Legalization of marijuana could increase marijuana use almost 40% versus current rates among those aged 18 and older, and in the 18-25 year old age group in Colorado
(Denver, CO) – August 22 2013 – According to the newly release Quinnipiac poll asking Colorado voters 18 and older if they would smoke marijuana in light of legalized marijuana commencing next year, 15% and 35% of all respondents, aged 18 and older and 18 to 25, respectively, said they would.
These figures are much higher than past-month marijuana use rates in Colorado. According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health special estimates of past month marijuana use in Colorado, the rate of marijuana use (at least once in the past thirty days) among 18+ year olds is 11% and among 18-25 year olds it is 27%. These numbers are also well above the national averages of 7% and 19% for those two age groups, respectively.
“These numbers, asking likely voters 18 and older if they would smoke marijuana when it is legally available, are alarming,” commented Kevin A. Sabet, Director of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). “And they are likely an undercount. How many more people will say ‘yes to pot’ once they are given incentives, freebies, and heavily targeted by advertising among the new Big Marijuana business? As this industry emerges, Coloradans should brace for higher rates of drugged driving accidents, poor educational outcomes among youth, and spikes in ER admissions for marijuana poisonings.”
See: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/colorado/release-detail?ReleaseID=1941 andhttp://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k11State/NSDUHsae2011/NSDUHsaeStateTabs2011.htm#Tab21
Project SAM is a bipartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists, and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic dichotomies of “incarceration versus legalization” and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalize drugs. SAM was co-founded by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. Former George W. Bush Speechwriter, Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist David Frum, Harvard Professor Sharon Levy, Denver Health’s Chris Thurstone, University of Kansas tobacco cessation specialist Kimber Richter, and former Obama and Bush advisor Kevin Sabet also serve on the board of SAM. SAM focuses on a “third way” approach to marijuana, and works with state partners to reach the local level.