. You are not
      going to pave streets. You are not going to be able to pay teachers. The big red herring
      is the whole thing that the tax revenue will solve a bunch of crises. But it won’t.”

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