THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN COLORADO: THE IMPACT
Volume 7 September 2020 Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Executive Summary: The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) program has published annual reports every year since 2013 tracking the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. The purpose is to provide data and information so that policy makers and citizens can make informed decisions on the issue of marijuana legalization.
Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving
- Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013, traffic deaths in which drivers tested positive for marijuana increased 135% while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 24%.
- Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 129 people killed in 2019.
- This equates to one person killed every 3 1/2 days in 2019 compared to one person killed every 6 1/2 days in 2013.
- Since recreational marijuana was legalized, the percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related increased from 15% in 2013 to 25% in 2019.
Section II: Marijuana Use
Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013:
- Past month marijuana use (ages 12 and older) increased 30% and is 76% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
- Past month adult marijuana use (ages 18 and older) increased 19% and is 73% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
- Past month college age marijuana (ages 18-25) use increased 6% and is 50% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
- Past month youth marijuana (ages 12-17) use decreased 25%and is 43% higher than the national average, currently ranked 7th in the nation.
Section III: Public Health
- Marijuana only exposures more than quadrupled in the seven-year average (2013-2019) since recreational marijuana was legalized compared to the seven-year average (2006-2012) prior to legalization.
- Treatment for marijuana use for all ages decreased 21% from 2009 to 2019.
- The percent of suicide incidents in which toxicology results were positive for marijuana has increased from 14% in 2013 to 23% in 2018.
Section IV: Black Market
- RMHIDTA Colorado Drug Task Forces (10) conducted 278 investigations of black-market marijuana in Colorado resulting in:
237 felony arrests
49 tons of marijuana seized
68,600 marijuana plants seized
29 different states the marijuana was destined
- Seizures of marijuana reported to the El Paso Intelligence Center in Colorado increased 17%from an average of 242 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 283 parcels (2013-2019) during the time recreational marijuana has been commercialized.
Section V: Societal Impact
- Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately 0.85% of Colorado’s FY 2019 budget.
- 67% of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses.
For complete data go to… Volume 7: Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area — 2020 RMHIDTA-Marijuana-Report