Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Volume 3, September 2015

Colorado’s annual report shows an increase in impaired driving, youth marijuana use, adult marijuana use, emergency room marijuana and hospital marijuana related admissions, and treatment admissions.

By the end of 2012, Colorado had over 108,000 medical marijuana cardholders. People often choose medical marijuana over recreational marijuana because taxes on medical marijuana are significantly lower.

Recreational marijuana use began in 2013; by 2014, in one year:

  • They found a 45 percent increase in marijuana positive toxicology reports for those primarily driving under the influence.
  • They found a 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths.
  • They found a 29 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits.
  • They found a 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations.

Read more: The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact

Carla K. Johnson, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, September 8, 2015

Without examining a patient’s eyes, Dr. Joseph Starkman allegedly recommended medical marijuana for a 79-year-old patient who, at one time, had been diagnosed with glaucoma. The recommendation cost the patient $250.

Dr. Starkman, 36, could have his medical license suspended or revoked. Illinois’ medical marijuana law requires doctors to certify that a patient has an approved diagnosis and will likely benefit from marijuana.

Read more: Illinois doctor fights charges he misled patient about marijuana

Parents Opposed to Pot, July 3, 2015

Writers from have reviewed the book, Pretty Little Killers, the story of 16-year-olds, Sheila Eddy and Rachel Shoaf, who killed Skylar Neese in a marijuana woven web, and they offer plausible explanations for the girl’s actions through current marijuana research.

The authors, Daleen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller were given access to Skylar’s journals and writings.

A rupture in the friendship had developed 11 months earlier when Skylar saw Sheila and Rachel having sex at a sleepover. The book gives vague hints that Rachel and Shelia had wanted to get rid of Skylar for about 9 months before the murder happened, for fear she’d reveal the lesbian tryst. Although Skylar had at least two violent fights with Shelia Eddy before her friends killed her, she stayed away from them during most of the previous 6 months. But on that fatal night, the lure of sneaking out of her apartment to smoke weed broke her resolve.

The well-researched book explains that the three girls began smoking weed about 21 months before the murder, during fall of their freshman year. About 15 months earlier, the girls had been caught violating curfew, going out with older guys who had pot.

Read more: Poisoned By the Weed: Marijuana and Pretty Little Killers, Part 1

Associated Press, July 15, 2015

Colorado’s Board of Health voted against adding PTSD to the existing list of 8 debilitating conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use. “We can’t have physicians counseling people in favor of it because we don’t have data to show it’s correct,” said Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, one of the board members who voted no.

Colorado allows adults over 21 to buy recreational pot, with no doctor’s recommendation needed. But medical pot is taxed at 2.9 percent, compared to at least 19 percent for recreational pot.

In addition, medical patients are allowed to possess twice as much marijuana – 2 ounces instead of 1 ounce.

Read more: Colorado rejects PTSD as ailment eligible for medical pot

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, Science Spotlight, June 23, 2015

New research released on June 23, 2015 by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), proves smoking low levels of marijuana, 2.9% vs 6.7% THC, causes impaired driving similar to those with 0.08 breath alcohol.

The research was done at the University of Iowa on a sophisticated driving simulator that measured weaving between the lanes.

Additionally, drivers drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana exacerbated their impairment. Those using both substances weaved within lanes even if their blood THC and alcohol concentrations were below the impairment thresholds for each substance alone.

It was found that low amounts of alcohol significantly increased peak THC concentrations.

Read more: Effects of marijuana – with and without alcohol – on driving performance

Dr. Grace M. McGorrian, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 24, 2015

Old-fashioned natural marijuana had low or moderate amounts of THC, along with cannabidiol, a chemical that shields the brain against THC’s effects. Modern marijuana has been genetically modified to be more potent – six to 10 times higher THC. And it has very little cannabidiol, which means there is little protection against intense psychoactivity, including psychotic experiences.

High levels of THC can:
• Distort reality and consciousness.
• Cause poor balance.
• Compromise memory.
• Make it difficult to hold a job.
• If used regularly for any period, increase the odds of developing schizophrenia for those under 18.

Statistically, heavy marijuana smokers struggle more with staying sober than users of any other drug. Peers and family members simply don’t believe that weed can create such dependency, so they often provide little support.

Read more: Pot used to be pretty harmless, but it’s plenty dangerous today

Gabrielle Cintorino,, May 21, 2015

The state is finding the residents of Colorado to be ignorant of the dangers of smoking pot and are having to develop public health campaigns to educate them.

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) has a campaign that warns of the serious consequences of driving under the influence.

“CDOT’s website lists a significant increase in drug-related accidents since 2008. In 2008, 10.1 percent of drivers involved in accidents were found to be drug-impaired. By 2013, that figure had risen to 14.2 percent.”

A Good To Know Campaign forewarns of the health risks marijuana poses to young people.

“An animated video featured on the ‘Good to Know Colorado’ website uses quips such as ‘For those underage, it’s just not okay. Their brains are still growing, so keep it away’ to relay the warning message that marijuana poses health risks to youngsters, particularly teenagers.”

Read more: Colorado Campaigns Warn Residents About Dangers of Legalized Pot

Brian Maass, CBS Denver, May 18, 2015

Daniel Juarez, an 18-year-old from Brighton, died September 26, 2012 after stabbing himself 20 times. In an autopsy report that had never been made public before, but was obtained by CBS4, his THC level – the active ingredient in marijuana- was measured at 38.2 namograms. In Colorado, anything over 5 nanograms is considered impaired for driving.

Juarez was nearly eight times the legal limit.

Police and witnesses then say Juarez literally ran wild, stripping off most of his clothing and running into his nearby apartment. There, he got a knife and stabbed himself 20 times, one of the stab wound piercing his heart. Juarez’s autopsy report lists his manner of death as suicide with ‘marijuana intoxication’ as a ‘significant condition.’

Read more: Marijuana Intoxication Blamed In More Deaths, Injuries

Jason Law and Pat LaFleur,, March 17, 2015

Police charge College Hill woman with murder for beheading her 3-month-old infant. The woman was said to be high on marijuana and “speaking in tongues,” according to a police report.

The woman had said that she had started “speaking with demons…”

Read more: Ohio woman accused of beheading 3-month-old was reportedly ‘speaking with demons’

Gail Paschall-Brown,, March 16, 2015

At least four Spruce Creek High School students were hospitalized after eating hash oil laced brownies. Deputies arrested a 17-year old boy and charged him with four counts of sale and delivery of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and seven counts of culpable negligence.

At least 10 students ate the laced brownies, which were sold to them by another student, investigators said.

Read more: 4 Spruce Creek High School students hospitalized after eating hash oil brownies, deputies say