Across the United States, legal weed sales topped $5.4 billion in 2016, up nearly 18% from the previous year. In Colorado, legal recreational retail sales of marijuana began in January of 2014 with $313 million in recreational sales and 384 million in medical sales. In 2015, while medical sales only rose a modest 5.6%, recreational sales increased more than 87% to $587.7 million. The weed revenue has largely been a boon for local and the state economies, yielding 100s of millions in tax revenue.
Surprisingly, preliminary anecdotal evidence suggests that in many weed-selling communities, 90% of recreational sales are from tourists. In addition to tourists in Colorado that decide to partake, a growing business sector involves importing folks to enjoy marijuana. It's called marijuana tourism. Cannabis tours, airport pick-up services and bus tours from out-of-state are just a few examples of marijuana tourism.
Emergency Room Visits: Tourists vs. Locals
Given the appeal of legal Colorado weed, its is perhaps not to surprising that pot consumption has lead to more than a few emergency room visits. In an interesting new study looking at ER admissions resulting from marijuana consumption, researchers found that tourists are admitted at rates much greater than locals. The data, shown below, also suggest that tourist ER visits are increasing at an increasing rate (p<0.001).
Its all in the head
Another striking difference between tourists and locals, was the reason for the ER visit. The most common complaints for tourists were psychiatric in nature including hallucinations, while folks from Colorado most often cited stomach aches and other gastrointestinal issues.
Drugged Driving in the US
The below figure reflects presence of drugs in the system of drugged drivers responsible for fatal accidents in the US.