The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program recently released its 2021 report on the impact of marijuana legalization. Here are some of the key findings:
Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013:
- Past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older increased 26% and is 61% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
- Past month adult marijuana use (ages 18 and older) increased 20% and is 62% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
- Past month college age marijuana (ages 18-25) use increased 10% and is 53% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
- Traffic deaths where drivers tested positive for marijuana increased 138% while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 29%.
- Traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 131 people killed in 2020.
- The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana increased from 11% in 2013 to 20% in 2020.
Drug Free America Foundation epidemiologist Dr. Sharif Mohr commented, “The fact that traffic deaths increased by 29% overall is very telling. Over time, cars and road conditions tend to become safer due to advances in technology and engineering. Also, Colorado’s population only grew by about 8% from 2013-2020, so these data are clearly showing the effect of marijuana legalization. Unlike for alcohol, there is no diagnostic test that can determine if a driver is impaired by marijuana, making DWI very difficult to prove. Until such a test is developed, we’ll continue to see these numbers climb.”
Access the full report here.