A newly released report in Colorado doesn’t give marijuana legalization many positive marks. In fact, it points to a troubling 32-percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013, with a 92 percent increase from 2010 to 2014.
What’s more, drug-related suspensions and expulsions increased 40 percent between school years 2008-2009 and 2013-2014, with the vast majority for marijuana violations, the organization Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area found.
Colorado’s retail marijuana businesses began operating in 2014. That year also saw the following, according to the report:
a 29-percent increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits,
a 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations, and
16 marijuana ingestions among children under 12 compared with two in 2009.
Want more driving-related statistics? Simply put, more Coloradans are driving under the influence of marijuana:
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.
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.
Data is a crucial part of the national conversation about marijuana policy and legalization. It’s inadequate to only talk about tax revenues without also mentioning these social costs. Local public health experts agree, “From a public health, prevention perspective, the data related to youth usage and childhood poisonings is most alarming. This should be a call to action. If increases like these were seen in any disease, we would respond immediately. Mainers need this information to make informed choices based on very real facts,” said Patty Hamilton, director of Bangor’s public health department.
“Marijuana in the New Millennium”
Bangor Public Health and Healthy Acadia, in partnership with the Bangor Public Health and Community Services’ Substance Abuse Task Force have announced an evening educational event: “Marijuana in the New Millennium,” to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the Gracie Theater at Husson University in Bangor.
A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the evening program will start at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The evening’s keynote speaker will be Thomas J. Gorman, director of Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, who will review the evolving public policy, public health and safety data from Colorado since the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.
A panel presentation by local experts in the fields of law enforcement, public health, substance abuse treatment and recovery, and health care will follow Gorman’s presentation.
From a public health, prevention perspective the data related to youth usage & childhood poisonings is most alarming. This should be a call to action ;if increases like these we seen in any disease we would respond immediately. Mainers need this information to make informed choices based on very real facts.
This educational summit is funded in part by a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Drug-Free Communities grant and supported by AdCare Educational Institute.