Todays Marijuana And Its Effects on Kids


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  • We were outspent 4 to 1 at the capitol last session.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 youthCities and counties should opt out of, or strictly limit, marijuana commercialization in their communities in order to limit youth exposure, access and useEveryday citizens and leaders from healthcare, education and business should have a voice in the policy making process
  • Time, place, manner and number of licenses is under local controlDenver’s ordinance allows for open and public consumption in neighborhoods, despite Smart Colorado’s enormous efforts.Taxes= 15% excise, 10% special sales, 2.9 Sales
  • Over and over at the capitol we heard keeping marijuana away from kids is a parenting issue, not a state issue. Well, your job as a parent just got a lot harder and here’s why…And 2x higher than in the 90s. Slade et al., 2012.Recently, a reporter who took a tour of a store said she saw nothing below 20% THC.
  • When MMJ laws are passed, more MJ is available in the communities. And we know that kids get their marijuana from people they know.If you were to overlay the rate for DPS past 30 day use it falls off the chart! At 19%. HKCS, DPS 2011-2012Over half of DPS HS Seniors know someone with a medical marijuana card:** They say its much easier to get than alchohol51% of 12th graders
  • National Survey on Drug Use and HealthThis slide clearly demonstrates the highest marijuana use age group. It’s 18-20 year olds. This is why many medical marijuana businesses want to stay in business – to serve the under 21 populationThis is also why industry makes their products attractive to kids – soda, candy
  • This headline was the lead story Denver Post Nov 11. School related suspensions and expulsions shot up right around the same time there was an explosion of marijuana dispensaries.It’s widely known and accepted that marijuana accounts for the vast majority of drug related incidents at the schools. This information is from both statistics at the Colorado Dept of Education and those working in the schools (teachers, counselors) High schools are now becoming sensitive to these statistics for fear of tarnishing the schools reputation and loosing funding. It is reported from counselors and teachers in the school that some principals are not addressing the issues like they use to. Drug use increases costs for our schools, with drop out rates, poor academic performance*Talk to high school counselors and teachers who see it everyday. According to a drug counselor at one of our local DPS schools, edibles are becoming an alarming problem. Go to high schools at lunchtime, or before and after school to see kids getting high and vaporizing both in their car and with E-Cigarettes
  • Denver’s youth marijuana use (blue) compared to Colorado (red) and the national average (green) in the last 30 days from a 2011-2012 survey.Shocking numbers that are higher than anywhere else in the country. This shows incredible diversion to minors under the medical marijuana system.In 2011 Denver’s 8th graders were reporting a past 30 day usage rate of 18%, almost 3 times the national average of 6.5%. Our kids in Colorado are using mj much earlier
  • Once again, Denver surpasses everyone in marijuana use in every age groupNote: 61% of Denver’s senior high school students report having used marijuana
  • This applies up to age 25.More studies coming out about the damaging effects of using marijuana while pregnant. (Mothers using marijuana for morning sickness) Not only are babies dramticallyaffected by this early exposure, but the learning problems and brain functioning issues are showing up in school aged kids)
  • Early and regular marijuana use produced significant cognitive and intellectual decline by age 38. Research shows a permanent change. If they start using as an adult the impairment is temporary lasting weeks. Potency is associated with a increase of panic, anxiety and psychosis (paranoia).
  • Kids have been told marijuana can’t be harmful; it’s just an herb. Well you wouldn’t go out an pick poison mushrooms and eat them, would you?Marijuana legalization has become a civil rights issue. It is hard to say you disagree with A64 without looking like you favor locking up young people and users. But, it is much more complex than that, and revolves around the distinction between decriminalization as opposed to commercialization and without promoting a new industry.Celebrities think it is cool to support and they get enormous backlash if they say anything negative about it; Lady Gaga admitted to being “addicted” and was hounded online. Someone who says they don’t drink or smoke would never face that sort of negative reaction.
  • Market share from CSU Colorado Futures Center Report on The Fiscal Impact of Amendment 64 on State Revenues, April 24, 2013. The marijuana industry spent $225,000 for lobbyists last session. Smart Colorado spent $55,000.The Ag Dept. said not in meat, but didn’t ban it from butter
  • After months of silence, on August 29, 2013, the U.S. Dept. of Justice issued memo on marijuana enforcement priorities:#1 preventing the distribution of marijuana to minorsPreventing the distribution of marijuana to minors covers a variety of conduct, including:Marijuana sold or transferred to minorsMarijuana trafficking that takes place near an area associated with minorsMarijuana infused products marketed in a manner to appeal to minorsMarijuana diverted, directly or indirectly, purposefully or otherwise, to minorsWe believe that the memo contained many cautionary words for Colorado and local lawmakers. SMART is concerned that the fed priorities did not get adequate protection in the first round of laws.Other priorities:#3 preventing the diversion of marijuana from Colorado to other states#5 preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences of marijuana use
  • Smart Colorado supports a limitation on the types of edibles permitted in the recreational market and will be working on this going forward. We see no need for candy marijuanaUnder federal law, you cannot add flavorings to tobacco (except for menthol), yet with our MJ we add fruit flavorings, colorings and SUGAR. We do not understand how a MJ candy does not inherently market to children and trigger federal enforcement, in the same way that flavored tobacco was found to market to kids.
  • Child proof packaging and serving size laws were areas we focused on in the last session. Yet, even under present law, the items you see above may legally contain 10 servings of THC! But a kid just sees 1 serving!A study was released during the session that showed an increase in MJ poisonings among kids. They were unknowingly eating their parents or grandparents’ MMJ and getting really sick. In addition to being enticing, a typical MMJ brownie might contain 30 servings and the patient knew to just break off a bite, but a child saw a single serving!
  • There are edible product manufacturers in Colorado that buy food products and then spray them with marijuana and then sell them in packaging that mimics the original product, such as Oreos, Fig Newtons, Tootsie Rolls, gummy worm,s Gold fish, etc. We sought to make it illegal for these companies to use anyone else’s products without permission. But when we shopped that amendment, a rash of new lobbyists were hired to fight this. As the law stands, it is still ok to buy costco or chinese made food products and add MJ. This is really troubling to SMART. A child doesn’t see the difference between an Oreo and an unbranded chocolate wafer-cream filled cookie.
  • Concentrates are a distilled form of MJ. No “proofing” for marijuana like in alcohol. 1 beer=4 oz. of wine=1 shot of liquor. One source says a MJ “high” can be achieved with just 2.5 mg of THC. What does that look like in a joint? What does that look like in concentrate? Very small amount of wax needed to get high, tip of paper clip or nailMJ stays in the system longer and how one joint or one toke effects you may depend on several variables including the last time you consumed MJ and how heavy you are. Netherlands saw first hand negative impact of increasing THC levels and treats anything over 15% THC levels like a hard drug (cocaine or heroin) Levels above 15% correlated to:Unacceptable youth health risks from links to schizophrenia and other psychotic disordersHigher addiction rates in both youth and adult populationIncreased accident, crime, public nuisance complaints from marijuana useNegative pot tourism
  • Industry says it’s not marketing to kids!You don’t make a pipe that looks like a hi-lighter if you aren’t trying to secure child customer. I would really like to know why the federal government hasn’t shut this business down!
  • You can even bedazzle your vapor pen!!!Another problem to be aware of is that an e-cig made for tobacco can use a marijuana cartridge and kids can buy tobacco accessories at a younger age.
  • And Denver doesn’t enforce the law against open and public consumption. Chief White said it will be DPD’s lowest priority.25,000 attended the 4-20 events last year and 75,000 are predicted for this year.What our kids are seeing has a big effect on them. What adults are doing, kids will repeat.69% of DPS seniors perceive no or slight risk of harm from occasional marijuana use**
  • And that is why we see…
  • A 64 expressly stated to regulate MJ like alcohol. Yet, one license per owner in alcohol has not been adapted in MJ. So, it is legal to own more than one store.BIG MJ will be a reality in CO. During my work on the production caps, there is a fine line between having enough production to meet demand and over producing so that pot is diverted to remaining black markets: kids and out of state. We must tie supply to demand. It is imperative that CO do a better job to prevent diversion. A RMHIDTA report found that CO MMJ was intercepted on its way to 37 states! Over the holidays, my nephew who lives in VA admitted that his high school buddy, who deals MJ at his school gets it from Colorado. A64 has the broadest definition of marijuana to include almost pure THC oil. SMART is scheduling meetings with lawmakers to revise these bills in ways to further protect public health and safety for our kids.
  • To wrap up, I want to appeal to you all to get involved at this stage, don’t wait. Our kids are the guinea pigs in the massive experiment. The laws are not yet in perfect form. We don’t even know all the issues and problems that will arise from widespread access and use. More will be debated and passed at the next session of the CO General Assembly between Jan. and May.
  • How many of you have seen people smoking pot in their cars?Anyone familiar with the vaporizers that are hooked up to your car and come out the air vent system so the whole car fills with marijuana smoke? This is what kids are doing.The combination of marijuana and alcohol is extremely dangerous and worse than either one alone. Unfortunately people mix the two, particularly young people
  • Notice how marijuana compares to alcohol. This is the result of a 14 year campaign of thinking of marijuana as good for you since the passage of Amendment 20 legalized medical marijuana in 1990.The Denver Office of Drug Strategy has conceded that they don’t have reliable trend data for youth marijuana use over time in Denver. In a few months, the next HKCS will be released with DPS figures and we will have the second point on the graph. The first district wide effort to collect and analyze student surveys only happened in 2011.CDC Survey claims that marijuana use in Colorado by teens has decreased. That is not true. There has been no statistical change in use according to the HCKS from 2005, 2009 and 2011. The changes that MMIG cites in data are statistically insignificant. This is like a “margin of error” in political polling.Dr Chris Urbina, previous Executive Director of the Colo Dept. of Public Health and Environment specifically rejected the CDC Survey as proof of decreased teen use. At the Feb 4th meeting for the working group for Gov’s Task Force he said: “I looked at the confidence intervals in that data and it is not statistically significant. That is not a decline. It is essentially the same… and there is no, essentially no, change” Additionally, it’s noteworthy to mention that “almost all of the indicators for ALL drugs show an insignificant decline, meaning there are other reasons for the ‘no difference’ between 2009 and 2011
  • Now lets look at Denver. Across the board the numbers are worse. However, DPS lumps total stats of middle and high schoolers together. So these don’t exactly track. 12% of DPS students tried marijuana between the ages of 13 and 14. A quarter of DPS high school students have ridden in car with someone who has smoked marijuana. Have you pulled up to a stop light and smelled marijuana coming from the car in the next lane? Anecdotally we are hearing that the new designated driver for students is just the one who is stoned and not drunk.
  • Saying Yes:Aspen,Black Hawk,Boulder,Breckenridge,Carbondale,Central City,Crested Butte,Eagle,Edgewater,Empire, Fraser,Frisco,Georgetown,Glendale,Glenwood Springs,Idaho Springs,Louisville,Nederland,Northglenn,Salida,Silverthorne,Steamboat Springs,Telluride,Vail,Wheat RidgeSaying No: AlamosaBrighton,Broomfield,Buena Vista,Castle Pines,Castle Rock,Estes Park,Cherry Hills Village,Colorado Springs,Douglas County,Englewood,Fort Morgan,Grand Junction,Grand Lake,Greeley,Greenwood Village,Gunnison,Limon,Lone Tree,Longmont,Loveland,Monument,Parker,Thornton,WestminsterWaiting to See: Arvada – Moratorium until 3/31/14,Aurora – Moratorium until 5/5/14,Avon – Moratorium until 9/30/14,Canon City – Moratorium until 4/1/14,Centennial – Moratorium until 9/30/14,Dillon – Moratorium until 10/1/14,Durango – Moratorium until 6/30/14,Florence – Moratorium until 3/31/14,Ft. Collins – Moratorium until 10/1/14,Golden – Moratorium until 7/1/14,Lafayette – Moratorium until 4/1/14,Lakewood – Moratorium until 2/1/15,Littleton – Moratorium until 10/1/14,Jefferson County – Moratorium until 2/1/15,Ouray – Moratorium until 12/31/14,Palisade – Moratorium until 1/15/15,Paonia – Moratorium until12/31/14
  • Todays Marijuana And Its Effects on Kids

    1. 1. Today’s Marijuana – its effect on our kids March 13, 2014
    2. 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. Who is Smart Colorado?
    3. 3. Amendment 64 allows:  The possession of 1 oz. or less of marijuana, (about 30 joints) also includes concentrates  Individual adults may grow 6 plants (in enclosed, locked space)  Adults may consume marijuana (not openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others)  Four different licenses: marijuana cultivation, testing, product manufacturing, retail marijuana store  Cities and counties may opt out of allowing the sale, cultivation, testing and production of recreational marijuana in their jurisdiction. (Colorado Springs has, Denver has NOT)
    4. 4. Amendment 64 limits:  Applies only to persons 21 and older, unlike medical marijuana which is for 18+  Employers may have policies that restrict employee use of marijuana, even zero tolerance for off-site consumption  Landlords and other property owners may prohibit conduct related to marijuana on that property, including possession, consumption, use, sale, and growing
    5. 5. Commercialization of Marijuana in Denver  344 marijuana shops in total will be in Denver  217 medical marijuana shops (mmj), more than Starbucks, McDonalds, or liquor stores  127 recreational pot shops (rec mj), applied by 1/31/14  Compared to 21 total mj shops in Seattle, city same size as Denver  958 marijuana facilities in total will be in Denver  544 Cultivation facilities (365 mmj, 179 rec mj)  66 Marijuana Infused products facilities (37 mmj, 29 rec)  4 Testing facilities  344 total marijuana retail shops As of 1/31/14 Denver Excise and Licensing
    6. 6. Today’s Marijuana in Colorado  It is not like marijuana from your college days  Extremely potent, THC levels 4 times higher than in 1980s, and 2xs higher than 90’s.  Smoking is only half of the story  Today’s marijuana is frequently eaten or vaporized  Brownies are so yesterday  Anything and everything can become a marijuana infused product  Marijuana concentrate is available  highly potent, 75-90% THC  Vaporized or smoked
    7. 7. Youth marijuana use on the rise  Resurgence of marijuana use after more than a decade of decline*  Average age for first use marijuana is 14 years old**  In Colorado, marijuana, not alcohol, is the number 1 reason adolescents are admitted to substance abuse programs**  1 in 6 adolescents who use casually become addicted vs. 1 in 9 adults***  In the last year, over 20% of new medical marijuana patients are between 18-20****  Currently 5,638 18-20 yr olds have medical marijuana cards, a 40% increase from 2012.**** *Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use 2012 Overview, 2013 **National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012 *** Crean et al.. An Evidence based-review of acute and long-term effects of cannabis use on executive cognitive functions, 2011 ****Colorado Department Public Health & Environment March 2013
    8. 8. Medical Marijuana States Have Higher Youth Rates
    9. 9. Marijuana Use Highest Among 18-20
    10. 10. “Pot Problems in Schools Increase with Legalization” Denver Post lead story 11/11/13
    11. 11. Denver’s youth marijuana use higher than national average
    12. 12. Denver Ranks Above the Rest Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2011
    13. 13. Impacts of Early Marijuana Use  Marijuana affects adolescents differently than adults due to brain development which continues until about 25 yrs.  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, memory, perception, judgment and motor skills, also diminishing academic performance and motivation
    14. 14. 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
    15. 15. Marijuana messages sold to our kids  Marijuana is an 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  Getting high is an acceptable recreational activity  Marijuana messaging gets to our kids through music, pop culture, advertising on-line, in magazines and newspapers, with primetime TV commercials coming next.  Marijuana is glorified and politicized
    16. 16. 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  Infused, sprayed or baked into food  Almost any food can become a marijuana edible (baked goods, candy, soda, chips, ice cream, pizza, bbq sauce, salad dressing, etc…)
    17. 17. Colorful sweets highly attractive to children
    18. 18. Infused with Sugar and Fruit Flavors
    19. 19. The industry infuses childhood favorites
    20. 20. Kids breakfast cereal sprayed with marijuana concentrate
    21. 21. Even toddler’s food, goldfish, can become a marijuana edible
    22. 22. 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* Wang, Mountain Poison Control and Drug, 2013
    23. 23. High Potency Marijuana Concentrates  Highly potent, 75-90% THC, comes in liquids or solids  Not legally sold to consumers anywhere else in the world, even Netherlands  1 oz. equivalent to 2,800 servings (at 10mg/serving)  Very portable and discreet -1 oz. fits in a pants pocket  1 oz. enough to provide marijuana to every student at East High School  Smoked or vaporized - electronic cigarettes, in cars or other individual discreet looking vapor pens, mini hookas etc…  Tourist can buy 700 servings at once – more than they can consume in state
    24. 24. Wax Dabbing – concentrate in a solid form
    25. 25. Made to be hidden (Industry say’s it’s not marketing to kids)
    26. 26. Asthma inhaler or pot vaporizer?
    27. 27. E-Cigarettes or Vaporizers
    28. 28. 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”  Advertising in papers like Westwood, marijuana magazines available in convenient stores, restaurants etc.  Radio and primetime television ads
    29. 29. Perception of harm dropped dramatically with youth As perception of harm goes down, use goes up* •Studies show a direct correlation •Perceived risk of regular marijuana use has gone down to 39.5% in 2013, from 70-80% in early 1990’s** •61% of DPS seniors have used marijuana*** *Denver Office of Drug Strategy, Proceedings of Denver Epidemiology Work Group 3/1/11 **NIH’s 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey ***Healthy Kids Corlorado Survey 2011-12
    30. 30. 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
    31. 31. Big Tobacco Eyeing Big Marijuana  “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
    32. 32. 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
    33. 33. Washington state is much more restrictive than Colorado  Limiting commercialization by allowing retail stores to be based on population.  Seattle only allowed 21 recreational marijuana shops, compared to Denver’s soon to be over 300 shops  Caps on overall marijuana production  Prohibition on marijuana concentrate  Much higher taxes (75%)  No home grows allowed  Limits and restrictions on edibles
    34. 34. 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
    35. 35. 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
    36. 36. Drugged Driving Increases Overall traffic fatalities decreased in Colorado 16 % between 2006-2011, but fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114%.* * The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact Aug. 2013
    37. 37.  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
    38. 38. 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
    39. 39. 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