Federal Government Reports Teen Marijuana Use In Colorado Still Has NOT Increased Since Legalization

Five years after Colorado voters decided to regulate marijuana for adult use, rates of current and lifetime use among high school students remain relatively unchanged and on par with national averages

COLORADO: A new federal report shows rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado have still not increased since voters decided to end marijuana prohibition in 2012 and start regulating it similarly to alcohol for adult use.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found 19.6 percent of Colorado students are currently using marijuana (compared to 19.8 percent nationwide), down from 21.2 percent in 2015 and 22 percent in 2011, the year before voters approved Amendment 64. The rate of lifetime use dropped to 35.5 percent in 2017 (compared to 35.6 percent nationwide), down from 38 percent in 2015 and 39.5 percent in 2011.

The Colorado and nationwide data for 2017 are available at the CDC website. The CDC released the nationwide YRBS data late last week, and it appears to have released the state-level data sometime this week.

Statement from Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert, who co-directed the campaign in support of Amendment 64:

“After five years of marijuana being legal for adults in Colorado, government surveys continue to find no increase in usage rates among high school students. This is very welcome news for Colorado, and it should be particularly welcome news for those who opposed the state’s legalization for fear it would lead to an explosion in teen use. Hopefully it will allay opponents’ concerns in other states where voters or lawmakers are considering proposals to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Colorado is proof that you can prevent teen marijuana use without arresting thousands of responsible adult marijuana consumers every year. Rather than debating whether marijuana should be legal for adults, let’s focus on how we can regulate it and control it to make it less available to teens.”

Colorado Government Reports $1.3 Billion In Marijuana Sales Generated Nearly $200 Million In Tax Revenue in 2016

COLORADO: The Marijuana Policy Project issued the following statement in response to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s announcement that $1.3 billion in regulated marijuana sales took place in calendar year 2016, generating nearly $200 million in state tax revenue. These figures do not include millions of dollars in revenue generated by local taxes on marijuana.

For more information, click.

Statement from Mason Tvert, the Denver-based director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Over one billion dollars in marijuana sales that once took place in the underground market were instead conducted in regulated businesses this year. The state received nearly $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, whereas just a decade ago it was receiving zero. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for the 42 states that still choose to force marijuana sales into the criminal market and forego millions of dollars in tax revenue.

“Marijuana tax revenue is not going to cover the state’s budget, but it is going to cover important programs and services that would otherwise be left out of it. This money is just the tip of the iceberg. The state is also reaping the invaluable public health and safety benefits of replacing an underground market with a tightly regulated system. Marijuana is now being sold in licensed businesses, rather than out on the street. It is being properly tested, packaged, and labeled, and it is only being sold to adults who show proof of age. The system is working.”

 

MPP Statement Regarding the Nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Marijuana Policy Project released the following statement Friday in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general.

Statement from MPP Director of Communications Mason Tvert:

“President-elect Trump has said on multiple occasions that he respects states’ right to establish their own marijuana policies. We would expect appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president to stick to the president’s position on this subject. It would certainly be controversial if Sen. Sessions completely defied the president who appointed him.

“The vast majority of Americans agree with President-elect Trump’s position that marijuana policy should largely be left to the states. A huge majority of voters share Trumps support for legal access to medical marijuana, and a steadily growing majority believes marijuana should be legal for adults. We remain hopeful that the incoming administration will refrain from interfering in state laws that were adopted by voters or their elected representatives in order to control marijuana and improve the health and safety of their communities. 

“There is a large and growing sentiment in Congress and among the American public that our federal government should not be wasting tax dollars enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws. We hope Sen. Sessions or whoever is confirmed as our next attorney general will use federal law enforcement resources to protect our country’s citizens, not to defy the laws those citizens have adopted.”

Medical Marijuana Amendment Could Be On 2016 Ohio Ballot

OHIO: A Washington D.C.-based organization wants to put a medical marijuana amendment on Ohio’s November ballot.

Marijuana Policy Project, founded in 1995, plans to propose a constitutional amendment that would create a medical marijuana system similar to those states that have already legalized medical marijuana.

The group has led several successful marijuana advocacy efforts in Michigan, Montana and Arizona. The organization also works with state legislatures to improve medical marijuana laws.

“It’s really about time,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesperson for MPP. “We just can’t wait any longer.”

The Fiasco In Denver: Putting The Cart Before The Horse

By Keith Stroup

COLORADO:  The embarrassing episode this week in Denver, when the sponsors of a city-wide initiative to legalize marijuana smoking in some bars and lounges withdrew their initiative, even after qualifying for the ballot, reminds us of the need to thoroughly vet these types of projects – especially those with the potential to set-back the legalization movement if they fail – before moving forward. This was an impulsive act that should never have seen the light of day – at least not in 2015.

While I am not privy to the actual discussions that led to the launch of this ill-fated campaign in Denver, one can imagine a couple of friends sitting around one night, smoking some good weed, and convincing themselves that now is the time to expand on the legalization plan in effect statewide in Colorado, by allowing for smoking in bars in Denver. It is a natural next-step for Colorado and the other legalization states.

Most smokers favor the option of bars or lounges where marijuana smokers can gather to socialize outside the home, so the intent of the initiative was admirable. We should not be limited only to smoking in our homes. There is no valid reason for such a limitation, and it really reflects the remaining stigma many non-smoking Americans still associate with the use of marijuana – that it may be tolerated in the home, but is somehow an offense to society to permit smoking in a public venue.

First Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure Set For 2016, Advocates Say

NEVADA: Hoping to build on consecutive electoral victories, advocates say they have secured the first state marijuana legalization ballot measure for 2016.

Nevada state lawmakers had until Saturday to take action on the ballot measure, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use, but adjourned on Friday without voting on it, the Marijuana Policy Project notes in a statement. As a result, the initiative, for which the group collected nearly twice the necessary signatures, is destined for the 2016 ballot, they say.

“Voters will have the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition next year and replace it with a policy that actually makes sense,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the group, said in a statement.

The group was behind the successful legalization ballot measures in Colorado in 2012 and Alaska in 2014. Other groups helped successfully pass legalization in Washington in 2012 and Oregon in 2014. Those four state laws were approved by voters, but MPP is now targeting both ballots and legislatures to spread similar measures.

These 5 Pro-Marijuana Billboards Are Set To Surround The Super Bowl

NEW JERSEY:  The freeways surrounding MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. are about to be plastered with five billboards advocating the use of marijuana, and, in some cases, attacking football just miles from the game’s biggest stage.

Washington and Colorado are the only two states to have legalized marijuana, so the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization based in Washington D.C., decided this year’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos would be an opportune time to get their message out. [Read more…]

Your Genius Idea For A 420-Friendly Lazer Tag Arena Could Soon Become Reality In Colorado

COLORADO: Your dreams of a 420-friendly lazer tag arena or black light poster viewing space/roller skating rink took another step forward to becoming a reality in Colorado. On Tuesday, in yet another marijuana first, Colorado became the first state in U.S. history to accept applications from people interested in opening up their very own recreational marijuana business. [Read more…]

Your Genius Idea For A 420-Friendly Lazer Tag Arena Could Soon Become Reality In Colorado

COLORADO: Your dreams of a 420-friendly lazer tag arena or black light poster viewing space/roller skating rink took another step forward to becoming a reality in Colorado. On Tuesday, in yet another marijuana first, Colorado became the first state in U.S. history to accept applications from people interested in opening up their very own recreational marijuana business. [Read more…]

'Worst State Legislators Of 2013' Video Outlines Top Marijuana Policy Project Offenders

It’s been an eventful year for marijuana policy. Colorado and Washington legalized recreational use of the drug in November, the Partnership at Drugfree.org revealed that over half of Americans favor decriminalization, and last week CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta apologized for “misleading the public” about the dangers of pot. [Read more…]