HIGH THC HARMS
We recently learned that since 2017, teens throughout Colorado have radically increased dabbing, a method of consuming high-potency THC that seriously harms people with developing brains. Aggressive commercialization in Boulder of high THC drugs falsely advertised as medicinal, natural, or safer than alcohol and tobacco have decreased the perceived risk of harm among youth.
More normalization has serious consequences. The Boulder community should not expand the legal framework for marijuana into recreational delivery and social consumption.
Despite the insistence of marijuana lobbyists that recreational marijuana delivery and social clubs will have no effect on Boulder's youth, any reasonable consideration of the facts shows that more normalization creates more negative impacts.
But the problems run even deeper. Boulder youth have easy access to the high-potency THC concentrates that can addict and harm them. Despite excellent industry compliance with ID checks inside dispensaries, young people in Boulder don't need a fake ID to buy nuclear-strength marijuana at a moment's notice. Two serious issues are at play: 18-year-olds with medical cards often become social sellers to their younger peers, and marijuana dispensaries have zero ability to track multiple-dispensary purchases. Loopholes >>
The problem with further liberalizing Boulder's already liberal marijuana policies is that they center upon the rights of marijuana businesses, at the expense of the most vulnerable party in the community, adolescents.
Think critically about the data.
In Colorado, marijuana lobbyists will tell you that youth use has remained steady since legalization. They won't tell you that use by Colorado youth is 40% higher than the national average, and that Colorado ranks #1 in the US for marijuana use among 12 - 17 year olds and 18 - 25 year olds (Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, 2020). Most disturbing is the increase in the use of high-THC dabs and edibles among young teenagers.
These kids are not just "smoking a joint." Dabbing is a way of ingesting high-THC marijuana using with a pipe and butane blow torch. High THC marijuana use increases the incidence of psychosis, especially in young people.
Several parents have testified to the Boulder Cannabis Licensing and Advisory Board about their children experiencing psychosis brought on by high-THC marijuana use. One Colorado parent, Laura Stack, lost her son Johnny to suicide during a psychotic break after dabbing.
This is Dabbing:
MARIJUANA-RELATED HOSPITAL VISITS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ARE WAY UP SINCE LEGALIZATION
The number of teenagers sent to emergency rooms has more than quadrupled since marijuana was legalized in Colorado and continues to rise — mostly for mental health symptoms.
TEEN SUICIDE IS WAY UP SINCE LEGALIZATION, SUGGESTING A POSSIBLE CORRELATION
HEALTHY KIDS SURVEY
The Colorado Health Kids survey released in August 2020 showed nearly 21% of young people in the state reporting past month marijuana use. Notably, use in young teens (aged 15 and younger) significantly increased by 15.5% from 2017 (the last time data was collected). According to the data, since 2017 past month marijuana use among those aged 15 or younger has increased 14.8%, 16 or 17-year-olds has increased 3.0%, and 18 or older has increased 1.9%. Overall, marijuana use amongst all age groups has risen 6.2%. In a disturbing development, teens report an alarming increase in their use of ultra-potent cannabis products in the form of dabs and vapes. More than half of high school students (52%) who use marijuana reported that they dab marijuana to get high – up from 34.4% just two years ago.