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 eight states voted to relax legal restrictions on marijuana.  Only one state – Arizona – rejected a pro-marijuana ballot issue.
  • Voters in Denver approved a measure allowing for public consumption of marijuana in restaurants, bars and other businesses.  (The impact of that ballot issue was mitigated, however, by a state regulation announced days later that prohibits marijuana consumption at any business with a liquor license. Smart applauds the state for implementing this important safety measure.)
  • Voters in Pueblo rejected ballot issues that would have rolled back marijuana commercialization in the city and county.

These election results highlight the need to redouble our efforts to protect kids from the harmful effects of marijuana commercialization. Each state that loosened restrictions on pot will have to implement the new laws, and they are looking to Colorado’s experience for guidance.

In response, Smart Colorado has created an online policy center called Lessons Learned to share its recommendations with these states.

Now is not the time to walk away from this pressing public health issue.  Rather, we see this as a call to action for all of us to step up our efforts to protect children.

And our work is far from done in Colorado. Already we are gearing up for the 2017 Colorado legislative session to promote policies that protect kids.

This month, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed a state budget for next year that includes using $9.7 million in marijuana taxes for school districts to hire 105 health professionals statewide to focus on substance abuse prevention and intervention programs.  Smart Colorado will work to build support for this proposal at the legislature.

WHY OUR WORK MATTERS

60 Minutes spotlighted marijuana in Colorado this fall, interviewing a pediatrician at Pueblo’s St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, where 27 newborn babies have tested positive for THC – pot’s psychoactive ingredient – in the first nine months of this year. He notes that marijuana has been shown to harm developing brains.

Meanwhile, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Executive Director Dr. Larry Wolk said in a recent interview that he supports limiting THC potency until more studies can be conducted.  Addressing THC potency remains an incredibly high priority for Smart Colorado. It will finally allow education and research on marijuana to be conducted in a transparent, standardized and uniform way.

NEW SURGEON GENERAL’S REPORT HIGHLIGHTS MARIJUANA’S RISK TO KIDS 

In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general released the first federal government report linking smoking to lung cancer and heart disease, laying the groundwork for the past half century of tobacco prevention. This month the surgeon general released a report on drug and alcohol addiction with some similarly sobering findings on marijuana’s harm to children.  These include:

  • “Possible loss of IQ points when repeated use begins in adolescence.”
  • “Babies born with problems with attention, memory, and problem solving” when their mothers used marijuana while pregnant.

The report also notes that “concern is growing that increasing use of marijuana extracts with extremely high amounts of THC could lead to higher rates of addiction among marijuana users.”

This should be a wake-up call for all of us.

A MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE COMES TRUE

A mother gets a call that her teenage son is in the emergency room after eating a marijuana cookie at a high school football game. She writes in grownandflown.com:  “As my son lay connected to I.V. drips and heart monitors in the hospital that night, I examined the empty edible package he had relinquished to us, wondering how he had obtained it. I would quickly learn that edibles have become remarkably easy to acquire on high school campuses across the nation, sold by students who either make the products themselves or resell those obtained from dispensaries.”

She notes that edibles often contain high doses of THC, adding: “Even more unsettling, an edible-induced high comes on more slowly than the smoked version of the drug, leading many teens to consume far greater than the recommended dosage when they fail to experience an immediate effect. This can quickly result in a toxic overdose, as was the case with my son.”

PLEASE HELP PROTECT OUR KIDS

Here are four easy steps to support Smart Colorado’s mission:

  1. Forward this to others who may share your concerns and ask them to join our email list using the form on our homepage.
  2. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
  3. Make sure you know who represents you in the Colorado House and Senate by using our online tool.
  4. Support us financially on Colorado Gives Day.

We can’t do this without your support. Thank you!

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