KUSA – Nearly six months after recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, the first state to allow its purchase has some new numbers to crunch in evaluating its pros and cons.
In data released Wednesday, Arapahoe House - a metro-Denver detox facility -said 15 percent of their patients arrested for driving under the influence were driving under the influence of marijuana, up from 8 percent in the same time period in 2013.
Over its first four months, recreational pot raked in more than $10 million in taxes for the state, with $1.9 million going towards schools, according to the Drug Policy Alliance's report, released Wednesday, citing state department of revenue data.
Recreational marijuana became legal for purchase Jan. 1, 2014 in Colorado. Arapahoe House's data tracked patients from Jan. 1 to May 31.
"This percentage increase is significant because recreational marijuana legalization is in its infancy, and there has clearly already been an impact on public safety," Art Schut, president and CEO of Arapahoe House said. "Our hope is that this new data will create awareness so that if Coloradans choose to use marijuana, they do not get behind the wheel."
According to the facility's data, the average DUI-marijuana patient they see is a 30-year-old white man. A driving-under-the-influence citation typically costs $10,000 and includes mandatory substance-abuse classes.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance's report, violent crime has decreased by 2.5 percent since this time of year in 2013 in Denver.
The Drug Policy Alliance calls themselves "the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights." It is made up of various members who seek to "roll back the excesses of the drug war […] and promote sensible drug policy reforms."
The president of the Drug Policy Alliance's board is the former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Thursday, a teleconference is scheduled by the Drug Policy Alliance on marijuana's impact on Colorado's local economy, crime and safety.
Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 during the November 2012 election.
A full copy of the Drug Policy Alliance's report can be found here: http://www.drugpolicy.org/colorado-six-month-status-report.
For more information on Arapahoe House, visit: https://www.arapahoehouse.org/.
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