Back in March, we wrote about "Clearing the Haze," a Colorado Gazette series about the fallout from marijuana legalization in Colorado.
The resulting package was a relentless anti-pot screed co-written by Christine Tatum, wife of Dr. Christian Thurstone, one of the area's most prominent physicians against greater access to cannabis by young people.
Thurstone was featured in the piece, which briefly alluded to his connection to Tatum. But nowhere was it acknowledged that Tatum is a longtime cannabis critic who's stirred controversy by suggesting pot links to events such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the killings at Columbine High School, among other tragedies.
Here's a Facebook image illustrating this last point.
How accurate was the sky-is-falling rhetoric that dominated "Clearing the Haze"? Well, things may not be quite as bad as the series implied according to a prominent news source — the Gazette itself.
In a new article, the paper notes that marijuana-related burglaries have actually fallen in El Paso County, which encompasses Colorado Springs, and revenue is way up.
Here's the data breakdown in terms of revenue (on pace to surpass $2 million in 2015) and burglaries, as shared by the Gazette:
El Paso County medical marijuana state sales tax revenue
Fiscal year 2011-2012: $974,107
Fiscal year 2012-2013: $1,406,823
Calendar year 2013: $1,603,062
Calendar year 2014: $1,913,091
Jan-April 2015: $679,095
Burglaries and attempted burglaries at Colorado Springs medical marijuana stores and growers, as of June 18
To what does the Gazette attribute these positive developments?
The paper points out that recreational marijuana can't be sold within Colorado Springs' city limits and adds that there are fewer unique addresses/locations for cannabis businesses in the Springs now than there were five years ago. In 2010, the total was 303, while it's currently at 152, with twenty licenses pending.
However, Colorado Springs economist Tom Binnings praises the industry's rising professionalism in the piece, while Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Lieutenant Catherine Buckley cites "surveillance and safety precautions medical marijuana dispensaries have put in place, such as locks and bars on the windows.... We call it 'target hardening.'"
Whatever the case, the Gazette's latest report is infinitely more objective and balanced than was "Clearing the Haze."
Perhaps because Christine Tatum didn't have a hand in writing it.
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