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Northern Michigan leaders hear impact of legalizing marijuana

Northern Michigan leaders hear impact of legalizing marijuana

What could Michigan look like if recreational marijuana was legalized?

That's the question law enforcement leaders, elected officials, and educators got some answers to during a conference Tuesday morning in Traverse City.

"There's a lot of information out there probably from both sides and this here is just to inform community leaders and the police officers, these are the facts, this is what's happening in Colorado," said Missaukee County Sheriff Jim Bosscher, Chairperson of the Traverse Narcotics Team.

Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area presented data to the group that has been gathered since 2006, to show the impact that legalizing marijuana has had in Colorado.

"If this does come to a vote here in Michigan, people can make an informed choice," Bosscher said.

According to the numbers collected, Colorado saw an increased percentage of teens using marijuana between 2013 and 2015, a higher number of hospitalizations that could be related to marijuana, and an increased number of traffic deaths where drivers tested positive for marijuana.

"The Colorado state has really become a test ground for the rest of the states to look at and they're leading in numbers that we don't want to join in leading," said Wexford County Prosecutor, Jason Elmore.

Many feel Michigan could be on the same path as Colorado, to legalize recreational marijuana.

Organizers hope Tuesday's presentation helps with the decision.

"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 that Colorado did," said Chelsey Clarke, the presenter and Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor.

For more information on the study, click here.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in November of 2012.

Mi-legalize is one group that is currently collecting signatures to get the question of legalizing marijuana in Michigan to the voters in 2018.

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