On January 1, 2014, Colorado legalized the medical and recreational use of Marijuana. They claimed that it would add millions of dollars to the state’s revenue via state taxes which includes a 2.9% sales tax, 10% special sales tax and 15% excise tax, meaning the state would collect $27.90 for every $100 of recreational marijuana sold in the Rocky Mountain state.
Like many others, I predicted that the legalization of marijuana would lead to an increase in impaired drivers, traffic accidents along with other negative impacts.
In April 2014, 19 year old foreign exchange student Levy Thamba plunged off a hotel balcony and died after eating legally purchased marijuana laced cookies. After eating just one cookie, Thamba became agitated and ran out onto the balcony and over the edge, falling to his death. The pot-laced cookies were legally purchased by a 21 year old present at the gathering.
Later that month, 47 year old Richard Kirk purchased Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll joint and Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, a marijuana laced candy. Shortly after eating the pot laced candy, Kristine Kirk, 44, called 9-1-1 to report that her husband was hallucinating and frightening her and their three children. During her call, she told the police dispatcher that her husband had asked her to get the gun from their safe and shoot him. When she refused, she told the dispatcher that he was retrieving the gun. Twelve minutes into the emergency call, the dispatcher heard a gunshot over the phone and then the line went dead.
When police finally arrived at the house, Kristine was dead from a gunshot to the head and Richard was ranting and rambling to himself. In his ramblings, he admitted to killing his wife. Police said that it appeared to them that Richard was definitely suffering the effects of some controlled substance and/or prescription drugs.
More recently, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area just released their annual report which reveals the impact of legal marijuana use. Among the alarming report, marijuana related traffic deaths have increased by 32%. Not all of those that lost their lives were the users of marijuana. They were the innocent victims of someone else who was driving while under the effects of marijuana.
They also reported significant increases in emergency room and hospital visits linked to marijuana use. Additionally, they reported that school expulsions have increased by 40% with the majority of them being related to marijuana.
The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 3, Preview 2015 stated that the number of marijuana related DUIDs in Denver doubled over the rate for 2013.
The state justifies the increased deaths, school expulsions and emergency room visits by pointing to the $63.4 million they raised from marijuana taxes. The greed for more money supersedes the safety and wellbeing Colorado residents. They are willing to risk the lives of every person on the roads of Colorado for the sake of tax revenue.
But don’t forget that the same liberal Democrats that legalized marijuana also passed strict gun laws that drove out a number of gun and outdoor related businesses. Those legislators drove hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of revenue out of the state for the sake of their anti-gun liberal agenda, so why should we expect them to care for the general public?