Federal Report Paints Damning Picture of Legalization’s Consequences
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, a federal task force issued a damning report on the consequences of marijuana legalization in Washington State. The document, written by the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) office in Seattle, shows a huge spike in access to and use of marijuana since legalization, with predictable and unfortunate results.
Most notably, there are now almost 200 more recreational marijuana businesses than Starbucks in that coffee chain’s home state. This boom has fuelled massive increases in consumption. Overall last-year use (ages 12+) rose 23% from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014, and last-month use among children ages 12 to 17 is up over 6% during the same period.
The spike in use has had foreseeable consequences, particularly on the roads and with kids:
– One-third of all DUI cases now test positive for active THC, up from 19% in 2012.
– The number of drivers involved in fatal accidents that had active THC in their blood increased over 120% from 2010 to 2014.
– A survey revealed that a full 49% of young adult (ages 18-25) respondents who used marijuana in the past month had driven a car within three hours of getting high — and that 16% of them had done so six or more times in that same month.
– Kids ages 12-17 accounted for 74% of all state marijuana seizures in 2014, compared to 28.9% in 2010.
– In Seattle public schools, over three-quarters (77%) of all drug and alcohol disciplinary violations from September 2014 to January 2015 were related to marijuana–with an elementary school reporting that a 5th grade student brought a marijuana candy bar to school to share with fellow students.
– Marijuana poisoning calls to the Washington State Poison Center rose 54% from 2012 to 2014.
– State authorities have yet to criminally prosecute any marijuana businesses for attempting to sell pot to minors, despite documented violations that entailed felony liability.
“The ‘regulate and control’ model legalizers promised has ended up being a corporate free-for-all,” noted Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of SAM. “More and more kids are getting their hands on pot, despite the claims that the opposite would happen, and the state won’t prosecute offenders. And many of these same kids are getting behind the wheel right after getting high. Like Colorado, it’s profits before public health and safety.”
“It’s no surprise that the marijuana industry is uninterested in protecting minors when heavy users consume 80% of their product,” added Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM’s Executive Vice President. “As with Big Tobacco, the pot industry knows that hooking kids while they’re young is the best way to generate the heavy users their business model needs.”
For more information about marijuana use and its effects, please visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.