Marijuana Edibles

Marijuana and
Colorado Youth
Inspiring Minds
February 3, 2014
About Us
 A volunteer-run, non-profit organization dedicated
to minimizing the negative consequences of
legalized marijuana in Colorado, particularly for our
 Formed March 1, 2013, after Amendment 64
passed, in response to observation that marijuana
policy was being dominated and driven by forprofit 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.
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”
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
A Candy Case in a Store
Infused with Sugar and Fruit
The industry infuses childhood
Kids breakfast cereal sprayed
with marijuana concentrate
Even toddler’s food, goldfish, can
become a marijuana edible
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
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
 Not legally sold to consumers anywhere else in
the world
 1 oz. equivalent to 2,800 servings (at
 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
Wax Dabbing
Made to Be Hidden
Made to be Hidden
E-Cigarettes or Vaporizers
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
 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
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
Marijuana Use
Highest Among 18-20
Youth Marijuana Use
In Colorado
 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
Marijuana Use in the Past
Month among Youths Aged
12 to 17
Marijuana Use in the Past
Year among Youths Aged
12 to 17,
First Use of Marijuana
among Youths Aged 12 to
Medical Marijuana States
Have Higher Youth Rates
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 12th graders
 45% of 11th graders
 41% of 10th graders
 36% of 9th graders
 In the last Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 4% of surveyed
DPS 11th and 12th 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
Youth Marijuana Use in
 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
 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
Denver’s youth marijuana use
higher than national average
Denver Ranks
Above the Rest
Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2011
“Pot Problems in Schools
Increase with Legalization”
Denver Post lead story 11/11/13
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
 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
 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
*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
Marijuana Addiction
 1 in 6 adolescents who use casually become
addicted vs. 1 in 9 adults*
 Withdrawal symptoms include:
Irritability, anger, aggression
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
No Education Getting to
 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
 Materials don’t include the latest research on
marijuana’s affect on the developing brain
 Prevention and behavioral surveys have lost
funding recently
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
 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
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”
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
 No 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
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
 Much higher taxes (25% at wholesale; 25% at
distribution; 25% at retail)
 No home grows allowed
 Limits and restrictions on edibles
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
 Local right to ban marijuana tourism (non-resident
 Marijuana concentrates not for sale
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
 Based on the latest science
 Restrictions on edibles and marijuana concentrates
 Proper funding and structural support for data collection
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
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
 Social media and youth to youth outreach
should play a significant role
 Visit us at to donate and for more
 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

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