Unintended consequences: illegal pot grows surge on the Western Slope
By Josh McDaniel | Posted: Thu 2:19 PM, Dec 22, 2016 GRAND JUNCTION, Colo
While the connection between violence and the drug trade is not new, proponents of pot legalization predicted it would reduce crime and eliminate the black market by creating a taxed and regulated system for marijuana. Law enforcement officials say they are instead seeing a surge in pot-related criminal activity.
Glen Gaasche, supervisor of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Grand Junction, said his agents have had a 1,200 percent increase in their case load in relation to illegal pot grows.
“Legalization was supposed to get rid of the black market – it hasn’t done that – I would estimate that the black market has grown 20 fold since legalization,” said Gaasche.
Gaasche said a flood of criminals – individuals and organized groups – are coming to Colorado to grow pot for transport to other parts of the U.S.
Local law enforcement is also struggling to handle the rising number of illegal grows.
Officials with the Western Colorado Drug Task Force, a partnership among the DEA, the Grand Junction Police Department, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, said they spent 2,265 man-hours on marijuana grow investigations in 2015, compared to 250 hours in 2013 and 50 hours in 2014.
Task force officials said there has been “an explosion in illegal marijuana grows in Mesa County” due to Colorado’s lenient pot grow rules, which they say are far beyond what other states permit.
The rental buildings where the illegal grows are located are often destroyed in the process, officials said.
Authorities say many of the houses are filled with mold from the heat and humidity associated with indoor cultivation. The growers also rip out sheetrock, knock down walls, and alter electrical systems to install homemade lighting and HVAC systems, often creating serious fire hazards.
Outdoor grows also use a lot of water, as well as chemicals and pesticides, which goes into the sewer or into the groundwater. These problems have led counties and municipalities to take steps to rein in grow operations.
Debates about the effects of pot legalization in Colorado usually revolve around tax revenue, incarceration rates, and ease of access for youth. However, in a big social experiment like drug legalization there are bound to be unintended consequences of being one of the first states to take the leap.
Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposure Among Colorado Children
A study published on Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics says that in Colorado the rates of marijuana exposure in young children, many of them toddlers, have increased 150 percent since 2014, when recreational marijuana products, like sweets, went on the market legally.
When voters decided in 2012 to legalize marijuana for recreational use, researchers anticipated that rates of accidental exposure in children would rise. “But we were not prepared for the dramatic increase,” said the senior author of the study, Dr. Genie E.
Judge dismisses pro-pot group’s suit
Vote on recreational marijuana can proceed The future of commercial marijuana in Pueblo County will be up to the voters. District Judge Jill Mattoon on Monday granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by pro-pot group Growing Pueblo’s Future that deemed the petition circulated by anti-pot organization Citizens for a Healthy Pueblo was unconstitutional.
Is Pot Losing It’s Buzz in Colorado?
By: Fortune magazine Jennifer Elsevier 7-1-16
A backlash is growing in a state where marijuana has quickly become a $1 billion legal business
Groups serving the poor in Pueblo report a flood of homeless people arriving from other states. Local homeless shelter Posada, for instance, has witnessed a 47% jump in demand since 2014, including 1,200 people who reported to shelter workers that they came to smoke pot or get jobs in the industry, says Posada’s director, Anne Stattelman. She says her funding is tapped out. “It’s changed the culture of our community,” she said. The city’s three hospitals officially threw their support behind the antipot ballot measure after reporting a 50% spike in marijuana-related ER visits among youth under age 18 and more newborns with marijuana in their system. A number of local businesses are also backing the ban after struggling to find sober employees.
Photograph by Ryan David Brown for Fortune Magazine For months , Paula McPheeters and a handful of like-minded volunteers have spent their weekends in grocery-store parking lots, even in 95° F heat. Sitting around a folding table draped with an American flag, they asked passing shoppers to sign a petition.
Colorado Youth Marijuana Use is Not Flat
Given that the health of American youth is in question and that so many states base their policies on reports issued by the State of Colorado, it is important to understand what the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) actually tells us.
JULY 8, 2016 BY: Parents Opposed to Pot (Editor)
It’s Democracy at it’s worst when Big Marijuana buys off the process for gathering signatures in Colorado. Today, supporters of proposed initiative 139, a measure aimed to place reasonable controls on the sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado, announced that they will withdraw their initiative from potential consideration on the November 2016 general election ballot.
“I witnessed the buy off of the voting process this week, ” explained Jo McGuire, Five Minutes of Courage, Colorado Springs.
Please share this post with every concerned parent you know! Spread the Word about Pop Pot! It’s Democracy at it’s worst when Big Marijuana buys off the process for gathering signatures in Colorado.
THE COLORADO EXPERIMENT
Troubling trends with young people and pot (shift from tobacco to pot)
By Mary Rezac – Catholic News Agency December 29, 2015
Dr Christian Thurstone has also found that teens today are more accepting of pot – a shift that began with the legalization of medical marijuana and was further solidified by the green light on recreational marijuana.
Another concerning impact is the relationship between adolescent marijuana use and schizophrenia. A study repeated by multiple research groups has found that adolescent marijuana use can quadruple a teen’s risk of developing schizophrenia, Dr. Thurstone said “that one in six adolescent users developing a dependence over time, despite the perceptions to the contrary.“In the scientific and medical community there’s not debate about that anymore,” he said. “Marijuana is not just psychologically addictive but physically addictive.”
A secondary health risk of marijuana use in adolescents is car accidents. The leading cause of death of 15-20 year-olds is automobile accidents, and the number traffic fatalities in which adolescents testing positive for marijuana spiked in Colo. after the surge of medical marijuana in the state after 2009.
Part of the problem, Dr. Thurstone said, is that people don’t understand how marijuana influences driving differently than alcohol. Marijuana is fat soluble, and its effects on the body last much longer than water-soluble alcohol. Read more:
Colorado Pot Tourists Are More Apt to Land in ER Than Locals
From NPR Feb 24, 2016 · by Angus Chen
The number of out-of-state residents who ended up in the emergency room for cannabis-related reasons nearly doubled from 2012 to 2014, according to an analysis of emergency department visits in 100 Colorado hospitals. By contrast, the number of Colorado residents visiting emergency rooms for cannabis increased about 40 percent in those two years, according to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.
(See Chart listing Average THC and CBD Levels in the U.S: 1960-2011)
U.S. YOUTH DRUG SURVEY: MARIJUANA USE REMAINS STRONG DESPITE DROP IN OTHER DRUG USE; SURVEY DESIGN MISSES KIDS NOT IN SCHOOL December 17, 2015 (Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Read more:
Daniel Juarez’s Stabbing Suicide Latest Death Linked to Marijuana Intoxication
By Michael Roberts May 19, 2015 Denver Westword
CBS 4 in Denver reported on six deaths in Colorado due to marijuana intoxication:
Daniel Juarez, Levy Pongi, Kristine Kirk, Luke Goodman, Tron Dohse and Brant Clark
What is the common link between the tragic deaths of Daniel Juarez, Levy Pongi, Luke Goodman, Tron Dohse and Brant Clark? They all used marijuana which contributed to each of their horrific deaths while Richard Kirk who ate pot edibles began hallucinating at home while his wife frantically called 911 but he killed her in front of their young children.
DENVER (CBS4) – Another death in Colorado has been listed as having “marijuana intoxication” as a factor, according to a CBS4 investigation, and several other families are now saying they believed the deaths of their loved ones can be traced to recreational marijuana use. Daniel Juarez, an 18-year-old from Brighton, died Sept.
Colorado leads nation in youth pot use – Dr. Thurstone.com
Colorado now leads the nation in past-month, youth marijuana use — a dubious distinction the state has earned since voters sanctioned the drug for recreational use in 2012.
The findings are based on a report issued this week and based on 2013 and 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. The survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Heatlh Services Administration.
The federal, household survey is arguably the nation’s most comprehensive and is conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It examines the attitudes and drug-use behaviors of Americans 12 years old and older. Colorado is now atop the list for youth weed use after ranking third in the 2012-13 report and fourth in the 2011-12 study. Here’s a quick look at the Colorado-specific numbers for past-month marijuana use:
Ages 12-17: 12.56 percent
Ages 18-25: 31.24 percent
Ages 26 and older: 12.45 percent
(It is important to note that the brain is developing until about age 25 and is especially vulnerable to addiction in that time. The American Society of Addiction Medicine recently revised its policy statement regarding marijuana. In addition to opposing the drug’s legalization, the organization recommended that states that have sanctioned the drug’s use discontinue sales of marijuana to anyone under the age of 25.)
The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact
Volume 3, Sept 2015
This third annual report has a lot of information in its 169 pages including 11 sections: rates of driving while under the influences and ‘marijuana-related traffic fatalities (both have increased), work-related
drug testing results (increase in (+) THC rates in Colorado workers), and an increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Since this site’s main focus centers around child-adolescent health
(brain maturity continues to at least age 25), there are many significant findings from this report.
The Effects of Medical Marijuana in the State of Colorado
Dec. 2015: Pain Medicine News Special Edition
Kenneth Finn, MD, wrote article in PainMedicineNews: Patients in those states with medical marijuana programs are allowed to self-medicate with a broad spectrum of products (eg, buds, hash oil, lotions, sodas, infused candies, and pizza sauces) with variable delivery systems (inhalation, combustion, ingestion, transdermal, transmucosal, transvaginal, etc), and more importantly, with huge variations in THC content (5% to >90%). There is no control of the potency of currently available “medical marijuana” products, and there is no consistency across state lines on the conditions that may be treated with cannabinoids.
Any physician recommending cannabinoids for painful disorders also should be aware of the other potential physiologic complications associated with their use. These include cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, pulmonary and neuropsychiatric effects.