US: Snapshot of Colorado Cannabis Chaos – Who is paying the price?

Snapshot of Colorado Cannabis Chaos!

In 2012, the State of Colorado voted on Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use, which passed by 55% vote. It allowed anyone over the age of 21 to consume or possess limited amounts and allowed local governments to regulate or prohibit within their jurisdiction. 72% OF THE STATES MUNICIPALITIES OPTED OUT OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN THEIR COMMUNITY (COLORADO COUNTIES DATA)

It also enacted an excise tax, which would generate revenue for the State of Colorado.

IN 2017, COLORADO RECEIVED $247M IN TAX REVENUE COMPRISING ABOUT 1% OF THE STATES TOTAL BUDGET (COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE) COLORADO’S GOVERNOR IS REPORTING A $500 MILLION SHORTFALL IN HIS 2018 BUDGET WITH SIGNIFICANT CUTS TO ROADS, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, AN INCREASE STATE TUITION, AND ELIMINATION OF A TAXPAYER REFUND

In 2013, the United States Department of Justice released the Cole Memo, allowing states with marijuana laws to develop regulatory schemes that protected eight (8) federal enforcement areas, and included:

1. Prevent the distribution to minors

BETWEEN 2005 AND 2015, THE PROPORTION OF EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OR URGENT CARE VISITS IN COLORADO FOR THOSE BETWEEN 13 AND 20 YO INCREASED BY MORE THAN 100% (JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH)

PAST MONTH USE OF MARIJUANA AMONG COLORADO YOUTH 12-17 CONTINUED TO RISE ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE (NSDUH 2006-2017).

THERE HAS BEEN A 65% INCREASE IN FIRST TIME USE AMONG COLORADO YOUTH SINCE LEGALIZATION, NOW RANKED FIRST IN THE NATION (NSDUH 2006-2017)

MARIJUANA IS THE MOST PREVALENT SUBSTANCE FOUND IN COMPLETED COLORADO TEEN SUICIDE (CDPHE)

MARIJUANA-RELATED EXPOSURES TO CHILDREN (AGES 0-5) NEARLY TRIPLED IN THE 4 YEAR AVERAGE SINCE LEGALIZATION, COMPARED TO THE 4 YEAR AVERAGE PRIOR TO LEGALIZATION (ROCKY MOUNTAIN POISON AND DRUG CENTER)

THERE WAS A 19% INCREASE IN MARIJUANA RELATED SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS IN THE 2016-17 SCHOOL YEAR (COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION) 88% OF COLORADO STUDENTS REPORT GETTING MARIJUANA FROM PARENTS, FRIENDS, OR THE BLACK MARKET (COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS)

2. Prevent revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels

THE NUMBER OF ILLEGAL MARIJUANA GROWS IN COLORADO HAS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED SINCE LEGALIZATION WITH OVER 500 ALONE IN EL PASO COUNTY, WHICH INCLUDES COLORADO SPRINGS WHICH OPTED OUT OF LEGALIZED MARIJUANA (EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT) LAW ENFORCEMENT IS SPENDING INCREASING TIME ON ILLEGAL GROWS WITH LIMITED FUNDING AND RESOURCES (EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT)

3. Prevent the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states

IN 2016 ALONE, COLORADO LAW ENFORCEMENT CONFISCATED 7,116 POUNDS OF MARIJUANA, CARRIED OUT 252 FELONY ARRESTS, AND MADE 346 HIGHWAY INTERDICTIONS OF MARIJUANA HEADED TO 36 DIFFERENT U.S. STATES (EL PASO INTELLIGENCE CENTER)

THE U.S. MAIL SYSTEM SAW AN 844% INCREASE IN POSTAL MARIJUANA SEIZURES OUT OF COLORADO SINCE LEGALIZATION (US POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE)

4. Prevent state-authorized marijuana activity from being a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or illegal activity

COLORADO’S LARGEST POT BUST SINCE LEGALIZATION IN JUNE 2017, INCLUDED VIOLATION OF THE COLORADO ORGANIZED CRIME ACT, MONEY LAUNDERING, TAX EVASION, THEFT, MORTGAGE AND SECURITIES FRAUD INCLUDED A FORMER COLORADO MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT OFFICER AND A DENVERBASED MARIJUANA ENTREPRENEUR

5. Prevent violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana

COLORADO SPRINGS HAD A RECORD NUMBER OF TOTAL HOMICIDES SINCE LEGALIZATION IN 2017 AND A RECORD NUMBER OF MARIJUANA RELATED HOMICIDES SINCE LEGALIZATION IN 2017 (COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT) COLORADO HAS NOTED AN 11% INCREASE IN MARIJUANA RELATED CRIMES FROM 2013 TO 2016 (COLORADO BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION)

6. Prevent drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse health consequences associated with marijuana use

COLORADO HAD A RECORD NUMBER OF MARIJUANA RELATED DRIVING FATALITIES IN 2016, WITH MORE THAN 20% BEING MARIJUANA RELATED (CDOT)

IN 2017, COLORADO HAD A NEW RECORD NUMBER OF TOTAL FATALITIES (MARIJUANA DATA PENDING) EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS ARE SEEING PROBLEMS ASSOICATED WIHT HIGH POTENCY PRODUCTS INCLUDING SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS, PSYCHOSIS AND SCHIZOPHRENIA, AND VIOLENCE

MARIJUANA USE HAD NOT CURBED COLORADO’S OPIOID EPIDEMIC AND COLORADO HAD A RECORD YEAR OF OPIOID OVERDOSE DEATHS IN 2017 AND COLORADO IS SEEING AN INCREASE IN OTHER DRUG RELATED DEATHS FROM METHAMPHETAMINE AND COCAINE COINCIDING WITH MASS COMMERCIALIZATION (COLORADO CONSORTIUM FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG PREVENTION)

LEGALIZATION HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED MARIJUANA USE CAUSING AN INCREASE IN ED VISITS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS RELATED TO ACUTE MARIJUANA INTOXICATION, CANNABINOID HYPEREMESIS SYNDROME, PSYCHOSIS, AND PEDIATRIC EXPOSURE AT UNCERTAIN COSTS (UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, COLORADO HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION, CDPHE) ONE HOSPITAL, IN A COMMUNITY WHICH OPTED OUT OF LEGAL MARIJUANA, EXPERIENCED $20 MILLION LOSS IN HEALTH CARE DOLLARS BETWEEN 2009 AND 2014 DUE TO MARIJUANA RELATED EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS.

THERE ARE MULTIPLE OTHER NEGATIVE MEDICAL AND HEALTH EFFECTS INCLUDING CARDIAC, PULMONARY, GASTROINTESTINAL, FETAL, NEONATAL, MATERNAL-FETAL, PEDIATRIC, NEUROLOGICAL, REPRODUCTIVE, AND PSYCHIATRIC

7. Prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and

environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands. ERADICATION OF ILLEGAL MARIJUANA PLANTS FROM COLORADO’S ROCKY MOUNTAINS INCREASED OVER 2,200% SINCE 2014 WITH A STREET VALUE OF $177 MILLION (US FOREST SERVICE, ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION)

8. Prevent marijuana possession or use on federal property.

IN 2012, A 20 ACRE ILLEGAL MARIJUANA GROW WAS FOUND IN THE BURN SCAR OF ONE OF COLORADO SPRINGS LARGEST WILDFIRES IN THE PIKE NATIONAL FOREST

SUMMARY:

COLORADO HAS DONE A POOR JOB SINCE MASS COMMERCIALIZATION, EXPANSION, AND LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA CREATING SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS AT UNKNOWN SOCIETAL COSTS REMINISCENT OF TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL.

DON’T FLY THE PLANE BEFORE BUILDING IT. FOLLOW THE SCIENCE, NOT THE MONEY AS THIS COULD BE THE LARGEST TROJAN HORSE OF ALL TIME. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT COLORADO AND SEE FIRST HAND THE MARIJUANA REFUGEES, SPEND A SHIFT IN AN EMERGENCY ROOM WHERE MARIJUANA RELATED ILLNESSES ARE SEEN EVERY SINGLE DAY, TALK TO THE FIRST RESPONDERS WHO NEED TO SHOWER AND CLEAN THEIR CLOTHES AFTER EVERY SHIFT BECAUSE THEY SMELL LIKE MARIJUANA, MEET THE FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN EFFECTED OR LOST LOVED ONES RELATED TO MARIJUANA.

THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT MARIJUANA USE CAN HAVE NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS ON MULTIPLE ORGAN SYSTEMS AND IS ASSOCIATED WITH PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS:

  • BRAIN (END ORGAN)
  • ADDICTION
  • CANNABIS USE DISORDER
  • PSYCHOSIS (PARTICULARLY WITH HIGH POTENCY PRODUCTS)
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS INCLUDING VIOLENCE
  • IMPAIRED DRIVING CAPACITY
  • DEPRESSION
  • ANXIETY
  • CARDIAC: MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION – TACHYCARDIA – ARRHYTHMIA
  • PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE
  • HYPERTENSION
  • STROKE
  • LUNG
  • BRONCHITIS
  • LUNG INFLAMMATION
  • POSSIBLY IMPAIRED LUNG FUNCTION
  • PREGNANCY
  • EFFECTS ON THE DEVELOPING HUMAN BRAIN IN UTERO
  • EFFECTS DURING BREAST FEEDING DURING IN
  • ASSOCIATION WITH SEVERAL BIRTH DEFECTS
  • GASTROINTESTINAL
  • CANNABIS HYPEREMESIS SYNDROME
  • REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
  • LOW SPERM COUNT
  • TESTICULAR CANCER

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Monitor individual and population health data over time

2. Track health effects and costs over time

3. Provide funding for scientific study and public education on health risks

4. Limit potency to 15%

5. Limit the variety of products and mechanisms of delivery

6. Discourage smoking

7. Provide funding for prevention in adolescents

8. Determine and develop better means to prevent youth access

9. Provide resources and funding for mental health treatment

10. Provide resources and funding for law enforcement

11. Do not allow home grows

12. Assure you protect your natural resources and environment

 

Colorado schools report nearly 19 percent increase in marijuana suspensions

http://kdvr.com/2018/04/30/colorado-schools-report-nearly-19-percent-increase-in-marijuana-suspensions/

Impact on Marijuana Legalisation in Colorado on Adolescent Emergency and Urgent Care admissions:

https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(18)30004-1/abstract

 

 

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