In a scathing op-ed published in The Denver Post, U.S. Attorney for Colorado Bob Troyer recently lambasted the “commercialization” of cannabis as a threat to public safety.
In the article, Troyer suggested that cannabis enforcement in Colorado will shift its focus from finding and stopping illegal growers to monitoring and policing licensed growers more closely. He argues that some Colorado firms have maintained their license to cultivate and distribute cannabis not to serve Colorado’s industry, but as a cover, so they can serve the more lucrative illegal, out-of-state markets.
“Now that federal enforcement has shot down marijuana grows on federal lands, the crosshairs may appropriately shift to the public harms caused by licensed businesses and their investors, particularly those who are not complying with state law or trying to use purported state compliance as a shield.” — Bob Troyer, U.S. Attorney for Colorado, in a Denver Post op-ed
Troyer — who says his concerns about cannabis are rooted in public safety — conveniently leaves out the fact that since legalizing in 2014, the rates of underage cannabis use have actually decreased. This is a common trend among legalized states.
Instead, Troyer pretends that cannabis reforms have somehow led Colorado to an underage cannabis use rate “85 percent higher than the national average;” in actuality, Colorado’s underage cannabis rates (which, again, are decreasing after legalization) were already far above the national average.
Troyer also highlighted other industry side effects, including cannabis product recalls and the high usage of electricity and water by licensed cannabis growers, as drawbacks to legalization.
What Troyer fails to mention — and which many consider to be the primary reason for cannabis reforms — is the millions of dollars saved on cannabis prosecutions and enforcement efforts, and the many thousands of cannabis users who are no longer being criminalized and seeing their lives ruined by an overzealous and racist criminal justice system.
Remember: to a U.S. Attorney like Mr. Troyer, the simple fact is that having more criminals means there are more opportunities to prosecute, which ultimately means a bigger payday.
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