Drug Trends: Cannabis

Cannabis is being dubbed “the new Big Tobacco” for the way they are strategizing and targeting specific populations, including kids, minorities, and less affluent areas. But could this new wave be worse? Can we even imagine the real impacts this could have on our communities, our children?

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Since Colorado legalized recreational cannabis in 2012:

  • Youth cannabis use is 85% higher than the national average
  • Cannabis-related traffic fatalities increased 151%
  • Violent crime increased 25% (18,426 in 2013 to 23,009 in 2017)
  • Aggravated assaults increased 31% (9,714 to 12,711)
  • Motor vehicle thefts increased 73% (12,806 to 22,187)

READ MORE: Cannabis Frequently Asked Questions


According to the CDC, cannabis use may have long-lasting or permanent effects on the developing adolescent brain. Negative effects include:

  • Difficulty with critical thinking skills like attention, problem solving and memory
  • Impaired reaction time and coordination, especially as it relates to driving
  • Decline in school performance
  • Increased risk of mental health issues including depression or anxiety and in some cases, psychosis where there is a family history of it
  • Research also shows that about one in six teens who repeatedly use cannabis can become addicted, as compared to one in nine adults


  • Communities can write Ordinances to ban sales and grow sites in their neighborhoods.
  • Start locally; attend Town Halls, write letters, speak with your representatives and find out if they plan to allow drugs in your backyard.
  • Speak with your children about the risks of cannabis use, addiction, and accidental ingestion.