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Arizona sees increase in cannabis use as marijuana-related arrests drop

Pot-related arrests fell 21% in a year
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Posted at 6:51 AM, Feb 06, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In 2020, the state of Arizona reported that 28% of drug related arrests were because of marijuana. Just one year later in 2021, that number decreased to just 7%. 

Arrests have gone down each year as more states legalize medical or recreational use of the drug.

Although arrests are going down, reported addictions are on the rise.

Cottonwood Tucson, a behavioral health substance use treatment center, say they are seeing an increased amount of young adults coming in with an addiction to marijuana or also known as cannabis disorder.

“I wouldn’t say that people that become addicted to marijuana would say that they are necessarily addicts. It’s been so normalized and looked at as a medicinal substance when used appropriately," said Laura French, Therapist at Cottonwood Tucson

Therapists at Cottonwood are seeing more women than men walk through their doors seeking help, ages ranging from 18 to 40 years old. With the normalization and legalization of marijuana access, therapists like French say excessive users don’t feel the aftermath until it’s too late.

It’s the psychological impacts that are becoming more prevalent as excessive marijuana use increases. Cottonwood Tucson says marijuana addicted patients are coming in with severe cases of anxiety, depression, hallucinations and delusion.

“It seems like people think this is a coping skill, to regulate yourself and calm down... What they don’t recognize is the potential for unusual thoughts and beliefs to start to move in," said Laura French, Therapist at Cottonwood Tucson.

It’s not just marijuana. Drugs that used to be difficult to get 20-30 years ago are coming back. French explains that drugs are no longer a secret black market deal. It has turned into everyday life in our community and nationwide.

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Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State's newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing brooke.chau@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.