How Legal Marijuana Use Has Affected Colorado Since 2012


When recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado State back in 2012, opponents of the legislation voiced their concerns that it would encourage addiction, direct people towards more dangerous substances, and overall pose health problems to the general populace. Specifically, it was believed that the younger generation would be most affected, such as high school, university, and college students. Four years later, an anonymous survey was distributed to roughly 40,000 students, which was similar to a survey distributed before legalization, to get the facts on how the average Coloradoan has been affected by recreational marijuana.

The results may put some fears to rest among recreational marijuana opposition members. According to the survey, there was no dramatic or significant rise in marijuana use among people high school age or lower. The largest jump was 20% up to 23% of high school students having tried marijuana at least once. Other age groups did not jump significantly, either; the largest hike was from 7.6% to 12.4% among adults over the age of 26.

The most notable increase came when the surveyors studied Poison Control calls in Colorado State. In 2006, only 44 calls to Poison Control were made by people who were worried about overdosing on marijuana, something that does not seem scientifically possible. In 2015, that number escalated to 227. However, the increases in Poison Control calls, and the rest of the collected data, may also be attributed to people’s willingness to admit to marijuana use once it was legalized; many people would not likely call Poison Control before legalization for fear of criminal repercussions.

Criminal Aspects of Marijuana Possession

The survey looked at marijuana-related crimes throughout the state as well. It concluded that there was a significant increase to drug possession arrests in schools, up more than 30% from 2012 to 2014. More serious crimes related to marijuana, such as trafficking or illegal cultivation, did not increase. Only adults age 21 or older may purchase, possess, and use recreational marijuana, and they cannot buy more than one ounce at a time. It is possible that the unclear possession laws may have led to the increased arrest percentage as youths were unaware that they were in violation.

For a full article on the survey, The Guardian has an article here that was published by the Associated Press. If you need help with a marijuana crimes charge you are currently facing, you can contact Castle & Castle and our Denver drug crime attorneys today. With more than 65+ years of collective experience, we can review your case and discover the right legal option for you.

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