Local Law Enforcement, Community Leaders Hear Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Colorado
Local law enforcement and community leaders gathered in Grand Traverse County on Tuesday as a statewide petition drive tries to get recreational marijuana legalization on the November 2018 ballot.
The Traverse Narcotics Team brought in a speaker from Colorado, where it’s already legal.
“We’ve been asked this question everywhere from everyone across the nation really wanting to know what’s happening in Colorado and what should they do, or what could they expect, if they did the same thing,” said Chelsey Clarke, strategic intelligence unit supervisor of Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Local law enforcement and community leaders found out what has happened in Colorado when it comes to crime, impaired driving, use of marijuana among younger people and more since the legalization of marijuana.
“The purpose of this is not whether you’re for marijuana or against marijuana, it’s to see what is happening to the communities, what are the pros, what are the cons, instead of just what you’re seeing out there on the internet,” said Sheriff Jim Bosscher, chairperson for TNT.
Things like fatal accidents and poison control cases have gone up in Colorado.
But so has marijuana tax revenue and thousands of new jobs.
“We really just try and show the model of this is what’s happening in our state and if you like this, then by all means bring it to your state but if you don’t like it, then maybe you want to do something different than Colorado did,” said Clarke.
Local leaders say many problems Colorado is facing, Northern Michigan already faces.
“This is an issue in our townships already that they have been dealing with,” said Dawn Lavanway, commissioner for Antrim County.
“I can tell you first hand it’s a big issue in Northern Michigan,” said Chet Janik, administrator for Leelanau County. “I know that on the county level, I knew that when I was a school superintendent, this issue that we’re struggling with.”
Tuesday was not about opinions but making an informed decision.
“We need to all work together to make anything happen whether it’s good or the bad for the citizens of our region,” said Lavanway.
“I think the key is just education, letting people know what the facts are, that there is a problem, its impacting family’s lives at all levels and hopefully people will have a greater knowledge of what the issues are,” said Janik.