We wrote recently about the Colorado State Patrol's arrest figures released to the media. Officials said that about 1 out of 8 DUI arrests made by troopers last year involved marijuana use. About half of the drivers were believed to have used only marijuana, while others were suspected of using marijuana in combination with alcohol or other intoxicants.
One of the tasks of the Colorado State Patrol is to track trends among impaired drivers in the state. Last year’s legalization of marijuana sales in the state provided the Patrol with an opportunity to gather data that will be useful in measuring reasons officers list in post-legalization impaired driving arrests.
During the height of the war on drugs in the 1980s, countless Americans were handed down harsh prison sentences for drug possession convictions. Many of those who received unduly harsh sentences were poor minorities and it soon became clear that the war on drugs promoted racial inequality.
Dangerous drugs, including heroin, are causing a spike in overdose deaths in the United States. Sadly, many of the overdose victims could have been saved if they had received medical treatment, but the people they were with avoided calling the police out of fear of facing criminal charges.
Recreational marijuana use has been legal in Colorado for over a month now, and at least some say that the law change has resulted in some “profiling” on the state’s borders.
Drug charges are not only hard on the person accused, but also the person’s entire family. This is especially true when drug addiction is an underlying problem.
Seventy-seven years ago the first federal conviction for the sale of marijuana took place. Many would never have guessed that this conviction happened in Colorado, which ironically became the first state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana last week. Where prohibition on marijuana started in the United States, it now seems to be ending.