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2018 Marijuana in Colorado Volume 5 Colorado, Black Market, social costs, Fatalities

Executive Summary

RMHIDTA has published annual reports every year since 2013 tracking the impact of
legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. The purpose is to provide data and
information so that policy makers and citizens can make informed decisions on the
issue of marijuana legalization. This year (2018) RMHIDTA elected to provide an
update to the 2017 Volume 5 report rather than another detailed report.
 
Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving
x Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana related traffic deaths
increased 151 percent while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 35 percent
x Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who
tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people
killed in 2017.
o This equates to one person killed every 2 1⁄2 days compared to one person
killed every 6 1⁄2 days.
x The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related
increased from 11.43 percent in 2013 to 21.3 percent in 2017.
 
Section II: Marijuana Use
x Colorado past month marijuana use shows a 45 percent increase in comparing
the three-year average prior to recreational marijuana being legalized to the three
years after legalization.
x Colorado past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is ranked 3rd in the
nation and is 85 percent higher than the national average.
 
Section III: Public Health
x The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 52
percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
x The yearly rate of marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 148 percent after
the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
x Marijuana only exposures more than tripled in the five-year average (2013-2017)
since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the five-year
average (2008-2012) prior to legalization.
 
Section IV: Black Market
x RMHIDTA Colorado Task Forces (10) conducted 144 investigations of black
market marijuana in Colorado resulting in:
o 239 felony arrests
o 7.3 tons of marijuana seized
o 43,949 marijuana plants seized
o 24 different states the marijuana was destined
x The number of highway seizures of Colorado marijuana increased 39 percent
from an average of 242 seizures (2009-2012) to an average of 336 seizures (2013-
2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
x Seizures of Colorado marijuana in the U.S. mail system has increased 1,042
percent from an average of 52 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 594 parcels
(2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
 
Section V: Societal Impact
x Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately nine tenths of one percent of
Colorado’s FY 2017 budget.
x Violent crime increased 18.6 percent and property crime increased 8.3 percent in
Colorado since 2013.
x 65 percent of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and
recreational marijuana businesses.
 
Section IV: Marijuana Industry
x According to the Marijuana Policy Group, Market Size and Demand for
Marijuana in Colorado 2017 Market Update:
o “From 2014 through 2017, average annual adult use flower prices fell 62.0
percent, from $14.05 to $5.34 per gram weighted average.”
o “Adult use concentrate prices fell 47.9 percent, from $41.43 to $21.57 per
gram.”
o “The average THC content of all tested flower in 2017 was 19.6 percent
statewide compared to 17.4 percent in 2016, 16.6 percent in 2015 and 16.4
percent in 2014.”
o “The average potency of concentrated extract products increased steadily
from 56.6 percent THC content by weight in 2014 to 68.6 percent at the
end of 2017.”
 
x As of June 2017, there were 491 retail marijuana stores in the state of Colorado
compared to 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonald’s.
MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS MAY USE LEGAL MARIJUANA TO TAKE OVER NORTHERN CALIFORNIA california, Black Market, Environment

A team of law enforcement agents from the U.S. Forest Service, local police and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hike deep into the Plumas National Forest to help with cleanup and protect scientists who are studying illegal marijuana grow sites. Even after a site has been raided, growers can return. The nets are for helicopters that will lift tons of garbage out of the site. On this reclamation trip, teams ultimately cleaned up about 7 tons of garbage, 4,000 pounds of fertilize, and 4 miles of irrigation tube, and they found the carcasses of three black bears, one grey fox and several rodents and birds. This accounts for just four sites.
14,000 Pounds of Rodenticide
Hours north of Calaveras, deep in public forests along the California-Oregon border, 12 tons of plastic trash, thousands of pounds of fertilizers and more than 80 pounds of toxic rodenticides and pesticides lay strewn among towering pines and oaks—turning this Eden into a landfill.

Utah's Sheriff Association 2017 Position Paper Utah, postition statement, Sheriff, Black Market, youth usage, zoning, dropout

“So called medical marijuana in other states has become a farce and a sham. The average user of smoked medical marijuana has no chronic illness and is a white male in his mid-30s with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. . . In the last 20 years and due to market demand, constant genetic engineering has increased THC potency in marijuana plants, and extraction-concentration methods are becoming extremely popular and widespread. become addicted.”Marijuana is the 2nd leading cause of impaired driving arrests. One in six adolescents trying marijuana will become addicted.
“In the city of Denver since the legalization of marijuana Denver Police Department is dealing with a 900% increase in the unlawful cultivation and manufacture of marijuana concentrate, and a 99% increase in unlawful distribution of marijuana and marijuana concentrate.
Marijuana is the #1 problem in Colorado schools. In school year 2015-16, 63% of all drug related school suspensions were for marijuana. 58% of all drug related school expulsions were for marijuana. 73% of all drug related school referrals to law enforcement were for marijuana violations. Youth past month marijuana use is 74% higher than the national average.

Western Colorado law enforcement officials say that Colorado has now become a magnet for criminals coming to take advantage of the state's marijuana laws. Colorado, Legislation, crime, Black Market

Western Colorado law enforcement officials say that Colorado has now become a magnet for criminals coming to take advantage of the state's marijuana laws.
A little over a week later, a 51-year old Palisade man was shot and killed in different incident related to a large pot grow operation. So far, there have been no arrests in the case.
“Legalization was supposed to get rid of the black market – it hasn’t done that – I would estimate that the black market has grown 20 fold since legalization,” said Gaasche.
 

Police crack down on Craigslist marijuana sales Colorado, Black Market

“I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market,” Lauren Harris said.

Black Market is Thriving in Colorado Black Market, Colorado

More than 40 states have reported seizures of Colorado marijuana and THC products, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The federally funded task force also reports that seizures involving Colorado marijuana bound for other states have risen nearly 400 percent, from 58 incidents in 2008 to 288 in 2013 — the year before Colorado’s marijuana retail stores opened. That is consistent with Denver police records showing a nearly 1,000% spike in the amount of marijuana officers have seized — 937 pounds in 2011 compared to a little more than 4 tons last year.

Inside Colorado’s flourishing, segregated black market for pot Colorado-0, Black Market
Medical marijuana in Oregon: State program prone to exploitation, abuse, report says Oregon, abuse, Black Market, THC

“Liquid THC production - - and incidence of butane hash oil lab explosions -- is expected to rise as the market expands for marijuana edibles and demand increases for product that has a strong psychoactive effect,” the report notes.

Colorado the new ‘black market’? Pot legalization causing headaches for surrounding states Colorado-0, Black Market

"One of the [arguments] for legalizing marijuana [in Colorado and Washington state] ... was to reduce the black market," said Tom Gorman, who heads a multi-state task force called the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. "In fact, the legalized marijuana has become the black market for other states."

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