Editorial: Risks of legalizing marijuana

Editorial: Risks of legalizing marijuana

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The subject of legalizing marijuana is more openly discussed these days, but I sense I will be long gone before our state ever passes such legislation.

Marijuana for either medical purposes or recreational use can equal big money. Colorado is seeing an economic boom since legalizing it in 2012.

With economic success, however, there comes much to think about. The conservative Heritage Foundation's news site reports that although traffic deaths are down in Colorado since 2007,  they are up 100 percent for operators testing positive for the drug, from 39 in 2007 to 78 in 2012.

A report by the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area found the following regarding Colorado:

1.  The majority of DUI arrests now involve marijuana.

2. 10.47 percent of Colorado youths 12 to 17-years-old are considered marijuana users compared to 7.5 percent nationally.

3. A 32 percent increase in school suspensions and expulsions has occurred from 2009 to 2013, most due to marijuana.

4. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrests tested positive for marijuana up 16 percent from 2008.

5. Hospitalizations related to marijuana use increased 82 percent since 2008.

I personally am not a fan of marijuana for one main reason; Its usage in Alabama is against the law.

Colorado will continue to be scrutinized by other states as their legislators struggle to come up with new revenue opportunities. I hope all states will review any such decision with great caution, as the money may not outweigh the consequences.

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