Category Archives: Colorado

Holmes, Aurora Shooter, Had Marijuana History

James Holmes killed 12 and injured countless others in the Aurora movie theater massacre back in 2012.   A week ago he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Our condolences to the families who lost love ones in this mass shooting.  At the same time we cry for the families of the victims, we must also appreciate the tragedy felt by the parents, Robert and Arlene Holmes.

Arlene Holmes described her son as a human being gripped by severe mental illness A neighbor had reported Holmes’s habit of smoking pot by the trash cans.

The relationship between marijuana and mental illness is complex.  No one is destined to become schizophrenic.  Environment, including drug use, plays about a 50% role. Holmes’s behavior transformation began in middle school, coinciding with a move to San Diego, so he may have started to use pot at this point. It was 2-3 years after medical marijuana was introduced in California, an event that markedly increased incidences of marijuana getting into the hands of children.  If Holmes had never started to use marijuana, perhaps the massacre at Aurora theater never would have happened.  (Read about other cases of Modern Reefer Madness.)

Amazingly, Coloradans voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, the year this theater mass shooting happened. There is still much to learn about how marijuana triggers psychotic symptoms which can develop into schizophrenia, as well as how it makes the course of the disease much more difficult to treat.

Other Californians  in the News

In recent years, two other marijuana users from California committed heinous crimes.  Ashton Sacks who killed both parents and injured his brother in California in February 2014 was a heavy marijuana user.  He had made previous suicide attempts, but blamed his parents for messing up his life. He was supposed to be attending community college in Seattle, but didn’t attend classes.  Instead he smoked marijuana and played video games.  He may have been motivated by money, and the role of marijuana in his life may help to  his moral deprivation, or mental illness.

John Patrick Bedell was another Californian who smoked marijuana as a teen and young man and thereafter exhibited signs of mental illness. Bedell became the Pentagon Shooter.

These incidents give cause to speculate that Elliot Rodger, whose psychotic killing spree in an idyllic California university town,  could also have been triggered by marijuana use. News accounts mention a “water pipe” in the group house where he and 3 other students lived.  Water pipes or bongs are used to smoke marijuana. Elliot was suffering from depression and paranoia, which are symptoms of pot use. Prior to killing 6 victims, Rogers wrote a lengthy manifesto and posted a number of YouTube videos which depict his unbalanced mental state.

California Marijuana Impacts on Environment

Negative Ecological Impacts Caused by Illegal Marijuana Grows

Dried out rivers and displaced wildlife is only the beginning of the devastating marijuana impacts on environment.

In this blog we bring to light the damage illegal marijuana grows are causing to the environment. Environmental impacts are widespread in California and Colorado.These problems include the killing of wildlife and aquatic life, illegal use of private land, a rapid increase in energy consumption and the worsening of drought conditions. If we don’t act now to reverse marijuana’s impact on the environment, our ecosystem will be soon be beyond repair.

Continue reading California Marijuana Impacts on Environment

Should Employers Have the Right Not to Fire Marijuana Users?

The Colorado Supreme Court ruledMonday 6-0 that Brandon Coats (right), a medical marijuana patient that was fired by Dish Network, cannot get his job back. (Associated Press).
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday 6-0 that Brandon Coats (right), a medical marijuana patient that was fired by Dish Network, cannot get his job back. (Associated Press)

Was this decision Justified? I think so. Here is why:

1) Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that adversely affects the brain. For anyone under age 25 it can cause permanent, psychical changes that can lead to loss of IQ by as much as 8 points, but as well can lead to mental illness and psychotic breaks in vulnerable individuals that have and are leading to mass murders and suicides. For anyone over 25, it still adversely affects memory, health, cognition and work performance.

2) Marijuana is a fat soluble, fat loving substance that stays in the body and brain for roughly one month, longer than any other drug. The brain is the fattiest organ in the body so the THC (psychoactive ingredient) accumulates there, compounding with each additional joint or ingestion of cannabis. So it doesn’t matter whether marijuana is consumed on the job or not. Impairment lasts much longer, even from occasional use in the evenings or weekends.

3) Studies by the post office indicate that marijuana users have more sick days and cause more accidents, 82% of which harm others. Other studies show that the adverse impacts to memory, motivation and cognition adversely affects work performance.

4) Addicts quite often can’t feed their habit without turning to crime, so they resort to stealing

Bottom line? Most pot smokers are a danger to themselves and others, and not capable at working at optimum levels. Employers, tasked with earning a profit for themselves and/or investors, have a right and obligation to maintain a safe and drug free work place.

Until and if the federal government decides marijuana is safe and effective as a medicine, anyone who chooses to be employed should use legal medicines. If they insist on THC, they can get a prescription for Marinol, a legal drug in pill form.

Court Cases are Ruling Against the Marijuana Lobby

Brandon Coats, right, with his mother Donna Scharfenberg sitting by his side. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post file)

Employers Will Not Assume the Burden of Drug Debilitated Workers

Brandon Coats failed a drug test in 2010 while working for Dish Network. He had a medical marijuana card and believed his firing was unnecessary. After the case went to trial court and the Colorado Court of Appeals, it was ruled that workers can be fired for using marijuana even when off-duty.

This case has serious implications for the marijuana industry. Even though the case centers around medical marijuana the court’s decision extends to employees who use the drug recreationally. This case serves to remind workers that courts are likely to uphold the employer’s company drug policy. Most companies enforce a zero-tolerance drug policy. Workplace safety, company reputation, and errors caused by impaired workers are just some of the reasons why most employers will not tolerate drug use. The potential for problems and financial risks increases for employers who keep pot users on payroll.

We notice that courts in California, Montana and Washington state also ruled against workers using the medical marijuana excuse.
“This is a victory for every community that does not want to accommodate pot shops and every business owner that cares about safety and health,” remarked Kevin Sabet, a former Obama Administration advisor who now serves as President of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a group opposed to legalization. These victories discredit the myth that employers should assume the burden of drug incapacitated employees.