CDC: Youth Pot Use Dropped in States After Legalization, Including Colorado

According to a recently published study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth marijuana use decreased in the nation’s first three states to legalize recreational pot.

The CDC study, released October 4, reports that marijuana use among children in sixth to tenth grade residing in King County, Washington — the state’s most populated county and home to the Seattle metro area — actually dropped from 2012 to 2016. Further, the CDC study reported that youth marijuana use in Colorado and Oregon followed the same trend. All three states legalized recreational marijuana sales by 2015.

Two possible reasons cited by the CDC for the decline or absence of youth marijuana use were the possibility of the plant losing its novelty appeal, as well as the reduction of the illicit market in states with regulated sales.

However, it’s important to note that the study’s authors say that legalization’s effects “might be delayed,” and that the time frame of the study didn’t occur during “the more recent surge in e-cigarette use by youth and the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) within electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) devices.”

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Dr. Ashley Brooks-Russell serves as project director for the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, a bi-annual study from the state Department of Public Health and Environment that monitors youth drug use. According to Brooks-Russell, there isn’t a clear explanation as to why Colorado hasn’t seen a rise in youth marijuana use since retail pot was legalized. However, she does believe that more protective parenting with regard to marijuana and drug use has increased.

“We’re in an age of protective parenting, where adolescence is being extended into adulthood,” she says. “It’s being protected longer, and parents are learning to become more aware of their kids’ activities.”

The CDPHE has been trying to push Colorado parents toward a more engaging role in their kids’ social lives and potential peer pressures, according to CDPHE marijuana communications specialist Tara Dunn, who says kids who feel like they can talk to their parents or another trusted adult about substance use are less likely to use marijuana.

“Parents play an important role in preventing youth marijuana use,” she says. “Educating kids about marijuana early and keeping that conversation going is really important.”

And that conversation doesn’t really end as kids grow up. Kids are always changing interests and friend groups, Dunn adds, so it’s important for parents to be aware of social and stress factors in their kids’ lives, and continue maintaining an engaged role.

Brooks-Russell also advocates for “parental monitoring,” and says parents should always work to improve communication with their kids. Setting clear family expectations and knowing a child’s friend circle helps parents stay aware of what environment their kids are in outside of the house, she says.

“Parents need to have a conversation and make it clear what their expectations are,” she says. “It’s important to help their kids avoid situations that might cause drug use, such as not knowing who their kids hang out with or leaving their kids home alone.”

According to a 2018 survey from Healthy Kids Colorado, kids who know their parents disapprove of underage marijuana use are 72 percent less likely to start using, while kids who have other trusted adults they can talk to about their problems are 30 percent less likely to try marijuana. School performance can also be a factor in youth marijuana use, according to to the survey, as 28 percent of students who receive affirmation for their work are less likely to use marijuana.

“Kids who don’t feel connected or feel good in school may affiliate with other teens who use drugs,” Brooks-Russell explains. “And drug use is affiliated with poor school performance.”

For parents who may not be sure about how to talk to their kids about marijuana, Colorado has several statewide campaigns that teach both parents and kids about the effects of marijuana use. The CDPHE currently funds five community organizations that serve eleven counties to teach adults about youth marijuana use, while websites such as responsibilitygrowshere.com can be online sources for parents to learn more about youth marijuana use.

“Educating yourself is important,” Dunn says. “It helps you, and also helps your kids in the long run.”


Toke of the Town

How Cannabis Legalization Has Taken Employer Drug Testing for a Loop

I’ve touched on how drug testing has become a touchy subject in some of the musings I’ve posted over the last few months as we’ve seen more states join the movement and legalize recreational marijuana.  This process of screening potential hires has been around for many decades, and it’s helped take a closer look at the habits of people as well as mitigate risk when it comes to investing time and money into someone who will in turn be responsible for helping the bottom line.  While there are many sectors of the work force that simply need to test people for drugs, (think about moving parts like automotive, construction and machinery jobs, manufacturing, and other areas where safety is a focus) there are other areas of the work force that people will argue does not matter if the staff is enjoying cannabis.

With the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana use becoming a trend, the screening process is certainly ripe for change.  In a report released last Summer, Quest Diagnostics reported that the amount of American workers and applicants for jobs that tested positive for drugs came to a 14 year high.  (No pun-intended, since marijuana led the way with positive screens.)

How Do Employers Deal With The Legalization?

This created an area of uncertainty for employers.  When job candidates are screened, the policies used to test for drugs need to be changed.  The website Law.com had many key points that I felt were important and worth sharing with you, so I’ll do that below.

For certain employer drug testing policies, read the pages below:

The first thing they suggest to be considered is that in areas where unemployment is low, getting new talent that is worth anything is proving to be difficult.  They note that it’s even more difficult in the “legal market.”  Obviously, failed marijuana drug tests make the talent pool people can hire from much smaller, which creates a very large problem for states that have legislation allowing cannabis to be abundant medicinally, and even more so on the recreational level.  Even in states without legal marijuana, a national company won’t be seeing much success getting candidates from the states that do have legal marijuana, they continue.

Next, they hone in on reliability.  With urinalysis being the go-to method for screening, since it’s inexpensive, quick, and non-invasive, and lastly it can show use of illicit and prescription drugs, the downfall in this type of testing is that the urine test will only show recent marijuana use.  (A synthetic urine kit will also beat this easily.)

THC only stays in the system for a few weeks, meaning that a result showing marijuana use won’t always tell us if it’s current use or how frequent it happened.  A casual marijuana user that tokes up once in a while is someone who probably won’t have any side effects affect their job, is the argument the article makes.

Based on this, I do feel some modifications will be happening in the world of pre-employment and post-employment drug testing, at least for the use of marijuana.  

What are your thoughts on people being allowed to use marijuana and hold various jobs?  Where do you draw the line?

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

New Jersey Legalization Attempt Falls Apart

Just about an hour ago we had some news break about the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey, and if you live in New Jersey, you are probably seeing some Italians doing some pretty aggressive fist pumps at the Shore right about now, and not because they are happy.  After about a month of talks, the effort by the Democrats fell apart, leaving the state’s efforts to get legalization passed in serious jeopardy.

New Jersey Fails to Get Support for Legalization of Marijuana

Gov. Philip D. Murphy had a central campaign pledge that was rejected, in what the NY Times called “one of the biggest setbacks  for Mr. Murphy.”  He had the assembly and State Senate on his side, but did deal with infighting, according to the article.

(Excuse me if I don’t always write things in the most legal ways to say them, it’s easy for me to report on the topic of marijuana but when it comes to deciphering legal and political speak, I’m not the best.)

It read further that some of the African-American lawmakers felt that the legalization would not be good for the community.  (I’m not sure what race has to do with this, I’m just reporting on what I know and read.)

Related – read our state to state guide on marijuana legalization.

The interesting part of the story here is that the proposed bill would have provided a clean slate to many criminals who were convicted of minor drug infractions. We’re speaking about hundreds of thousands of people being affected by that sweeping move.  Additionally, it would have set a lot of people free who are currently in jail as well as end parole for many other convicted parties.

The now dead bill sought diversification to an industry that traditionally is full of Caucasian entrepreneurs in the states where marijuana on a recreational level is decriminalized.  Selling and cultivating cannabis would be something that women and minorities would be given free reign to do, further diversifying the scope of who controls and enjoys the fruits of the cannabis industry.

“We have the widest white-nonwhite gap of persons incarcerated in America and far and away the biggest contributor is low-end drug offenses,” Mr. Murphy said recently at a news conference where he made his case for legalizing marijuana. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

(Now the race part is making a bit more sense to me.)

In the end, the expunging of the criminal records was a really big factor in this bill not passing, according to the article.  Ironically, most of New Jersey showed support for the legalization of marijuana in their state, according to surveys, and Mr. Murphy made that a huge part of his campaign last fall.

More on this story as it becomes available.  I’m also following New Mexico very closely.

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Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

New Mexico Flirts With Legalization and Government Run Pot Stores

If a new concept being batted around in New Mexico ends up rolling out, it will be a first in the early stages of legalized weed in the USA.  In a story I read this morning on this website, the state of New Mexico could be the first state in the USA to feature it’s own marijuana stores operated by the government and have subsidized medical cannabis for the poor.  This bill was brought together by both the Republicans and Democrats as many new States are starting to enter bills legalizing recreational selling and consuming of marijuana.  Just yesterday I touched on the status of New Jersey and the new bill brought there.

New Mexico Close to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

In this deal, the state would oversee most of the sales and also make sure that anyone who purchases marijuana carries a receipt or otherwise face a penalty for not doing so.  Anyone of lesser fortune, (the article used the word “poor” but I think that’s in bad taste to use that word) who has a “debilitating medical condition” and can’t otherwise afford their meds would have their medical marijuana subsidized.  The money made via taxation from recreational sales will help pay for counseling programs as well as employment and training to get into the marijuana business niche.

Everyone here knows by now that I’m very pro-marijuana by now, am I right?  ?  While I’m trying to save money as a consumer, I am all for taxation in this case because I’ve seen first hand how much revenue taxing the recreational purchases in Nevada have really helped the economy.  The numbers are staggering and it’s really changed the game out there.  

As stated, this would be the first state in the USA to have the regulatory framework through legislation to have state-run stores as well as medical cannabis subsidization.

We now have legal recreational marijuana in ten states plus the District of Columbia, all of these have come by form of ballot other than Vermont, which does not have a final decision on having commercial production and sales of marijuana but does allow personal use and growing.  Recreational cannabis missed passing in Hawaii last week.

This bill still has to pass in New Mexico, of course, and there are obstacles in the form of conservative Democrats.  The Democratic Senator John Arthur Smith said “It’s not a priority.”  Although, there are many supporters, including Sen. Peter Wirth, who said this could be a “game changer.”

With marijuana being so close in neighboring Colorado, it has to have been tough watching all of the success, as well as tax dollars, pour in from their bordering neighbor to the North.  It’s like sitting on the sidelines watching someone else score goals, I imagine.

Also mentioned in the article was that possession up to 1 ounce would be legal, just like it is in Nevada.  Also, a 17% tax would be put on all recreational sales of marijuana.

I’ll keep tabs on this as this story develops.  New Mexico, I’m officially sending you positive vibes and thoughts so you can get this done and enter the game of recreational marijuana.  And lastly, I’m really happy that they have the plan to help the less fortunate obtain medical marijuana through subsidization.  This is something that should be done in all 50 states as they pass legality hurdles.

New Mexico Flirts With Legalization and Government Run Pot Stores

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Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Denver Dispensaries Have Collected Nearly $2.4 Billion Since Legalization

Denver no longer has the distinction of being the only major city with retail marijuana dispensaries, but that hasn’t stopped weed from flying off the shelves here. This city has seen almost $ 2.4 billion in marijuana sales since the first retail dispensary opened on January 1, 2014, according to our calculations based on Colorado Department of Revenue data.

Denver has been the center of the statewide marijuana industry since its inception, and by 2018 it was home to over 210 medical, recreational and dual-use dispensaries. DOR data shows that Denver County dispensaries accounted for well over one-third of Colorado’s $ 6 billion in marijuana sales from 2014 through 2018, and brought in over $ 536 million last year alone.

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But that Denver sales figure reflects a slight 7 percent drop from the year before, falling from $ 577.5 million in 2017. Meanwhile, statewide sales increased around 2.5 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Over the past sixteen months, more than a dozen new dispensaries have opened in north Denver suburbs such as Commerce City, Federal Heights, Thornton and Longmont. But more states also began recreational pot sales in 2018, such as California and Nevada. And then there’s Canada….

Data for Colorado marijuana sales in 2019 are not yet available. Here are the annual sales numbers for the City and County of Denver from 2014 through 2018:

  • 2014 — $ 325.9 million
  • 2015 — $ 413 million
  • 2016 — $ 501.6 million
  • 2017 — $ 577.5 million
  • 2018 — $ 536.6 million


Toke of the Town

These Products Will Explode With Hemp’s Legalization

America was pretty late to the party, but the federals finally figured out (again) that hemp doesn’t get us high. By removing the plant from the Controlled Substances Act via an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress cleared a path for American companies interested in using hemp and its extracts and fibers to source those materials domestically. And retailers selling those products in this country can now do so without fear of law enforcement and regulatory interference.

Some pundits view industrial hemp as a bigger cash crop than marijuana, with its seeds, stalks, fibers and cannabinoids all used to make a long list of products. Here are seven things we eat, wear and use every day that will be impacted by hemp legalization:

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Hemp can be the base of meatless burgers, sausage and more.EXPAND

Hemp can be the base of meatless burgers, sausage and more.

Ken Hambllin III

Food
You can already find hemp seeds, hemp milk and hemp-based meat alternatives at grocery stores, but those are largely made from hemp imported from Europe, Canada and other countries. With hemp’s legalization, the demand for hemp foods will increase, and so will access to domestic hemp. The plant is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, protein and other nutritional benefits, and it provides a nutty flavor that goes with just about anything.

Food and drinks infused with CBD will still have to be approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so don’t be surprised if a lot of manufacturers stop using “CBD” on their labeling altogether and replace it with terms like “full-spectrum hemp extract.”

Fibers
The fibers from hemp stalks have a variety of uses, with paper and textiles being the most obvious choices. By taking fiber from the plant’s hurd and pulp, companies can make a range of paper styles, as well as clothing, shoes, backpacks, rope and other textile products. Hemp fibers are more durable than cotton yet still soften with age, and have shown to be more resident to mildew. They’re also more porous, allowing the body to breathe.

You can already find hemp clothing online and in stores around the country, but legalization is likely to take hemp fibers mainstream. Patagonia is already on board, with one of its regional representatives noting that the outdoor clothing brand is excited to increase its relationship with Colorado’s hemp industry.

Health supplements
For those who want the nutritional benefits of hemp without having to eat hemp seeds or veggie burgers, hemp and hemp-derived CBD extracts, proteins and isolates are a quicker, easier way. Hemp-seed oil and extracts, usually sold in pill or sublingual form, have helped with skin and hair disorders. CBD has shown potential benefits in dealing with everything from anxiety and pain to epilepsy, and can be added to food or vaporized as a concentrate.

Hemp and hemp-seed supplement makers are likely to continue operating without much change (as long as they don’t make any unsubstantiated health claims), but CBD supplements will probably have to alter their terminology, as will CBD food and drinks. Either way, expect to see more of them at Whole Foods, and even chains like Kroger and Safeway.

Hempcrete is so underrated, but hopefully that will change now that hemp is legal.EXPAND

Hempcrete is so underrated, but hopefully that will change now that hemp is legal.

Westword

Building material
We’ll try not to geek out too hard on this one, because hempcrete is pretty frickin’ awesome. This hemp-based building material may be one of the plant’s coolest applications — and most slept on. When mixed with lime and water, hemp hurd can make a concrete-like material than is more resistant to mold, pests, weather and fire than traditional concrete. It weighs less, too, and gets stronger over time. Despite all of hempcrete’s uses, very few contractors employ the substance; Denver saw its first permitted hempcrete building constructed in 2017. But the word is spreading.

Hemp can also be a base ingredient for fiberboard, roofing, flooring, wallboard, caulking, paint, paneling, plaster, plywood, insulation, bricks and more.

Henry Ford's car made out of plastic, soybeans and hemp.

Henry Ford’s car made out of plastic, soybeans and hemp.

thehenryford.org

Plastics
A more environmentally friendly option than traditional plastics, hemp plastic is biodegradable and carries a much smaller carbon footprint. Some plastics use standard materials infused with hemp fiber, while others are made of 100 percent hemp material (and are 100 percent biodegradable).

Hemp plastics are also stronger than their traditional counterparts and can be used to make anything from water bottles to weed scales. Hemp plastic’s most memorable moment came when Henry Ford debuted a car partly made from hemp, but the product’s biggest potential could be in technology, according to Colorado Hemp Co. founder Morris Beegle, who sees bio-plastics, composites and nano-fiber technology for energy storage as a cash cow for hemp producers.

These Products Will Explode With Hemp's Legalization (7)

Jacqueline Collins

Cosmetics
Already one of the largest sectors of hemp-based products in America, cosmetics made with the plant will only get bigger now that hemp is legal. One of America’s largest wholesale hemp buyers, the Dr. Bronner’s company, uses the plant to make soap and body-care products.

You already can find lotions, lip balms, salves, soap, lipstick, makeup and bath bombs made with hemp and hemp-derived CBD at retailers and online; expect more physical shelf space devoted to them as the hemp hype grows. These products are technically made for human consumption, though, so FDA regulations are looming.

Giving your dog marijuana is more than just blowing smoke in its face nowadays.

Giving your dog marijuana is more than just blowing smoke in its face nowadays.

Pet treats and toys
Hemp companies aren’t just going after humans now: Our dogs, cats and even horses are targets of the hemp trade. Research has shown that hemp and CBD extracts can help other mammals similar to the ways they help us, with veterinarians and pet owners using hemp-seed extracts for nose and ear afflictions; CBD has also treated anxiety and pain among dogs and cats. These products will also be regulated by the FDA.

Pets will likely be chewing on hemp more often, too, as hemp fibers make a tough, durable rope or toy for chewing and tug-of-war.

Toke of the Town

Federal Hemp Legalization Could Help Spur Rural Colorado Economy

Colorado, which has more acreage devoted to registered hemp farms than any other state under a pilot program, is better equipped for the predicted boom than most of the country. Appearing in a joint press conference on December 14 outside the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, several key members of the Colorado Legislature and the hemp industry shared their enthusiasm over new opportunities opened up by the Farm Bill.

“I’m very excited about this decision we’re celebrating here today,” said state senator Kerry Donovan, upcoming chair of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. “So how do we take this industry that’s just sprouting, and take it to more communities?” Donovan suggested that the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s registration program for hemp farmers, in operation since 2014 and responsible for overseeing over 1,000 growing licenses, was a “successful test case for Washington, D.C., to look at.”

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Dylan Roberts, state representative and upcoming chair of the House Rural Affairs Committee (formerly the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee), expressed hope that the pending federal legalization will bring more jobs and tax dollars to Colorado’s rural areas. “This is a great day for rural Colorado,” he said. “We will see hundreds of more jobs and millions of more dollars pour in.”

Once legalized federally, industrial hemp farming will be regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. States that have already legalized hemp research and pilot programs, including Colorado, Kentucky and Oregon, will continue operating under their own rules until the USDA finalizes its regulation, according to Vicente Sederberg attorney Shawn Houser.

Vicente Sederberg's Mason Tvert (middle) gathered members of the Colorado General Assembly and hemp industry to celebrate industrial hemp's impending federal legalization.EXPAND

Vicente Sederberg’s Mason Tvert (middle) gathered members of the Colorado General Assembly and hemp industry to celebrate industrial hemp’s impending federal legalization.

Thomas Mitchell

Houser, who chairs her law firm’s hemp and cannabinoids practice group, explained that states can operate under their own plans for up to a year after the USDA adopts federal regulations; if states wish to continue managing hemp farming under their own rules, they can submit a request for USDA approval.

According to Colorado Hemp Industry Association boardmember Rick Trojan, the state’s hemp trade accounts for anywhere from $ 100 million to $ 200 million annually, and that could be conservative. That number will undoubtedly increase after federal legalization, he added, and it won’t just be thanks to hemp-based foods and wellness products. Most of the American clothing, food and beverage, cosmetics and wellness companies that currently use industrial hemp import it from Europe, Canada and Japan, where the plant is regulated as an agricultural commodity and not as a drug, as hemp currently is in this country.

Patagonia environmental coordinator Mark Stevens and New Belgium Brewing spokesman Jesse Claeys both said that their respective companies were excited to increase their relationships with Colorado’s hemp industry, using the plant for textiles and even a brewing ingredient. Stevens, who oversees various grants for environmentally focused groups in the Rocky Mountain region, said that Patagonia may even fund hemp farming and research projects in the future.

Although Colorado is many steps ahead of the majority of the states in this country, Colorado’s hemp industry could still add some diversity to its business portfolio, Houser said. While the state leads the country in acreage for hemp farming, she believes that Colorado is still behind Kentucky as a leader in research and processing.

“We need more than just farmers here,” she concluded.

Toke of the Town