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Colorado Responds To Sessions' Concerns About Legal Pot

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)- Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado's Attorney General Cynthia Coffman respond to the Trump Administration's criticism of marijuana in Colorado.

Earlier this month, the nation's top cop, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, wrote a letter to the governor, stating he had "serious questions about the efficacy of marijuana regulatory structures in (Colorado)."

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

In their response letter, Hickenlooper and Coffman defended the state's regulation of pot, saying they share Sessions concerns about public health and safety and want to work with him to "implement the will of our citizens."

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They point to the largest pot bust in state history as proof the state is on top of it when it comes to pot enforcement. They also cite a state-of-the-art seed-to-sale tracking system, new caps on plant grows, and $6 million on law enforcement.

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"The governor dispelled a lot myths out there about what's going on in Colorado," says Mason Tvert, who spearheaded the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana.

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The letter questions data cited by Sessions that shows a 20 percent increase in pot use among kids.

Obama Admin. Unveils New Policy Easing Medical Marijuana Prosecutions
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Hickenlooper and Coffman say other studies show no "statistically significant" change, but that's open to debate.

What's not is that the state has invested in public education, $22-million, and outlawed advertising, packaging and products, like gummy bears, that appeal to kids.

THC edibles
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"We know where it's being grown where it's being sold and we know products are being child proofed and tested," says Tvert.

CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd interviews Mason Tvert (credit: CBS)

Hickenlooper and Coffman say, "Colorado's system has become a model for other states and nations. Our agencies have consulted with countless jurisdictions around the world as they work to construct a comprehensive and effective regulatory framework."

But, they also say they're committed to working with Sessions to strengthen the system.

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The data Sessions is concerned about comes from Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The director says they stand by their numbers showing increased emergency room visits, traffic fatalities and use among kids. They're releasing a new report in September, and if the governor's and attorney general's letter reassures Sessions, the report won't.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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