A new report evaluating the broad impact of the Colorado’s historic legalization of marijuana has been released, the Colorado Department of Public Safety announced Monday.
The report looks at the post-legalization effects on such things as public safety and health, drawing from local, state, federal and private data sets.
“This report is a two-year snapshot of the impact of marijuana legalization on Colorado’s kids, families, and communities,” Stan Hilkey, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, said of the findings. “While we still can’t draw any long-term conclusions, today Colorado continues to make history by establishing an objective, data-backed baseline against which all future assessments of marijuana legalization, both in Colorado and around the world, will be weighed.”
See some key findings from the report below:
• Among those 18-25 years old, marijuana usage has increased from 21 percent in 2006 to 31 percent in 2014.
• Among those 26 or older, marijuana usage has increased from 5 percent in 2006 to 12 percent in 2014.
• 33% of marijuana users who have reported marijuana use in the past 30 days have used daily.
• Marijuana-related arrests have decreased by 46 percent between 2012 and 2014, while possession arrests were cut in half and sales arrests have decreased by 24 percent.
• The trend for high school students ever using marijuana has declined from 42.4 percent in 2005 to 36.9 percent in 2013. The percentage of high school students currently using marijuana has decreased from 22.7 percent to 19.7 percent over the same period. Youth use in Colorado remains above the national average.
• Marijuana-related hospitalizations have increased from a rate of 803 per 100,000 pre-commercialization to 2,413 per 100,000 post-commercialization.
• The period of retail commercialization showed a significant increase in emergency department visits, from 739 per 100,000 (2010–2013) to 956 per 100,000 emergency department visits (2014–June 2015).
• The prevalence of marijuana as the impairing substance among DUIs has increased from 12% in 2014 to 15% in 2014, although the total number of marijuana-related DUIDs decreased slightly.
• In the 2014-15 school year, school-based discipline for drugs accounted for 41% of all expulsions, 31% of all law enforcement referrals, and 6% of all suspensions in Colorado.