New Report: Driving While High, Youth Use, Crime, Arrests Surge Since Marijuana Legalization Began in Colorado and Washington

New Report: Driving While High, Youth Use, Crime, Arrests Surge Since Marijuana Legalization Began in Colorado and Washington

 The new data, reviewed by researchers at Harvard, University of Colorado, and other academic institutions, find major problems in first four years of legalization

ALEXANDRIA, VA – A new report, released today by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and reviewed by senior researchers at Harvard, University of Colorado, Boston Children’s Hospital, and other public health research universities, examines the consequences of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State. The report finds surges in youth pot use, hospital visits among young children, increases in fatal car crashes related to recent marijuana uses, greater workplace issues, more arrests of Black and Latino youth, and other negative consequences.

One part reads: “Though it is still early-the full effects on mental health and educational outcomes, for example, will take many more years to fully develop-these ‘experiments’ in legalization and commercialization are not succeeding by any measure.”

The report also cites Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who recently said, “The criminals are still selling on the black market. … We have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.”

“Four years have passed since Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, and the only winner is the pot lobby that is lining its pockets,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM. “What happened to the new schools? What happened to getting rid of drug dealers? None of that has come to pass.”


The report documents how marijuana businesses are concentrated in poor communities, and how the marijuana lobby has blocked legislation to deter use of illegal pesticides, sued over restrictions on marijuana advertising targeting children, made it more difficult for local initiatives restricting marijuana businesses, and sponsored efforts to allow pot smoking in restaurants.

Jo McGuire, chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate remarked, “This is not what we signed up for. Where is the control? This concept of ‘regulation’ is a farce. It is time to step up against the marijuana industry.”



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