Marijuana

Did medical marijuana smoke out Colorado chief medical officer Ned Calonge?

Dr. Ned Calonge, who's spent the past eight years serving as Colorado's chief medical officer, will be leaving at the end of 2010 to take the top post at the Colorado Trust, a health foundation. During his tenure, Calonge has tackled health calamities as varied as anthrax scares, water-contamination crises and the hepatitis C outbreak at Rose Medical... but we have to wonder: Did medical marijuana do Calonge in?

Mark Salley, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, scoffs at the suggestion. "It was an opportunity for him he didn't want to pass up," says Salley, "so he decided to accept the position." Salley's probably right: The Colorado Trust is one of the largest foundations in Colorado, one that's currently working to ensure that all Coloradans have health-care access by 2018. For a former family doctor like Calonge, it should prove to be an exciting job. Still, we wouldn't be surprised to discover that Calonge is happy to bid adieu to his regular dealings with medical marijuana. Consider the CDPHE's ongoing trials and tribulations relating to the subject:

Should all this be considered rock-solid proof that medical marijuana ultimately smoked out Calonge? Surely not. Still, maybe Calonge should leave behind a gift for his successor: a joint, along with the instructions, "Smoke this in case of anxiety."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner