Colorado Is Educating Stoners With Few Available Facts
DENVER ( MainStreet) The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment wants $3.7 million this year to maintain and promote a website addressing topics such as keeping pets safe from marijuana, how to tell when children are smoking pot and driving while stoned.
"We want people to know the laws and the long-term health impacts and to make responsible choices about marijuana use," said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The website poses many questions such as:
- "Can I use marijuana while pregnant?"
- "Can I use marijuana while breastfeeding?"
- "Is it safe to eat or drink marijuana-infused products?
- "Can I use while I am cruising around town?"
The obvious answer to these questions is no, but the website doesn't quite and come out say it, opting to list risks instead.
In a section titled, "What is marijuana?" the website informs:
"There are more than 200 marijuana terms used in the United States. The most common are: Weed, Bud, Cheeba, Chronic, Dank, Dope, Grass, Ganga, Kine/Kind bud, Kush, Pot, Schwag, Skunk, Tree."
The agency's materials on cigarettes, by contrast, are far more informative. "Tobacco causes more than 4,300 deaths every year in Colorado -- more than alcohol, AIDS, motor vehicle accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined," the agency wrote in a press release last year.
Less is known about the dangers of marijuana, and it is now a new and growing source of revenue. Colorado is expected to collect as much as $40 million in additional revenues in its first year of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. There's a 10% sales tax on top of the 2.9% standard sales tax rate in Colorado, plus a 15% excise tax on wholesalers .
Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper recently touted these revenue figures even though he stood opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana before it came up for a popular vote last year. Some of this money will trickle into Colorado schools, where children are taught to stay away from pot.
CBS affiliates in Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction are broadcasting public service announcements for the new website through May 25.
Much of the effort is aimed at keeping children off the drug in the presence of legally consuming adults.
"The brain matures until age 25 ," one of the public service announcements goes. "Using drugs like marijuana before the brain is fully developed can have lifelong negative effects on children."
The other major goal of the website is keeping stoners off the roads .
"People often state that they feel that they are 'safer' drivers while stoned since they drive more slowly," the website reports. "However, research shows that consuming marijuana and driving doubles your risk of a fatal crash."