tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 28, 2014 2:00am-4:01am EDT
decent benefits. we do better when a young family knows that they can get ahead. we do better when people who are working hard know they can count on decent childcare at an affordable cost. if they get sick, they will not lose their homes. a we do better when somebody is stuck in a job that is not paying well, they can get retrained without taking on huge mountains of debt. that is when things hum. we could get a lot of that done right now if congress would just think about you. and not about getting reelected or not about the next election or not about some media soundbite, but just focus on you. [applause]
i want to work with democrats and republicans. my favorite president was the first republican president. this is not a statement about partisanship. this is a statement about america and what we are fighting for. i'm not going to let gridlock and inaction and willful indifference and greed threaten the hard work of families like yours. we can't afford to wait for congress. i am moving ahead without them wherever i can. [applause] that's why i required federal contractors to pay $10.10 an hour. that is why i made sure more
women had the protections they need to fight for fair pay in the workplace. [applause] that is why we launched more high-tech manufacturing jobs. some of you may have read that when we take these actions and now republicans are mad at me for taking these actions. they are not doing anything. now they are mad that i am doing something. i'm not sure which of the things i have done are most offensive. they've decided they're going to sue me for doing my job. in the heat of the moment i may have said i wanted to raise the
minimum wage so sue me when i do. i did not think they would take it literally. giving more working americans a fair shot is not about what i can do. it is about we can do together. when congress does not act, i have tried to rally others to help. i have talked to ceos and the governors. they don't have to wait for congress to raise the minimum wage. just raise it right now. 13 states have raised theirs, including minnesota. more than 460,000 of your neighbors are poised to get a raise. [applause] job applications went up to the
roof. i got a letter from a proud mother in minneapolis who wanted me to know that her son starts his employees at $15 per hour at aaron's green cleaning here in town. [applause] there they are. we are just proud of his people centered business centered model. we don't have to wait for congress to do some good stuff. on monday we held the first ever summit on working families. we heard from a lot of other families like ben and rebecca. they count on policies like paid leave to juggle everything. we had business owners who said
they became more profitable when they made a family life easier for their employees. more companies are deciding that workplace flexibility and higher wages is good for business. more cities and states are deciding it is good policy for families. the only holdout standing in the way of change for tens of millions of americans are some republicans in congress. i want to be blunt. if you watch the news, you just see that washington is a mess. the basic attitude is everybody is crazy. if you actually read the fine print, it turns out the things you care about democrats are promoting. we are just not getting enough help. my message to republicans is join us and get on board.
if you're mad at me for helping people, join me and we can do it together. [applause] we will do it together. i am happy to share the credit. [applause] they're mad at me for doing some things to raise the minimum wage. let's pass a law. let's give america a raise. if you're mad at me for taking executive action for women to find out that they're not getting treated fairly in the work place, let's do it together. you can share the credit. you're worried about me fixing a broken immigration system, let's hold hands and make sure that the country continues to be a nation of immigrants. i want to work with you. but you have to try to deliver something. [applause]
anything. [applause] they don't do anything. except block me. and call me names. it can't be that much fun. it would be so much more fun if they said, let's do something together. if they were more interested in growing the economy for you and the issues that you are talking about instead of trying to mess with me, we would be doing a lot better. that what's make this country great, when we work together. that is the american way. more than ever, with the fourth of july next week and team usa moving on in brazil -- [applause]
we should try to rally around some economic patriotism. we rise and fall as one nation and one people. let's rally around instead of giving tax breaks to millionaires, let's give tax breaks to families. instead of protecting companies are shifting profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share, let's put people back to work rebuilding our roads and airports. let's create good jobs and making progress here in america and america and minnesota. let's not stack the deck in favor of those who have a lot. let's help people who have ingenuity but needs a hand up. this is not rocket science. there is some things are complicated.
this is not one of them. let's make sure every for old america has access to high-quality preschool. so that moms like rebecca know their kids are getting the best quality care and getting a head start on life. let's redesign our high schools to make sure their kids are better prepared for the 21st century economy. let's follow the lead of senator franken. [applause] let's tell every american that lost a job because it was shipped overseas, we will train you for an even better one. [applause] let's rally around the patriotism it says our country is stronger when every american can count on affordable health insurance. and medicare. and social security.
and women earn equal pay and a family can make ends meet if their kids get sick. when nobody who works full-time is living in poverty. let me just wrap up by saying this. i know sometimes things get discouraging. i know that our politics looks profoundly broken and washington looks like it is never going to deliver for you. it seems like they are focused on everything but your concerns. i know that when i was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012, so many of you were hoping that we could get washington to work differently. sometimes when i get stymied you
think maybe not. maybe it is just too tough. maybe things won't change. i get that frustration. from the cynics in washington, they have written me off more times than i can count. i'm here to tell you to not get cynical. despite all of the frustration, america is making progress. despite the unyielding opposition, there are families who have health insurance now that did not have it before. [applause] there are students in college you could not afford before. there are troops home with their family after serving tour after tour. don't think that we are not making progress. [applause] it is easy to be cynical. today it is trendy.
cynicism passes off for wisdom. cynicism doesn't liberate a continent. it doesn't build a transcontinental railroad. it doesn't send a man to the moon. it doesn't invent the internet. it doesn't give women the right to vote. it doesn't make sure that people are treated equally regardles of race. cynicism is a choice. hope is a better choice. everyday i want you to receive thousands of acts of hope.
every time someone sits down and picks up a pen and writes to me and shares a story just like rebecca did, she said in her letter there is a silly thing to do to write a letter to the president. on some level i know that staying silent about what you see and what needs changing it makes any difference. i am writing you to let you know what it is like for us out in the middle of the country and i hope you will listen. i am here because rebecca wrote to me and i want her to know that i am listening. [applause] i am here because i want you to know that i am listening. i ran for office to make sure that anyone who is working hard to meet their dreams has some in washington who is listening. i am going to keep listening. i will always keep fighting. your concerns are my own. your hope for your kids are my own. i am always going to be working to restore the american dream. i am not going to get cynical
of theve review of some big decisions from the supreme term. washington journal focused on the impact of the legalization of medical marijuana in colorado. this is two hours. the skyline of denver, colorado. that state is the first in the nation to allow marijuana sales. toy are taking the lead learn about their experience since the beginning of the year. joining us, early this morning, is ben markus. thank you for joining us. pleasure to be here. thank you for having me. host: how did colorado come to agree about pot sales? guest: four years, there was a very small caregiver model.
people grew medical marijuana for patients in basements. very small operations. not many people were registered as patients. around 2009, dispensaries took off. they were shops, like what you see today. they just exploded throughout the state. the state created some of the strictest regulations in the nation, statewide and local levels, requiring background checks for owners. plant counts, inspections of buildings, and all of these things. some people say that because we have normalized medical marijuana in that way -- this guy has not fallen despite all these dispensaries. it made people more comfortable passing recreational marijuana laws. argumentse of the big for recreational marijuana is that we should not spend so much time and money locking up people
for marijuana offenses. we should not be wasting money on montfort memphis everything. those messages resonated with voters. barack obama was in colorado mobilizing a lot of voters and passed overwhelmingly. so, since the law went into effect, what has changed? what changed for them when they wanted to sell recreational marijuana? so, the loss sets it up the medical dispensaries that existed before january 1 could switch to recreational marijua na. no new businesses in the first year. in denver, no new businesses for the first two years. dispensaries that had been open for a long time got first crack at it. only dozens open on the first day, out of 500 statewide. those businesses that opened in early january were the ones who sell tons of sales.
lots of people coming from wyoming and kansas in germany -- all over the world. as we have gone on, we have more than 100 recreational dispensaries. they're selling medical and recreational marijuana. there are still 500 medical dispensaries. 400 of those have yet to switch. we still do not see the full realization of this market and probably will not for a couple of years. it takes time for them to decide to sell recreational marijuana. you have to know where this is coming from. these businesses do not have traditional bank accounts. getting loans is difficult. getting building inspections. replacing a sprinkler system in your building before you could switch recreational. there are so many hurdles. we are only seeing about 1/5 of the shops that could open actually doing it. host: what we have learned is
that recreational marijuana sales brought a new series of taxes as well. guest: yes. the tax rate on recreational marijuana is more than 30%. certain cities have different tax rates. marijuana sold in denver can be taxed upwards of 35%. contrast that to medical marijuana, which only has a state sales tax less than 3%. the price of recreational isijuana versus medical substantially different, mostly because of the tax rate. it is also a supply and demand issue. so, you have a limited amount of stores and a limited amount of supply. you see these dramatic race differences. -- price differences. that is one of the reasons that medical marijuana is likely not going away. the price is significantly cheaper. than $20 to keep
your medical registration. if you are a happy user of marijuana, it makes a lot of sense to stay in the medical market. that is why, when you step into one of these dispensaries come easy to counters. one is for medical marijuana. all you need is an id, photo id, passport -- on the medical side, you need a red card that shows that you have an actual ailment covered by the medical statute to get that marijuana. it is significantly cheaper. almost half off. host: ben is with us to talk about colorado's experience. we will ask him more questions. you may have question about colorado's experience. if you're in the eastern or central time zones, dial the number on your screen.
ben markus, a recent story looks at sales so far. in january, $14 million in wreck regional marijuana sales. in april, 22 million dollars of recreational marijuana sales. talk about those figures and what is expected as far as revenue for the state. guest: i think that the state's revenue projections are still off. the full market is not here. we do not have all of the stores that will eventually be open. it is almost impossible to know, by the end of the year, you cannot extrapolate -- multiply that by three and that is how much sales we will have. every month, more and more stores are coming online. more people are coming to
colorado, realizing that there is recreational marijuana for sale here. i think that the growth can be exponential. we see some months where it goes up by 15% or 20% in sales. april is a big month because there was a big 420 smoke out. ry year, peopleer ye come and smoke marijuana in public. it is a huge sale stay pretty stable. it is like christmas for marijuana. the lines outside are huge. april may have been a spike. there are four months of tax data in this program. we cannot draw a trend -- we know that every month it is getting bigger. host: as far as public smoking, does the new law address that at all? guest: yes. it is in the constitution that you cannot smoke in public. that is the one thing that is difficult for people who are new.
they come to colorado to smoke hermana. that may be the most surprising aspects for them. this is not an amsterdam type of environment here. there are smoke clubs where you can buy marijuana and sit down and smoke it. in denver, the king of marijuana in colorado -- 189 recreational dispensaries, 200 medical dispensaries. the smoke clubs are banned. people buy their marijuana and walk out of the shop. now what do they do it? they probably smoke it in their hotel or on the down low. on the street or in a park. all of that is against the law. cops say it is the lowest priority. they will not handcuff people for smoking marijuana, but it is still against the law. you could be fined up to $1000 for smoking in public. that may be part of the reason that people are drawn to animal. -- edible.
you come in from out-of-state and see an incredible selection of edible brownies and candies, cakes, cookies -- peanut butter cups. the options are endless. people are likely drawn to the edibles. be a different expense for people who are not accustomed to edibles. we are saying issues of people who are not aware of how powerful edible marijuana can be. columnistw york times wrote about her experience with edible marijuana and taking it and the effect that had. you probably heard about that. guest: yeah. it is unfair that people have been mocking her for that. it is not an atypical experience. when you eat marijuana, it can take so long to have an effect on you. people will feel like it is not
happening, so that you more. once it is in your system, you cannot get it back out. when you smoke marijuana, the feeling is almost instant. you can kind of regulated for you get too far or too high. les, you put that in its system and you have to work its way out. i think she is not completely -- she gets mocked for not paying attention to directions, but it is easy not to. even if you're a seasoned marijuana smoker, your reaction to them edible marijuana may be different than if you smoked it. you may feel overconfident that you can handle large doses. i think it takes time for people to learn this new market. we do not hear a lot of problems with medical edibles. we are hearing problems from people from out of state. they eat the whole cookie and have issues. host: we will talk about these issues. ben markus will talk about
colorado's experience and answer questions on it. there are three lines set aside regionally. our first call of the morning comes from d.j. from chesapeake, virginia. caller: good morning. i am working on the efforts in virginia for medical legalization. i have worked across the country as a veteran for post-traumatic stress and i worked with mike elliott. that is something they try to add to colorado's red card program. i want to address a few issues. the fact that you do not see increased use in adolescents with legalization.
you see a reduction in traffic fatalities. colorado atty of denver analyzed fatalities nationwide between 1990 and 2009. they saw the traffic fatalities in males 20 to 29 went down, resulting in fewer deaths. it also reduced the suicide rate. would be, door ben you think the colorado is doing is going to far as the way of regulations go? it seems like they're almost relating some areas completely out of the program, as opposed to allowing for a lot of freedom with marijuana. you have to understand the marijuana is not the typical product. you have to be very careful that the federal government feels comfortable with the system in colorado. yes, some people may look at this market and say it is not a free-market system. you have hundreds of pages of regulation.
that iss is a substance still against federal law. the federal government is concerned about the movement of this product out of state and into kids' hands. it is extremely highly regulated. it is for a reason. you are setting a strap extending. -- traffic study. echoes up to 2009. in 2009 is when the centuries became widely spread. that study does not encompass one of the most important time periods, when you have the medical marijuana as it exists todfay, which is storm fronts where people can easily buy it. people should start setting after 2009. that is when you have recreational marijuana like we have today. host: bill is up next. bill is from florida. go ahead please. guest: --
caller: i have a question for you. medical marijuana will be on the ballot here in november. taxesch money from these is going back into researching for the medical purposes or doing research as to what is recreational? whether it is harmful or not? guest: that is a great question. budget, thereor's is millions of dollars for research into medical marijuana properties. this is not from text money, but from red card registrations. when you register to become a patient with the state, you have to pay a small fee. they did not quite know what to do with all that money. so, they directed some of that toward research for things like epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. the state is not going to add additional ailments for medical use until there are studies.
22, fourd of a catch people who suffer from ptsd and are adamant that marijuana helps them, they cannot get that added to the medical ailment list. the state is now taking some money and this opportunity with legal recreational marijuana to study the drug's properties and get some good research. there is $7 million or so satisfied, which is not enough. it is similar to the pharmaceutical budget. you have the goldplated and double-blind studies. you can at least get started to find out some of the medical science. it is anecdotal. that is not enough for doctors to feel comfortable prescribing it. especially with ptsd. too much marijuana can create psychosis. we do not know yet. whether it is safe or sorry, this grant has not been handed out yet. host: for the recreational tax --
where does that money go? it goes into the general fund. the governor's budget as money set aside for youth education. it goes for paying the inspectors. and it goes to paying for background checks. so, they're very concerned about where he tax revenue is going. so much planning is picked to that. -- pegged to that. it is hard to know. you cannot look to another state and say that is how they did it. so, there is kind of a cautious approach, waiting to see with the full realization of this market is. host: asbury park, new jersey. this is been markus. caller: i just have two quick questions and i need ben to answer these before i hang up. first, out of the 89 storeowners that sell recreational marijuana
-- end upa lot of them going to jail. how many black owners today have? i appreciate it. i have to admit, i do not think i have met a black owner. i have not met them all. there are 500 medical stores, i have only met a small handful. host: what has been the police and law enforcement invovlvemen? seems to be pretty much the same as it was with medical. there is a good relationship there with the dispensaries that are doing the right things. they have the security cameras that they are required by the state. they make sure they are not selling to minors. they keep their nose clean. where you see interaction with police and dispensaries, it is typically robberies and burglaries. the word is out that these are all caps businesses. they do not have all cash a
ccounts. the drug is still against federal law. almost every bank is regulated by the government. they do not have access to those accounts. --t only are these businesses they also have cash on hand. this may be the perception that people have. that is where you see police being concerned about dispensaries. this burglaries and targets for criminals. as far as washington is concerned, what would have to change to allow recreational stores to have a banking option? well, i think it may be a question that congress can solve. the fact that medical marijuana is a scheduled one. it is a narcotic that is completely illegal in the eyes of the federal government. only congress can make that change. in the last legislative session in colorado, in an attempt to deal with this, they created a
co-op system. businesses can come together and capitalize the financial institution and you spanking -- use banking from that. that comes from the federal reserve and it is not likely the federal reserve will approve a co-op. but, the reason i co-op was passed is that it forces the hand of the federal government. if the federal reserve says no, then people can go back to congress and say look, we have tried everything we can to set a big account for these businesses. you need to do something at the federal level to make this happen. it is a safety issue. it is an auditing issue. if you do not have receipts, if you're not tracking cash -- from a safety and security standpoint, not driving around the city was $60,000 in cash to pay the electric bill for your lease payment. that is not a way to do business.
it is an ancient way to do business. to move that much cash around the city -- the banking issue is the number one issue that needs to be solved for this industry. asks off of twitter, jen about growing your own. is that legal? guest: it is legal. you can have six plants per person, i believe. they have to be in an enclosed unlocked state. you cannot just throw it in a garden unless you have a greenhouse operation to cover it up. there are restrictions in growing marijuana on your own. i know that many people want to do that. majority will use the dispensary system. you may be able to distill your own whiskey. it is so much easier to go to the liquor store and buy the stuff off the shelves. there are certainly people who are growing at on their own. i have to believe that that market is relatively small.
growing marijuana is not an easily operation. -- easy operation. you have to obtain seeds. it is hard to replicate the kind of scientific grow operations at we see here in denver. these climate control operations. there are different strains that do different things. it is really hard to replicate what you can get an a dispensary. my guess is that the home ground operations will be a pretty small market. i were in colorado and over 21, what are the rules for me? how much can i buy and a day? guest: on your person, you can have one ounce or less. that is constitutionally mandated. when you go to a store, you can apply a full ounce at a time -- buy a full ounce at a time.
you can buy a quarter ounce at a time. toyou wanted to come colorado and buy marijuana and go back to kansas to sell it, they want to make it difficult to accumulate a lot. you would have to go from store to store to accumulate enough to make it worth it. people who are out-of-state are restricted you how much they can buy. a quarter ounce of marijuana is still a lot for one person to have. it is not like they're limiting how much you can smoke by a lot. they're just making sure that you cannot collect enough to go home and deal it. is upwashington, dave next. guest: good morning. you do a great job. i just want to give three points. first, i had ptsd as a child. i did not realize that. pot became the drug that helps
me get through the growing up process. as i grew older, i did not need to smoke it all the time. the next thing is the free market. i was in favor of legalizing marijuana if you allow people who have in the business to go a head and pay the fine and become part of the free market. the way that they are doing it does not allow people to get into the market. this has been a problem for years. i agree with them. now laid off of work right because i tested positive. i smoke it responsibly. this takes care of my anxiety. i do not have nightmares. now i am laid off.
employers get this power over you. paradox in this economy. the free-market is not getting to be allowed. the employers have control. about to betate is one that allows for work regional sales. after thisat change goes into effect? caller: it will not change. i had this conversation with the company that i work for. position that they do not want people on drugs there. people can come and spelling like alcohol. -- smelling ical call. i am nervous. host: go ahead, ben. guest: i think that that is a big issue. given employers
the opportunity to continue their policies. forn employer tests marijuana, they can still do that. there are also court cases making their way through the system. they use it for an actual ailment. previously, you could not have it in your system. they regularly tested and that did not change. i know that that is a problem for some people. that is not going to change anytime soon. not allowployer does you to smoke, you probably should not still. host: as far as washington state, how does it differ from colorado in the approach it takes? think that one of the biggest misconceptions about recreational marijuana and colorado is that this is a whole new system. there were 500 dispensaries in the state of colorado.
were 200.alone, there is the biggest difference between colorado and any other state. have a highly regulated medical marijuana system. they were able to take a lot of what worked in the medical model and simply copy it over. there are a few key differences. i know that washington had dispensaries as well. not licensed at the state and local level. the medical dispensaries that existed -- the owners went through background checks. theid not have all of inspectors that were needed. there were problems with that. there was a take control of the medical market. that is why some people say that the federal government did not step in and say do not pass recreational marijuana in colorado and washington.
colorado had done a good job of regulating the medical market. that is the biggest difference. experienced a lot of with this industry already. there was a good idea of how many stores that there were. it is not very opaque here in colorado. rules.not have the same washington looked at colorado. that is why you see colorado moving a lot quicker than washington. they are starting sales now. that is because the state has become familiar with these operations and had these rules in place already. the federal government has not changed its position on marijuana. does that make it a concern for those who operate in colorado, especially on the retail side? whether the federal government should change its mind? guest: i think that is a really
good question. people who are in the medical market are benefiting from a certain halo effect. you are supplying medicine to people who need it. a lot of people were faking ailments to get into the system. there are also many people who do need it. aids andsymptoms from cancer and pain. some of those patients -- do not shut down medicine. you maybe don't see a rush of businesses switching from medicals recreational because some want that halo effect. some owners got into this because dad had cancer and marijuana helped him. they really believe in the medical mission of it. it has not always been about making as much money as they can and selling as much marijuana as possible. it is about really helping people. there is a dichotomy in industry between making money and helping people. i think that is a great point.
with government intervention, you are moving into that recreational market. it seems unlikely that they would move into medical. if something goes wrong, it seems unlikely at this point, six months into sales. businesses probably have a better chance of avoiding medical intervention. pay attention to the rules and regulations of the state. host: here is ron from california. caller: yeah. second verse, it says all men shall eat and partake of plants with feeds. i do not think you want to overrule god. it is a plant. i do not think the government has a right to regulate plants. plant i cant is a grow, i do not care what the government says.
they are regulating everything. they just want to tax it. it is not a right use, it is about tax. government, shove it. markus, it is not about use, it is about tax. guest: that is an interesting argument that the government should not be involved. part of the reason that passed overwhelmingly is that conservative voters in colorado tend to skew libertarian. stay out of my business. even a famous firebrand from colorado, a conservative, supported operational marijuana. people should be allowed to have personal responsibility. this, thep side of government is involved in all levels of this business. they know every detail of the finances and background. they know how many plants are
being grown. it is one of the most highly regulated industries on the planet. you have a dichotomy of people who supported trade people should be free to make their own choices. you also have a highly regulated market. you have to have it both ways. it is such a sensitive drug to be dealing. host: what about hickenlooper's law, before it was passed? aest: he did send out statement saying that colorado is known for many great names. marijuana should not be one of them. he was attacked immediately for that. he made his fortune in brewpubs. and in alcohol. he is saying that marijuana should not be allowed. hickenlooper did not want colorado to be the first.
he did not want them to be the shining city upon the hill for marijuana. he put the attention and the focus on the state. probably not the best thing for business recruitment. did not seem to have heard that at all. when i talk to his chief business recruiter, he said it has not come up at all. they may joke about it, but it has not been a big problem. that is some of the concern. his colorado the amsterdam of the united states? host: did he include those who were opposed from the beginning? to his credit, he did not want it. when it passed, he signed it into law, as required. a task force of 20 some odd people from the industry and advocacy groups him on enforcement -- he had a diverse group of people work on a set of laws, looking at what works for medical and
what would work for recreational. they spent six months working on regulation and laws. they passed a very detailed, comprehensive bill. even though he did not supported at the time, he did throw his weight behind making sure what did pass had good rules and regulations behind it. host: next call is north carolina. this is william, go ahead. host: -- caller: how are you doing? can you hear me? the only reason that marijuana is illegal to start with is due to oppression. into theomehow split opposite of what this country was intended to be. the reason why is from the bar association. law,n, you look at the violations and punishments --
then you look at someone smoking a joint and the punishments and stuff. how do you justify that? host: let me say -- if you are caught with marijuana in your possession or caught smoking, what are the legal ramifications? guest: not a lot of trouble. it depends how much you are one a you have. if you have less than an ounce, that is legal. you cannot smoke in public. if your copper the third time smoking in city parks or the ma ll -- your offense can bring a fine of up to $1000. the police department has says that this will be the lowest priority for them. you would have to be pretty blatant, smoking in front of an officer, to get in trouble.
i walked around the city yesterday and saw three or four people smoking openly in public. so, it is happening. people are smoking out there. most people use pens that do not put aloff a lot of voter. some people smoke a joint right there. it is certainly more permissive after legalization then it was before. host: from twitter, how much money has marijuana tourism brought to colorado? guest: i don't think anyone knows the answer to that. sales has topped more than $200 in april. we had data for $22 million in sales. looking a recreational sales alone, a lot of people from out-of-state or by medical marijuana. people who are in colorado probably already have their source.
they have a card or they know someone who gets them the marijuana. they're not going into recreational dispensaries. when i walk into a recreational dispensary, i hear people from connecticut, new jersey, germany. from all over the world, all over the country. it is clear that tourism is a big deal. hotels are filling up. they were filling up before recreational marijuana kicked off. denver is kind of a boom town. people want to have conventions here. it is benefiting a lot before medical marijuana. it is clear that people are coming here because of medical marijuana. we do not know what those numbers are yet. host: calvin and charlotte, north carolina, go ahead. caller: good morning. first, i have been smoking since the late 1960's. as far as the people saying that there is --
one of the drugs i think is ridiculous. if youanting to know, grow your own, do these shops sell clones? do they sell the seeds? while you're at it, please, what about patches? i quit smoking cigarettes 20 years ago with patches. the chapst segment, brought up about how smoking is not good for your lungs. host: ben? guest: for people who do not want to smoke it, there are a variety of options. you have edibles and oils you can drop under your tongue. there are many ways to do it if you want to avoid smoke. question.markus, a
has anyone determined if this experiment is a success? what determines that colorado is successful in the world over krishna marijuana? i think there are a few measures of success. out of keep marijuana the hands of people under the age of 21? in a recent audit of stores, where law enforcement went in and tried to buy underage people -- none of the stores sold to people who were underage and those operations. they may have done it elsewhere. at least when the government was looking, they were not doing it. the other measure is diverse and out-of-state. they do not want lots of plants going to montana and wyoming and other places with very strict marijuana laws. the federal government will be watching colorado to make sure that they keep track of the plants and know where they are at and where they are going.
so, keeping tabs on this industry will be the number one measure of success. host: ben marcus of colorado public radio is joining us to talk about the experience with medical marijuana. you can find his writing on the website. thank you. guest: thank you. host: coming up, we will hear directly from someone who represents retailers, that is michael l.aelliott. gina carbonie will also join us. we areave told you, showing you interviews that we conducted in colorado. we talked with the colorado chief of lease on public safety issues. >> concerns around driving under the influence of drugs and i'll call -- driving under the influence of alcohol is always a concern for us.
now, with the legalization of another substance that can impair driving ability, that just increases the risk for the motoring public. we're seeing a lot of instances in neighborhoods across the state. routine extractions and explosions, where amateurs are getting information on youtube and the internet on how to extract marijuana oil. creating hazardous environments within our neighborhood. we have seen robberies. we have seen burglaries. they have increased in warehouses. we have seen home invasion , particularly where marijuana and money are being kept. we have seen increases in crime.
it is obviously a concern for public safety. host: is there a way to say that crime has gone up, down, or stayed the same? >> it is difficult to measure some of this. drug crimes by their very nature are not reported crimes. people that are involved in the distribution of drugs -- marijuana and other drugs -- they typically do not report those kinds. you have to look at other crimes. driving under the influence, homicide. we have some difficulty with data collection right now. simply because some of the data that we need to collect is not data that we typically collect. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our focus is on denver and their experiment with marijuana sales.
joining us is michael elliott from the marijuana industry group. good morning, sir. guest: thank you for having me. host: tell me about your organization. who you represent? guest: we are a trade association of the licensed marijuana businesses here. we are colorado centric. we formed in 2010. there was a period where we had marijuana businesses, but no licensing or regulation. it was seen as being out of control. our group formed at that time. we hired a number of lobbyists to go to the state capital. instead of adding businesses, which a lot of folks wanted to do, we push to allow some ifalities to ban businesses they wanted, but allow others to opt in to a state and local licensing framework. at that time, we created this new licensing and regulatory
framework. host: for the businesses you are present, what does the passage of this amendment do for your companies? how does it change? all of the folks that have opened up for recreational sales now were originally medical marijuana businesses. many of them have converted over to the recreational sales. some of them have not been allowed to. the city of denver decided to opt in for medical sales and recreational sales. colorado springs, which is the second biggest city, they're going forward with medical sales, but they have banned recreational. aurora is doing the inverse. they are in the process of allowing recreational sales. it depends on what locality or and. many of the folks in my group are open for medical and recreational. host: one of the measures of
success would be involving keeping tabs on organizations that sell recreational marijuana. is that right in your opinion? what kind of monitoring is going on because of the passage of the new law? we have about 500 pages of marijuana law and regulation here in colorado. it is a huge framework. i comes with state and local licensing. when it comes to owners, they have background checks and felony restrictions and financial disclosures. the whole idea is locking the black market out. when it comes to security, there's mandatory surveillance and limited access areas. there are a number of safety protections, like mandatory testing, labeling, packaging. one of the biggest aspect of the program is there is a sales tracking mechanism that comes complete with required rfid tags
that track every one of the plants. is that theea here state of colorado, through the marijuana enforcement division, they are able to track all of the legal marijuana that is tied to these businesses and make sure that they are being grown legally and sold legally. basically, everything is accounted for and transparent. host: the law says that you have to be over 21 to purchase recreational marijuana. how do your businesses make that happen? so the businesses are doing id checks the same way that many liquor stores are. as we heard in the news recently, there were compliance checks. the marijuana enforcement had underage people going into these businesses in trying to buy marijuana. we had 100% compliance rate, which is better than liquor is doing now. that makes a lot of sense. these businesses have a license.
they have a license that is valuable to them and they do not want to lose. they have every incentive to comply with these rules had to be good players. i guess i would make the argument that the black market here is that they do not have that incentive. the black market praise off of kids. they sell at a legally, so they do not care if you're 21 are not. we're setting up a situation where we are in colorado controlling the sale of marijuana. i would argue that the sale of marijuana is out of control in most of the country and most of the world. host: you say that, but there's a gentleman who wrote about colorado's experience in the new york times. he says that in colorado's northern plains, a fourth grader showed up on the playground with some of his grandmother's marijuana. one of the students returned the favor by bringing in a marijuana
edible that he had swiped from his grandmother. there are a couple of deaths that have been attributed to edible products. when you hear the stories -- they are anecdotal. does it still show concern about the type of drugs being introduced in the market? well, being introduced into the market, i inc. that is certainly not the way i would say it. marijuana is not being introduced anywhere here. marijuana has been sold widely. it has been available for decades now. we started the war on marijuana back in 1970 and 1971 with richard nixon. what do we have for to show for it? set $1.5 trillion. the united states has the highest incarceration rate in the world. marijuana is universally available, particularly in our schools. people sitting at home likely sell marijuana within their middle school or high school.
that is a common scenario here. marijuana is not new in our communities. what we're seeing is that our current marijuana policies have been a complete failure. most everyone agrees to that. the issue has been, what is better than this? i think what colorado is showing is that we are actually able to find a way out. i would argue with you today and i would go into more detail -- this program is improving public safety. it is improving the economy and tax revenue. it is also improving our basic civil liberties. we can go into more detail about that as we go along. people who will say that it is because now we have recreational marijuana? i suppose you heard that argument too. guest: i think that that argument does not make a lot of sense. i went to colorado middle school.
when i was in middle school, that was the first time i saw marijuana. a kid had it. this is not a new story. that being said, i will articulate the fact that preventing underage uses a top priority for the industry. certainly for the governor's office. the industry is here as a partner on this going forward. this last november, proposition aa was on the ballot here. it increased sales on marijuana here. -- taxes on the sales of marijuana here. we ended up supporting the taxes. we did so because we wanted there to be money to do public education and prevention campaigns to find ways to keep marijuana out of schools and to do a better job controlling this. and basically making our laws work. host: michael elliott is joining us from denver this morning, as we talk about colorado's experience.
you can ask him questions about his group, the people he represents, and how business is done. michael elliott, what is the most common question that you get from the people who you represent? guest: well, from the people that i represent, it is not so much one common question. we are all very much worried about compliance. we have about 500 pages of state marijuana law. it is relatively new. we have been developing it over the last four years. there are many different aspects of the regulatory program being introduced as we speak. we will have new testing roles and new rules on concentrate on
the city of denver. if you have not finalized her medical marijuana license, you will lose it completely. so, we are still seeing the parts of this program are coming into being right now. and, with 500 pages, we can argue for weeks about what one sentence of those 500 pages actually means. making sure the people are doing things right in their co mpliance. and also not unnecessarily wasting money. guest: one more question. you talk about regulations on the state level. what about washington? this activity here affect what you do there? guest: absolutely. my group has been focused on colorado and my group -- we did not support amendment 54.
we were neutral on it and stay out of it altogether. we have been colorado centric, trying to make this program work. that is what i see my job as being, making colorado's program work. there's only so much we can do in colorado. heartbreaking loss -- our ban king laws, these are federal banking laws. they're disrupting the relationships here in colorado and causing tremendous public safety issues. also, transparency issues. it is really difficult to audit a marijuana business that does not have a bank account. we are also dealing with tax issues. marijuana is still a schedule one controlled substance. it is still in the category of most dangerous drugs in the world according to the government. there is no medical value to marijuana whatsoever. so, all of those kids with epilepsy who have been getting attention, who have been coming
to colorado from across the country -- the federal government must think they are all lying. it is an absurd situation. i guess it kind of feels like so ny federal government entities have their head in the sand about this whole thing. particularly with banking, it is causing public safety issues here. the federal government has not been willing to take more action and solve this problem. host: our first call comes from new york. go ahead, eric. in the context, the continuation of what you just said about your upcoming roles change -- particularly related to testing. i wonder if you have any awareness of drug testing, a class-action lawsuit that is taking across the country? in new york. it relates to the message.
the case is entitled landon b. kroll. there's going to be an adjustment in how marijuana is mr.ted by employers, as markus had addressed. it will be legalized by the state, but possibly barred by employers. what might you know about issues relating to the liability? elliott? guest: so, to clarify, the testing rules that are being impermanent in colorado right now are obligations that the marijuana businesses have to ensure public safety to their customers. first of all, they are having to test for potency. that is already required. the piece that is coming out is turned to launch on july 1. it is about testing for harmful contaminants. mold, mildew, residual solvents.
there's more on that list. er's question about drug testing for employers and employees and this whole issue about driving an impaired is a really tricky issue. many people have wanted -- we are all trying to regulate marijuana like alcohol. but with drug testing, it becomes more tricky. i am an attorney, not a scientist. i will play the little i know. without alcohol, it is the amount that is in your blood, and they is paid at the same time. when you are no longer in your blood, it is no longer your body. when you're done being impaired with marijuana, it is still in your body. if you do a drug test and get a positive result, the person may
no longer be impaired. that is what is so frustrating for employees. there's a feeling that they will be fired from their job for something that they did a week time, on thieir personal when they were not being a problem in the workplace. i know that employers have a frustration of wanting to make sure that their employees are safe at the workplace. had we get around drug testing of marijuana? it seems like we may need another way of assessing and protecting our workplaces. host: say somebody gets pulled over. is there a test? so, the way it is basically handled -- i spend a lot of time talking to law-enforcement. it is not my specialty. my basic understanding is that if an officer believes you are impaired, they will likely start off with a breathalyzer test
come looking for alcohol. if you pass that, but they still think you are impaired, you can be arrested and taken down to a lab where you would have blood drawn. we start getting into the core system and the real tricky pc or is -- inyou have seven nanograms your blood, what does that mean? caller: in the late 70's, the price of marijuana was $20 a lid which today is $350 to $400 an ounce. that was because of the war on drugs that we declared. if i have to buy alcohol, i will go to the store and buy alcohol.
however, all over the country where marijuana and other drugs that are illegal, minors are selling it. buy my alcohol from a minor, i go to the store. minors are controlling the drug trade just like other people. when i want to ask you here is to mow when i am worried about moneys and factories and everything else, marijuana is probably the top, number one green energy that america can produce and reproduce every year . the first diesel motor was made to run off of hemp diesel. we could start running it in our refineries and our trucks. it is a multitrillion dollar
turnaround for this country. being that colorado is a step ahead of everyone else, i hope you can take this and look into it. get into the energy, not just looking in people feeling good, but there is a thousand sources what to do with marijuana and is not just to smoke. host: thank you. michael, go ahead. colorado is implementing the third part of the program. it is new and we will have to wait and see how it goes. caller agree with the that hemp is a pretty amazing agricultural item our
declaration of independence was written on hemp paper. so many things have been made out of hemp. couple of years ago, i would not have believed it. it did not make any sense to me. clothing and food items and so many other items and certainly energy -- there is actually a house being a hemp made here in colorado. it sure seems like there is a lot of economic opportunities revitalizing the economy and gaining jobs and alternative seemsof energy that it rather ridiculous that, for the last 80 years, we decided not to play with it. the previous guest told us about the new tax on recreational marijuana, about 30% or so. do you think that is too high?
caller: it is tough to know whether it is too high or not. i think we found an interesting balance and if there were to go forward. my group supported the extra taxes on us because we wanted to make this program work. it is kind of a balancing act. if the cost of marijuana is too much, it is an incentive for the black market to sell and keep selling. we obviously want to put them out of business and the lockout the criminal element and replace it with small business owners that are accountable and transparent. i will tell you that the tax rather -- tax revenue has. been a nice benefit to this program. . in the first four months, the state received about $20 million, a little bit less than that. where we are now is probably closer to $30 million. every local government has their local tax, sales taxes and excise taxes on top of that.
spending programs are money here in colorado is first and foremost to make sure that the licensing and regulatory the marijuana enforcement division, has all the money they need to license the business and enforcing marijuana code, to do underage compliance checks, to make sure there are sale tracking programs working properly, and marijuana is not illegally being diverted out of business is out-of-state. there is education and prevention efforts. a certain portion of the touch of a has been for constructing new schools. chuck from indiana. your next. ahead.go caller: good morning, how are you doing? i have a question about indiana and the laws in indiana.
i have been dealing with some doctors and surgeries and they put mail quite a few pain medications. i have to use the black market to provide my own personal marijuana. so when i go to the doctors and i talk to them, they are astounded by my healing. 12 weeks ahead of time. i expressed to them how i accomplish this and they are astounded. in terms of the medical side of it, why is it that our big have aeutical companies lot to do with blocking this and not allowing this to go through? so marijuana has been a schedule one controlled substance it's about 1970. being schedule one, it is on the
list of the most interest roads in the world that the federal government says has no medical value whatsoever. i think the federal government would deny that you're getting any benefit from using medical marijuana, which is a absurd and ridiculous place. we have the internet now. we have television. people are seeing this day in and day out that this is working for people. i think why it is so frustrating and is a valid critique is that we certainly need more research. we need to spend more time studying this and why it works and why it works for some people and not for others. but you are in the state of indiana. i believe you do not have a medical marijuana program. prosecuted fore marijuana possession, you would not be able to tell them you're using it for medical reasons. that means severe penalties possibly imprisonment. i am not an expert on indiana law. but you could be facing very
harsh penalties because i think nd is a head-in-the-sa mentality. your story is very common. when we are dealing with a situation where accidental deaths from prescription drug overdoses, that is now the leading cause of accidental death in the united states. it just overtook traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death in the united states. one hasmarijuana, no ever overdosed and died from it and people have done a lot of benefit from it. but we are in a situation where we we are people that we are pushing people these pharmaceuticals and this is not a critique of pharmaceuticals because there is a lot going on there that is great and it is controlled. take a plant and turn it into a pill can be a very tricky thing. thatis it about marijuana is medical -- is it the thc or
another can have annoyed -- or another canabinoid? the federal government said that marijuana had known medicinal value anymore so let's not look into this anymore. i can hear the frustration in your voice. our laws are not reflecting reality anymore and they certainly need to be updated. will studyda says it marijuana and see if it has medicinal purposes. guest: i saw that in the news and i guess i am a bit skeptical. the fda has studied this before and has come back a few times saying that marijuana has no medical value. , foruana schedule one second year, where do you think cocaine is? cocaine is scheduled two.
the federal government thinks that cocaine is safer than marijuana. how many people out there think that? nobody thinks that. you can overdose on cocaine and i. they are complete -- and die. they're completely different drugs by any objective standard. and cigarettes, where our cigarettes? they kill half a million people a year in the united states. they are not even on the schedule and neither is on call. i guess what -- neither is alcohol. i guess what i get frustrated about is that this appears to be based on science when it is the worst politics you can think about and people are being thrown in jail because of this head-in-the-sand mentality. i got pulled over with
my buddies and i had the mistake of having a large amount of marijuana on me. i spent eight years in prison over pot and wisconsin taxpayers pay $50,000 a year to occur straight any individual in the prison system. they spent almost $400,000 to incarcerate me for pot. medical marijuana has some good uses. not to mention the fact that the irs is making so much money in government taxed in colorado which i actually just got to -- got done visiting. i don't see how government can justify the fact that bringing that into play and then we could see detroit out of bankruptcy. host: mr. elliott. guest: i'm sorry to hear about your story.
it seems very unfair to be going for something -- that seems largely a privacy matter. i would make the argument that driving impaired on marijuana is dangerous and something that needs to remain illegal. but the penalties here for simple marijuana possession have been very jacksonian. draconian. in new orleans, if you get caught with possession twice, you think of to jail for years and years. what is the proper role of government in our lives? we hear this daily in the media right now about how many people are frustrated about obamacare. and that it is too much of a government interfering with our lives until he is what to do. the government
standing between you and your doctor when it comes to medical marijuana? that is the reality in over half the country right now. you as a patient can have a recommendation from your doctor but not be able to actually use it, be threatened with jail even , because the government is getting between a relationship and saying, wait a second, we know better than you all the. i don't know many people -- when you frame it the way i just did -- that want to defend it and say it is a good idea. edibles,idents with tell the audience what an edible how much of the high-inducing content is found in edibles that are marketed in colorado. guest: edibles are food items that are infused with marijuana. of regulationsr -- let me start here. we have been selling edible products through the medical
marijuana business since 2009-2010. they are not really a new product in colorado. but they are new to the rest of the world. what we have in terms of regulations in terms of edibles right now is that they are limited to no more than 100 milligrams thc per package. we have a child resistant packaging, that is mandatory. there are labels that were say -- there are plenty of warnings that say how much you are consuming, how much to wait, and to proceed with caution. there are education campaigns that mike has been working out with. just about every time i get in front of a camera, i tried to talk about weight two hours. you need to wait that long because he can stick up on you. theye sneak a bite and wait 30 minutes and say, oh, this isn't working and i will take three more bytes. suddenly, they have taken three more times and they should take and they get very sick. unlike opera hall, you are not
going to die from taking too ,uch of -- unlike alcohol you're not going to die from taking too much of a marijuana edible. we are engaged in rulemaking right now at the colorado department of revenue's, the marijuana enforcement division. there are legislators involved, folks from smart colorado who will be on the show later involved, and law enforcement. we are joined to come up with how do we give people more certainty where they are not taking too much accidentally. a lot of that comes with education. but it is like the entire world just turned 21 and is going to the bars for the first time. there needs to be a certain amount of education and patience and starting off slowly. this is a new animal that people are not used to. host: when you are a person selling at a retail store, are there laws every where you to tell about these potency levels?
guest: so there is information on the labels. requiredof making it atwe call them budtenders the retail stores, but when they sell a customer an item, we are talking at the state level about anng tax money to fund auditorium informational brochures that have to be handed out on top of what is on the label and even having mandatory language that every budtender has to tell a customer. for instance, wait two hours, start with one does, do not use drugs or alcohol when using this and proceed with caution, something along those lines. there's nothing mandatory right now but, we will find, as you go into these businesses, these businesses want to take care of their customers and want people to be returning customers and to be good business owners. they think it is a really smart
idea anyway. what we're seeing here, all of the last few months, we have had some high-profile incidents involving edibles, but things are getting a lot better. and the edibles, too. the market has changed dramatically. with edibles, the market was demanding to have -- we want the most potent animal out there. that is what the medical -- potent edible out there. that was what the medical market was. the market has already changed dramatically in the last two months where these one-dose edibles are becoming more of the norm. just a few months ago, he was much more the high potency stuff. host: michael elliott with the medical marijuana industry group. caller: i want to clarify a few things. first off, they say that
marijuana is a schedule one drug. drug in a sense, it has to be made, man-made. plants are grown from the ground. for the government to spend billions of dollars every year trying to seize illegally grown and manufactured and distributed marijuana, they only sees 40% for the billions they spend. by legalizing that and letting pharmaceutical reps be able to put it out there, that they can prescribe marijuana, most states -- the pharmaceutical reps don't like that because they are not making money off the marijuana. they would rather make money on crap.at host: mr. elliott. you know, i think most
people, when they look at colorado, they ask themselves the question or most states asked the question, do we want to allow the sale of marijuana in our community? and then they say no. marijuana is a drug. it is harmful. we do not want to allow it. the question is not the right question to ask. it is a question that does not have an answer because the fact of the matter is where one is being sold and it is universally available across our country. we havelem here is that just like a call prohibition. the people that are -- alcohol prohibition. controllinghat are the black market are like al capone. all these things to dominate the sale of marijuana. you can see it when you go to our inner cities in particular where you have gang warfare and fights over territory and who is
going to be selling this extraordinarily profitable drug. when it is illegal, just like with al capone and how much the mafia and organized crime, how much they profited off the sale of alcohol, the same thing is happening in the united states. what is happening in colorado is we are rejecting that now. we are basically choosing small business owners that are licensed, accountable, transparent and taxed. we are choosing them over the people who use violence to dominate the sale of marijuana in their community. our governor, john hickenlooper, he made his small fortune selling alcohol. the real choice i would present to you is who would you rather have selling marijuana, someone like al capone or someone like john hickenlooper? a prominent republican here in colorado as well. i think the choice becomes very obvious what the right answer is.
of course you want the small business owner that is accountable, that is transparent, that pays their taxes. we want that over the people that would use violence to dominate the sale of marijuana. host: one more call, daniel from sacramento. caller: thank you for c-span. host: go ahead. aller: ima buster ever come night in sacramento, but out of woodland, california which is driver, notm a bus in sacramento, but out of woodland, california which is about 10 minutes away. we get drug tested. why, from a documentary i remember listening is that in the yearly 1900s when they said that they outlook -- they outlawed marijuana because black men would rape
white women if they used marijuana. it thathree, why is marijuana is class one when you have cocaine and methamphetamines underneath that? i know people on those two drugs who are worse. host: i think you have addressed these issues before. states particularly ones that are looking at allowing for recreational sale looking at colorado's model? are you consulting with the states? my job here is to make colorado work so i don't spend a lot of time telling other states what they should do. but talking about how here in colorado we just got through our best to err as an season ever. we had our -- best tourism season ever. we had our best ski season ever. how much credit does the
marijuana industry yet because we did have great snow this year and the broncos had a heck of a year, too. but all the doomsday scenarios have not happened. we have seen decreases in crime, decreases in traffic fatalities, and teen marijuana use has stayed stagnant to this period. we have massively increased our civil liberties. getting to the caller's question, it is absurd that cocaine is scheduled to and that people -- and that marijuana is a schedule one. it does that make any sense at all. these are old policies that really need to be changed. but here we are. i am telling you that colorado has a program that once again promotes safety, promotes the economy, promotes our individual freedom. i am quite proud to be a part of
it even though we certainly have many challenges going forward. host: michael elliott of marijuana industries group. he is the executive director. you can go to their website. thank you. program, we are going to look at another group, smart colorado. this was a group that was formed looking at amendment 64. gina carbone will join us next to give us her perspective. but one more trip out to medicine man, the dispensary we have been showing you this morning. we have been talking about the process. we wanted to show you the finally steps up hot prepared for sale. here's that interview. commonly --tle is is quality control. this is the volt, were all of is kept. this is the cure room, basically.
>> part of the quality control involves drying? >> it is important to let it dry for a certain amount of time for the highest quality when it gets out to the patients and customers. racksy it here on these rocks about seven to 10 days on average. we hang it from left to right. at the end is a tag. we separated with these tags. some of the other ones are for medical use. then the recreational tags are the blue tags. after january 1, we started doing separate inventories. before that, it was all medical obviously. now we have a better tracking system. >> how do you know when it is dry? how do you know it is ready? >> you can kind of tell if you snap the stem. >> go ahead. >> you see, it is not really breaking but it is still a
little bit of moisture. these are almost ready to be taken off them processed and put into the buckets to finish the curing. >> so this drying process takes seven to 10 days. then what happens? >> we take it off the line. me and my crew cut it off the stems. that way put it into a system called by attract and missed. st is the state tracking in the bio track is for our inventory. >> let's show folks what is in the bucket. san fernandoe valley og crush. >> is it ok for me to touch that? >> of course. we try to keep it in the buckets for about a week to two months.
then it will be ready to be sold in the storefront. sometimes it stays up your up to a few months. ast: we have heard from reporter and from an industry group. perspective,er gina carbone what the group smart colorado joining us from denver. welcome to c-span. much.: hi, thank you very host: could you tell our audience about your group, how it was formed, what is your purpose, in particular in the topic of her relational marijuana? smart colorado was formed after the passage of amendment 64 which legalized marijuana in colorado. main concern really is how the legalization of marijuana is going to affect our youth hearing colorado. we have -- here in colorado.
we have an awful lot of people in the state who are just at to make money in this is this and make this industry as big as possible. but we feel that there has not been due consideration to what this is going to do to our communities and particularly our kids. so that is really our purpose. we have been working at the state level, the local level on legislation to tighten restrictions and to really try and prevent the unintended consequences that would adversely affect our youth. whatat an -- host: intended consequences, such as what? guest: primarily more youth use. the concern is, even before legalization happen here, we had a robust medical marijuana industry. denver's youth use in particular is much higher than the rest of the country. for example, eighth-graders in denver, almost 20% in the last healthy kids survey that was
done, almost 20% of our eighth-graders are using marijuana and that compares to the national average which is about 6.5%. so across all of the age spectrum's, denver's youth use where we have had a lot of commercialization with first medical marijuana and a recreational marijuana, we are going to see those numbers change, too. but we are concerned already that so many of denver kids are using marijuana. previousa carbone, our guests said that the new rules put in place, first and foremost, you have to be 21 to buy. there are other restrictions and rules put into place. wouldn't that cover concerns you might have? guest: again, you have to look at the medical marijuana industry and how long that has been going. we have seen a big spike in youth use since 2009. infractions at
school, expulsions, suspensions, that type of thing. when you look at these actual surveys and you look at the areas where there is a terminus amount of commercialization like enver, -- like denver. have 343 hot shops in denver alone. the state has chosen only to have 21 shops. the sheer fact that we have so many stores that are selling it, it is very accessible. and medical marijuana is available to 18-year-olds. so that is really the avenue of how it is getting into the hands of our adolescence. we have recent stories since the legalization of fourth graders selling it on the playground. --have had a huge increase in fact, there really haven't -- several years
ago, when you look that adolescents getting a hold of marijuana. now at children's hospital, it is a huge concern because kids are being admitted for accidental ingestion. it is mainly the edibles that they are finding. we are also seeing adults being admitted. about,ity hospital talks recently, dr. zane who is the head of the emergency room, there are 20 of adults who are checking themselves in because -- there are plenty of adults who are checking themselves and because these drugs are very potent and very easy to access because we have so many stores in denver in particular. host: michael elliott talked about the governor, working along with others, are working on finalization of some roles regarding thc and other products found in animals. are you part of that -- in edibles.
are you a part of the process? guest: yes. what we have in our stores are bite-size pieces. if you can imagine a small rhesus piece -- a small reece's piece. they don'ters come, know that they are supposed to cut that into 10 individual pieces. edibles don't start to work for an hour or sometimes two hours after you adjust it. so the real problem is that the stuff is far too potent in individual servings. we have had these tragic deaths due to edibles. a student from the congo who was ate oneng came over he cookie and started hallucinated and jumped over a balcony. the only thing he had in his system was marijuana from the one cookie.
there was a man who ate and edible and ended up shooting his wife. she was on 911 saying that he hallucinating because he ate and edible. so the state is turned to do something about it. how many more deaths do we have to have before things really change in colorado? because right now, there is really no restriction on -- go-ahead. host: what would you like to see? would you like lower content, better packaging, more disclosure? guest: the idea is that it is going to be 10 milligrams for each individual serving. so shrinking down the amount of thc in an individual serving will help tremendously. smart colorado is also pushing that each individual serving could be packaged individually.
i think people, especially if they have to open another package, they realize, oh, i am having a second serving of marijuana if they choose to do so. but right now, you can get a pack of gummy bears. you put 10 of them in their. if it is not a marijuana product, most people who see a small packet of 10 gummy bears assume you eat all 10 gummy bears. that's why we think extra cautions need to be taken, that each individual piece would be wrapped and that might help consumers, guide consumers, that they should not ingest too much. we really need to do everything we can. people not the marijuana of my generation or older saw decades ago. this is very strong marijuana. everything from the actual buds that people are smoking to now we have all of these concentrates that can be put in the e-cigarettes. baking is very popular here -- vaping is very popular here.
i think 40% of the medical marijuana market is in the edible market. it is far more potent. people need to be educated about this and primarily our youth. i will get back to our youth because that is our organization's primary concern. our youth use is very high. and now we are starting to see these studies saying how damaging marijuana is to a developing brain. that is really the concern. have 14, 15, 16-year-olds using this because they think it is medicine, it will help them concentrate, it will help them with depression and anxiety, these are some of the reasons that high schoolers are telling us why they are using marijuana, but it is very confusing for our kids and we have not done an adequate job informing them of the facts and how this is a very harmful product for adolescents,
for the developing brain. and people -- and kids really need to stay away from marijuana. that is our main message. host: gina carbone talking about recreational marijuana here to answer your questions. the phone lines are divided by region and you will see them on the screen. if you live in colorado and you want to give your perspective, here is a line for you. the first call is from felicia. say from aanted to 15 years ago, well, my auntie was dying from cancer and marijuana was a demon drug.
15 years later, she is a strong survivor of cancer. marijuana is maybe for the use. -- people get sick off of candy. have overdosed on meth and pharmaceutical drugs in your country -- in your county? and i want to say people are so busy taxing marijuana. how about the war on drugs and how it has devastated the african american community? host: gina carbone, do you take anything from that? guest: i guess i would just like to say, too, i would like to discriminate -- distinguish between criminalization, legalization and
commercialization. commercialization is where we see the stars in the advertising and the tactics we have seen from big tobacco throughout the years that are really influencing our young people. and making marijuana seem extremely mainstream in our communities. for people that have cancer, certainly,y, if -- if their doctor is prescribing a certain strain of marijuana and it makes them feel better, you know, that is not my business. again, we are really concerned with the commercialization of marijuana and how it is affecting our communities and our kids in colorado. that is really what we are seeing. host: carl from crownsville, maryland. caller: good morning. i keep hearing that there has never been a study, there has never been a study. president nixon authorized a two-year in-depth study to find
out the detrimental effects of marijuana. when he found that there were no detrimental effects, he classified the study. i would suggest that these two people have deep-seated psychological problems prior to the ingestion of marijuana. actually, to your latter point, i don't know exactly about that study that nixon did. that is interesting. but the latter point, i am here in colorado and from everything that i understand it talking to the families and friends, these two individuals actually did not have psychological problems prior to this. really, really, really tragic, tragic accidents. host: so is it in both cases they simply ate too much of the product? is what -- yes, what the investigation and the toxicology report is pointing out. i know for a fact that the
19-year-old did not have anything in his system aside from the marijuana. of marijuana is a lot of marijuana for someone that has never ingested it. guest: jeremy from catskill new york. good morning. caller: good morning. this is already in line with the last question. the federal government holds a on -- what is it, patent 663057, which is a cure cureuana and cbd as a for various diseases. and the second part to my , here in new york, we just had the medical marijuana bill passed.
one of the things on the news was cuomo had actually suggested from confiscated marijuana arrests as a source for the medicine that they would provide for the patients, which is obviously in my opinion absurd confiscated,d take unregulated medicine and then hand that out to cancer patients. so if you have any comment about that. host: we will finish it there and let our guests respond. guest: yeah, i would agree. really, for those few people that are really using medical marijuana for medical purposes, i mean, sure, it needs to be monitored more carefully. it needs to be administered like a regular pharmacy. we don't have that going on in colorado. there are a lot of abuses in colorado. are seeing a huge
spike -- even though we have recreational marijuana here in largedo, we are seeing a increase in people getting red cards which allows people to get medical marijuana, print to gillooly the 18 to 20-year-olds -- particularly the 18 to 20-year-olds. they are finding a way to get marijuana via our medical marijuana system. tose kinds of abuses do have stop because the cancer patients or hiv patients, the very few patients that are actually using it for truly medicinal purposes and not just to get high like the vast majority of people in colorado that have red cards, that is what the recent audits said. many, many people are using it for general pain. we do have a recreational market that is taxing it and those people should go to the recreational market if they just want to get high. gina carbone, there is a
story in the paper today about a recent sweep by denver place of shops to make sure they are not selling to those under 21. the story suggested that it seemed to be ok or everything seems to be on the up and up. does that come for you at any level? guest: again, our young people are not going to walk into a store and try to get medical marijuana. a lot of these places now have security guards standing right there. as i said before, many high schoolers have the right cards and that is how it is getting into the hands of teenagers. neighbors, siblings, whatever, it is extremely easy to get a medical marijuana license in colorado. 46%, well over a 40% in the last year alone, of 18 to 20-year-olds who are now getting medical marijuana cards. so that is how our youth, our teenagers are getting it. date is from other siblings.
sometimes it is the parents marijuana. not storing it properly. a lot of these are -- a lot of these items have to be refrigerated. we really need to educate kids about the harms of marijuana for young people with a developing brain. that development goes into your mid-20's. 18, 19, 20-year-olds need to understand the harm that can come, the cognitive deficits that can come from using marijuana as an adolescent. adolescents are more prone to becoming addicted. are theone in six numbers we have seen versus one in nine for addiction for an adult. so i get back to kids and parents need to be aware that this is a very unsafe product for young people. host: . .
medicine man dispense rate while we were in colorado a few weeks ago. we had a chance to talk about, for those leaving the store with candies and other types of products, the kinds of levels of regulation that deal with the products and the packaging and how they leave the stores. i want you to listen to a little bit of the interview and respond to it. >> this packaging is a completely white pill bottle, tamper-resistant on the top. you cannot see the candy like product that is in their. it might be sweet and tasty but it contains a point as well. you definitely don't want anybody under the age getting a hold of this. >> so this is a childproof cap so to speak. thehis company has taken extra measure to put a chucker of cap, but the regulation is to absolutely make sure you cannot see through that bottle. they would not know it's candy by looking at. inwhat about candies packages? >> this is a pageant you cannot
see through. instead of a plastic see-through, they are making is no telling a child looking at that candy that it would think it was candy. .nce you have a pill bottle >> when people walk out of here, they walk out with these white envelopes. what is this? >> it is required now by state packets child safety law, it needs to be in a resealable, tamper-resistant container. >> you can hold up for folks to show. >> the zipper sits on that tab. when it is closed, it is not moving at all. host: you probably did not have the benefit of seeing it, but he did say that there are child and when they leave the stores, the white bags have
some type of locking mechanism. guest: i am very familiar with that. host: can you respond to it? guest: i am actually familiar with what he is talking about because that is part of the regulations that smart colorado was involved in last year in the legislative process, trying to ensure that it was invisible. that particular company that we you -- that you are talking about might have childproof packaging on their product. not all of them do. there is something called exit packaging, childproof averaging that, if someone buys six different items at the store, it will go into -- it is similar to a ziploc bag. but it is more difficult to get into. after i think two or three openings, then it he comes -- then it just becomes a ziploc bag. but it is supposed to be more secure than other packaging. that igr