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It's known in Boulder as a rite of passage:  Turn 18, get a medical card (it's easy), buy high potency pot, then become a social reseller to younger friends.  

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Boulder marijuana businesses have no systematic way to monitor looping (buying the maximum daily amount of marijuana from multiple locations). This enables a black market for social sales among youth.   

The wink-wink tolerance of high-THC drug sales to Boulder's youth needs to stop.

The marijuana industry knows that because of two significant loopholes, Boulder youth are able to easily buy and resell high-potency marijuana using the legal framework. They have done nothing to close these loopholes.


1) Young People with Medical Cards

Young people between 18-20 can obtain a medical marijuana card with virtually no scrutiny. All it takes is a quick appointment with a doctor often found on the Internet. Once they have a card, they can buy up to 2 grams of high-potency THC drugs daily (a large amount). They then become social resellers of these drugs to their younger peers. This is thought to be the most prevalent pipeline of high-THC drugs into Boulder high schools. 

Unlike a valid medical prescription, a marijuana medical card does NOT specify a particular drug, dosage, strength, time period, or drug interactions. It is in fact a green light to buy anything and everything sold in a dispensary.

Shoulder-tap sales, in which young people ask adults to purchase marijuana on their behalf, are also widespread. Unlike alcohol, marijuana comes in small packaging and is easily concealed. Edibles have no scent; vapes pens fit in a pocket. 

The industry should disrupt the flow of dispensary products to vulnerable young people by, at the very least, scrutinizing medical marijuana applications by 18-20 year olds. A medical card for a young person should NOT be a ticket to buy products that are branded as medicine, but in reality do serious damage to their developing brains. Until this loophole is addressed, Boulder should OPT OUT of any marijuana expansion. 

2) Multiple-Dispensary Purchase (Looping)

The marijuana industry knows that people are purchasing high-THC marijuana at multiple dispensaries with the intent to resell to youth. Specifically:

  • Boulder youth have access to high-THC marijuana from resellers who garner supply from multiple dispensaries.

  • Resellers purchase the maximum amount of marijuana at multiple dispensaries and then resell to youth.

  • Marijuana products sold through these networks include high concentrate THC products like edibles, dabs, and shatter. 

  • Resellers actively target Boulder youth using social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

  • Youth can pay for products with apps like Venmo, then arrange a discreet pick up.

  • There are many of these small “plug” businesses operating locally.

The industry has no systematic way to detect, track, or stop this practice. The industry should stop multiple-dispensary purchases by instituting a system similar to the Prescription Drug Monitoring System used by pharmacies to track Sudafed purchases. Until then, Boulder should OPT OUT of any marijuana expansion.

Why Does It Matter? Because High-THC Marijuana Seriously Harms Youth

The harms caused by high-potency marijuana are devastating for young people.  Young people in Boulder are being harmed by high-THC marijuana, including diminished mental and physical potential, addiction and its associated consequences, loss of intelligence and memory, psychosis and myriad psychological harms including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and suicide. 

The legal marijuana industry in Colorado knows that high-potency marijuana causes significant harm to people with developing brains. The industry says it strictly adheres to ID enforcement to keep marijuana away from minors, and that is true. They ALSO know that Boulder youth are accessing high-potency products from purchases through their dispensaries, and that the legal framework has significantly increased the use of high concentrates products by youth. They have done nothing to stop this.


The Boulder community is largely under the impression that legal marijuana is harmless. This is by design. In Boulder, marijuana is marketed as medicine. But high-concentrate marijuana is addictive and harmful to our youth, who are particularly vulnerable because of their developing brains.

The combination of settled science on the harms of high-THC marijuana, and the industry's full knowledge that Boulder kids can and are easily buying it, demonstrates bad faith.  Accordingly, we should not allow expansion. 

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