Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 2015
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2015 The Associated Press
Author: Ivan Moreno, The Associated Press


Colorado Will Compile Stats to Find Impact on Students

(AP) - Colorado schools will begin compiling data on students who get 
busted for using or distributing marijuana, an effort aimed at 
gauging the effects of the drug's legalization in the state.

The new requirement is an addition to a 2012 law directing law 
enforcement and district attorneys to collect information on how 
students are punished and whether they're being arrested or ticketed 
when they should be disciplined by educators for minor offenses.

Schools have been tracking all drug offenses involving students, but 
marijuana has not been separated on its own. Anecdotally, some 
schools say they've noticed an increase in marijuana use while others 
have not, according to Jane Urschel, deputy executive director of the 
Colorado Association of School Boards.

Lawmakers want definitive data now that recreational marijuana pot 
shops have been in business for almost 18 months.

"I think we need to get an accurate picture of what our trends are at 
our schools, what sort of impact legalization has had on our kids," 
said Republican Rep. Polly Lawrence, one of the lawmakers behind the 
bill to track marijuana use.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill last week.

Washington state, which also has recreational marijuana sales, began 
tracking student suspensions and expulsions for pot use during the 
2013-14 school year. That year, 4,116 students were suspended for 
marijuana and 265 were expelled, according to state data. Numbers for 
the latest school year are not available yet.

To this point, numbers in Colorado are more spotty. When this year's 
bill was drafted, only 74 out of 246 law enforcement agencies in the 
state sent data to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, along 
with just six of the 22 Colorado district attorneys.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom