“Let’s go full-on Colorado.” That’s Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s coined phrase in his pursuit to commercialize marijuana in Pennsylvania. Here’s a closer look at the impact commercialization of recreational marijuana has had on Colorado – you decide if this is what you want for Pennsylvania:

1. Traffic deaths are up where weed is legal.

CBS News – ‘Study: Increase in deadly crashes involving marijuana’

AAA study – ‘Prevalence of Marijuana Involvement in Fatal Crashes: Washington, 2010-2014’

NBC News – ‘Legalized marijuana linked to a sharp rise in car crashes’
“The studies looked at police reports and insurance claims, finding crashes rose between 5.2 percent and 6 percent in states with legalized recreational marijuana compared to neighboring states where such use remained illegal.”

2. The majority of marijuana dispensaries recommend marijuana to pregnant mothers for morning sickness.

Denver Health – ‘Smoking pot while pregnant: A bad idea’
Denver Health study finds nearly 70 percent of marijuana dispensaries are telling pregnant women to smoke marijuana to treat morning sickness. In this news conference, study lead author Torri Metz, MD explains why that is bad advice and can hurt the developing baby. “There [is] data that would suggest that cannabis can be harmful to the developing fetus.” Examples: decreased growth, long-term harms like cognitive development to the brain.

3. Can kids spot the pot?

Today Show – ‘Edible marijuana that looks like candy is sending kids to the ER’
“If you have little kids that accidentally get into this stuff, they don’t know any better or a babysitter might give a child out of a pantry not realizing what it is, those accidental issues are on the rise and it’s a big problem.” Sergeant Jim Gerhardt (Colorado Drug Investigators Association)

Calls to poison control centers rose 210% between the four-year averages before and after recreational legalization (Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center)

4. Double the amount of pot shops compared to McDonalds and Starbucks combined.

As of 2018, there are 1,014 marijuana dispensaries in Colorado compared to 322 Starbucks and 237 McDonalds (2016).

“It is easier to find a bag of weed than a Grande low-fat latte in Colorado.” My 420 Tours

In Denver only, there are 364 marijuana dispensaries vs 80 Starbucks and 31 McDonalds.

5. Colorado is arresting more people of color than prior to the commercialization of marijuana.

Colorado Department of Public Safety – Colorado schools that had 25% or fewer youth of color had 313 marijuana-related suspensions compared to 658 marijuana-related suspensions for schools comprised of populations with 76% or more youth of color. (2016)

Ben Cort: ‘Surprising truths about legalizing cannabis’ Ted Talk – TedxMileHigh

6. Marijuana is a risk factor in the increased non-medical use of opioids.

“The opioid crisis appears to be worsening where marijuana has been legalized.” (JAMA International Medicine Journal, 2018)

Opioid overdose fatalities have increased in Colorado since legalization (402 in 2013, 560 in 2017 – Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)

“Cannabis use appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder.” (American Journal of Psychiatry, 2017)

7. Colorado is now #1 for teen pot and illicit drug use.

Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalization (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2006-2017).

According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety (2017), marijuana is #1 in crimes and offenses in public schools (1,561 instances. The next offense is assault at 834.)

Lessons Learned from Marijuana Legalization – Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)

8. The black market is greater today than it ever has been in the history of Colorado.

“We have cartels from around the world: Laotian, Vietnamese, Cuban, Mexican. You name the South American country. You name the Asian country. China. They are here.” Dan May, El Paso County District Attorney on Fox Business – ‘Recreational marijuana use causing crime increase in Colorado’

9News – Cultivating Crime: Black market marijuana is complex in Colorado

9. Businesses can’t find in-state workers to pass drug tests.

“Johnson said his company [GE Johnson, the largest construction company in Colorado] has encountered so many job-candidates who have failed pre-employment drug tests because of their THC use that is is actively recruiting construction workers from other states.” (Drug use a problem for employers, The Gazette)

“Decriminalizing recreational marijuana use will increase marijuana usage both in number of users and volume of usage, as occasional users become regular users. As a result, the pool of potential new hires will become even smaller because fewer people will be able to test clean.” David N. Taylor, President & CEO – Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association 

10. Dangerous Potency Levels: The old marijuana is nothing like it is today.

“New data out of Colorado shows us that these highly potent edibles are ending up in the hands of children. After legalization, calls to the poison center have skyrocketed, with the accidental ingestion of edibles by children under the age of nine comprising 65% of these calls. Another study recently published in the Lancet Psychiatry found that use of these highly potent products is linked to greater rates of severe mental illness such as psychosis. Additionally, youth use rates in “legal” states are continually higher than the national average.” Patrick Kennedy, former Congressman, in an open letter to state lawmakers

One-Pager: Big Marijuana’s Products


To submit comment to the Governor on legalizing recreational marijuana, click here.