Joel Rae, JD Hays, Garrett Wiggins and Ray Birch: Vote to ban marijuana centers

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Drug abuse across our country has been a major concern of law enforcement for decades. Now, with increased availability of marijuana in Routt County, we would be remiss if we did not voice our concerns. We also have concerns about alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs; however, issues related to those drugs are not appearing on the ballot this November. Law enforcement has a responsibility to keep all citizens safe and enforce the law when it comes to illicit drug use and the presence of any drug that affects youths or society in general.

The effects of marijuana intoxication vary with the individual, just as they do with alcohol. There are many studies from medical and legitimate research professionals documenting the adverse effects of marijuana. The adverse effects include intoxication, reduced coordination, distorted perception, concentration difficulties, impaired learning functions and dependence. These adverse effects combined with motor vehicle crashes make this a public safety issue while the health effects and messaging to our youths make it, just as importantly, a community issue.

New information indicates the most common drug for which users seek treatment is marijuana, and marijuana is the leading cause of substance dependence other than alcohol. For the first time in a decade, there has been an increase in marijuana use among youths. Many drug experts cite the medical marijuana movement as affecting teens’ attitudes on marijuana.

Price, availability and quality are the biggest factors related to the demand for any product. Medical marijuana centers in Routt County have clearly affected the quality and availability of marijuana. Some of our local marijuana strains are winning national awards, and we have numerous incidents of nonmedical marijuana cardholders possessing medical marijuana. A snapshot of these incidents include a 17-year-old in possession of medical marijuana-dispensed hash oil at school last spring; a 22-year-old man who was not a cardholder found in possession of Purple Kush dispensed by a local dispensary Sept. 6; and a local woman killed in a crash earlier this year on U.S. Highway 40 in Steamboat where being under the influence of marijuana was considered to be a contributing factor in her death.

Local law enforcement statistics support the fact that the increased availability of marijuana has resulted in increased use and affected public safety in Routt County, including a 64 percent increase in DUID arrests in Steamboat Springs from 2009 to 2010 and doubling for the time period of Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 2011, compared with the same period in 2010.

It is too easy for a cardholder to purchase medical marijuana for a noncardholder, and there is sufficient evidence of rogue doctors sending nonphysicians to Steamboat Springs and issuing cards for nondebilitating injuries, without a bona fide doctor-patient relationship and without an exam. This was proven at Bud Werner Memorial Library a couple weeks ago when an undercover police officer was issued a medical marijuana referral from a nurse for a stubbed toe that “occasionally aches.” The referral was done without an exam, without seeing a Colorado-licensed physician and by paying a $100 fee.

Substance use is affected by availability, perception of risk and public attitude. Risks include the fear of getting in trouble by violating the law, disobeying school or parent rules and the physical and psychological dangers. Public attitude includes family units, neighborhoods, communities, states and nations. Advertising tactics and legalization of medical marijuana centers increases availability, portrays a greater level of public acceptance and decreases the perception of risk. These are the same factors that affect the rate of drug use in a community.

Medical marijuana cardholders can purchase as much as 2 ounces of marijuana at a time. In these economically challenging times, with budgets that have been slashed year after year, it is unreasonable to think law enforcement has the ability to increase staffing and work cases that involve the selling of medical marijuana to nonpatients.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, stated that the legalization of marijuana, for any purpose, is a nonstarter in the Obama administration because of the known dangers, messaging to youths and harmful effects.

Limiting medical marijuana to the caregiver model and eliminating storefront centers will decrease the availability of marijuana in our communities while allowing legitimate patient access.

JD Hays is the Steamboat Springs Police Department chief of police. Joel Rae is captain of the Police Department. Garrett Wiggins is the Routt County sheriff. Ray Birch is the Routt County undersheriff.

Comments

Lisa Watts 2 years, 11 months ago

Random medical professionals driving through our town, renting a room, (last time it was Rex's for Happy Hour), handing out MMJ cards for CASH ONLY and going home with a trunk load of money. No exam, no accountability, who cares? Drive by doctors.

Who's stopping them? Have you heard the State weigh in on this one? You know, the brutal regulation that the pot heads swear this industry has.

Let me tell you how much they will intervene. When I saw the ad for the drive by pot doctor, I personally contacted State Attorney General John Suthers to inform him that this was taking place.

Nothing.

So folks, the question really is: If we don't ban the dispensaries; what's next? And who will stop it then?

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Fan the fires, oh great Pilot. You too are nothing, in the grand scheme of things. Take a hike, sisters, see ya at the polls!!

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honestabe 2 years, 11 months ago

Its good to see the officers cracking down on the true problem. not mmj, but the phony doctors (and nurses?) selling false prescriptions. I assume the nurse in this story was arrested and halted from this fraud. Will his/her name be in the police blotter? Or did the undercover cop just give 100$ so they could say they have seen abuses, complain in the paper about the abuses, and then do nothing? If prescriptions were being given out for any drug, mmj, percoset, etc, for a stubbed toe, this is where the outrage should be.

Was there an arrest made, or just an undercover (ie Garrets officers running around spending our money) non bust?

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muck 2 years, 11 months ago

Support the ban and you will support the following:

Increased avalibility of MJ to all due to he increased amount of growers. Increased Marijuana in your neighborhood. Support local crime and Mexican drug cartels. Decrease a regulated industry that currently has video taped transactions of MMJ Increase the amount of work for local Police forces in a UNWINNABLE situation. Decrease badly needed work and income to locals who are NOT criminals. Decrease avalibility for people who need this for medical conditions. (even though you dont like it). A belief that MJ is evil and will create the end of civilization. INCREASE THE VALUE of a product that currently is being DE-VALUED and controled resulting in MORE illegal grows for criminals in YOUR neighborhood and SELL to MINORS AND NON-MMJ CARD HOLDERS WHO DONT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT LAWS OR REGULATIONS.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!! COPS HAVE ALWAYS LIED ABOUT THIS SUBJECT!! WHY WHOULD THEY TELL YOU THE TRUTH TODAY!

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1999 2 years, 11 months ago

a) I think the nurse story is a lie.

b) I will bet my bottom dollar that there is more prescrpition fraud with in the ranks of the AMA than in the MMJ industry.

c) so lets ban the prescription drug dispensaries.

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trump_suit 2 years, 11 months ago

While it is true that the various police agencies have stepped up their enforcement of DUID and have written many more tickets for that offense, I would like to see the statistics of convictions vs. cases dropped.

Just because the police issue a DUID, it does not mean that the driver was guilty of DUID. I am not condoning DUID here, but the statistics that are being released by law enforcement officials are inaccurate and misleading.

Please tell us, how many of those cases are simply dropped or are never convicted of the crime?

Topic #2. I thought that we already voted on this issue and the voters of Colorado approved the use of MMJ. The opponents of this law seem to forget that it was a vote by the people that approved these laws. Will more opportunities to vote really change the outcome? Will we continue to vote on this issue in every election? Where does this end?

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steamboatsconscience 2 years, 11 months ago

Watts Once again you say nothing that you can back up with any facts. Show a link to the ad you allegedly saw, You can e mail me pictures you took at Rex's of the alleged transactions you saw, and of the doctor "handing out MMJ cards" (guess you forgot you don't just get a card, you have to be approved by the state) Did you actually see all this or is it just hearsay as all your "facts" are? Where is the report about the "nurse" that got caught, Mr. Rae? Is it a secret? Or is it a fabrication? How about some FACTS to back up your allegations, or do FACTS get in the way of your crusade. Time to dust off Duster again, eh, Lisa?

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jk 2 years, 11 months ago

So the way this reads you would think these four guys sat down with the editorial staff sometime on tuesday afternoon and spun up a couple of opinion pieces for the upcoming election. I wonder if Lisa and her soapbox were there chearing them on??

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

So if I were to impersonate a police officer then the logical response would be to disband local police departments? Hmm, I suspect that SB high school students scoring so well on CSAP could be twisted into a reason for banning dispensaries. Just as somehow having well run dispensaries making quality products is cited as a reason for banning them.

On a related note, apparently local enforcement is moving to ban liquor stores, bars and all prescription drug pharmacies because underage kids were caught with alcohol and people have been caught with prescription drugs without a valid prescription.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

So, now that this is the big hot issue, how about asking the candidates for City Council for their opinions on this issue?

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

I am hardly surprised to see our leading law enforcement officers taking this stance, nor the paid antagonist being the first one to pipe up in support. I am, however, even further disappointed in this poor excuse for a rag, abandoning any pretense of objectivity in favor of circulation. Follow the buck -- it leads right to the Pilot. Click click, ching ching, $$. Forget the gas that's going to destroy our environment, (maybe) the alcohol that's killing young and old, meth, coke, airline subsidies, chip-n-seal, declining revenues, this depression in general, the Fed, or any of a hundred other threats, let's get 'em clicking about something REALLY important, coincidentally to our commercial benefit. Rarely have I seen such a blatant abuse of the press. I think I am going to be ill.

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

forgot to mention our way-out-of-whack suicide rate, a statistic I am tempted to pad, when I read the tripe and see the Pilot stirring the embers, then I medicate and forget all about stupid media folk, so important in their self-assigned roles of messengers for the masses, telling us what we should believe, their perceptions tainted by the rose-colored glasses the fourth estate must be born with. Sure, tell me how to live my life, O Pilot heroes, and ye of such great experience and knowledge. I am blind, need your counsel.

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heboprotagonist 2 years, 11 months ago

The undercover officer must have had a serious case of "turf-toe", because the entirety of this movement is based on "astro-turf".

Worse yet, Big Pharma and other corporate entities are pulling the strings and manipulating our local law enforcement like the puppets that they are.

Shouldn't local law enforcement seek to protect local interest? Didn't Routt county overwhelmingly approve MMJ in the initial statewide ballot? When this ridiculous ban is voted down in November will local law enforcement start protecting Steamboat citizens instead of harassing them?

Dr. Victory, Chief Wiggum and their knuckle dragging cohorts have a decision to make: Evolve with the rest of us, or be left behind. We will not allow your outdated notions of health and security to hold us back any longer. We are parents, teachers, businessmen, and laborers. We are law abiding citizens, tax-payers, and home-owners with strong community values.

I leave the knuckle-draggers with this Bible verse: Matthew 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

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kevin fisher 2 years, 11 months ago

Once again emotion and lies. Firstly, RMR's premises, in toto, were inspected just this week, Ms. Watts. We'll publish the report a.s.a.p. What's next on your innuendo hit sheet?

For our law enforcement community: One, we have spoken with the nurse practitioner whom you mention and she is unaware of any criminal proceedings. As such, that leads me to point two, which can be summed up with an excerpt from amendment 20:

(a) Fraudulent representation of a medical condition by a patient to a physician, state health agency, or state or local law enforcement official for the purpose of falsely obtaining a registry identification card or avoiding arrest and prosecution;

Hmmm...will local p.d. care to investigate one of their own? Probably not.

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Our little local squabble is symptomatic of a larger disease, nationwide. What it demonstrates to me is a government which is totally insensitive to the wishes of the people, the very people whose labors support said government, serving instead private interests which pad the pocketbook under the table, while sending as many as possible to prison or their deaths overseas so as to have a bigger slice of pie, and justify their lowly existence. Heavy-handed is an understatement; totalitarian might be a better word.

These are the dying squawks of a doomed regime, the rats grabbing what they can before the boat flounders. I can't wait for the fall, myself, sure the Chinese will run things more efficiently, and I'm not going to stop getting high for them either.

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

The government's is cahoots with the press here too, just like the JFK assassination, where they were fed Oswald's life story in about 20 minutes. The Pilot is the voice of government, as well as their own commercial interests, readers well down on their list of priorities.

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sashas 2 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if the police force and the Pilot will write the same sort of articles when it comes to Steamboat banning fluoride from its water system? I'm sure not, though, because fluoride will keep the people stupid and listening to their agendas. Keep your eyes peeled, as I think soon, this topic will be headed to the city council. And it's going to be a debate such as cannabis. People, start doing your research on fluoride and why many cities in the USA and Canada, especially, are finally ridding fluoride from water systems.

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sashas 2 years, 11 months ago

Cops, aren't you here to uphold the law? I truly worry about you upholding the law morally and ethically when you are sharing your opinions like this, but yes you are entitled to your opinions. However, they just don't seem like a good idea to share here. You worry me that you are also the type who will go with CPS to a home and snatch a kid to throw into the scandalized, corrupt, child trafficking ring that's going on. Protect and serve. Unfortunately, that's not what I've been seeing lately.

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HowardRoark 2 years, 11 months ago

Police are NOT there to serve and protect you anymore; they are revenue agents serving corporate interests for profit. Not a single person in the history of mankind has ever died from marijuanna; not one. No to mention the fact that it kills cancer. Yes, ladies and gents; our cops want to ban a benign substance that has never killed anyone and cures cancer because big pharma is their Daddy!

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 11 months ago

Lisa Watts,

Banning dispensaries does nothing to solve the problem you list in your statement. If your issue is with doctors writing bad recommendations, why not move to ban doctors from setting up business in town. Why? Because you can't. So you go after the only thing you can.

No surprise the police want to ban too. When you see ones that are pro-marijuana, then that's the real news. I miss the old sheriff. Oh ya, your job isn't to combat drug addiction, it's to combat illegal drugs. And if you didn't know, MMJ is legal! Do your job!

I wish city council would give some direction to the PD not to be political and just to enforce the law. The sheriff can do that since he's elected.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

All of the hype reminds me of a story George Foreman tells about his famous fight against Ali. How George Foreman was so wound up by the start of the fight that he went into the ring to destroy Ali. He wasn't thinking about winning rounds to win the fight, but was focused on crushing Ali. And after several rounds Ali suddenly tells him "That's all you got?" and George realizes he has tired himself out and now he is in big trouble.

To those against local MMJ businesses: That's all you got? Those are your best punches?

"it is unreasonable to think law enforcement has the ability to increase staffing and work cases that involve the selling of medical marijuana to nonpatients."

Okay, then don't. I don't expect you to investigate except when it is so obvious that barely any investigation is needed which is the current situation for alcohol and prescription drugs. I don't see how the budget issues get any easier if MMJ businesses are banned and then the police have to deal with marijuana drug dealers.

Seems to me that MMJ dispensaries take 1,200 potential local criminals and makes them into law abiding citizens and thus greatly reduce the need for local law enforcement to investigate marijuana related drug crimes.

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Lisa et al -- If by chance there are enough morons in this county to vindicate your crusade, won't you miss the live video of every legal junkie in town scoring his or her fix?

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bandmama 2 years, 11 months ago

scott- that seems to be the real issue coming to the surface, isn't it? Your statement that it will be turning law abiding citizens into criminals does increase the need for more law enforcement. If those who have a legal script are suddnely forced into hiding and unlawful activities then yes, they will have a "justified" need for more officers. Sort of like a pissing contest of sort. In the mean time, those who are truely benefiting from MMJ are still screwed. I suppose those that are still needing medical treatment COULD start relying on the fine upstnding citizens tax dollars to provide medical care in the form of Medicaid.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 11 months ago

banning will NOT decrease the availability of marijuana in our communities while allowing legitimate patient access. Does anyone really believe this? And either driving 6 hours from Steamboat or buying it illegally does not allow legitimate patient access. What a complete contradiction. I would love to see a junior high-school kid debate these knuckleheads.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 11 months ago

Banning will only eliminate the storefront and nothing else. Oh ya, and the taxes local gov. gets. I don't see # of cardholders decreasing much. Depending on the election, some MMJ store owners look to reap huge benefits if some get banned and others don't.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

BeCoolHoneyBunny, "Banning will only eliminate the storefront and nothing else."

What do you mean? It is my understanding there was no marijuana in Routt County until dispensaries opened, just as no local kids drink alcohol until 21 or use tobacco until 18.

To suggest otherwise means you think there is an awful lot of criminal activity accepted by the local community that local law enforcement has not been able to stop. That is an outrageous claim. Do you have any evidence at all to suggest that locals are such blatant law breakers?

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bandmama 2 years, 11 months ago

Ok...6 hours???? No. Let me explain, while I DO see a local, well respected DOCTOR for my condition....I Do NOT hold a card, and I do NOT smoke, inhale or ingest THC for MY LUPUS-y condition on any regular basis, I respect, and KNOW that I NOW have that option. I DO trust my current physician, and his recamendations, I and HE have the basic knowledge of RELIEF that sometimes I may need and what he CANNOT LEGALLY prescribe for fear of bad mouthing of a VERY well known,simple treatment that WORKS for a chronic ailment,and HIS good name in a town practice. I am seen on a very regular basis by a respected phycian, I get ALL but one script from him. Yet he, AS a DR realizes that sometimes docs need think outside the box for the benefit of his paying CUSTOMERS....his well being. IF and when it may come to this, & I am arrested for finding ANYTHING that benefits me so that I can cope with pain, fatigue, being able to eat and freaking being able to function, lands ME in jail???? I am ok with that. You all nay saying taxpayers are going to find yourselves with a VERY VERY high price to pay. And I will sit in a cell, and NOT work 96 (on average...every pay period) on YOUR buck. GO FOR IT.....Again. I do NOT hold a card. But I know what has kept me a functional working being for 20 years. Zoloft, Paxil, Percs, Demeral, IV treatment didn't...but a puff or two every now and then did. I will be MORE than happy to sit in a cell and dare some OTHER quack dr to treat me... but it will cost y'all concerned citizens BIG freaking bucks. GOOD work guys....thanks a TON for taking that oath and being a TRUE healer. Screw ya, I would LOVE more than one day a week OFF. and if on "your" wallet? So be it, ya asked for it. My family and friends and those who know ME will not think any less of me, but will make future descians on what you ay much more carefully... GO for the hanging! The Pilot has my name and #, Ya REALLY want ME to start talking??? Ask Brent, he knows who I am. My kid is 18 and working. I have NO moral or ethical issue for speaking up any more. I know what has kept me a working NON welfare MaMAAAAA. and it was NOT pharms....just a simple weed. GTH.

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bandmama 2 years, 11 months ago

Oh yes, PS...My kid was never the MVP of any sport, but we DID teach him that Steven Hawkings never played baseball. And that may serve future kids a small chance. Steven did, and said, a hell of a lot more from a chair...signing off...bandmama...

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Right on, bandmama. All the naysayers can take a flying leap, for all I care. Get a life, and get out of mine. Quit imagining problems in your paranoia, and help fix the real ones we know about. I repeat: GET A LIFE. OR GET LOST.

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John Fielding 2 years, 11 months ago

. Scott There is plenty of evidence that locals are blatant law breakers. The questions then become why the condition persists. Are the enforcement resources inadequate? Is the motivation to enforce not strong enough? Are those violating the law mostly responsible productive citizens? Are the directions given the enforcers inflexible, no tolerance dictates that mean full criminal prosecution? Is the law in need of revision or repeal?

Many of these conditions exist in the regulation of mood altering substances. The officer encountering minors in possession does not have the option to tell the parents but not arrest. The laws regarding marijuana are clearly in the process of revision. Law enforcement officials from the federal,state and local levels have been directed to largely ignore simple possession and use violations. Many users create no risk or burden to the community.

Law enforcement officers need our support,particularly in giving them clear direction about what we want, and sufficient resources to accomplish it. In the case of MMJ the only broad consensus seems to be to reduce juvenile use. The appropriate rile for the police is to detect and disrupt the illegal diversion of the product, the same as with alcohol. The greater role is that of parents, coaches, teachers, and other mentors and role models, to keep our youth constructively engaged and motivated to excel.

Ultimately, we cannot expect that if the role models use mood altering drugs the youth will not recognize its legitimacy. This is the justification for social hosts to attempt to teach moderation in use. But the juvenile mind is not yet conditioned to moderation, that comes with maturity if ever. If it makes them feel good, they will want to do more of it. What will work is do redirect the feel-good reinforcement to come from a sense of personal accomplishment, from acts of charity and kindness, from emotional security in the love of friends and family.

This is why so much effective rehabilitation is based on the "Outward Bound" personal challenge and growth model. When you are motivated to be your best you do not want additional difficulties, and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment is more fulfilling than any drug.

Legal marijuana in some form is here to stay, just like legal alcohol and antidepressants, the only question is the type of regulation. If we ban the current dispensary model, something else will take its place, probably with less opportunity to regulate it or have it help pay the costs of mitigating its negative impacts. I can envision a current growing center becoming a cooperative,with members, (all cardholders,) sharing rent and utility costs and hiring maintenance personnel. Many other creative solutions will be devised, for it is now a legal substance.

We would do well to focus our efforts on programs that really work to curb juvenile use, and require the industries that profit from these substances to help fund them. .

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

John, Of course, the huge problem with rehabilitation is that it requires the person accept that there is a problem.

Try going into a bar and telling everyone there they have an alcohol problem and you will be sending them to rehab.

Rehab should be available to those that want it and it would be great if local alcohol and MMJ companies worked together to provide opportunities for rehab for those wanting it.

Though, I would also be concerned that we could tax the highly regulated and monitored dispensaries out of business and see a burst of illegal MJ via gangs and personal growing.

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

The 6.9% statistic I see floated represents but a fraction of Routt County users. I'll bet 60% or more of my cool friends don't have their license -- they can't afford it. Other priorities. The old sources are still there, maybe shuffled a bit. Ban the dispensaries, that just sends the rest of us back to our friends. Hoping they're home, maybe they're waiting...

I will sacrifice my anonymity to be filmed buying it, don't mind supporting the city at the same time, all for the convenience and reliability. But if you put the problem back in the pockets of the dealers, I'm sure few will mind.

Two cool things now exist, heretofore absent, which make the efforts of the rednecks moot: First, when Officer Friendly asks, I've got the paperwork so he can't arrest me.

Second, when he asks me where I got it, I can't tell him or that would be another crime, betraying someone's confidence. Ain't America beautiful?

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Gern123 2 years, 11 months ago

Travellingiant and all you other name calling pot fans:

This is exactly why many of us have come around to favor banning dispensaries. Too much of your argument relies on name calling and character assassination. Why is someone a redneck just because they don't buy into your side of an argument? I did not see Lisa Watts call any of you a pot head.

I decided to read these blogs after the editorial, and now realize I need to stop wasting my time doing so. Most of the comments are from the same group of pro pot people who fill these pages with a lot of denigrating and too often ignorant comments. This is not a discussion; its appears to be just a way to make yourselves feel good by cutting down someone else. I think my parents were pretty good; I don't smoke pot and they educated me early on that people who resort to name calling have little better to support their side of an argument.

Keep talking dispensary fans. You only strengthen the argument for the other side. This is all about legalizing marijuana, which is a legitimate argument to make. The dispensary issue is an entirely different issue though. You have lost me with too many false claims and nasty comments. Medical marijuana dispensaries are a joke.

You also have helped me and others realize that the pro dispensary crowd contains an element that is mean, irrational, and frankly dangerous to our community. If this is what the pot dispensaries create in Steamboat, then good riddance.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Gern123, So you saw some idiot's post before it was removed.

But to judge a idea by one, or some, of the people that poorly express it makes no sense. Are you saying we should judge the TEA Party by some idiot racist in the crowd holding a sign? Of course not, a political idea should be considered by how it fits in to make this a good place to live. Or Gary Wall would still be sheriff if rudeness of online posts from his opponents mattered.

Sometimes these posts have interesting information such as from BCHbunny doing the research to show the claim of increasing usage by Routt County youth was a selective reading of the data and a represented a very minor change in usage.

Other times it is a chance to see which side is able to back up their arguments. Seems to me that the anti-dispensary crowd have presented no arguments on what they think will happen other than no ads from local dispensaries if they win. And the anti-dispensary crowd's view of things so wrong currently do not seem to resonate (that doctors are ethically compromised by writing mmj recommendations does not seem any worse than doctors over-prescribing pharmaceuticals).

The retain dispensary argument that MMJ is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco seems to be unchallenged. The retain dispensary argument that it will remove regulated legal businesses with illegal drug traffickers seem to be unchallenged.

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rhys jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Gem123 -- Please pardon my characterizations; sometimes I let my emotion dictate my words. Like many of my friends, I am just frustrated with the government's lack of concern about our concerns, the fact that we have to repeatedly affirm our opinion, and the press's collusion in the counterstrike. It is pure economics which drive the heart of this issue, not community image, youth, or anything else incidentally cited. Our antagonists in this affair are apparently compensated by outside pharmaceutical interests for their efforts; neither ever evidenced any presence in this town before 2 years ago. No other explanation for their existence here has yet been provided.

I have yet to read one post in these forums, by one person, who was harmed in any way directly by pot, other than legal consequences. All we hear is what might happen, not what has happened. Yet I hear many who were blessed in one way or another.

To the Sheriff's skewed accident statistics, I can only respond Good thing they weren't drinking, or it would've been lots worse. Some kids will never reach maturity, and in this case it's still a matter of doubt.

I'm gonna catch my buzz. Who benefits is up to you.

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mtntrekker 2 years, 10 months ago

Keep the current dispensaries and do not allow any more. Or ban/close them all down and locals will have to drive and spend their money in Denver or Summit county. Then drive home stoned on I-70 and maybe get in a wreck. I would think the sales of munchies has gone up since deispensaries have opened.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

@ Rhys- about people being harmed by pot. Maybe the issue to consider is whether there are instances of people suffering adverse consequences as a result of dependency or abuse of controlled substances?

If a person chooses to medicate himself or herself every day, might that choice limit his or her employment or educational opportunities? Might that choice impact his or her socio-economic standing?

yes, I am aware that people of all socio-econ standing suffer from dependency and abuse.

Are you aware that there are children who have been harmed by a parent's use of MMJ?

Do you think it is ok for a child to be exposed to incidental MMJ residue?

Does MMJ intoxication have any impact on the brain development of children or adolescents?

How can you assure me that children of an MMJ user will not be exposed to residue?

I cannot buy that the assertion "no one has ever been harmed directly by pot" can possibly be correct.

People ARE harmed by substance abuse and dependency.

Do dispensaries contribute to substance abuse and dependency?

If MJ is leaglized might there be an increase in MJ abuse and dependency? Probably. But I think I would still support legalization because I support a person's right to self destruct, go down the drain, be lazy, "medicate" and all that. Just do not come to people like me looking for employment or a hand out.

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall advocating childrens' use of mj. I do know several parents who are able to keep it discreet from their kids, until they are old enough to realize what a sham it is. That said, I wish I had started sooner myself; I waited 'til I was 15, some nerd tendencies and insecurities already firmly set. Earlier neural adjustment could well have proven beneficial then.

I stand by my assertion, that nobody has ever directly been harmed by pot. We have yet to see one documented case of overdose or any other physical impairment. Nixon's own commission found that stoned subjects' motor responses were at least as good as, if not BETTER THAN, the straight control group. That commission recommended decriminalization, saying the only negative consequences they could ascertain was the user's possible arrest and incarceration. Nixon blew 'em off.

The "stepping stone" argument has been debunked many times; if anything, mj offers a harmless alternative to much harder and more dangerous things, your pet alcohol tops on that list. I live with people addicted to alcohol, and it is not a pleasant scene at times -- things bang and break, sticky messes appear out of nowhere. I don't fear them reading these lines; they are barely-literate ex-Commies, and HEAVY drinkers. And I look forward to my imminent relocation with glee. No drunks where I'm going, you can bet.

The one thing I will grant you is that it might limit my job choices. I don't hide behind the skirts of anonymity; I attach my name and hang my dirty laundry for all to see. I wouldn't bother applying to Fred; once he saw my name, there goes that. And whenever the Pilot seeks another graphic designer, I don't waste their time either, as I am sure they know me too. I'm not an office kind of guy anyway, apparently don't play well with others (more than 3 people is a recipe for disaster) and am just dang lucky I have a computer diversion which occasionally coughs some money back at me, much like a reluctant slot machine. My office is near where I hang my hat, hopefully with a view. And if that fails, my dishwashing skills are honed by years of practice.

And now I wonder, who it is, hiding behind their cute moniker... pray tell.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

The question on the ballot is whether local MMJ businesses will be banned. The ballot question is not whether marijuana will be eliminated from the county. Since marijuana was commonly available illegally before local dispensaries then there is no logical basis to expect that this vote will significantly reduce local marijuana usage.

Thus, this is not a vote on eliminating local usage of marijuana, but a vote on whether local dispensaries are better than having locals drive to distant centers or buying it illegally.

The questions are hypothetical garbage. Can anyone promise what parents will do? Can liquor companies promise that parents don't leave open liquor bottles around the house that their kids consume?

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heboprotagonist 2 years, 10 months ago

Chickadee-

Those were questions that should've been asked before the initial vote to make mmj legal. It is my recollection that they were, and most of the responses from qualified professionals are the same- those questions and concerns are overwhelmingly outweighed by the positive results of legalizing mmj.

Ultimately the concerns you voiced have zero to do with the existence of dispensaries and everything to do with complete criminalization of the drug. These are merely the infrequent (although admittedly negative) consequences of a free society. Specifically, the concerns you've raised are no more the fault of the dispensaries than alcohol abuse and it's negative impacts on society are the fault of bars and liquor stores. Any argument that seeks to differentiate between alcohol and pot are valid only as long as pot is illegal or regulated as medicine.

If the concerns w/r/t the abstract notions of community image, the health of our children (yes, I'm a father), and immorality were valid the anti-dispensary movement would actually be pursuing legal avenues to de-legalize mmj state-wide.

Who knows? Perhaps that is the ultimate goal. If so, it completely undermines the assertion of the anti-dispensary crowd that the medical dispensary model is a sham. They claim they are in favor of legalizing marijuanna, but somehow come to the conclusion that medical mmj makes a mockery of both the legal system and medical profession. And still, they can only provide arguments that are better suited towards the complete criminalization of the drug.

In short, your concerns are valid, but only to a point. The solutions you seek to these problems will not be found in banning the dispensaries. Instead seek your solace in a more educated and progressive police force. One that understands and upholds the rights and freedoms of the majority of citizens instead of cowing to the powerful and loud, yet outmoded and un-evolved minority.

Finally, you can bet that anyone who values their freedoms and humanity will steer clear of your employment, high or sober.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

I know what is the ballot question. But if the dispensaries are banned, will use of MJ in Routt county decrease? Because the price of MJ might rise? And obtaining it might become less convenient?

Many of you are confusing the concept of TOXICITY with harm. THC has low toxicity but that does not mean that people do not become dependent upon or abuse THC. Low toxicity does not equate to no harm.

Rhys, are you sure that there is no legit scientific research that would indicate that people are indeed harmed by THC intoxication and or cannabis dependence or abuse? Does the impact of THC upon one's short term memory, for example, constitute harm to that person? Are not there some adverse cardio vascular effects of smoking MJ? Isn't damage to body tissue generally considered to be harm?

Isn't there legit scientific research that indicates that THC adversely impacts adolescent brain development? Are you suggesting that THC intoxication poses no harm to people who suffer from certain psychological diagnoses such as affective disorders or psychotic disorders?

Alcohol is not an issue on the ballet. Nor is caffeine, trans fat, NSAIDS, spandex, ugly shoes, sandles with socks, high fructose corn syrup, that awful toxic plastic Chinese made crap for sale at Dollar Tree, or a person’s right to use these things.

A person’s right to annoy others with his questions is also not an issue.

Carry on and answer my questions.

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

hebo -- EXACTLY. What makes you think I'd work for you anyway? I'm tired of wasting my efforts, making rednecks rich. My turn. With the exception of Ski Corp, every boss I've had in the last 5 years was cool; we got high together. And if you're not cool too, why should I help you? Go get a wanna-be, and leave me alone.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

@heb

"Instead seek your solace in a more educated and progressive police force."

Amen! That is a most stellar cause to champion! I am on it! Thank you. I agree!

And, I agree--a person who is on my dime must sacrifice a certain amount of freedom and humanity.

Generally speaking, those who have capital likely have had to sacrifice some freedom and humanity to obtain and amass that capital. C'est la vie.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

Where are the Routt County Dispensaries banking?

Are these businesses holding large amounts of cash that they are unable to deposit institutionally?

I am asking because I do not know the answer to these questions. The answer to these questions might influence how I vote.

I do not employ people on the basis of whether or not they are cool. Their cool quotient is not even a remote consideration.

Not likely that I am alone in how I "weed out" potential employment candidates. ba dum bah!

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

chick -- We are yet awaiting any scientific research you can provide regarding cardio or ANY tissue damage of any kind. mj is currently being used to treat several psychological maladies, showing nothing but neural benefits. It is being used to TREAT the disorders you cite.

Short-term memory loss is temporary, and usually caused by heightened brain activity, not dulled. My short-term memory is tested all the time, in my programming pursuits, so pardon my arrogance when I say I am glad not all are capable of such extended abstract thought, or I'd have to get a real job. I find diminished-capacity the weakest argument of all. And I don't need any morons telling me different.

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

And now I see someone needs a real life, even more than I do, so I will quit wasting mine here. We had a previous poster in here, prone to sound effects. Could it be...

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

Rhys:

Grotenhermen, Franjo (2007). "The Toxicology of Cannabis and Cannabis Prohibition". Chemistry & Biodiversity 4 (8): 1744–69. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200790151;

and

Long lasting consequences of cannabis exposure in adolescence". Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 286 (1–2 Suppl 1): S108–13

and

Leweke, F. Markus; Koethe, Dagmar (2008). "Cannabis and psychiatric disorders: it is not only addiction". Addiction Biology 13 (2): 264–75

I am sorry that I am wasting your time but you asked that I cite some scientific literature.

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

At least give me a link I can click; I left my library in my other pants. Then I might bother to check your sources, scrutinize the methodology, venture an informed opinion. Lacking that, all I will say is there are lots of links supporting both sides, I'm as closed-minded as you are, and with that I hope to depart this conversation and resume my poor excuse for a life. Teach this computer some new tricks; at least IT can learn.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

The primary active constituent of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC). In humans, psychoactive cannabinoids produce euphoria, enhancement of sensory perception, tachycardia, antinociception, difficulties in concentration and impairment of memory. The cognitive deficiencies seem to persist after withdrawal. Recent findings revealed delta9-THC-induced cell death with shrinkage of neurons and DNA fragmentation in the hippocampus.

The psychoactive cannabinoids increase the activity of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area-mesolimbic pathway. Since these dopaminergic circuits are known to play a pivotal role in mediating the reinforcing (rewarding) effects of the most drugs of abuse, the enhanced dopaminergic drive elicited by the cannabinoids is thought to underlie the reinforcing and abuse properties of marijuana. Thus, cannabinoids share a final common neuronal action with other major drugs of abuse such as morphine, ethanol and nicotine in producing facilitation of the mesolimbic dopamine system.

Cited from Ameri A. The effects of cannabinoids on the brain, Prog Neurobiol. 1999 Jul;58(4):315-48

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

RHYS! I SUPPORT your right to get high.

I am not closed minded. I SUPPORT legalization of MJ!

That does not mean that I am not well aware of the harm that MJ may cause or that I ignore the economic externalities that THC dependenc and abuse impose upon society.

I just wish that people would be intellectually honest about why they use MJ and do business with dispensaries. It is because they like getting high, generally, no?

Why do people shop at Central Park Liquor? Because they like to get drunk? Or there might be a few people like me who only shop there on the occassion that some Tiramisu recipe requires an ingredient that can only be purchased at a liquor store?

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JJ Southard 2 years, 10 months ago

That study is over 12 years old. Many studies on cannabis back then, have now been proven wrong. They were studied using subpar non-medicinal cannabis. Organically grown medicinal cannabis, vaporized or eaten....does NOT have the effects you state above.

Keep lying.

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heboprotagonist 2 years, 10 months ago

Chick- The assertion that this debate doesn't cover alcohol, prescription drugs, etc. is simply not true. It might not be on the ballot question, but it is most certainly central to the conversation. Excluding the logic of such arguments is to not see the forest for the trees. It doesn't include the whole picture, and when society makes decisions without all the information available- we make poor decisions.

Pushing alcohol aside is akin to when during a trial the judge instructs the jury to disregard specific evidence/testimony on a technicality. No logical person believes the jury is able to completely disregard what they've seen and heard. It's simply wishful thinking. The reality is that alcohol makes a lot of people money and makes infinitely more people very happy. Alcohol is the mirror we hold up to society, it is the lowest common denominator. No one wants to see the worst in themselves, or admit that the math doesn't add up.

Drawing an ideological line in the sand should certainly ask society to weigh both sides carefully, but more importantly it should ask society to question the validity of line and the motives behind it's existence to begin with.

I applaud your questions, they show a willingness to seek out the whole picture. Just don't let your prejudices influence your interpretation of the answers. Too often both sides of this debate pick and choose data to support a predetermined conclusion. I can admit, that I'm as guilty of this as anyone. The difference being that I don't stand to profit or lose financially from the outcome. Some have already profited, and will continue to profit regardless. Other stand to lose a great deal. My guess is that the most passionate arguments come from those on either side that are more financially involved in the vote. It's up to the rest of us to sort through the red-herrings and innuendo, vote with our heads, and accept the outcome like adults.

I don't know the answer to your questions regarding the dispensaries banking procedures. I doubt that you'll ever get a satisfactory answer either, such details are sensitive information no business would want made public. I do know they still take credit/debit cards- never been turned away once.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for answering my question as to whether local dispensaries currently accept credit cards.

My personal view on alcohol is that alcohol is disgusting. I do not seek to ban it even though I am personally repulsed by even casual use of alcohol. There is research to suggest that the isoflavones in wine have antioxidant benefits. I know about those benefits but I am still going to think of alcoholic beverages as empty calories. So, yeah, I am going to be close minded about alcohol, engage in confirmation bias on the topic, not associate with alcoholics and not employ them to babysit my grandchildren or mow my lawn.

I disagree that alcohol makes people infinitely more happy (except when it is used in small quantities in recipe for TIRAMISU). My view is that alcohol makes people infinitely more sad.

People do not want to see the worst in themselves, but the worst must be examined if one is to gain insight and achieve greater heights (not highs...ha), don't you agree?

To the extent that the jury cannot ignore what they have been told they must ignore, counsel should consider asking for a new trial/ mistrial? Yes? No?

Thank you again for adressing my questions. I do not expect you to continue to answer them ad infinitem. but thanks!!!

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

Dr Green Jeans, thank you. That seems to be a reasonable hypothesis that oganically grown medicinal cannabis that can be vaporized or eaten and that might not have been available at the time of a certain study could be introduced to a replicated study. Changes in variables and migh lead to different conclusions. I am open to that suggestion.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

Are there any current stats for the delivery system used by CO MMJ patients? That is, what percentage of them smoke their meds, vaporize, eat or use a combination delivery mech?

What constiutes the majority of sales for the dispensaries? Medicine that the patient smokes? Or medicine that the patient eats?

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

I will admit I am a poor debater, backed by little science except tidbits I have gleaned over the years, sources unknown. Most of my evidence is anecdotal, itself not scientific. The Nixon study I cite is over 30 years old. Like everyone else in this discussion, I only quote statistics which support my conclusions. I thank my brethren contributors for being more well-documented and less irrational.

I do not pretend to be the typical case, wouldn't wish this trip on anybody. My mind races at all times, and pot helps me keep it oriented. Computers provide a convenient outlet and distraction.

All I'm saying is, I have been anecdotally able to produce no apparent damage, in two score years' of experimentation. I continue to use it to my benefit, as well as my customers'. Stories of pot's dangers have been vastly overblown for at least 80 years by those financially threatened -- first Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, already an influential lobby, and now Squibb and Bristol-Meyers, their bank statements now also threatened by pot's magical medical properties; it'll fix your nerves and cancer too.

That'll be it for this brief intrusion and poor argument, now back to the "real life." Ciao!!

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canyonwind 2 years, 10 months ago

Do the people that want to ban MMJ stores want to ban the 2nd Amendment for card holders like Obama? Just how long will it be before they go after me for my blood presure meds? http://www.infowars.com/feds-medical-marijuana-patients-have-no-right-to-second-amendment/

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canyonwind 2 years, 10 months ago

So how long till Lisa Watts, Garrett Wiggins and the like go after all the bars downtown for selling alcohol or the fast food dealers that sell food loaded with fat??? This is how the Nanny State works their End Game is always about control over the people but in the end they always fail. This is not a left right issue it is about FREEDOM and those that hate it and want to do away with the Constitution. Or they just want to sell the Ganja at sky high prices, I have spoke with people in both camps, they either hate freedom or they just want to make lots of money once RMR and Marrys are out of bussiness. With the real unemployment rate at over 19% nationwide we seem to have real issues that need to be dealt with.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Long term health surveys which poll large numbers of people for many years do not show any great harm from mj usage. People that report usage are not obviously dying younger or having obviously higher rates of lung disease. In contrast, alcohol and tobacco use clearly cause early deaths and various illnesses.

Marijuana is generally within the margin of error for these studies. Even the studies that claim a link between mj and psychosis (and such) acknowledge further research is needed to see if some people with mental illness choose mj or if mj causes the mental illness. All of this is so difficult to determine because the differences is very minor and so close to the studies margin of error.

I note that a study from the British Medical Association put drugs into 3 categories. Worst of the worst is heroin. Tier 2 is cocaine, meth, alcohol and tobacco (and some others). Tier 3 is caffeine, Ritalin and marijuana (among others).

As for what will happen to usage if the bans pass, well there are now a whole of locals that know how to effectively grow mmj. So personal growing could easily take off to levels far higher than anything before. And personal growing certainly encourage growing to legal limits and while harder than buying from a dispensary, it should be cheaper. So will banning dispensaries result in flooding this city with home grown mmj at lower prices than from dispensaries?

Seems to be little evidence locally that marijuana usage has been affected much by the dispensaries. That nearly 7% of adults are mmj patients is really quite close to number of adults that report using mj in the past month.

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott -- You raise a point I am particularly ignorant about; specifically, foreign perceptions and laws. I know there are backwards parts of the Mideast where possession can get your head lopped off, and I won't go there soon. I am just interested in researching lands which are more tolerant and open-minded than the regime under which I find myself. My little dog-and-pony show can do business anywhere on Earth, thanks to the Internet, and I frankly find the local authorities and powers that be rather oppressive. Not to mention the national mafia.

I am particularly interested in the Alps region, northern Italy and Switzerland. If the latter, I gather Bern might be more to my political and ideological liking than Zurich or Geneva, this third-hand. Any of our world travellers have more specific info on these questions -- where might you suggest I explore? Northern Italy sounds fun too, but I'd hope to land where I can find my meds.

I'm stuck here through ski season, anyway, went and bought a dang pass, so I HOPE my ship doesn't come in before that.

Sorry for the diversion, and thank you in advance!!

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Quick wiki check shows that mj is illegal in both Switzerland and Italy. Though, a poll in Switzerland reports that 7% of 15-39 year olds say they are current users. I know amazing that the Swiss report higher usage than we have MMJ patients.

I see that Denmark is moving away from it basically being legal because they never came up with how mj legally gets into the shops and so gangs have gotten into their distribution system and they are seeing violence.

It appears that Colorado is unique in the world in how it regulates MMJ from seedling through sales.

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chickadee 2 years, 10 months ago

thank you Scott for doing a great job of courting my undecided vote! I had hoped to receive more courting and wooing but instead all I got was the finger prior to your post above.

so far I have received no courtship whatsoever from the anti dispensary crowd. so, as of now, you own my vote.

respectfully!

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Kristopher Hammond 2 years, 10 months ago

Pilot: Wouldn't it be nice to know how much sales tax money the mmj dispensaries pay to the City, County and State? If I had a bunch of reporters on my payroll, I'd put my best man on it. Will you? This doesn't seem like that hard a task. BUT...you have already taken a position WITHOUT this information.

This information would tell us several things: First, it would tell us how much sales tax revenue would be lost by a ban. Secondly, from the tax revenues, we could roughly calculate the amount of mmj being sold. This would, in turn, tell us what percentage of legally sold mmj ends up in the wrong hands. 25%? 50%?? 0.0003%? This would tell us how big the "problem" really is.

Law Enforcement, do you have the courage to tell us the total weight of mmj you have seized from people who do not have a card? Can we compare that to the total weight of mmj legally sold in Routt County?

Remember: the mmj sold in our dispensaries is sold LEGALLY. Mmj dispensaries are at the bottom of the food chain.

If someone gets a card by lying to a doctor, that is wrong and illegal, but not the fault of the dispensary. If a doctor signs a Rx without a bone fide consultation, that is wrong (and probably illegal, too), but not the dispensary's fault. If a legal patient sells his mmj to someone without a card, that is wrong and illegal, too, but again, not the fault of the dispensary.

Selling marijuana illegally has always been against the law. The proposed ban makes it illegal to sell it legally.

I think the cops are just too lazy or incompetent to bust the real wrongdoers mentioned above. REAL police work is time consuming and labor intensive. The cops have decided it is easier and cheaper to shortcut real law enforcement and instead launch a PR campaign. This isn't law enforcement, it is politics.

Let's ignore the real criminals and instead ban mmj dispensaries, the only legal, regulated, taxpaying players in this scenario.

Then we can pretend we have "solved" the mmj "problem" we invented in the first place.

Isn't democracy great?

Vote for no police work!!!

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Shawant, Well, in Oak Creek the MMJ business license fees is $8,000 which is about 3% of their general fund.

Much of the other information you seek is not publicly available info.

I think much of reason that law enforcement dislikes mj is because they see the lab results showing it's presence in early deaths. So while friends know the victim had been drinking heavily (and not smoking pot that evening) and died in their sleep or committed suicide, the authorities see lab tests showing the alcohol and presence of mj because mj persists at a detectable level for so long. So they blame mj as much as the alcohol.

And they tend to think that their efforts matter so they think illegal mj is never that easy for the general public to get. It is real hard to get any law enforcement agency to admit they've lost the war on mj supply, but economists using market analysis tools such as pricing and size of consumer market have no problems showing that police have totally lost the war. I saw somewhere that if was considered a war and 5+% of the population was considered the enemy then from a counter insurgency viewpoint the war is lost. And even presented with the data showing their complete defeat then law enforcement defends their efforts and how next time they'll bust more and turn the war around.

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captnse 2 years, 10 months ago

As chief cop you say drug abuse is your concern. Abuse is when cops throw innocent people in jail for something they do in the privacy of their home. Alcohol abuse in our students is rampant. Supplying teenagers with alcohol is illegal. Do something about it cops.Steamboat cops need to get out and preach the evils of alcohol and reduce underage drinking.
Alcohol kills marijuana heels

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