Groups by the Numbers

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado many are worried that the drug use among people will increase. From research of drug use the percentage of people using marijuana in Colorado is actually been on the decline which is in contrast to the country as a whole. When marijuana was legalized the amount of people that used marijuana did not spike as far as many experts predicted. To break down the numbers even more the age group that has the highest usage of marijuana is 18-25. At first glance people see that this group would consist mainly of high school and college students. People in this age group are very likely to give into pressure from other people their age. To look at and break down the different racial groups shows that there is not much of a difference between them. African Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians are only separated by about 3.5%. This shows that there is not one specific race that has a significantly high percentage than the others. Another surprise too many is that the unemployed do not have the highest number users of marijuana. The group that dose is those with full time work which goes against what most people would think. There are several other statics that would surprise the general population because it is not what most would believe. One of those statics is the age that most people first use marijuana. The average age of first time users is 17.5, but some begin as young as 12 years old. Over the past few years the average age has begun to rise but how young some users are is very concerning to man

http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.htm

Joseph Roseman

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Growing Future Concerns

The debate on marijuana still rages throughout the country. Those who oppose the new policy have several reasons why the progress needs to be stopped before it’s too late. Several of the risk that may come to life were more than likely never even considered when the reform was passed.

The first and obvious reason is that we do not fully understand marijuana’s affect on the body. As of right now there is little to no evidence to determine what happens to the person’s overall health, but the little that we do know is shocking. Some studies show that after long term use of marijuana may lower someone’s IQ by up to eight points and possible more. Studies have also shown that people will develop problems with memory after long term use. Marijuana also affects the lungs immediately after smoking. This has caused hundreds to be rushed to the emergency room and thousands more to develop chronic respiratory problems. Research shows that people that smoke marijuana miss more days of work than someone that only smokes tobacco. With younger people developing these new health problems the cost of the rest of society is beginning to rise. Many fear that marijuana will be similar to alcohol in the way that it cost society more to deal with than it brings in in taxes. To try and end this point in people’s argument some of the tax money is being used to help discover more affects of marijuana on the human body.

A new concern to the owners of the marijuana stores is the drug cartels from Central and South America. With the amount of money that the cartels stand to lose (estimated to be over $1.4 billion) many believe that they will not stand by without any action. The two biggest fears of this is that the cartels begin to sell from what appears to be a legal store but really use it as a way to send drugs throughout the rest of the country. the other is threatening the owners of the stores and their families just to get in on the money that is being made on a daily bases.

Sources: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Joseph Roseman

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Colorado’s Rules and Regulations On Marijuana

As we all know Colorado has recently legalized Marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use. With the legalization of the third most popular drug in America comes several rules and regulations, commonly and humorously known as the “doobie do’s.”

Now the most common misconception about marijuana being legal in Colorado is that it is legal everywhere in the state. In reality it is only allowed on private property or with the property owners consent. Same rule with growing the plant on private property however there is a limit of only 6 plants in the home and they must be in an enclosed and locked space. Also the plants that are actually grown for sale need to be distributed by licensed individuals and they must be tracked from seed to sale.

To purchase cannabis in Colorado you also need to be 21 years of age with a valid Colorado ID. And as weird as it may seem you can share with a friend so long as there is no monetary exchange. The law also says you can only purchase one fourth of an ounce at a time and of course you cannot leave the state with the drug. Primarily because it is still against the law in other states and it is still against federal law. The only reason shop owners in Colorado are not being prosecuted is because the federal government is turning a blind eye to the situation. The main reason for this might be because of the extra revenue being brought in by the taxes on the drug and the fact that some of the money is used towards Colorado’s public schools.

While marijuana is illegal in the majority of states and is against federal law currently, I could see the appeal of legalizing it in other states. Off the taxes alone the state estimates that they will gain around 60 million dollars within the next year. Also from legalizing marijuana crime rates have gone down because drug possession arrests and violent crimes have decreased drastically. Although rates have gone down we also have to realize that there are new laws to break dealing with the drug and it is important to remember that that there will always be rules and regulations concerning any drug, legal or illegal. However will more people start using the drug in other states? Has anyone thought about the effect that legalizing the drug will have on the youth?

Sources: m.kmbc.com/news/colorado-marajuana-laws-come-with-restrictions-regulations/24437018
http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/28/us/10-things-colorado-recreational-marajuana/

Alyssa Nance

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A New Form of Tourism

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has been a source of great controversy across the nation, but has also provided many economic benefits since its first legal sale on January 1, 2014.  These benefits encompass not only those provided to the area by the opening of new small businesses and taxes.  Thanks to the legalization, a new form of tourism has been introduced to the state.  A recently-opened business, called ‘My 420 Tours’, enables those of legal age to catch a glimpse into the industry.  Matt Brown’s new business offers three-day packages in which adults 21 years and older can explore the ins and outs of a legal marijuana facility.

Brown’s business provides the opportunity to explore a grower’s business, sample edible products, and learn how to make cuisine involving the herb.  A major selling point of this company is that all of these may experienced safely.  Throughout the course of the program, customers are provided transportation by sober individuals.  From the hotel to the dispensary to the airport, intrigued customers are allowed to try the newly-legalized products safely without worrying about operating a vehicle under the influence.  This is a good way to avoid potential criticism coming from opposition that worry about the effect of the drug on others.

One of the most important aspects the company focuses on is teaching program members how to participate under the law’s restrictions.  On their website, My 420 Tours provides detailed information on the age requirement, as well as purchasing and possession restrictions for in- and out-of-state customers.  It also explains how it can get around the cash-only requirement of marijuana purchases.  The fact that My 420 Tours doesn’t provide a product, but a service, allows the company to take credit cards for their sales.  And for many, credit cards are necessary.  The tours come at a hefty price.  One couple can expect to pay at least $2,500 for a weekend-long tour.

The introduction of this new company is a fine example of how society in Colorado is changing.  The state, along with Washington, has legalized a substance that has not only provided a new market for the smoking community, but has also introduced a new form of tourism, that is likely to catch on.

Source: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/02/tourism-legalized-marijuana-industry.html

Shelby Nicole Lyons

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A Growing Support Base

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado illustrates a significant shift in public opinion of recreational marijuana usage, and its not just the people who were lined up in front of the dispensaries on January 1st. Nationwide, more and more people are beginning to jump on the legalization bandwagon, for varying reasons.

Scott Shane, a professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University, does an excellent job of illustrating the economic standpoint of the legalization argument in his article. In it, he describes the broad reaching benefits that legalization of marijuana can have on the economy – namely high tax revenue. He argues that making a business illegal does not halt entrepreneurial pursuits in its field, and that it is common knowledge that marijuana is a very large, profitable business in all 50 states, including the 48 where it is illegal. He goes on to say that in Colorado, the legal purchase of marijuana carries a 25% tax, on top of the 2.9% sales tax on the product, which doesnt seem to be limiting sales in the slightest. How long this high sale volume will last is unsure, but official estimates put Colorado with almost 70 million more tax dollars at the end of 2014 than it would have without marijuana taxes, which will initially be used for the building of public schools but are expected to far exceed those costs. The article touches on some other key points in the legalization push, including:

Tobacco and alcohol (recreational drug products which are proven to be harmul) are legal in the 48 states where marijuana is not.

Legalization of weed will lessen the strain on drug enforcement efforts, which in turn allows more focus on dangerous, crime causing drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

The fact that, for many, marijuana and alcohol are substitutes for each other, and that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, which could potentially cause a drop in overall alcohol usage, boosting public health.

Overall, Shane provides a surprisingly sober look into reasons for legalization that veer away from the “It isn’t bad for you” argument that is typically heard from supporters. It seems many Americans are beginning to take this standpoint on the issue, which I find interesting, as it could signal the spread of support for legalization branching further away from people who use marijuana regardless of its legal status to those who do not use it and may not even if it were legal where they lived. After all, this support from the educated, voting population is the kind that any legal amendment needs, marijuana being no exception. My question is, can this movement breach the point of no return? Or will lawmakers strike it down before it reaches its critical mass? Only time will tell.

Source: http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2014/01/24/why-colorado-and-washington-were-wise-to-legalize-pot/

Dave Ross

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