Marijuana Legalization is still Folly
One issue we have been covering for years on Conservative Refuge Radio is the ongoing debate to legalize marijuana. When I wrote about this issue in the Baltimore Sun in 2013, I said the following:
The simple, undeniable reality is that the legalization of drugs will have harmful effects on society and a discussion that fails to acknowledge this is folly.
No doubt you have heard much about the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Many Maryland policy makers have taken a “wait and see” attitude about marijuana legalization in Maryland while the experiment in Colorado plays out.
Well, while advocates of legalizing pot talk about increased revenue and other purported benefits of legalization, the reality of the harmful effects are coming in as well.
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- Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 48 percent.
- Over 20 percent of all traffic deaths were marijuana related compared to only 10 percent six years ago.
- Marijuana-related emergency department visits increased 49 percent.
- Marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 32 percent.
- Marijuana-related calls to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center increased 100 percent.
- Diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states increased 37 percent by vehicle and 427 percent by parcels.
- Colorado youth now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 74 percent higher than the national average.
- Colorado college-age group now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 62 percent higher than the national average.
- Colorado adults now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 104 percent higher than the national average.
Here is the executive summary of the report to read for yourself,
Interestingly, this report disputes something that Senator Jamie Raskin insisted was not true when we debated this issue years ago. Raskin rejected the idea that legalization would lead to increased use particularly among teens. In December 2013 I wrote this:
Time will tell if legalization in other states will buck this trend but, as the Denver Post reports, legalization in Colorado has already led to a disturbing increase in pot possession in state schools. As noted in this article, marijuana is the only drug showing a trend toward increased use among teens in the United States.
Well, time has told and as anyone should have realized legalization lead to the highest use rates in the country and teen marijuana use in Colorado 74% higher than the national average. Does anyone, other than Jamie Raskin, really think legalizing marijuana in Maryland would not lead to similar results?
While pot advocates view this report in Colorado as “cherry picking” negative statistics there is no dispute that the data in this report is correct.
It is a stark reminder of what I have said for years, namely, that there will be harmful effects to marijuana legalization and they have to be part of any debate on this issue.