Colorado Springs Physician Offers Presentation on Legalization of Pot in Colorado

Kenneth Finn, MD presents to members of the Laramie County Medical Society in Cheyenne on Aug. 2.

Colorado Physician Sees Public Health Declines in Wake of Amendment 64

CHEYENNE – The Laramie County Medical Society hosted Kenn Finn, MD on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at the Wyoming Medical Society Office in Cheyenne to discuss the impacts of marijuana on Colorado’s public health.

Finn is a pain management physician at Springs Rehabilitation in Colorado Springs, as well as an ad hoc member of Colorado’s Scientific Advisory Council Medical Marijuana Research Grant Program and served on the Governor’s Task Force on Amendment 64 – Consumer Safety and Social Issues Work Group. Earlier in the day Finn had presented at the Wyoming Department of Revenue’s Alcohol and Marijuana Conference in Laramie.

Colorado passed Amendment 64 in November of 2012, allowing adults 21 and over to grow up to three immature marijuana plants and possess up to one ounce of marijuana while traveling, among other things.

During his presentation, Finn concentrated on the impacts of legalized marijuana on Colorado’s youth population through a series of studies on public health. He lifted up a study of Colorado Springs and Pueblo hospitals in which one Colorado Springs facility saw nearly 50 percent of all newborns which were drug tested due to suspected prenatal exposure tested positive for marijuana in the prior month. He also cited a 51 percent increase in the number of children under the age of 18 seen in emergency department Parkview (Pueblo) for marijuana-related issues. He added between Jan. 2013-April 14 one-in-six children hospitalized for lung inflammation at Colorado Children’s Hospital tested positive for marijuana exposure.

He went on to show another report by the Colorado Department of Health, which suggests Colorado has the highest rate of youth marijuana use in the nation, though Finn admits its survey response rate of just 46 percent was below the threshold set by CDC. The results of those who did respond suggested 12 percent had used marijuana in the last month. That is five points higher than the national average. Another study from Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Control Center reports a 235 percent increase in marijuana exposures among Colorado children ages 0-5 versus pre-commercialization in Colorado.

Among the concerns of legalized marijuana in Colorado was the increase in potency of the marijuana sold in the Centennial State. He points out THC potency in Colorado is 17.1 percent, which is five percentage points higher than the national average. Finn said the increase of dispensaries in Colorado has led to 198 licensed medical marijuana centers in Denver, and 516 in Colorado. That is more than the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks in the state combined.

To see Finn’s powerpoint presentation click here.