6 months in and the state of the marijuana industry is a topic of hot debate

DENVER — It’s been nearly six full months since Colorado opened the door to recreational marijuana, and its impact depends upon who you ask.

A national marijuana advocacy group has released a study pointing to facts that demonstrate some of the positive aspects of legal marijuana, but opponents are citing some troubling facts of their own.

After six months of recreational marijuana many people haven’t changed their opinions of it.

“On a personal level I’m not a fan of it. I wish we didn’t have it,” said LeeAnn Bernosky.

“I don’t see a problem in it,” said Mike Falkowski. “I actually think that alcohol is much worse.”

Now, as the six month mark approaches, a marijuana advocacy group is trying to cut through the opinion with facts.

“This program is showing that we can improve public safety, revenue in the economy, and our individual civil liberties all at the same time,” said Michael Elliott with the Marijuana Industry Group.

The Drug Policy Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group, released a study that found legal marijuana generated $10.8 million dollars in tax revenue for Colorado in four months. Despite worries about public safety, violent crime has also fallen 5.2 percent from this time last year.

Add in another report, which found that after 20 sting operations, no retailer has been cited for selling pot to anyone underage.

“What we’re seeing is that so many of those predictions (about recreational pot) look like utter nonsense now,” Elliott said.

But opponents of recreational marijuana say they have facts of their own.

“We’ve been keeping track of other things the past six months that are concerning for us,” said Gina Carbone, with SMART Colorado.

Carbone points to numbers from poison control centers showing more kids being treated for accidentally ingesting marijuana, and two high profile cases in which edible overdoses were linked to a death and a murder.

“To have seen these very, very tragic deaths due to edibles, obviously, tells us that we still have a lot of work to do with the regulations,” Carbone said.

“Everyone is acknowledging that the potency of edibles needs to probably be lowered so that people aren’t accidentally over doing it,” Elliott said.

Opponents say stoned driving and public intoxication are also up, but advocates argue that the numbers are thanks to increased enforcement, which is funded by all that tax revenue.

5 comments

  • katie

    marijuana is doing no more harm than alcohol. How many teens die in car crashes from under age drinking and how many die or are hospitalized for alcohol poisoning I do not drink or smoke but you really need to look at all the facts first instead of the facts you want people to hear.

  • Anonymous

    How many deaths and murders have happened since alcohol has been around? Stop trying to make weed look bad cause you’re doing a bad job.

  • Universer

    The reason why this piece is low-class journalism is that it pretends there’s an equivalency in the voracity of the citations presented by the debate’s two sides. To wit: Paragraphs 8 and 9 give actual numbers representing the positive societal effects of cannabis regulation – then, to counterpoint with the prohibitionist case, Paragraph 13 says they “point to numbers” (not given) and cite merely oblique anecdotes.

    Naturally, good journalism provides a story’s various angles in weighted measure. It does not make believe there’s a 1-to-1 ratio between two sides when there clearly (statistically) is not.

  • Thor

    The man who shot his wife after ingesting an edible was also on prescription medication. That we did not see in the news. Same with the young man who drove his car into the police car and the news said that he was high on weed. What we didn’t hear was that he was drunk. 3 times the legal limit if i remember correctly.

    Don’t let those who profit on prohibition feed you lies and propaganda.

    peace!

  • Anonymous

    This argument that it is better than alcohol is outrageous. Is this where we have really gone to comparing one evil to another to make it alright. I got an over the top idea how about being sober. That is better than both of them.

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