Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the purpose of this campaign?
The goal is to prompt an important policy conversation about marijuana potency. Colorado has no legal limits on the potency of marijuana. As a result, levels of THC – marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient – have skyrocketed to unprecedented concentrations as marijuana marketers try to outdo each other. This has turned Colorado’s marijuana into a fundamentally stronger, harder drug that presents a pressing threat to today’s youth.
Why hasn’t the potency issue been a significant part of the discussion so far?
In our experience, broad public awareness lags behind the reality of today’s ultra-potent marijuana. Many Coloradans’ views of marijuana were shaped in earlier decades when THC levels were much lower and the effects were much milder. New ways to use highly potent marijuana, like dabbing, have changed everything. We’re encouraged to see that Gov. Hickenlooper recently drew attention the impacts of high-THC marijuana on the developing teenage brain.
Why is this issue of concern to Smart Colorado?
Smart Colorado is non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Colorado youth as marijuana becomes increasingly available and commercialized. Research shows that marijuana is harmful for youth so the effects of ultra-potent pot on developing adolescent brains is of particular concern.
Why does the campaign raise the issue of marijuana-associated deaths?
Marijuana promoters have long claimed that marijuana has never killed anyone. This claim perpetuates the misleading view that it is harmless, which can lead to complacency by policymakers. While the Drug Enforcement Agency agrees that no death from overdose of marijuana has ever been recorded, marijuana can contribute to deadly behavior. The deaths are tragic evidence of the broader risks from ultra-potent marijuana.
But haven’t there been many more deaths from alcohol, tobacco and opioids?
Preventing harm from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs must be a priority. However, the specific mission of Smart Colorado, which was created in response to the passage of Amendment 64, is to limit the harm to youth from legalized marijuana. Other organizations, including the State of Colorado, are addressing these other pressing challenges.
What does Smart Colorado propose when it comes to marijuana potency?
We believe the state needs to have a serious conversation about how address the health threats presented by high-potency marijuana. These discussions should consider various options, from limits on potency to enhanced labeling for high-THC marijuana that highlights its risks. Our goal is to serve as a catalyst for this conversation. We’re eager to hear ideas from policymakers and other stakeholders.
Learn more about Colorado’s ultra-potent pot and how you can help limit its harms.