Marijuana Accountability Coalition Holds Open Press Event to Release New Data on the Harms of Marijuana Commercialization in Colorado
(February 22, 2018 – Denver, CO) – The Marijuana Accountability Coalition (MAC), along with Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), launched a new report today examining marijuana legalization in Colorado, joining Colorado Christian University and the Centennial Institute in an open press event. SAM honorary advisor, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, also delivered the report to Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran earlier today. MAC is an affiliate of SAM Action, SAM’s 501 c-4 organization, started by former Obama and Bush Administration advisors.
“We will continue to investigate, expose, challenge, and hold the marijuana industry accountable,” said Justin Luke Riley, founder of MAC. “We will not remain silent anymore as we see our state overtaken by special marijuana interests.”
|Today in downtown Denver, Colorado Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran (left), receives MAC’s Colorado Data Report from Former U.S. Represenative Patrick J. Kennedy (right)|
The report also comes with a two-page report card synopsis giving Colorado an “F” on many key public health and safety indicators.
Future MAC initiatives include an effort to expose politicians taking marijuana industry money, and exposing the harms of 4/20 celebrations.
“I am increasingly concerned that legalized marijuana is wrecking our state. Communities across Colorado are suffering because of it, and it is absolutely necessary to continue to give voice to the people, families and communities being harmed. I’m glad MAC has stepped up to be that voice,” said Frank McNulty, former Speaker of the House of Representatives in the U.S. State of Colorado.
The new report card discussed the following impacts in the state:
- Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalization (NSDUH, 2006-2016). Young adult use (youth aged 18-25) in Colorado is rapidly increasing (NSDUH, 2006-2016).
- Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana has increased (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment [CDPHE], 2017).
- Colorado marijuana arrests for young African-American and Hispanic youth have increased since legalization (Colorado Department of Public Safety [CDPS], 2016).
- The gallons of alcohol consumed in Colorado since marijuana legalization has increased by 8% (Colorado Department of Revenue [CDR], Colorado Liquor Excise Tax, 2017).
- In Colorado, calls to poison control centers have risen 210% between the four-year averages before and after recreational legalization (Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center [RMPCD], 2017 and Wang, et al., 2017).
“As a university we are entrusted to help shape and guide the minds of younger generations. Marijuana has been proven to be harmful to the developing brains of young people. We should not live in a state where marijuana companies have a financial interest in hooking as many people as they can on this dangerous drug,” said Jeff Hunt, Vice President of Public Policy, Colorado Christian University
Director, Centennial Institute.
“The promotion of marijuana use may be part of the driving force behind the negative societal effects Colorado has been seeing for the past several years which annually continues to worsen and include increased prevalence in overall and teen suicides,” said Dr. Kenneth Finn, a physician Board Certified in Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Management in Colorado.
“Isn’t it sad to think about how we are more concerned with how many plants we are legally entitled to grow, rather than how this drug is devastating the growth and potential of MY generation, and generations to come? We are growing plants, yet stunting growth. And I’m sick of it. I am craving cultural redemption and a redefined identity,” said Courtney Reiner, Student at Colorado Christian University.
“My family, my community, and my state have not benefited from the legalization of marijuana. The costs and harms outweigh any tax revenue. Our state has developed a deep drug bias where the negative effects of marijuana are minimized,” said Aubree Adams, who is also part of a group of mothers called Moms Strong.
Other data highlighted in the report include:
- In Colorado, the annual rate of marijuana-related emergency room visits increased 35% between the years 2011 and 2015 (CDPHE, 2017).
- Narcotics officers in Colorado have been busy responding to the 50% increase in illegal grow operations across rural areas in the state (Stewart, 2017).
- In 2016 alone, Colorado law enforcement confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different U.S. states (RMHIDTA, 2017).
- The U.S. mail system has also been affected by the black market, seeing an 844% increase in marijuana seizures (RMHIDTA, 2017).
- The crime rate in Colorado has increased 11 times faster than the rest of the nation since legalization (Mitchell, 2017), with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reporting an 8.3% increase in property crimes and an 18.6% increase in violent crimes (Colorado Bureau of Investigation [CBI], 2017).
- The Boulder Police Department reported a 54% increase in public consumption of marijuana citations since legalization (Boulder Police Department [BPD], 2017).
- Marijuana urine test results in Colorado are now double the national average (Quest Diagnostics, 2016).
- Insurance claims have become a growing concern among companies in legalized states (Hlavac & Easterly, 2016).
- The number of drivers in Colorado intoxicated with marijuana and involved in fatal traffic crashes increased 88% from 2013 to 2015 (Migoya, 2017). Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 66% between the four-year averages before and after legalization (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2017).
- Driving under the influence of drugs (DUIDs) have also risen in Colorado, with 76% of statewide DUIDs involving marijuana (Colorado State Patrol [CSP], 2017).
|Colorado Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran (left), Founder & President of MAC Justin Luke Riley (right)|