The Colorado Experiment

Is Colorado’s Homeless Surge Tied to Marijuana Legalization?

The Guardian 2-29-17 Josiah Hesse (An 8% rise in homelessness has fueled speculation over whether legalization boosted the numbers of displaced in America’s unofficial legal cannabis capital) In Colorado, prominent politicians have sounded a warning. “There’s no question that marijuana and other drugs – in combination with mental illness or other disabling conditions – are essential contributors to chronic homelessness,” Governor John Hickenlooper recently said in his state of the state address. The governor has proposed that some marijuana revenues, which reached $200m in taxes and fees in 2016, should be directed toward homelessness programs. Some read this as a legislator’s way of saying that the problem should pay for itself. He has the support of homelessness advocates such as Daniel Starrett, a divisional commander of the Salvation Army. “The marijuana industry needs to accept responsibility for unintended consequences of their impact on society,” he said. Read the article:

Is Colorado’s homeless surge tied to marijuana legalization?

Annie Mae Noel has been on the streets since her Denver house, which had been in her family for more than a century, went into foreclosure in 2015. She also happens to smoke pot. “I use marijuana to treat my MS, it has nothing to do with me not having a home,” she said recently, standing outside the Denver Rescue Mission.

Marijuana Legalization Seems to Correspond with Rise in Homelessness – Colorado Statistics



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.

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.

Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposure Among Colorado Children (Published 2016)

To a child on the prowl for sweets, that brownie, cookie or bear-shaped candy left on the kitchen counter is just asking to be gobbled up. But in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, notably Colorado, that child may end up with more than a sugar high.


Judge dismisses pro-pot group’s suit

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 its 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.

Is Pot Losing Its Buzz in Colorado?

A backlash is growing in a state where marijuana has quickly become a $1 billion legal business.

Colorado Youth Marijuana Use is Not Flat

Region 16 (Boulder, Broomfield): High school seniors in this region reported the highest rate of past-month use among 12th graders in the state. In 2015, 42.2 percent of high school seniors reported past-month use, versus 28.5 in 2013. That’s a 48.1 percent increase. The use rate among high school juniors in this region jumped from 22.3 percent to 33.4 percent, a 49.8 percent increase.


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.

Marijuana Moguls Succeed in Buying Off Colorado Ballot – Parents Opposed to Pot

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.



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)


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.

Marijuana Intoxication Blamed In More Deaths, Injuries

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.

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.

Read more: