Close-up of a Cannabis plant or Marijuana, used as herbal medicine or popular drug isolated on black background.

Public Health Impact of Legal Marijuana

There is an abundance of information coming forward since Colorado legalized marijuana in 2013. Since then, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (RMHIDTA) has published its impact data annually.  While the positive effects are widely touted, the ramifications on the health of our population, including youth must also be understood.

  • As of June 2017 in the state of Colorado, there were 392 Starbucks, 208 McDonalds, and 491 retail marijuana dispensaries.
  • In 2016, compared to 2012, the rate of emergency room visits associated with marijuana use rose fifty-two percent.
  • Marijuana- related hospitalizations jumped from 6,305 in 2011 to 10,901 in 2015.
  • Past month marijuana use in Colorado for youth 12 and older is ranked 3rd in the country and is eighty-five percent higher than the national average.
  • One 2018 study found that low levels of marijuana were transferred into breast milk from mother’s that use. Without data to conclude what a “safe” amount of cannabis is, it is essential that breastfeeding mothers abstain entirely.
  • Medical marijuana registry identification cards rose from 41,039 in 2009 to 93,372 in 2017.
  • As an alternative to opioids, recent research proposes no evidence that marijuana consumption reduced the severity of pain in patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

 Click here for the full report.

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