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Ask the Chief

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 4th, 2013

Dear Chief:

Now that possession and use of Marijuana has been legalized for adults in the State of Colorado, do you have any information or suggestions regarding use by youth or driving while under the influence

of Marijuana?

Let me preface this article by saying we (APD) fully acknowledge the legal presence of Marijuana in our community and I wish to share some data in hopes of positively addressing the challenges the drug poses, while providing information as to how we can work together to keep our children and roads safe. As a reminder, marijuana use and possession by anyone under the age of 21 remains illegal.

To start, here is some recent data on the impact of Marijuana in Colorado. The original source document is very comprehensive and detailed; I am more than happy to send it electronically to anyone wishing to have a copy.


Colorado Driving Fatalities: From 2006 to 2011, traffic fatalities decreased in Colorado 16 percent, but fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114 percent. In 2006 in Colorado, traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana represented 5 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities. By 2011, that percent more than doubled to 13 percent. From 2006 2011, drivers testing positive for marijuana involved in fatal vehicle crashes more than doubled in those six years. In 2006, drivers testing positive for marijuana were involved in 28 percent of fatal vehicle crashes involving drugs. By 2011 that number had increased to 56 percent. According to the Columbia University School of Public Health, the risk of an automobile crash is almost 2.7 times higher among marijuana users than non-users. The more marijuana smoked in terms of frequency and potency, the greater likelihood of a crash.

Youth (ages 12 17 years) Current Marijuana Use, 2011: National average for Marijuana use by youth was 7.64 percent.

For the complete article see the 09-04-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-04-2013 paper.

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