News / USA

    Legal Marijuana in Colorado Good for Business, Worrisome for Public Health

    Legal Marijuana in Colorado Good for Business, Worrisome for Public Healthi
    X
    February 19, 2014 7:49 PM
    In Colorado, the marijuana business has been booming since January, when the state legalized the sale and recreational use of the drug, despite public health concerns raised by opponents. The legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $500 million in sales and $67 million in taxes each year in Colorado. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Denver, it already is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
    Brian Padden
    In Colorado, the marijuana business has been booming since January, when the state legalized the sale and recreational use of the drug, despite public health concerns raised by opponents. The legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $500 million in sales and $67 million in taxes each year in Colorado. It already is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

    Marijuana's legalization in Colorado has made Mike Paulk, who had been involved for years in the illicit trade of the drug, a legitimate businessman.

    “Yeah, it made me stoked because I went to prison for cultivating weed," he said. "It was in 2000. I got caught, busted and now I am free to do it without fear. And it feeds me and clothes me and takes care of me.”

    While Paulk is not licensed to sell marijuana, he is permitted to grow it for personal use and he skirts state regulations by giving it away to customers who purchase pipes. And the pipe business is thriving, he said.

    Authorized marijuana dispensaries that before legalization could only cater to medical marijuana patients also have seen a major boost in sales.

    Elan Nelson with Medicine Man Denver, the largest marijuana dispensary in Colorado, said the company has been growing more plants and hiring more workers to keep up with rising demand.

    “Our best day when we were just a medical marijuana dispensary is now our normal day, now that we are medical and recreational,” he said.

    Business also is booming for Elyse Gordon and Deloise Vaden, owners of a bakery that sells cookies, pies and candy infused with marijuana for customers who want to get high without smoking.

    “We can produce approximately 1,000 pieces every seven to 10 days. And we pushed ourselves this last time and ended up with 2,000 pieces because of the demand,” Vaden said.

    Critics say the danger of this intoxicating and addictive drug far outweighs any economic benefit legalization might bring.

    Reed Spalding, a recovering drug addict and Denver resident, said, "For me the danger of marijuana was that it took away my motivation. I think it isolated me."

    And Dr. Paula Riggs, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, warns marijuana can cause permanent damage to young people.

    “In adolescents that regularly use marijuana, that has been associated with a decline of six to eight points in their adult I.Q. Doesn't look like you get that back. That's a very significant public health concern,” she said.

    State officials say increased tax revenue from marijuana sales will allow them to properly regulate the industry as they do now with alcohol and tobacco, and also to fund public education and treatment programs.

    You May Like

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: adam from: florida
    February 21, 2014 2:04 AM
    weed does not make you loose your motivation it changes your motivation to be better and make a difference. cannabis could help the world no more deforestation less people addicted to opiates a lot more help for the less fortunate funded by taxes better school system.

    by: Brion Eduardo from: kansas
    February 20, 2014 11:03 AM
    Somebody needs to go to journalism school and learn the difference between news and opinion.

    by: Duncan Wallace
    February 20, 2014 2:16 AM
    Cannabis has not been re-legalized in Colorado for anyone under 21 years of age.

    There are exactly 2 States which have laws making cannabis an age restricted product. Does any one think that they'll need to use all 3 guesses to name those States?

    "Dr." Riggs is regurgitating baseless speculation built on a platform of bald faced lies, half truths and hysterical rhetoric. Irrational fear is not a sound or valid basis for the formation of public policy. Insisting on the continued embrace of an epic, proven failure is just plain brain dead "reasoning."

    To date not a single State with a medicinal cannabis patient protection law has suffered a statistically significant increase in the rate of youth use of cannabis. We certainly heard an earful of similar hysterical rhetoric during the 2000 campaign for A-20. None of those pieces of utter fiction has played out as predicted by the Know Nothing prohibitionists.
    http://www.ucdenver.edu/about/newsroom/newsreleases/Pages/medical-marijuana-teenagers.aspx

    The only thing related to "the children" that the prohibitionists are concerned with is their value as political pawns and as an ingredient to make their hysterical rhetoric even more.hysterical.

    by: jp
    February 19, 2014 8:44 PM
    "Public health concerns"
    What public health concerns?

    And Dr. Paula Riggs,
    Wow I don't even know where to begin... the fact that your a so called doctor is scary... your a absolute f#%@ing joke... please re educate yourself on cannabis... cause you obviously are clueless when it comes to that subject...

    by: Norman Gooding
    February 19, 2014 6:19 PM
    Apparently the only people worried about health costs are not aware that the CDC has no facts supporting any health costs for marijuana use,,no deaths,,no hospital visits,,the only mention of marijuana is in the entrance forms telling the treating doctor what drugs the patient had used so he wouldn't administer any treatment that could cause a drug reaction and has nothing to do with why the patient was in the emergency room.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora