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Report: Pot-related traffic deaths on the rise

Posted at 7:08 AM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 09:08:58-04

A new report from an organization formed to disrupt drug trafficking lists a litany of negative side effects from legalized marijuana use in Colorado.

"Did you know," it asks, that "in 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, that in only a year:

"Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 32 percent. Almost 20 percent of all traffic deaths were marijuana related compared to only 10 percent less than five years ago. Marijuana-related emergency department visits increased 29 percent. Marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 38 percent."

The report, released Tuesday by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, also pointed to increased seizures of Colorado marijuana in other states and high teenage use as links to legalization.

Data within the report leave room for interpretation about its conclusions. The 32 percent increase in "marijuana-related" traffic deaths, for example, was in raw numbers an increase from 71 to 94 deaths after a decrease the year before, and total traffic deaths have declined in Colorado since 2008.

Activists dispute the claims made in the report. Read more from our partners at The Denver Post.