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Study: No proof that medical marijuana increases teen use

Researchers say legalized medical marijuana does not lead to increased pot smoking among teens.

‘We are confident that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase when a state legalizes medical marijuana’

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — It may be counterintuitive, but an extensive study by researchers at three universities concludes there’s no link between the legalization of medical marijuana to increased use of the drug among high school students.

Statistics do show that teen marijuana use has been rising since 2005, but the study suggests that increase is due to other factors, not the recent growth of the medical marijuana industry.

“There is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is finding its way into the hands of teenagers, but there’s no statistical evidence that legalization increases the probability of use,” said Daniel I. Rees, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver. Continue reading

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Study: Legal medical marijuana cuts traffic deaths

A new study by Colorado-based researchers suggests a link between the legalization of medical marijuana and a drop in traffic deaths.

Beer consumption also down in states that have legalized medical cannabis use

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new study out of the University of Colorado Denver suggests traffic deaths have dropped 9 percent and beer sales have declined by 5 percent in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.

The in-depth analysis of 13 states that legalized medical marijuana between 1990 and 2009 also indicates that marijuana consumption among minors did not increase as a result of the legalization of medical marijuana. Alcohol consumption by 20- to 29-year-olds went down in the states that legalized medical cannabis, resulting in fewer deaths on the road. The study is online here.

“Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults,” said Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who co-authored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Council eyes medical marijuana tax

New federal government rules probably won’t affect town plans

Would Breckenridge voters approve a sales tax on medical marijuana?

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Breckenridge Town Council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would levy a 5 percent sales tax on retail sales of medical marijuana starting Jan. 1, 2012. The tax could generate more than $40,000 annually for the town, but is subject to approval by voters under the TABOR amendment.

In a short memo council members, town attorney Tim Berry discussed the potential implications of a recent guidance memo from the U.S. Department of Justice, which appears to take aim at large-scale medical marijuana businesses.

Berry said he doesn’t think there’s been a wholesale shift in the federal government’s stance on state-regulated medical marijuana. But the last paragraph of the memo states that, “those who knowingly facilitate” businesses engaged in the cultivation, sale or distribution of medical marijuana may be subject to federal prosecution. Continue reading

States, feds spar over medical marijuana

The clash between states and the federal government over medical marijuana may be intensifying.

U.S. Department of Justice memo appears to target commercial medical marijuana growers

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Congressman Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, is sparring with the U.S. Department of Justice over the language of a June 29 memo from the federal agency that seems to target large-scale medical marijuana growers and dispensaries.

The memo is intended to clarify the federal government’s role in enforcing the prohibition on illegal drug use. The widespread legalization of medical cannabis has resulted in some confusion in a classic case of states’ rights versus federal law. Federal  officials are obligated to enforce the controlled substances act, even as more and more states legalize medical use of marijuana.

In a related story, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that drug-related school expulsions have soared in the Poudre School District as medical marijuana use becomes more widespread. Continue reading

Colorado: Congress aims at medical marijuana reform

Proposed federal legislation could end some of the battles over Colorado's medical marijuana policies.

Proposed laws would address fiscal and legal issues

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Congress may try to untangle some of the fiscal and legal issues associated with the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in Colorado and other states in a bipartisan way, with three new laws introduced May 25 by Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA), Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO).

Two of the laws address financial inequities, while the third, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, would shield individuals and entities from federal prosecution when acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. Continue reading

Lawmakers to tweak state’s medical marijuana code

Colorado lawmakers are tweaking the state's medical marijuana code.

Early version would create two classes of medical marijuana licences

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A bill introduced in the State Legislature and assigned to the judiciary committee aims to clarify numerous provisions in the existing Colorado Medical Marijuana Code. The bill will likely be tweaked several times before it reaches a vote in the floor, but here’s the summary of the initial version:

Under current law, any person applying for or who has been issued a medical marijuana license is subject to certain residency requirements. The bill narrows the application of the residency requirements to owners only, as defined by rule of the department of revenue. A medical marijuana infused-products manufacturer is limited to having no more than 500 marijuana plants on site unless the manufacturer is granted a waiver. Continue reading

Colorado Supreme Court rejects cannabis law challenge

Colorado regulators and attorneys continue to wrangle over medical marijuana laws.

Colorado Department of Revenue continues rule-making process; patient advocates cite privacy concerns

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A challenge to Colorado’s medical marijuana statutes — House Bill 10 – 1284 and Senate Bill 10 – 109 — was rejected this week by the state Supreme Court. The petition claimed that the statute unlawfully hinders patients from accessing cannabis, and asked the Supreme Court to decide the issue based on “urgent constitutional issues.”

The petition was filed Jan. 5by Andrew B. Reid, senior counsel for Springer and Steinberg, P.C., a Denver law firm, on behalf of Kathleen Chippi, a Nederland caregiver and dispensary owner, and the Patient and Caregivers Rights Litigation project, an association of patients, caregivers and physicians that have been harmed by the passage of these laws.

The petition had asked the court to overturn large parts of laws passed by the Colorado legislature last year (HB 10-1284 and SB 10-109) because they restrict patient access to medicine and violate patient privacy rights guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution. Continue reading

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