PCMS is Opposing So-Called "Marijuana Lounges"
On May 29, 2019, Governor Polis signed into law House Bill 19-1230 which allows public marijuana consumption. The new law allows, but does not require, Colorado municipalities and counties to allow certain kinds of public use. This means that Pueblo now has the opportunity to prioritize the health of its citizens over allowing the cannabis industry to profit in the face of adversely affecting the health of Puebloans.
It has been well documented in the medical literature, and we are seeing, that cannabis use corresponds with multiple adverse health outcomes. Problems we are seeing related to cannabis use include increased rates of psychosis, depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Cannabis use is associated with increased abuse of other substances including alcohol, opiates, and amphetamines, making it a companion drug rather than an alternative drug. The use of cannabis also leads to uncontrollable vomiting episodes and these visits have dramatically increased in Pueblo hospitals.
As a community we worked very hard to eliminate tobacco smoke from public places, including bars, with significant documented improvement in the health of Pueblo citizens as a result of that effort. We know that the carcinogens in cannabis smoke are more than in tobacco smoke and can result in the same adverse health consequences. Why would we go backwards and approve smoking cannabis in public places?
Such a move would continue to legitimize the use of this drug in the eyes of adolescents and young adults further decreasing their perception of harm from the drug. They are the most vulnerable to the harms from this drug.
The Retail Marijuana Education Project has distributed this fact sheet about the law.
The Board of Health Resolution and Position Statements
The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) is pleased to share an invitation to watch their latest live stream presentation, Smoking, Vaping, and COVID-19, by Dr. Libby Stuyt. The live stream will take place here next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the PDPHE Facebook page. Feel free to share this event with any of your networks. Contact Lorie Lopez, Health Promotion Specialist, Pueblo Department of Public Health & Environment, 719 583 4346 or 760 891 9265 with any questions.
PCMS member physicians' presentations to City Council at the work session on February 24, 2020 - Facebook 2.24.20 Work Session
Smoke Free Protections Group (SFPG)
PCMS is continuing to work progressively with the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment and other essential partners to expand smoke free protections locally. The Smoke Free Protections Group (SFPG) was formed to help educate policy makers and the community on HB1230 (marijuana hospitality rooms) and the HB19-1234 (marijuana delivery) legislations.
SPFG is asking for medical providers to submit cautionary, educational content that we can push out to the public beginning the middle of May through the end of July. The recommendation by our publisher/editor is for Facebook, we would need a paragraph synopsis that links to a longer article that our audience (all physicians and some other community stakeholders) can access if they have the time.
We also need medical providers to help create a “gold standard” video of less than 1 minute to share. Our publisher stated that sometimes it’s easier to watch someone speak than read it; it’s also more eye-catching.” She also said she could record the video during a FaceTime call and set it up similar to a Q&A or interview.
The progress of SFPG so far and marijuana hospitality establishments has been the PCMS and PDPHE presentations to City Council, Facebook postings, PCMS Board of Directors sending letters to Mayor and City Council, articles in the Chieftain, and PDPHE’s Marijuana Resolution. The Chieftain also ran a series of stories for a week about marijuana hospitality establishments.
Smokefree Pueblo - Former council member Chris Nicoll is a member of SFPG and has created a Facebook page called Smokefree Pueblo. Please share and like the page. Take a look at his February commentary here stressing the importance of putting marijuana lounges to a vote.
Secondhand Marijuana Smoke — It’s No Joke - GASP of Colorado (Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution) has launched a Facebook page to educate the public about the dangers of secondhand marijuana smoke and vape. Please share and like the page.
BreathefreeColorado was created in 2017 with a grant from the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation and consists of groups dedicated to protecting all Coloradans from breathing the harmful emissions from tobacco or marijuana smoking or vaping.
Smoke-Free Housing Updates - An on-line list of multiunit apartments and condominiums that have a policy prohibiting smoking in all units, balconies, and porches.
Truth Initiative - Take a look at the fact sheet regarding the current state of marijuana legalization and changing state laws, as well as marijuana use patterns among youth and adults and the health effects resulting from such use.
On March 3, 2020, the City of Glendale passed Ordinance No. 2, Series 2020 to amend City code to allow for the licensing and operation of marijuana hospitality and marijuana sales and hospitality establishments and authorizing the smoking of marijuana in said establishments. Details can be found in item number 14 of the minutes.
The City and County of Denver is convening a Marijuana Licensing Work Group (MLWG) to make recommendations regarding marijuana licensing. According to the memo from the City: "The MLWG consists of a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from community, social justice, business, public health, safety, and youth-centered organizations. The work group will be advisory in nature, with the primary goal being to review, discuss, and make recommendations on policy direction and possible marijuana licensing laws, rules and regulations. These meetings are planned to be held virtually using Microsoft Teams Live. There will also be opportunity for interested members of the public to attend and provide feedback virtually and/or in writing. More information with meeting dial-in instructions will be sent out prior to each meeting."