Summary of a Few Key Findings from Throughout the Report

Section One: Potency and Price of Marijuana

 Nationally, the average potency of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive found in marijuana, has risen in marijuana concentrates from 13.23% in 1995 to 60.95% in 2018.

 Nationally, the average potency of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive found in marijuana, has risen in traditional marijuana from 3.96% in 1995 to 16.16% in 2018.

 The price of a pound (lb.) of marijuana in California can vary from $100 to $2000 depending on THC potency level.

Section Two: Vaping

 Nationally, lifetime (any) vaping use among middle and high school students has increased from 2017 to 2019: 8th grade increased from 1.6% to 3.9%, 10th grade increased from 4.3% to 12.6% and 12th grade increased from 5.0% to 14.0%.

 Nationally in 2019, the daily use of nicotine vaping is higher than the daily use of smoking tobacco across all grade levels: 1.9% vs. 0.8% in 8th grade, 6.9% vs. 1.3% in 10th grade and 11.7% vs. 2.4% 12th grade.

 Nationally, the 30-day prevalence of marijuana (non-vaping), vaping marijuana and cigarette use increased across 8th, 10th and 12th graders from 2017 to 2019, with the exception of cigarette use in 10th and 12th graders in 2019 which decreased from 5% to 3.4% and 9.7% to 5.7%.

 From 2017 to 2018, national past month marijuana vaping use among college aged individuals more than doubled in those enrolled in college, while remaining relatively stable among those not in college.

Section Three: California Youth Marijuana Use Ages 12-17

 California youth have consistently had a lower perception of risk of smoking marijuana once a month, compared to the national average (2010-2018).

 California continues to have a higher rate of past month use of marijuana in individuals ages 12 and older (2011-2018).

 Nationally in 2019, vaping (any substance) has surpassed alcohol and marijuana use for 8th and 10th graders.

Section Four: California Marijuana Use Ages 18-25

 From 2017 to 2018, California’s marijuana use by 18 to 25 year olds continued to surpass their use of cigarettes, 25.16% vs. 14.52%.

 In California, 36.3% of adults aged 18 to 25 reported using cigarettes, e-cigarettes or marijuana in 2018.

Section Five: California Marijuana Use Ages 26 and Older

 From 2017 to 2018, California’s marijuana use for individuals 26 years and older continued to surpass the national average, 10.39% vs. 8.25%.

Section Six: California Arrests for Drug Sales, DUI and Possession of Cannabis While Driving

 In California, (state) arrests for the sale of marijuana has decreased from 2015 (8,368) to 2018 (1,857).

Section Seven: Public Health

 From 2016 (125,418) to 2019 (236,954), California Emergency Department visits and admissions for any related marijuana abuse has increased by 89%.

 From 2005 (1,412) to 2019 (16,151) there was a 1044% increase in California emergency department visits and admissions for primary marijuana abuse, with a 56% increase from 2016 (10,361) to 2019 (16,151).

 From 2005 (1,393) to 2019 (14,993) there was a 976% increase in California emergency department visits with marijuana as the primary reason for being seen.

Section Eight: Treatment

 In California in 2019, 41% of marijuana treatment admissions were amongst those 12 to 17 years of age.

Section Nine: Diversion and Eradication

 In 2019, 59% of illegal marijuana plant seizures occurred on private land (trespass grows/not by owner), which was a significant increase from 44% in 2018.

 United States Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (nationwide) marijuana seizures have increased by 176% from 59,396 lbs. in FY 2019 to 164,216 lbs. in 2020 (TD August).

Section Ten: THC Extraction Labs

 There were 194 reported clandestine lab incidents in California in 2019. Out of the 194 reported labs, 72.6% were honey oil/THC extraction (141), followed by precursor chemicals 9.3% (18).

Section Eleven: Environmental Impacts of Marijuana Cultivation

 Outdoor marijuana grow sites consume an estimated 29.4 million gallons of water per year.

 Researchers estimate over 1.4 million pounds of fertilizers and toxicants are used annually at outdoor marijuana grows sites in California.



Volume 7 September 2020 Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Executive Summary

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) program has published annual reports every year since 2013 tracking the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. The purpose is to provide data and information so that policy makers and citizens can make informed decisions on the issue of marijuana legalization.

Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving

  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013, traffic deaths in which drivers tested positive for marijuana increased 135% while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 24%.
  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 129 people killed in 2019.
  • This equates to one person killed every 3 1/2 days in 2019 compared to one person killed every 6 1/2 days in 2013.
  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized, the percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related increased from 15% in 2013 to 25% in 2019.

Section II: Marijuana Use

Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013:

  • Past month marijuana use (ages 12 and older) increased 30% and is 76% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • Past month adult marijuana use (ages 18 and older) increased 19% and is 73% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • Past month college age marijuana (ages 18-25) use increased 6% and is 50% higher than the national average, currently ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • Past month youth marijuana (ages 12-17) use decreased 25%and is 43% higher than the national average, currently ranked 7th in the nation.

Section III: Public Health

  • Marijuana only exposures more than quadrupled in the seven-year average (2013-2019) since recreational marijuana was legalized compared to the seven-year average (2006-2012) prior to legalization.
  • Treatment for marijuana use for all ages decreased 21% from 2009 to 2019.
  • The percent of suicide incidents in which toxicology results were positive for marijuana has increased from 14% in 2013 to 23% in 2018.

Section IV: Black Market

  • RMHIDTA Colorado Drug Task Forces (10) conducted 278 investigations of black-market marijuana in Colorado resulting in:
  • o 237 felony arrests
  • o 49 tons of marijuana seized
  • o 68,600 marijuana plants seized
  • o 29 different states the marijuana was destined
  • Seizures of marijuana reported to the El Paso Intelligence Center in Colorado increased 17%from an average of 242 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 283 parcels (2013-2019) during the time recreational marijuana has been commercialized.

Section V: Societal Impact

  • Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately 0.85% of Colorado’s FY 2019 budget.
  • 67% of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses.

For complete data go to… Volume 7: Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – Colorado 2020

Cannabis Conundrum Communication Team

December is People Against Drug/Drunk Driving Month - Road Toll Meets a Pot Hole


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S.A.M (Smart Approaches to Marijiuana) - Media Release: United Nations Votes to Reclassify Marijuana Derivatives for Medical Purposes, Marijuana Still Illegal Under International Law

By Colton GraceDecember 2, 2020

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs narrowly voted by 27-25-1 to reclassify medically approved derivatives of the marijuana plant, recognizing such non-smoked medications as Epidiolex within the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Marijuana remains in the Schedule I classification alongside cocaine and opioids, meaning the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs has not approved of the legalization of the substance. The vote was only barely approved, along global west versus south lines generally.

There were four additional recommendations from the World Health Organization on marijuana and all four were rejected.

Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, and ONDCP head delegate to the UN released the following statement in response:

“Today’s vote did not legalize marijuana or get anywhere close to that. It did not sanction pot dispensaries or high THC products being sold there. This was really nothing more than a reclassification by the United Nations to acknowledge the limited scope of therapeutic benefits from medications that are derived from the marijuana plant. Epidiolex and Marinol are two drugs that have passed the scientific muster and have proven to be effective at providing relief to patients suffering from very specific disorders.

“We have long praised efforts to approve medications and treatments from marijuana derivatives that have proven efficacy, and today’s vote was just a recognition of this.

“This vote should in no way shape or form be seen as an endorsement of ‘medical marijuana’ or the legalization of the substance. As it stands, marijuana will remain in the Schedule I classification of the International drug control treaties and members of these treaties should do everything in their power to uphold their International obligations to reducing substance abuse and drug trafficking.”

Tuesday 10th of November saw the staging of our Cannabis, Policy & Your Community – What is Best Practice Webinar with Q & A.

Both the timing and focus of this event was planned to give best opportunity for politicians, policy makers and key professionals in the health, welfare and education sectors to attend. An evening may have seen more people register, but we had a specific target group. We received over 70 registrations and 137 views during broadcast.

The facts on this heavily propagandized ‘product’ are thin on the ground, not because there is not overwhelming evidence of the risks and harms of cannabis, but because they are not engaged or broadcast.

In its stead, we have promotional mayhem, with relentless emotive anecdote and a tsunami of pro-cannabis marketing. This ‘assault’ on the uniformed public is having its desired effect, which people either indifferent to its further deployment or seeing it as not just ‘harmless’, but even perhaps  ‘good for them’. This of course is furlongs from the truth. But, as the old adage goes, ‘let’s not let facts get in the way of good story.’

This event was a bookend to our Cannabis Conundrum National Tour, held in February this year and our line up of presenters for this Webinar was nothing short of outstanding.

The program covered all the key issues, from mental health, to workplace issues, health harms and youth impact. Each presenter could have conducted a two-hour segment each, but the cogent 20-minute presentations with PowerPoint delivered the salient data which only invited all who engage to pursue more evidence-based research from each speaker.

1. Cannabis & Mental HealthProfessor Jan Copeland 

2. Marijuana & the Workplace Jo Maguire 

3. Marijuana & Emergency DepartmentDr Karen Randall 

4. Permissive Norms and Laws and Longitudinal Harm to Youth Professor John Toumbourou 

5. No State Has Been Successful in Regulating Marijuana Scott Gagnon 


You can view each presentation on our YouTube Channel, and we continue to encourage you all to not only bookmark Cannabis Conundrum Continues, but share it far and wide with your networks, particularly parents, teachers and other community leaders.

Communications Team @ Dalgarno Institute


Cannabis resin now 25% more potent, global study reveals

Concentrations of intoxicating THC have risen, data from more than 80,000 street drug samples gathered over 50 years shows

Cannabis resin – or “hash” – has increased in strength by nearly 25% over the past half century, a major international study has revealed.

Researchers with the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath analysed data from more than 80,000 cannabis street samples tested in the past 50 years in the US, UK, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Italy and New Zealand.

Their findings, published in the journal Addiction, reveal concentrations of THC – the intoxicating component of cannabis responsible for giving users a “high” – have changed over time.

“Cannabis resin is often seen as a safer type of cannabis, but our findings show that it is now stronger than herbal cannabis,” said study co-author Sam Craft. “Traditionally, cannabis resin contained much lower amounts of THC with equal quantities of CBD (cannabidiol, which is believed to have some health benefits), however CBD concentrations have remained stable as THC has risen substantially, meaning it is now much more harmful than it was years ago.”

The researchers have argued that increases in cannabis strength highlight the need for harm-reduction strategies similar to those used for alcohol – such as standard units and guidelines on safer consumption limits.

“As the strength of cannabis has increased, so too has the number of people entering treatment for cannabis use problems,” Freeman said. “More Europeans are now entering drug treatment because of cannabis than heroin or cocaine.”

For complete article