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.
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.
In September 2015, 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.
By October 2015, 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.
By October 2014, Colorado officials discovered that thousands of dollars had been withdrawn from ATMs located in the state’s marijuana shops using EBT cards since the legalization of pot for recreational use. These withdrawals were being made illegally as a federal law was passed the same year as the pot was legalized in Colorado, 2012, prohibiting the use of EBT cards at ATMs in pot shops. It’s also illegal to use EBT cards to make withdrawals in liquor stores and casinos, but Watchdog.org reports that hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being illegally withdrawn at these locations.
After just three years of legalize marijuana, the nice resort and artsy town of Durango had been transformed into something ugly. Along with attracting arts and craft makers and buyers, the city had become a mecca to pot users. The city had seen a huge increase in homeless people, panhandlers, transients and drug addicts.
With the transforming, city officials became alarmed when residents started finding used needles just lying in the streets and on the sidewalks.
Caleb Preston, a local business owner said he regularly has to kick vagrants from sitting in the doorway to his store. With the influx of pot users, the city has also seen an increase in violence and crime. Preston commented:
“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets. The problem is while many are pretty mellow, there are many more who are violent.”
In a recent episode of Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, it was revealed:
“In 2016, there was a spike in the state’s homeless population. And houses have become increasingly unaffordable. A typical Denver home is in the $400,000 dollar range. But the biggest surprise is what’s happened to the black market.”
“It turns out for all the predictions and hope that legalizing marijuana in Colorado would eliminate the black market here—that hasn’t turned out to be the case. In fact, officials in law enforcement and communities tell us they’re having to grapple with a whole new set of problems and costs…”
“So now what you see is people are taking over these houses, growing a large amount of marijuana. Now it turns into the black market. They ship it out of state and other states are paying large amount of money for this marijuana. So, everything that we were kind of told in re-gards to legalization, that we would get rid of the black market, law enforcement wouldn’t be involved in, it hasn’t panned out. And it’s just not within the city of Colorado Springs. It’s throughout the whole state of Colorado…”
“There’s also been a spike in other crime like robbery and car theft. In 2016, Colorado’s increase in crime rate was eleven times more than the average 30 biggest U.S. cities. Homicides— up almost 10%.”
John Suthers, Mayor of Colorado Springs added:
“That’s another irony of this whole thing because the legalization proponents said, ‘oh, you know the cops are spending way too much time on, on this marijuana, they’re ticketing guys in the park and stuff like that. Let’s, let’s stop that.’ Well, guess what, we’re spending an awful lot more time enforcing the marijuana laws than we did when it was all illegal…’
“The industry always stereotypes me as kind of a drug war dinosaur. You know, I’ve been dealing with this drug problem for years as a prosecutor and I’m “just in a different centu-ry.” You know, that’s fair. Everybody can analyze that. But I will tell you, I’m backed up on the size and scope of the black market that they said wouldn’t exist and now exists in greater a na-ture and extent than they talked about. We have the highest rate of adolescent marijuana use in the country. We’re not fixing our roads. Our school system hasn’t been bailed out by marijuana money.”
It seems the only ones who are profiting by four years of legalization are the legal growers and sellers along with the black-market growers and sellers. The promises of helping the schools, fixing the roads and reducing crime and time spent by law enforcement have all been broken. Innocent people are dying. Traffic accidents and emergency room visits have also increased.
But liberals don’t care!
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.