Okay, marijuana. So let us talk openly with real facts.
The bottom line is that cannabis sales, medical and recreational, are weighty sources of tax revenue for our city and have had a profound positive influence in medical applications as well as the decline of opioid/heroin overdoses–this fact addresses recreational sales as well!
First, let us address medical applications. “We found there was about a 25 percent lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law,” lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber said” (DrugAbuse, 2017). “Quitting marijuana may strengthen recovery for individuals with opioid use disorders. Further research is needed” (Barry, 2016). In fact, cannabis has been prescribed “as a natural therapeutic remedy as far back as 6,000 Before Common Era (CCA, 2017). Using cannabis to treat medical maladies has a long and proven history; our country is just beginning to research the benefits, recently due to government oversight precluding cannabis research. Even so, our health registries are providing proof that the U.S. states that have legalized marijuana are showing a steep decline in over-doses caused by many other drugs, including pharmaceuticals.
Now, on to recreational cannabis sales. Some citizens are concerned about the repercussions of having cannabis as a recreational option.
Colorado is one of four states – plus Washington, D.C. – to have legalized recreational marijuana. This year, nine other states have marijuana legalization on their ballots – five for recreational use and four for medical use. Nearly 60 percent of adults in the United States think marijuana should be legalized, according to an October Pew Research Center poll. (Mulder, 2016)
60% of all adult Americans? Yes! Now the question becomes “why”? Let’s look at Colorado, in terms of recreational versus medical marijuana users.
One of the most significant challenges for policymakers in Colorado is the discordant regulations for recreational and medical marijuana. Legalization proponents suggested that a legal recreational system would reduce the number of medical marijuana registrants. However, the opposite has been observed over the first year of legalization, with the number of medical marijuana registrants continuing to grow. (Ghosh, et al, 2016)
Colorado has stringent regulations to oversee the sale and use of recreational marijuana, specifically to protect children under the age of 21.
Only licensed retailers can sell marijuana products. According to the retail marijuana rules passed by the Department of Revenue, no one under 21 is allowed in the restricted portion of a retail store. Retail and medical marijuana businesses are required to sell all marijuana products in packaging that’s resealable, child-resistant and not see-through. The packaging protects children, teens and adults from accidentally eating something that they don’t realize contains marijuana. Using the packaging from the store is an important first step in safe storage. (CM, 2017).
Due to the citizen majority voting to legalize medical and recreational marijuana and considering the tight state regulations for both, it will be my duty as a City Council member to uphold the will of the majority.
Barry, C. (2016). Overdoses Fell with Medical Marijuana Legalization. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/04/26/is-marijuana-a-gateway-drug/overdoses-fell-with-medical-marijuana-legalization
CCA. (2017). A brief history of the use of medical cannabis. Cannabis Canada Association. Retrieved from http://cann-can.ca/resources/history/
CM. (2017). Laws about marijuana use. Colorado Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/marijuana/laws-about-marijuana-use
DrugAbuse. (2017). Legalizing Marijuana Decreases Fatal Opiate Overdoses, Study Shows. Drug Abuse. Retrieved from http://drugabuse.com/legalizing-marijuana-decreases-fatal-opiate-overdoses/
Ghosh, et al. (2016). The Public Health Framework of Legalized Marijuana in Colorado. NCBI / PMC US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4695936/
Mulder E. (2016). Nearly 3 years into recreational marijuana legalization, Colorado lawmakers continue to evolve. The Gazette. Retrieved from http://gazette.com/nearly-3-years-into-recreational-marijuana-legalization-colorado-lawmakers-continue-to-evolve/article/1589635