Colorado Report on High-Potency Pot is Promising; Legislators Must Act

(Denver, CO) –– Today, the Colorado School of Public Health’s Cannabis Research & Policy Project released the HB 21-1317 potency Report to the Colorado Legislature, which detailed high-potency marijuana’s harms on the state of Colorado. Last year’s regulatory overhaul law, HB1317, established a Scientific Review Council to make evidence-based recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly about regulatory changes and funding of additional research.

The report stated that a final release of recommendations is expected in September 2022 “after data extraction is complete and the findings from the resulting database have been fully assessed. That report will set out a complete roadmap for next steps in the review process including the anticipated products and the schedule for submitting them to the legislature.”

“We are disappointed that this report did not have more significant findings, but we are anticipating a strong report in September confirming what we already know to be true: highly potent THC is harmful,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “The science is overwhelming: high-potency marijuana products are harming the public, and our kids are paying the price, especially in places like Colorado that have legalized marijuana. I applaud the Colorado legislature for passing the law that created this project and the Scientific Advisory Council for their hard work and efforts. But today’s report confirms that more work needs to be done.”

Laura Stack, Founder & CEO of the nonprofit Johnny’s Ambassadors, said, “Moms like me have known for years that high potency THC is dangerous. My son Johnny first used high-potency THC at age 14 at a party, and I saw first-hand the negative impacts of high potency use. For years Johnny battled with addiction and psychosis as a result of using marijuana, which he started after it was legalized here in Colorado. He ultimately died by suicide, thinking the mob was after him. Unfortunately, Johnny’s story is not unique and high potency marijuana is to blame. Our state has a duty to protect the children of Colorado from this dangerous substance.”

“Coloradans like me see the harms of ultra-potent marijuana every day; there is no doubt that high-potency marijuana is hurting our state,” said Luke Niforatos, Executive Vice President of SAM and a resident of Colorado. “Tragic stories about the devastating effects of high-potency marijuana come out of the Centennial State far too often. I think of my friend, Laura Stack, who lost her son Johnny to marijuana-induced psychosis, and many other families with similar stories. To protect the safety and well-being of all Coloradans, legislators must pay attention to the ample evidence we have on the harms of high-potency THC and enact necessary safeguards.”