Jail, Prisons, Crime

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Colorado, Black Market, social costs, Fatalities

Executive Summary

RMHIDTA has published annual reports every year since 2013 tracking the impact of
legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. The purpose is to provide data and
information so that policy makers and citizens can make informed decisions on the
issue of marijuana legalization. This year (2018) RMHIDTA elected to provide an
update to the 2017 Volume 5 report rather than another detailed report.
 
Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving
x Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana related traffic deaths
increased 151 percent while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 35 percent
x Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who
tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people
killed in 2017.
o This equates to one person killed every 2 1⁄2 days compared to one person
killed every 6 1⁄2 days.
x The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related
increased from 11.43 percent in 2013 to 21.3 percent in 2017.
 
Section II: Marijuana Use
x Colorado past month marijuana use shows a 45 percent increase in comparing
the three-year average prior to recreational marijuana being legalized to the three
years after legalization.
x Colorado past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is ranked 3rd in the
nation and is 85 percent higher than the national average.
 
Section III: Public Health
x The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 52
percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
x The yearly rate of marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 148 percent after
the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
x Marijuana only exposures more than tripled in the five-year average (2013-2017)
since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the five-year
average (2008-2012) prior to legalization.
 
Section IV: Black Market
x RMHIDTA Colorado Task Forces (10) conducted 144 investigations of black
market marijuana in Colorado resulting in:
o 239 felony arrests
o 7.3 tons of marijuana seized
o 43,949 marijuana plants seized
o 24 different states the marijuana was destined
x The number of highway seizures of Colorado marijuana increased 39 percent
from an average of 242 seizures (2009-2012) to an average of 336 seizures (2013-
2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
x Seizures of Colorado marijuana in the U.S. mail system has increased 1,042
percent from an average of 52 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 594 parcels
(2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
 
Section V: Societal Impact
x Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately nine tenths of one percent of
Colorado’s FY 2017 budget.
x Violent crime increased 18.6 percent and property crime increased 8.3 percent in
Colorado since 2013.
x 65 percent of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and
recreational marijuana businesses.
 
Section IV: Marijuana Industry
x According to the Marijuana Policy Group, Market Size and Demand for
Marijuana in Colorado 2017 Market Update:
o “From 2014 through 2017, average annual adult use flower prices fell 62.0
percent, from $14.05 to $5.34 per gram weighted average.”
o “Adult use concentrate prices fell 47.9 percent, from $41.43 to $21.57 per
gram.”
o “The average THC content of all tested flower in 2017 was 19.6 percent
statewide compared to 17.4 percent in 2016, 16.6 percent in 2015 and 16.4
percent in 2014.”
o “The average potency of concentrated extract products increased steadily
from 56.6 percent THC content by weight in 2014 to 68.6 percent at the
end of 2017.”
 
x As of June 2017, there were 491 retail marijuana stores in the state of Colorado
compared to 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonald’s.
Minnesota, homocides, crime

“The violence is there with other drugs, but we don’t see the homicides associated with other narcotics as we do with marijuana,” said Anoka County Sheriff’s Lt. Wayne Heath, commander of the Anoka-Hennepin Narcotics and Violent Crimes Task Force. “No one knows why in marijuana it leads to that extra step.”

Colorado, Environment, crime

Hickenlooper, Gardner, and other politicians tell us everything is rosy, but that's not what we hear from educators, cops, social workers, doctors, drug counselors, parents, and others in the trenches of the world's first anything goes marijuana free-for-all. It is not what we see in the streets.
Condit said the black market invading Colorado's national forests has grown so large the entire budget for the Pike and San Isabel forests would not cover the costs of removing and remediating cartel grows in the forests he helps supervise.

NCR, denver, usage, crime, homeless, car crashes, Colorado

“Every statistical study has seen an increase in marijuana use,” he said. “There has been an increase in youths going to rehab for addiction to marijuana. There have been increases in car accidents. There has been an increase in fatalities related to marijuana. There has been an increase in workplace incidences related to marijuana and a decrease in productivity. And there has been an increase in robberies.”
“There has been nothing good for Colorado, except for maybe the increased tax revenue. But even then, it is a mixed bag. Many people have moved to Colorado to exploit legalized marijuana — so housing prices have increased. There is more traffic downtown. You can find marijuana dispensaries all over the place, especially in the poorer parts of town. It is becoming part of the state’s subculture,” said Brugger.
The smell of marijuana is ubiquitous in the state now — so much so that there has been a marked increase in complaints to the police about the smell.
For those who own ski resorts, the emergence of marijuana smokers has been troubling, according to Brugger.

california, Black Market, Environment

A team of law enforcement agents from the U.S. Forest Service, local police and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hike deep into the Plumas National Forest to help with cleanup and protect scientists who are studying illegal marijuana grow sites. Even after a site has been raided, growers can return. The nets are for helicopters that will lift tons of garbage out of the site. On this reclamation trip, teams ultimately cleaned up about 7 tons of garbage, 4,000 pounds of fertilize, and 4 miles of irrigation tube, and they found the carcasses of three black bears, one grey fox and several rodents and birds. This accounts for just four sites.
14,000 Pounds of Rodenticide
Hours north of Calaveras, deep in public forests along the California-Oregon border, 12 tons of plastic trash, thousands of pounds of fertilizers and more than 80 pounds of toxic rodenticides and pesticides lay strewn among towering pines and oaks—turning this Eden into a landfill.

denver, Colorado, legalization, car crashes, crime

“Legalization will NOT stop the crimes committed by users who have no jobs to support their habits and prey upon you and I to get that money for their hit/fix.”
And while marijuana may very well have medicinal purposes, it’s not just the drug that makes our controlled substances dangerous and a significant crime and socio-economic issue in our country. The people involved in the illegal operations where drugs (including marijuana) are grown/produced, trafficked and transported, distributed to the TENS of THOUSANDS of dealers and MILLIONS of customers, are NOT good people! THOUSANDS of people are viciously murdered in Mexico every year as organizations vie for control over the markets and territory. 

crime, california, denver

Crime is common near pot shops, including assaults, robberies and shootings. On July 19, a security guard was killed and three other men were shot at a pot shop in L.A. during an attempted robbery. Gangs and drug dealers don’t view marijuana dispensaries as pharmacies. Rather, they see them as rival drug dealers.
When pot shops open in a business district, complaints of the business neighbors are numerous. Fights, drug use and street drug dealing increase in the area. This, in turn, affects the type of clientele in the area for neighboring businesses.
It is well known that homelessness has increased in Denver and Seattle after legalization. Also, drug dealing dramatically increases law enforcement costs. The San Diego Association of Governments published a report finding that 52% of males arrested tested positive for marijuana in 2015. Thirty-five percent reported committing crimes to support a drug habit.
The Denver district attorney warned in 2016 that every type of crime there increased after marijuana legalization: “The Denver Police Department is busier enforcing marijuana laws and investigating crimes directly related to marijuana, including murders, robberies and home invasions, than any other time in the history of the city.”
And it can get even worse. Pot industry profits are used to buy political influence.

Colorado, homeless, zoning, crime

The town suddenly became a haven for recreational pot users, drawing in transients, panhandlers and a large number of homeless drug addicts, according to officials and business owners. Many are coming from New Mexico, Arizona and even New York.
He said he’s also noticed an uptick in crime in the area. Shoplifting, he said, has become a major problem in Durango and business owners are becoming fed up.

Utah, postition statement, Sheriff, Black Market, youth usage, zoning, dropout

“So called medical marijuana in other states has become a farce and a sham. The average user of smoked medical marijuana has no chronic illness and is a white male in his mid-30s with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. . . In the last 20 years and due to market demand, constant genetic engineering has increased THC potency in marijuana plants, and extraction-concentration methods are becoming extremely popular and widespread. become addicted.”Marijuana is the 2nd leading cause of impaired driving arrests. One in six adolescents trying marijuana will become addicted.
“In the city of Denver since the legalization of marijuana Denver Police Department is dealing with a 900% increase in the unlawful cultivation and manufacture of marijuana concentrate, and a 99% increase in unlawful distribution of marijuana and marijuana concentrate.
Marijuana is the #1 problem in Colorado schools. In school year 2015-16, 63% of all drug related school suspensions were for marijuana. 58% of all drug related school expulsions were for marijuana. 73% of all drug related school referrals to law enforcement were for marijuana violations. Youth past month marijuana use is 74% higher than the national average.

Research, Journal of Addiction, crime, violence, mental health, withdrawal symptoms

According to research studies, marijuana use causes aggressive behavior, causes or exacerbates psychosis and produce paranoias. These effects have been illustrated through case studies of highly publicized incidents and heightened political profiles.

Marijuana is currently a growing risk to the public in the United States. Following expanding public opinion that marijuana provides little risk to health, state and federal legislatures have begun changing laws that will significantly increase accessibility of marijuana. Greater marijuana accessibility, resulting in more use, will lead to increased health risks in all demographic categories across the country. Violence is a well-publicized, prominent risk from the more potent, current marijuana available.

Colorado, Pueblo, homeless, crime, Taxes, video

Now, as citizen groups attempt to put the brakes on the growing industry, a heated debate has emerged about the drug’s societal impact. Doctors report a spike in pot-related emergency room visits—mostly due to people accidentally consuming too much of potent edible pot products. Police face new cartel-related drug operations. Parents worry about marijuana being sold near their homes and schools. And less affluent communities like Pueblo struggle with the unintended consequences of becoming home to this emerging and controversial industry.
Groups serving the poor in Pueblo report a flood of homeless people arriving from other states. Local homeless shelter Posada, for instance, has witnessed a 47% jump in demand since 2014, including 1,200 people who reported to shelter workers that they came to smoke pot or get jobs in the industry, says Posada’s director, Anne Stattelman. She says her funding is tapped out. “It’s changed the culture of our community,” she says.
Since 2013, law officials say, they have busted 88 drug cartel operations across the state, and just last year law-enforcement made a bust that recovered $12 million in illegal marijuana. Adds Coffman: “That’s crime we hadn’t previously had in Colorado.”
Another surprise to many Coloradans is that a promised huge tax windfall to benefit schools hasn’t materialized. Of the $135 million generated in 2015, for example, $20 million goes to regulatory and public-safety efforts related to cannabis, $40 million funds small rural school construction projects, and the rest goes to youth drug prevention and abuse programs. That’s a drop in the bucket for a $6.2 billion education budget.
For a growing number of her neighbors, however, legalized marijuana is starting to feel like a really bad high.

Colorado, Legislation, crime, Black Market

Western Colorado law enforcement officials say that Colorado has now become a magnet for criminals coming to take advantage of the state's marijuana laws.
A little over a week later, a 51-year old Palisade man was shot and killed in different incident related to a large pot grow operation. So far, there have been no arrests in the case.
“Legalization was supposed to get rid of the black market – it hasn’t done that – I would estimate that the black market has grown 20 fold since legalization,” said Gaasche.
 

Florida, DUI, Arrest, county
denver, Colorado, crime, Fatalities

DENVER - A 29-year-old Louisiana man who was also wanted in his home state has been formally charged with killing a homeless man in Denver while trying to steal marijuana and other belongings.

crime, denver, Colorado

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2013 traffic related marijuana deaths have increased 48%, marijuana related emergency room visits have increased 49%, and marijuana related calls to the poison center have increased 100%. According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in 2015 statewide homicides in Colorado rose 14.7% over the previous year.
Pueblo, Colorado had the highest homicide rate with 11.1 killings per 100,000 residents. Aurora, Colorado’s homicide rate more than doubled from 2014. Additionally, more places in Colorado were robbed and more thefts occurred, especially vehicle theft. A total of 193,115 vehicles were reported stolen, up 27.7% in 2015 from the previous year. In 2015, sexual assaults rose 10% in Colorado with Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Westminster, and Pueblo all reporting higher numbers as well. The letter also notes:
In the city of Denver since the legalization of recreational marijuana the number of crimes in Denver has grown by about 44%, according to annual figures the city reported to the National Incident Based Reporting System. In 2015 in Denver alone crime rose in every neighborhood in the city. The murder rate hit a decade high, 1059 more cars were broken into, there were 903 more auto thefts, 321 more aggravated assaults and 2321 more homes were broken into compared to 2014.

crime, violence, denver, Colorado

The latest incident involved a man swinging a large pipe at pedestrians near the McDonald’s at the intersection of Cleveland Place and the 16th Street Mall. A video of the wild behavior was posted online and received hundreds of thousands of views.

crime, murder, homicide, Florida, orlando

Friends, I make no bones about not being politically correct; neither do I apologize. But I would be the first to acknowledge that uneducated/unemployed weed-smoking/drug-crazed young black males are single-handedly responsible for the huge spike in the homicide rate. And this is being seen all across the country.

Colorado, Black Market

“I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market,” Lauren Harris said.

crime, tampa

http://gis.hcso.tampa.fl.us/crimemapping/  must use firefox

violence, Studies, crime

What makes this new study more compelling than previous studies is that the researchers followed the same individuals for over 50 years from a young age to adulthood.  This is precisely what one needs to solve the chicken or egg riddle with respect to cannabis and violence:  just look and see which one happens first.
One fifth of those who were pot smokers (22%) reported violent behavior that began after beginning to use cannabis, whereas only 0.3% reported violence before using weed.  Continued use of cannabis over the life-time of the study was the strongest predictor of violent convictions, even when the other factors that contribute to violent behavior were considered in the statistical analysis.
 In conclusion, the results show that continued cannabis use is associated with a 7-fold greater odds for subsequent commission of violent crimes.  This level of risk is similar to the increased risk of lung cancer from smoking cigarettes over a similar duration (40 years).  The authors suggest that impairments in neurological circuits controlling behavior may underlie impulsive, violent behavior, as a result of cannabis altering the normal neural functioning in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. 

crime, Washington, blog


By the end of 2014, the number of total crimes was 24 percent higher than in 2012. Property crimes increased 14 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the 2014 data was 26 percent higher than the pre-pot legalization period.

 

political, prisons

The Justice Department estimated that 3.6 percent of state inmates in 2013 had drug possession as their most serious offense. That includes possession charges for all drugs, not just marijuana. To gauge the marijuana-only percentage, we have to go back to data that’s about a decade old.

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/sisfcf04_q.pdf

prisons, Arrest, DEA
crime, jail

Here is why there is confusion: the only time someone is sentenced to jail for smoking pot is if there is a more serious crime they are clearly guilty of, and the prosecutor or judge wants to give them a lighter sentence. Theft or burglary were the most common crimes I came across. Instead of being required to sentence a defendant to a year imprisonment for stealing, a defendant could plead guilty to marijuana possession instead and get a much lesser sentence. So on paper, it looks like they are serving time for drug possession, but in reality, they were let off the hook for a serious crime.

denver, Colorado, crime
prisons, obama

And just who is Obama releasing?  Not “low-level, drug-possession offenders” or marijuana users. No, he is releasing crack dealers, cocaine dealers, and methamphetamine dealers. Most of the 46 were crack cocaine distributors, some convicted of dealing more than 10 pounds of crack.

adolescent, crime, Domestic Violence, Research, USF, UF

Adolescent marijuana use, particularly consistent use throughout adolescence, is associated with perpetration or both perpetration of and victimization by intimate partner violence in early adulthood. These findings have implications for intimate partner violence prevention efforts, as marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.

prisons, crime, Colorado-0, clearing the haze

“Our courts and prisons are actually filled with people who committed serious crimes while under a drug’s influence or while they were in possession of very large amounts of a drug with the intent to sell it in circumstances associated with violence and/or firearms,” he said. “If anything, we need to conduct more research on how marijuana use contributes to criminal behavior.”

crime, South Carolina, prisons

In response to inaccurate statistics from pro-marijuana groups and proposed legislation in South Carolina; the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) conducted the following research:
On April 16, 2015, the South Carolina Department of Corrections reported that of the more than 23,000 inmates presently incarcerated, only ten (10) of those inmates had been convicted of possession of marijuana.  All ten (10) inmates were incarcerated for multiple violent offenses, traffic violations, probation violations or negotiated plea bargains.  None of the ten (10) would have been incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Corrections without other more serious violations accompanying the possession of marijuana offenses.  
     Between April 16, 2015 and July 6, 2015, SLED made random inquiries of seven county detention centers throughout the four regions of the state.  The total inmate population for the seven detention centers was 3,017.  Of those 3,017 inmates, only six (6) (.001%) were incarcerated for possession of marijuana. 

Research, regulation, crime, addiction, Colorado

The Gazette kicks off a four-day perspective series, "Clearing the Haze," that examines health, social, regulatory and financial issues associated with the world's boldest experiment with legal marijuana. 
The ugly truth is that Colorado was suckered. It was promised regulation and has been met by an industry that fights tooth and nail any restrictions that limit its profitability. 

crime, youth, violence, gang

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, in their 2013 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, noted,“Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) and criminal groups will increasingly exploit the opportunities for marijuana cultivation and trafficking created in states that allow ‘medical marijuana’ grows and have legalized marijuana sales and possession.“ Meaning that marijuana legalization may well increase criminal gang activity.

Colorado, homicide, Fatalities, car crashes

Pedro Moreno, 25, is charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence in the crash about 5:35 a.m. Wednesday at the Loomis ramp on northbound Interstate 55. Killed was his brother, Enrique Moreno, 28, who lived with Pedro Moreno

crime, Minnesota
Minnesota, crime
Black Market, Colorado

More than 40 states have reported seizures of Colorado marijuana and THC products, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The federally funded task force also reports that seizures involving Colorado marijuana bound for other states have risen nearly 400 percent, from 58 incidents in 2008 to 288 in 2013 — the year before Colorado’s marijuana retail stores opened. That is consistent with Denver police records showing a nearly 1,000% spike in the amount of marijuana officers have seized — 937 pounds in 2011 compared to a little more than 4 tons last year.

crime, Florida
Colorado, OpEd, Amendment 2, crime, youth, emergency room, highways, car crashes, Fatalities
OpEd, Alaska, crime
Colorado-0, Black Market
Colorado, crime