Pueblo docs lead fight against commercial marijuana
The City and County of Pueblo’s three largest healthcare providers are backing a ballot initiative to end commercial marijuana for recreational use.
Among their physicians’ chilling findings: Half of all babies born at one hospital last month tested positive for marijuana, sharp increases in suicide attempts by youth and a 51 percent increase in the number of emergency-room visits by children 18 and younger for marijuana-realted conditions.
The impact of so-called “retail marijuana” for recreational use of the addictive psychoactive is endangering public health and draining public resources, representatives of Parkview Medical Center, St. Mary Corwin Medical Center and Pueblo Community Health Center said.
“We continue to see firsthand the increased patient harm caused by retail marijuana and we want the Pueblo community to understand that the commercialization of marijuana is a significant public health and safety issue,” Mike Baxter, president and chief executive officer of Parkview Medical Center, said in a statement. ”
“We are experiencing a dramatic increase in newborns who test positive for marijuana along with an increase in teenage suicide attempts,” said Dr. Steve Somerville, medical director of St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric service line. “While it is not clear that marijuana is directly the cause of all these problems, one might conclude that this surge is a result of the high-risk culture that commercialization of marijuana helps to promote and is not in the best interest of the Pueblo community.”