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Edible Marijuana that Looks Like Candy
Sending Kids to ER
The Today Show features a special report on children’s accidental consumption of marijuana edibles that are sending them to emergency rooms.
"This is extremely dangerous. When young children get ahold of these products, they can have severe reactions, including nausea, vomiting, disorientation, anxiety-like reactions and even psychotic reactions that can make them do things they wouldn't normally do," an ER physician told the Today Show reporter, Jeff Rossen.
Mr. Rossen bought marijuana edibles and their non-drugged equivalent, showed them to children, and asked if they could tell the difference.
You can view their answers and read or see the story here.
Colorado Marijuana Stores
Concentrated in High-Risk Communities
Research shows that young people, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with less income and education who live in disordered urban communities have higher rates of marijuana use and marijuana use disorders. Other research has established that, like tobacco and alcohol, proximity of marijuana stores to schools places adolescents at high risk of developing marijuana use disorders and other negative health consequences.
In this study, researchers built on this knowledge by analyzing all 1,249 Colorado census tracts and the number of medical and recreational marijuana stores, if any, in each tract. They also checked to see if any pot shops were within walking distance of a school. As of August 2015, 650 marijuana shops had been licensed throughout the state.
They found that marijuana stores were more likely to be located in neighborhoods with high crime rates, that had higher proportions of minority populations, higher levels of poverty, and higher density of alcohol outlets.
Moreover, one-third (34.45 percent) of schools had at least one pot shop within walking distance (0-1000 feet and 1000 feet-1 mile) of school boundaries.
Read “Availability of Medical and Recreational Marijuana Stores and Neighborhood Characteristics in Colorado” in the Journal of Addiction here.
Where People
Drink the Most Booze and Do the Most Drugs
Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, has done a fascinating analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey reports the use of various legal and illegal drugs by state. There are quite different levels of marijuana, cocaine, non-medical opioids, and alcohol use among populations of different states, with Colorado leading the nation in the consumption of all four drugs.
Read about your state's status in The Washington Post Wonkblog story here.
Medical Marijuana Testing Rule
Possible Boon for SW Colorado Labs
Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use in 2000, 16 years ago. The state is finally getting around to requiring that marijuana sold for medical use be tested for contaminants.
Random tests in other legal states show that marijuana can contain mold, mildew, pesticides, E. coli, and salmonella.
The state’s 540 recreational marijuana growing facilities are required to test for potency, mold, and bacteria. There has been no such requirement for pot sold for medical use until last year, when the legislature passed a law that will become effective July 1 this year.
The 14 testing labs statewide that test recreational marijuana for contaminants are now scrambling to more than double their load. Colorado has licensed 780 medical marijuana growing facilities.
“Colorado is going to great lengths to ensure that product safety is a high priority,” says Steve Ottersberg, owner of Green Lab Solutions Company. “While labs do not test for pesticides or edible products yet, those regulations are in the works.”
Or maybe not. (See next story, “Colorado Marijuana Industry Pushes Back Against Pesticides Crackdown,” below.)
Read “Medical Marijuana Testing Rule Possible Boon for SW Colorado Labs” in The Durango Herald here.
Colorado Marijuana Industry
Pushes Back Against Pesticides Crackdown
Last November, Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order requiring state agencies to remove and destroy any marijuana grown with unapproved pesticides to protect public health. This year, the Colorado House passed a bill that codified the governor’s order.
But the marijuana industry fought hard to defeat a similar bill in the Senate and won. The head of the state’s Marijuana Industry Group called the defeat “a win for us and consumers. Responsible regulation creates certainty for industry and reassures consumers that the products are safe.”
However, a spokesman for the governor says the executive order still stands. The governor acted after the Denver Department of Environmental Health issued 20 pesticide-related marijuana product recalls in less than 10 weeks.
Read The Denver Post/The Cannabist story here.
If You Want to Know about
Pesticides in Your Pot, You Have to Ask
The legal marijuana regulatory agency in Washington State is taking steps to regulate pesticide levels in legal pot. But for now, buyers have to ask. Growers are required to give pot shops a list of all pesticides they used, but shops are not required to provide that information to customers unless they specifically request it. Few do.
An industry spokeswoman says she is shocked that pesticides do not seem to interest most customers.

Read or listen to Seattle’s, 94.8 FM story here.
False Promise of Tax Revenue from Pot
If you think legal marijuana tax revenues are going to swell government budgets, think again. A Tax Foundation study predicted that if all 50 states legalized the drug, total tax revenues would amount to $5.3 billion at a 15 percent tax rate or $8 billion at a 25 percent tax rate. But that figure comes nowhere near what marijuana and other drugs cost the nation now, some $200 billion a year.
Advocates predict tax windfalls but discount the cost of productivity losses, increased youth addiction, and other medical and public safety burdens. Legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco cost about 10 times more than their tax revenues raise, and those costs exceed $400 billion a year.
Colorado’s promised $40 million a year for schools has not materialized. So firm is the belief that it has, schools have produced a video explaining to taxpayers how legal marijuana tax revenues are actually distributed and for what.
Read “False Promise of Tax Revenue from Pot” here.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) Mass Comes Out Against Legalizing Recreational Pot
NAMI Massachusetts issued a position paper stating its strong opposition to a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in its state this November.
The paper lays out the reasons for its opposition, principally that “legalization of recreational marijuana will have detrimental effects for those with mental illness and for people predisposed to mental illness.”
Read NAMI Massachusetts position paper here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy. 

SAM has four main goals: 
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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