In 2012 Colorado citizens voted to legalize marijuana, making it the first state to do so, and a recent report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) brings encouraging news to pro-marijuana advocacy groups across the country.
The highlights of the Marijuana Use in Colorado report issued from CDPHE include significant drops in marijuana-related ER visits (a drop of 27% from 2014 to 2015), decreased marijuana-related calls to poison control centers and a drop in unintentional exposure of marijuana to minors. These positive trends in the state with the oldest recreational marijuana industry have pro-marijuana advocates adamant about the safe use and control of recreation marijuana. Many point to Colorado’s educational programs about marijuana as a major factor in the decrease of ER visits and poison control center calls.
Director of Communications for the pro-legalization marijuana advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project Mason Tvert points to the encouraging numbers as signs that the great fears of marijuana legalization are unfounded stating, “What we are actually seeing is a tightly controlled system of marijuana production and sales that is making our communities safer.”
The report from the CDPHE lays out a wide variety of statistics on marijuana use in the state including numbers of active marijuana users after legalization. Per the report, the rate of marijuana use by teens has not seen a jump since legalization and continues to reflect the national average of marijuana use in teens stating, “Based on the most comprehensive data available, past-month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average.”
It’s not just teens that are keeping their marijuana use under control as the report states, “For adults and adolescents, past-month marijuana use has not changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the frequency of use among users.”
Other highlights from the report indicate that marijuana use among pregnant women in Colorado is “not statistically” different from the national average and that daily or near-daily use of marijuana is much lower than the same numbers for both alcohol and tobacco.
The recent statistics from Colorado are very encouraging for Tvert and the Marijuana Policy Project who spoke on the report stating “We are encouraged by these trends and optimistic about the future of the state, which is setting an example for the rest of the nation.”