CHICAGO - State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Chicago) proudly won medical marijuana legalization for adults and minors this Illinois General Assembly session. Now he's hinting that he'll be ratcheting up an effort to follow Colorado and legalize recreational cannabis, possibly as soon as the fall veto session.
However, Illinois lawmakers considering hoisting the white flag on the drug war might want to read a new report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area entitled “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact.” It spells out how things have changed since Colorado surrendered:
1. The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone.
2. In 2012, 10.47 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation, and was 39 percent higher than the national average.
3. Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13, the vast majority were for marijuana violations.
4. In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above the national average.
5. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16 percent increase from 2008.
6. From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.
7. Hospitalizations related to marijuana has increased 82 percent since 2008.
More at Heritage Foundation's The Daily Signal.