Group forms to oppose marijuana use in Denver bars, restaurants

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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 ordinance 300, which will appear on this fall’s ballot, any restaurant, bar or other business could apply for the right to allow marijuana consumption. Smart Colorado opposes the measure, along with The Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, the American Lung Association in Colorado, Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution (GASP of Colorado) and DUID Victim Voices.

“Denver already has demonstrated that more marijuana commercialization leads to more youth use,” said Smart Colorado Executive Director Henny Lasley. “Denver is ground zero for marijuana commercialization in Colorado, and has one of the state’s highest youth rates of marijuana use.”

To learn more, watch a debate on the proposal here.

Other states learn from Colorado experiment

lessons_learned_xsFor the nine states considering ballot measures this fall to loosen restrictions on marijuana, Colorado’s marijuana commercialization experiment offers valuable lessons.

Smart Colorado has published a policy brief called Lessons Learned the Hard Way to help these states limit harm to children from marijuana legalization.

Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. It now leads the nation in teen marijuana use.

In one of the states, Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey quoted Smart Colorado co-founder Diane Carlson’s assessment of Colorado’s experience: I feel like we’re losing a generation’’.

A guest column by Carlson is running in newspapers nationwide.

Can you spot the pot? (It’s easier now)

billboardsliderIn the days before Halloween 2014, Smart Colorado drew national attention to the risks of unlabeled marijuana candies with our Can you spot the pot?” billboard. We noted at the time that “Colorado is allowing highly potent forms of marijuana to be sprayed or infused into familiar candies that are traditionally marketed to and consumed by kids.”

It’s a real problem. For example, visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado for ingestion of marijuana edibles have increased since legalization, this article from Canada’s CBC News notes.

“They pick up [what they think is] a Swedish Fish and it looks like a gummy candy, and they eat it without knowing that there’s marijuana in the product,” a pediatric emergency physician tells CBC, adding that children who have accidentally ingested edible marijuana can have trouble breathing, with potentially fatal consequences.

Our continued focus on this problem has produced some progress, however.

Starting this month, Colorado requires that edible recreational marijuana products come with a diamond-shaped stamp and the letters “THC”. Medical edibles are now also marked with an “M” as  Colorado makes strides to further align the commercial markets.
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It’s an important step towards limiting accidental ingestion of these products, especially by kids.  Smart Colorado was instrumental in enacting this policy change. We now have a tool for parents to teach around when it comes to marijuana edibles.

“Starting next year, the state also will ban any edible marijuana products in the shape of a fruit, animal or human — in addition to existing bans on the use of cartoon characters on packages or other images deemed attractive to kids,” the Associated Press reports.

While Smart Colorado remains very concerned about the risk to children of highly potent edibles, these changes demonstrate that policy can be changed to protect kids.

Conference highlights impact of marijuana commercialization

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.54.06 PMA conference highlighting the impact of marijuana on southern Colorado drew about 100  participants to the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs on Sept. 30.

Participants included emergency physicians, OB/GYNs, police and educators. Smart Colorado has posted materials from the event, including videos and presentations,here.

Televised town hall focuses on talking with youth

CBS4 this month hosted an hour-long town hall with the state health department entitled Marijuana in Colorado: Talking with Youth.”The show includes information about the drug and its health effects.

Connect with Smart Colorado on social media

Smart Colorado posts frequently on Facebook and Twitter.  Stay current on issues around marijuana commercialization and protecting youth by connecting with us.

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