A Colorado newspaper has outlined the damaging effects of cannabis since it was legalised in the state.
Colorado was one of the first US states to decriminalise cannabis in 2012, and the drug is now freely available for recreational use.
Writing on the five year anniversary of the vote, a piece in the Colorado Springs Gazette by the newspaper’s editorial board said: “Five years later, we remain an embarrassing cautionary tale.”
The Gazette said the anniversary is “an odious occasion for those who want safer streets, healthier kids and less suffering associated with substance abuse”.
It went on to explain that in the five years since legalisation Colorado has seen a homelessness growth rate which is “among the highest rates in the country”.
“Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot”, the newspaper said.
…an embarrassing cautionary tale.
The editorial also quoted Justin Luke Riley, founder of the Marijuana Accountability Coalition, who said: “It’s one thing to decriminalize marijuana, it’s an entirely different thing to legalize an industry that has commercialized a drug that is devastating our kids and devastating whole communities.”
He added: “Coloradans need to know, other states need to know, that Colorado is suffering from massive normalization and commercialization of this drug which has resulted in Colorado being the number one state for youth drug use in the country.
“Kids are being expelled at higher rates, and more road deaths tied to pot have resulted since legalization.”
According to the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Colorado ranks first in the US for cannabis use amongst teenagers. Research by the Denver Post also suggests that the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis has doubled in the past five years.