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Tag Archives: Post Legalization

Post-Legalization Denver CO MJ Adolescent Use Increases Significantly

WTR-RI Research and Analysis Team Note:

Data drawn from 2014 Colorado Healthy Kids and 2014 Monitoring the Future studies show substantial increases in post-legalization Denver Area last month youth use of marijuana when compared to national averages.  The table attached below shows differences in 8th grade use versus national average of approximately 350%; the ratios for 9th, 10th and 12th grades are approximately 40, 50 and 42 percent respectively.

Denver vs Nat’l Avg. Youth Use 2014 Table

Clearing the Haze | A perspective series by The Gazette

Clearing the Haze | A perspective series by The Gazette

Day 1: Regulation 
Sunday, March, 22 2015

Two important assumptions about successful legalization of marijuana in Colorado were made. Regulation would provide a safer solution to the state’s drug problems and by regulating the sale of marijuana the state could make money otherwise locked up in the black market. Sunday’s stories suggest the net gain from taxes and fees related to marijuana sales will not be known for a while, as costs are not known or tracked well, and there are many other unknowns about pot’s effects on public health and safety.

Day 2: Marijuana and Crime
Monday, March, 23 2015

Proponents of Amendment 64 said legalizing recreational sales and use of marijuana would stifle the black market in Colorado. That is not the case; crime statistics indicate we have more to learn about the long-term effects of legal pot on public safety and other concerns. Data indicate there is new black market trafficking across the country as a result of legalized pot sales in Colorado. Other safety concerns surrounding concentrates and their manufacture are consequences of legalization that were never anticipated.

“Only 1.4 percent of inmates in the state corrections system were imprisoned for offenses involving only marijuana-related crimes.”

– Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004

Day 3: Youthful Addiction 
Tuesday, March, 24 2015

Protecting our children was a priority as the public headed to the polls to vote on Amendment 64. The most recent research on adolescent brain development and related addiction studies indicates this is more important than ever thought before. Adolescent exposure to marijuana is most troubling because young users are more vulnerable to addiction throughout their lives. Post-legalization trends in Colorado raise concerns because regulation has fallen short of the promises made by the state. The increasing rate of pot use also is a concern of employers.

“In 2009, Children’s Hospital Colorado reported two marijuana ingestions among children younger than 12. In the first six months of 2014, there were 12.”

– Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Day 4: Medical Marijuana 
Wednesday, March, 25 2015

Medical marijuana sales in Colorado exploded after October 2009 as the result of a federal memorandum stating that resources likely would not be used to prosecute people involved in the business, which remains illegal under federal law. Gazette research confirmed the medical marijuana market continues to grow as the result of porous regulation and a favorable price differential versus retail marijuana sales. The issue is big and complex and may derail legitimate efforts to conduct research on parts of the marijuana plant that could produce new, clinically proven medicines.

Denver Police Department sees nearly 1,000% increase in marijuana seizures since 2011.

Denver Police Department sees nearly 1,000% increase in marijuana seizures since 2011


Teen Use in Denver Area after Legalization

Denver’s Marijuana Rates vs US

Last 30 Day Use Rates vs. U.S. and information on perceptions and use rates among specific populations:

Source U.S. 8th 10th and 12th Grade Monitoring the Future 2014
Source U.S. 9th Grade – CDC Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2014
Source Denver: Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2014 http://www.chd.dphe.state.co.us/Resources/HKCS/HighSchool/HSR20_HS.pdf


Marijuana US

Marijuana Denver

Percent Higher in Denver than US

















Additional data of concern for Denver:

  • 􏰀  Use among Denver’s African American youth is almost 30% (29.6) and Caucasian Youth is 31%
  • 􏰀  Almost 40% of Denver’s Caucasian high school males are using and 33% of African Americanfemale high school students
  • 􏰀  63% of Denver high school students say it’s sort of easy or very easy to get marijuana
  • 􏰀  Only 44% of Denver High School youth believe regular marijuana use is harmful with the lowest perception of harm among African American youth (36%)

Teen marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization

Prevalence of high school seniors’ marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, Feb. 14, 2014)  New York University. (2014, February 25). Prevalence of high school seniors’ marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2014 from  www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225112904.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:

Large proportions of high school students normally at low risk for marijuana use (e.g., non-cigarette-smokers, religious students, those with friends who disapprove of use) reported intention to use marijuana if it were legal, a tumblr post reports. National support for marijuana legalization is increasing in the United States. Recreational use was recently legalized in the states of Colorado and Washington; other states across the country are expected to follow suit. To date, an additional 15 states have decriminalized marijuana use, and 19 states and the District of Columbia now allow medical marijuana to be prescribed.

WTR-RI Research Team Note:

ScienceDaily’s story further reports that “The researchers found that the data collected by the Monitoring The Future Study and analyzed by Dr. Palamar and his colleagues indicate that ten percent of non-lifetime marijuana users reported that they would try marijuana if legal.”

Journal Reference:

Joseph J. Palamar, Danielle C. Ompad, Eva Petkova. Correlates of Intentions to Use Cannabis among US High School Seniors in the Case of Cannabis LegalizationInternational Journal of Drug Policy, 2014; DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.01.017

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