Colorado has the dubious honor of being the first state to publicly experiment with legalized, regulated, adult-use marijuana. For Christians of this otherwise great state, our families will have to deal with the consequences of a new industry and new advertisement: big marijuana.
That means Christians have to be informed about its effects and availability. The first report card for the state of Colorado is not good. The 4/20 report card of Smart Approaches to Marijuana explains a number of helpful facts for anyone concerned about their families living in the age of big marijuana.
First the statistics are illuminating. The city of Denver has the highest rate of teen marijuana usage in the nation. And the number of car crashes involving weed has nearly tripled in the short time it has been legalized. Workplace drug tests show a 30% increase in weed results in one year alone.
The medical statistics are not as well known mostly because they have only started seriously studying its effects in the last 20 years. But there are studies linking usage to heart problems. Even occasional use has shown some effects upon the brain. Other studies suggest other problems.
Second, this is not your parent's weed of the 60s. It is anywhere from four to five times more potent. And the potency is not regulated.
Third, weed is no longer smoked. The main ingredient, THC, is extracted and formed into an oil-based liquid used for cooking. THC is now in chocolate bars, bread, snacks and even sodas. These are called 'edibles'.
This means, fourthly, it is easily accessible to the under-aged. It has already happened multiple times according to USA Today and other news sources. In one case, one elementary school-aged child was caught selling it as report by one local attorney's radio show, the Dan Caplis Show, on 710 KNUS (a good source on this topic).
Lastly, and more importantly, since edibles can lay around the house outside of their package, looking like normal food, children can and have eaten them. One teenager did and died. Another man killed his wife after consuming an edible according to one Colorado newspaper.
According to Dan Caplis, these and other incidents are being underreported by the local news. But smaller news sources, such as the Coloradoan, are keeping people informed.
Most of the local authorities in Colorado have forbidden the erection of marijuana shops. And use of weed is still only allowed privately. Cannabis purchase is limited to one ounce (about 200$ worth).
But big marijuana has only begun. There is increasing advertisement. And there are now vaporizers that heat a THC-based oil and look as innocent as a writing pen held in one's mouth. E-cigarettes can be used as well. The THC concentration can be near 100%. They have already been found in use by young teenagers at school.
For Christians living in a state of big marijuana, situation-awareness is all-important. And these facts are a good place to start your own investigation for the protection of your family and church.