Denver school pot arrests jump after recreational stores open

Photo: Marijuana in Colorado 1 Inside the grow operation of Options Medical
Inside the grow operation of Options Medical.

Update 12/17/2014: Denver police revised their school pot arrest numbers, citing a previous error.

Arrests for pot-related incidents spiked nearly 40 percent at Denver Public Schools following the opening of recreational marijuana stores in January.

There were 154 marijuana arrests during the 2013-2014 school year, which included the opening of recreational pot stores on Jan. 1. During the previous school year there were 111 arrests, according to data obtained by CPR from the Denver Police Department.

Arrests are concentrated in the city’s high schools, with 67 in the 2013-2014 school year. North, East, and West High Schools dominated the arrest numbers.

Denver is the unofficial capital of the marijuana industry. About 100 recreational stores are open in the city, with a few dozen more scattered around the state.

Calls for comment to many the principals were not returned. Denver Public Schools did, however, release a statement.

“Denver Public Schools is very concerned about the apparent increase in marijuana use by students,” the statement said, adding that there are education, intervention, and counseling services available to students. “Those efforts were recently expanded at the middle school level through the hiring of a substance abuse prevention supervisor.”

Middle school marijuana arrests doubled, from 17 in the 2012-2013 school year to 34 2013-2014. Henry Middle School has by far the most arrests, three times the next closest middle school.

There were five arrests last school year at DPS elementary schools.