A new group, the Marijuana Accountability Coalition, announced its launch in November 2017 to “push back against the marijuana industry in Colorado.”
The Denver-based group plans to have satellite organizations and volunteers across the state, including recovery advocates, parents, doctors, and “other concerned citizens who do not think Colorado is better off after five years of legalization.”
MAC will have its work cut out for it. The pool of marijuana critics appears to be shrinking every day, with 61 percent of Colorado voters saying in 2016 that legalization has been positive in terms of impact to the economy, while only 19 percent said it’s been negative.
A more recent national poll from February 2017 found 71 percent of Americans would oppose a federal crackdown on legal marijuana, and 93 percent are in favor of medical marijuana.
Public support for marijuana legalization has grown. A June 2016 Quinnipiac poll showed that 54 percent of adults surveyed favored the legalization of marijuana use in the United States and 89 percent supported allowing adults to legally use medical marijuana if their doctor prescribes it.
Despite the increasing local and national support, Justin Luke Riley, MAC’s founder, claimed, “It’s an entirely different thing to legalize an industry that has commercialized a drug that is devastating our kids and devastating whole communities.”
We call, “FAKE NEWS!”
Would local and national support for marijuana be growing if legal sales are in fact “devastating” kids and communities? Nope.
Let’s get real. Not only is marijuana legalization not “devastating” kids, it’s actually keeping them away from it. A December 2017 federal survey revealed that the rate of adolescent marijuana use in Colorado has fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade.
Critics of legalization contend that “commercialization and its attending ‘reduction in the perception of harm’ will increase teen use. The results are clear from teen use going down or staying the same in every state with commercial medical or retail marijuana that the hypothesis is incorrect.
State-level numbers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that a little more than 9 percent of Colorado teens age 12 to 17 used marijuana monthly in 2015 and 2016, a statistically significant drop from the prior period. That’s the lowest rate of monthly marijuana use in the state since 2007 and 2008.
Marijuana legalization may also be responsible for a drop in other harmful habits by kids. Rates of teen alcohol, tobacco and heroin use are down sharply in Colorado, as well.
Colorado voters backed marijuana legalization in 2012 with 55 percent of the vote.
In 2016, the federal survey showed that Colorado was ranked No. 1 in the nation on adolescent marijuana use. But with the sharp drop in the most recent data, Colorado has fallen to No. 7 in the national ranking of teen marijuana use.
The new federal data shows that adolescent marijuana use fell nationwide in 2016. In no states did the share of teens using pot increase by a significant amount, and in a number, including California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey and Texas, rates of teen marijuana use fell considerably.
It wouldn’t surprise us if this trend continues, especially as cannabis legalization continues to proliferate across the nation.