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Marijuana Prevention & Policy Updates from Across Colorado

Eric Escudero; Jess Neuwirth; Daniel Read, PhD

Salons 3, 4, 6

  1. Describe Colorado marijuana youth prevention efforts.

  2. Relate adolescent development to screening interactions with young people.

  3. Describe Colorado population-level youth marijuana use and perception data.

  4. Describe marijuana screening practices for youth, young adults, and parents.

  5. Instructional content that helps youth explore the role of marijuana in their life

  6. The importance of trusted adults in communicating prevention messages

  7. Why we moved from prevention to awareness and education strategies

Speaker Bio(s):

Eric Escudero

Eric Escudero has served as the Director of Communications for Denver’s Office of Excise and Licenses since March of 2018. Excise and Licenses is the central business-licensing department for the City and County of Denver and includes the Office of Marijuana Policy. The department manages licensing for approximately 180 different businesses licenses, including liquor stores, bars and restaurants, and marijuana stores and cultivation facilities.

Escudero is responsible for leading communications to support policy and regulation of all the business licenses issued by Excise and Licenses. This includes orchestrating and executing communications and marketing strategies to support regulation of Denver’s marijuana industry and marijuana youth prevention and education. With Denver, he is responsible for overseeing Denver’s High Costs education campaign focused on teaching Denver's youth about the laws, the potential effects of underage marijuana use - both socially and physiologically - and to give youth a better overall understanding of marijuana.

Before joining Denver, Escudero served for 8 years as a media communications lead with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under President Obama and President Trump. He orchestrated national media campaigns about solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, electric vehicle and energy efficiency technology research and development and led media relations efforts in support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon national competition.

Escudero has more than 20 years’ experience in public relations and the media, supporting traffic safety legislation and education as the spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA) in Colorado, and as a Public Information Officer with the Colorado Department of Transportation. Before working in public relations, Escudero was a program director and on-air host for multiple radio stations in southern Colorado, where he hosted news and talk programming and covered major events on a local level such as multiple presidential elections and was on air live during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Escudero graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a B.S. in Mass Communications and received the Benji Award as the school’s top broadcast communications student in 1997. He has two children and lives with his wife, Jaime.

Jess Neuwirth

Jessica Neuwirth is the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Retail Marijuana Education and Youth Prevention Coordinator, working on marijuana policy education, local outreach and partnerships, and connecting the marijuana prevention program to positive youth development initiatives across the state. Jessica is responsible for implementing legislation to ensure safe, legal and responsible use of marijuana.

Daniel Read

My professional career started when I volunteered at an afterschool program in Denver, and I’ve been hooked on youth development ever since. I fed my passion for this field by teaching abroad in Colombia, India, and Japan and then pursuing advanced degrees in education at Harvard University and the University of Virginia. For seven years, I worked with Denver Public Schools and the Denver Afterschool Alliance as the Senior Research Analyst. In this role, I supported data collection processes, created a system for managing data, and oversaw a citywide evaluation to show how afterschool makes a difference in the lives of youth and families. Along the way, I also helped develop a continuous quality improvement process that provides staff with a framework for learning, inquiry cycles, and strategic decision-making. Now I work as an evaluation and data consultant through my firm, Daniel Reads Data, LLC, where I get to help non-profits use data to enhance their work. If you would like to learn more about how I can support your organization, connect with me at danielreadsdata@gmail.com