Legalised cannabis has led to many “unforeseen problems” and could hit a “generation of young people”, a US councillor from Colorado has warned.
His comments come as concerns about organised crime and illegal drug dealing emerge from the state – which legalised recreational cannabis use earlier this year.
In the UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage have spoken out in support of a ‘new approach’ to drug laws.
However, Councillor Charlie Parker, who led the committee that implemented legalised cannabis in Denver, Colorado, now has concerns about the state’s actions.
He said: “It’s an industry that hires a lot of people and is bringing a lot of tax revenues, but one has to ask at what cost, especially to young people.
“And that’s going to take years to determine. My fear is that we could lose a generation of young people if we’re not careful.”
He told the Daily Mail’s US correspondent Tom Leonard that there had been a “lot of unforeseen problems”.
Lieutenant Mark Comte, who works in the Colorado Springs police department, said that illegal drug dealing had increased as users attempted to get around taxed cannabis.
He said: “If you can get it tax-free on the corner, you’re going to get it on the corner.”
Leonard also reported that national anti-drug groups are concerned about organised drug dealers from Colombia using Colorado as a “front to sell cannabis to other states” where it is still illegal.
At the beginning of the year, Kevin Sabet, of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), warned that legalisation could have negative consequences.
“We’re opening the doors to allowing a new, powerful industry to downplay the effects of a substance they will be profiting off of and to downplay the effects of addiction”, he said.
In December 2013 Uruguay came under fire after it legalised growing, selling and consuming cannabis.
The International Narcotics Control Board, a UN drugs group, warned that the move could be unlawful.