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Marijuana and Colorado Youth Inspiring Minds February 3, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Marijuana and Colorado Youth Inspiring Minds February 3, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marijuana and Colorado Youth Inspiring Minds February 3, 2014

2  A volunteer-run, non-profit organization dedicated to minimizing the negative consequences of legalized marijuana in Colorado, particularly for our youth.  Formed March 1, 2013, after Amendment 64 passed, in response to observation that marijuana policy was being dominated and driven by for- profit marijuana industry. We were concerned that the health, safety and well-being of Colorado youth were not being considered.  Concerned how increased marijuana commercialization will impact our communities, the state and our adolescents. About Us

3 Today’s Marijuana in Colorado  It is not like a marijuana joint of your youth  Extremely potent, THC levels 4 times higher than in 1980s, up to 35%  Smoking is only half of the story  Brownies are so yesterday  Marijuana infused edibles include candies, cereals and sodas etc.  Marijuana concentrate is available  highly potent, 75-90% THC  I oz of concentrate = approx. 2800 servings of marijuana  Vaporized in electronic cigarettes, “dabbed”

4 Marijuana Edibles  Huge, multi-million dollar industry that is growing, estimated 38% of the market  Very few regulations and no limitations on types that can be sold  Made to be “palatable” and “discreet”  Creates confusion with regular food and accidental ingestions  Marketed to be attractive to adolescents  Almost any food can become a marijuana edible (candy, soda, chips etc…)  Infused, sprayed or baked into food

5 A Candy Case in a Store

6 Infused with Sugar and Fruit Flavors

7 The industry infuses childhood favorites

8 Kids breakfast cereal sprayed with marijuana concentrate

9 Even toddler’s food, goldfish, can become a marijuana edible

10 Increased visits to ER due to marijuana  Children’s Hospital saw new category of patients (children) being rushed to ER due to unintentional marijuana ingestion  2005-2009 there were 0 cases of admissions from accidental marijuana ingestions  After 2009, and rise of dispensaries, 14 reported emergencies at Children’s Hospital*  ER visits throughout Colorado for marijuana related incidents involving youth  2005-2008 there were 741 cases per year, on average  2009-2011 increased to 800 cases per year** *Wang, Rocky Mountain Poison Control and Drug, 2013 **Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Rocky Mountain HIDTA Aug. 2013

11 High Potency Products  THC content continues to rise in Colorado  Netherlands saw first hand negative impact of increasing THC levels. Levels above 15% correlated to:  Unacceptable youth health risks from links to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders  Higher addiction rates in both youth and adult population  Increased accidents from marijuana use  Increased crime  Increased public nuisance complaints  Negative pot tourism

12 Concentrates  Not legally sold to consumers anywhere else in the world  1 oz. equivalent to 2,800 servings (at 10mg/serving)  1 oz. fits in a pants pocket  1 oz. enough to provide marijuana to every student at East High School  Tourist can buy 700 servings at once – more than they can consume in state

13 Wax Dabbing

14 Made to Be Hidden

15 Made to be Hidden

16 E-Cigarettes or Vaporizers

17 Marijuana The Next Big Tobacco  Similarities between Big Tobacco, decades ago, and today’s budding marijuana industry  Health claims on their product, despite associated risks  Encouraging use at a young age to secure future customers  Making their product attractive to kids  Safety claims contrary to science  Influencing public policy through political pressure, lobbying and funding political candidates  Both industries now using the E-cigarettes

18 Big Tobacco Eyeing Big Marijuana  “Those who think that the big alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies aren’t watching states like Colorado very closely are fooling themselves.” Quote of a Colorado marijuana infused product manufacturer in The Westword, Ganjapreneurs in Colorado, Jan. 2, 2014.  “The use of marijuana... has important implications for the tobacco industry in terms of an alternative product line. [We] have the land to grow it, the machines to roll it and package it, the distribution to market it.” From a report commissioned by cigarette manufacturer Brown and Williamson (now merged with R.J. Reynolds) in the 1970s.  Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris, recently bought the web domain names: and

19 Marijuana Use Highest Among 18-20

20  More high school students have smoked a joint (22%) than a cigarette (16%) in the last 30 days*  57% of high school students say it is easy or sort of easy to get marijuana*  More students see greater risk of harm from regular alcohol use than from regular marijuana use  42% of high school students perceive no or slight risk from regular marijuana use*  More students drove or rode with a driver after smoking marijuana than after drinking alcohol *  More high school students used marijuana on school grounds than alcohol * *Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 2011-2012 Youth Marijuana Use In Colorado

21 Marijuana Use in the Past Month among Youths Aged 12 to 17

22 Marijuana Use in the Past Year among Youths Aged 12 to 17,

23 First Use of Marijuana among Youths Aged 12 to 17

24 Medical Marijuana States Have Higher Youth Rates

25 Medical Marijuana – Pathway to Kids?  4,528 medical marijuana card holders between 18-20*  Many DPS high school students know someone with a medical marijuana card:**  51% of 12 th graders  45% of 11 th graders  41% of 10 th graders  36% of 9 th graders  In the last Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 4% of surveyed DPS 11 th and 12 th graders had gotten marijuana from a marijuana card holder in the previous month *Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Medical Marijuana Registry, 8/13/13 ** Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2011-2012, Denver Public Schools

26 Youth Marijuana Use in Denver  1 in 10 DPS seniors are using marijuana on a daily or near daily basis*  32% of DPS seniors have used marijuana in the last month*  14% of DPS students tried marijuana before they were 13*  10% of DPS high school students have used marijuana at school*  10% of DPS high school students have driven after using marijuana* *Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2011-2012

27 Denver’s youth marijuana use higher than national average

28 Denver Ranks Above the Rest Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2011

29 “Pot Problems in Schools Increase with Legalization” Denver Post lead story 11/11/13

30 Marijuana Exposure Linked to Increased Use  Examples of Increased Exposure  Billboard near Broncos stadium calling Marijuana “A Safer Choice”  Denver doesn’t prohibit marijuana use in front yards  4/20 pot rally in Civic Center Park draws thousands and gets media coverage  Denver County Fair adds a “Pot Pavilion” where pot plant, pot edibles, homemade bongs will be judged, and a speedy joint-rolling contest will be held  Denver Post adds marijuana-dedicated section called “The Cannabist”  As perception of harm goes down, use goes up*  Studies show there is a direct correlation*  69% of DPS seniors perceive no or slight risk of harm from occasional marijuana use**  61% of DPS seniors have ever used marijuana** *Denver Office of Drug Strategy, Proceedings of Denver Epidemiology Work Group 3/1/13 ** Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2011-2012

31 Commercialization of Marijuana in Denver  619 eligible medical marijuana facilities  217 shops (more than Starbucks or McDonalds)  365 cultivation facilities  37 marijuana infused products manufacturers  319 Retail Marijuana applications in Denver  123 retail shops, 27 licenses issued as of 1/10/14  168 cultivation facilities  25 marijuana infused products manufacturers  3 testing facilities Potential to have 340 marijuana stores before 2016! As of 1/10/14 Denver Excise and Licensing

32 Denver Retail Marijuana  A public hearing is required before the issuance of any retail store license  Basis for denying a license:  Past violations of the Colorado marijuana code  Effect on competition of granting second or additional licenses  Previous operation in a manner adversely affecting public health, welfare or safety of the immediate neighborhood  Issuance of the license will adversely impact the health, welfare or public safety of the neighborhood  Public hearing process is a farce:  Only evidence of past criminal activity is admitted  Public consumption across the street not relevant  Neighborhood needs and desires not admitted  Studies about harm to children not admitted  State and city audits showing lax regulation not admitted

33 Commercialized Marijuana and the Rest of Colorado  Amendment 64 gives municipalities the right to prohibit Marijuana Cultivation, Marijuana Product Manufacturing and Marijuana Testing Facilities and Retail Marijuana Stores  Time, place, manner and number of licenses is under local control

34 Municipal Regulation as of 1/10/14  85 prohibit retail marijuana  27 permit retail marijuana  33 have moratoria in place Colorado Municipal League reports more than half (53.1%) of municipal actions have prohibited retail marijuana. lection_mmj_recreational.pdf

35 Impacts of Early Marijuana Use  Marijuana affects adolescents differently than adults due to brain development which continues until mid 20’s  Studies show marijuana can permanently change and damage teen brains*  Affects the hippocampus, critical for learning and memory, and the prefrontal cortex, governs complex decision making and analysis  Affects processing, impulsivity and memory *Meier, M.H., et al. Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline From Childhood to Midlife, 2012.

36 Scientific Studies Early Marijuana Use  Heavy youth marijuana users reduced their IQ levels as much as 8 points*  comparable to IQ reductions from early childhood lead exposure  cognitive declines affect chronic adult users as well, but are more dramatic for teens  Association with long-term psychological effects such as psychosis and schizophrenia  Even moderate cannabis use (weekly) increases risk for major depression**  Adolescents who use daily are 2.5 times more likely to develop anxiety disorders***  Teens who use daily had more difficulty performing memory tasks and had abnormal brain structure similar to schizophrenics.**** *Madeline H. Meier et al 2012 **Fairman, B. J., & Anthony, J. C. 2012. Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Swain-Campbell, N. 2002 *** Hall & Degenhardt 2012 ****Smith, Cobia, et al., Schizophrenia Bulletin 2013

37 Marijuana Addiction  1 in 6 adolescents who use casually become addicted vs. 1 in 9 adults*  Withdrawal symptoms include:  Irritability, anger, aggression  Anxiety  Restlessness  Weight loss  Disturbed sleep, nightmares and strange dreams** *Hall &Degenhardt, Adverse Health Effects of Non-medical Cannabis Use, 2009 **Budney et al, Health Consequence of Marijuana Use, 2004 **Bostwick 2012

38 No Education Getting to Kids  Every district, school and health class does their own thing (if anything)  No standard information provided based on factual research and data  Marijuana education is lumped in with all “other drugs”  Materials don’t include the latest research on marijuana’s affect on the developing brain  Prevention and behavioral surveys have lost funding recently

39 Desperate Need to Counter Marijuana Messages Sold to Our Kids  Marijuana is a benign, all-natural wellness product; an herb that is not harmful.  It is a cure-all that helps with ADHD, concentration, sleep issues, headaches, anxiety, depression, OCD, menstrual cramps  Marijuana use is an acceptable recreational activity  There is an increase in advertising reaching kids on-line, in magazines and newspapers; even pot recipes in Denver Post  Marijuana is glorified and politicized

40 Hurdles to Data Collection  No one wants to get kids in trouble/ jeopardize college or future  Police, educators, school administrators, and parents - no one reporting usage  Schools/Districts fighting for limited public dollars don’t want appearance of “drug problem”

41 Colorado Implements Most Permissive Marijuana Laws in the World  No meaningful limitations to commercialization  production limits, caps on businesses, limit on number of licenses issued  N o limitations on THC strength, potency  over 15% THC in the Netherlands is considered a hard drug like heroin and cocaine  No limitations on types of edibles  Advertising and promotions restrictions not clear  TV advertising permitted on primetime programs

42 Washington State is More Restrictive  Tries to limit commercialization by basing retail store count on population.  Seattle only allowed 21 recreational marijuana shops, compared to Denver, soon to be over 300 shops  Caps on overall marijuana production  Prohibition on sale of marijuana concentrate to consumers  Much higher taxes (25% at wholesale; 25% at distribution; 25% at retail)  No home grows allowed  Limits and restrictions on edibles

43 The Netherlands is More Restrictive  Never legalized commercial marijuana production  Decriminalized small amounts of marijuana use  Marijuana over 15% THC levels is treated as a hard drug (i.e. heroin, cocaine)  Limits on number of coffee shops that can sell marijuana  Local right to ban marijuana tourism (non-resident purchases)  Marijuana concentrates not for sale

44 SMART Colorado 2014 Legislative Initiatives Aim to Protect Colorado Kids  Penalties, fines and suspensions that discourage marijuana establishments from selling to minors  Potency Limits  Public awareness, education and science curriculum  Targeted at middle and high school students and the general public  Based on the latest science  Restrictions on edibles and marijuana concentrates  Proper funding and structural support for data collection

45 Smart Advocates For:  Marijuana legalization should not mean uncontrolled and unmonitored mass marijuana commercialization (as happened with medical)  Amendment 64 should not be implemented in a way that compromises the health and safety of Colorado youth  Cities and counties should opt out of, or strictly limit, marijuana commercialization in their communities in order to limit youth exposure, access and use  Everyday citizens and leaders from healthcare, education and business should have a voice in the policy making process

46 Smart Advocates For: Public Education Campaign  Informing youth and general public on true impacts of marijuana on the brain  Using best practices from tobacco awareness campaigns that dramatically lowered youth use  Utilizing positive engagement practices and principles  Social media and youth to youth outreach should play a significant role

47 Summary  Visit us at to donate and for more information  Sign up to received updates about timely policy decisions that impact Colorado youth  Learn how early marijuana use impacts the still developing adolescent brain  Consider contacting your city council representative; attend public hearings; testifying to voice your concerns  Encourage your elected officials to protect our kids and communities by limiting marijuana commercialization and implementing policies that reduce youth marijuana consumption

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