Cannabis industry leader to take on opponents for conservative CPAC

 Cannabis industry leader to take on opponents for conservative CPAC

Cannabis industry leader Dan Anglin announced he will participate in a spirited live debate on marijuana issues at a high-profile national conservative event on Friday, TheNewsStation.com has learned.

A must-see event for cannabis industry professionals, observers, and the public at large, Anglin will take on Jeff Hunt, president of the right-leaning Colorado-based Centennial Institute. The debate will be broadcast to an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.

Anglin and Hunt are set to face-off Friday at 1:35 p.m. MT in Lakewood, Colo., where the Centennial Institute is based at Colorado Christian University. A live feed of the debate will be shown on the main stage for those attending CPAC in Washington, D.C.

Hunt has emerged as one of the loudest critics of legal marijuana, often relying on outdated and misguided sweeping attacks largely found to be misleading. His organization, the Centennial Institute, has pushed massive fundraising drives around opposing legal marijuana.

On the opioid crisis, Hunt has fallen short, falsely suggesting that marijuana is a gateway to opioid addiction. This has not been the cannabis legalization experience. Studies indicate that marijuana is actually an “exit drug,” offering a safer alternative to opioids.

The start of legal marijuana sales in Colorado may have reversed a rising trend of prescription opioid overdose deaths in the state. Nearly one fewer person per month died of an opioid overdose in Colorado after the start of legal cannabis sales compared to before, according to a peer-reviewed study that appeared in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Anglin, president of AmeriCanna, an infused products brand, accepted the invitation to debate Hunt, noting an opportunity to “have a civil dialogue with a fellow conservative about this incredibly important issue.” Like Hunt, Anglin’s political positions lean right, but when it comes to marijuana, Anglin disagrees with an archaic social-right position.

“This showdown promises to be as informative as it will be engaging and entertaining. I hope to see a lot of friends and supporters in the audience — join us!” Anglin said in a statement.

The debate will look back on the last five years of cannabis legalization in Colorado, covering a variety of topics and questions. One issue that cannabis opponents latch onto is children, pushing false claims that legalization has harmed kids.

The reality is that legalization is keeping kids away from cannabis. A December 2017 federal survey revealed that the rate of adolescent marijuana use in Colorado has fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade. State-level numbers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that a little more than 9 percent of Colorado teens age 12 to 17 used marijuana monthly in 2015 and 2016, a statistically significant drop from the prior period. That’s the lowest rate of monthly marijuana use in the state since 2007 and 2008.

Marijuana legalization may also be responsible for a drop in other harmful habits by kids. Rates of teen alcohol, tobacco and heroin use are down sharply in Colorado, as well. In 2016, a federal survey showed that Colorado was ranked No. 1 in the nation on adolescent marijuana use. But with the sharp drop in the most recent data, Colorado has fallen to No. 7 in the national ranking of teen marijuana use.

Given a groundswell of support for marijuana legalization, critics such as Hunt have been fighting to maintain outdated attacks. It makes sense that losing the battle against legalization has resulted in false narratives pushed by the industry’s opponents.

Anglin, the son of a Baptist minister and a Marine veteran, will likely remind Hunt of legalization’s successes at the event on Friday. We recommend you give it a watch!

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus served as the Senior Statehouse Reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette where he co-launched ColoradoPolitics.com, covering politics, the governor’s office, the Colorado Legislature, Congress, and federal, state and local governments. He joined in November 2016 from The Durango Herald. The Washington Post twice named Marcus one of the top state-based political and legislative reporters in the nation. He also has won over a dozen awards from the Colorado Press Association. In prior positions, Marcus worked for the Colorado Statesman, a Denver-based political weekly, and The Denver Daily News, a former free daily newspaper in Denver, where he covered City Hall, politics, and had an entertainment column. Before that, Marcus worked for the Longmont Times-Call. An Ithaca College graduate, Marcus studied journalism and creative writing, before moving to Colorado from New York in 2004.

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