It is only a cause for additional celebration today because the U.S. Senate has came through for us veterans the eve before Veteran’s Day, 2015. Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed a bill with a crushing vote of 93 to 0 in favor of H.R. 2029. You might not have heard of it. H.R. 2029 is the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. That’s a mouthful for sure BUT what lies within it under section 246 of this bill is something you should do backflips over…
That’s right… you read it straight from the bill itself… The VA is allowed to recommend cannabis to patients that are within states where medical marijuana is legal. No funding will be allocated to pursuing legal charges on these matters. Why is this so big for the U.S. Senate to vote in favor for? Until yesterday our U.S. Senate has never moved marijuana reform legislature forward. Every time you’ve heard of the Senate passing marijuana laws it has been State organized Senate Subcommittees. These are state funded teams that work to pass bills through the local state senate’s of their respective states. Now that we have the U.S. Senate pushing marijuana reform legislature forward, one can only wonder what might be next.
This is coming right after the Colorado Board of Health recently voted down the addition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the list of approved ailments for which medical marijuana can be used for treatment. Suicide is the number 1 way our fighting brothers and sisters die and PTSD is heavily linked to this terrible ending. Roughly 22 veterans commit suicide daily and PTSD & Depression are the major ailments contributing to this. In our population today, for every 100,000 Americans alive, 30 soldiers within that number will commit suicide annually. This is a number we all have an obligation to help lessen as these 30 Americans gave themselves to the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
I am hopeful that this bill passing will allow states to feel comfortable in making decisions leading to marijuana treatment options because there is no longer fear of backlash from our federal government for their employees to recommend cannabis treatments in appropriate situations.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my brothers and sisters in arms on our annual Veterans Day. We represent 21.8 million of the total 319.2 million people in the United States (2014 recorded numbers). That’s about 6% of our population volunteering to ensure the safety of 100% of our population. Stay strong, stay vigilant, and stay proud of your accomplishments. Our families remain strong because of the willingness of those few to protect the values of our larger population.
Effective marijuana reform is not an easy process but Colorado has proved that it is possible. Colorado has proved itself to be the state to look towards for guidance as other states blaze their paths into a legal cannabis environment as well. We are nearing a new year. On January 1st, Colorado will have had legal recreational cannabis sales and consumption for 2 years. I have lived in this state for nearly a year and can say that this transition to a legal recreational state has worked incredibly well from the consumer standpoint. Cannabis is expressed in a very similar manner to how the microbrew beer movement is expressed. Cannabis strains and species are conversed about on an intellectual level as consumers highlight on the various feelings they’ve experienced as well as the medicinal benefits 1 strain can achieve greater than another. I was recently in a conversation with friends that described how the high-CBD strain, Harlequin, increased their attentiveness while they code software projects. He said he no longer uses his prescription Adderall to battle his diagnosed ADHD disorder. In my opinion, the more we remove manufactured synthetic drugs from our bodies and replace them with natural remedies, the more we are heading in the correct direction.
Stereotypes of cannabis are burning up in Colorado as more and more working professionals consume cannabis and speak out about it. As venture capitalists, lawyers, doctors, and state officials enjoy the benefits of working and living in a legal cannabis environment, we as a society find that the token “stoner” nickname is not living up to its name any longer. Colorado is proving to the world that consumers will continue to live their lives, go to work, pick their children up from school, and maintain positive lifestyles in a legal cannabis state with effective marijuana reform and regulations.
The state regulatory and compliance bodies that have been setup are maintaining a safe, secure, and functional cannabis marketplace. This is helping to supply the many residents and visitors with the peace of mind to allow their natural curiosities to lead them to discovering cannabis in their respective ways without outside pressure forcing them to try it or not. What you find in Colorado is the stigma of “fitting in”, “being cool” and any peer pressure situations of consuming cannabis is vanishing. Personally, some times when I am in a situation where I am offered to share in a smoke session with friends or colleagues, I will decline on the offer and thank them for their hospitality due to my own personal reasons. Upon declining, I have never been egged on to rethink my decision nor have I felt pressure to smoke from those around me. Cannabis consumption is a personal choice we all make and when the legality issue of consumption is removed, the “cool factor” is removed as well. We are free to make our decision based on personal reasons and those you encounter in your daily lives respect your decision. What you find is a state population that takes the topic seriously and with empathetic understanding that we are all left to our own decision as to whether or not to partake in cannabis activities on a case-by-case basis and that it is completely acceptable to not partake and remain around others who choose to.
When out-of-state vacationers make their way to our beautiful state they are allowed to let their curiosity guide them to decide whether to try cannabis or not. When they head back to their respective states, they take with them the understanding that a culture can survive and flourish with cannabis around them. They feel the pride and respect we share with our circles and that it’s 100% acceptable to accept or pass when the blunt and bowl makes its way around the circle to us. Our state’s population is molding the culture other states have an opportunity to embody within their own culture and that is why Colorado is the beacon for which other states should look unto as they create their respective pathways to a legal cannabis state as well.
Edibles may look like candy but we value them slightly higher than what makes it into the household candy bowls. Denver Police relax a bit on their warning to citizens to be wary of the “treats” their little Trick-or-Treat’rs are bringing home this year that there could be THC-infused edibles among them. To my non-suprise, Another year goes by without a single report of edibles being given out to children. This year however, our Tweet from the Denver Police Department’s Twitter Account was not so narrowly directed.
In a state where last years numbers show that 4.8million servings of THC-infused edibles were sold, there could be a worry that someone would want to use these products to harm our children. I think there’s 1 large reason this is not happening. Edibles are not that cheap in direct comparison to a bag of halloween candy. Whose dropping a $12 cookie, $8 lollipop, or $25 candy bar into a children’s candy bag? On top of that, I can’t believe many wanting to give up their precious edible to a kid in the first place. An edible may look like candy, but do we throw them into the household candy jar on top of the candy that isn’t THC-infused? No! That would be silly as both are enjoyed and consumed for different reasons.
I am very proud that the residents of our state respect that it’s all our responsibility to show the world that there is a safe and positive way we can “consume responsibly”. We weren’t just handed legal freedom to cannabis; we fought for it over many years. The other side of the coin here is that we must continue to be the example through which other states can look upon for guidance. Colorado residents and guests are doing exactly that.
As we near 2-years of legalization, and no incidents of children being “treated” edibles on their annual Trick-or-Treat sprints, I wonder if the worry will lessen that this will occur in the future?