Legalized Pot Industry Targets Our Youth

“It’s not about pot as a leafy plant to smoke, but about edibles clearly designed to appeal to children.“ – Ben Cort, Director of the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado

Legalized Pot is BIG business that Is taking direct aim at our kids. Last year, the industry reported sales of $700 million in Colorado, according to the Centennial State’s Department of Revenue. Of this total, 45 percent ($313 million) was for recreational use while 55 percent ($387 million) was for medical purposes. The revenue department also stated that in the first quarter of 2015, the more than 300 retail cannabis shops reported sales of $118 million. It is projected that sales for 2015 will exceed $470 million, which surpasses last year’s total of $313 million by about 50 percent.

A large part of these sales are attributed to consumption by those under the age of 21. In fact, Marijuana use by school kids between the ages of 12 and 17 is 58 percent higher in Colorado than the national average, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). The percentage for college age adults is 54 percent higher than the national average. RMHIDTA’s report also indicated a 34 percent increase in drug-related suspensions from Colorado schools during the past five year period.

The reason for the large increase in underage usage can be contributed to the fact that the legalized pot industry is taking aim on our children by providing a variety of edible products. Marijuana is available in concentrated products such as brownies, chocolates, cookies, lollipops, gummies and cherry drops. These items are produced by extracting the psychoactive ingredient of the plant for a very powerful effect.

Many of the pot edibles are practically identical to mainstream products—so much so that once out of the wrapper, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart. However, when child advocacy groups along with some legislators tried to pass laws that would require pot edibles to clearly show a basic marker, they were met with heavy resistance.

“This is the reality for our kids. But they don’t even know what THC means.” – Diane Carlsonco-founder of Smart Colorado, a youth advocacy group

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