What does the White House marijuana stance mean for Colorado kids?

You probably heard: White House spokesman Sean Spicer recently said to expect “greater enforcement” of federal drug laws, which list marijuana as an illegal substance. He added: “There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana.”

His comments were scrutinized in Colorado and other states that have legalized recreational — as opposed to medical — marijuana.  (Colorado has voted to legalize both.)

Smart Colorado doesn’t have any unique insight into what Spicer meant — or what the potential legal implications could be for Colorado.

But regardless of what the federal government does, Smart Colorado — which was formed after marijuana was legalized here — believes our mission of protecting Colorado youth will remain as urgent as ever.

The current generation of Colorado kids has grown up surrounded by marijuana commercialization. It’s not surprising then that their perception of marijuana’s harm has decreased, according to the most recent state survey data.

While the federal stance on marijuana could change at any moment, these youth perceptions will not suddenly reverse. Increasing teens’ understanding of the hazards of marijuana will require intensive and sustained effort. With your help, we will continue this important work.

Neighborhood activists protect children from marijuana

It takes a village – or at least a well-organized neighborhood association – to protect kids from marijuana.

The West Washington Park Neighborhood helped block the Terps ‘N’ Purps marijuana shop, located near the DSST Byers Middle School, from receiving a medical marijuana license.

“I first got involved with blocking the license to keep my own children safe,” says Rebecca Wiggins, a member of the neighborhood association, “but once DSST Byers collaborated with us, I realized how many more children we needed to protect.”

The association, DSST Byers, Denver Public Schools and Denver City Councilman Jolon Clark banded together to navigate the process of blocking the license.

“People shouldn’t be intimidated by the process,” says Mona Ahmed, another member of the association. “We were able to learn the rules of the system, collect more than the required number of signatures and prepare for the hearings in order to win this battle.”

Communities across Colorado facing similar battles can learn from this collaborative success in the West Washington Park neighborhood to ensure kids are protected from marijuana.

Please contact info@smartcolorado.org if your neighborhood needs assistance with how to limit commercialization and licensing issues.

You spoke, Denver listened

This week we urged Smart Colorado’s grassroots network to ask the Denver City Council to delay consideration of a proposal to extend marijuana dispensary hours. We wanted the council to have time to receive more information on the measure’s impact on Denver youth. We noted that youth marijuana use rates are especially high in Denver, the epicenter of marijuana commercialization in Colorado.

On Monday, after testimony from Smart Colorado and others, the city council agreed to solicit more public input. Here’s the Denver Post coverage, which notes our position.

Thank you for speaking out. We’re making a difference.

PBS focuses on “marijuana moms’’

Between 2002 and 2014, marijuana use among pregnant women increased by 62 percent, according to a study published in the December Journal of the American Medical Association. This statistic was highlighted by Rocky Mountain PBS in its recent report, Marijuana Moms.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment tells moms: “You should not use marijuana while you are pregnant, just like you should not use alcohol and tobacco.”

Nevada looks to Colorado’s experience with recreational marijuana

“I see kids put [vape pens] in their sleeves and take hits when the teacher’s not looking.”

That anecdote — from a Golden high school student — is included in a recent Las Vegas TV report on Colorado’s experience with legalized recreational marijuana. Fox 5 came here for insight into what Nevada may experience now that it’s also legalized recreational pot.

“Marijuana in elementary schools was never heard of. Now it is,” adds Lynn Riemer, who runs  a nonprofit called Act on Drugs, which teaches kids at Colorado schools about drugs.

Pediatricians warn about youth pot use

The American Academy of Pediatrics is beefing up warnings about the dangers of marijuana to kids.

An Associated Press article notes doctors’ concerns that parents and children may think that marijuana is not harmful to teenage brains.

According to the report, “Many parents use the drug and think it’s OK for their kids, but ‘we would rather not mess around with the developing brain,’ said Dr. Seth Ammerman.”


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