More than seven years since Colorado became the first state to allow cannabis to be sold at stores for recreational use, pot arrests are down, marijuana-impaired driving cases are up and school expulsions are both up and down.
Those numbers — and a whole lot more — come from a new report released Monday by the state Department of Public Safety, which is required by law to study the impacts of cannabis legalization. In a new 180-page report, a statistical analyst from the department’s Division of Criminal Justice painstakingly goes through the numbers to provide the most comprehensive summary available about what has happened since voters in 2012 approved a state constitutional amendment legalizing possession and sales of small amounts marijuana. (Recreational cannabis stores opened during a New Year’s Day snowstorm in 2014.)
But the analyst, a longtime tracker of marijuana data named Jack Reed, is also hesitant about drawing conclusions from this mountain of information. He cited inconsistencies in how data was collected and other limitations that make it difficult to draw hard conclusions. “The lack of pre-commercialization data, the decreasing social stigma, and challenges to law enforcement combine to make it difficult to translate these preliminary findings into definitive statements of outcomes,” he wrote.
Here’s what Reed found: Marijuana-related arrests are down….
Major marijuana-related crime has been on a rollercoaster….
Marijuana DUIs are up….
Adults are using cannabis more — especially older adults….
Hospitalizations have leveled off….
It’s not clear if kids are using cannabis more….
School expulsions were way up, then way down….
Tax revenue has grown….