WASHINGTON, April 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- It's been over a year since Colorado legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. Voters welcomed a bold reform that was supposed to empty prison cells, underwrite education, produce new revenue for the state's general fund, and hobble drug cartels. As other states consider following Colorado's lead, legislators would be wise to take note of the problems uncovered in this cautionary tale by The Colorado Springs Gazette in its four-part opinion series, "Clearing the Haze."
In the series, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Colorado Springs Gazette—under the direction of the Gazette's editorial board—explains the social, financial, health, and regulatory issues introduced by Colorado's experiment in pot legalization.
"Clearing the Haze" highlights the unintended consequences of pot legalization, including increased hospitalizations of children under 12 who've ingested marijuana-laced pastries. Inadequate prevention efforts are criticized as well, such as educational programs to warn pregnant women and teens who smoke pot daily, putting them at special risk of addiction and health problems in adulthood. Incidents of driving under the influence have risen, workplaces face new problems, and resources for the homeless have been affected.
Laws intended to protect Coloradans from the downside of marijuana use are not being enforced, and regulatory issues governing taxes and distribution are hopelessly convoluted. The New York Times – calling it "refund madness" – recently noted that, due to Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, almost $60 million in marijuana sales tax revenue intended for schools and other programs might have to be passed back to pot consumers, growers, and the public.
Says Colorado Springs Gazette publisher Dan Steever, "We have been inundated with emails, thanking us for pointing out problems with marijuana legalization that need to be addressed for the future well-being of Coloradans."
The Colorado Springs Gazette and MediaDC are subsidiaries of Clarity Media Group.
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SOURCE Colorado Springs Gazette