Denver Colorado’s Great Legalization Divide

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Summary

As the smoke from celebratory blunts begins to clear over the Rockies, legalization opposition is still at at an all-time high. Medical marijuana treatments have rung true to hypotheses, epileptic kids have subdued their ailments, cancer cells destroyed. But, children have gotten their hands on edibles, some guy went outright crazy after overindulging and there […]

As the smoke from celebratory blunts begins to clear over the Rockies, legalization opposition is still at at an all-time high. Medical marijuana treatments have rung true to hypotheses, epileptic kids have subdued their ailments, cancer cells destroyed. But, children have gotten their hands on edibles, some guy went outright crazy after overindulging and there have been a few home explosions.

In the past six months, marijuana has been plastered all over the news. Sending mixed messages has pulled the clueless United States on and off-board with legalization like a rag doll. So let me do you a favor. I’m just going to lay it all out there and I urge you to form your own opinion.

Let’s look at some hard data before we throw around scant assumptions.

Colorado has sold $19 million in cannabis in March alone, and $1.9 million went to schools. If these solid facts are apparent, why are taxpayers and non-smokers holding fast to opposing marijuana being legal in Colorado?

According to The New York Times[1], Colorado’s starkest problems with legal marijuana stem from pot-infused cookies, and other surprisingly potent edible treats that are especially popular with tourists and casual marijuana users. Moreover, children are gaining access to it within the home. Edible treats have been known for their commercial packaging, bright designs, and are easily confused with the candy you find at your local grocery store counter.

Lexichronic

Lexichronic

Just this week, Hershey even sued Colorado-based company, Tincturebelle, for trademark infringement. Yes, changing the packaging might make children keep their hands to themselves, but let’s remember they still happen to have a taste for poisonous chemicals donning the least exciting packaging, sitting under your bathroom counters. Marijuana has psychotropic effects on the brain, so anything infused with it should be kept out of the reach of children, just as you treat your cigarettes, alcohol, sweets, lighters…you get it.

On the other side of the coin, studies have revealed that cannabis availability decreases crime. According to Natural Society[2], Colorado crime rates are down 14.6% since the legalization of marijuana. Since the legalization of weed, since 2013, criminal marijuana cases plunged 65%. With only 5 short months since it’s been legalized, the Denver Police Department has actively moved their focus to solving real, violent crimes. Bravo.

The following charts sourced directly from the DPD illustrate clearly how legalization effected crime.

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Unfortunately, those statistics don’t reach every home in Colorado nor Colorado’s neighboring states. There’s always that guy who watched one too many YouTube videos and ‘Weeds’ and started experimenting with making weed wax at home and it does not end well. CBS reported to the Washington Post[3] more than a dozen other explosions in the Denver area alone this year have been linked to people cooking hash oil. Butane fumes used in the cooking process linger and all it would take is a static electricity to turn any room into a deathtrap. Per 2014, only 10 people with serious injuries were treated in Colorado’s only adult burn center.

I hope you all learned your lesson to leave it to the professionals.

As marijuana is accessible for those visiting the state, recreational smokers and dealers alike tried to take their party favors home. As Sheriff Adam Hayward of Deuel County, Nebraska states:

“It’s kind of a free-for-all. The state or the federal government needs to step up and do something.”

The director of Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Tom Gorman, states otherwise. Rocky Mountain HIDTA covers counties in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, with a mission to reduce the flow of illicit drugs being transported in and out of the region. Basically, their mission is to facilitate cooperation among federal, state and local drug enforcement to combat trafficking issues.[4]

“This is a great opportunity for us to find out what happens when you legalize a substance like marijuana. Just wait and watch what happens in these labs, and then you can make a decision based on data and facts and not rhetoric.”[5]

The United States’ concern for the state’s legalization was welcomed with mixed reviews of excitement and fear, and now other states want to follow suit. Many placed even more doubt on the legalization of recreational marijuana due to the anticipation of overconsumption and the lack of lengthy clinical medical trials to prove its necessity. To everyone’s surprise, after just a few months, Colorado has displayed a smooth transition. Some say only time will tell, and we suspect that time is not too far off.

1. Healy, Jack. “After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High.” The New York Times. 31 May. 2014. Article.
2. Sarich, Christina. “Colorado Crime Rates Down 14.6% Since Legalizing Marijuana.” Naturalsociety.com. 19 Apr. 2014. Article.
3. Bever, Lindsey. “Explosions in Colorado linked to legalized marijuana.” Washingtonpost.com. 7 May. 2014. Article.
4. United States. “Rocky Mountain HIDTA.” 1996. Print.
5. Lopez, German. “Remember when legal marijuana was going to send crime skyrocketing?” Vox. 7 April. 2014. Article.