Jump in Colorado School Drug Cases May be Linked to Marijuana Legalization: Experts

Blackboard with a chalk and the shape of the cannabis symbol dra

Colorado middle schools reported a 24 percent increase in drug-related incidents last year, according to USA Today. School-based experts tell the newspaper they believe the jump is directly related to marijuana legalization. Recreational sales of marijuana began on January 1, 2014.

Schools do not report which kinds of drugs are involved in the incidents, the article notes. State legislators are now asking school districts to keep track of which drugs they are finding.

John Simmons, the Denver Public Schools’ Executive Director of Student Services, says schools in his city saw a 7 percent increase in drug incidents, from 452 to 482. Almost all of the incidents were related to marijuana, he said.

Middle schools across the state reported a total of 951 drug violations, the highest number in a decade. School officials say while marijuana use has long been a problem, more students are trying it now that it is more easily available and socially accepted.

“We have seen parents come in and say, ‘Oh that’s mine, they just took it out of my room,’ and that sort of thing,” said school resource officer Judy Lutkin of the Aurora Police Department. “Parents have it in their houses more often, and the kids just can take it from home.”

“Middle schoolers are most vulnerable to being confused about marijuana,” said Dr. Christian Thurstone, attending physician for the Denver Health Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment program. “They think, ‘Well, it’s legal so it must not be a problem.'”

Meg Sanders, owner of MiNDFUL, a marijuana company that operates in Colorado, says her business is very careful not to market to children. “We feel it’s our responsibility as a responsible business to card not just once but twice for any recreational customer, and medical patients have to show several documents before they can purchase marijuana,” she said.

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10 Responses

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    Lisa Lo

    May 14, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Big marijuana is addicting more and more people…. back when i used to smoke…. that’s all there was WEED. Not edibles, concentrates, oils, etc !!! THEY CREATED NEW DRUG MARKETS. SOCIETY IS STUPID ENOUGH ALREADY. My kid who is 12 got caught with another kid smoking pot on school grounds .

    Legalization did not eliminate the black market …. but sadly increased drug use. It used to be a 1.2 billon estimated industry……… now it will be projected to be 20 billion in the near future.

    Black market was mainly blue collar people trying to feed their family. They spent the money back into the economy thus stimulating it. Now all the money will go to a handful of greedy corporations creating minimum wage jobs. So yeah legalization actually reduced jobs with lower wages.

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    Susan Linder

    March 7, 2015 at 1:34 AM

    I’m a second generation native of Denver Colorado and the marijuana industry has ahold of our city by means of greed. Colorado has always been a caring place so first we agreed to medical marijuana to help “individuals who have no other medical alternative”. The fraud started with greedy doctors then greedy businessmen & lobbyist found greedy politicians. Now we are paying for laws with no consequence , new residents with no homes, police officers who have their hands tied & big new salaries for legislators. We are fighting back but a real chokehold is on the city of Denver. Please make sure the candidate you vote for cares about CHILDREN FIRST & DOESN’T RECEIVE MARIJUANA FUNDING. Pass this to every Denverite you know because elections are coming up & we need to grab hold of this careless steamroller before our youth truly suffer. Thank you!!

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    Lorraine Hill

    March 5, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    35 years as an addictions clinician tells me this: legalization does not change the effects of any drug including alcohol on the human mind, body and behavior. This is not to negate the use of marijuana for medical reasons, if they are real.

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