Colo. is using its extra cannabis money to help the homeless


Photo via Flickr user Caelle_Frampton

By Joan Eberhardt


Colorado Has So Much Cannabis Money It’s Helping The Homeless

The city of Aurora, Colorado recently donated $220,000 to a local nonprofit that works directly with residents and families without stable housing. In the city’s debate about how to spend the estimated $4.5 million expected in revenue from the sale of legal cannabis, the City Council voted to fund the Colfax Community Network using the funds through the end of the year. Another $1.5 million will be allocated for programs aiding the homeless in the 2017-2018 budget year. All the revenue is expected to come through sales taxes on legal cannabis. “The Colfax Community Network is in extremely dire straits in that they do not have funds to continue operating,” said Nancy Sheffield, director of Aurora neighborhood services. CCN provides individuals and families who live in motels with food, hygiene products, clothing and diapers. The council has also allocated $92,000 for a homeless outreach van, which will be jointly operated by two nonprofits, and to create a full time position within the Aurora Housing Authority.


Chicago Trib Takes Up Medical Marijuana Mantle

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, a usually conservative-leaning group, printed two strong editorial pieces concerning medical marijuana recently. How to reduce suffering in Illinois: More medical marijuana takes Gov. Bruce Rauner to task for repeatedly declining to expand the state’s medical marijuana pilot program despite the state’s medical board twice having recommended it be expanded to include certain conditions. “But a policy of prudence that doesn’t evolve with the evidence can wind up being overly cautious: Today some hurting Illinois residents can’t get the aid they seek because of Rauner’s approach,” the board said.

The Tribune also encouraged the NFL to stop testing players for cannabis use, as many players have found cannabis can provide great relief to chronic pain that would otherwise be treated with opiates. The piece points out that the NHL has stopped testing its players for anything beyond a substance that might enhance a player’s performance. While many athletes use cannabis to manage pain, there is not substantial evidence that cannabis can give an individual player relief, the on-field advantage.


Legal Cannabis Driving Limits Not Based On Science

Piloting a one-ton vehicle down the road at 65 mph is dangerous. That is why we have limits on how much alcohol or cannabis someone can be legally allowed to consume before they operate a car. Most of us agree these are good laws to have. But, as a study funded by AAA’s Safety Foundation recently uncovered, the current legal limits for drivers who have used cannabis are not based on any scientific evidence.“There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment in the same manner we do alcohol,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO. “In the case of marijuana, this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research.” The foundation would rather the current laws be scrapped and replaced with ones that train officers to determine if a driver is impaired, backed up by a test for the presence of THC, rather than a specific threshold, and treating impaired driving as a traffic violation and not an arrestable offense.


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