We are told non-stop by the marijuana industry that the commercialization of marijuana has been a boon for Colorado and other states and there have been no ill consequences.

But what do the facts say?

Since legalization:

There has been a 151% increase in marijuana-impaired driving deaths.
There has been a 400% increase in 0-9 year-olds being exposed to high potency marijuana products.
Opioid-related deaths have increased every single year.
70% of Colorado pot shops recommend marijuana to pregnant mothers. This is neither safe nor regulated.
Colorado spends $4.50 for every $1 in marijuana tax revenue to cover the negative costs of legalization.
The industry is targeting vulnerable communities. In Denver, there is 1 pot shop for every 47 residents in our poorest neighborhoods. And fewer than 1% of the pot industry is controlled by people of color. But, yeah, “social justice.”
Colorado is now one of the top black market marijuana exporters in the United States. Criminal gangs and foreign cartels — big fans of marijuana legalization.

According to virtually every scientific review, including a 2016 World Health Organization report and a 2017 National Academy of Sciences study, marijuana is addictive and harmful—despite rhetoric from the marijuana industry. 

The chances of becoming dependent on marijuana can be up to 50% for some users, and regular use is indisputably dangerous to the adolescent brain, in some cases linked to permanent reductions in IQ. Regular high potency marijuana users are 5 times more likely to develop psychosis or schizophrenia than non-users.

Unlike cigarettes, marijuana also intoxicates, sometimes with tragic results. The percentage of traffic deaths related to marijuana more than doubled in Washington State since retail marijuana sales were allowed, and Colorado has seen similar increases in pot-related accidents. 

A 2017 study over 30,000 American adults demonstrated that marijuana users were more than twice as likely to move on to abuse prescription opioids even when controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, other substance use disorders, any mood or anxiety disorder, prior nonmedical opioid use, and family history of drug use disorder, alcohol use disorder, depression, and antisocial personality disorder.

Although it is still early for comprehensive cost studies on the costs of marijuana legalization, unsettling trends have already surfaced in Colorado & Washington state, suggesting that, like tobacco and alcohol, costs outweigh revenues :

  • Over half the pot money promised for drug prevention, education & treatment in WA never materialized.
  • Bureaucracy consumes a significant portion of Colorado marijuana tax revenue.
  • More CO youth – especially black & Latino kids – are being arrested for pot-related offenses post-legalization.
  • Adolescent suicide victims in Colorado are increasingly found with marijuana in their systems.
  • Marijuana offenses in Colorado elementary and high schools have increased 34 percent since legalization.

For more detailed information, click here to read a comprehensive report on the lessons learned from marijuana legalization in five states and D.C.

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