Smart Colorado is the only non-profit organization focused on protecting the health, safety and well-being of Colorado youth as marijuana becomes increasingly available and commercialized.

Smart Colorado formed after the 2012 passage of Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, which legalized the sale and possession of recreational marijuana. We believe Colorado’s top priority around marijuana policy and education should be protecting our youth. Marijuana is illegal for those under 21 and a threat to their health and futures. Research is clear that marijuana is harmful to the adolescent developing brain as well as tied to psychosis, schizophrenia, drug addiction and lower IQ. Colorado’s youth are serving as guinea pigs in the state’s commercialization experiment.

Smart Colorado is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center.

HISTORY

The founding members of Smart CO came together to protect the youth of Colorado following the passage of Amendment 64. This unprecedented and historical Amendment legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado. Many of our founding members were on Governor Hickenlooper's Task Force for A64 recommendations and saw firsthand how the rights and protections of our children were being overlooked. This inspired our leadership team to come together to be the voice for Colorado’s youth. We are involved with the State legislature, Department of Revenue rule-making procedures, educational panels, and grassroots outreach.


Amendment 64 became law on December 10, 2012 as Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution. It gave Colorado citizens an immediate ability to possess one ounce or less of marijuana (including concentrates like hash oil), consume marijuana and grow 6 plants. As of January 1, 2014, the sale and production of marijuana was commercialized through the licensing of recreational marijuana stores, grow facilities, testing facilities and product manufacturing facilities.



While recreational marijuana is treated differently for tax and regulatory purposes, the regulatory framework for recreational marijuana mirrors the framework established for the licensing of medical marijuana commercialized products. The licensing and regulatory requirements for “commercialized” medical marijuana can be found in the Medical Marijuana Code, which was created via HB 10-1284 and was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 7, 2010.



Colorado's medical marijuana market developed for years without regulatory oversight. By the time the State scrambled to license and regulate medical marijuana there were already hundreds of shops in operation. Unfortunately, the regulations put in place with HB 10-1284, and the state infrastructure needed to enforce them, were woefully underfunded (March 2013 Audit and June 2013 Audit ). Amendment 64 passed because voters were led to believe the State would FINALLY begin to strictly regulate the sale and production of marijuana. Anxious to ensure robust regulation, several of us that would go on to form Smart Colorado served on the Governor’s Task Force to implement Amendment 64.



Our founding members began to meet and share their concerns as they watched powerful and well-financed representatives of the marijuana industry dominate the policy making process on the Task Force. After the “heath, safety, and well-being of Colorado children” was ranked last in priorities by the Task Force and no other groups or organizations spoke up on behalf of protecting Colorado youth, the founding members of Smart knew something had to be done.



Smart Colorado was formed in 2013 and has been the voice for children at the State and local legislative and policy levels ever since.


Recent News

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December Newsletter

Federal data: Colorado youth marijuana use tops nation Newly released federal data shows that Colorado continues to lead the nation in terms of the percentage of teens who use marijuana. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration r

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Colorado Gives Day

Please support Smart Colorado on Colorado Gives Day (Tuesday, Dec. 6).  Or check off an item on your to-do list early by scheduling your Colorado Gives Day donation today. 2016 was a big year for protecting Colorado kids from marijuana commercialization.

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November Newsletter

Marijuana wins on Election Day. Smart Colorado’s focus remains on protecting kids. Voters across the country and in Colorado this month faced a wave of marijuana ballot issues.  In almost every case, they opted for looser restrictions on pot. Voters in

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PBS Documentary: The State of High

PBS DOCUMENTARY MAKES CASE FOR THC POTENCY LIMITS   The new Rocky Mountain PBS show “Insight with John Ferrugia” highlights two deaths associated with “dabbing,” the smoking of highly concentrated forms of THC – the psychoactive drug in mar

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October 2016 Newsletter

Group forms to oppose marijuana use in Denver bars, restaurants A Denver ballot issue that could allow marijuana use in bars and restaurants is being opposed by a new group called Protect Denver’s Atmosphere: Vote No on 300 Committee. Under initiated or

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Lessons Learned Press Statement

Contact: Henny Lasley, Executive Director, Smart Colorado info@smartcolorado.org Colorado’s marijuana experiment offers lessons for states with pot ballot issues Smart Colorado works to protect youth from growing commercialization, potency DENVER – Th

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September 2016 Newsletter

Colorado teens tell legislature about pot’s impact Testimony like that, from a Boulder high school student, sent a sobering message in August to a legislative committee exploring the costs and benefits of legalized marijuana in Colorado. Other high scho

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The Truth About Pot Taxes

It turns out that recreational marijuana taxes aren’t the panacea for Colorado’s budget challenges, writes economist for Colorado Fiscal Institute in The Denver Post. In fact, much of the revenue is spent on addressing issues caused by marijuana legal