Reality check: The impacts of retail marijuana on Colorado

selling marijuanaWe’re just over 3 weeks into the experiment, and with all the media coverage and opinion pieces on retail marijuana in Colorado one thing is becoming blatantly clear: the real reason most prohibitionists think marijuana consumers should be sent to jail or forced into rehab is simply because they don’t like marijuana or the people who use marijuana. The thinking goes like this… “because I don’t like the pot and you smoke the pot, you should go to jail/rehab.” That’s all they’ve got left. Every other argument is falling by the wayside.

How do you continue to claim that pot makes you stupid when people like Carl Sagan and Bill Gates support marijuana? How do you continue to claim that pot makes you lazy when world-class athletes like Michael Phelps and Von Miller are known to have enjoyed a bong-hit or two? How do you continue to claim that 1 out of 6 teens who use marijuana will become addicted when thousands, if not millions, of nonaddicted adults who tried marijuana when they were teens are walking, not staggering, the streets everyday? How do you argue that marijuana makes you violent, irrational and insane when people have stood in line for hours patiently waiting to make their legal purchase in Colorado without incident?

I know, I know. It’s too soon to tell. They’re still waiting for the shoe to drop or the sky to fall or the tsunami to hit. They think we’re all on our best behavior and it’s only a matter of time before the real social consequences become evident.

Maybe they’re right. We’re not sure what the impacts on society might be. But here’s what we do know…

  • Tourism has been impacted with bookings at ski resorts on a record-breaking pace.
  • Colorado’s unemployment rate is below the national average.
  • DUIs over New Year’s week, the same week that retail marijuana shops opened, were below last year.
  • Applications at the University of Colorado are up by 33%.
  • And Colorado has already received enough tax revenue from the sale of retail marijuana to more than pay for the Governor’s salary and his staff.

So yes, we’re just beginning to see the impact this new industry might have on our society.

Granted, marijuana isn’t for everybody. I can’t think of a single product that is. And there are some people who don’t like it. That’s fine. But just because it’s not for you, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be for anyone else. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others should be penalized just because you don’t like it.



Categories: Business & Industry, Policy & Politics, Stats

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67 replies

  1. well said, great article. however lets not forget the thousands of people like me who are saving every dime they can so they can relocate to Colorado or Washington, I’m just done with feeling like a criminal, or that I have something to hide, just because I choose a healthier alternative to alcohol, look, booze made me do stupid things, like drive drunk, cheat on my wife, exc.. I couldn’t hold a job for longer than a few months at a time, and if I did find a job it was minimum wage at best, Alcohol was my demon. After doing some research I found that cannabis helped some people who had a hard time getting off the booze, I tried many times to quit in the past, with no success, once I started using cannabis, I have had no urge to drink, it’s been two years since I last had a drop, I have a decent job, I pay better attention to my kids, and I don’t cheat on my wife. Like you said, marijuana isn’t for everyone, but it IS for me, and I just can’t wait for Iowa to get their heads out of their asses.

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    • “Herb is the healing of a nation; alcohol its destruction” -Marley My fiance’ had the same issue with vodka. A demon on booze a saint on Bud.

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    • Why don’t you get active in your community and legalize it where you live?

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    • Really blaming alcohol for your infidelity or dui? Take some responsibility for your ignorant actions you pussy

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    • He’s not blaming anything…alcohol is a huge destraction/distruction in/of our world. I completly understand his thought and a lot of other people would as well if they were in similar situations. Be open minded people, not everybody is the same

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    • Right on!! I’m an alcoholic and just about every time i drank i ended up in jail. it took me 30yrs to finally realize nothing but bullshit came from drinking. I’ve smoked pot several times through my life and its not really for me but that’s because Im a pain patient being treated with pills. that’s s whole different subject. too many people are killed and injured because of alcohol. I’ve not heard of someone under the influence of pot beating their spouse and children or killing anyone. i say make alcohol illegal for awhile see how the death rate in this country go down. i say legalize pot in every state!!!

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  2. Beautifully said man well done! God bless the legalization of all cannabis!

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  3. The experiment was prohibition, it failed.

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    • The experiment of prohibition didn’t fail. It crash bombed in the worst possible way anybody could possibly imagine. It has ruined thousands upon thousands of innocent lives of people sent to jail and labeled as criminals. Why? Because they smoke a natural plant that has very few dangerous side effects compared to the VAST majority of OTC, prescription medications and legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. I’m so glad we’re heading into the era where rationality, common sense and science are beginning to take over paranoia and ignorance. I assume that by the time over half the states in the country have legalized recreational marijuana, the national government will be forced to look at national legalization. Lucky for us rational people, politicians always flip flop to the more popular options, and since now the majority is calling for legalization, more and more politicians are hopping on the train. It shouldn’t be long for the rest of us to have the chance to let rationality take over!

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      • Yeah i really don’t understand how pot came to be illegal. after all isn’t a natural growing plant? Hasn’t it been growing wild since the days the indians owned the land? So i would as everyone should consider it a gift from god right? so nobody should consider themselves higher than god and take this gift away from anyone who wants it right?

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  4. Unless you can show a DIRECT causation between a higher rate of tourism, an unemployment rate lower than the national average, lower DUIs over NY’s week, and applicants applying to UofC, BECAUSE of cannabis, you’re just trying to slant the story your way. When you don’t present EVIDENCE, like you expect from others on studies etc., you better be willing to provide more than just “look at all the benefits….”

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    • Really Ivan? Just shhhh! You can hear the misplaced anger and latent fear of anything outside of your little bubble in your words. Everyone slants stories their way. And anyway the gentleman wasn’t saying that these positive things are BECAUSE of marijuana legalization. He was saying that these positive things are happening IN SPITE of marijuana legalization. No “evidence” needed, just observation. Now calm down and stop trying to control everything.

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    • I love Marijuana and support legalizing it, but I smoke it responsibly, in fact, I havent had any since new years. I enjoy lowering my tolerance so that when I do smoke, it really hits me. So with that being said, I have to agree with Ivan Libya, people are flocking to Colorado to legally smoke. The “benefits” of weed have nothing to do with it. Tourism, Unemployment, College increase, lower DUI’s, and taxes are all just because people are desperate to smoke legal weed. Once everyone gets into the habit of smoking weed 7 days a weeks, IT’S GOING TO BECOME A HUGE PROBLEM. Laziness, mainly. That’ll result in higher unemployment. Does anyone think its acceptable to use Food Stamps for weed??? Is weed food??? I may support legalizing, but I definitely think there should be a limit how much you can buy weekly.

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      • Matt C. I’m guessing you are NOT in Colorado and are clueless to the different strains. Colorado has home grow in A64 so the grower are everywhere. I’m not seeing the laziness that most prohibitionists use to sham stoners and those who chose MJ. I don’t hear the same criticism over that when it comes to drinking because when I drink one beer I want to take a nap everytime. All most people have ever know is old “brick trash’ filled with CBNs and almost no THC or weed soaked in seawater that also produces the effect you are speaking of. Do some research by coming here and experience real Cannabis instead of the trash you are getting where ever you are. Then go home and change your state to find how things can change in your own states statistics.

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      • LOL! My father has smoked every day for about 35 years and he never misses work. He has had the same job that whole time and it pays well! Not everyone who smokes it is a dead beat hippy.

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      • Ummm yes, weed is food and actually has greater benefits to health if you do eat it! Yes it can effect motivation in some people, however any drug such as alcohol, tobacco, or any of the phamacy drugs when taken irresponsibly will have negative effects on personality, motivation, energy levels etc.

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    • But that’s what your side does at every story. In fact you guys are now saying that hospital visits with marijuana use us up. But you liars fail to say this is a question always asked when you go to the hospital; “do you use or have you ever used marijuana” and now people are more inclined to tell the truth. So it’s complete bs but it helps your arguments.

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    • You had better lock yourself inside of a bomb shelter Ivan, because before your very eyes the movement is exploding on a national stage. I know your upcoming episode of “Doomsday Preppers” showcases your fears of an impending scenario where marijuana advocates take over the country and force you underground, but believe me when I say that there are enough “munchies” to go around. Your food stash is safe, or is it? The EVIDENCE is clear, and factual; marijuana is safer than alcohol, it has true medicinal value, and it is GREAT for our economy! There is no slanting there! Day one of sales in CO produced over $290,000 in tax revenues. Multiply that by 365, spread it across the nation, and see what it does to our economy. You’re living in the “stoned age” and don’t have a clue what things are like without your visors on. The next time your doctor says “here are some VIcodin for the pain”, remember that they have killed many innocent people and that you could have had something all natural to help you cope. Or god forbid you get MS, or Crohns Disease, or some form of arthritis or chronic pain, or cancer or aids; because with your “higher” than thou attitude you will take the man made garbage that big pharma is pushing on the streets to help you cope instead of a viable natural solution. Oh, and FYI…no one has to provide you with anything, but they will so that you can become an informed voter who’s opinion is valued.

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    • how bout instead of demanding someone else hands you evidence, look for it your self.

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    • Any person who does not want cannabis available are actively KILLING LITTLE GIRLS like Charlotte from which the strain Charlotte’s web was born. It is high in CBD which treats epilepsy. She went from 300 seizures a wekk down to one or none. By being against cannabis YOU may as well be killing SEVERAL Charlotte A DAY! The blame is all on your head. How can you live with yourself? What about the soldiers who are suiciding? Cannabis can save some of them. Do you so hate everyone that you would rather they not have medicine that works for them? What do you care what I put in my body? These are fundimental freedoms you stand in the way of.

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  5. Marijuana may not have caused any of these effects, and I never said that they did. I’m just pointing out that all the fear-mongering about how there would be carnage on the streets from drivers impaired by marijuana or that tourists would stop coming to Colorado, or parents would be afraid to send their kids to college in Colorado if we legalized marijuana, all those projections meant to scare people didn’t come to pass. In fact, we’re seeing just the opposite.

    And did I mention… on-time high school graduations in 2013 were up statewide too.

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  6. A pot Nazi is and will always be a nazi… just because they don’t like it, that makes it WRONG, BAD and STUPID! You belong in PRISON.

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  7. Will this. Ale the world a better place? As if we don’t have enough
    Doodle walking around who are not in their right mind.. Oh, and yes, smoking it is not good for your health, no matter how much denial you live in.

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    • From the looks of your writing I’d say YOU were stoned, Lucy.

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    • And yet do we see you saying the same about alcohol? Or tobacco, or even prescription drugs? No, because you have been brainwashed into thinking they are acceptable, but cannabis isn’t, simply because you were told. Look up any modern, unbiased study and you’ll find that cannabis is far less harmful than any of them (no one has died from cannabis overdose, EVER). Next time, do a bit of research before making obvious narrow minded, uninformed statements, you might not look so stupid.

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    • What about vapourizers, hash cakes etc, no smoke involved, no damage to your health, just the great benefits of Cannabis. Unlike smoking or alcohol which damage your lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, brain.
      Also alcohol is very high in calories whereas Cannabis raises your metabolism, which as the world gets fatter may not be bad if a few switch over.

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    • Lucy, you’re ignorant. I don’t think you even understand what evidence is, but lets pretend you do. Where is yours? It’s like this, you have always believed marijuana was bad, so now its bad no matter how significant the science and facts are that tell us otherwise. I’m just gonna go out on a limb and guess that you’re also religious.

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      • if she is religious, she should like the plant cause it’s grown from a seed which God gave us. im religious and use it for spirituality. and enhances my thought oh so much!

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    • see that’s where your undoubtedly wrong. It matters what you are smoking for it to be unhealthy. Cannabis yes I know you don’t want to hear this but it is quite healthy for an adult to use. if we inhale a couch on fire, in sure that’s not healthy at all. it matters Whats in the smoke. Directed at Lucy.

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  8. Fabulous article, and many of the others I have just seen are great too! (not to mention the press release!) Thanks for all the work you do, rxmaryjane.

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  9. Well, I like a good argument or two about many things, as where I do not condone the use of illegal substances, I do condone the use of recreational substances, if they are legal. Which puts this into a win category. Now as a reality check, this isn’t much of. Unfortunately this isn’t grounds unless the entire country grapples the concept that it isn’t as bad as they think, which I am sure the financial side will kick in someday. Now, talking about the tourists, good point, tourism for the state will increase, hopefully with good paying customers that dump into the enconomy (Not that Colorado is hurting, the taxes paid in Aspen alone are more than enough to cover the state). But those tourists need to be aware, that it’s still not legal in other states, so getting high in Colorado, and then going back to work later, may prove to be disastrous to one’s career. In my profession, I am a medical traveler, and occasionally do contracts in Colorado, and say I partake in Colorado, then attempt to take a drug test for a contract in another state, there goes my chances. People going back home from Colorado must understand, they don’t want to get into an accident at work, or fall prey to the corporate random drug screens, or they too, could possibly have problems arising from this gift to mankind. Which presents itself, as a gift and a win to Cannabis, but also a potential problem for individual economy. You cant cross a border, without respecting home’s laws as well, I guess is the point I am trying to make…

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  10. I think a point that a lot of people are missing is what benefits we get from marijuana plants that have nothing to do with getting someone “high”
    has anyone looked into the benefits of hemp?
    oils, fuels, rope, clothing, paper, etc…. the list is rather long.
    Not to mention the oxygen that one plant provides for us!
    I agree that weed isn’t for everyone, but then again milk isn’t either!
    Some people just can’t handle it!
    But just because I can’t drink milk I’m not going to try to get it banned….
    We all make our own choices, and unless my choice affects you directly, what’s the point of making a big deal??

    Alone the tax revenue, if legalized country wide, would bring us out of this deficit faster than anything else. Adding in what we can use hemp for industrially, medicinally…
    I don’t get why it’s been such a fight anymore.

    If you don’t do it, do want to do it, then don’t.
    But don’t hate on those that are their own person and chose a healthier way of dealing with their eating disorders, sleeping disorders, depression, pain management, anxiety management, cancer fighting.
    We all chose our own ways, what right is it of anyones to question someone elses ways?

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  11. I don’t like Alcohol and the things it does to people and i don’t like tobacco either..all those people should be put in jail for using it…LETS BE FAIR..

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  12. Here is my issue with retail weed the costs have gotten it to be outrageous due to hyper strands and fancy names. Hopefully costs will start to decrease since its completely legal in the state and do not have to fear local agencies. While federally it is still illegal to produce have on your person they generally wont come after unless its a huge operation.

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    • The price is high because the state is taxing the crap out of it. These are typical street prices on the east coast honestly, so it’s not so bad. But also, the medical card gets you an 8th for 20 as opposed to 60, an edible for 2 instead of 8, so on and so forth. Get a red card and avoid the high (no pun intended) taxes.

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  13. God is Perfect Man is Not Man made Beer God made Pot

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  14. There will always be abusers of the system so those against legalization will “squeak” the loudest over those incidents, ie. the man who crashed into telephone poles last week in the Denver metro area.
    As this movement progresses we must create a testing system (DUI for marijuana) which can truely measure if someone is too stoned to be driving at that moment vs. having smoked/taken the night before. The need for this is urgent!!!!! I know at least one person battling cancer who cannot use hemp because he is drug tested at work ( hazardous waste disposal driver).

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    • I agree with you, Diana. We do need to work on issues involving employment and cannabis use. Urine testing is just the start.

      But I need to make a small correction. The guy hit a CSP car (fender bender), not telephone poles. I just don’t want people to think there was another different accident.

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  15. A price of Freedom is hearing people say things you do not appreciate, and seeing people do things that you consider foolish/reckless/wrong. Protect those of tender years, but permit adults to conduct their lives as they see fit, provided that insodoing they are not directly doing harm to others. Recall, Coca Cola was a big hit for a hundred years, because it contained cocaine, and America prospered. Opium was lawful for that time, and America prospered. Prohibition simply hikes the price of a commodity astronomically, making thugs fabulously wealthy. Live in Realville.

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  16. How come not one of these new marijuana laws contains RETROACTIVITY so prisoners can be set free?

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    • Great question!
      Michael dare, I believe marijuana decriminalization should be retroactive immediately!
      I believe congressman, Jared polis, Colorado, introduced a bill that federally reschedules mj as well as decriminalized retroactively, it’s a year old and hasn’t gone anywhere, still buried in congress to do list!

      Polis, Blumenauer Bills De-Federalize Marijuana Prohibition
      Provide for Regulatory and Taxation Framework

      Not sure if it actually provides retroactivity! Anyone?

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  17. Amen to that, marijuana should be legalized nationwide right now. it’s a much safer and relaxing alternative than cigarettes and alcohol. Science Proves Safety!!!! lets use our heads to THINK not our WALLETS.

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  18. Sry but this is just a bunch of unhappy people who DON’T know how to get high from with-in!!!!! Learn how to get high on what your own body creates instead of some external source,how music makes you feel when you get lost in it, movements created by your body to release endorphins, how a women/ man makes you feel. Medical use for it, perfect. But if you can’t get high on happiness you are all missing the boat!!!!!!!

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    • Oh give me a break and get off your judgmental high horse. Humans have been looking for ways to alter their state of consciousness for centuries. A yogi may do it with yoga or meditation, a shaman with peyote or cannabis. They believe these activities and substances help them to “get high from with-in!!!!!” Who are you to say that your way is the only right way? Anyone who has ever tried alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or sugar has used a substance to alter their state. I’m fairly certain that includes you.

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      • Rx your pretty protective of your stuff. I know this protection all to well! But not personally I’ve drank coffee, I’ve eaten sugar, I’ve even smoked cigarette and I smoked pot for a few years. But there is a time when we just have to grown up and take life as it throws you your punches. I don’t smoke cigarette or smoke pot, don’t drink coffee, eat very little un- natural sugar, and drink very little wine over a year and the only caffeine I get these days are in kambocha.and I’m not perfect. There’s only one who is. Never could wrap my head around addiction! And I’ve lived around addiction all my life. other then for medical use. It’s just an out of control downer and the reason the government is jumping on the wagon is because our country has removed God from our government & is in it for the money. I have learned nothing works when I do it my way. keep on smoking your pot and your family and loved ones will see it in you and you won’t be able to because it blinds you
        From real life! It makes you sick in ways you will never see. I know as I’m watching it, very painful. Extreamly sad. No judgement here just matter a fact.

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        • you speak of god well god gave us every seed bearing plant the earth can use go back to youe bible a pray to god that you read it right you judgemental ass makes real christians look bad and its starting to p*ss me off !

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  19. If I lived in Colorado I would get busy building homes because a LOT of people will be moving there soon 🙂

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  20. I’m a wife of a long term user and I am watching it kill him in so many ways. And yes I’ve done my reaches. God may have made cannabis but not the crap that’s out there today. There’s nothing pure about this stuff today

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    • What stuff are you talking about today? I’m sure your husband needs to eat more and may have a really bad diet. Not the problem with what he is smoking, Why is he smoking it anyway?

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  21. what do the pill poppers think they’re doing to there bodys.. You may get it from a doc. but it is killing you faster than pot.I son tacks 5+ oxycontin a day that is eating a hole in stomach and all the other organs aren’t good ..tack that thought with your pills….

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    • Rene I so totally agree with you. Pot and it’s enhanced chemicals will do the same after years of use. We don’t do pills. We’re green, holistical and organic. Yes pills and Monsanto will kill you. All the crap they put in the soil to make the prefect biggest bud, the bigger high will to kill you. My hubby has been doing it for 40 freaking years. His muscle are depleting. He has not the stamina he once had because his muscle are not being feed. Skinny. Scrawny, can’t gain one once, skin sagging on his face, looks 15 years older then he is. Heart beats very fast. Among other things… This is all because thc depletes the estrogen & testosterone inyour system, yes men need estrogen, just like woman need testosterone. which has been tested and reported extremely low. The will eventually eat your hormone levels, Testosterone is what helps create muscles that need to be fed for energy. Not to mention his sprit is dead, he dreads life daily. He don’t care about himself or wanna care for himself, he wanted his own business and his parents handed one to him. He can’t do it alone as his father did for 40 years. His world is pretty black, he feels like everything is a job, except his dance with maryjane. Depressed He loves his wife and family but not his marriage. Everything is to much work. No I’m not a wife who is complaining she don’t get attention because that’s not really the case. It’s his health and longevity I fear. Yes I fear watching my hubby die because satan has a strangle hold on him and keeps him tied to sin. And death will be the out come. My children and I will be without our superman. If your sitting there thinking I’m crazy. Then think of it this way. Sit back and watch you loved one being eaten by cancer. There is no difference in my eyes. I judge no one. That’s not my job. But I can say this is poison go back to just throwing a seed in the ground and let it grow in a natural environment and see how you like it then. That’s cannabis in pure form. Honestly I just want my hubby to live out our years together and this will take him so well before his time. Not fun watching

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    • We don’t do pills. We’re green, holistical and organic. Yes pills and Monsanto will kill you. All the crap they put in the soil to make the prefect biggest bud, the bigger high will to kill you. My hubby has been doing it for 40 freaking years. His muscle are depleting. He has not the stamina he once had because his muscle are not being feed. Skinny. Scrawny, can’t gain one once, skin sagging on his face, looks 15 years older then he is. Heart beats very fast. This is all from the depletion of testosterone in his system, which has been tested and reported extremely low. The will eventually eat your hormone levels, Testosterone is what helps create muscles that need to be fed for energy. Not to mention his sprit is dead, he dreads life daily. His world is pretty black, he feels like everything is a job, depressed, except his dance with maryjane. He loves his wife and family but not his marriage. Everything is to much work. No I’m not a wife who is complaining she don’t get attention because that’s not really the case. It’s his health and longevity I fear. Yes I fear watching my hubby die because satan has a strangle hold on him and keeps him tied to sin. And death will be the out come. If your sitting there thinking I’m crazy. Then think of it this way. Sit back and watch you loved one being eaten by cancer. There is no difference in my eyes.

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  22. One of my Facebook friends who lives in Colorado claims that car-on-pedestrian accidents have increased by six times since marijuana became legal. Is there any truth in this at all?

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  23. “God saw everything he had made and behold, it was very good”, says enough!
    Any Christian second guessing God? Blasphemy!!!

    Just saying!

    http://www.openbible.info/topics/marijuana

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  24. Toilet paper is a product that everyone needs.

    Like

  25. tell me, would you rather have someone driving after drinking or smoking a doobie? thats what i thought…………….lets be real…
    i wont even get in the car with someone thats been drinking my name is Dennis from seattle

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  26. My name is Mrs Tracy Brown from Canada,I never believe My husband will see 2014 It is with pleasure that i thank Rick Simpson for saving my dying husband with his cannabis oil.
    We already lost hope for a better life when the report came that my husband cannot go for more Chemo anymore. But after so many research online, I gained a lot about the cannabis oil that i bought from the Rick Simpson whose contact I got online on reading a testimony about his past works and glory, The medication was delivered to me within 24 hours by the UPS delivery service after procurement. My husband has completed his treatment, unquenchable joy to all as my husband is cured of his stage 4 lungs cancer within 90 days of treatment. Thanks to all, today i acknowledge the greatness of cannabis oil and to those that wish to purchase the medication contact Rick Simpson at: rickcancercure@gmail.com for help.
    Cannabis Oil is the a medication for cancerous disease.

    Like

  27. Aw, this was a very good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a top notch article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never
    manage to get anything done.

    Like

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