As green as Colorado is known to be, it looks like their marijuana crops are not as green as one would hope.Recent studies reveal that Colorado’s marijuana crops have “dangerous levels” of pesticides and the news is inciting panic among people and the state’s agricultural agencies.
According to last week’s CNN report, at least one legal over-the-counter pot product tested positive for illegally high levels of the neurotoxin imidacloprid. The news of the pesticides led to a recall of 2,362 pot products.
Unfortunately, this is not the first study to find toxins in marijuana products. Just last September, a study from the Denver Post found that the marijuana products they tested contained six times the legal amount of pesticides in consumable products.
To put it in perspective, if the same amount of pesticides were found on a food product like avocados, they would be immediately pulled off the shelves. However, since Colorado only recently legalized marijuana, they are still figuring out how to deal with these types of issues.
Since marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, there is no FDA regulation to step in and correct the issue leaving pesticide legislation up to the states. This lack of government oversight leads to confusion on the quantities of pesticides that should be allowed in marijuana products.
The Ever-Changing Cannabis Laws
The marijuana businesses in Colorado are not required to test products for pesticides before they sell them. They also do not have to test products before making them available for sale. Instead, consumers and businesses must exercise extreme caution before selling and consuming unregulated products. Various state agencies are hoping to remedy this problem.
As for now, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper just issued an executive order earlier this month allowing state agencies the authority to pull products off the shelves and destroy them if they contain higher than the approved levels of pesticides.
“When a pesticide is applied to a crop in a manner that is inconsistent with the pesticide’s label, and the crop is contaminated by that pesticide, it constitutes a threat to the public safety,” the order said.
The Denver Post reported that Colorado is also working to pass a legislation preventing illegal pesticides from being used in the first place. Legislator is working to pass rules that would limit the amount of pesticides used in marijuana that are approved for consumption. The goal is that eventually marijuana will be used safely in greenhouses and will be safer for human consumption. Until then, Colorado cannabis lover must remember to proceed with caution.
With the news of pesticides in marijuana products, it is important to know the environmental impacts of marijuana farms. We have discussed in detail how marijuana farms are causing serious damage to the environment in areas like California. In California, run-off from marijuana farms get into the water and causes damage to the ecosystem. Also, since marijuana requires high amount of water to grow successfully, California is facing a major water shortage and marijuana farms are part of the problem.
The fact that marijuana is only legal on a state by state basis makes the process of establishing clear procedures difficult since regulations are not able to be considered on a federal level. In states where marijuana is legal, businesses have to rely on cash-only transactions as they are unable to use federal banking systems.
Overall, the issue of marijuana reform is an increasingly complex issue and in the future, solutions to the problems of legalization will be addressed. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
-Author: Shernide Delva
By Cheryl Steinberg
Considering that other countries, as well as some U.S. states where pot has been legalized, are seeing a decrease in crime and other problematic issues, what if more open drug use leads to fewer drug-related problems?
Our culture is one steeped in the belief that drugs are the enemy that we need to throw money and resources at, as implicated by our whole War on Drugs strategy. One that has been embedded in the minds of American citizens through media coverage, afterschool anti-drug specials, as well as in-school anti-drug programs like D.A.R.E. – which was found to be wholly ineffective.
Take alcohol, for example.
Currently, our cultural experience with drugs and addiction reflect our social history with alcohol. We know alcohol can be addictive and believe that alcoholism exists. We also know that most people can drink without becoming alcoholics, and we know that—at some point—most young people will choose to drink.
We live in a strangely inconsistent society. Alcohol is legal and so it is socially accepted that eventually most of us will drink and will enjoy drinking. And yet, we are preoccupied with the dangers of alcohol—one doesn’t have to look too far to see the prestige and acceptance in this country of Alcoholics Anonymous, which conveys the view that alcohol can be deadly and uncontrollable.
Young people get mixed messages on the issue of alcohol. Now, with the decriminalization of and in some areas, legalization of marijuana, it gets all the more confusing. Until recently, marijuana was illegal and we could safely declare to kids that it was unhealthy and bad. The acceptance of medical marijuana began to break down that stigma in this country.
Addiction Brain Disease Theory Challenged by Legalizing Drugs
In America, there is a rather confident assertion regarding substances – that “science that shows addiction, whether it’s of [sic] drugs or alcohol, significantly changes a person’s brain. These changes result in compulsive behaviors that weaken a person’s self-control, qualifying all of it as a complex, chronic brain disease.”
This is the “Addictive brain disease theory is expressed most forcefully by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow.
And the results of America’s experiments in drug legalization are already starting to come in. And they disprove Dr. Volkow’s fears of drug use, which were initially spread throughout America following passage of the Harrison Act in 1914, which made drugs illegal.
In fact, the idea that drugs somehow make up a specific category of forbidden and uncontrollable substances because of their special addictive effects has been rejected by the very people who invented it. That is, the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees who hold the final approval for the criteria in the newest edition of the APA diagnostic manual (DSM-5), which does not describe drugs as addictive, but only in terms of a spectrum in severity of substance use disorders.
Surprisingly, there is only one thing that DSM-5 categorizes as addictive and that one thing is gambling. The DSM currently rejects the credibility of sex addiction while holding out for the possibility of adding video gaming, among others.
Legalizing Drugs: The Reality
American adults are flocking to Colorado to buy and consume marijuana. And they seem to be doing just fine. The worries people have touted regarding legalization are being proved to be unsubstantiated. One notable difference: traffic fatalities in Colorado are down, as is violent crime in Denver.
Let’s take a look at California where the results are even more interesting. In 2010 California decriminalized possession of marijuana and reduced the penalties to a small fine. As a report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice made clear, there are less young people and adults being arrested for drug charges. Other measures of youth health and non-criminality have also been positive: “Non-marijuana drug arrests for California youth, meanwhile, are also down 23%.” Drop-out rates have also dropped.
Using these findings, California, the most populous and diverse state in the nation, experimented further by passing Proposition 47 last November, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin, and meth.
The argument can now be made that dealing with drugs rationally, and not overstating their effects or prohibiting their use, is actually beneficial; even those who choose to use drugs are less likely to use them compulsively or to be overwhelmed by their use under this new approach.
The official medical approach in this country believes that there is something called “addiction caused by heroin and an unspecified number of other drugs.” Yet, American psychiatry, and most Americans, believes addiction is not limited to drugs. At the same time, we are accepting the idea of letting people decide for themselves whether or not to use drugs.
Learning from European Countries
A group of researchers called the European Comparative Alcohol Study (ECAS) conducted a study of alcohol consumption and problems across Europe and found an inverse relationship between alcohol-related social problems and the amount of alcohol consumed in a society.
That is, it found that heavier drinking countries, specifically those in Southern European, followed by Central and Northern European countries in order of national consumption levels—had fewer drinking problems. Remarkably, the heavier-drinking countries also had fewer alcohol-related deaths, which stem primarily from accidents and cirrhosis.
Substance Consumption: Addiction vs. Social-Control Model
These findings contradict the brain disease theory of alcoholism and addiction, which says that the greater the consumption, the more substance problems will occur.
There is an alternative theory, however, called the social-control model. According to this model, the greater the integration of a substance into a society, the fewer problems occur. When drinking is done in normal contexts—rather than in anti-social outbursts—it will be guided by social custom and norms.
With marijuana becoming ever more legal and socially acceptable, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Despite the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in this country, marijuana addiction is a reality for some users. Just like there is alcoholism despite alcohol being legal and socially-acceptable, marijuana can pose a problem for some who may be inclined to abuse substances. If you’re having a hard time cutting back or stopping your marijuana use, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist.
Author: Justin Mckibben
American politicians are soon to face an unprecedented number of US cities and states putting to the voters tomorrow the decision on whether they should follow suit with marijuana legalization as in Colorado and Washington. With so many keeping a close eye on how things have started to shape up in these states, especially concerning the crime rate and economy, politicians are basing a lot of their campaign power off of pot policies and reforms.
Reform Strategies in the States
Some of the most notable legislations and initiatives being considered include:
- Alaska and Oregon have measures on the ballot to fully legalize recreational sale and possession of cannabis.
- Another surprising change on the way may be that Florida would be the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana.
- The US territory of Guam is aiming to pass a similar medical marijuana law,
- Municipalities in New Mexico, Maine and Michigan are all voting to make various reforms to their pot laws.
Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project stated,
“Since 2012, weʼve started to see more and more support from different areas and demographics that weʼd been trying to get to work with us for years. I think a lot of state lawmakers have looked at the issue and began working on policy alternatives in their own states—and 2016 should see even more than this year.”
Pot Focused Power Shift
The coming midterm elections are expected to produce a Republican wavelet. The New York Times made one last analysis of the polls showing the Republican party, also known as GOP (Grand Old Party) winning the necessary six seats they would need to take control of the Senate even as the party increases its majority in the House.
Midterm voter turnouts are typically lower numbers, and the demographic often tilts to a significantly whiter, older and wealthier majority. There has been a strong hope among Democrats that the marijuana ballot initiatives might stimulate a more sufficient turnout among their typical supporters.
Democrats are counting on younger people, people of color and progressives to help push the Democratic candidates over the top, and they are expecting all the possible reforms for marijuana to bring those people to the polls.
The Florida gubernatorial race has been tight, and the medical marijuana initiative may encourage younger and more progressive voters to go to the polls, and they hope this will help to elect a Democratic governor.
Florida Gets Action on Amendment 2
Florida’s Amendment 2 has gone the distance against a heavily funded opposition that has built a strong armory of fear-mongering advertising. But it has one extra mountain to climb that most other states do not: a 60% approval rate because legalization requires a constitutional amendment.
In July when a poll showed that 88% of Florida voters approved of medical marijuana this seemed possible. However in recent weeks the Drug Free Florida Committee has pushed those controversial anti-2 TV ads around the clock in an attempt to persuade moderate and undecided citizens to vote against the initiative. A whopping 85% of the anit-2 group’s $5.8 million in funding has come from Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnet whose wife is an addiction specialist, and who is a major Republican bankroller.
Following this barrage of ads, a poll taken by the local media showed only 48% of likely voters approved of Amendment 2. Ben Pollara, executive director of United for Care, the main backers of 2 said,
“Theyʼve outspent us ten to one over the last two weeks. Weʼve bled about as much as we can bleed, but weʼre going to hold the fort”
But despite this early assumption, a more recent poll by a Democratic firm done last week found that “yes on 2” votes had climbed back up to 59%—just 1% shy of the requisite 60%.
Amendment 2 has been endorsed by Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, a former moderate Republican governor of the state who is now running as a Democrat. Other Democrats came out early in support of Amendment 2, and additional Democratic support comes from Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Alcee Hastings and Rep. Corrine Brown.
Republican Governor Rick Scott has opposed all efforts to reform drug laws, including those for marijuana for medicinal uses. But in June, he approved a bill providing select patients with a low-THC medical marijuana treatment, which is effective against only neuropathic pain and nausea. He remains opposed to Amendment 2.
Although rates of pot use are comparatively low in Florida—only 6.65% of the state’s citizens admitted to having gotten high in the last month, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—the state has a high proportion of senior citizens, who often support marijuana use for medical as opposed to recreational purposes.
Next President May Need Pot for Power
Victories in the coming state reforms for marijuana could spark a domino effect for similar initiatives in other states. Some speculate there will be ballot initiatives in 2016 to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in:
Advocates are looking to hit the ground even harder, which is likely to bring the cause even more attention, support and financial backing—and raise the issue’s profile in the presidential campaigns, which begin to gear up directly following midterms.
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, has already given signs of a shift. Apparently she softened her approach to pot, not only showing more enthusiastic approval for medical marijuana, but showing enthusiasm on the subject of Colorado and Washington stateʼs legalization in a recent CNN interview.
Politicians now trying to re-imagine the once-criminal enterprise of marijuana into a government regulated industry will be no easy task. There will probably be a lot of trials and tribulations to stumble through one way or the other. Regardless the history of marijuana reform will be changed tomorrow, and no one is watching the issue more closely than politicians on both sides, who must decide whether to stick with that side of the issue in 2016.
While politicians and citizens of several states wait in great anticipation, both sides of the Senate also keep a close eye on the coming midterms to see if they will usher in a new age of pot policies, and to see if the presidential election will be inspired by a weed heavy political climate.
What kind of affect does this have on the recovery community, and how many people will find themselves caught in the cross-fire of marijuana marketing? Will this new change in the way society views drugs and drug use be helpful toward combatting stigma and stereotype? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
In Colorado the legalization of marijuana has already gained massive media attention, and a lot about the lives of the general public has already changed as a result of this new and liberal approach to dealing with marijuana in this state. In fact, this past Saturday there was a special event organized to pass out free marijuana to citizens, specifically to individuals who had served in the armed forces.
The Denver Cannabis Giveaway
Over the course of Saturday September 21st there was quite a turn out at The Denver Cannabis Giveaway, which was an event targeted at veterans to hand out free marijuana to hundreds of people. The items distributed included marijuana edibles and medicinal versions of the plant, all in an effort designed to help vets in need, according to those responsible for organizing the event.
The participants gave out several types of marijuana to the veterans, and even to the general public. Of course they made sure the pot was only allowed to those who can now legally possess it in Colorado. It was noted as being an attempt at taking a different approach to assisting and treating veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Roger Martin, Operation Grow4Vets Executive Director spoke up to celebrate the success of the program, and to assure the public of the intentions of The Denver Cannabis Giveaway to lend a helping hand. The free marijuana giveaway turned out to be the largest event in the history of Operation Grow4Vets, and over 400 bags of marijuana products were handed out to those in attendance. Martin said,
“That’s our mission, is to offer veterans a safe alternative to the dangerous prescription drugs that they’re prescribed to deal with PTSD, TBI, chronic pain, and all sorts of other ailments”
Martin went on to talk about how this event was hoping to impact the growing number of veterans who die from either suicide or from drug over-doses in the United States every day. Martin as the founder of Operation Grow4Vets is himself a veteran, and hopes that this past weekend’s program will help many who have served their country.
“I’m allergic to morphine opiates, I can’t take them. So I don’t have much choice other than do that,” said Mark Pitt, a Vietnam veteran who attended the event over the course of the day.
But others openly objected to the entire event, stating that distribution of marijuana publicly to veterans in this fashion was less than ideal. Bob Doyle of the Colorado Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Coalition stated that,
“These people are getting marijuana with varying degrees of potency and THC. That could cause things like paranoia. Obviously things that we wouldn’t want somebody with PTSD to be experiencing.”
So the opposition in this case does not stand against legal marijuana particularly, the opinion expressed is simply that with pre-existing conditions there should be more regulations in place to make sure that those receiving the cannabis are being properly screened, and are not being over-medicated.
Regardless of objections, the military veterans who attended the event say marijuana is a very useful medicinal alternative to them as medical treatment, and many supported the even because they claimed that these medicinal marijuana items actually make more sense than harsher alternatives, some of which can actually be considered as harmful treatment methods.
During the course of the event, Operation Grow4Vets actually announced its plans for the future, and its next big project Save 1,000 Vets project which aims to make medical marijuana products available to 1,000 veterans, and a free life-time supply of cannabis-infused products for those veterans. With such a large turn out on Saturday, it is hard to imagine that they are too far from getting the momentum they need to pull it off.
One way or the other, the changes in Denver, Colorado and the marijuana reform are not hard to notice, and it appears that public opinion shows up by the masses to support a movement aimed at promoting medical cannabis alternatives to medications, especially for their local veterans. While this may be very helpful to those in need, many people still suffer from issues with substance abuse, be it marijuana or prescription drugs, there are still real dangers involved. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
According to a new report, Colorado drug abuse has the 24th highest drug overdose death rate in the United States, with 12.7 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose mortalities, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic stated. Hundreds of individuals in Colorado are dying from drug abuse each day. But, the drugs behind a growing number of these deaths typically are not being obtained on street corners or from drug dealers — the drugs are most regularly found in household medicine cabinets.
Colorado Drug Abuse: Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs deliver help to millions of Coloradans every year, but the Colorado drug abuse of these strong and sometimes lethal drugs has become one of the severest problems facing Coloradans today. Three times as many individuals died in 2008 of prescription drug abuse, 562, than died from drunken driving-related accidents, 173. And the problem has increased considerably in recent years, from 298 prescription-drug-related deaths in 2000 to 562 deaths in 2008. For example, 49 percent of the drug-related deaths between 2003 and 2008 in Denver were caused by prescription drugs.
Colorado Drug Abuse: Youth and Drug Abuse
Colorado youth in specific are abusing prescription drugs at a disturbing rate. According to statistics from the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health and other state agencies, Colorado drug abusers ages 24 and younger comprised 20 percent of all admissions to Colorado drug treatment facilities to treat dependences to opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Colorado drug abusers ages 24 and younger comprised 29 percent of all admittances to Colorado drug treatment facilities to treat dependences to stimulants.
Colorado Drug Abuse: A Rising Epidemic
Ready access to prescription drugs has fueled this growing trend among youth over the previous decade. From OxyCotin to Vicodin, young Coloradans have ready access to powerful drugs often inside their own homes. According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 82 percent of individuals across the county recording prescription-drug abuse said they got the drugs from a friend or relative for free. Trends in young Colorado drug abuse of prescription drugs track together with national trends, as recognized by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, even as this demographic has testified deteriorating use of methamphetamine and inhalants, such as paint or glue.
For a state that gets distinguished for having health-focused, energetic, outdoorsy residents, new reports shed some upsetting light on a darker side of this state and the Colorado drug abuse. In Colorado, along with drug abuse there are treatment centers that can help you with your addiction. Colorado drug abuse may be on the rise but that doesn’t mean we can’t change that and have recovery be on the rise, too. Living the life of an addict is no life to live – I know from personal experience. Going down the rabbit hole is sure to make life more difficult and miserable for anyone. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction in Colorado, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.