Is Legal Pot in Colorado Working Or Not?
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Is Legal Pot in Colorado Working Or Not?


Five months after pot was legalized in Colorado, how’s everything looking over there? Err, according to this New York Times story, not so great. Need examples? Well, there’s that guy who shot his wife mere hours after munching out on some pot-infused Karma Kandy; he also began raving about the end of the world before apparently losing his marbles. Was there a correlation between his tragic actions and the weed he consumed? Who knows, but maybe.

Sickly Aftermath

Hospital officials are also claiming to treat more and more kids and adults alike who’ve been sickened by the edible mary-jane creations. And sheriffs in nearby states are bitching about “stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.” (Hey, not that I blame them for being pissed. That’s pretty annoying if it’s true.)

“I think, by any measure, the experience of Colorado has not been a good one unless you’re in the marijuana business,” said Kevin A. Sabet, executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

But it’s hard to note just how much damage is being done there, and how much of it is legitimately caused by pot ingestion. As the NY Times notes, “It was only in January, for example, that the Colorado State Patrol began tracking the number of people pulled over for driving while stoned. Since then, marijuana-impaired drivers have made up about 12.5 percent of all citations for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Only Hurting Themselves, Kinda

Regardless, at least in Denver, violent crimes have been down so far this year, and overall crimes have been reduced by 10 percent, though who the hell knows if the pot legalization thing had anything to do with that.

Personally, I support marijuana legalization. In my opinion, it doesn’t cause as much harm—to either you or the people around you—as alcohol and other harder drugs. I believe it can be addictive for certain folks, but for others, the worst long-term effects seem to be laziness and eating too much. Yes, people have died from it but that’s incredibly rare and yes, excessive smoking can certainly be damaging to kids whose brains aren’t fully formed. But legalization doesn’t impact the use of a great many tokers.

I think states like Colorado are smart to experiment with this sort of legalization, and it’ll be interesting to see how things continue to play out, and what sorts of unforeseen circumstances arise (or don’t arise) as pot use widens and becomes more commonplace. I for one don’t see a society of nothing but Spicolis.

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.