Following Up

On Friday, November 16, 2018 (rescheduled due to a snow storm), our special guest was marijuana policy expert from Boulder, Colorado, Ben Cort.

Below you will find a video of Ben’s presentation, as well as links to learn more about this very complex topic.

↓View Ben Cort’s Presentation↓

Details Related to Ben’s Presentation

Ben’s passion for recovery, prevention and harm reduction comes from his own struggle with substance abuse. Sober since 6/15/96, Ben has been a part of the recovery community in almost every way imaginable; from a recipient to a provider to a spokesperson Cort has a deep understanding of the issues and a personal motivation to see the harmful effects of drug and alcohol abuse minimized.

Ben Cort with Be a Part of the Conversation’s Executive Director, Kim Porter (left) and Program Coordinator, Judy Hirsh (right)

In 2007 Ben left his position as a HR director inside of a Denver based S&P 500 firm to help start the Colorado based nonprofit, Phoenix Multisport (PM). As an original board member and then their first full time employee, Ben was instrumental in building this organization that has received frequent national recognition for their innovative approach to building sober communities around sport and healthy activities.

Following the passage of A64 Ben was appointed to the Board of Directors of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) As well as NALGAP (the National Association of Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Treatment Providers and their Allies). Ben’s passion about the intersection of recovery and public policy makes him frequent guest in the media.

His first book, Weed, Inc., published by HCI was released in September 2017. Ben resigned from his position with the University of Colorado Hospital inside of their chemical dependency treatment service line in January 2017 to focus on marijuana education and consulting inside of the substance use disorder treatment field.

Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Report
The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact Volume 5 – 2018, UPDATE

“Adverse Health Effects of Recreation Cannabis Use” – Wayne Hall, 2014
>> Click here

Dr. Nora Volkow’s summary of recent research published New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – 2014
>> Click here

“Legal Marijuana Coming into Focus” – Colorado Health Institute
>> Click here

The Lancet, Psychiatry:  Cannabis & Psychosis
>> Click here

National Institute on Drug Abuse:  Is marijuana addictive?
>> Click here

Mental Health Consequences:  Does Cannabis Cause, Exacerbate or Ameliorate Psychiatric Disorders? An Oversimplified Debate Discussed
>> Click here

Lessons Learned from Marijuana Legalization in Four U.S. States and D.C.

  • Giordano, G. N., Ohlsson, H., Sundquist, K., Sundquist, J., & Kendler, K. S. (2015). The association between cannabis abuse and subsequent schizophrenia: a Swedish national co-relative control study. Psychological medicine, 45(02), 407-414.
  • Hall, W. (2015). What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?. Addiction, 110(1), 19-35.
  • Hodcroft, C. J., Rossiter, M. C., & Buch, A. N. (2014). Cannabis-associated Myocardial Infarction in a Young Man with Normal Coronary Arteries. The Journal of emergency medicine, 47(3), 277-281.
  • Masten, S. V., & Guenzburger, G. V. (2014). Changes in driver cannabinoid prevalence in 12 US states after implementing medical marijuana laws. Journal of Safety Research, 50, 35-52.
  • Meola, S. D., Tearney, C. C., Haas, S. A., Hackett, T. B., & Mazzaferro, E. M. (2012). Evaluation of trends in marijuana toxicosis in dogs living in a state with legalized medical marijuana: 125 dogs (2005–2010). Journal of Veterinary Emergency, 22(6), 690-696.
  • Monte, Zane and Heard. (2014). The Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado. JAMA
  • Richmond, M. K., Page, K., Rivera, L. S., Reimann, B., & Fischer, L. (2013). Trends in detection rates of risky marijuana use in Colorado health care settings. Substance abuse, 34(3), 248-255.
  • Salomonsen-Sautel, S., Min, S. J., Sakai, J. T., Thurstone, C., & Hopfer, C. (2014). Trends in fatal motor vehicle crashes before and after marijuana commercialization in Colorado. Drug and alcohol dependence.
  • Salomonsen-Sautel, S., Sakai, J. T., Thurstone, C., Corley, R., & Hopfer, C. (2012). Medical marijuana use among adolescents in substance abuse treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(7), 694-702.
  • Schuermeyer, J., Salomonsen-Sautel, S., Price, R. K., Balan, S., Thurstone, C., Min, S. J., & Sakai, J. T. (2014). Temporal trends in marijuana attitudes, availability and use in Colorado compared to non-medical marijuana states: 2003–11. Drug and alcohol dependence.
  • Sevigny, E. L., Pacula, R. L., & Heaton, P. (2014). The effects of medical marijuana laws on potency. IJDP, 25(2), 308-319
  • Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), 2219-2227.
  • Wall, M. M., Poh, E., Cerdá, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. S. (2011). Adolescent marijuana use from 2002 to 2008: higher in states with medical marijuana laws, cause still unclear. Annals of epidemiology, 21(9), 714-716.
  • Walton, M. A., Resko, S., Barry, K. L., Chermack, S. T., Zucker, R. A., Zimmerman, M. A., … & Blow, F. C. (2014). A randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a brief cannabis universal prevention program among adolescents in primary care.
  • Wang, G. S., Roosevelt, G., & Heard, K. (2013). Pediatric marijuana exposures in a medical marijuana state. JAMA pediatrics, 167(7), 630-633.
  • Allsop, D. J., Copeland, J., Lintzeris, N., Dunlop, A. J., Montebello, M., Sadler, C., … & McGregor, I. S. (2014). Nabiximols as an Agonist Replacement Therapy During Cannabis Withdrawal: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry, 71(3), 281-291.
  • Asbridge, M., Mann, R., Cusimano, M. D., Tallon, J. M., Pauley, C., & Rehm, J. (2014). Cycling-related crash risk and the role of cannabis and alcohol: a case-crossover study. Preventive medicine, 66, 80-86.
  • Bachhuber, M. A., Saloner, B., Cunningham, C. O., & Barry, C. L. (2014). Medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in the United States, 1999-2010. JAMA internal medicine, 174(10), 1668-1673.
  • BARRY, R. A., HIILAMO, H., & GLANTZ, S. A. (2014). Waiting for the Opportune Moment: The Tobacco Industry and Marijuana Legalization. Milbank Quarterly, 92(2), 207-242.
  • Bonnet, U., Specka, M., Stratmann, U., Ochwadt, R., & Scherbaum, N. (2014). Abstinence phenomena of chronic cannabis-addicts prospectively monitored during controlled inpatient detoxification: Cannabis withdrawal syndrome and its correlation with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and-metabolites in serum. Drug and alcohol dependence, 143, 189-197.
  • Brady, J. E., & Li, G. (2014). Trends in Alcohol and Other Drugs Detected in Fatally Injured Drivers in the United States, 1999–2010. American journal of epidemiology, 179(6), 692-699.
  • Campbell, A. N., Nunes, E. V., Matthews, A. G., Stitzer, M., Miele, G. M., Polsky, D., … & Ghitza, U. E. (2014). Internet-delivered treatment for substance abuse: a multisite randomized controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry, 171, 683-690.
  • Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug and alcohol dependence, 120(1), 22-27.
  • Compton, W. M., Grant, B. F., Colliver, J. D., Glantz, M. D., & Stinson, F. S. (2004). Prevalence of marijuana use disorders in the United States: 1991-1992 and 2001-2002. Jama, 291(17), 2114-2121.
  • Di Forti, M., Iyegbe, C., Falcone, A., Powell, J., & Murray, R. (2014). Vulnerability to cannabis-related psychosis: association with frequency and potency of cannabis use, and interaction with genes regulating dopamine signalling. The Lancet, 383, S41.
  • Feingold, D., Weiser, M., Rehm, J., & Lev-Ran, S. (2015). The association between cannabis use and mood disorders: A longitudinal study. Journal of affective disorders, 172, 211-218.


The videos below were referenced in Ben's presentation. Please be advised that they contain content that may be disturbing and are intended for adult viewing. All of these videos can easily be found online.

Making Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

Consumption Trends:

Helpful Information

There is a great deal to understand about this very complicated substance. Below are just a few resources.

Learn about “Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome”
National Institutes of Health/US National Library of Medicine

Some frequent questions about marijuana, and related responses.
SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

More from SAM:

Studies show marijuana users don’t use fewer opioids.

   Check The Facts Here

In fact, marijuana users are 2.7 times more likely to abuse harder drugs.

Marijuana has also been shown to lower users’ pain threshold.

Read more here.

Marijuana farming is harming the environment, study shows.
UPI (United Press International) Science News

Marijuana worse for teen brains than alcohol, study finds.
NBC News, October 3, 2018
View the full article, published by The American Journal of Psychiatry here.

FDA & Marijuana:  Questions & Answers
U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, Shares Important Lessons from Cannabis Legalization
“The Buzz,” Center on Addiction

National Adolescent Drug Trends in 2017: Findings Released
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research

Dr. Nora Volkow Discusses Marijuana’s Effects on the Brain, Body & Behavior
NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

  • More from NIDA:

The Black Market in States with Legalized Marijuana

  • Narcotics officers in Colorado have been busy responding to the 50% increase in illegal grow operations across rural areas in the state (Stewart, 2017).
  • In 2016 alone, Colorado law enforcement confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different U.S. states (RMHIDTA, 2017).
  • The U.S. mail system has also been affected by the black market, seeing an 844% increase in marijuana seizures (RMHIDTA, 2017).
  • A leaked police report in Oregon revealed that at least 70% of marijuana sales in 2016 were on the black market and around three to five times the amount of marijuana consumed in Oregon leaves the state for illegal sales (Hughes, 2017; Associated Press, 2017, August 14; OSPDES, 2017).
  • The U.S. Attorney in Oregon reported in 2018 that “Oregon has a massive marijuana overproduction problem,” with 2,644 pounds of marijuana in outbound postal parcels and over $1.2 million in cash seized in 2017 alone (Williams, 2018).


Several questions arose related to vaping, due to the fact that we can’t always be sure what substance(s) are being consumed when using electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices. Below are a few resources.

2 Million US Teens Are Vaping Marijuana
US News & World Report, September 17, 2018

Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

E-cigarettes & Vape Pens
Stanford Medicine

Vaporizers, E-Cigarettes, and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)
FDA US Food & Drug

“Vaping Can Be Addictive and May Lure Teenagers to Smoking, Science Panel Concludes”
New York Times, January 23, 2018

Drug Facts:  Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

The Teen Vaping Trend – What Parents Need to Know
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Concerns Explode Over New Health Risks of Vaping
Science News for Students

Association Between Initial Use of e-Cigarettes and Subsequent Cigarette Smoking Among Adolescents and Young Adults
JAMA Pediatrics (Journal of the American Medical Association)

E-Cigarette use was associated with greater risk for subsequent cigarette smoking initiation and past 30-day cigarette smoking. Strong e-cigarette regulation could potentially curb use among youth and possibly limit the future population-level burden of cigarette smoking.

Big Vape is Copying Big Tobacco’s Playbook
The Verge

Studies into the argument that vaping leads to smoking cessation continue to have mixed findings. Meanwhile, studies on the health risks of vaping have different results based on whether they were funded by tobacco companies, or non-affiliated public researchers.

The Teen Vaping Trend – What Parents Need to Know
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids


Photos from Ben’s Visit

Ben Cort spoke with three groups of students at Hatboro-Horsham High School and conducted a workshop with faculty and support staff. Due to an unexpected snow storm, we moved our community event to Friday, November 16. Our Event Sponsors were Newport Academy and Rehab After School/Rehab After Work.

We asked Ben Cort, “Why is it important to Be a Part of the Conversation?”

Thank you to our Event Sponsors!

Hatboro-Horsham School District

Kim Porter, CFRS
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