New Study by Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Shows
the Impact of Marijuana Use on Colorado Communities

Smart Press Statement
August 13, 2014

DENVER (August 13, 2014) — Yesterday, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) published a comprehensive study featuring data collected over the past eight years of the marijuana industry in Colorado. Titled, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 2,” the public study shows that Colorado’s children, in particular, have been impacted by the commercialization of marijuana.
“Colorado has struggled to keep marijuana out of the hands of our kids and this study shows that we have more work to do,” said Diane Carlson a founder of Smart Colorado, an advocacy group dedicated to protecting the health, safety and well-being of Colorado youth following the legalization of marijuana. “Our children are our future and early marijuana use can prevent them from reaching their potential.  As a community, regardless of how one views adult marijuana use, we can all agree that we must put protections in place to keep our kids safe.”
The direct impact on children measured in the RMHIDTA study shows that marijuana is falling into the hands of minors with serious consequences. Here are just a few of the statistics the study revealed:
  • In 2012 alone, over 10 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users, three percentage points higher than the national average.
  • Drug-related suspensions and expulsions increased 32 percent from 2008 to 2013.
  • Marijuana-related exposures for children ages 0 to 5 increased 268 percent on average over the past 8 years.
In addition to facing educational setbacks, the indirect implications of the study also illustrate safety concerns for the future generation. Community safety concerns include the following:
  • The number of drivers under the influence of marijuana has increased 16 percent from 2011 to 2013.
  • The traffic fatality rate for drivers testing positive for marijuana has increased 100 percent from 2007 to 2013.
  • Overall, crime in Denver increased 6.7 percent from the first six months of 2013 to the first six months of 2014.

These statistics, coupled with the fact that the potency of THC in marijuana products has increased, on average, eight percent from 1995 to 2013, explain why organizations like SMART Colorado are eager to protect Colorado youth from the growing dangers the RMHIDTA study illustrates.

The HIDTA program, a component of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy, offers additional federal resources to areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences.

View full study here. 

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