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Is Colorado a source for illegal marijuana exports?

Cannabis legalization also renews concerns about increased use by youth

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Drug-related disciplinary actions at schools have increased since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — An early March drug bust by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is just one of the indications that Colorado is becoming a source state for marijuana distribution and illegal sales in other states. It’s also a warning that easy accessibility to marijuana may have other consequences, including more use by teens, according to Summit County Sheriff John Minor.

The week-long drug interdiction operation at all four local Post Offices yielded more than 13.5 pounds of marijuana and marijuana edibles, along with other illegal substances, resulted in numerous arrests and serious charges. The operation was aimed at reducing the number suspected narcotic parcels or narcotic proceeds being shipped through the U.S. Postal Service.

Some of the marijuana edibles were “professionally packaged” and may have come from legal marijuana dispensaries, but there’s no indication that any local dispensaries were involved in illegal activities, said sheriff’s office spokesperson Tracy LeClair.

“It certainly appears that Colorado is now a source state,” Minor said, explaining that law enforcement agencies in other states are reporting illegal sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused products from Colorado, in most cases purchased at Colorado dispensaries. Continue reading

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Will Congress act on marijuana legalization?

Proposed legislation would empower states, create tax framework

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Colorado’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry still operates in a gray area between state and federal laws.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Saying that the power to unravel the marijuana mess lies with Congress, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) this week introduced measures that would de-federalize marijuana policy and create a framework for the federal taxation of cannabis.

To provide context for the legislation, the lawmakers released a report that outlines the history of what they called the failed war on marijuana and explains that more than 100 million Americans live in jurisdictions where governments and voters have decided that some aspect of marijuana should be legally permitted. Continue reading

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

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

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

Breckenridge enacts medical marijuana moratorium

New state medical marijuana law prompts local moratoriums, including Breckenridge.

Town won’t issue any new licenses for dispensaries and grow operations for nine months

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Breckenridge this joined the medical marijuana bandwagon that’s been rolling through Colorado by enacting a nine-month moratorium on issuing licenses for new dispensary and grow operations in town. The moratorium is effective immediately and does not affect existing medical marijuana operations.

According to a press release from the town, some council members are concerned about the number of dispensaries in town. The town was also facing a possible flood of applications prior to a July 1 deadline established by a new state medical marijuana law. The moratorium will enable the town to update its regulations based on the new state law. Continue reading

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