A new Colorado Division of Criminal Justice report covering Colorado’s cannabis reforms found a 68% decline in cannabis-related arrests between 2012 and 2019—from 13,225 to 4,290—however, the arrest rate for Black people (160 per 100,000) was still more than double that of White people (76 per 100,000).
The report also found a 3% increase in arrests related to cannabis production.
Stan Hilkey, executive director of the Department of Public Safety, said the information in the report “is presented in a comprehensive and unbiased manner.”
“This report provides a wealth of valuable information to help policy makers, law enforcement, schools, the marijuana industry and the public understand the effects of legal recreational marijuana in our communities.” — Hilkey in a statement
While the report does show a 140% increase in the number of traffic fatalities where the driver tested positive for any cannabinoid (55 in 2013 to 132 in 2019), it notes that “the detection of any cannabinoid in blood is not an indicator of impairment but only indicates presence in the system.”
The report also found an increase in calls to poison control mentioning cannabis exposure increased from 41 in 2006 to 276 in 2019. However, there are several factors that can lead to that increase, including people being more willing to call poison control for exposure to a legal substance.
The study also found “no significant change” in past 30-day cannabis use among teens post-legalization, with 19.7% of respondents on the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey admitting to using cannabis over the last 30 days in 2013, compared to 20.6% in 2019. The rate of juvenile cannabis arrests also decreased 42% from 599 in 2012 to 349 in 2019.
The report is required by a 2013 bill and is published every other year.
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