County Officials In Colorado Launch ‘Marijuana Is Not Harmless’ Campaign

The campaign is meant to educate the public on the risks that may come with marijuana.
County Officials In Colorado Launch “Marijuana Is Not Harmless” Campaign
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A Colorado county has launched a public service campaign to warn residents that there may be risks associated with using cannabis. The campaign, dubbed “Marijuana is Not Harmless,” was kicked off by the Weld County Health and Environment Department on Thursday.

Eric Aakko, a spokesman for the department, said that local officials want the public to realize that the legalization of marijuana does not imply that that cannabis use is risk-free. Colorado legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults in 2014.

“We decided we need to do something to create some awareness that it’s not harmless,” Aakko told local media. “We’re not hearing a lot of the downside of marijuana, it’s not a really strong message that’s out there.”

Aakko said that department officials are especially concerned about people driving while high.

“We’re looking at a report that says every three days a Coloradan dies in a marijuana-related traffic crash,” he said. “That’s the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report. We know traffic crashes are a problem in Weld County, where we’ve got 4,000 square miles and thousands and thousands of miles of roads. We wanted to get the message out there because if you are using marijuana, the worst thing that you can do is drive.”

Billboards and Online Ads

The “Marijuana Is Not Harmless” campaign includes billboards along county roads and online advertisements. The cost of the public awareness campaign is completely funded by grants, Aakko said.

County health officials have been compiling data to help them determine the health effects of several factors, including cannabis use.

“We do look every three years at a community health assessment — this year we mailed it to over 10,000 random residents — a scientifically valid survey we do every three years,” Aakko said. “In the past, we’ve noticed that people’s quality of life has been fairly good, but at the same time, we’re curious as to how that’s impacted when we get the data crunched from the 2019 survey. We do ask a few questions about marijuana use, and we don’t have the data yet, but we’re being proactive as well because we know from other studies.”

Those other studies, Aakko said, include a report from the National Institutes of Health’s National Drug Abuse Institute that was revised in December. The report warns that heavy cannabis users have decreased life satisfaction, poorer physical health, and more mental health problems.

“We can’t track definitively that it’s tied to marijuana per se, but we do track a number of those indicators, and once we get our data for 2019, we’ll look at trends over the last three years,” Aaakko said.

Jeri Shephard, a member of the board of directors for Colorado NORML, said that the county’s concern is ill-founded.

“There are some in the county commissioners’ office who tend to gravitate to ‘Reefer Madness’ analysis instead of understanding what the benefits that cannabis and hemp do have, even if you don’t use it yourself,” Shepherd said. “The Longmont City Council, for example, they had some concerns, but they’ve listened to people. And the (Weld) County commissioners are not known for listening to people.”

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  1. Strange that the officials would choose to focus on “marijuana-related traffic accidents”, as if traffic in general wasn’t an undeclared health crisis of its own.

  2. “The report warns that heavy cannabis users have decreased life satisfaction, poorer physical health, and more mental health problems.”
    ____________
    If the NIDA report he’s referring to is based on the survey, “Monitoring the Future”, then it seems disingenuous to use in their crusade since the survey is administered to only middle & high school students.

    1. They haven’t even gotten all the data yet! Next line says, “We can’t track definitively that it’s tied to marijuana per se .. and once we get our data for 2019, we’ll look at trends over the last three years.” So this isn’t even a story, just a story about a future story if they can actually prove anything. And what report says people are dying every three days? High Time links https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana but it doesn’t say anything about driving deaths.

      1. And that report he’s referring to (Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report) has already been debunked by more than one source, including Forbes.

        1. High Times says it was “revised.” Completely different than debunked and removed from the site! Who’s side is High Times on really? How much did these people pay for this article?

          1. I’m not sure what you’re referring to… I didn’t see any disclaimers and High Times is certainly not siding with Weld County.

  3. They need to go after the commercial growers, not the pot smokers.The decreased life satisfaction, poorer physical health, and mental health problems in my case come from the year of pain and torture that the Smeltertown, Salida Colorado superfund site has caused us in our own home due to the low frequency vibrations of their ventilation system at the PG2 facility that grows for Adolphus Busch V3 oil. These scumbags denied the issue and attacked with a sleazy lawyer and allowed the suffering causing the year of torture.

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