Growing Pains
Marijuana plants, like this hybrid breed called Shipwreck, which is grown inside the Aloha’s medical marijuana center in Milner, are at the center of a controversial debate about the production, use and role of marijuana as a medical treatment.

Photo by John F. Russell

Marijuana plants, like this hybrid breed called Shipwreck, which is grown inside the Aloha’s medical marijuana center in Milner, are at the center of a controversial debate about the production, use and role of marijuana as a medical treatment.

Growing Pains: Colorado's medical marijuana industry ignites

Colorado scrambles to manage an industry some say is rife with abuse

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Medical marijuana legislation by state

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Anatomy of a marijuana plant

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Colorado medical marijuana card application history

Colorado Senate Bill 109 highlights

Senate Bill 109 was created to regulate the medical side of Colorado’s medical marijuana industry.

■ Physicians and patients are required to have a bona fide relationship.

■ Physicians are required to have a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in Colorado and a valid, unrestricted U.S. Department of Justice Federal Drug Enforcement Adminis­tra­tion controlled substances registration.

■ Physicians are precluded from accepting or soliciting money from caregivers or centers, providing discounts to patients who agree to use a particular caregiver or center, examining patients at centers or having an economic interest in a business that sells medical marijuana.

■ The Colorado Department of Health and Environment is permitted to create rules for the medical marijuana program, including consideration of adding debilitating medical conditions to the state constitution and allowing patients to claim indigence.

■ The medical marijuana cash fund, generated by application fees, can be used only to operate the medical marijuana program and shouldn’t be transferred to any other state fund.

■ The Colorado Board of Medical Examiners may review and investigate physicians it has a reasonable cause to believe violated the medical marijuana program.

Source: Colorado Revised Statutes

— Kara Rosen is among the more than 100,000 Colorado residents who have become legal users of marijuana since 2009.

The 32-year-old Hayden resident and cancer survivor has used medical marijuana every day for about a year. It’s the only remedy she’s found to treat pain, digestion problems, nausea, loss of appetite and insomnia.

“I had lung cancer,” said Rosen, who owns Air­tech Heat­ing & Sheet Metal with her husband, Shelby. “I had it surgically removed. I have to deal with the pain just like other people deal with pain. I just do it in a different way. And it’s not a bad way.”

Medical marijuana became legal in Colorado, for patients with certain conditions and a doctor’s recommendation, after nearly 54 percent of voters approved Amendment 20 in 2000.

Nearly a decade later, Rosen is happy she had that option when confronting her post-cancer pain.

But Rosen’s story isn’t typical. The vast majority of Coloradans who use medical marijuana do so to treat severe pain, not the effects of cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and the other preapproved conditions.

For every Rosen, there are many more like Kip Strean.

Although Strean said he uses medical marijuana to relieve chronic back and shoulder pain, as well as insomnia, the 59-year-old also said he’s been smoking marijuana for about 40 years.

Strean, a musician who has lived in Steamboat Springs since 2000, was a child of the 1960s. He said marijuana is part of his culture. After a spring 2009 visit to Amsterdam, known in part for its legalization of marijuana, he applied for a state-issued medical marijuana registry card.

“I decided to get the card because I was tired of feeling like I was doing anything illegal anymore,” he said. “I mean, come on, the acceptance of it today is so much different than it was in the ’60s.”

In the nine years after it was added to the state constitution, medical marijuana mostly flew under the radar in Colorado. But a sequence of events starting in 2009 triggered what has become an emerging industry, changing the business and social landscape in Colorado while creating a model for the rest of the country.

Taking root

Some lawmakers, law enforcement officers, state officials and medical professionals said a surge is taking place in the industry, which was largely unregulated and rife with abuse before legislation took effect July 1.

The biggest problem, they say, is approved medical marijuana users defrauding the system to smoke pot recreationally.

“Anybody who doesn’t think there’s abuse going on has to be pretty naïve. We don’t have 108,000 people with debilitating medical conditions,” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in August, referring to an earlier estimate of the number of approved medical marijuana cardholders.

Some Routt County dispensary owners acknowledge the willingness of some to take advantage of the system.

“I would say over 50 percent of cardholders use recreationally — a lot for pain management or as a stress reducer,” said Chris Ward, whose Milner medical marijuana center has a Hawaiian theme to reflect his upbringing on the island of Kauai.

A ‘perfect storm’

Colorado is one of 14 states with legislation making the use of medical marijuana legal. California came first in 1996. Earlier this year, Washington, D.C., approved it.

After Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, the state’s constitution was amended to allow the use of medical marijuana for eight debilitating conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cachexia (physical wasting away though weight loss and muscle atrophy), severe pain, severe nausea, seizures and persistent muscle spasms.

Several events last year created what Ned Calonge, the state’s chief medical officer, called a “perfect storm” for medical marijuana in Colorado.

First, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in March 2009 that federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries would stop. Then, the Colorado Board of Health chose not to impose a limit on the number of patients a medical marijuana provider, called a caregiver, could have. And finally, the U.S. Justice De­­part­ment sent a memo to prosecutors in October 2009 instructing them to not use federal resources against people in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.

The industry quickly took off. There were 4,720 Colorado cardholders by the end of 2008. As of Aug. 31, that number had swelled to an estimated 113,000, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The agency is charged with overseeing the state’s Med­­ical Mari­­­juana Reg­­istry. The estimate is based on the volume of applications the registry receives.

Coinciding with the exploding number of approved marijuana users, state officials once estimated that 1,100 medical marijuana centers operated in the state. A stretch of South Broadway Street in Denver, for example, is referred to as “The Green Mile” or “Broadsterdam” for the many medical marijuana centers there, some next door to or across the street from each other.

“We never imagined that the surge would be so high or would be sustained for so many months,” Calonge said in a telephone interview. “All these elements came together and gave birth to this industry.”

Routt County, with a population of 23,500, has five medical marijuana centers — a sixth in Yampa has closed. Steamboat, with more than 12,000 residents, is home to three of them. The number of pharmacies in the county outnumbers medical marijuana centers by one.

Registry overwhelmed

In a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environ­ment office building in Denver, U.S. Postal Service boxes sit stacked on shelves in the new mailroom of the Office of Vital Statistics Medical Marijuana Registry.

Ron Hyman, the Colorado registrar and director of the Medical Marijuana Registry office in Denver, estimated in August that more than 30,000 medical marijuana card applications sat unopened in those boxes. Another batch of applications — an additional 30,000 or more — had just been sent for data entry to Integrated Doc­ument Solutions in Pueblo, part of Colo­rado’s Depart­ment of Person­nel and Admin­istration.

Hyman said those applications were opened and each $90 application fee was deposited. But because the applications haven’t been processed, medical marijuana registry cards haven’t been issued.

“I believe today we are mailing out cards for applications we received in early January,” he said Aug. 20.

The lack of cards doesn’t prevent users from being able to possess and smoke marijuana or use marijuana products. Patients use copies of the notarized application, physician authorization, photo identification and registered mail receipt as their temporary medical marijuana cards. The permanent cards — pieces of white paper outlined in red that resemble a sales tax license — take as long as nine months to process. Cardholders must renew their licenses every year.

The Office of Vital Statistics receives about 1,000 pieces of medical-marijuana-related mail daily, of which about 500 applications are approved, about 250 are incomplete and returned and about 250 are information changes for people already on the registry. Hyman said the volume of mail overwhelmed the office’s mailroom. So the Medical Marijuana Registry got its own.

The office also processes birth and death certificates and marriage licenses. Hyman estimated that “well over 80 percent” of his job was dedicated solely to the Medical Marijuana Registry during the past year.

Thousands of other pieces of unopened mail from patients on the registry wanting to update information won’t be processed until after Hyman’s staff catches up on the application backlog. He’s been given the go-ahead to triple his staff, to 33 employees, after a supplemental budget request he made in June was approved.

“In 2008, the entire year, I had 5,000 patients,” Hyman said. “Now I get that in a week. One person could easily handle the registry on their own from start to finish” in 2008.

A chronic debate

Dr. Brian Harrington, a physician with Yampa Valley Medical Associates in Steamboat, says the abuse and misuse of medical marijuana undermines the legitimacy and reasons for it.

Because of the medical marijuana registry backlog, only 41,039 patients — 292 in Routt County — are listed as being approved for medical marijuana as of Dec. 31, 2009, in the statistics section of the registry website. Of those patients, 92 percent cite severe pain for at least one qualifying debilitating condition. Patients can list more than one.

Muscle spasms, cited on 29 percent of applications, are the second most frequently reported condition. Cancer accounts for 2 percent, and glaucoma and HIV/AIDS were cited on 1 percent of applications.

Harrington said he has never recommended the use of medical marijuana but has discussed it with patients because he recognizes that it could have medical value for the right person. He also said the severe pain condition has opened the door for recreational users.

“Heroin takes care of pain,” he said while sitting in an exam room at his office. “Just to say marijuana takes care of pain is not a good argument.”

Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, an advocate for the state’s medical marijuana patients, disagrees that a majority of patients are citing severe pain simply as an excuse to use marijuana recreationally.

“There’s a lot of people in an active state like Colorado that suffer from chronic pain related to biking injuries, skiing injuries,” he said in August at his Denver office. “If they and their doctor feel it’s better to use marijuana than hydrocodone or OxyContin as a better treatment regimen, I think we have to respect that.”

Registered nurse Shannon Winegarner, the director of hospice and palliative care for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, said her organization supports the use of medical marijuana for its end-of-life patients because it is a legal medication defined by the state constitution.

“In my experience working with terminally ill patients, I have definitely seen people using marijuana to effectively manage symptoms that were not managed by other treatments,” she said about patients suffering from nausea, anxiety and weight loss.

“Our primary goal in hospice is to manage comfort — quality of life versus quantity of life. We don’t discriminate on the choice of medications.”

Determining legitimacy

Hyman, who runs the Medical Marijuana Registry, doesn’t think all patients approved for medical marijuana have legitimate medical needs. But in the decade he’s run the program — and especially during the past year — Hyman said he’s spoken with many patients who have said medical marijuana has had a tremendous impact on their lives.

“For these individuals, it’s imperative we maintain the integrity of the program and reduce abuses,” he said. “If the public loses confidence, it hurts the integrity of the program. I think it’s imperative we have this avenue available for patients who need it.”

That so many have been approved to use medical marijuana indicates the industry is growing, Attorney General Suthers said, but he added that there’s not much integrity to the process of determining debilitating medical conditions.

“About 75 percent of the patients are males,” he said. “The average age (currently 40) is dropping precipitously. I would predict to you in a couple years the average age of a patient will be 24, 25, something like that.”

Charish Adams, 30, tried medical marijuana after injuring her back in May while trying to move furniture at her Hayden home. The medications doctors prescribed were ineffective. It’s not that they didn’t work; Adams couldn’t keep them down.

She was diagnosed in 2009 with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or chronic acid reflux disease, after vomiting nearly every morning for 10 years. Adams, the mother of a 10-year-old boy, joked that during that time, she constantly thought she was pregnant.

Knowing she couldn’t take pills — she couldn’t even keep Advil down — Adams first visited a chiropractor and acupuncturist to relieve her back pain.

Nothing worked, she said. Having used marijuana in the past, Adams thought she would give it a try. In June, she went to Mary’s, a medical marijuana center in Oak Creek.

Through her visits to Mary’s, she discovered tinctures — an alcohol- or glycerin-based liquid extract typically made from dried marijuana — and started taking an eyedropper full about once a week for her acid reflux. She hasn’t vomited since June.

“What it does is it stops the acid, it settles my stomach and doesn’t allow it to come back up,” Adams said. “I’d recommend it to anybody with nausea problems, headaches, usually anything that goes with being sick.”

Medicine vs. drug

Harrington, the Steamboat physician, struggles with the idea of marijuana as medicine. It’s listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government.

Under the Controlled Sub­stances Act, marijuana is categorized with drugs including heroin and LSD. The Act states that Schedule 1 controlled substances have a high potential for abuse and have no “currently accepted medical use” in treatments in the United States.

Harrington said there’s a conflict between the medicinal value of marijuana and its health risks if it’s smoked, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never approved as a medical delivery method.

He says marijuana is habit-forming, has been linked to respiratory problems if smoked and can cause a decline in cognitive function and increase anxiety.

“I do think the health benefits of marijuana are well-overplayed,” he said.

But Harrington acknowledged that ingesting marijuana, if used as a medicine, makes more sense than smoking it. He mentioned Marinol, an FDA-approved pill form of synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, thought to be the active ingredient in marijuana.

After surgery for her lung cancer, Kara Rosen experienced pain from the muscles doctors sliced through and ribs they fractured to get to her lung. The medications her doctors prescribed contributed to or exacerbated her digestion problems, nausea, loss of appetite and insomnia.

She got a recommendation from a Denver doctor and was approved for a medical marijuana card. She found that medical marijuana was the only thing that worked for her pain and other post-cancer ailments. But she rarely smokes it. Instead, she drinks teas or eats cookies infused with marijuana.

Infused products, a burgeoning portion of the state’s medical marijuana industry, are becoming more common and popular among patients, center owners said.

At 61, Jacob Wise, who owns Mary’s in Oak Creek, calls himself an old hippie. He is a civil engineer by trade, lost millions as a real estate developer when the industry went south and has counseled cocaine addicts as a minister certified in three religions. Owning a medical marijuana center was another venture.

When he opened his business, Wise said, he thought the industry was a scam, a way for recreational users to smoke legally. But the 42-year recreational and medical marijuana user said he’s seen improvement in his patients.

Wise is pushing tinctures, which he makes, for patients like Charish Adams. He also treats seven cancer patients with them.

“I’m going after the tincture business because I see it more as a medical application,” he said. “The other business is bigger right now, but eventually tinctures will be more popular. Tinctures don’t give the euphoric feeling. People smoke pot for the rose glass syndrome — ‘I feel good. Everything’s purty.’”

Regulating the medicine

Calonge, the state’s chief medical officer, said the rapid growth of medical marijuana in Colorado led to fraudulent, substandard care from doctors who charged fees to sign medical marijuana recommendations for patients they saw via webcam or met at a medical marijuana center.

He called those evaluations and that care “recreational use masquerading as a medical program.”

In the spring, Colorado lawmakers began discussing two pieces of legislation aimed at governing the industry for the first time. Senate Bill 109 was created to regulate the medical side of the industry and, among other provisions, precludes doctors from having any financial relationships with medical marijuana centers.

House Bill 1284 was created to regulate the business side of the medical marijuana industry. Among its many provisions, it forces medical marijuana center owners to undergo criminal background checks and forbids their ownership if they’ve been convicted of a drug-related felony.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed both pieces of legislation into law in June. They took effect July 1.

Calonge said Senate Bill 109 was intended to reduce some of the fraudulent actions by doctors that had become commonplace.

“I believe if we’re going to call it medical marijuana, we have to hold it to the same standards as all medical care,” he said.

“We believe (Senate Bill 109) is the first step to really put it back in the medical realm from the recreational-use realm and, we believe, more in line with what people voted when they voted for Amendment 20.”

House Bill 1284 has been called a significant piece of legislation that could become a model for the rest of the country.

Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, who is not a medical marijuana cardholder (“I don’t have a qualifying condition,” he said.) called House Bill 1284 a landmark piece of legislation. He said it was a major step forward in legitimizing centers as safe access facilities for medical marijuana. But Vicente said the legislation has issues that he hopes to work through with legislators this session.

Despite the concerns, he said Colorado’s medical marijuana has become a legitimate business in the past year.

“We do have a constitutional amendment and a state law in the Colorado Revised Statutes that regulate this industry,” Vicente said. “I think it is legitimate, and I think it’s going to continue being one of the few growing areas of our economy, at least for the immediate future.”


Coming Thursday

Part 2 Green rush: Medical marijuana has become the basis for lucrative businesses, and entrepreneurs are not the only ones who could cash in.

Coming Friday

Part 3 Blazing the trail: Municipalities across the state have been forced to weigh in on the marijuana debate. The months ahead will shape the industry.

Growing Pains Part 1

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

This whole question of questionable medical justification of some MMJ users fails to recognize that mj has been commonly available for decades.

The question should be whether MMJ increases mj use among those with questionable medical justification?

Clearly MMJ laws make it easier for someone with clear medical issues to get mj to treat their medical conditions. Those users are not abusing mj.

The real question is whether people that would not otherwise use mj decide to start using it because they can claim a medical condition to get it legally. In other words, are there really people that did not use mj because it is illegal, but will use MMJ because that is legal?

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1999 3 years, 11 months ago

I doubt it Scott.

I doubt making medical MJ legal influenced anyone to START smoking/eating.

the thing is, the state/city is getting much needed tax income.

we are taking biz away from the mexican drug lords.

we are creating jobs.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

I personally experienced 4 hours of hyperventilation on one occasion and less extreme on others and now I see that science tells me that heart rates are increased but the pro mmj crowd says there is no evidence of such a thing. I don't disagree that some people experience pain relief in some form but please don't tell me I didn't experience negative effects or that I am wrong, I lived it and I also lived the gateway. I am sure I am not the only one here who had these experiences in their younger years, an innocent hit or toke and then suddenly a snort and a pop of a pill, anything for a party buzz. I'll stick with a couple glasses of wine but for the guy who has back pain and sleep issues join the club, exercise is the answer not getting high for 40 years. I again say if the majority vote for it I will accept that, I just don't care for the hooey about how great this weed is.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

1999, Watch the Sunday police arrest reports in the pilot and see if the younger offenders are not increasing. Like it or not, taking away the stigma from pot smoking lessens the deterrent to the youth, and as far as the drug cartels, people who use pot and other drugs for recreation are the driving force behind the terrible crimes being committed by the powerful drug lords. Are people looking for legal MMJ or party MJ? The SEIU is now pushing for legalization and Unionization so watch out as they will ruin another private industry and there are no big bad corporations that the SEIU can claim they are saving workers from, just the grass (no pun) roots workers now bringing the mj to market. I will reiterate, I am NOT against legal MMJ. But there is a difference between legal MMJ and party MJ.

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1999 3 years, 11 months ago

your physical aversion to weed has an answer.

don't do it.

The same logic applys to Drs prescribing pain med. Not all work for all people.

I have severe reactions to ALL dr prescribed pain med. I don't take them

Nor do I take MJ for pain relief.

I take wine.

but for many many many... medical mj is a godsend.

as for many many many.....percocet is a godsend.

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1999 3 years, 11 months ago

as for assertion that MJ user are getting younger i say...BAHAHAHAHA

really...you think since MMJ was approved younger kids have been getting high?

Do you forget the last 50 years?

good grief...ask any of your freinds at what age they tried pot for the 1st time.

I gaurantee it's about the same age as now.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

Try reading my comment on age of users again. Maybe you will get my point on it. As far as my aversion, you are correct, that was the point here as the pro MMJ crowd claims otherwise, that no one has adverse reactions to pot. Just plain false. Thanks.

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freerider 3 years, 11 months ago

Here's the big problem with the drug policies ....all drugs ....they are making all the wrong people very wealthy ....really really bad people...law enforcement will never work . Even if we sent the entire U.S. military to fight it they would fail . There is just too much money involved . The only way to end the drug war the failed drug war is to legalize all drugs . 100 % of Americans that suppport the current drug laws are complete hypocrites . They all say that drugs are dangerous and should be illegal yet over 150 thousand people a year die from prescription drugs that you get from your local drug dealing doctor . Just ask Heath Ledger or Elvis or Danny Gans , or Anna Nicole Smith or Corey Feldman or Marilyn Monroe or the tens of thousands of people that die every year from it ...ten times more than all illegal drugs combined ..marijuana = zero deaths ever in the history of the world . You can't overdose on it ..how many people die from ciggs ?? Alcohol ?? Big macs ?? So if all you hypocrites really care about dangerous drugs then why don't you do something to help them get off...like vote for treatment centers instead of more enforcement money that finds it's way into the pockets of cops and DEA and cartels ...the real story is people don't care about some idiot that OD'S unless it's their kid ...it just makes sense to help people out ..yeah I know Americans are cold hearted when it comes to helping drug offenders they would rather make drug cartels rich rather than help their own . In Amsterdam drugs are legal and they have half the drug abuse that we have...they also have empathy for drug users which the U.S.A has no empathy for drug users ...maybe it's time we help people out rather than locking them up and making drug cartels rich ...

Guess who spends the most money lobbying congress for drug enforcement ??? The pharmaceudical makers and the DEA Both of which are getting filthy rich off drugs

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Bitchbee 3 years, 11 months ago

Topical application is the way to go for back pain, head ache, sore muscles, bruising. Works better than iceyhot or bengay, and smells better too. Oh and it does have a slight euphoric feeling. Def not over powering by any means.

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Angie Robinson 3 years, 11 months ago

freerider - I guess i've never seen anything on my voting ballots to vote "yes" for treatment centers. It's not quite as easy as just saying we need more of them. You need to preach to your state representatives, not to the general public. Making big macs, ciggs or alcohol illegal is not up for discussion right now...mmj is. Just because no one is mentioning those items, doesn't mean we all think they are A-OK and good for everyone. Some people do need mmj, and those people should have it. But this system has been abused as well.

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1999 3 years, 11 months ago

freerider..the answer to addiction is don't do it in the first place.

come on...we all know drugs are addictive weather OTC or illegal..

instead of treament centers and such "after thoughts" how about people get a grip and not do them in the first place. maybe that takes education. maybe it takes zero policy. maybe it takes us to remove the safety net that people have come to expect.

I for one...am sick of paying for peoples treaments who had the same opportunities I had to JUST SAY NO!

I have ZERO tollerance for addicts because they have a choice just the same as I do but they have choosen to be addicts just by doing it once.

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mtroach 3 years, 11 months ago

Really...Addicts chose their fate by doing it once and becoming addicted so it's ok to just turn our backs. Priceless.

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john oakland 3 years, 11 months ago

ok look Im pretty sure this is going to piss some ppl off.

The fact of the mater is that marijuana affects every person slightly different.Depending on the form of absorption different results will be felt. Smoking or absorption through the lungs is most likely going to give your the euphoric affects and can be useful against insomnia. Tinctures or edibles are becoming more common among people who have pain or nausea but do not want to smoke due to the health risk. also tinctures do not create as much of the euphoric reaction. Finally in fused topical applications are better for any sort of condition lies close to the skins surface, this for of absorption can give you a euphoric feeling depending on a whole slue of factors out side of potency and your tolerance.

As for the fact of legalization creating more or younger users I would have respectfully disagree (directed at seeuski.) the fact that there are more younger ppl in the police arrest reports for the use of marijuana can not be linked to legal MMJ. the fact of the matter is that youth are doing every thing younger these day weather it is sex,drugs,drinking,partying. its just the way it is( I'm not saying its right)

Seeuski I am sorry that you had a negative reaction and that ppl told you that couldn't happen after it did. I would like to pose a question to you. you said that you experienced the gateway. assuming you were referring to the gateway drug effect. My question is "did you do other drugs because you tried Marijuana or did you do other drugs because of the people that you were around when buying or using Marijuana?"

Just from my experience the ppl i know who smoked marijuana first then moved on to other drugs was because of the ppl they were buying from.

In closing i am going to say this i believe that marijuana should be legal. not just for medical use but for any that is of age. It should be controlled much like alcohol. California has it on the ballot as "any one over the age of twenty one may poses up to one ounce of marijuana" thats how i know it, and in Brekenridge any one over the age of 21 may poses up to ounce and paraphernalia. that is only a town law so it is kind of a gray area. Don't legalize it because it can make the state copious amounts of money due it because of the children. sounds odd right well if its legal they won't feel as rebellious and most likely they wont put them selves in dangerous situations with dangerous ppl

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john oakland 3 years, 11 months ago

just saw this Scott Wedel and I are the only ppl who are willing to put are names up just something to think about.

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1999 3 years, 11 months ago

no one said to turn our backs but how about people take personal responsibility and not do drugs in the fisrt place...like having children...it's not mandatory.

clearly addiction centers can help people but for gods sake...does anyone advocate NOT DOING DRUGS IN THE FIRST PLACE. I see more adds for addiction help than I see adds for not doing drugs. it's almost like it's acceptable that people do drugs and get addicted.

"hey no problem...we have places you can go. it's not your fault. it's those nasty drugs. it's hereditary. it's not your fault you did heroin and became addicted. nope it's in your blood. it's their fault"

i get sick of people crying about being addicts when many of us chose NOT to be.

we all make our choices.

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exduffer 3 years, 11 months ago

'The office also processes birth and death certificates and marriage licenses. Hyman estimated that “well over 80 percent” of his job was dedicated solely to the Medical Marijuana Registry during the past year.' Nobody dying, nobody being born just one nice even buzz.

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John Fielding 3 years, 11 months ago

.

I too was a rebellious teen in the sixties, we thought it was cool to smoke pot instead of drinking. But eventually I just moved on, beyond all the mood enhancers legal or not. I tried a few puffs again about 15 years ago and found the effect decidedly unpleasant, heart racing, anxiety. Haven't had a beer either for about as long, I just like feeling normal.

All that aside, I think it foolish to keep these things illegal for adults. Alcohol prohibition failed, and it's the most damaging drug by far, millions of people just continued to use and made gangsters rich and powerful. Same as today but the gangs are even more dangerous now.

I have worked way too hard most of my life and have all the chronic pain to prove it. But you won't get me to take anything except an occasional aspirin. When my back really seizes up, acupuncture provides reliable relief, same with knee and shoulder pain. Mostly though I just take it slow till I am limbered up again then work hard all day and fall down tired at night.

And for what Its worth, you don't have to use mood altering substances to be high on life.

.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

@iceman said:

"As for the fact of legalization creating more or younger users I would have respectfully disagree (directed at seeuski.) the fact that there are more younger ppl in the police arrest reports for the use of marijuana can not be linked to legal MMJ. the fact of the matter is that youth are doing every thing younger these day weather it is sex,drugs,drinking,partying. its just the way it is( I'm not saying its right)"

Yes, it does seem that youth are doing things at younger ages, why do you think that is? Sex, drugs and violence are so prevalent in today's society whether it be on TV on Xbox or exemplified in our leaders behavior, ie. ex Pres Clinton. How about the Progressives purposeful agenda to dumb down our society? Is there a larger picture to consider? I think all these social pressures should be considered in these discussions and why would some educators want to influence our young people with the vices of life. http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55800

We all have different life experiences and I won't doubt those that others have expressed and It doesn't matter whether they are from anonymous posters or not. Many that read these forums know who I am and I don't have to expose myself to you, Mr. Oakland, or anyone else here so it is up to you to decide if seeuski is credible or not. It matters not if my name were Stuart or Danny.

Next, John Fielding has described his experience with pot and it closely resembles mine. Hyperventilation and tension, once so bad I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Back then I had no idea that heart rate was affected but I have read medical reports that pot does increase heart rates. As far as the gateway effect, we smoked pot to get high, that is it, period. Not to relieve pain, we were partying dude, and so yes, other drugs came into play including some prescription drugs like Valium.
So when freerider names off those famous people who have died from prescription drugs he is right, but he is not able to also make the statement that dope had no play in these peoples lives with any certainty. I have to agree with John Fielding and I quote,

"I have worked way too hard most of my life and have all the chronic pain to prove it. But you won't get me to take anything except an occasional aspirin. When my back really seizes up, acupuncture provides reliable relief, same with knee and shoulder pain. Mostly though I just take it slow till I am limbered up again then work hard all day and fall down tired at night.

And for what Its worth, you don't have to use mood altering substances to be high on life."

I concur, I also said earlier that if the majority vote to legalize pot I will go merrily on my way. But I disagree that the cartel problem will go away with that change. We MUST close our southern border to end that and I believe that this Presidents political agenda of open borders and suing AZ for SB1070 has added to the brazenness of those gangs.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

BTW, in terms of what youths do that is most likely to lead to more severe substance abuse issues, the worst activity is high school kids using alcohol to get drunk.

As for John's comments - not many dispute that it is better to be clean. But we should also face reality that a large number of people smoke, drink and/or use pot. So it makes little sense to have public policy based upon the ideal that ignores the reality.

I think that MMJ is a reasonable way of allowing pot users to have legal access to their substance of choice. I note that the regulations do far more to prevent doctor shopping that abusers of pain pills can do with minimum fears of ever being caught. And those narcotics are well documented as being physically addictive.

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jk 3 years, 11 months ago

seeuski, from the comments that you regularly post on these threads I'm not surprised you had an adverse reaction to mj! With all of the governmental conspiracy theories flying around in your head you seem to be on the cusp of a full mental breakdown at just about anytime. Maybe you had such an adverse reaction back in the day 'cause you smoked some of that wacky weed the government had sprayed with paraquat. I think they were just trying to kill the stuff but you never know??? HMMMM??

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1999 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes, it does seem that youth are doing things at younger ages, why do you think that is? Sex, drugs and violence are so prevalent in today's society whether it be on TV on Xbox or exemplified in our leaders behavior, ie. ex Pres Clinton. How about the Progressives purposeful agenda to dumb down our society.

OMG!!!!!!!

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...clinton BAHAHAHAHAHA....progressives agenda to dumb down america....BAHAHAHAHAHA

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freerider 3 years, 11 months ago

1999

I rest my case ...you are like most Americans ....a complete hard ass when it comes to addiction problems ...I guess you must just a perfect little example of perfection.....FAIL !! it's not that simple ...people get hooked and cartels get rich ..what part of this equation don't you understand ..?? ...all I 'm saying is people with addiction problems need help ...and we need to stop making cartels and drug lords rich .....duh

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