Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalize recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses.
According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News, 37 people were killed across the state on Jan. 1, the first day the drug became legal for all adults to purchase. Several more are clinging onto life in local emergency rooms and are not expected to survive.
"It's complete chaos here," says Dr. Jack Shepard, chief of surgery at St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver. "I've put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.
"We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures. By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalize marijuana? What were we thinking?"
Rainin' Fire in the Sky
Colorado and Washington state approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use in November though statewide ballot measures. Under the new policies pot is legal for adult use, regulated like alcohol and heavily taxed.
One of the principal arguments of legalization advocates was that cannabis has long been considered safer than alcohol and tobacco and was not thought not to cause overdose. But a brave minority tried to warn Coloradans of the drug's dangers.
"We told everyone this would happen," says Peter Swindon, president and CEO of local brewer MolsonCoors. "Marijuana is a deadly hardcore drug that causes addiction and destroys lives.
"When was the last time you heard of someone overdosing on beer? All these pro-marijuana groups should be ashamed of themselves. The victims' blood is on their hands."
One of the those victims was 29-year-old Jesse Bruce Pinkman, a former methamphetamine dealer from Albuquerque who had recently moved to Boulder to establish a legal marijuana dispensary.
Pinkman was partying with friends when he suffered several seizures and a massive heart attack which ultimately proved to be fatal. Toxicology reports revealed that marijuana was the only drug present in his system.
"This is just a terrible tragedy," says his friend Peter. "Jesse was trying to go legit and now this happens? I guess drugs really are as dangerous as they say."
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed the ballot initiative that legalized the drug, says he will call a special legislative session to try and overturn the new law.
"We can't sit idly by and allow this slaughter to continue," he said during a press conference Thursday.