A new report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area aims to show other states the negative side effects of legalized marijuana.
According to Kevin Wong, analyst for RMHIDTA, the organization collected statistics about how marijuana legalization has impacted teen use, fatal accidents and fluctuations in the black-market sale of the drug. Their findings were that all three categories increased. According to the data, there was a 32 percent increase in fatal accidents involving marijuana since 2013.
"We look at various nationwide data... We try to comprise it into a concise manner in which the public can read it,” said Wong. “Anyone can read this and see that marijuana is negative, across the country."
The report states more people are shipping marijuana, or driving it themselves, out of state.
Critics say RMHIDTA is politically motivated.
"This one particular report seems to suggest the world is falling apart in Colorado," said Mason Tvert with Marijuana Policy Project. "We don't have enough data to say the law that was passed has caused more crime or caused an increase in teen marijuana use."
All of RMHIDTA's stats:
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
- Marijuana-related calls to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center increased 72 percent
- Diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states increased 25 percent
In 2013, the year marijuana was legalized in Colorado:
- Colorado teenagers now rank #3 in the nation for marijuana use and 56 percent higher than the national average
- Colorado college-age group now rank #2 in the nation for marijuana use and 54 percent higher than the national average