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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All marijuana is not the same.

In this CNN forum aired August 3rd 2016, Smart Colorado’s Diane Carlson engages Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson on the difference between low- to no-THC medical treatments and Colorado’s extremely high-potency pot. (starts at 29:50)

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Dabs with a flat iron…

Dabs – a highly concentrated form of THC administered all at once for a quick high. Dabs can be, at a minimum, 4x stronger than a joint and can result in puking, extreme coughing fits, and psychosis… symptoms that even long-time weed smokers h

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New Statewide Research: CO Teens & Marijuana

New statewide research: Colorado teens see marijuana as less risky & use remains high June 20, 2016 Fewer Colorado high school students view regular marijuana use as risky behavior, according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), which was relea

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Marijuana in Denver’s Poorest Neighborhoods

While we, as the Smart Colorado leadership team, do our best to lobby for legislation to help limit the number of dispensaries allowed and their proximity to school zones, there are still 210 stores that sell medical or recreational marijuana (or both) i

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1 in 6 Children Hospitalized in Colorado

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for 2.5 years and we still do not fully understand the health impacts of marijuana exposure on our youth. Studies published like the one below continue to confirm the importance of marijuana education a

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Study Links Suicide with Marijuana Use

A major study found that kids who start using marijuana before the age of 17 ARE 7x MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT SUICIDE than those that don’t.  The study, published in Lancet Psychiatry Journal, also found poor educational outcomes tied to youth marijuana u

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#KnowPot and #KnowPotency

New fact sheets addressing THC potency. With dangerously high levels of THC — marijuana’s psychoactive element — Colorado’s pot has become a fundamentally different, harder drug. Soaring THC concentrations have prompted potency cap

Marijuana Dispensaries Near Schools / Denver Post

In Denver, a growing number of marijuana shops are close to schools Source: Denver Post JON MURRAY | April 1, 2016 “We are making this attractive to kids and young people,” said Gina Carbone, a co-founder of Smart Colorado, a group that advocates for

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Video: Smart Speaks to Denver City Council

March 2, 2016 Denver City Council Meeting “The connection between commercialization and marijuana and the adverse effects on our youth, cannot be overstated,” said Gina Carbone,  co-founder of Smart Colorado, at a Denver City Council meeting.