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.

Altered Reality

Staying calm but not quiet.

Staying calm but not quiet.

Colorado is my home state.  I have raised my 3 children here. Our family has lived, worked, played and experienced 24 years of our crazy, amazing life in the shadow of Pikes Peak, one of the most beautiful places on earth.

And now, here we are … nearly 18 months since recreational marijuana was legalized by Colorado voters and we find ourselves in an entirely new paradigm.

It’s interesting to have the eyes of the world on Colorado and to hear how the pundits, politicians and paparazzi constantly spin the state of affairs. The majority of whom have no idea what they are talking about.

When Amendment 64 was put on the Colorado ballot – the majority of people thought it could never happen here and most paid absolutely no attention to it – thinking it was ridiculous and tuning out the chatter. The perception was that some radically-minded folks took advantage of a loop-hole in Colorado law, allowing proposed amendments to our state constitution by collecting a certain amount of voter signatures for ballot initiatives … but realistically it didn’t have a prayer of passing.

Then the messaging happened: “40 million dollars for public schools”, “millions in tax revenue”, “regulate like alcohol”, “less harmful than alcohol”, “it’s safe!”, etc. Many politically concerned people, from party leaders to office-holders of all types, scoffed at the very notion this would convince voters, while the average citizen went, “Hey, I don’t use it but if we can regulate and tax it, why not?”  Sounds good on the surface, but idealism isn’t always that simple.

Marijuana is NOT. THAT. SIMPLE.

I started learning about the Amendment 64 initiative in June of 2012, 5 months before election day.

As a mom, I attended the Blue Book hearings and asked legislators to consider how this would impact our youth. As a professional, I spoke to employers about the impact to our work places. As a speaker, I debated the weaknesses of the legislation. As a citizen, I contacted representatives. 

What I did most of all, was educate myself. I called toxicology labs, physicians, treatment providers, employment attorneys and prevention specialists. I joined with other moms to learn the facts. I asked for the best science, the most in-depth medical studies, the latest technology and above all … the TRUTH.

And then I made a decision to speak that truth, regardless of who may – or may not – be listening. But that doesn’t mean I am always heard.

Here is a piece of my truth: marijuana impacts my life on a daily basis. It is now an integral part of my career, it is a major focus for me and a topic I am well and widely versed upon.

But there are not enough hours in the day or venues available for me to tell enough people what some of us REALLY know about marijuana  and to effectively get the truth out there.

So what better way than to start blogging and sharing what life is really like in this live-action adventure of legalized recreational marijuana? I will talk about how we got here, what’s going on behind-the-scenes, my own personal experiences and quite frankly, anything else I find helpful to whomever may trip across my pages.

And just for starters – please know that we are not all stoned in Colorado – although we are living in an altered reality!