Inside Colorado's Marijuana Industry

Inside Colorado's Marijuana Industry
Jeff Riedel for TIME

The legislature's decision to tighten regulations developed on the suspicion that there was more to the state's marijuana industry than medicating the terminally ill. At the beginning of this year, Colorado health-department records show, only 2% of registered patients had cancer and 1% had HIV/AIDS, while 92% suffered "severe pain" — a catchall condition that can be entirely subjective and difficult for a doctor to measure or verify. About 3 out of every 4 patients are men under 40. Brian Vicente, the executive director of the pro-pot group Sensible Colorado, dismisses these numbers. Young men are more likely to work the kind of jobs that result in chronic pain, he says. "All this really shows is that pain is more prevalent in society than AIDS and cancer."

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