Last updated: May 22, 2023
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in November 2012, however, shops weren’t allowed to open for business until January 1, 2014. You may recall that people were lined up for blocks. The long wait was due to legal and policy issues that needed resolving. Seven years later, Colorado officials, determined to tighten the reins regarding legalization, are putting high-potency pot under the microscope.
HB21-1317 was mainly designed to limit teenagers’ access to high-potency marijuana products, such as dabs, wax, and shatter. The bill calls for scientific studies, annual reports, and would force the state to at least make an “honest attempt at enforcing daily purchase limits at dispensaries.” It would also make qualifying for a medical marijuana card in Colorado more difficult.
The bill sailed through both chambers of Congress, the question is will the governor sign it?
Governor Jared Polis (D) is well-known for his pro-marijuana stance and is an ally of Big Marijuana. He just signed a bill into law in May 2021 that doubled the marijuana possession limit for adults in the state. The governor has also directed state law enforcement to identify the people with prior convictions of possession over the limit that fall within the new limit. He may pardon them.
Also in May, Gov. Polis signed a bill into law allowing high school students to have access to medical marijuana during school hours. It is now left with and administered by the school nurse.
So far, there’s no word from the governor’s office as to whether or not he plans to approve HB21-1317, but things look a little iffy.
Parents are stepping up
The days of considering marijuana a “harmless” drug are over. THC levels have increased dramatically and high-potency pot appears to shed new light on things. THC levels range from 5o up to 99 percent in these products.
Parents are demanding changes to marijuana laws because their teenagers are addicted to various forms of marijuana concentrate. In fact, Senator Kevin Priola (R), a sponsor of the bill, knows about the problem firsthand. He shared that his son began using marijuana at the age of fourteen. He’s been struggling with addiction for five years. The family has dealt with bouts of locking up keys and wallets. The situation even escalated to the point where the senator kicked his son out of the home to protect his other children.
The fact that the bill includes analyzing data results in research “related to the physical and mental health effects of high-potency THC marijuana and concentrates” isn’t happenstance.
When Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, the industry claimed that the THC potency level ranged between 5 to 10 percent. That wasn’t true. There was plenty of potent flower products on the shelves from day one. Furthermore, the idea that high-potency products, such as wax, dabs, or shatter weren’t available “back then,” is another myth.
The bill awaiting the governor’s signature was conceived by Representative Yadira Caraveo (D)—the only medical doctor elected to the Colorado legislature. It would direct the Colorado School of Public Health to conduct an in-depth examination of the research concerning the potential health effects related to using high-potency pot and, of course, its concentrates.
Parents are coming forward with stories of their child becoming addicted to marijuana concentrates and several years down the road, they are becoming psychotic. Some have committed suicide. There is new research that tends to support that high-potency marijuana is linked to addiction, mental health disorders, and suicide.
The scientific review mandated by this bill would look at thousands of studies examining marijuana’s effects on the brain. After reviewing the information, they would make recommendations regarding changes to legislation regarding the use of high-potency marijuana.
We’ll point out the importance of reviewing these studies before moving on in reference to the teenage brain. It hasn’t finished developing yet. The chance that using high-potency pot products could forever alter brain development is a grave concern.
Putting caps on marijuana potency needs to become a priority.
Big Marijuana pushed back
There was, in fact, a provision in the original bill that put a cap on THC potency at 15 percent. However, once the information got out, the industry revolted in full force. A redraft of the bill removed the provision. Still, the council’s findings could cause a push for an entirely new bill focused on THC potency limits… time will tell.
In the meantime, expect the marijuana industry to keep on keeping on with its focus being on the money, of course. That means making the buzz as intense as possible to keep the masses coming back for more. They have little regard for discovering whether or not consuming these products has the potential to harm the individuals purchasing them.
Don’t back down
But, other states, such as Montana and Vermont, have been paying attention to what’s going on in Colorado and the results of their lackadaisical approach to restricting THC potency and limiting advertising. These states have moved to take control of both issues and others are sure to follow suit.
If you feel that Governor Polis should sign HB21-1317, say so! Call or write the governor’s office and express your views. He may side with the marijuana industry regarding legalization, but his constituents have a say in the matter as well.
It’s no time to be complacent. High-potency pot is posing problems. We need to make sure he is fully aware of that fact. And, we need to do it now.
Young people don’t use good judgment because they aren’t always capable of discerning what’s best for them. It’s time to step up to bat for them and for others who could be adversely affected for life because the industry is staying ahead of the science.