An activist group in Colorado claims a number of issues promised to be relieved by legalizing marijuana have only increased.
The Marijuana Accountability Coalition held a panel event on Thursday night at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood to discuss data released by the non-profit, Smart Approaches to Colorado (SAM).
“We know because of new data that things that were promised with Amendment 64 didn’t come true,” Justin Luke Riley, Founder of Marijuana Accountability Coalition said.
The data claims areas like distribution to minors, black market activity, and marijuana-related crimes have increased.
“The big narrative is marijuana is the greatest thing that happened to Colorado,” Riley said. “Data doesn’t lie.”
With youth use, the Coalition claims Colorado has the highest first-time youth use in the country and it has increased since legalization.
However, Kristi Kelly, Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group, disputes that claim.
“Colorado is trending at a very stable level both pre and post-legalization as it relates to youth use. Furthermore, it is consistent with national averages, if not a bit lower,” Kelly said.
Kelly adding data collection has improved in Colorado since legalization as well.
“What may look like a big spike may actually look like a big improvement in our data collection methodologies,” Kelly said.
Both sides do see an issue in increased crime, however.
“That’s exactly why last year there were a twin set of bills that ran to put greater strongholds on criminal elements who were taking advantage of and abusing the laws that Colorado voters put into place,” Kelly said.
Riley stating for him, the problems with legalized marijuana outweigh the benefits like medical use and research.
“I don’t think that people are looking at the costs enough, I think industry and that narrative is solely about the positives,” Riley said.