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60 Minutes Examines How Legal Pot Is Affecting Colorado; Governor Urges Other States to Wait
Until More Data Tell of Impact
 
Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a segment on the impact of legal marijuana in Colorado. Dr. Jon LaPook visited Pueblo County, where some 90 enterprises are legally growing pot. One, the largest in the county, has 85 employees, 36 acres, and 21,600 pot plants expected to bring in $20 million this year. Growers say the pot industry has brought 60 new businesses and 1,300 jobs to the county.
 
But citizens have placed initiatives on next week’s ballot to kick the industry out. Why?
 
Dr. LaPook interviewed pediatrician Dr. Steven Simerville, medical director of the newborn intensive care unit at Pueblo’s Saint Mary Corwin Medical Center. He is seeing an increase at his hospital in the number of babies born with THC in their systems, up 15 percent this year. The mothers aren’t surprised but are “in disbelief” that pot is harmful. “How can that be when marijuana is legal?” they ask.
 
Research suggests babies exposed to marijuana in utero may develop verbal, memory and behavioral problems during early childhood. So may teenagers and young adults whose brains are still developing.
 
Criminal enterprises are buying or renting homes in Pueblo County to grow marijuana indoors and ship it to other states where it fetches twice the amount of money pot sells for in Colorado. The black market is alive and well in the state, say law enforcement officers.
 
View 60 Minutes video here.
 
State Policies Will Determine
Whether Most Americans Smoke Marijuana
 
A new study from researchers at Yale University School of Public Health finds that half of people change their minds about using marijuana if their state legalizes the drug. The finding is based on several factors including price and whether employers are prohibited from firing an employee who uses the drug after work, among other factors.
 
A state that increases the price by $19 would reduce the number of users by about five percent. A state that prevents employers from firing employees who use off the job would increase use by about nine percent.
 
Policymakers must take factors like these into account when developing regulations in states that legalize the drug, the researchers say.
 
Read about the study here.
 
New Report on Legal Pot
in Colorado and Washington State
 

Although it is still too early to know the full effects of marijuana legalization in states that have done so, key preliminary findings can be seen. They include: 
  • Rising rates of pot use by minors
  • Increasing arrest rates of minors, especially black and Hispanic children
  • Higher rates of traffic deaths from driving while high
  • More marijuana-related poisonings and hospitalizations
  • A persistent black market that may now involve increased Mexican cartel activity in Colorado 
Read this new report here.
 
The Quiet Money Race Behind California’s
Pot Legalization Measure
 
Thus far, the only states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use have done so with ballot initiatives. No legislatures, most of which have two chambers, two parties, and many committees that thoroughly vet a potential new law are at work here.
 
Instead, a handful of proponents raise hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to hire contractors to collect signatures, promote their initiative on TV and social media, and mislead voters about what the laws proponents write will actually do. California is a case in point.
 
Proponents $20 million:
 
Sean Parker—Co-founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, $7.3 million.
 
Drug Policy Alliance—Funded mostly by George Soros, DPA donated $4.5 million.
 
George Soros—His Fund for Policy Reform, part of Soros’s Open Society Institute, $4 million.
 
Daniel Lewis—Son of Peter Lewis, deceased, who financed legalization ballot initiatives for years before his death, $1.25 million.
 
Henry van Ameringen—Son of the founder of International Flavors and Fragrances, $1.25 million.
 
Opponents $2 million:
 
Smart Approaches to Marijuana—Founded by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet, PhD, most of the $2 million.
 
Law Enforcement Associations—Donations in the range of $5,000 to $25,000.
 
Read story here.
 
American Society of Addiction Medicine Presents New Interactive Map
 
The American Society of Addiction Medicine has prepared an interactive map of states that have decriminalized marijuana, legalized it for medical use, or fully legalized the drug.
 
Light Green 
Legalization: Yes; Medical: Yes; Decriminalization: Yes
Medium Green 
Legalization: No; Medical: Yes; Decriminalization: Yes
Darker Green 
Legalization: No; Medical: No; Decriminalization: Yes
Very Dark Green
Legalization: No; Medical: Yes; Decriminalization: No
Black
Legalization: No; Medical: No; Decriminalization: No
 
Click on map above to access the original map with interactive features.

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.
 
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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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