When the Colorado Legislature is in session, Smart Colorado is in the halls of the state capitol working to protect kids from marijuana.
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. That’s our exclusive focus at the Colorado Capitol.
2017 Legislative Updates:
The end of this year’s session provides an opportunity to tally up some wins for Colorado kids. The legislature:
- Approved a state budget that included Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposal to use $9.7 million in marijuana tax revenue to fund an additional 150 health professionals in schools to address substance abuse and mental health issues. These health professionals responsibilities will include marijuana-specific education in the schools. Smart Colorado strongly supported this provision.
- Enacted a measure that caps the number of marijuana plants that can be grown in a home. This will reduce the so-called “gray market” for marijuana that can be diverted to kids. This also was a priority for Smart Colorado.
- Maintained support for the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, a biannual project that helps the state better understand what factors help youth make healthy choices. The most recent survey included the concerning finding that fewer students across the state now see regular marijuana use as risky behavior.
- Defeated measures to allow so-called “marijuana consumption clubs” and define “open and public” pot consumption. As Smart Colorado Executive Director Henny Lasley told The Denver Post: “What we worry about the very most is the impact on our kids. The youth in Colorado that are growing up in a brand new landscape. Our big thing was to try to follow the will of the voter that this was just for private consumption, and it opens up a whole new realm when it becomes open and public.”
- Amended legislation to block the delivery of marijuana.
- Approved a bill directing the state to create and fund a resource bank of marijuana education materials for public schools.
We were also heartened to hear Gov. Hickenlooper highlight the danger to kids of Colorado’s ultra-potent marijuana. He told a reporter for ColoradoPolitics.com in April: “When you’re a teenager, your brain is growing very, very rapidly. The high-THC marijuana we have is so intense in the way it affects your synapses and those parts of your brain that literally every brain scientist I’ve talked to feels there’s a very high probability that, even if you only smoke once a week, this high-THC marijuana, if you’re a teenager, it will take a sliver of your long-term memory forever. That doesn’t come back in two weeks or three weeks. Your brain is growing so fast that the synapses don’t connect so you can’t retrieve information that you remembered.”
We’ll continue to focus on protecting Colorado youth from the health hazards of this ultra-potent pot.
Special thanks to legislators from both sides of the aisle who helped protect Colorado kids from marijuana this session, including:
- Senator Randy Baumgardner
- Senator Don Coram
- Senator Bob Gardner
- Senator Chris Holbert
- Senator Cheri Jahn
- Representative Jonathan Singer
We also applaud Governor Hickenlooper for his leadership to allocate tax revenue specific to marijuana education.
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Thank you for your support and look for more updates from Smart in the very near future.