The last time we checked in on Colorado after it legalized marijuana, the intoxicant was raking in $1.3 billion worth of sales for the state.

Yet, as predicted, there have been some unintended consequences of decriminalizing recreational marijuana use. Recently, the residents of Durango have noticed a change in the type of visitors the lovely Colorado resort town attracts.

The town suddenly became a haven for recreational pot users, drawing in transients, panhandlers and a large number of homeless drug addicts, according to officials and business owners. Many are coming from New Mexico, Arizona and even New York.

“Legalized marijuana has drawn a lot of kids here from other states and the impact has not all been good,” said [Durnago resident Matthew] Marinseck, 58, while holding a cardboard sign asking for “help.”

…Caleb Preston, a store manager in a gift shop and a former “street entertainer,” said the homeless and panhandling issue in Durango has gotten out of hand since the state legalized marijuana.

“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets,” Preston said. “The problem is while many are pretty mellow, there are many more who are violent.”

That isn’t the only significant health and safety issue that as arisen, either. A new study by a Children’s Hospital doctor reveals that the number of teenagers and young adults going to the emergency room for marijuana-related reasons increased significantly after legalization.

[Dr. Sam] Wang said he found that 106 teens and young adults visited Children’s emergency room for marijuana-related reasons in 2005 and that number jumped to 631 in 2014. The rate of those visits increased as well — although by 2015 marijuana still accounted for only four out of every 1,000 visits.

Perhaps most worrisome, Wang said he found that the number of kids and young adults in the emergency room for marijuana-related reasons and who subsequently needed a psychiatric evaluation also increased rapidly — from 65 in 2005 to 442 in 2014. Wang said patients who receive psychiatric evaluations may be severely intoxicated or may have tried to commit suicide or talked about committing suicide.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, pets may be at an increased risk of being poisoned by pot via food items.

Patty Moore called the veterinarian after her Golden Retriever, Chance, started acting strange, she told CNN affiliate KCNC.
Moore said the 10-year-old dog couldn’t stand to eat. “It was like her legs didn’t work at all,” she said.

Chance’s vet diagnosed the dog as having ingested marijuana. The telltale signs: the animal appeared depressed, drunk or stupefied for no apparent reason.

The pet owner said she took Chance on a walk in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood park a few days after the 4/20 pro-marijuana rally, according to the affiliate report.

That’s where Moore believes Chance got into the pot — probably eating or licking a THC-laced edible, like a cookie or brownie.

So, if you find yourself in a state that is voting for recreational marijuana legalization, consider the unintended consequences on business, children, and pets before proceeding.


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