Leeann Cline: Pot statistics
August 23, 2016
To the editor:
While there are many people debating the pros and cons of allowing recreational marijuana sales in Moffat County, most of the arguments leave out one important thing — facts. The following statistics were obtained from a March 2016 document from the Colorado Department of Public Safety regarding marijuana legalization in Colorado. The full document can be found at http://cdpsdocs.state.co.us/ors/docs/reports/2016-SB13-283-Rpt.pdf, but since it is rather lengthy, please allow me to summarize.
- Arrests for marijuana sales and production have decreased by 24 and 47 percent, respectively
- Marijuana arrests only contributed to 3 percent of all arrests in 2014 versus 6 percent in 2012
- There has been an 8 percent increase in drivers testing positive for cannabis from 2012 to 2014
- Marijuana use for adults 18 to 25 years of age increased from 21 percent in 2012 to 34 percent in 2014
- Hospitalizations with possible, but not confirmed, marijuana exposures rose significantly from 2001 to 2015 from 803 per 100,000 to 2,413 per 100,000.
- With regards to homes with children ages 1 to14 present, 6.9 percent have some type of marijuana product around the house and 92 percent report storing it in a location the child cannot access
- Property crime rates and violent crime rates decreased 3 percent and 6 percent respectively from the time period before legalization to the time after (2009 to 2014)
- The document further states:
"Legalization may result in reports of increased use, when it may actually be a function of the decreased stigma and legal consequences regarding use rather than actual changes in use patterns. Likewise, those reporting to poison control, emergency departments, or hospitals may feel more comfortable discussing their recent use or abuse of marijuana for purposes of treatment. The impact from reduced stigma and legal consequences makes certain trends difficult to assess and will require additional time to measure post‐legalization."
- DUI/DUID caused crashes has decreased from 16 percent in 2011 to 13.8 percent in 2014. In comparison, more crashes in 2014 were attributed to inattentive driving or excessive speed (19.7 and 17.2 percent respectively). These figures are taken from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/csp/crash-trends, the Colorado State Patrol's website regarding crashes investigated by state troopers.
If you are still holding to the long-believed thought that allowing retail marijuana sales will have "unintended consequences" on our town, here is more data. The Colorado Department of Revenue collects tax data on the recreational and medicinal sale of marijuana, which comes in at $16,823,849 year to date for Colorado in 2016. In Routt County alone for 2015, $366,455 in sales tax revenue from marijuana sales was reported by the Steamboat Today on March 2. Similarly, Breckenridge reported $381,582 from their 5 percent excise tax on recreational marijuana in 2014. Please do not ignore the facts, but rather read for yourself and make an informed decision based on actual data and not opinion. The longer we allow closed minds and ignorance to rule our thinking, the longer Craig will continue to decline and miss out on an opportunity for real economic growth.
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Supporter of the Grow Craig initiative