Denver Drug Agent Tells Arkansans Pot Legalization Doing More Harm Than Good

- LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Colorado drug agent is in the Capitol City Friday speaking out about the current trends and issues law enforcement is facing after legalizing recreational marijuana in January 2013. Police say it's becoming a huge problem to regulate.

Sergeant Jim Gerhardt with the Denver North Task Force says Colorado is dealing with a number of criminal activities since the legalization of marijuana. Now they're having to pay a pretty heavy public safety price and want Arkansans to consider the consequences if they choose to vote the same way.

"I would strongly discourage other states to not follow the path Colorado has taken," says Sgt. Jim Gerhardt, Denver North Metro Task Force. "Overall traffic fatalities are going down, but the number of fatalities where someone was under the influence of marijuana is up."

While the statistics aren't available yet, Sgt. Gerhardt says recreational pot is doing more harm than good.

"Kids are getting hospitalized for several days because they don't know the difference between a marijuana cookie and a regular cookie and they're eating this stuff," says Sgt. Gerhardt.

Schools are also flooded with marijuana problems.

"Marijuana expulsions that was the number one reason kids were getting expelled in Colorado over guns, weapons, alcohol," says Gerhardt.

Police are also dealing with more robberies and theft near dispensaries, as well as home invasions and explosions at places that grow pot.

"I think when that public safety, when that price is high enough then I think we may see people deciding to reverse what they've done," says Gerhardt.

But Arkansans for Compassionate Care disagrees saying legalized medical marijuana in the Natural State is going to save lives.

"We've written it as carefully as we could to make sure that our teens don't get it that people that don't need it won't get it," says Melissa Fults, Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

"That young man who jumped and killed himself in Colorado was his life worth the legalization of marijuana? Was the woman who was murdered in front of her kids was her life worth the legalization of marijuana? That's something I guess every Arkansan has to decide for them self," says Gerhardt.

Denver law enforcement agencies plan to get a data collections system in place which are designed to keep people around the world updated with the impact marijuana has on Colorado.

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