Colorado: A Marijuana Case Study

By March 16, 2015 Recent News

Focus on the Family March 2015
In the last decade, Colorado has seen the explosion of the marijuana industry.  The Colorado marijuana industry boasts the strongest marijuana on earth ―a 20-30-percent level of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary ingredient in marijuana. This is a dramatic increase from the 1-2 percent of THC in the marijuana of the 1970’s.

In November 2000, Colorado voters approved Initiative 20, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes and allowed for the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation operations and manufacturing of marijuana edibles for medical purposes.

In November 2012, Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana, allowing individuals to use and possess one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants. The 2012 amendment also permits the licensing of marijuana retail stores, cultivation operations, marijuana “edible factories” and testing facilities.[1]  (Voters in Washington State also approved recreational marijuana in 2012.)

The first official stores in Colorado opened in 2014, and the results are not what voters had expected:

  • There has been a sharp increase in pot-related calls to poison control;
  • Two deaths so far are attributed to marijuana use or overdoses;
  • Neighboring states are experiencing a surge in pot use; and
  • Advertising through every available medium blankets the Centennial State, desensitizing people to the risks.

As more states look at legalizing the sale and use of marijuana, Colorado offers a disturbing preview of what may be in store for them. In all likelihood, legalized marijuana represents the creation of a new equivalent to the tobacco industry of yesteryear. As tobacco has become less socially acceptable and states and municipalities are searching for new sources of revenue, marijuana is quickly becoming an industry poised to replace ―and even surpass ―where tobacco once reigned.

Perhaps most troubling aspect is the reality that marijuana has infiltrated Colorado schools, which now have lists of young people waiting to get help in treatment programs. Teens using pot face nearly twice the risk of addiction as adult users, and juvenile usage also increases the brain damage associated with the drug.
Facts About Legalized Marijuana In Colorado
Disturbing Trends
Key Findings