Colorado has had a long history with marijuana. It became one of the first states to allow medical marijuana in 2000. However, not until the fall of 2009 did we see a significant increase in dispensaries and marijuana card applications associated with the release of the Ogden Memo and laxity of federal enforcement of laws. In January 2014, Colorado became one of, now, two states that allow the sale, growth, and possession of recreational marijuana.
After the increase in medical marijuana dispensaries and applications near the end of 2009, we noted a significant impact on our local tertiary adult and children’s emergency departments in Colorado. The most obvious effect for adults is that we are seeing more patients with marijuana intoxication. While a primary complaint of marijuana intoxication is still not common, we are now seeing it on a regular basis.
Calls to regional poison centers for unintentional pediatric exposures have increased in states with similar medical marijuana legislation.