Colorado HIDTA report highlights increases in marijuana-related traffic fatalities and marijuana use by kids
LAKEWOOD, CO- The Colorado Department of Public Safety today announced the release of “Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Early Findings,” its first official report evaluating the impact of the state’s historic legalization of marijuana on public safety, public health, and Colorado’s kids.
- Among those 18-25 years old, marijuana usage has increased from 21 percent in 2006 to 31 percent in 2014.
- Among those 26 or older, marijuana usage has increased from 5 percent in 2006 to 12 percent in 2014.
- 33% of marijuana users who have reported marijuana use in the past 30 days have used daily.
- Marijuana-related arrests have decreased by 46 percent between 2012 and 2014, while possession arrests were cut in half and sales arrests have decreased by 24 percent.
- The trend for high school students ever using marijuana has declined from 42.4 percent in 2005 to 36.9 percent in 2013. The percentage of high school students currently using marijuana has decreased from 22.7 percent to 19.7 percent over the same period. Youth use in Colorado remains above the national average.
- Marijuana-related hospitalizations have increased from a rate of 803 per 100,000 pre-commercialization to 2,413 per 100,000 post-commercialization.
- The period of retail commercialization showed a significant increase in emergency department visits, from 739 per 100,000 (2010–2013) to 956 per 100,000 emergency department visits (2014–June 2015).
- The prevalence of marijuana as the impairing substance among DUIs has increased from 12% in 2014 to 15% in 2014, although the total number of marijuana-related DUIDs decreased slightly.
- In the 2014-15 school year, school-based discipline for drugs accounted for 41% of all expulsions, 31% of all law enforcement referrals, and 6% of all suspensions in Colorado.
PUEBLO, COLO. – (April 27, 2016) – Earlier today, Parkview Medical Center, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center and Pueblo Community Health Center, came together in support of a ballot measure that would end commercialization and promotion of recreational marijuana in the city and county of Pueblo. All three organizations spoke on behalf of their community boards and strongly believe the impact of retail marijuana is endangering the health of Pueblo community and draining precious health resources. Full article.
“Americans now consume about 6,500 metric tons of marijuana a year and spend something on the order of 40 billion hours a year under its influence,” Professor Jon Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College, told conferees in his keynote address at the Cannabis Science & Policy Summit in New York April 17. The two-day summit was hosted by the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University. He argued that the change in the number of hours under the influence will be the most important marijuana-specific outcome of legalization, so it is important to understand what proportion of those hours are associated with harmless pleasure and what proportion reflect problem use.
“If we continue down a ‘regulate like alcohol’ legalization path, which allows for-profit corporations to produce, distribute, and promote marijuana, in 25 years the public health community and some of the public may be asking those of us living in 2016, “What were you thinking? Why did you think it was a good idea to create another industry whose profits depend on promoting daily and near daily use of a dependence-inducing intoxicant?”
By: Bob Kinzel, VPR
Six of Vermont’s largest physician organizations are urging the Legislature not to legalize marijuana this year.
They say marijuana has many harmful effects, particularly to young people, and that much more study is needed.
Read the full article here.
VT Health Department
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 9:10 AM
The Vermont Department of Health finds no compelling public health reason to legalize marijuana.
Whether or not it is legalized, the evidence shows that using marijuana negatively affects physical health, mental health and academic achievement, especially for youth and young adults. Early and regular use of any psychoactive drug increases the risk for lifelong problems due to addiction. If marijuana is legalized, the market must be strongly regulated to prevent or to lessen the health impacts that could result.
Taking lessons from tobacco and alcohol, if marijuana is legalized the Health Impact Assessment<http://healthvermont.gov/pubs/healthassessments/index.aspx> recommends first putting in place strong infrastructure to support regulation, and well-funded prevention, countermarketing, enforcement and monitoring.
Harry Chen, MD
Commissioner of Health
Opponents of legalizing marijuana gathered under the Statehouse dome Wednesday for Prevention Awareness Day, holding workshops and discussions regarding substance abuse and the possible impacts of legal weed in the Green Mountain State.
The events were organized by Prevention Works VT, a coalition aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse among young people.
Dr. Bertha Madras, a neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, was given an award for her prevention efforts, and she offered her own thoughts against legalization in a news conference.
Portraying Vermont as being at a crossroads over whether to legalize and normalize cannabis use, Madras said political talks on the issue have been devoid of scientific considerations.
Read the full article here.
Links to an increase in schizophrenia alone could wipe out any revenues from legalized pot, new study says
The white paper, co-authored by Christine Miller, Ph.D., a pharmacologist specializing in neuroscience, takes to task the major report used to support the legalization movement for failing to account for documented and well-researched links between marijuana use and mental health disorders, and the costs of treating them. To learn more, click to read the:
Latest Results for Colorado Youth and Adult Marijuana Use
This report on marijuana use in Colorado is an update of the publication The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact Volume 3. Results- Jan 2016 Release
We’re off to a great start in 2016, and there are a few things I wanted to alert you on this week. I’ll send these emails out from time to time to keep you updated on developments not served well by our press releases or reports.
First, we have a new flyer on edibles that we hope is useful in your work.
Second, I’m thrilled with the momentum we have been able to generate in Vermont – a state where just a few weeks ago we were counted out by the political elite. Because of the hard work of our SAM Vermont affiliate, we went from what some were calling a fait accompli to a pitched battle over legalization in the state legislature. Watch for SAM Action to generate some ads there soon. Things are about to heat up!
Third, there has been a lot of confusion over some studies purporting no IQ drop among marijuana users. Once again, this is media spin at its worst. I reached out to my friend Madeline Meier who summed up her thoughts on the matter here. I hope it’s helpful to you. Related to this, today the American Psychological Association (APA) corrected a 2015 study that previously found no connection between teen marijuana use and psychotic symptoms. Turns out that after re-analyzing their own data, the researchers found that this link does in fact exist. (See the editor’s note for the correction.) The APA’s comment comes a day after SAM’s own press release on the issue.
Fourth, speaking of spin, the International Business Times’ Joel Warner published an insightful article about the very issue of media bias and marijuana. An excerpt below the text of this email is below.
There’s a lot more, but I’ll stop for now. Next week I’ll share some exciting news about a new report on Colorado as well as some steps we’re taking related to the Presidential race. I hope everyone is well.
Marijuana Has Become A Media Darling, But Are Journalists Too Soft On Pot?
BY JOEL WARNER, INTL BUSINESS TIMES
On the evening of Thursday, Dec. 17, Kevin Sabet was working on what he believed would be a bombshell. Sabet, founder of the anti-marijuana legalization organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), had received a tip from someone associated with the Obama administration: State marijuana-use estimates for 2013 and 2014, which had just been released by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that Colorado, which launched the country’s first legalized marijuana program in 2014, now led the nation in monthly marijuana use among those 12 to 17 years old. The development was due in part to decreases in marijuana use in other states, although youth marijuana use in Colorado had also increased slightly. The District of Columbia, Oregon and Washington, all of which have also legalized marijuana, came in at fourth, fifth and sixth places in the rankings, respectively.
“What went through our heads was, ‘This is big news,'” says Sabet. “We felt this would absolutely reach a wide audience.” After all, the day before, the National Institutes of Health’s 2015 Monitoring the Future survey, which found that nationwide teen marijuana use had fallen slightly overall, had received widespread coverage. Wouldn’t this report generate major headlines, too?
Sabet rushed out a press release. Then he waited for the onslaught of calls he expected from reporters. Instead, all he heard was crickets.
The lack of media response to the survey numbers leads to the question: After decades of critical reporting on marijuana issues, if they bothered to cover the subject at all, have the media as a whole moved too far in the opposite direction? Are reporters and editors now so high on the topic of cannabis that they’re going too soft on the subject?
A Google News analysis of how the media covered two youth marijuana-use surveys in December indicates SAM may have a reason to feel snubbed. Between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, there were at least 156 news reports on the Monitoring the Future report, which many have interpreted as being supportive of the marijuana movement (as the Washington Post noted of its data,”The case for marijuana legalization just got stronger”). During the same period, Google News recorded just 17 stories on the SAMHSA report, which, according to Sabet, raises questions about legalization.
The SAMHSA figures weren’t necessarily less newsworthy. As drug-policy expert Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, notes: “Any state considering whether or how to legalize marijuana needs to pay close attention to this new data on teenagers in Colorado and Washington. It could be nothing, but I don’t think it should be dismissed.”
This informal analysis is far from a perfect comparison, as even SAM staffers suggest. “In fairness, there could be media fatigue on this,” says Jeffrey Zinsmeister, the organization’s executive vice president. “You have two stories on marijuana-use surveys, and the first story gets all the coverage and then people move on to the next thing.” Still, Zinsmeister finds striking the extent of the imbalance, with the survey results bolstering legalization efforts generating nearly 10 times as many headlines as the more unflattering data. “I was surprised to see such a large swing on this,” he says.
Even longtime marijuana advocates say media coverage has shifted. “Back in the ’90s, I would be the only person on the TV show on the issue in favor of reform, and there would be a cop, a prosecutor and a drug specialist, along with the host, who would also be anti-marijuana,” says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Now, today, Kevin [Sabet] is the one who has to scramble because the host of the show is neutral or supportive of reform, and I am joined by someone from the marijuana-business community and a member of [the pro-legalization group] Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.”
U.S. YOUTH DRUG SURVEY: MARIJUANA USE REMAINS STRONG DESPITE DROP IN OTHER DRUG USE; SURVEY DESIGN MAY ALSO UNDERREPRESENT MARIJUANA USE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Vermont Public Health Association held a public meeting on Thursday, October 29th at the UVM Medical Center’s Davis Auditorium. Read more about the meeting here.
“The adverse health impacts of marijuana use are serious, especially among young people, and should not be eclipsed by economic considerations driving the debate.”
Dr. Jon Kevin Porter, director, University of Vermont Center for Health and Wellbeing recently published an editorial on the Burlington Free Press website, in which he clearly states his concerns about the effort to legalize commercial sales of marijuana for recreational use:
“Student success at the University of Vermont does not happen by accident. It requires bringing full attention and energy to bear on the task of each day and taking full advantage of the many opportunities designed to support students in reaching their educational, social and career goals and their developmental maturity. A critical question students across the country must answer is what role the use of alcohol and marijuana will play in their daily lives. Often depicted as simply “part of college,” the misuse of these substances creates serious obstacles to success.
Addressing a problem effectively requires identifying and naming it as such. I write to share concerns raised by a growing body of evidence regarding both the short- and long-term consequences of the misuse of marijuana — a perspective shared by many medical researchers, scientists and clinicians. These concerns are heightened by a roughly fivefold increase in the potency of the drug over recent years and are especially relevant for those who initiate use in adolescence and early adulthood.”
He goes on to describe the growing number of high school and college students who are using it regularly, at the same time that more and more young people are beginning to think it is harmless, and lists some of the negative impacts being detailed by new research. He then concludes “…I am convinced that regular use of marijuana presents a powerful impediment to student engagement and success at the University of Vermont — as it does in our high schools and educational institutions nationwide.”
This is an excellent, science-based article that is also based on years of daily experience with students struggling with the physical, emotional, and cognitive effects of marijuana.
Read Dr. Porter’s full letter on the Free Press web site. [link this text to:
See also Dr. Porter’s December 2014 interview on the Judge Ben Show. [link this text to:
High school counselors worry that rates of teen marijuana use, which have declined overall in the past two decades, would rise if the Legislature decides to allow recreational marijuana use for adults.
Tim Trevithick, a student assistance program counselor at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, senses a mood change already.
Students expect Vermont to legalize recreational marijuana, Trevithick said — and that changes the way they think about the drug. Meanwhile, the marijuana that’s available is more potent than in the past.
Read more about what Tim and others have to say here.
A recent article in the Times Argus details opposing viewpoints around legalization in Vermont. The following excerpt from that article focuses on SAM-VT executive director, Debby Haskins:
On the other side of the debate is Debby Haskins, executive director of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) Vermont.
“This isn’t about legalization. This is about commercialization and changing the culture of Vermont,” she said. “It’s about making money and I’m concerned about who we will be making money off: kids and low-income people.” Read the full article here.
Legalization of recreational marijuana is another law that was passed before all the risks and benefits were weighed and will only get worse before it gets better, if it ever does. Read the full op-ed by Ann Croze here.
“Big business sees an opportunity to make money on cannabis legalization – they want to make profits while we, the young, and society at large will bear the real costs.”
Read more of this intriguing post from the youth perspective on marijuana legalization here.
This letter was written by Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal to a state representative in Pennsylvania:
As Pennsylvania considers enacting new cannabis legislation (HB 193), I write to offer the perspective of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), the leading U.S. organization of clinical and research professionals specializing in the treatment and care of people with epilepsy. Read more here.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds held a press hearing on June 16, 2015, to announce a comprehensive new mental health bill, H.R. 2646. Read more here.