DENVER, Colo. — Sept. 17, 2015 — New research raises troubling questions about marijuana commercialization in Colorado and its effects on young people.

“The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact” is the third volume of reporting from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA), which is affiliated with the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. The report was prepared by two intelligence analysts, relying on information from more than 30 entities, including federal, state and local agencies, as well health care facilities and corporations.

The current and previous reports are available at The report details a range of public health and safety indicators.

Furthermore, “In 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, there was a 38-percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations in only one year,” according to the report, citing an increase from 8,272 in 2013 to 11,439 in 2014.

Here are some highlights on the section on Youth Marijuana Use, from the executive summary:

“In 2013, 11.16 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 years old were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.15 percent nationally. Colorado ranked 3rd in the nation and was 56 percent higher than the national average.”

“Drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40 percent from school years 2008/2009 to 2013/2014. The vast majority were for marijuana violations.”

“There was a 20 percent increase in the percent of 12 to 17 year old probationers testing positive for marijuana since marijuana was legalized for recreational purposes.”

Furthermore, a survey of 95 school resource officers in June 2015 found that “90 percent reported an increase” in marijuana-related incidents since the legalization of recreational marijuana. Here are anecdotes from the survey:

“I have 6th graders that smoke marijuana before school. They steal it from their parents or older siblings.”

“Had two marijuana overdoses requiring ambulance transport to ER. Both incidents were 14 year old females.”

“Students smoking marijuana in class out of vapor pens. 8 year old found in possession of vapor pens and test positive for marijuana.”


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