As misinformation swirls around Pueblo Ballot Measure 200, The Cannabis Business Alliance provides accurate facts to myths that have been circulating about Cannabis.
MYTH: Pueblo is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of babies born THC-positive with detectable marijuana chemicals.
FACT: There have been some biased statistics shared that seem to imply that Pueblo hospitals are seeing an influx of babies born with Cannabis in their system, but the study is skewed. Because drug tests are performed only when a new mother is suspected of or admits to drug use, the percentage of positive marijuana tests has been high in Pueblo, but the absolute numbers have been low.
MYTH: Driving under the influence of drugs is as dangerous as alcohol and much harder for police to detect.
FACT: It is illegal to drive while under the influence of any substance, and no one should operate a vehicle while consuming Cannabis. That said, studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be responsible for road crashes. While being under the influence of Cannabis has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, this impairment does not appear to be severe or long lasting.
MYTH: Commercialized marijuana in Pueblo burdens our police, schools and emergency rooms with additional costs that are not covered by marijuana taxes.
FACT: Pueblo has seen a significant economic boost since the legalization of Cannabis, accounting for 60 percent of new construction permits and $3 million a year in taxes. If Pueblo bans Cannabis sales, the jobs and taxes it has brought in will go to another community. Pueblo has been an economic success story, and a symbol of what’s possible when you regulate at the state level.
MYTH: Regular marijuana use has proven negative health effects, especially on young people.
FACT: Regulated marijuana cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 21. If Pueblo cannabis is left in the hands of the black market, young people will be more likely to have access to it. For adults 21 and over, Cannabis has numerous health benefits that extend beyond medical marijuana, in managing stress, decreasing anxiety, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, improving the symptoms of a variety of autoimmune diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD.
MYTH: Commercialized marijuana provides convenient, colorful edible products like cupcakes and gummy bears resulting in increased emergency room visits by young children.
FACT: Colorado’s rules for infused products mandate that the products cannot be shaped like animals, or be in packaging designed to appeal to children and labeling cannot have cartoon characters or advertising that appeals to children. All Marijuana must be sold in child-resistant packaging which is opaque so the product cannot be seen within the package. Beginning Oct. 1, regulations will also require all packaging and cannabis-infused products to be marked with a specific warning symbol (“THC” and “M” with an exclamation mark within a diamond shape) so as to be identifiable outside of the required packaging.
Cannabis infused products are less likely to be accidentally ingested by kids than dish detergent packets, diaper rash cream, and even alcohol-infused chocolates. Since marijuana is non-toxic, unlike some of these other substances, any cases of accidental ingestion are non-life threatening. Commercial cannabis businesses set the standard in caring for and participating in a socially responsible industry that puts child safety above profits and promotes responsible parenting to consumers to keep edibles away from their kids. With over 5 million infused product units sold each year, there are very few and, indeed, diminishing cases of accidental ingestion. Evidence that these regulations work.
In a report released in 2016 by the state of Colorado, surveys indicated that youth marijuana use didn’t rise in the years since the 2012 vote to legalize recreational marijuana. Use among high school students went from 23 percent to about 20 percent and there was no significant change in use by kids younger than 13.
MYTH: Gang violence and drug deals are getting worse – hurting our community and our children.
FACT: Pueblo is safer with legal Cannabis, which can be regulated and which licenses business owners and employees who must have clean background checks and submit fingerprints to state and FBI to participate in the industry. Repealing licensed Cannabis businesses pushes cannabis supply back into the black market, moving organized crime and gangs into residential neighborhoods, and removes a taxable and highly regulated industry, which contributes resources to law enforcement to combat black market marijuana.
MYTH: International drug cartels are using Pueblo as a headquarters for selling their drugs and distributing to other states.
FACT: Banning licensed Cannabis businesses would not keep Pueblo from buying or selling marijuana; people would revert back to purchasing Cannabis illegally from the black market, or purchase it in counties where it is still legally sold - driving taxes to places like Manitou Springs. The 76 percent of Colorado cities and counties that have opted out of the legal cannabis industry, like Colorado Springs, have more widespread black market issues. When legal means are not available, the black market rises up to supply demand.
MYTH: We can crack down on marijuana commercialization hurting Pueblo without sending people to prison for legally possessing marijuana.
FACT: Legalization has brought a drop in marijuana-related arrests in Colorado since 2012, and commercialization plays a large role by running the black market out of business. Increases in legal market revenues by 41% since last year are a sign that consumers are leaving drug dealers to purchase a greater selection of safe, tested, clean, quality, and secure products. By forcing people back to the streets to illegally purchase a legal substance, Pueblo would be condemning more people to imprisonment and taking a step backward from the progress made.
MYTH: Pueblo is losing good, middle-class manufacturing jobs because we have too much marijuana.
FACT: Pueblo has become an agricultural powerhouse in Colorado, supplying 30-40% of the state’s Cannabis product utilizing up to 6 million sq. ft. of cultivation. The legal Cannabis industry has meant economic successes for Pueblo by way of jobs. There is no evidence that commercial marijuana pushes away other types of businesses and, indeed, cities with commercial marijuana are seeing property values increase, a large influx of out of state visitors, and new residents pouring money into these communities and attracting all kinds of additional employers and industries.
MYTH: Pueblo’s reputation has been damaged which discourages new business and new jobs.
FACT: The new Cannabis industry has helped revitalize Pueblo, an area that has long struggled economically; thus improving the overall reputation of Pueblo as a place to do business. Terminating recreational marijuana sales and operations would cost more than a thousand jobs and would put Pueblo back into stagnation. In addition, Pueblo is seen as a center for marijuana innovation internationally. There are more than 1,300 Pueblo County jobs in the industry and almost $4 million in annual tax revenue has gone to college scholarships, 4H and Future Farmers of America efforts, and medical marijuana research at Colorado State University Pueblo. These advances in spurring forward a new, international industry create a future for Pueblo and a reputation that is recognized for its innovation, ingenuity, and industrialism.
Logan, M.C., Hunter, C.E., Lokan, R.J., White, J.M., & White, M.A. (2000). The Prevalence of Alcohol, Cannabinoids, Benzodiazepines and Stimulants Amongst Injured Drivers and Their Role in Driver Culpability: Part II: The Relationship Between Drug Prevalence and Drug Concentration, and Driver Culpability. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 32, 623-32.
 Olinger, David. “Pueblo hospitals, doctors worried about new mothers’ marijuana use”. The Denver Post. May 1, 2016.
 Loria, Kevin and Welsh, Jennifer. “21 medical benefits of marijuana”. Business Insider. April 20, 2015.
 Gurman, Sadie and Wyatt, Kristen. “Colorado pot report: More adults using drug, but not kids”. Associated Press. April 18, 2016.
 Miller, Joshua. “In Colorado, a county revolts against legalized marijuana”. The Boston Globe. September 6, 2016.