Durango, Colorado is a picturesque town of about 17,000 residents along the Animas River. It is located in the southwestern part of the state, about 15 miles north of the New Mexico border and about 65 miles east of the Utah border. Although not a high mountainous city like many in the state, Durango lies just south of the mountains and has been home to a lot of artists and craftsmen. It was a nice city that became a resort location for many to just get away from the rat race life in the big cities.
I recall visiting Durango several times many years ago and thought it was a nice quiet, family oriented town with a great location with mountains to the north and Lake Nighthorse just southwest of the town.
On January 1, 2014, Colorado legalized the medical and recreational use of Marijuana. They claimed that it would add millions of dollars to the state’s revenue via state taxes which includes a 2.9% sales tax, 10% special sales tax and 15% excise tax, meaning the state would collect $27.90 for every $100 of recreational marijuana sold in the Rocky Mountain state.
Like many others, I predicted that the legalization of marijuana would lead to an increase in impaired drivers, traffic accidents along with other negative impacts.
In April 2014, 19 year old foreign exchange student Levy Thamba plunged off a hotel balcony and died after eating legally purchased marijuana laced cookies. After eating just one cookie, Thamba became agitated and ran out onto the balcony and over the edge, falling to his death. The pot-laced cookies were legally purchased by a 21-year-old present at the gathering.
In September 2015, 47-year-old Richard Kirk purchased Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll joint and Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, a marijuana laced candy. Shortly after eating the pot laced candy, Kristine Kirk, 44, called 9-1-1 to report that her husband was hallucinating and frightening her and their three children. During her call, she told the police dispatcher that her husband had asked her to get the gun from their safe and shoot him. When she refused, she told the dispatcher that he was retrieving the gun. Twelve minutes into the emergency call, the dispatcher heard a gunshot over the phone and then the line went dead.
When police finally arrived at the house, Kristine was dead from a gunshot to the head and Richard was ranting and rambling to himself. In his ramblings, he admitted to killing his wife. Police said that it appeared to them that Richard was definitely suffering the effects of some controlled substance and/or prescription drugs.
By October 2015, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area just released their annual report which reveals the impact of legal marijuana use. Among the alarming report, marijuana related traffic deaths have increased by 32%. Not all of those that lost their lives were the users of marijuana. They were the innocent victims of someone else who was driving while under the effects of marijuana.
They also reported significant increases in emergency room and hospital visits linked to marijuana use. Additionally, they reported that school expulsions have increased by 40% with the majority of them being related to marijuana.
By October 2014, Colorado officials discovered that thousands of dollars had been withdrawn from ATMs located in the state’s marijuana shops using EBT cards since the legalization of pot for recreational use. These withdrawals were being made illegally as a federal law was passed the same year as the pot was legalized in Colorado, 2012, prohibiting the use of EBT cards at ATMs in pot shops. It’s also illegal to use EBT cards to make withdrawals in liquor stores and casinos, but Watchdog.org reports that hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being illegally withdrawn at these locations.
After three years of legalize marijuana, the nice resort and artsy town of Durango has been transformed into something ugly. Along with attracting arts and craft makers and buyers, the city has become a mecca to pot users. The city has seen a huge increase in homeless people, panhandlers, transients and drug addicts.
With the transforming, city officials became alarmed when residents starting finding used needles just lying in the streets and on the sidewalks.
Caleb Preston, a local business owner said he regularly has to kick vagrants from sitting in the doorway to his store. With the influx of pot users, the city has also seen an increase in violence and crime. Preston commented:
“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets. The problem is while many are pretty mellow, there are many more who are violent.”
Colorado is run by liberal Democrats who don’t care about the welfare of their residents. When they passed strict gun control laws, several firearm related businesses moved from the state, but officials didn’t care. The Outdoor Channel cancelled several programs filmed in Colorado, but officials didn’t care. When a college student fell to his death after using pot or a husband killed his wife after using pot, officials didn’t care. More people in Colorado are being injured and killed as a direct result in marijuana use, but officials don’t care.
As long as the millions of dollars of tax revenue keep flowing into the state coffers, officials don’t care about the many harmful effects that marijuana use is having on the people and towns. They don’t care that Durango is being overrun and transformed from something beautiful into something ugly. They don’t care that residents, including kids, are being exposed to used drug needles lying on the sidewalks and streets. All they care about is the tax revenue and pushing a liberal agenda to undermine the descent moral foundation that made America the great nation it used to be.