Colorado Department of Public Safety shows early effects of marijuana legalization

Marijuana plants are seen in an indoor cultivation in Montevideo December 6, 2013. Uruguay's senate will vote on December 10 to create a government body to control the cultivation and sale of marijuana and allow residents to grow it at home or as part of smoking clubs. The use of marijuana is already legal in the South American nation, but sale and cultivation is not. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure, which is backed by leftist President Jose Mujica. Picture taken December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Andres Stapff)
(REUTERS/Andres Stapff)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) – A report released by the Department of Public Safety now shows how legalizing marijuana has affected the state.

It’s the first official report with local, state and federal data.

When it comes to the impact of legalized marijuana on public safety, marijuana-related arrests were nearly cut in half between 2012 and 2014.

Possession and sales of the drug also dropped by 24-percent.

Locally, El Paso County saw a 30-percent decrease in similar arrests, but we start to see an increase in marijuana use.

For those 18 to 25, the drug used jumped from 21-percent in 2006 to 31-percent in 2014.

Those older than 26 also saw a minor increase.

In high school however, marijuana use fell slightly, starting at nearly 23-percent in 2005 to just under 20-percent in 2013.

But when it comes to school expulsions during the 2014-2015 school year, 41-percent accounted for drugs.

The report also shows marijuana-related hospital visits have tripled since the drug became legal.

More than 800 per 100,000 people visited the hospital before the sale of marijuana was legal.

After legalization, that number jumped significantly to more than 2,400 visits.

DPS adds patients visiting the hospital only had signs of possible marijuana exposure or use.

Even with these statistics, DPS says these are early findings and it’s too early to draw any conclusions about the effects of legalizing marijuana.

You can check out  the full report here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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