Coloradans Consume the Most Marijuana
If you’re a marijuana consumer, come to Colorado. You’ll fit right in. There are now more retail marijuana stores (491) in the state than Starbucks (392) or McDonalds (208). At least that’s how the numbers pan out according to the fifth annual 168-page report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Based on the data, Colorado youth consume more marijuana than youth anywhere else in the nation. In fact, youth consumption is 55 percent higher in Colorado than the national average. And the same is true of adults. Adult use in Colorado is 124 percent higher than the national average.
To get its numbers, the report looked at marijuana use during three different periods:
- 2006 – 2008: Medical marijuana pre-commercialization era
- 2009 – Present: Medical marijuana commercialization and expansion era
- 2013 – Present: Recreational marijuana era
From these eras, the report determined how marijuana has affected Colorado and its citizens, looking at things such as traffic incidents, use, hospitalizations, exposure, legal issues, and more.
Marijuana-related traffic deaths more than doubled between 2013 and 2015. However, that’s not a huge jump. In 2013, there were only 55 deaths compared to 125 deaths in 2015. As for their representation of all traffic deaths. In 2009, marijuana represented nine percent of all deaths. By 2016, that number doubled to 21 percent of deaths.
Youth & Adult Use
Past-month marijuana use for youth increased 12 percent between 2013 and 2015. Coloradan youth also moved up to first place in the nation for past month use in 2014/2015 compared to 14th place in 2005/2006.
For college-aged adults, past-month use increased 16 percent between 2013 and 2015, and they ranked #2 in the nation for marijuana use—61 percent higher than the national average. For adults, past-month use increased 71 percent (2013 – 2015), and ranked #1 in the nation—124 percent higher than the national average.
Hospitalizations & Emergency Room Visits
Between 2013-2015, emergency visits related to marijuana increased 35 percent, and the yearly number of hospitalizations increased 72 percent compared to 2009 – 2012. Visits jumped from 6,305 in 2011 to 10,901 in 2015 (Jan – Sept).
In 2016, there were 163 investigations into marijuana-related crimes, which led to:
- 252 felony arrests
- 5 tons of marijuana seized
- 47,108 plants
- 2,111 edibles
- 232 pounds of concentrate
- 346 highway seizures
As for marijuana by mail, seizures of Colorado marijuana in the US mail has increased 844 percent from an average of 52 parcels between 2009 – 2012 to 491 parcels between 2013- 2016. And the amount of marijuana has increased as well. It went from 97 pounds to 984 pounds, a 914 percent increase.
To read the full report and learn more about the impact of marijuana in Colorado, read The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact.
Read more about Colorado….
- DOPE On The Road: Colorado, a Green State Divided
- Cannabis & Yoga Retreats This Fall in the Colorado Rockies
- Blue Forest Farms Partners with Colorado Hemp Project