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It is not just the Pilot that is attempting to sensationalize these statistics. The authors of the report themselves seek to undermine their own findings which show an overall downward trend in ED visits for MJ by collapsing more current data into historical "era" data. The commentary from the report can be seen below. Of note (opinion): This downward trend may be attributable to improved educational campaigns and revised potency limits as placed upon edible MJ products meant for recreational sale. Lastly, it is important to read the "Limitations" (page 259) section of the report.
However, in January through September 2015 there was a decline in ED visits to 754 per 100,000 (Figure 2). When viewing the annual rates collapsed into marijuana legalization eras, the rate of HD with marijuana-related billing codes increased significantly from the legalization of medical marijuana (2001-2009) to the legalization of retail marijuana (2014-September 2015) (Figure 3). Furthermore, the decrease in ED visits observed in January through September of 2015 was no longer apparent when collapsed to marijuana legalization eras, and a significantly increasing trend was observed from the commercialization of medical marijuana (2011-2013) of 739 per 100,000 to the legalization of retail marijuana (2014-September 2015) of 913 per 100,000 (Figures 3).
Wow.....talk about mountain biking being a dangerous activity.
What an idiotic statement.
Why don't you take me as an example, Fred? My businesses have created 300+ jobs in multiple states. I routinely work 80+ hour weeks. I have hauled my butt onto a plane to fly across the country over 100 times this year. We're changing lives through our philanthropic work and cutting-edge medical research.
Should I lay off the pot so that I can be more productive?
.....Says a businessman who is aware of labor and real estate costs across the state. We operate at a higher cost per square foot in Steamboat Springs because retaining a 100% local workforce, top to bottom, is a central corporate principle for us. If I was a start up in this hotly competitive marketplace, I would never dream of locating these types of facilities in Routt. It is simply cheaper to do it elsewhere without an additional excise tax as part of the equation. To add an additional layer of fees would further discourage such development and to position said tax as a pass-through of increased expenses is disingenuous; It is a revenue grab plain and simple.
Additionally, your commentary on greenhouse cultivation is off-the-mark for many, many reasons. I encourage new participants in this space with those views as they end up either closing up shop due to under capitalization or bringing to market inferior product.
These points, however, are moot as you clearly misread the intent of my comments. I shared my thoughts from a perspective wherein cultivation in unincorporated Routt could be encouraged, not discouraged. These were irrespective of expanded retail licensing in SS.
What happened to your small government, lower-tax soapbox on this one?
This is a poorly considered position by the Today editorial board and shows ignorance of the fundamentals of this market space. As an owner/operator of licensed marijuana business I would have no interest in locating a cultivation or processing facility in any jurisdiction that levies an additional local tax, let alone one in a region that already sees elevated real estate and labor costs when vast tracks of cheap land/warehouse space and labor pools abound across the state.
Legal MJ businesses are already burdened with a state-mandated excise tax. Add to that the impacts of 280e at the federal level and vertically oriented operations that are inclusive of retail sites can see their to tax rates far exceed 50%. Successful business do not willfully add to this already significant expense.
Furthermore, the notion that there is some great cost associated with locally regulating a state licensed MJ production facility is simply not true. I can guarantee the public that any establishment that serves liquor on site to patrons represents a greater drain on public safety resources.
Go ahead, lift the moratorium and pass the tax- but do not be surprised when there is still nothing upon which to levy it.
Patrick and Christy-
This was a well-written and thoughtful piece that I enjoyed reading. You have provided a unique perspective that, to my knowledge, has not been part of this broader discussion.
Sorry for the trite, unsupported comments above.
I'll preface my comments with this statement: The vast majority of law enforcement officers are men and women of high moral character possessive of the desire to serve their communities. But, the same can also be said about the general population. It is only because of outliers that we need law enforcement in the first place. And as with the general population, there are outliers within law enforcement.
However, unlike your average person, a police officer has the power to take both freedom and life. As such, accountability for abuse of power must be paramount. Any government should aggressively pursue these abuses in an open and transparent manner. Any person who stands in opposition to this is an abettor.
My diatribe could expand in any number of directions from here, but I'd like to focus on a single factor that I believe contributes greatly to police abuse of power, that is the mantra of: "whatever it takes to come home safely."
Although the BLS statistics show that law enforcement does not fall within the top-ten most dangerous occupations (fatal, in order)....
...it is expected that when an individual decides that he/she wants to enter policing, occupational risk is a given. They key is to never forget this fact, for as one slips down that slope, those whom he was meant to protect and serve can soon become the enemy. Though this is an understandable transition, it is one that our country's police leadership need better address- rather than be complicit in developing.
What is the answer? I can't say for sure. Leadership and accountability certainly play large roles. Whatever the solution (universal body cams for a start?), we owe it to ourselves to continue its pursuit even in the face of uncomfortable disclosures and personal pains.
To Liz and the editors.....
A hallmark of sloppy, agenda-driven journalism is an incongruity between the tone and content of an article. In this piece, the reader is provided these facts about marijuana consumption:
Regional usage for the youth demographic is below the state average
Regional usage for the adult demographic is below the state average
State usage rates for youth are below the national average
These trends have been in steady decline since 2009, when retail availability of medical marijuana became prevalent.
However, the title of the article reads "....and raises questions regarding youth exposure."
Additionally, within the article we read "The correlation between adult use, legalization and youth use is not all negative, though." Interpreting that sentence in a vacuum would imply a negative correlation had been discussed, but in context it reads as: "but wait, maybe it's not all bad news."
The bottom line: The Chicken Littles were wrong, the sky is not falling, and actually engaging youth in a discussion about marijuana instead of insulting their intelligence with mindless fear-mongering seems to be working. I support Grand Futures' agenda of education, behavior modification, proper storage, and alternative activity solutions. This is what has worked and will continue to work. These types of programs and attitudes are what lead youth to have lowered perceptions of the "oh my God, think about the kids" dangers of marijuana use, while at the same time, allowing them to develop a more circumspect understanding of the negative outcomes associated with its improper use and thereby, lowering consumption rates overall.
I do not however, support the Pilot continuing to sensationalize an issue that doesn't exist, nor their typical slang-rich "pot" pieces. I'd suggest they follow in the footsteps of our kids and grow up a bit.
Subjectively, the current operators have, without lawful requirement, self-limited our marketing and have remained located outside of the main tourist corridors. Maybe the Pilot is ginning-up this discussion in hopes of increased ad revenue? Additionally, the three (6) current centers are locally-owned and operated, meaning that our revenues and payrolls stay here in Steamboat. Don't bet on that being the case in an expanded program. Also, let's look at pricing. We at RMR have always been aggressive when compared to comps in the Denver metro market and we have been outright bullish when compared to similar resort towns. I encourage readers to evaluate pricing in Vail-Eagle, Aspen, and Breckenridge. In many cases, we charge 20% less for our products....don't count on lower prices going hand-in-hand with expanded licensing.
The bottom line is this: Council is attempting to strike a balance between what's best for the community and what's best for business. This space is in no way comparable to restaurants and hardware stores and to draw that correlation shows and embarrassing lack of information and understanding. By simply adding a few more retail marijuana licenses to Steamboat's current count, the marijuana biz would not suddenly be converted into a free market- so many more variables than that are in play. As many are likely unaware: our businesses cannot even bank locally. So long as a service so basic as this remains unavailable to our sector, we cannot rightfully be considered "just like any other business" and industry-specific rules and regulations remain appropriate.
Well, the Pliot and Today Editorial Board has certainly come a long way from this:
"Our View: Medical marijuana centers should be banned"
From counting other business' money (have any idea what the levels of OPEX, CAPEX, and taxation...eg 280-e, are required to operate in this highly-regulated space?), to the dismissive tone regarding current licensees "protecting Steamboat’s small town character," this is, quite simply, a poorly researched and poorly conceptualized opinion piece.
I am a registered independent, and like many of my generation, hold in high regard libertarian-leaning ideologies such as fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.
However, at both local and state levels there is nothing "free market" about Colorado's marijuana system. This industry is subject to: moratoria, production limits, zoning restrictions, advertising limitations, consumption limitations, purchase limitations, supplementary taxation, employment restrictions, ownership restrictions, product restrictions, capital investment restrictions, packaging restrictions, operating hour restrictions, signage restrictions....I could go on and on.
As such, Council's decision to continue forward with a license limit for the city falls well within the scope of marijuana regulation that we see today.
Objectively, there are currently more retail marijuana dispensaries per user in Steamboat than there are retail liquor stores (more than 2x's the rate) and our store density surpasses that of Denver (1 for every 4,000 vs 1 for every 4,500), which has been oft-derided as having "more marijuana" than Starbucks. Furthermore, local ordinance requires that our businesses remain vertically-integrated (grow what we sell) on the recreational side, even though state law does not. This is fine by me, but to meet market demand, which we do, a significant capital investment in cultivation infrastructure was required and seasoning of that investment should be considered.
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