Finally Some Truth in Media

Just swinging by to make sure everyone reads this important, groundbreaking piece in the Colorado Springs newspaper The Gazette.

http://gazette.com/clearingthehaze

Clearing the Haze by The Gazette

Their choice of courage and integrity …. to tell the truth in the face of massive media bias, completely bought and paid for by the Big Marijuana Industry (NORML, The Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Free Policy Alliance) is inspiring and encouraging.

Make sure you check out the entire series: http://gazette.com/clearingthehaze

Also see my quote in this piece which shows the reality of our state’s pitiful prevention efforts:

http://gazette.com/state-prevention-efforts-criticized/article/1548298

“Many of the state’s addiction treatment providers, substance prevention professionals and advocates working in their communities to reduce drug use and abuse also say the CDPHE and the Governor’s Office of Marijuana Coordination have given marijuana industry representatives too much influence. Among them is Jo McGuire, a Colorado Springs-based consultant who specializes in helping employers maintain drug-free workplace policies and serves on the national board of the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.

In August, McGuire attended a CDPHE event headlined “Marijuana Workshop for State and Local Public Health,” during which a lawyer for the marijuana industry and a physician who recommends marijuana spoke. She was particularly surprised by the bud tender who lectured the safe, regular use of highly potent THC concentrates.

“None of what these marijuana- industry representatives said was supported by one shred of responsible science, and it was absolutely stunning to me that our state health officials gave these people such a place of authority and legitimacy,” she said.

“It’s one thing if CDPHE officials want to better understand the industry by meeting with people and taking their own notes, but it is very much another and beyond ridiculous for them to make marijuana industry leaders keynote speakers who get to dominate the floor and drive the agenda.

“It’s like inviting Philip Morris executives to help us learn how to use tobacco and develop our next anti-smoking campaign.”

Thank you to the editorial team who worked tirelessly on this and keep your eyes open for more TRUTH on this important topic.

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Truth Twisting & Over-selling the Marijuana Tax Promise

When I see headlines blaring blatant inaccuracies and flat-out falsehoods about the “success” of marijuana legalization in Colorado … it frustrates me that the watching world buys into the lie.  Too harsh?  Well … judge for yourself.

Here is a gem from two weeks ago that claims Colorado is making “so much money” the state has to give some back:

The content of this piece is utterly replete with false assumptions and made-up “facts”. Yes, there is a slight correction at the end but it comes nowhere near rescuing the writer from a foray into over-glorifying the world of weed.

The very first sentence states that “Colorado voters knew that passing Amendment 64 would raise tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue”. Truth: Colorado voters were promised $120 million dollars in tax revenue ANNUALLY with the first $40 million ear-marked for public school building funds EACH YEAR. Not just one time, but (again) ANNUALLY.

It seems these promises have long been forgotten as history is re-written by marijuana enthusiasts and uninformed media.

BrokeAnother inaccuracy here is that the state of Colorado “under-estimated” the revenue we would receive. Seriously?  Go back to the above: we were promised $120 million and have fallen DRASTICALLY short of that amount. Our projections were lowered repeatedly in 2014 by the state’s economist.  Finally landing in the range of hoping for $30 million in tax revenue …. this does not even begin to cover the costs of regulation, much less fulfill the $40 million for schools, and yes … then there is TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights).

TRUTH: The writers of Amendment 64 knew that the taxation scheme presented was not TABOR-compliant from the beginning and chose to ignore it. Just another loophole for which we now must find a solution. These facts can be easily discovered by reviewing the Governor’s Task force recordings from 2013 which are on file with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). A bit of journalistic integrity would suggest fact-checking these issues.

Oh and … those “millions” going back to the Taxpayers? Yes, I will get approximately $7.50 in credit on my utility bill that will suffice as my “millions.”  Thank you, Big Marijuana. You can’t even buy me a decent dinner.

About the only thing in this article that is close to accurate is the thriving black market. People can grow their own, so why should they pay sales tax? They are also circumventing the tax structure by purchasing marijuana from dispensaries rather than retail stores (among other work-arounds for avoiding the tax). Taxes, which the supporters of marijuana claimed they were “happy to pay!” just a year ago when this was all new and shiny.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/us/colorado-stores-throw-open-their-doors-to-pot-buyers.html?_r=0

Way back in 2014 when pot taxes were happily embraced.

Finally, I really must address this delusional statement that “Colorado is estimated to have saved between $12 million and $40 million by freeing up law enforcement to focus on criminal activity unrelated to marijuana.”  This statement is patently false. Where is the proof?

According to the Denver Police Department, crime is up. And according to the Colorado State Patrol, traffic fatalities involving marijuana have increased by 100%. Law enforcement is losing money on road-side sobriety calls. Hash oil explosions are up significantly as well. For the TRUTH on these REAL marijuana outcomes, check out the comprehensive report by Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA).

It saddens me that irresponsible reporting takes front and center stage with gleeful headlines that do not portray the truth of how Colorado is left coping with the difficult realities and complex problems associated with commercialized marijuana.

Truth isn’t particularly popular these days as we seem to prefer tabloid-style sensationalism, but just a bit of research into the facts reveals that legal pot isn’t all that’s been promised and time won’t heal this wound to our public health and safety. In the meantime, keep searching for the REAL stories in spite of the absurd and learn lessons from Colorado’s folly.

Hickenlooper Says Marijuana is “Reckless” but Doesn’t Back it Up on Edibles

Gummy

On Mon., Oct. 20, Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, publicly called for a ban on marijuana edibles in Colorado. In a matter of hours, the department walked back its proposal with a statement crafted by marijuana coordinators working in the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper.

hickenlooper

A CDPHE employee, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing employment, reported that Dr. Wolk was pressured to withdraw the proposal –and points to the transmission of an e-mail sent to Dr. Wolk by J. Skyler McKinley, deputy director of marijuana coordination. The message’s subject line is “Statement from CDPHE on edibles?,” and it is time-stamped 3:03 p.m., Oct. 20.

“Here’s what we came up with. Feel free to adjust, edit as you see fit …” McKinley wrote when guiding CDPHE officials on how they should withdraw the department’s call for an edibles ban.

In the ensuing thread, Dr. Wolk sent a message acknowledging he had “no choice at this point” but to go along, the CDPHE employee also reported. Before the e-mail exchange, Dr. Wolk had received a call from Andrew Freedman, director of marijuana coordination, the employee also said.

“You better ask for a copy of this e-mail because messages like this have a way of disappearing very quickly,” the CDPHE employee said.

Indeed, we filed a Colorado Open Records Act request on October 22nd, seeking the e-mail that CDPHE employees have copies of — and the State of Colorado told us this evening it has no such record.

Sure it doesn’t.