The pages in the tab "Current Issues" are designed to provide information and links to articles that speak to current moral issues facing our society. Please reference the original article (if available) when using quotes from these resources.
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"I find that the news items that you have captured on the ACAAP website are among the best anywhere. What helpful information! Dr. Paula Gordon, PhD, author,Guide to Ideas on Drug Abuse Policies and Programs.
Read Newsmax: More Pot-Linked Poisoning
Cases as Edibles' Popularity Booms | Newsmax.com
Wednesday, 26 May 2021 09:23 AM
Newfangled marijuana products — edibles,
concentrates, vapes — are driving an overall increase in pot-related calls to
U.S. poison control centers, a new study shows.
There were more than 11,100 calls
related to marijuana use in 2019, up from about 8,200 in 2017, researchers
More and more of those calls are related
to manufactured products that contain distilled amounts of THC, CBD, and other
chemicals found in cannabis.
"We saw this generalized increase
in calls nationally," said lead researcher Julia Dilley, an epidemiologist
with the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland.
"But when we dug into it, that
increase is being driven by these manufactured products," Dilley
continued. "Flower cannabis exposure calls are actually declining."
Pot plant exposures made up the bulk of
calls to centers in 2017, with 7,146 pertaining to marijuana plants and just
1,094 related to manufactured products. But by 2019, calls related to
manufactured products totaled 5,503 while pot plant exposure prompted 5,606
The findings were published May 24 in
the journal JAMA Network Open.
Featured News: Protecting Young People
in the Age of Marijuana Legalization
Partnership to End Addiction By Partnership Staff May 2021
As more states legalize marijuana, how
can parents and policymakers protect young people from the risks marijuana can
cause? Partnership to End Addiction CEO Creighton Drury spoke with Kevin Sabet,
Ph.D., CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and author of Smoke Screen: What
the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know, and Linda Richter, Ph.D., Vice
President, Prevention Research and Analysis at Partnership to End Addiction,
about the issue and possible solutions.
commercialization tied to self-harm by younger men, study suggests
https://scopeblog.stanford.edu Author: Tracie
White April 16, 2021
legalize recreational marijuana use, and in some cases allow retail sales of
the drug, may see more suicide attempts and other self-harm among younger men,
a new Stanford Medicine study suggests.
examined whether rates of self harm injuries -- which include suicide attempts
and non-suicidal behaviors like cutting -- correlate with changing marijuana
laws and found an increase among men younger than 40 in states that allow
recreational use. The study indicated no such correlation with states that
allow only medical marijuana use.
that legalize, but still constrain commercialization, may be better positioned
to protect populations from unintended harms," said Keith Humphreys, PhD,
professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Humphreys is the senior author
of the study published March 18 in JAMA Network Open. Ellicott Matthay, PhD, a
post doctoral scholar at UC-San Francisco, is lead author.
Mississippi Supreme Court overturns voter-approved medical marijuana initiative
The marijuana measure had been approved by voters, but the judges overturned it citing a flaw in the state constitution that could doom future measures.
May 14, 2021, 5:38 PM CDT
By Dareh Gregorian
The Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday struck down a medical marijuana initiative that was approved by voters in November — and the ruling is likely to doom other voter initiatives in the state as well.
Of the 1.3 million people who cast ballots there in November, more than half — 766,000 — voted to establish a state medical marijuana program.
In a 6-3 ruling, the state's high court held the initiative had to be struck down because of an odd flaw in the state constitution's voter initiative process.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! So, Johnny’s Ambassadors is hosting Marijuana Mental Health Awareness Month, to draw attention to the mental harms that can come to youth who use marijuana! We are providing this toolkit to help you educate others.
Please join our Marijuana Prevention Challenge!
Click on the following link to be a part of the Marijuana Prevention Challenge.
Opinion: Recreational marijuana is bad for public health and safety
By DR. GREGORY SHANGOLD
HARTFORD COURANT |
APR 05, 2021
Legalizing recreational marijuana has been cast as a state budget matter, but to physicians, marijuana use is a public health matter.
At the start of each physician’s career, we take the Hippocratic Oath, committing ourselves to science and a set of ethical principles that promote health, honesty, trust and service to all patients in need of medical care. Fragments of the oath can be traced back thousands of years, making it sacred to medical providers like me.
The Connecticut State Medical Society believes it must ensure that Connecticut policymakers and their constituents — our patients — are informed about the health and societal ramifications of public policies. One such issue is legalizing recreational marijuana, which the CSMS sees as a bad idea.
A seeming loophole in federal law is allowing people to buy products designed to get them high.
By MONA ZHANG
Paul ImOberstag’s small hemp farm in Banner, Ill., survived the bottoming out of prices in the CBD market and the pandemic.
Then, Delta-8 THC came along.
In the span of a few months, Banner Harvest went from selling about 15 pounds of CBD-rich hemp flower a month to “basically zero” pounds. The reason: All of the wholesale customers were now stocking Delta-8 THC, a close cousin of the chief psychoactive compound in marijuana, Delta-9 THC.
Delta-8’s meteoric rise is reminiscent of the early days of the CBD boom. Seemingly overnight, the products were on the shelves of gas stations, vape shops and numerous e-commerce outlets.
But there’s one big difference: Delta-8 products are being marketed as a “legal” way for people to get stoned.
The cannabinoid’s rise has deeply divided the hemp industry and its advocates. Some hemp producers are staying away, fearful that a crackdown is imminent. Others are hoping to exploit the regulatory gray area to rake in cash.
More than half of people using cannabis for pain experience multiple withdrawal symptoms
Minority experience worsening of symptoms over time, especially younger people
January 8, 2021
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan
Summary: More than half of people who use medical marijuana products to ease pain also experience clusters of multiple withdrawal symptoms when they're between uses, a new study finds. And about 10% of the patients taking part in the study experienced worsening changes to their sleep, mood, mental state, energy and appetite over the next two years as they continued to use cannabis.
Legalization Invites Black Market, Lawlessness into State
February 1, 2021
Editor, Parents Opposed to Pot
Black market growers of marijuana destroyed my Colorado retreat
Whenever you listen to or read dialog from the pro-marijuana crowd, they say that legalizing marijuana will make the black market go away. This statement is a blatant lie. Rather, legalizing marijuana invites criminal organizations into your state and allows them to grow pot illegally under the guise of running a legal operation.
I am the owner of a summer home in rural Colorado with beautiful mountain views. In the midst of this beauty, a Chinese group purchased a ten-acre parcel with a house near my home. Within a year, they had cleared a section of the indigenous vegetation, which is so important to the survival of the local wildlife, and illegally grew thousands of marijuana plants.
These marijuana plants are not even native to Colorado or North America; in fact, they had to grow them in plastic pots because the rocky soil would not support their growth. These growers also typically plant only hybrid female plants that produce unnaturally high and toxic levels of THC. Such an operation so close to my home and being manned by illegal Chinese nationals made me and my family feel completely violated and endangered. In fact, this is when I first decided to purchase a firearm for protection, because local law enforcement was at least one hour away.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)
The head of an organization that believes the problems relating to alcohol and other drugs are in direct proportion to consumption is speaking out against the federal effort to decriminalize marijuana.
Dr. Joe Godfrey, president of the American Council on Addiction and Alcohol Problems (ACAAP), says the House bill is all about money.
"It's being pushed by the marijuana industry, people who stand to make billions of dollars from people that get addicted to their drug," Dr. Godfrey continues.
He further acknowledges the argument that marijuana is not addictive as "bogus."
"State governments and the federal government see it as a tax revenue source, but they're all ignoring the social costs," Dr. Godfrey submits. "They don't count the cost of broken homes and families and destroyed lives [or] lost time at work. The marijuana industry is ignoring all of that."
He believes the same could be said for the expansion of alcohol sales.
"With marijuana, if you're under the influence, you're not going to be very productive at work, and so that is a cost to society when employees are going to be less efficient and less cognizant of what they're doing," the ACAAP president explains.
But members of the Democrat-controlled House, including a few Republicans, see things differently. They voted last Friday to pass HR 3884, which aims to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level. Supporters of the measure say it also takes steps to address racial disparities in enforcement of federal drug laws.
Therein lies another problem, says Dr. Godfrey.
"They're making it a civil rights issue, [saying] that this is hurting minorities and so forth, but they're ignoring that minorities will be hurt the most by legalizations," he asserts.""You won't find pot shops in upscale neighborhoods. You're going to find the pot shops opened in low-income neighborhoods, and they're going to be targeting minorities and low-income people of all races."
Dr. Godfrey adds that there have been dramatic increases of young people using high-potency marijuana products at the same time as rising rates of marijuana-impaired driving in states where marijuana is now legal.
"That kind of leads to my last point," Dr. Godfrey tells One News Now. "What they're doing is setting the table for legalizing all drugs."
He uses Oregon as one example, where voters have approved a ballot measure that decriminalizes possession of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs.
HR 3884, the bill approved last week in the U.S. House, is now at the Senate.
Support for legalization is an anti-science position, because the policy works against what the science says. The science clearly shows that the cannabinoids in marijuana are destructive to brain health, and that massive marijuana grows are terrible for the health of the planet. Honest politicians who believe in science, or care about science, will not support the marijuana industry by getting behind the banner of marijuana legalization.
Not only is the science against legalization, but it’s also failed economic policy and fails in promises related to social justice.
We are members of the Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Science Advisory Board, cofounded by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. We write with concern regarding the reported push to vote on the “MORE” Act, which would fully legalize and commercialize marijuana. This is not about decriminalization or rescheduling marijuana. This is about full, commercial legalization. We write to emphasize that there is consensus in the scientific community that such a rush to put engineered, high potency marijuana products in the commercial marketplace would put decades of public health progress in jeopardy.
Leading researchers have found:
The for-profit marijuana industry targets kids, both offline and on social media.
Marijuana is addictive and may be a cause of mental illnesses, ranging from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and psychosis, and even suicidality, even more when initiated in youth.
Marijuana use, particularly in youth, is associated with subsequent misuse and addiction to other substances. For example, marijuana users are more likely to misuse prescription opioids. Though most who use marijuana won’t go on to other drugs, more than 95% of those using heroin and cocaine started with marijuana.
Marijuana use can severely impact brain development in youth, leading to lower IQ and to worse mental health, academic, and professional outcomes, even long after discontinuation of marijuana use.
With for-profit industry marketing, more pregnant women than ever are using marijuana, resulting in serious negative consequences for newborns.
Marijuana use can also cause cardiovascular harm, and may lead to cancer.
Marijuana-related traffic fatalities increased significantly following legalization of recreational marijuana compared to states without commercial recreational marijuana. A study published last month found that widespread legalization could result in nearly 7,000 more traffic deaths annually due to impaired driving.
Click here to read the full letter to members of Congress regarding the MORE Act.
Can Marijuana Use Lead to Suicidal Ideation in Some Adolescents?
SEPTEMBER 6, 2020
By Laura Stack
The evidence-based negative effects of cannabis on adolescents are many and varied, especially for young people, and we’ve covered them numerous times in previous blogs. But today, I want to discuss openly a very sensitive topic: THC as it relates to adolescent suicidal ideation and suicide. TRIGGER WARNING: METHODS OF SUICIDE MENTIONED.
On August 30, 2018, I received a very chilling text from Johnny, who was two weeks into his freshman year at Colorado State University (CSU). I was reassuring him that it was normal to feel worried about making new friends, and he replied, “Is it normal to think about killing yourself every day?” That text started the worst 14 months of my life that ended with the worst day of my life on November 20, 2019, when Johnny completed suicide. Our grief and questions continue today.
Catatonia is a psychomotor condition characterized by physical presentations ranging from severe immobility to excessive psychomotor agitation with an array of accompanying emotional aspects. Though initially thought to be a subform of schizophrenia, it is now recognized to be associated with many different psychiatric, neurological, and medical diagnoses. The emergence of catatonia is becoming more prevalent with its changing pattern and extensive use of recreational and illegal drugs. With the legalization of marijuana, its use is on the rise leading to several mental health conditions, including catatonia.
In recent years, a flood of cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD have entered the market – often claiming to cure or treat an array of health issues and ailments.
These products are everywhere, but there is little scientific evidence to support the hype that surrounds them.
As a doctor, I’m deeply concerned at where this industry is heading – and the potential risks to patients and consumers.
I urge my peers to take this issue seriously and stand with me in addressing these growing concerns.
As doctors, we strive to alleviate suffering
Most people are unfamiliar with my chosen specialty, known as physical medicine and rehabilitation medicine. My peers and I are called physiatrists.
Together, we seek to restore the functional abilities and enhance the quality of life of people that face a wide range of physical, psychological or emotional disabilities.
Doctors refer their patients to me after other treatments have proven unsuccessful. By the time patients arrive at my office, they’re often at their wit’s end, suffering from the physical and psychological toll of chronic pain.
In recent years, many have asked me whether cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD would help them.
These patients rightfully turn to me and ask, “Doctor, what should I do?”
Silence is no way to help patients
The reality is that patients are being misled. As of yet, there is no clear and convincing evidence about the safety and efficacy of most cannabis products – and it’s up to doctors to let our patients know.
Last year Epidiolex, a drug used to treat a narrow spectrum of seizures, became the only pharmaceutical formulation of purified, highly concentrated CBD to be approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As with all prescription drugs, there are serious potential side effects, including liver toxicity, significant drug interactions, behavioral side effects such as suicidal behavior and ideation, as well as somnolence and sedation.
These risks can be managed if the person is under a doctor’s supervision.
But the risks cannot be properly monitored if no doctor is involved – which is typically the case when a person purchases an over-the-counter CBD product.
A local budtender might recommend these CBD products enthusiastically, but does the budtender realize that the product might be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, fungicides, rodenticides, insecticides, molds, E. coli, or fungus, just to name a few?
Labels can be misleading
In 2015 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a research paper demonstrating that in 23 percent of samples tested, THC levels were higher than indicated on the product label, which could put people at risk of experiencing other adverse events.
Sixty percent contained THC below the level claimed on the product label, which could leave the patient unable to achieve the desired medical benefit.
41 percent had no detectable levels of CBD.
Upon evaluating more than ten thousand cannabis products, the State of California discovered that 18 percent failed tests for potency and purity.
And Oregon released a report earlier this year that noted the state has failed to keep up with mandatory inspections, reaching only three percent of its dispensaries, and admitting that its poor testing potentially exposes consumers to multiple contaminants from cannabis products.
Bogus medical claims
Many producers of products containing CBD are making unfounded medical claims regarding their products’ ability to cure or alleviate many diseases and conditions.
The FDA has very strict regulations on such activity and has issued warnings to some organizations that are selling CBD products. Unfortunately, enforcement is rare. And products with very high CBD concentrations are widely available.
Some of these businesses continue to operate illegally and perpetuate their false claims in plain sight – so consumers have little to no protection.
To my physician peers: It’s time we speak up!
Words shared by a friend have long stuck with me: “What made the most noise was when the doctors said nothing.”
If the medical community is not speaking up about the significant risks associated with unregulated and untested CBD products, it’s not surprising that consumers feel that these products must be safe.
Fellow physicians and allied health care professionals, we can’t wait any longer. We must speak up, loudly and often, and warn the public about the potential risks they face.
I propose we place a “hold” on the sale and marketing of over-the-counter and internet-based CBD products.
Let’s be willing to stand up to our patients’ pressure for us to “endorse” CBD products until after robust clinical trials are completed.
Let’s put public health and safety ahead of commercial interests.
Illinois is halfway to making history on the drug scene — legalization of marijuana.
Throwing caution to the wind, members of the state Senate voted Wednesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. With the House now scheduled to take up the matter — and expected to approve it — Illinois could soon become the 10th state to give its legal OK to the drug.
Waiting in the background is Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has made no secret of his eagerness to sign the measure into new law that will become effective Jan. 1.
"Illinois is poised to become the first state in the nation that puts equity and criminal justice reform at the heart of its approach to legalizing cannabis," said Pritzker, who described himself as "grateful for the Senate's action.
That rhetoric, however, is naive, at best, and misleading at best.
What Pritzker describes as an unadulterated social good will sow considerable misery among this state's poorest and most vulnerable citizens.
It also lays the groundwork for an expansion of intoxicated driving that will take a grim toll on our roads and highways.
People, of course, rightly complain that consuming alcoholic beverages is no better. But alcohol is a reality that this country has tried — and failed — to address. Pritzker now intends to double down on the mortal threat posed by these twin, soon-to-be-legal intoxicants.
How ironic it is that Pritzker, who repeatedly cited the serious difficulties posed by his mother's alcoholism, now celebrates dropping this time bomb into the lives of the people of Illinois.
Illinois Catholic Bishops Advise Against Legalization of Marijuana
04 Feb, 2019
Illinois’ six Catholic bishops today issued a statement urging state lawmakers to vote “no” on upcoming legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Illinois Bishops Advise
Against Legalization of Marijuana
Legislation that would legalize marijuana for recreational use will be considered in the Illinois General Assembly. The Catholic bishops of Illinois are committed to the common good, and therefore advise against legalization.
Data collected by government agencies and public-interest groups document that drug use is rampant in modern society. Just a few years ago, we heard too many stories of children turned into orphans after their parents overdosed on heroin. Today, we hear of the opioid crisis and the lives it claims. If marijuana is legalized, it will only add to the problem.
Proponents of legalization say marijuana is not addictive, yet peer-reviewed research concludes that it is. Proponents also say that most people who use marijuana will not move on to harder drugs, yet other studies note that most people who are addicted to other drugs started with alcohol and marijuana.
Advocates of legalization rightly point to the racial disparity of our jail and prison populations, noting that marijuana infractions often lead to lives trapped in the criminal justice system. We recognize the truth of that premise, while observing that recent sentencing reforms should soon reverse that trend, since possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana now results in a ticket of up to $200 and no jail time.
Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist across Illinois, ready to be converted into retail stores for customers 21 and older, leading proponents to predict that legalization will eradicate the black market. Will that actually happen, or will the black market simply sell marijuana at a lower price and to those under age?
As lawmakers consider this issue, it is important to remember they are not only debating legalization of marijuana, but also commercialization of a drug into an industry the state will profit from. In seeking the common good, the state should protect its citizens.
We ask lawmakers to say “no” to legalization of marijuana, as Pope Francis explained in 2014 when speaking about marijuana and other recreational drugs: “… To say this ‘no,’ one has to say ‘yes’ to life, ‘yes’ to love, ‘yes’ to others, ‘yes’ to education, ‘yes’ to greater job opportunities. If we say ‘yes’ to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.”
Click here for a printable copy of the press release.
While Pro-Marijuana Forces in NC Prepare to Push for Legalization, State Lawmakers Should Look at Colorado’s Huge Costs
By L.A. Williams, Christian Action League
Even as pro-marijuana forces in North Carolina are preparing to push for local-option legalization, officials in Colorado are being forced to face the high cost of their state’s embrace of cannabis.
Colorado approved medical marijuana in 2000. The substance became legal for recreational use in 2014 with, pardon the pun, high hopes for big revenues.
While the money has come in — $247 million in tax revenue for 2017 — it has gone out even more quickly.
According to a Centennial Institute report issued late last year, for every dollar gained in tax revenue, Coloradans spent approximately $4.50 to mitigate the effects of legalization, with healthcare costs and those related to high school drop-outs among the largest price tags.
Car accidents involving impaired drivers cost the state nearly $84 million, the report shows. Driving Under the Influence court costs for those who tested positive for marijuana approached $19 million, and treatment for cannabis use disorder set the state back another $31 million. Even more importantly, 139 people lost their lives on Colorado highways as a result of accidents caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-using drivers. Another 180 residents had THC in their systems when they committed suicide.
“If there were ever a time to heed the Biblical admonition to ‘count the cost,’ this is it,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Certainly, legalizing marijuana is not paying off in Colorado, nor would it benefit us in North Carolina.”
Nonetheless, he expects pro-pot proposals to come before lawmakers this session. The Legislature is set to convene Wednesday.
“Every year for the last ten years, legislation was introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly to make pot legal in some manner,” Dr. Creech said. “This past year there were three measures, HB 185 – Legalize Medical Marijuana, SB 648 – Legalize Medical Marijuana, and SB 579 – the Catherine A. Zanga Medical Marijuana Bill. Although the three bills filed in 2018 didn’t receive a hearing in committee, others in previous years were heard but failed.”
Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) has been floating the idea of creating a local-option framework for marijuana sales similar to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control system.
“The statute is going to be patterned after the way North Carolina legalized liquor after Prohibition,” Alexander told the Daily Tar Heel last month. “And if we’re able to get it through, what you would have is a situation where, let’s say Orange County decided that it wanted to liberalize. Well, you could do it either by a vote of the town council, or the county commission, or a petition from the citizens that would create a referendum.”
Abner Brown, executive director of North Carolina NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has vowed to hold public meetings from Wilmington to Asheville to drum up support for legalization. The NORML website lists chapters of the group in Raleigh, Charlotte, the Triad, and the Catawba Valley, and supporters are being urged to contact their lawmakers with a pro-pot message.
While many cite a 2017 Elon University poll showing 80 percent of North Carolinians support legalizing marijuana for medical use and 45 percent are OK with recreational use, the Rev. Creech points out that the poll involved only about 500 respondents.
“Census estimates for 2016 show that there are over 10 million people in North Carolina. The Elon Poll barely represents .05% of the population. It would be reckless to believe its conclusions are characteristic of North Carolina sentiment,” he said, adding that the poll’s broad questions also failed to drill down on the issue.
On the contrary, the statistics from the Colorado study are based, not on opinion or conjecture, but on findings following three years of experience with legalized pot.
“The bad news is that the costs associated with commercial marijuana are only going to go up as the long-term health consequences have not been fully determined,” wrote Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute, in the report summary. “Like tobacco, commercial marijuana is likely to have health consequences that we won’t be able to determine for decades. Those costs are not configured in this report.”
Even so, Creech said there is plenty of evidence showing marijuana’s ill effects and the dangers it poses. “The interesting thing to me is that while there has been a momentum nationally to legalize, the science is progressively showing us that marijuana is indeed hazardous. It’s becoming more obvious with each passing year that states which have legalized were premature in their judgment,” he said.
As marijuana legalization builds momentum across the United States — with Michigan becoming the latest state to allow recreational use by adults — researchers are warning that more studies are needed on the long-term effects of chronic pot smoking on the human brain.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, but little is known about its effect on health or how addictive it is.
According to a 2017 poll conducted by Marist College and Yahoo News, more than half of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives, and nearly 55 million of them, or 22 percent, say they use it currently. Close to 35 million are what the survey calls "regular users," people who say they use marijuana at least once or twice a month.
"Surprisingly, many people freely admit to using marijuana, but underreporting remains an issue," said Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy researcher and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. "To correct for that one should fudge upwards by a factor of 20 to 40 percent."
With Michigan's Election Day ballot measure, 10 states and the District of Columbia now allow the drug's open use; 33 states plus D.C. allow medical use, leaving many to wonder if the U.S. will follow Canada's lead in legalizing marijuana nationwide.
CONSEQUENCES OF CHRONIC MARIJUANA USE
Nathaniel Warner, 31, a data analyst at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, first tried marijuana when he was 19, during his freshman year of college. Warner was having a hard time adjusting to campus life at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
“It was a tough transition for me and I was dealing with social anxiety,” Warner told NBC News.
At first he just smoked on school breaks, three or four times during the school year. "But before I knew it, it was summer and I was smoking daily," he said. "It just gave me a feeling I had never experienced before.”
After four years of heavy use, Warner noticed that his short-term memory was starting to fray. He avoided talking to people, and festering feelings of anxiety and depression grew. He tried to mask them with weed, deepening his dependency. In 2010 Warner upended his life, breaking up with his girlfriend and seeking recovery.
Should alcohol and marijuana stores be banned from opening near addiction treatment centers?
By Dan Adams GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 23, 2018
Boston should consider banning marijuana and liquor stores from opening near addiction treatment centers, City Councilor Lydia Edwards said, prompting objections from industry groups that believe such “buffer zones” could be illegal.
Edwards has called for a hearing on whether the city should impose buffer zones around treatment centers that would prevent new alcohol and marijuana stores from opening nearby.
A proposal to open a pot shop in East Boston on the same block as a health care facility where patients wait outside to receive treatment for drug and alcohol dependence prompted Edwards to raise the issue.
Legalized marijuana linked to a sharp rise in car crashes
Oct. 18, 2018 / 5:30 AM CDT
By Paul A. Eisenstein
There has been an increase by up to 6 percent in the number of highway crashes in four of the states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, according to a pair of new studies.
The new reports do not prove there’s a direct risk caused by the use of marijuana among motorists, but they raise caution flags, especially since there is no easy way to test drivers to be sure if they are, in fact, under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.
“It’s certainly early in the game,” Harkey told NBC News. But, he warned, “We’re seeing a trend in the wrong direction.”
It’s high time we took a breath from marijuana commercialization
The Denver Post
By BOB TROYER | Guest Commentary
September 28, 2018 at 4:51 pm
In 2012 we were told Colorado would lead the nation on a grand experiment in commercialized marijuana. Six years later — with two major industry reports just released and the state legislature and Denver City Council about to consider more expansion measures — it’s a perfect time to pause and assess some results of that experiment.
Where has our breathless sprint into full-scale marijuana commercialization led Colorado?
Well, recent reports from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, from Denver Health, from Energy Associates, from the Colorado Department of Revenue and from the City of Denver should be enough to give everyone in this race pause.
Now Colorado’s youth use marijuana at a rate 85 percent higher than the national average. Now marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151 percent. Now 70 percent of 400 licensed pot shops surveyed recommend that pregnant women use marijuana to treat morning sickness. Now an indoor marijuana grow consumes 17 times more power per square foot than an average residence. Now each of the approximately one million adult marijuana plants grown by licensed growers in Colorado consumes over 2.2 liters of water — per day. Now Colorado has issued over 40 little-publicized recalls of retail marijuana laced with pesticides and mold.
And now Colorado has a booming black market exploiting our permissive regulatory system — including Mexican cartel growers for that black market who use nerve-agent pesticides that are contaminating Colorado’s soil, waters, and wildlife.
Indeed Berenson’s book promises to confirm the facts that we’ve been warning about: the marijuana-psychosis links; that pot use often makes people violent; that it leads to more crime, more overall drug abuse and more fatalities. As we try to “tell our children,” NO amount of marijuana use is worth the risks.
The Inconvenient Truth
Almost no one is in prison for marijuana;
A tiny fraction of doctors write most authorizations for medical marijuana, mostly for people who have already used;
Marijuana use is linked to opiate and cocaine use. Since 2008, the US and Canada have seen soaring marijuana use and an opiate epidemic. Britain has falling marijuana use and no epidemic;
Most of all, THC—the chemical in marijuana responsible for the drug’s high—can cause psychotic episodes. After decades of studies, scientists no longer seriously debate if marijuana causes psychosis.
Psychosis brings violence, and cannabis-linked violence is spreading. In the four states that first legalized, murders have risen 25 percent since legalization, even more than the recent national increase.
According to the overview on Barnes & Noble and a description on Amazon, “Berenson’s reporting ranges from the London institute that is home to the scientists who helped prove the cannabis-psychosis link to the Colorado prison where a man now serves a thirty-year sentence after eating a THC-laced candy bar and killing his wife. He sticks to the facts, and they are devastating.”
“With the US already gripped by one drug epidemic, this book will make readers reconsider if marijuana use is worth the risk.”
The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact
Volume 5 UPDATE 9/2018
the 2018 Rocky Mountain HIDTA report contains the most up-to-date facts on the impact of legal marijuana in Colorado. RMHIDTA has published annual reports every year since 2013 tracking the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. The purpose is to provide data and information so that policy makers and citizens can make informed decisions on the issue of marijuana legalization. This year (2018) RMHIDTA elected to provide an update to the 2017 Volume 5 report rather than another detailed report.
Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving
Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana related traffic deaths increased 151 percent while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 35 percent.
Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people killed in 2017. This equates to one person killed every 2 ½ days compared to one person killed every 6 ½ days.
The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related increased from 11.43 percent in 2013 to 21.3 percent in 2017.
Section II: Marijuana Use
Colorado past month marijuana use shows a 45 percent increase in comparing the three-year average prior to recreational marijuana being legalized to the three years after legalization.
Colorado past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is ranked 3rd in the nation and is 85 percent higher than the national average.
Section III: Public Health
The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 52 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
The yearly rate of marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 148 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
Marijuana only exposures more than tripled in the five-year average (2013-2017) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the five-year average (2008-2012) prior to legalization.
Section IV: Black Market
RMHIDTA Colorado Task Forces (10) conducted 144 investigations of black market marijuana in Colorado resulting in: 239 felony arrests; 7.3 tons of marijuana seized; 43,949 marijuana plants seized; 24 different states the marijuana was destined
The number of highway seizures of Colorado marijuana increased 39 percent from an average of 242 seizures (2009-2012) to an average of 336 seizures (2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
Seizures of Colorado marijuana in the U.S. mail system has increased 1,042 percent from an average of 52 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 594 parcels (2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
Section V: Societal Impact
Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately nine tenths of one percent of Colorado’s FY 2017 budget.
Violent crime increased 18.6 percent and property crime increased 8.3 percent in Colorado since 2013.
65 percent of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses.
Section IV: Marijuana Industry
According to the Marijuana Policy Group, Market Size and Demand for Marijuana in Colorado 2017 Market Update:
“From 2014 through 2017, average annual adult use flower prices fell 62.0 percent, from $14.05 to $5.34 per gram weighted average.”
“Adult use concentrate prices fell 47.9 percent, from $41.43 to $21.57 per gram.”
“The average THC content of all tested flower in 2017 was 19.6 percent statewide compared to 17.4 percent in 2016, 16.6 percent in 2015 and 16.4 percent in 2014.”
“The average potency of concentrated extract products increased steadily from 56.6 percent THC content by weight in 2014 to 68.6 percent at the end of 2017.”
As of June 2017, there were 491 retail marijuana stores in the state of Colorado compared to 392 Starbucks and McDonald's.
The Marijuana Policy Project promotes their drug as a substitute for opiate pain pills. Like the worst offenders in the opiate industry, the cannabis lobby follows an addiction-for-profit business model. Their master plan needs 80% of the demand to be met by 20% of the users. Science shows no evidence for using medical marijuana as a substitute for pain pills.
Governor David Ige of Hawaii wisely refused to cave to lobbyists, and he vetoed a measure that would have allowed medical marijuana to treat opiate addiction.
A large-scale, major study from Australia demonstrates that cannabis doesn’t work as a substitute for opiate pills in instances of chronic, non-cancer pain. The study came out in July, 2018 and it supports the findings of an American study published in September, 2017.
The three-year research study by Olfson, Wall et. al., Cannabis use and the Risk of Prescription Opioid Use Disorder, 2018, concluded: “Cannabis use appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder.” More than a year ago, Dr. Ken Finn, professional advisor to Parents Opposed to Pot, published Current Research on Marijuana in Pain is lacking.
It seems we should NOT be encouraging “medical” marijuana use if our goal is to stop addiction. Theodore Caputi and Keith Humphreys recently published in the Journal of Addiction: Medical marijuana users are more likely to use prescription drugs medically and nonmedically. They concluded: “Medical marijuana users should be a target population in efforts to combat nonmedical prescription drug use.” See our page on Marijuana vs. Pain Pills.
Wrigley’s owner who sold the family chewing gum business invested $65 million this week in Surterra, a five-year-old Georgia medical marijuana company that’s done no business in Georgia.
$100 million can buy a lot of seductive marketing (see examples in this article) to cover up the fact that Surterra products aren’t proven safe or effective by FDA, despite the safety and effectiveness claims the company makes about its products.
That kind of money can also buy access to policymakers and has. Surterra contributed to the re-election campaign of the president pro tem of the Georgia Senate who was appointed to serve on a study committee created by the legislature this year to push for marijuana cultivation, processing, and sales.
Georgia’s Speaker of the House appointed Surterra’s former president to serve on that same committee.
For five years, Georgia legislators have done little to support a pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol medicine the governor made available to Georgia’s children with epilepsy through a statewide expanded access program. FDA just approved that medicine as safe and effective to treat epilepsy in children and young adults.
‘Help Legalize the Green in 2019,’ Represents Dangerous State-Wide Movement to Legalize Marijuana in North Carolina
By Randy Berle
Christian Action League
July 20, 2018
RALEIGH – A news story that has appeared on several media outlets in North Carolina indicates that there is a dangerous effort underway in the state to legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana.
The story features Abner Brown, the head of North Carolina NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), who says his group and others plan to tour the Tar Heel state with the hope of building enough support to legalize cannabis in 2019. They say they plan to build public support on the issue and persuade lawmakers to legalize cannabis use ahead of the General Assembly’s Long Session, which starts in January of next year.
The slogan for the effort already underway and stated on NC NORML’s website is, Help Legalize the Green in 2019. The pot-pushing organization further states on its website, “As part of NC NORML’s efforts to bring marijuana reform to North Carolina, we will be conducting public meetings throughout the state of North Carolina, from Wilmington to Asheville, and every major city in between.”
“I have always believed the threat to legalize weed in our state is a real one, and we shouldn’t minimize it. It’s easy for those who believe legalized marijuana would be wrong for our state to assume it’s not likely to happen here because we are a conservative state. But if pressures are intense enough, anything can happen,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Lawmakers, as well as candidates for office, especially during an election season, need to hear from citizen Christians who say ‘No’ to cannabis legalization. Marijuana isn’t safe. It isn’t medicine. Places that have legalized recreational cannabis are regretting it. It’s addictive and harmful for teenagers. It’s not a fundamental right. It’s not a blessed herb of health and healing from God. Instead, we can and ought to be working to reduce the use and abuse of dangerous substances.”
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Still, nine states and the District of Columbia have either legalized recreational marijuana or decriminalized its use.
Colorado and Washington states were the first to legalize recreational pot in 2012. Since then, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, California, and Vermont have followed suit.
Since 1996, 21 states have legalized medical marijuana, Oklahoma being among the most recent and the most conservative.
In the remaining 20 states, which include North Carolina, pot is completely illegal with most classifying the drug as a schedule I narcotic as it is under federal law.
This week Fox News reported that the push for legal-pot is now shifting to red states. It was liberal states that first legalized it. “But as the mid-term elections approach, a number of traditionally conservative states are considering legal-pot ballot measures this year,” says Fox News.
The report goes on to mention ballot measures in Utah and Michigan to be voted on in November of this year, while proposals for ballot initiatives are on the table for Arizona, Nebraska, and North Dakota.
“[A] green wave has swept across the country as more states OK marijuana use on at least some level,” Fox News claims.
The story that circulated on North Carolina media outlets featuring Brown sites an Elon University Poll which concludes 80% of North Carolinians are in favor of medicinal marijuana.
But in an op-ed piece written about that poll shortly after it was released last year, Rev. Creech argued that the poll was extremely unreliable because it barely represented the state’s population. Furthermore, the question posed was broad and didn’t allow for some of the variables necessary for understanding the issue.
“[S]ince the poll only received 506 responses over a three-day period (April 18-21, 2017), it’s hardly a good representation of the Tar Heel state. Census estimates for 2016 show that there are over 10 million people in North Carolina. The Elon Poll barely represents .05% of the population. It would be reckless to believe its conclusions are characteristic of North Carolina sentiment,” wrote Rev. Creech.
Rev. Creech added the question posed by the poll was also extremely broad and didn’t allow for variables. “For instance, if participants were asked, ‘Would you support medical marijuana in North Carolina, if you knew it meant a pot shop would move into your community?’ or perhaps, ‘Would you support medical marijuana in the form of edibles and candies that attract children?’ The answers probably wouldn’t be positive,” said Rev. Creech.
‘If you were aware vast numbers of youth, as high as 74%, we're getting pot, purchased, grown, and intended for medicinal purposes, would you still support the legalization of medical marijuana?’ or ‘If you knew that in every state where a medical marijuana act had passed it had practically become a recreational use program, would you still support it?’ – The responses would undoubtedly be much, much, lower in the affirmative.”
It is apparent that no matter the state where a marijuana initiative is pushed, the serious problems that come with the use of cannabis are often overwhelmed or ignored by bogus supposed benefits.
Marijuana today contains approximately four times the psychoactive ingredient THC as it did in the 60s and remains in the brain much longer. It deposits as much as four times the amount of tar in the lungs as tobacco, significantly raising the risk of cancer and heart attacks. Nearly 4.5 million children, ages 12 and older, meet the clinical criteria for cannabis dependence. It has proven to have a negative impact on brain development and IQ levels in teens. Treatment facilities admit more people for marijuana use than any other drug.
The list goes on.
Citizen Christians need to resist the movement to legalize marijuana in North Carolina and help keep the Tar Heel state from going to pot.
When voters made it legal to grow and sell marijuana in California in 2016, it was only a matter of time before a brewery began using the hallucinogenic plant — and it shouldn’t surprise many people that the first beer producer to come forward with a THC-enhanced product was Lagunitas Brewing Co. The Petaluma brewery, founded 25 years ago in Marin County by a man whose reputation is imbued with the lingo and imagery of marijuana culture, has released a sparkling water steeped with THC, that revered little molecule that has the uncanny ability to distort one’s sensation of time, cause extreme and irrational paranoia and, basically, get people stoned.
Click here to read the article on the Marin Independent Journal website.
Perinatal Marijuana Use and the Developing Child
JAMA. Published online July 16, 2018
Click here to read the article on the JAMA website.
Employee plows dump truck into stopped cars - tested positive for THC
A Cook County Forest Preserve employee was driving 2 1/2 times beyond the speed limit while on the job, when he plowed a dump truck into 5 stopped cars, killing one person and injuring 11. He tested positive for THC. Click here to read the article on the Chicago Tribune website.
Effect of cannabis use in people with chronic non-cancer paid prescribed opioids: findings from a 4-year prospective cohort study
The Lancet - www.thelancet.com
Cannabis use was common in people with chronic non-cancer pain who had been prescribed opioids, but we found no evidence that cannabis use improved patient outcomes. People who used cannabis had greater pain and lower self-efficacy in managing pain, and there was no evidence that cannabis use reduced pain severity or interference or exerted an opioid-sparing effect.
. . . In conclusion, cannabis use is common in people with chronic non-cancer pain who have been prescribed opioids, and interest in medicinal use of cannabis is increasing. We found no evidence that cannabis use improved patient outcomes; those who used cannabis had greater pain and lower self-efficacy in managing pain. Furthermore, we found no evidence that cannabis use reduced pain interference or exerted an opioid-sparing effect.
Major study reveals cannabis is not a miracle pain reliever
By Stephanie Bedo, News.com.au July 3, 2018
It’s safe to say most people think cannabis chills you out.
Now researchers have discovered that perception may be stronger than the drug itself.
In a large study of the effect cannabis has on pain in sufferers across Australia, the team from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center (NDARC) uncovered some unexpected results.
While they found most people “perceived it to help,” in reality, it didn’t really change their level of pain.
Researchers think this might be simply because medicinal cannabis can help people sleep so their pain is more tolerable the next day.
The University of New South Wales study followed 1,500 people over four years to see how pain interfered with their everyday life and whether using medicinal cannabis would change their prescribed opioid use.
Worldwide interest in the area has been growing, particularly for chronic non-cancer pain.
There has also been increasing speculation that using cannabis for pain may allow people to reduce their prescription opioid use.
The results, published in Lancet Public Health on Tuesday, suggest that there is a need for caution given there were “no strong findings supporting a clear role for cannabis for these reasons.”
Click here to read Dr. Drew W. Edwards article on the Parents Opposed to Pot website.
Ex-Drug Czars Bill Bennett, John Walters: Mr. Trump, please don’t legalize marijuana at the federal level
By William J. Bennett and John P. Walters | Fox News
President Trump has spoken out forcefully about defeating the illegal drug problem—as powerfully as any recent president, including Ronald Reagan. Now he is urged to support marijuana legalization in the midst of the most deadly drug abuse epidemic in American history. President Trump should refuse—it’s a bad deal with unsustainable consequences.
Obviously, decriminalizing the sale and possession of marijuana will make the drug more available and increase use. The advocates of decriminalization contend, however, that the harm of more use is less than the harm caused by current law and its enforcement. This is ridiculous.
First and foremost, marijuana is already associated with more abuse and dependency (now called substance abuse disorder) than all other illegal drugs combined. Roughly four out of seven problem users of illegal drugs are using marijuana. This is a dangerous blind spot exploited by many legalization advocates (although some of them are now warning about the growing risk of heavy marijuana use under legalization).
If you doubt legalization brings a rapid increase in marijuana use and addiction, consider the situation in Colorado. This is the test case; the experiment in legalization created by the Obama Administration. Colorado permitted the so-called “medical” sale of marijuana in 2009 and “recreational” sale in 2013. Some seem to believe, falsely, that marijuana use in Colorado has been accompanied by a decline in other drug use. This is emphatically not true. Last year more Coloradans died from drug overdoses than at any time in the state’s history. The cruel “Colorado experiment” has failed. Nonetheless, legalizers want to repeat it from sea to shining sea.
The Marijuana Report Marijuana News Based on Science, Not Spin 6.27.2018
What’s the difference between Epidiolex and other CBD products?
Families whose children suffer seizures from epilepsy have asked legislators in several states to “legalize” cannabidiol (CBD), “medicinal” marijuana, and “whole-plant extracts” so they can use them to reduce their children’s seizures. The marijuana industry has been happy to accommodate, helping parents lobby legislators and, when successful, producing CBD products.
But none of these products is approved by FDA as safe or effective. All make unsubstantiated medical claims. Few contain what their labels claim. Some contain contaminants. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 52 people in Utah were poisoned by an unregulated CBD product, which contained a synthetic cannabinoid. The agency warned regulations are needed to address “this emerging public health threat.”
This week, FDA approved Epidiolex to treat two forms of epilepsy in patients ages 2 and older. Epidiolex is an extract of marijuana called cannabidiol (CBD) that is purified and delivers a reliable, consistent dose. Clinical trials proved it reduces epileptic seizures. Now families have a choice. They no longer need to risk giving their children unregulated products that may harm their already fragile health.
Click here to read the rest of the article and The Marijuana Report .
LAGUNITAS BREWERY INTRODUCES 'IPA-INSPIRED' SPARKLING WATER INFUSED WITH THC
By E.J. Schultz. Published on June 26, 2018.
This drink will get you high, just don't call it a beer: Craft brewer Lagunitas, a unit of Heineken, said Tuesday that it will start selling Hi-Fi Hops in California, an "IPA-inspired" sparkling water infused with THC.
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabidinol, the ingredient in cannabis that makes you high. California legalized recreational marijuana as of Jan. 1, clearing the way for psychedelic drinks like this one. The new entry from Lagunitas, one of the largest craft brewers in the country, signals that pot-infused drinks could be poised to enter the mainstream.
Other larger brewers have begun making moves to capitalize on the cannabis craze, but none have taken the leap to sell something with the narcotic properties of Hi-Fi. Corona parent Constellation Brands late last year bought a stake in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp. and signaled that it would develop cannabis-infused beverages. But Constellation said it would not sell pot products in the U.S. unless marijuana is legalized nationally. Click here to read the rest of the article.
Alcohol: A roadmap for marijuana in Massachusetts
By Eli Sherman, Wicked Local
Jun 11, 2018
If you’re curious about the future of legal marijuana in Massachusetts, the liquor industry might offer some guidance.
Like marijuana, the manufacturing, sale and transport of alcohol were once illegal. The 13-year period, known as Prohibition, ended in 1933, and there are similarities between the years that followed and what’s happening today with the rollout of adult-use marijuana, also known as recreational marijuana.
How to Know if Your Kid is Vaping Marijuana — and What to Do About It
JUNE 6, 2018 BY THE PARTNERSHIP
Hardly a week goes by without another news article about vaping. In 2014, vaping was selected as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, beating out other candidates like “Bae” and “Budtender”. If they were picking a word today, it would more likely be JUUL or Juuling, the wildly popular “stealth vape” of adolescents.
Juuling kids are vaporizing flavored e-juices with nicotine, but what about vaping marijuana? According to Monitoring the Future, an annual survey of nearly 50,000 adolescents, 3 percent, 8 percent and 10 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders respectively had vaped marijuana in 2017.
According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, e-cigarettes use may lead to marijuana initiation. The authors hypothesize that e-cigarette use may be a marker of risk-taking behaviors, and that e-cigarette users are more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, which are associated with marijuana use. There is also the concern that vaping nicotine, which is in Juuls and many other vaping devices, may pave the way to other substance use problems in the developing adolescent brain. Aggressive marketing in states where marijuana has been legalized may also contribute to increased curiosity about marijuana while at the same time reducing its perceived harm.
Marijuana prices crashing in Oregon after state stoked weed glut
CBS/AP May 31, 2018, 6:02 PM
PORTLAND, Ore. — When Oregon lawmakers created the state's legal marijuana program, they had one goal in mind above all else: to convince illicit pot growers to leave the black market.
That meant low barriers for entering the industry that also targeted long-standing medical marijuana growers, whose product is not taxed. As a result, weed production boomed — with a bitter consequence.
Now, marijuana prices here are in freefall, and the craft cannabis farmers who put Oregon on the map decades before broad legalization say they are in peril of losing their now-legal businesses as the market adjusts.
Oregon regulators on Wednesday announced they will stop processing new applications for marijuana licenses in two weeks to address a severe backlog and ask state lawmakers to take up the issue next year.
Experts say the dizzying evolution of Oregon's marijuana industry may well be a cautionary tale for California, where a similar regulatory structure could mean an oversupply on a much larger scale.
Click here to read the article on the CBS website.
52 people sickened by fake CBD oil in Utah
AP May 28, 2018
SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. health officials are urging states to regulate marijuana oil extracts after investigating a rash of illnesses tied to the products in Utah. In a report released Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that synthetic products falsely labeled as cannabidiol, or CBD, sickened as many as 52 people from October through January.
The CDC urged states to set up regulatory and control systems "to minimize the risk for recurrences of this emerging public health threat."
CBD is derived from cannabis but is designed not to produce a high. Users say it provides relief from pain and can fight seizures.
This year, Utah passed a new law that supporters say will prevent the illnesses from happening again.
The oil had previously been in a legal gray area. It's been legal for people with epilepsy in Utah since 2014, but there is no regulatory system to oversee the oil's safety.
Bottles labeled as CBD have edged their way into Utah smoke shops and health food stores in recent years. Sales to the general public have been technically illegal but largely ignored by authorities.
"It's been a little bit of a don't ask, don't tell kind of a business," said Jack Wilbur, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
Foreign cartels embrace home-grown marijuana in pot-legal states
Foreign gangs are finding that black-market marijuana is profitable even in states that have legalized cannabis.
by Dennis Romero, Gabe Gutierrez, Andrew Blankstein and Robert Powell / May.29.2018
LOS ANGELES — Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it “one of the largest residential forfeiture actions in American history.”
In early April, local and federal authorities descended upon 74 marijuana grow houses in the Sacramento area they say were underwritten by Chinese organized crime. They filed court paperwork to seize the properties, worth millions of dollars.
Federal officials allege that legal recreational marijuana states like California, Colorado and Washington, where enforcement of growing regulations is hit-or-miss, have been providing cover for transnational criminal organizations willing to invest big money to buy or rent property to achieve even bigger returns.
Chinese, Cuban and Mexican drug rings have purchased or rented hundreds of homes and use human trafficking to bring inexperienced growers to the United States to tend them, federal and local officials say.
The suspects are targeting states that have already legalized marijuana "in an attempt to shroud their operations in our legal environment here and then take the marijuana outside of the state," said Mike Hartman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, which regulates and licenses the cannabis industry. Authorities say they've seen an increase in these "home grows" since the launch of recreational pot sales in Colorado.
The United States is currently experiencing what has commonly been referred to as the “worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.” As it stands today, the abuse of opioids, such as prescription opiates, heroin, and illegally manufactured fentanyl, is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 in the country. There are an estimated 115 deaths per day caused by opioid overdose with 16,000 deaths a year from prescription opioids alone.
In light of this, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the relationship with marijuana and opioids. The only firmly established relationship in the literature is one showing that marijuana use can often be a precursor to opioid use. It’s true that most people who use marijuana don’t go on to misusing opiates, but it’s also true that most people who misused opiates used marijuana first. But the for-profit pot industry wants to say something else. The pot industry is attempting to tout the legalization of marijuana as a solution for the opioid crisis, citing various medical studies. A new article published in the Journal of Addiction says that this conclusion is weak and premature.”
Click here to visit the SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) website
Despite Legalization, Marijuana Black Market Hides in Plain Sight
McConnell plans to attach hemp legalization measure to Farm Bill
April 30, 2018 | By Jeff Smith
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bill to legalize hemp continues to build momentum, attracting additional co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle after being fast-tracked to the Senate floor.
The latest twist: The Republican from Kentucky now plans to attach the language of his legislation to the 2018 Farm Bill, which might improve the measure’s outlook even more.
Jonathan Miller, executive director of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said Friday that the Roundtable board met with McConnell last Tuesday.
“Since (the Farm Bill) is must-pass legislation, it is likely the best bet,” Miller wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily. “And we trust McConnell’s judgment.”
McConnell’s proposed legislation, introduced earlier this month, would allow hemp to be grown and sold as an agricultural crop.
He is one of several prominent politicians to voice support recently for reforming federal cannabis laws. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Donald Trump and former House Speaker John Boehner also have signaled varying levels of support.
Citizens, Law Enforcement, and Elected Officials are concerned about the growing environmental problems that come with increased planting of marijuana planting in the West.
Pennsylvania moves to become first state to permit medical marijuana research long blocked by federal ban
Updated Mar 22, 2018
By David Wenner firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvania officials on Thursday outlined the process that medical schools can use to apply for state permission to conduct medical marijuana research.
Pennsylvania is the first among the states that have legalized medical marijuana to make medical marijuana research part of the law. Historically, marijuana has not been well-studied in the United States, due to its federal status as a Schedule 1 drug with no medical benefit.
Now, Pennsylvania is about to begin accepting applications from medical schools that want to conduct such research. At least one, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medince, has said it does. The state will allow up to eight medical schools, which are each associated with a hospital and typically have a strong focus on research, to conduct research on medical marijuana.
A Pharmacist Makes the Case Against Legalizing Marijuana
March 13, 2018
Robert L. Mabee, RPh, JD, MBA
Legalization of marijuana has ramifications beyond the individual’s decision to smoke an occasional joint. Several considerations contradict the argument for legalization.
Most simply, it is argued that legalization would eliminate criminal problems. The state would collect its sales tax, and marijuana users would be happy.
However, as with alcohol, the use of marijuana will create costs in excess of the sales tax revenue. It has been predicted that costs associated with treatment, injuries, loss of work, and damage to property are likely to run millions more than the income gained through taxation.
As a nation, we have just spent millions of dollars in the crusade to stop people from smoking cigarettes. Yet with pot smoking, all the problems associated with indirect smoke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer will continue and increase.
Studies have disclosed that the recreational use of pot can lead to long-term mental problems and harmful neurological effects.
Furthermore, marijuana is addictive. It is recognized as a gateway drug, associated with addiction to stronger drugs. Current campaigns to reduce or control addiction to opioids are directly aimed at reducing drug use. Why, therefore, should use of marijuana be sanctioned?
Oxycontin is a schedule II drug that is regulated, prescribed, and dispensed under professional supervision by healthcare providers. It is considered less of a threat than Schedule I drugs such as heroin and ecstasy. Marijuana is also a Schedule I drug, yet some states want it sold over the counter by untrained clerks.
There is no way to prevent adulteration and contamination of the marijuana sold in strip malls and kiosks. Without testing, regulation, or supervision, introduction of a variety of pathogens and toxins into the product is inevitable. The history of Prohibition, during which injury and death resulted from use of “moonshine” and adulterated alcohol products, provides us with countless instructive examples.
THC has been made available in alternative therapeutic dosage forms to meet the needs of patients. It does not have to be smoked.
Should the federal government be barred from regulating the sale of recreational drugs, but then be asked to pay for treatment of addiction and other injuries cause by the use of these substances?
Does pandering to a few addicts and recreational drug dealers justify ignoring the available therapeutic data?
Does deferring to anecdotal data from people who smoke dope justify underwriting the costs associated with this decision?
What Maine clients get if they pay for delivery: Free pot
But is it legal? Marijuana gifting services like Greenlyght charge a $90-per-quarter-ounce fee to transport their product to Maine users.
BUSINESS Posted March 4 www.pressherald.com
BY PENELOPE OVERTONSTAFF WRITER
Bret Jackson is a marijuana deliveryman, an affable, well-dressed middleman who makes his living in the unregulated gray area of marijuana gifting.
He’s not a cannabis grower, but he knows people who grow legally. He doesn’t have a store, but he has a website where customers can shop for their own cannabis gift. Upon order, Jackson or one of his two full-time drivers will deliver the gift to the recipient, usually within the hour, at a place of the customer’s choosing, like their home, a local park or a coffee shop. The marijuana is free, Jackson insists, but it costs $90 to deliver every quarter-ounce gift.
“We legalized marijuana in Maine, said it’s OK to smoke, but it’s been a year now and we still don’t have any stores selling recreational marijuana,” Jackson said. “That is kind of ridiculous, but it’s also what I call a business opportunity. Now you don’t have to grow your own, and you don’t have to know a guy who grows, because that’s not always an option, you know? You just have to know somebody like me who knows a guy. I connect the dots.”
Last month, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram spent a few hours with Jackson while he “connected the dots,” riding along in a neat-as-a-pin Toyota Camry as he delivered glass jars full of Blue Dream, Super Lemon Haze and White Widow X to well-kept homes in Greater Portland. With an ’80s electropop anthem playing on the car radio, Jackson told the story of how a website designer between gigs ended up delivering weed while navigating Portland’s tree-lined East End, Munjoy Hill and Back Cove.
“Look at me,” Jackson said. “There’s nothing about me, or what I do, that’s scary. Cannabis, it’s just a plant. A helpful plant, a legal plant. A plant that people want.”
Bret Jackson, owner of the cannabis gifting service Greenlyght, delivers “gifts” to a client in Portland. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup
Jackson’s business, called Greenlyght, is one of about a dozen high-profile marijuana gifting services that have popped up in Maine in the year since the Marijuana Legalization Act went into effect. Companies with names like Elevation 207, Elite Harvest, Kind Guy Delivery and 420ME advertise their gifting policies on splashy websites, Facebook, and even Google Ads. Customers who can’t afford $75 or $100 donations can turn to the more anonymous gifting economy found on Craigslist.
But is it legal? Jackson believes it is. He insists that he is giving the marijuana away, which is allowed by the Marijuana Legalization Act. The person who is receiving the gift is paying for delivery, the same way that a person pays a delivery charge when using the parcel post. It’s not just a coincidence, of course, that the price of delivery is commensurate with the price of the product, but Jackson is comfortable enough with this legal loophole that he talks openly about it.
“Greenlyght is definitely not the black market,” Jackson said. “Greenlyght is a friendly market.”
MURKY LEGAL WATERS
Lawmakers in Augusta say it is absolutely illegal, and that gifters are simply drug dealers profiting from the political gridlock that has slowed legislative efforts to roll out a safe, regulated and taxable recreational marketplace. Gifting is just a turn of phrase used to disguise an illegal commercial sale, they argue. The people who pay the $90 delivery charge don’t know if the marijuana is safe, if the person delivering it is reliable or if they are handing over sales tax to the state.
Click here to access the pdf "Five Myths About Marijuana" used as reference by one of the ACAAP annual meeting speakers.
States consider ‘sanctuary’ status for cannabis businesses
CANNABIS 03/06/2018, 11:00am
Juneau, AK – Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, some states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.
Just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Jan. 4 that federal prosecutors would be free to crack down on marijuana operations as they see fit, Jesse Arreguin, the mayor in Berkeley, California, summoned city councilman Ben Bartlett to his office with a novel idea.
Pueblo Physician Dr. Karen Randall's presentation on the strain of marijuana legalization on Colorado cities resources.
Marijuana and Pregnancy
Big US tobacco company buys stakes in Canadian cannabis growers, American hemp firm
Published February 8, 2018 | By Bart Schaneman
A publicly traded U.S. tobacco company has bought controlling stakes in two Canadian marijuana producers and invested in a North Carolina hemp grower, making what is believed to be the first foray by a significant tobacco business into the cannabis industry.
Alliance One International, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AOI, said it acquired a 75% equity position in Canada’s Island Garden and an 80% stake in Goldleaf Pharm. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.
The moves were first reported by New Cannabis Ventures. Alliance One is an independent leaf tobacco merchant based in Morrisville, North Carolina, that serves large multinational cigarette manufacturers.
Juul e-cigs: The Controversial Vaping Device Popular on School Campuses
USA TODAY NETWORK
October 31, 2017
A new vaping device that's "gone viral" on high school and college campuses doesn't look like a vaping device at all, and its popularity has adults wondering what can be done to address it.
The Juul vaporizer (stylized as "JUUL") looks like a USB flash drive. It even charges when plugged into a laptop. It's small enough to fit inside an enclosed hand, and comes with flavors like creme brulee, mango and fruit medley, all of which are too "kid friendly" for U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer's taste.
The rise of "gadgets like Juul, which can fool teachers and be brought to school, demands the FDA smoke out dangerous e-cigs and their mystery chemicals before more New York kids get hooked," Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement this month.
Cannabis Capitalists Exploit Loopholes by 'Gifting' the Drug
The Lowell Sun
UPDATED: 02/01/2018 08:02:37 AM EST
BOSTON (AP) -- The single bottle of juice delivered to your door will set you back at least $55. But the bag of marijuana that comes with it? On the house.
Retail marijuana stores are months away from opening in Massachusetts, but some companies have been quietly operating for more than a year, selling and delivering marijuana via a legal loophole.
Companies like HighSpeed, which describes itself as a juice delivery service, are exploiting so-called "gifting" provisions that are on the books in Massachusetts and most other states where marijuana has been legalized.
Penn Study Shows Nearly 70 Percent of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online Are Mislabeled
Mislabeling may lead to adverse effects for patients, including children with epilepsy
November 07, 2017
PHILADELPHIA – In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the medicinal use of Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical that naturally occurs the in cannabis plant (aka “marijuana”). There is interest in CBD as a medicine because there is some evidence that it has medical benefits, but it does not make people feel “high” and there is no indication that CBD, by itself, is abused. Recent research has shown potential therapeutic effects of CBD for young children with rare seizure disorders, and patients in states where cannabis or CBD have been legalized report using it for a variety of health conditions. Business experts estimate that the market for CBD products will grow to more than $2 billion in consumer sales within the next three years. While interest in this area continues to grow, little has been done to ensure regulation and oversight of the sale of products containing CBD. The primary reason for this is that CBD is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance by the DEA, despite having been legalized for medicinal use in many states. Thus, many people do not have access to stores that sell CBD products and instead rely on online retailers to purchase CBD products.
A new study by a Penn Medicine researcher, published this week in JAMA, found that nearly 70 percent of all cannabidiol products sold online are either over or under labeled, causing potential serious harm to its consumers. Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and the lead author on the study, believes the mislabeling of cannabidiol products is a direct result of inadequate regulation and oversight.
MONDAY, Oct. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Medical marijuana appears to hold only limited promise for sick children and teenagers, a new review suggests.
It can help kids fighting cancer with chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, and it can control seizures somewhat in children with epilepsy, said study author Dr. Shane Shucheng Wong. He is a psychiatrist with Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.
But there's not enough evidence to say that medical marijuana can help kids with any other medical conditions, such as neuropathic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Tourette's syndrome, Wong added.
Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, making it potentially available as a medication for kids.
"Children and adolescents can legally access medical cannabis if they have certification from a doctor and from their legal guardian," Wong said. "As a result, doctors and families really need to understand what we know and what we don't yet know about medical cannabis to make the best decision for the child's health."
By Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD, chief of pediatric neurology at Children's Hospital Colorado and professor of pediatrics, neurology and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Brooks-Kayal is a pediatric epilepsy specialist and past president of the American Epilepsy Society.
As medical providers in the neuroscience field who specialize in the care of children with epilepsy, the epilepsy program team at Children's Colorado understands first-hand the medical complexity of epilepsy and the difficult decisions facing people with epilepsy and their families. The stories of families eager to try medical marijuana are incredibly moving and completely understandable—because any parent of a child with such a life-altering condition would do everything in their power to make their child better.
Unfortunately, there is currently no clear, scientific evidence showing that marijuana improves epilepsy in children. Healthcare providers and families need comprehensive research to assess both the benefits and risks of medical marijuana with more certainty.
Current CBD studies for the treatment of epilepsy
Phase III placebo controlled studies of cannabidiol (CBD), are being completed currently. When the results from these studies are fully available, we will better understand the potential role of CBD in treatment of epilepsy. In these studies, pharmaceutical grade CBD oil, Epidiolex, is added to current seizure medication treatment regimes.
It's important to note that the CBD oil used in the clinical trials is vastly different than the artisanal cannabis products available in Colorado. In states like Colorado, where medical marijuana and its derivatives are legal, the content of CBD products is not regulated for purity or uniformity. Pharmacy-grade products like Epidiolex have followed Good Manufacturing Processes, meaning that the CBD content is measured by rigorous standards and is carefully monitored for additives or contaminants. Even the equipment used for manufacturing these products meets rigorous standards. None of this is guaranteed to be true for the artisanal products.
The GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com website has been created as a public service to help address the problem of the use of marijuana and other mood- and mind-altering substances in the United States and around the world. A purpose is help inform the public, the media, and those in positions of public responsibility of the challenges facing the nation as a result of the widespread use of psychoactive and mood-altering substances, particularly marijuana and designer drugs.
Click here for lists of references and resources on Marijuana, key legal developments, presentations, testimony, articles, reports, and open letters.
The Truth of Deaths Caused by Medical Marijuana Overdose
October 18, 2017
Dean Whitlock refutes a claim that no one dies of marijuana overdose, in a section of his article, published by Vermont Digger, October 16, 2017.
“No One Has Died of an Overdose”
This remains the most outrageous claim of the pro-legalization movement. It is not only dangerously misleading, it is a slap in the face to the families who have lost children, spouses and parents.
Everyone admits that people are dying in traffic crashes because of stoned drivers, and that some people have died in butane hash oil explosions, but too many people are turning a blind eye to the other deaths caused by what can only be called an overdose.
Tachycardia – a racing heart – is a common, well-known side effect of using marijuana. So is increased blood pressure. A growing body of evidence, here and in other countries, is revealing that marijuana has caused previously overlooked deaths through heart attack and stroke. In Colorado last fall, an 11-month-old infant brought to the ER after being exposed to marijuana died from an inflamed heart muscle (myocarditis) caused by the exposure.
Marijuana can also overwhelm the emotional centers of the brain causing paranoia, delusions, and acute psychosis. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report released last January states, “There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia or other psychoses, with the highest risk among the most frequent users.” (The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, Chapter Highlights NAS 2017)
Emergency rooms in Colorado reported a 44 percent increase in marijuana-related visits between 2012 and 2014. Many of these were cases of acute psychosis, particularly in young men, who had to be restrained to keep from harming themselves or others.
Other evidence of marijuana overdose
A growing body of evidence indicates that marijuana is not just associated with suicide but can be a causative factor. The NAS report cited above found an “Increased incidence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts with a higher incidence among heavier users” and an “Increased incidence of suicide completion.” One of the studies they listed found a seven-fold increase in risk for suicide even after controlling for a prior history of mood disorders.
In July, adding to the evidence, the journal Lancet Psychiatry published a new study involving 13,986 twins that found a 2.47-fold increase in suicidal thoughts for the twin who used regularly versus the twin who used lightly or not at all. Heavy use led to suicidal thoughts, and some of those thoughts were acted out.
In 2014, a young man in Colorado either jumped or unwittingly tumbled to his death from a fourth-floor balcony during a psychotic outburst. In July this year, a Vermont father clutching his son to his chest jumped out of a fourth-floor window shortly after smoking marijuana. He said it was God who made him jump.
When a drug drives all sense of reality from your brain, it’s an overdose. In marijuana’s case, these overdoses can and do lead to death.
Dean Whitlock is a freelance writer.
Click here to read the article on the "Parents Opposed to Pot" website.
Hatch Has High Hopes for Medical Marijuana Bill
by Joe Williams
October 18, 2017
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is an unlikely advocate for a medical marijuana bill.
An 83-year-old Utah Republican and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hatch says he is staunchly against recreational drug use. But as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage states across the country, the Senate’s president pro tempore sees an opportunity in advancing the use of cannabis for pain management.
“I’m very unlikely,” Hatch said in an interview Tuesday about his position as an advocate for the issue. “I’m against illicit drug use and have always been very strong in these areas. But I’m also a pioneer in good medicine and how we can help doctors and scientists.”
In a pun-filled press release, Hatch touted the legislation — which aims to ease federal requirements and regulations on research involving marijuana — as a route to help “thousands of Americans suffering from a wide-range of diseases and disorders.”
“To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana,” he said. “In a Washington at war with itself, I have high hopes that this bipartisan initiative can be a kumbaya moment for both parties.”
Blazing the way on health issues
Hatch’s position on medical marijuana is, at least at first glance, a perplexing one to take for one of the most visible representatives of the Mormon religion in the federal government.
The church sidestepped weighing in directly on Hatch’s legislation. But it believes any medical marijuana treatment option should go through the approval process at the Food and Drug Administration, according to church spokesman Eric Hawkins.
“This discussion raises legitimate questions regarding the benefits and risks of legalizing a drug that has not gone through the well-established and rigorous process to prove its effectiveness and safety,” Hawkins wrote in an email.
He added that the discussion is made more difficult because marijuana is currently considered an illegal drug under federal law.
Long-Term Cannabis Consumption Increases Violent Behaviour in Young People in Psychiatric Care
October 6, 2017
Source Newsroom: Universite de Montreal
Frontiers in Psychiatry, Sept. 21 2017; Fonds de la recherche du Québec-Santé
Newswise — Montréal, October 9, 2017 – A new study by researchers at the Institut en santé mentale de Montréal demonstrates that sustained used of cannabis is associated with an increase in violent behaviour in young people after discharge from a psychiatric hospital.
The research by Dr. Alexandre Dumais (MD, PhD, FRCPC, psychiatrist at the Institut Philippe Pinel) and Dr. Stéphane Potvin (PhD, professor at the Université de Montréal), which studied 1,136 patients (from 18 to 40 years of age) with mental illnesses who had been seen five times during the year after discharge, took into account substance use and the onset of violent behaviour.
Previous research has already shown that a cannabis use disorder is associated with violent behaviour. According to this new study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, users who reported at each follow-up visit that they continued to smoke cannabis presented an increased risk (+144%) of violent behaviour.
These results also confirm the detrimental role of chronic cannabis use in patients with mental illness. According to the principal researcher Alexandre Dumais (MD, PhD, FRCPC): “an interesting feature of our results is that the association between persistent cannabis use and violence is stronger than that associated with alcohol or cocaine.”
This resource guide for parents offers advice on keeping children substance free. Review statistics about adolescent substance use, and learn tips on good communication. The guide also features substance facts and case studies for additional insight.
Toxic Chemicals Killing California Wildlife At Illegal Marijuana Grows
September 28, 2017 3:48 PM By Wilson Walker
LASSEN NATIONAL FOREST (KPIX 5) — It’s a massive crime scene, deep in Lassen National Forest. Through dense ground cover and brutal terrain, federal agents are making their way to what might well qualify as an industrial-scale farm operation. There are living quarters, kitchens, bathrooms and trash dumps, all for the purpose of growing a lot of marijuana.
“This one was in excess of 15,000 plants,” said Stephen Frick, a special agent with the U.S. Forest Service. A plant count that high requires multiple plots, across several miles, fed by an endless network of pipes, all drawing right from natural waterways. Scattered over all of this, there are the chemicals. In every single direction there are fertilizers, poisons, and insecticides.
“The malathion, the pesticides a lot of the over the counter stuff, those are pretty common,” says Frick. “The uncommon ones are the restricted use pesticides like the carbofuran.”
Carbofuran, an extremely toxic pesticide that’s effectively banned in the United States, is fast becoming a favorite tool among Mexican drug cartels, which operate in California’s public lands. Once a rare find, it’s now turning up at 60 to 70 percent of illegal grow sites, often mixed in bottles that have no warning label.
Maine’s marijuana social clubs likely to be no-smoking venues
Draft rules are unlikely to contain an exemption to state law barring smoking in public places, so pot would have to be consumed through edibles or tincture.
By Penelope Overton
Maine may be the first state in the country to license marijuana social clubs, but the pot could not be smoked in the clubs and would have to be consumed in another manner.
The legislation to regulate adult-use marijuana under consideration in Augusta now would push club licensing off until at least June 2019, about a year after Maine’s first retail stores are likely to open. Although not thrilled with the delay, most legalization advocates say they are just happy that club licensing was not stripped out of the bill, which is a legislative rewrite of last November’s successful citizen initiative.
The bill does not expressly prohibit smoking in the clubs, but it also doesn’t carve out an exemption to the state’s no-smoking law, which bans smoking of any kind, including vaping, in public places such as bars and restaurants. That means the clubs would be limited to the sale of pot edibles or tinctures that patrons would have to use on site, said state Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation.
Scientists from The University of Western Australia have identified that using cannabis can alter a person’s DNA structure, causing mutations which can expose them to serious illnesses, and be passed on to their children and several future generations.
Although the association between cannabis use and severe illnesses such as cancer has previously been documented, how this occurs and the implications for future generations was not previously understood.
Associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse from UWA’s School of Psychiatry and Clinical Sciences completed an extensive analysis of literary and research material to understand the likely causes and uncovered alarming information.
“Through our research we found that cancers and illnesses were likely caused by cell mutations resulting from cannabis properties having a chemical interaction with a person’s DNA,” Associate Professor Reece said.
“With cannabis use increasing globally in recent years, this has a concerning impact for the population.”
Although a person may appear to be healthy and lead a normal life, the unseen damage to their DNA could also be passed on to their children and cause illnesses for several generations to come.
Secondhand marijuana smoke damages blood vessels more than tobacco smoke
By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
Secondhand marijuana smoke may damage your blood vessels even more than tobacco smoke.
In a new study, arteries in rats that inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke for one minute carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes. Similar exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke caused blood vessel impairment for 30 minutes.
“While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said Matthew Springer, Ph.D., study senior author and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology.
A potent opiate behind surging drug overdose deaths is now being found in marijuana
Steve Birr, Daily Caller
Jun. 20, 2017
The potent opiate behind surging drug overdose deaths across the U.S. is now cropping up in the marijuana supply, according to officials in Ohio.
Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco confirmed Monday that fentanyl, a synthetic opiate roughly 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin, has been found in marijuana.
The deadly chemical is often cut into heroin supplies to increase the potency and even put into knock-off painkillers. The Drug Enforcement Agency recently warned about fentanyl being increasingly cut into cocaine supplies, reports WLWT.
Sammarco did not specify how many cases she has seen involving fentanyl-laced marijuana and the Hamilton County Corners Office has not reported any deaths linked to the combination.
“We have seen fentanyl mixed with cocaine, we have also seen fentanyl mixed with marijuana,” Sammarco said during a joint press conference with Republican Sen. Rob Portman, according to WLWT. “Essentially, the message we’ve tried to get out there, is if you are using any form of street drugs, count on them having some form of synthetic opioid mixed in.”
Summary: The link between marijuana use and psychotic-like experiences has been confirmed in a Canadian adolescent cohort.
Going from an occasional user of marijuana to a weekly or daily user increases an adolescent's risk of having recurrent psychotic-like experiences by 159%, according to a new Canadian study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The study also reports effects of marijuana use on cognitive development and shows that the link between marijuana use and psychotic-like experiences is best explained by emerging symptoms of depression.
"To clearly understand the impact of these results, it is essential to first define what psychotic-like experiences are: namely, experiences of perceptual aberration, ideas with unusual content and feelings of persecution," said the study's lead author, Josiane Bourque, a doctoral student at Université de Montréal's Department of Psychiatry. "Although they may be infrequent and thus not problematic for the adolescent, when these experiences are reported continuously, year after year, then there's an increased risk of a first psychotic episode or another psychiatric condition."
She added: "Our findings confirm that becoming a more regular marijuana user during adolescence is, indeed, associated with a risk of psychotic symptoms. This is a major public-health concern for Canada."
WEAVERVILLE, Calif. (Reuters) - Pollution from illegal marijuana farms deep in California's national forests is far worse than previously thought, and has turned thousands of acres into waste dumps so toxic that simply touching plants has landed law enforcement officers in the hospital.
The volume of banned or restricted pesticides and illegally applied fertilizers in the woods dwarfs estimates by the U.S. Forest Service in 2014, when a top enforcement official testified that the pollution was threatening forest land in California and other states.
California accounts for more than 90 percent of illegal U.S. marijuana farming, with much of it exported to other states from thousands of sites hidden deep inside forested federal land, and more on private property, law enforcement officials said. The state is still developing a licensing system for growers even though legal retail sales of the drug will begin next year, and medical use has been allowed for decades.
Ecologist Mourad Gabriel, who documents the issue for the Forest Service as well as other state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, estimates California's forests hold 41 times more solid fertilizers and 80 times more liquid pesticides than Forest Service investigators found in 2013.
The GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com website has been created as a public service to help address the problem of the use of marijuana and other mood- and mind-altering substances in the United States and around the world. A purpose is help inform the public, the media, and those in positions of public responsibility of the challenges facing the nation as a result of the widespread use of psychoactive and mood-altering substances, particularly marijuana and designer drugs.
Click here for lists of references and resources on Marijuana, key legal developments, presentations, testimony, articles, reports, and open letters.
Smoking cannabis ALTERS your DNA 'causing mutations that can trigger serious illness, including cancer'
Smoking cannabis alters a person's DNA, causing mutations, experts say
These mutations can trigger serious illness, including cancer
Mutations passed to children and future generations, raising their risk too
By Lizzie Parry For Dailymail.com
24 May 2016
Smoking cannabis can alter a person's DNA, causing mutations that expose a user to serious illnesses, experts have warned.
Furthermore, the heightened risk is not exclusive to the marijuana user, a study has shown.
The disease-causing mutations are passed on to their children, and several future generations, it has emerged.
Though the link between cannabis and severe illnesses, such as cancer, has previously been documented, how this occurs and the implications for future generations was not well understood.
Dr Stuart Reece, and Professor Gary Hulse from the University of Western Australia's School of Psychiatry, analyzed literary and research material to understand the likely causes.
Dr Reece said: 'Through our research we found that cancers and illnesses were likely caused by cell mutations resulting from cannabis properties having a chemical interaction with a person's DNA.
Secondhand marijuana smoke damages blood vessels more than tobacco smoke
By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
Secondhand marijuana smoke may damage your blood vessels even more than tobacco smoke.
In a new study, arteries in rats that inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke for one minute carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes. Similar exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke caused blood vessel impairment for 30 minutes.
“While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said Matthew Springer, Ph.D., study senior author and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology.
Legalizing recreational marijuana is linked to increased crashes
Status Report, Vol. 52, No. 4 | June 22, 2017
Legalizing recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Oregon and Washington has resulted in collision claim frequencies that are about 3 percent higher overall than would have been expected without legalization, a new Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis shows. This is HLDI's first look at how the legalization of marijuana since 2014 has affected crashes reported to insurers.
More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes. Though there is evidence from simulator and on-road studies that marijuana can degrade some aspects of driving performance, researchers haven't been able to definitively connect marijuana use with more frequent real-world crashes. Some studies have found that using the drug could more than double crash risk, while others, including a large-scale federal case-control study, have failed to find a link between marijuana use and crashes (see "More drivers use marijuana, but link to crashes is murky," May 12, 2015). Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use also have been inconclusive.
Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older with voter approval in November 2012. Retail sales began in January 2014 in Colorado and in July 2014 in Washington. Oregon voters approved legalized recreational marijuana in November 2014, and sales started in October 2015.
HLDI conducted a combined analysis using neighboring states as additional controls to examine the collision claims experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington before and after law changes. Control states included Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, plus Colorado, Oregon and Washington prior to legalization of recreational use. During the study period, Nevada and Montana permitted medical use of marijuana, Wyoming and Utah allowed only limited use for medical purposes, and Idaho didn't permit any use. Oregon and Washington authorized medical marijuana use in 1998, and Colorado authorized it in 2000.
HLDI also looked at loss results for each state individually compared with loss results for adjacent states without legalized recreational marijuana use prior to November 2016. Data spanned collision claims filed between January 2012 and October 2016 for 1981 to 2017 model vehicles. Analysts controlled for differences in the rated driver population, insured vehicle fleet, the mix of urban versus rural exposure, unemployment, weather and seasonality.
Collision claims are the most frequent kind of claims insurers receive. Collision coverage insures against physical damage to a driver's vehicle in a crash with an object or other vehicle, generally when the driver is at fault. Collision claim frequency is the number of collision claims divided by the number of insured vehicle years (one vehicle insured for one year or two vehicles insured for six months each).
"The combined-state analysis shows that the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana have experienced more crashes," says Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI. "The individual state analyses suggest that the size of the effect varies by state."
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Just a few miles from where President Trump will address his blue-collar base here Tuesday night, exactly the kind of middle-class factory jobs he has vowed to bring back from overseas are going begging.
It’s not that local workers lack the skills for these positions, many of which do not even require a high school diploma but pay $15 to $25 an hour and offer full benefits. Rather, the problem is that too many applicants — nearly half, in some cases — fail a drug test.
The fallout is not limited to the workers or their immediate families. Each quarter, Columbiana Boiler, a local company, forgoes roughly $200,000 worth of orders for its galvanized containers and kettles because of the manpower shortage, it says, with foreign rivals picking up the slack.
“Our main competitor in Germany can get things done more quickly because they have a better labor pool,” said Michael J. Sherwin, chief executive of the 123-year-old manufacturer. “We are always looking for people and have standard ads at all times, but at least 25 percent fail the drug tests.”
Pattern of Marijuana Use During Adolescence May Impact Psychosocial Outcomes in Adulthood
Article ID: 678314
Released: 24-Jul-2017 12:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh
Newswise — PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2017 – How an adolescent uses marijuana, in particular a pattern of escalating use, may make an adolescent more prone to higher rates of depression and lower educational accomplishments by the time they reach adulthood. Those findings come from a new study led by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Pitt Department of Psychology published today in the journal Addiction.
“We know that cannabis use in adolescence is associated with outcomes like lower educational level, and difficulties with mood and depression, but through this long-term study, we’ve been able to provide a much deeper insight into this relationship, showing that certain characteristics of use may be more important than others,” said Erika Forbes, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, psychology and pediatrics, and lead author of the study. “The findings highlight that understanding marijuana use across the entire period of adolescence, which we know is an extremely vulnerable developmental phase, may tell us much more about detrimental long-term impacts than knowing about overall or one time use.”
States Keep Saying Yes to Marijuana Use. Now Comes the Federal No.
By Avantika Chilkoti
July 15, 2017
In a national vote widely viewed as a victory for conservatives, last year’s elections also yielded a win for liberals in eight states that legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. But the growing industry is facing a federal crackdown under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has compared cannabis to heroin.
“We love Jeff Sessions’s position on marijuana because he is thinking about it clearly,” said Scott Chipman, Southern California chairman for Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.
He dismissed the idea of recreational drug use. “‘Recreational’ is a bike ride, a swim, going to the beach,” he said. “Using a drug to put your brain in an altered state is not recreation. That is self-destructive behavior and escapism.”
some towns voted for pot in fall, against in spring
June 22, 2017
There's been a lot of pot talk lately on Beacon Hill, as the House and Senate battle back and forth over whether changes should be made (and which ones) to the law voters approved last fall legalizing recreational marijuana.
But there has also been a lot of chatter at the local level, where communities concerned about the arrival of pot have been moving to bar marijuana retailers from operating within their borders. So far, nearly 30 communities have voted to prohibit retail pot establishments, some permanently and some temporarily.
Most of those communities were consistent, voting against legalizing marijuana last fall and voting to keep out pot establishments this spring. But six communities did something very interesting – they voted for the pot referendum last fall and then voted to bar pot establishments this year. The seemingly contradictory votes suggest one of two things. Either the voters in the municipalities were OK with pot but didn’t want it sold in their backyard, or they changed their mind about marijuana in the space of just a few months.
‘It is too risky’: Marijuana group says PNC Bank to close its accounts amid fears of a DOJ crackdown
By Nicole Lewis
June 20, 2017
One of the nation’s leading marijuana legalization groups says PNC Bank has notified it that it will close the organization’s 22-year-old accounts, a sign of growing concerns in the financial industry that the Trump administration will crack down on the marijuana business in states that have legalized it.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) lobbies to eliminate punishments for marijuana use but is not involved in growing or distributing the drug — an important distinction for federally regulated banks and other institutions that do business with such advocacy groups.
Marijuana Legalization Proponents Deny Health Harms Just Like the Tobacco Industry Did
THE BLOG 03/18/2013 By Sue Rusche
Sooner or later, marijuana legalization proponents will have to take responsibility for grossly misleading the public about the health harms of pot. To persuade people to legalize, they have to perpetuate the myth that marijuana is harmless.
Sound familiar? Denying harm is a tactic used by tobacco companies for 50 years to keep people smoking—and buying—cigarettes. Here’s just one of thousands of examples:
“Charges that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease are outrageous and medically unsubstantiated,” Anne Browder, assistant to the president of the Tobacco Institute which represented the tobacco companies, told the Miami Florida News in 1976.
White Paper: What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers
The purpose of National Families in Action’s White Paper is to educate employers about how
marijuana laws are changing, how these laws will affect employers’ ability to conduct business,
and what employers can do to protect that ability.
Click here for a copy of "What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers.
Marijuana Violence and the Law
Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy
Marijuana is currently a growing risk to the public in the United States. Following expanding public opinion that marijuana provides little risk to health, state and federal legislatures have begun changing laws that will significantly increase accessibility of marijuana. Greater marijuana accessibility, resulting in more use, will lead to increased health risks in all demographic categories across the country. Violence is a well-publicized, prominent risk from the more potent, current marijuana available.
We present cases that are highly popularized storylines in which marijuana led to unnecessary violence, health risks, and, in many cases, both. Through the analysis of these cases, we will identify the adverse effects of marijuana use and the role it played in the tragic outcomes in these and other instances. In the analysis of these cases, we found marijuana as the single most common, correlative variable in otherwise diverse populations and circumstances surrounding the association of violence and marijuana.
Click here for the full report from the Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy.
Teen Marijuana-Related Visits to Colorado ER Rose Rapidly After Legalization
May 8, 2017
A Colorado children’s hospital reports visits by teens to its emergency department and satellite urgent care centers more than quadrupled after the state legalized marijuana, a new study finds.
Researchers examined the hospital’s records for 13- to 21-year-olds between 2005 and 2015.
The common element in all these suicides or self-inflicted deaths was marijuana. Marijuana was the factor, not alcohol or other drugs……in all cases.
Marc Bullard, 23, Colorado
Brant Clark, 17, Colorado
Tron Dohse, 26, Colorado
Luke Goodman, 23, Colorado, traveling from Oklahoma
Daniel Juarez, 18, Colorado
Shane Robinson, 25, California
Rashaan Salaam, 41, Colorado
Levy Thamba, 19, Colorado, traveling from Wyoming
Hamza Warsame, 16, Washington
Andy Zorn, 31, Arizona
Four of these victims — Warsame, Thamba, Juarez, Clark — had experienced pot-induced psychosis during the period leading to their deaths. Juarez was an outstanding soccer player who got very high with a friend the night he stabbed himself 20 times. The suicide report showed he had 38.2 ng of marijuana in his blood, eight times the limit for Colorado drivers. Toxicologists tested him for methamphetamine and other substances, but the results turned out to be negative. Although the death occurred in 2012, CBS News obtained the police report in 2015 and made it public at that time. Juarez´s sister claims he would not have killed himself had he not gotten stoned that night.
Suicidal thoughts can come on very quickly while under the influence in individuals who were not previously suicidal. The suddenness of suicidal ideation means that intervention may be impossible.
Dohse’s death was determined to have been an accident. Unable to find his keys, Dohse climbed up the apartment building and fell. The toxicology report 27.3 ng. of marijuana in his blood, but no other drugs or alcohol in his system. As his sister told CBS, she believes marijuana impairment led her brother to make poor decisions the night of his death.
Medical cannabis company PharmaCann cashed in recently on one of its cultivation facilities, and in the capital-strapped word of medical marijuana, it likely won't be the last to turn to its real estate for funds.
The Illinois-based company sold its cultivation facility in Hamptonburgh, N.Y., to Innovative Industrial Properties, the first publicly traded medical cannabis-focused real estate investment trust, or REIT, and then signed a 15-year lease for the building, with options to extend.
Sale and lease-back deals have long been a way for companies to access capital. Sears Holdings, for example, has used the strategy in recent years as it struggles to stay afloat amid changing consumer demands.
But it's a financing method still new to the burgeoning medical cannabis space. In the slow-growing industry capped by state regulations and avoided by most banks, access to capital doesn't come around often. The sale and lease-back option could make sense for other Illinois cannabis companies as well.
The December deal freed up $30 million for PharmaCann, intended to help the company expand to other states and finance operations until “we begin to earn more money than we spend,” said Jeremy Unruh, general counsel and compliance chief. PharmaCann had poured millions of dollars into its New York facility, buying the property, constructing the building and recruiting talent from the pharmaceutical industry. It was looking for ways to liquidate the cash it had tied up there, Unruh said.
Girl Scouts USA wrote a cease and desist letter to an Oakland, California, marijuana dispensary. They asked the company to stop using the name Girl Scout Cookies for this product. The Girl Scouts organization has exclusive rights to the name under trademark law.
As a result the Magnolia Oakland dispensary pulled this product of their shelves right away. Kudos to the Girl Scouts for fighting back.
In Nevada, a Las Vegas company, Shango, has been selling under the name Gurl Scouts. So far, the Girls Scouts haven’t taken any action against that company, as of this time. The parents. however, are very upset, reports a Nevada TV station.
Although the organization didn’t take legal action in Las Vegas, they released the following statement:
We were recently made aware of local dispensaries using the Girl Scouts trademarked name, or a variation of our trademarked name, to sell their products. In January, dispensaries in California were issued a cease and desist letter from Girl Scouts of the USA for trademark infringement and have removed the product in violation from their shelves. “Girl Scout Cookies” is a registered trademark dating back to 1936. Our famous cookies are known the world over for their delicious flavor and we do not want the public to be confused by unauthorized products in the marketplace.
Cannabis boosts risk of stroke and heart attack, independent of tobacco, new study finds
By Henry Bodkin
9 MARCH 2017
Cannabis itself is harmful to cardiovascular health and increases the chance of early death regardless of related factors such as smoking tobacco, new research reveals.
Data taken from more than 1,000 US hospitals found that people who used the drug had a 26 per cent higher chance of suffering a stroke than those who did not, and a 10 per cent higher chance of having a heart attack.
The findings held true after taking into account unhealthy factors known to affect many cannabis smokers, such as obesity, alcohol misuse and smoking.
They indicate there is something intrinsic about cannabis which can damage the proper functioning of the human heart.
"Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in these patients, so that leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related cardiovascular side effects,” said Dr Aditi Kalla, Cardiology Fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and the study's lead author.
Kilmartin: Black market won’t disappear if RI legalizes pot
By Steph Machado, Nancy Krause and Neil Remiesiewicz
March 9, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Hoping to present “united opposition” to legalized recreational use of marijuana, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and several law enforcement and community agencies Thursday morning said they are pushing back against the proposed regulation of the drug.
Last month, state Rep. Scott Slater introduced a bill that would regulate and tax recreational marijuana use by adults; Massachusetts legalized it in November and pro-legalization groups say it’s time for Rhode Island to catch up to its neighbors. A bill is also pending in the Senate.
Kilmartin, a second-term Democrat, hosted about a dozen speakers from medical professionals to legislators during the more than hour-long news conference that touched on a variety of possible “unintended consequences” from legalizing marijuana.
Kilmartin sought to debunk a common argument, that allowing regulated marijuana into retail stores would shrink or eliminate the black market for the drug.
“All you need to do is look at cigarette sales in the state of Rhode Island and the enforcement of untaxed cigarettes,” Kilmartin said. “That is a black market that exists with a legal tobacco product.”
Hopkinton Police Chief David Palmer, president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, said legalization would lead to even more drivers getting behind the wheel while high, and could result in “injury, death, and destruction” on state highways.
Don’t let Big Marijuana prioritize profits over public safety
By Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet
March 8, 2017
Patrick Kennedy is a former U.S. representative from Rhode Island and an honorary adviser of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Kevin Sabet is a former White House drug policy adviser and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.
Last month, White House press secretary Sean Spicer sent shock waves through the nascent — but growing — marijuana industry when he indicated that the Trump administration intends to pursue “greater enforcement” regarding non-medical marijuana. The comments drew quick rebuke from elected officials in several states that have begun experimenting with pot legalization.
Certainly, we shouldn’t lock people up for marijuana use or low-level offenses, or revert to a “Reefer Madness”-style war on drugs. But we should also recognize legalization for what it is: the large-scale commercialization and marketing of an addictive — and therefore highly profitable — substance.
Many marijuana advocates have one goal in mind: to get rich. What we need, therefore, is a federal enforcement strategy that not only promotes human rights and social justice, but also actively targets and deters the special interests driving Big Marijuana.
Newswise — Four states legalized recreational marijuana in November, nearly doubling the number of states where recreational pot is legal. As more states consider joining them, a range of arguments for and against legalization is swirling around the national conversation.
But which of these arguments resonate most strongly with Americans? It's the arguments that support legalization, according to a new study co-authored by Jeff Niederdeppe, associate professor of communication in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
More than 60 percent of people surveyed in the study said they supported legalization because they agreed with arguments saying it would increase tax revenues, create a profitable new industry, reduce prison crowding and lower the cost of law enforcement.
In contrast, fewer people in the study agreed with anti-legalization arguments emphasizing the damage the policy would have on public health. These reasons included that legalization would increase car accidents, hurt youth’s health, expand the marijuana industry, increase crime and threaten moral values.
“The pro arguments are really practical: ‘Give us money and jobs. Keep our prison from being overcrowded, make law enforcement’s job easier,’” said Niederdeppe. “And the con arguments are a little more ideological: ‘This is going to lead to big industry and crime and undermine the fundamental values that make America great.’”
Marijuana legalization could complicate Maine National Guard recruiting
March 7, 2017
By Kevin Miller, Staff Writer, Portland Press Herald
Brig. Gen. Douglas Farnham is concerned that Maine's vote to legalize marijuana could lead more young people to use the drug, which could pose a challenge if they want to join the military.
The head of the Maine National Guard is worried that marijuana legalization could render more people ineligible for service even as a new tuition assistance program is helping recruit and retain members.
Brig. Gen. Douglas Farnham told lawmakers that the recent statewide vote to legalize recreational marijuana use for those 21 and over could “complicate” the life choices made by young people. Farnham expressed concerns that marijuana’s new status will make it “even more difficult for many to make good choices” and said lawmakers face a challenge as they work to legalize a drug that is still prohibited under federal law.
“As I told you last year, 70 percent of 17- to 24-years-olds are ineligible for military service due to education, police record, drug use, physical standards or obesity,” Farnham said during a joint session of the Maine House and Senate. “Kids are making poor choices that negatively affect their opportunities in life. So now we have legalized marijuana just to complicate those choices. Marijuana use complicates enlisting in the military, can affect the ability to get security clearances and cannot be used by military members.”
Medical marijuana carries infectious bacteria and fungi that can pose a life-threatening risk to cancer patients who use pot to help with side effects of chemotherapy, a new study suggests.
The study was initially prompted by the death of a man using medical marijuana to combat the side effects of cancer treatment. His death was believed to be caused by a fungus from his marijuana, his doctor said.
Study researchers tested 20 different samples of dried marijuana obtained from Northern California dispensaries and found several potentially dangerous pathogens in the samples.
The germs found by the researchers wouldn't harm an average pot user, but could be potentially fatal to people whose immune systems have been suppressed, said lead researcher Dr. George Thompson III.
"We found basically everything that, if you're really immunosuppressed, you don't want," said Thompson, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, Davis.
Immune-suppressed patients — people who have undergone chemotherapy, for example, or those with a disease that attacks the immune system — are warned to avoid many things that could carry potentially harmful bacteria or fungi, Thompson said.
When Hamza Warsame fell six floors to his death in December, 2015, the social media was abuzz with suggestions of a hate crime against the Muslim teen. Warsame, an immigrant from Somalia, was living in Seattle and had been invited to the 21-year-old classmate’s apartment.
However, the news came out that Warsame had smoked marijuana for the first time and had a psychotic reaction. He may have tried to jump to the next building’s roof. It wasn’t legal for a 16- year-old to smoke marijuana. But Washington is a marijuana state, and his 21-year-old classmate had bought it legitimately at a dispensary. (Signs along the highways of Washington warn that it’s illegal to buy or give alcohol to those under age 21. There should be similar warnings for marijuana.)
Warsame’s death was from smoking today’s high potency ganja, not the edibles. At least two young men, Luke Goodman, 23, and Levy Thamba, 19, killed themselves in Colorado after eating marijuana edibles which made them psychotic. In Colorado, edibles first went on sale for recreational purposes beginning in January, 2014. Many people read about New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s experience with marijuana. A mother also wrote a New York Times column about that marijuana chocolate bar that put her son on suicide watch.
Less well known are the stories of Brant Clark and Daniel Juarez, featured on a CBS News Report of May, 2015. High potency pot has been the norm in Colorado since the early 2000s. Psychosis and hallucinations occur quite frequently. These teens became psychotic and killed themselves — before Coloradans voted to legalize recreational marijuana.
Tron Dohse was a young adult featured in the same evening news report that reported about Clark and Juarez. He overdosed on marijuana and fell to his death while trying to climb a building.
As one Colorado resident said, “If residents had known the horror story of why Daniel Juarez death in 2012, they never would have voted to legalize.” (Juarez’s photo is on top of the page.)
More Recent Suicides
More recently, there were the marijuana-related suicides Marc Bullard and Rashaan Salaam in Colorado. (These are the stories that made the news, so we don’t mention recent suicides from pot not in the news.) Salaam was 41, a former Heisman Trophy winner. He had a promising football career until 1999, when he lost his energy and began spending time smoking pot. He never got his life back and when he died there was 55 ng. of THC in his blood.
Like Salaam, Marc Bullard was living in Colorado at the time of his death. The Texas native had been a high school valedictorian, a successful college student and had landed a dream job. However, he had moved to Colorado and was doing dabs. In his journal, he recorded the downward spiral of depression and his inability to stop doing marijuana dabs. He was 23.
A landmark study published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal, September, 2014, tracked teenage marijuana use in Australia and New Zealand. The subjects were tested for a variety of outcomes by age 30. The evidence showed that consistent early use below age 18 is connected to 7x the risk of attempted suicide before age 30.
Not all suicide attempts are successful. But it is shocking and traumatizes a family when someone attempts suicide. Parent have written of these events and how it affects their families, I wish We had Never Moved Here and My Son’s Psychiatric Surprise.
It’s believed that people on the spectrum don’t get hooked on alcohol or other drugs. New evidence suggests they do.
. . . Overall, an autism diagnosis doubles the risk of addiction, the researchers found. Elevated risk is concentrated among those with an IQ of 100 or above. But across the spectrum, ADHD is a great multiplier of risk: Among those with autism and intellectual disability, having ADHD increases the risk of addiction fourfold; among those with an IQ in the typical range or above, ADHD increases the risk eightfold.
First Time Marijuana Use Can Result in Crippling Mental Illness
On February 2, 2017, Psychiatrist.com published the case of a 20-year old man who went into psychosis from first time marijuana use. The paper reveals: “Several first-time, non-chronic cannabis users have presented to our clinic with psychosis or thought disorders lasting months after first- or second-time cannabis use.” The authors work at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Why do some people have a predisposition for psychosis and schizophrenia from marijuana use? It can’t entirely be explained coming from a family with history of mental illness. Another case study of a young man with bipolar had no family history for mental illness. His diagnosis of bipolar disorder seems uniquely connected to the marijuana use. These cases are familiar to families involved with Parents Opposed to Pot.
Some research suggests that those with the c/c variant of the AKT1 gene are more susceptible to schizophrenia if they use marijuana. Those with the Val/Val or Val/Met variants of the COMT gene appear more likely to be susceptible than those with the Met/Met variant of COMT. Other variables include age of starting to use pot, frequency of use and the strength of the marijuana.
Seriously, how many young people know their AKT1 and COMT gene variations before they start using marijuana? And there are many additional genetic factors, yet to be isolated, that clearly contribute to susceptibility in others.
Why isn’t NORML, Marijuana Policy Project or Drug Policy Action educating youth about these hidden risk factors? It can ruin someone’s life if they use marijuana and it turns out they are one of the unfortunate. NORML has always known of this link to schizophrenia. Drug Policy Action dismisses at current science with an evasive explanation on their website.
A comprehensive study from Finland suggests the risk with marijuana for a chronic schizophrenia spectrum disorder from marijuana use is far greater than with any other drug.
Anyways, genetics isn’t foolproof either. Many women still get breast cancer even if they don’t have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene variations known to raise susceptibility. The best option for avoiding a mental health disorder related to marijuana is complete avoidance of marijuana.
Currently, the average strength of marijuana sold in Colorado and Washington is more than 20% THC. This means it is 5-10 times stronger than the marijuana of the ’70s and ’80s. One Washington hospital announced last April that it has 1-2 new psychosis patients every day. Legal, regulated markets increase rather than decrease the risk.
"Sessions pushes tougher line on marijuana," by POLITICO's Josh Gerstein:
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions, long an outspoken opponent of drug legalization, is signaling he will continue to toe a tough line against marijuana as the nation's top lawman even though a growing number of states are moving to legalize or decriminalize pot. 'Most of you probably know I don't think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,' Sessions said during an exchange with reporters at the Justice Department."
Why is there no compassion for the families whose children began a descent into mental illness that began with marijuana?
There is tremendous compassion for those children with seizures who try cannabidiol (CBD). For example, Alexis, an 11-year-old girl who speaks on behalf of an extract she uses to treat seizures, is a superstar. It is heart-warming to know that she has been helped. Alexis has a wonderful heart and is charming. More recently she has been working with a group that insists the inclusion of THC for seizure medication.
The marijuana industry hopes for political gains by promoting Alexis’ story. The public needs to give equal consideration to the families whose children died because of marijuana. Some have told their stories on blogs such as MomsStrong.org and Parents Opposed to Pot.
Dark Side of the Miracle Cure
Furthermore, there a dark side to this “miracle” drug cure.
Some of the children who initially get help from CBD have bad luck later. Lita Pawliw’s daughter died on February 3, 2017. It’s heartbreaking. In 2015, the province of Alberta relented in letting her little girl use the CBD instead of the prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. While pharmaceutical medicines made her dull and lifeless, her family discovered that CBD made her lively and fun. The online petition to pay for funeral expenses did not explain how she died.
The fact that CBD treatments for seizures sometimes backfire is a message that needs to get out to the public. Whenever you use the term “medical marijuana,” teens think the marijuana that gets you high is harmless. For the subset who goes into marijuana psychosis, marijuana can be lethal. Those making money from selling CBD aren’t required to give the warnings that pharmaceutical companies must give. Their treatment is a fad and hasn’t met the long-term test of time. Do people realize that the Ketogenic Diet has a higher success rate than CBD?
Point Out the Dangers of High-THC Pot
The product that helps Alexis’ seizures should not be called marijuana. It is predominately cannabidiol (CBD), one of more than 60 cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. The extract she takes is suspended in olive oil. It is derived from marijuana, but it’s not “just a plant.”
Alexis takes a mixture that has 15 parts CBD to one part THC. Today, most marijuana sold in dispensaries and in the black market is just the opposite. THC, which produces the high in marijuana, is manipulated to produce the high potency pot of today. In California, when doctors give recommendations for medical marijuana, they typically don’t specify any particular proportion of CBD and THC. This neglect has damaged many minds, minds of young people who had previously functioned at a very high level.
The potent marijuana of today frequently triggers episodes of psychosis, and which can lead to permanent mental illness. “Medical marijuana” continues to destroy the brains of young people, some of whom have been treated by quack doctors. Doctors in New York report episodes of young people who suffered from psychosis after using marijuana just once or twice.
Back in the ’70s, when there were equal parts THC and CBD, people were less likely to develop psychosis. (A landmark study on low-THC marijuana from Sweden determined a person could use 50 times before they were at risk for psychosis. ) With most high-THC marijuana of today, the risk is higher. The public doesn’t understand the difference between the pot of the ’70s and the pot of today. It’s time for television doctors, such Dr. Phil, Dr. Gupta, Dr. Drew and Dr. Oz, to expose the truth about THC.
With edibles and dabbing done today, marijuana is far more dangerous than it was in the ’70s. This is why it essential that the public stop confusing CBD with marijuana. It is also important that people know that not every type of epilepsy is helped by CBD.
CBD Oil is Available Throughout USA
Alexis’ seizures began at age 7. Although Alexis and her family moved from Texas to Colorado, CBD sold as “hemp oil” is available throughout the country. “Charlotte’s Web,” which was featured on a CNN show by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is available throughout the country because it’s considered Hemp Oil. Charlotte’s Web and Haleigh’s Hope — which Alexis uses — is CBD, not “a plant.”
Doctors with The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado can explain the challenge of giving any THC to children. They also explain the difference between cannabidiol and whole marijuana. Why can’t those who bring Alexis’ story to the public explain it properly? They argue that CBD only, such as the Epidiolex offered by GW Pharmaceuticals out of Great Britain, is not enough. We caution that any THC in a minor could be brain damaging.
The public has a right to know that some children have died after the parents believed it was a miracle drug.
We challenge the marijuana investors and industry to stop calling CBD oil “medical” marijuana. We also challenge them to submit their products through the FDA approval process, and to stop lying about “patients” going to jail.
People are basically uneducated on the differences between CBD and most marijuana, despite Dr. Gupta’s explanations in his TV special. Since celebrity doctors have promoted the upside of CBD, it’s time to explain the downside of marijuana. It’s time for celebrity doctors to educate the public about how THC can damage the brain.
Dr. Gupta should also review the National Academy of Sciences Report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids released in January. It concluded marijuana may provide “modest” medical help for three conditions: nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, spasticity with MS and chronic pain. Unlike the promoters of Alexis’ treatment, the report does not endorse marijuana is effective in the treatment for seizures.
Counseling Parents and Teens About Marijuana Use in the Era of Legalization of Marijuana
The only studies that have been published on the use or efficacy of medicinal marijuana in children and adolescents have been limited to its use in the treatment of refractory seizures. (6,7)
The adverse effects of marijuana have been well documented. Numerous published studies have shown the potential negative consequences of short- and long-term use of recreational marijuana in adolescents.8 These consequences include impaired short-term memory and decreased concentration, attention span, and problem-solving skills, all of which interfere with learning. Alterations in motor control, coordination, judgment, reaction time, and tracking ability have also been documented. These effects may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries among adolescents, especially those who drive after using marijuana. Negative health effects on lung function associated with smoking marijuana also have been documented9; in addition, longitudinal studies linking marijuana use with higher rates of mental health disorders, such as depression and psychosis, recently have been published, raising concerns about longer-term psychiatric effects.8,10 Secondhand marijuana smoke can also be detected in adults who are passively exposed, and new data also suggest that secondhand marijuana smoke may be harmful to children.11 A recent study found that in an inpatient sample of infants admitted for respiratory compromise, 1 in 6 had detectable traces of marijuana in their systems. (12)
The adolescent brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex areas that control judgment and decision-making, is not fully developed until the early 20s, raising questions about how any substance use may affect the developing brain.(8,13–15)
Can Sobriety Tests Weed Out Drivers Who've Smoked Too Much Weed?
January 25, 20176:34 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
For decades the same test has been used to convict drunk drivers.
Police ask a driver to stand on one leg, walk a straight line and recite the alphabet. If the driver fails, the officer will testify in court to help make a case for driving under the influence.
But defense lawyers argue, science has yet to prove that flunking the standard field sobriety test actually means that a person is high, the way it's been proven to measure drunkenness.
So, as attorney Rebecca Jacobstein argued to the Massachusetts high court, the tests shouldn't be allowed in evidence.
"If there's reliable science, reliable science gets to come in," Jacobstein argued. "It's just that unreliable science does not."
Prosecutors like attorney Michelle King don't agree. They argue that rapidly advancing science does prove field tests' reliability.
"Three investigations have come to light and those are the most important for your honors to look at at this point," King said in court.
What makes the stakes so high here, is that police have few alternatives; they do not yet have reliable roadside toxicology tests that can say for sure if someone's too high to drive in the way a breathalyzer or blood test can show if someone's too drunk.
Margaret Haney, a professor of neurobiology at the Columbia University Medical Center says testing a person for alcohol intoxication is a breeze in comparison to testing a person to determine if they are high. As she explains, marijuana is fat soluble, so traces of its main ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can show up in blood long after a person has sobered up.
"That just tells you somebody has smoked," Haney says. "But you don't know if they smoked an hour ago or if they smoked a week before or two weeks before."
It used to be that police could always fall back on arresting a driver for possession, but now that marijuana is legal in many states, including Massachusetts, officers worry they'll be faced with more stoned drivers and fewer ways to stop them.
Marijuana for morning sickness can harm your unborn child
By Will Boggs MD
December 19, 2016
(Reuters Health) – Pregnant women who use marijuana to treat their nausea may be harming their unborn children, according to a warning from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
“Although more research is needed, there is strong reason to believe marijuana could be harmful to fetal development,” NIDA director Dr. Nora D. Volkow told Reuters Health by email. “Women who are pregnant should avoid using marijuana, even though it might seem like a 'natural' solution to their nausea.”
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Volkow and associates from NIDA in Bethesda, Maryland cite studies that show a greater risk of anemia and lower birth weights, and a higher risk of neonatal intensive care unit admission for infants, when women use marijuana during pregnancy. These children are also more likely to have developmental problems later on.
Despite these risks, marijuana use by pregnant women appears to be rising. According to a related report, the proportion of pregnant women who reported using marijuana during the past month rose from 2.37 percent in 2002 to 3.85 percent in 2014.
Here’s one story. As personal and painful as it is to relate, I write this account hoping that efforts to legalize the use of recreational marijuana will be defeated.
My second son, Chris, had an outstanding secondary school career. As the youngest student in a class of 315 students, he was the valedictorian. At spring honors day, he received the American
chris-photoHistory prize, the best peace essay, a state and national scholastic writing award, the best student in mathematics award, AP Calculus award for the highest score and the Student Leadership award. But he was no nerd. He was President of the Student Council and Co-captain of the wrestling team. He had a ton of friends and he loved to backpack, kayak and rock climb. My only worry about him was his lack of fear in tackling any physical challenge.
On a holiday break in his first year at Stanford, he came home and went out with some of his friends. About a half hour later, he came running back home in a state of absolute panic. This fearless kid was terrified and in a state I hardly recognized. He thought the woods were surrounded by FBI agents and that a high school football star was trying to rape him. It turned out that the kids who picked him up were smoking marijuana. Evidently, this was not Chris’ first time. With all his accomplishments, he always tried to be one of the boys and smoking weed was what they did. I felt a tremendous sense of guilt because I hadn’t thought that it was necessary to talk about drug use with my own boys.
That night was a marker for his steady mental decline which continued even after he ceased using marijuana. Within two years, he was exhibiting full-blown schizophrenia. In his first of six hospitalizations, the doctor told us that he had a severe case and we should expect his mental acuity and his social affect to decline. The positive news according to the doctor was that Chris was high functioning enough that the decline could be tolerated. He was wrong.
The next ten years were not pretty. This thoughtful, intelligent, winsome child became extremely paranoid and sometimes violent. He heard voices continually and his thoughts became completely disordered. Once a promising writer, his journals show a steady progression from cogent essays to paragraphs and sentences that don’t make sense to jumbles of meaningless word combinations. Hospitalizations and attempts to medicate him had no effect.
At the age of 28, perhaps in a moment of lucidity recognizing what had become of him, he took his life. Although there will never be any proof that marijuana was the cause of his schizophrenia, I believe that the first panic episode I witnessed was a precursor and initiator of his illness. This is certainly consistent with the scientific studies which suggest the correlation between early marijuana use and schizophrenia.
Proposition 205 would imprint on young people that recreational marijuana use is without risk. No wonder that so many social agencies, medical professionals, state officials and business groups oppose its passage.
I am sure that many people smoke marijuana on a limited basis with no apparent ill effects. However, there is ample scientific evidence that marijuana use by teenagers whose brains are in the developmental stage are at risk for psychotic events which may be long term. There is also evidence that long-term use by adults can also lead to mental impairment issues. For anyone who is interested, I can share a bibliography of over 60 scientific articles addressing the risks that early marijuana use poses.
Regular cannabis use could damage eyesight, study suggests
Research could ‘highlight the neurotoxic effects of cannabis use on the central nervous system as a result of how it affects retinal processing’
Ian Johnston Science Correspondent
December 8, 2016
Regularly smoking cannabis may damage users’ eyesight by triggering an abnormality in the retina, a new study has found.
Researchers in France tested 28 cannabis smokers and 24 people who did not use the drug to see how well their retinal cells responded to electrical signals.
A small but significant delay was found in the time taken for the signals to be processed by the retina of the marijuana users by comparison with the control group.
“This finding provides evidence for a delay of approximately 10 milliseconds in the transmission of action potentials evoked by the retinal ganglion cells,” the researchers wrote in the JAMA Ophthalmology.
Op-Ed: This will be the next marijuana capital of the world
December 16, 2016
This year marked a turning point for marijuana, both as a cultural movement and as an industry. Polls show a record percentage of Americans now favor legalization, and most of us already live in a state with some form of legal cannabis. California, home to more than a tenth of the U.S. population and the sixth largest economy in the world, just approved recreational marijuana. In 2017, expect the momentum to grow with further mainstreaming of cannabis and the cementing of the industry.
Los Angeles will emerge as the marijuana capital of the world. The financial industry has Wall Street, the tech industry has Silicon Valley, and the cannabis industry will soon have Los Angeles. No disrespect to Denver, but Los Angeles is about to come out of the shadows and steal the spotlight.
By some estimates Los Angeles's medical cannabis market is already worth close to $1 billion, larger than Colorado's entire recreational market. Unfortunately, most of that business operates in the shadows today. But that is about to change.
In early 2017, the city is expected to pass an ordinance that will clear the path for a proper licensing program and pave the way for a robust recreational market. Surrounding cities are joining in with programs of their own that will support cultivation, production and lab facilities.
Investors have taken notice too, and capital is flowing to fund local ventures. Meanwhile, California's state treasurer recently launched a working group to address the cannabis industry's banking challenges. Expect to hear big news out of Los Angeles in 2017.
United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Wednesday set new cannabis extract laws by amending the Schedule I Controlled Substances Act to include tighter regulations for marijuana extracts, including cannabidiol (CBD).
In the new drug code titled “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” the DEA says it is “creating a separate code number for marihuana extract with the following definition: ‘Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.’ Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”
This means CBD and all other extracts derived from the cannabis plant (psychoactive or not) will come under Schedule 1 drugs, like heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy, and cannot cross state lines. Any person currently licensed to produce and handle marijuana extracts is required to apply for a modification of their registration by Jan. 13, 2017, the new document says.
Massachusetts tiptoes into pot legalization; OK to smoke, not to sell
By Scott Malone
December 15, 2016
Massachusetts on Thursday became the first state in the densely populated U.S. Northeast to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a step that advocates say could help spread the drug's acceptance across the United States.
The state is one of three where ballot measures legalizing recreational use of the drug passed on Nov. 8, along with California and Nevada, while voters in Arizona rejected it and a Maine ballot is still being recounted.
The Massachusetts measure legalizing use of the drug by adults 21 and older in private places passed by 54 percent to 46 percent, easily overcoming the opposition of prominent state officials in both parties.
Most Teen Smokers Also Turn to Alcohol, Drugs, Study Finds
Use of multiple substances seems to be more common than thought
SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release
MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. teen smokers -- even those who only light up occasionally -- also use other drugs, a new study suggests.
Of the 176 teen smokers in San Francisco who took part in the study, 96 percent said they'd used at least two other substances besides cigarettes.
In most cases, those other substances were alcohol, marijuana and other tobacco products. However, 16 percent reported the use of harder drugs, such as cocaine, hallucinogens and Ecstasy, or the misuse of prescription medications.
Mount Sinai Researchers Find Signs of Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Exposure in Children
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2016
Contact: David Slotnick
Mount Sinai Press Office
Mount Sinai Researchers Find Signs of Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Exposure in Children
Newswise — (New York – December 7, 2016) –– Children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke show measurable amounts of the drug in their bodies, a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has found. The study was published in the journal Pediatric Research.
The study found that when young children are exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke, measurable amounts of primary metabolite of the active component in psychoactive chemical Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) appears in samples of their urine. Because earlier analytical methods were developed to measure biomarkers of marijuana in primary users of the drug, a new, more sensitive analytic method was developed and used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to quantify the trace biomarkers resulting from secondhand marijuana smoke exposure.
“This shows that, like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is inhaled by children in the presence of adults who are using it,” said Karen Wilson, MD, Debra and Leon Black Division Chief of General Pediatrics, and the Vice-Chair for Clinical and Translational Research for the Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “In areas where marijuana use is legal, or common, education is needed to counsel parents on the dangers posed to their children by secondhand smoke.”
For the study, urine samples were collected from 43 babies between the ages of one month and two years who were hospitalized in Colorado with bronchiolitis, and their parents were asked to complete a survey about marijuana smoking habits. The samples were analyzed, and levels of biomarkers for a marijuana metabolite (COOH-THC) were recorded. COOH-THC was detectable in 16 percent of the samples, at concentrations between 0.04 and 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of urine – lower than would be seen in a primary user. This percentage was consistent with the number of parents who self-reported marijuana usage in the survey.
“Parent reported screening questions in areas where marijuana is legal is a helpful first step,” said Dr. Wilson. “While we do not know yet whether this exposure poses a health risk to children, this study highlights the urgency of further investigation.”
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.
The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the “Honor Roll” of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in "Best Children's Hospitals."
For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org/, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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10 SERIOUS RISKS FOR YOUTH WHO USE MARIJUANA
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the US and world. Use of marijuana by American youth has surpassed the use of tobacco, and is on track to overcome the use of alcohol in the next few years.
The main concern with cannabis legalization should be with how it will negatively affect children, adolescents and young adults.
One troubling piece of evidence comes from the national Monitoring the Future study, which shows that perceived harm from using marijuana is decreasing among US youth.
Less perceived risk is negatively associated with use. That means the more youth believe that marijuana is harmless, the more likely they are willing to use it.
In addition, legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults increases access to cannabis products by underage youth and children by illegal or accidental means.
All Americans should be concerned about the increasing potential for marijuana harm among youth resulting from the effects of legalizing marijuana use on its availability, acceptability, and myths about its harmfulness.
Click here for the 10 key youth marijuana use risks everyone needs know.
CLEARING THE HAZE
The Colorado Springs, Colorado newspaper The Gazette kicks off a four-day perspective series, "Clearing the Haze," that examines health, social, regulatory and financial issues associated with the world's boldest experiment with legal marijuana.
"... The ugly truth is that Colorado was suckered. It was promised regulation and has been met by an industry that fights tooth and nail any restrictions that limit its profitability. ”
- Ben Cort, Director of Professional Relations for the Center for Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital
A DANGEROUS MIX
AAA research suggests legalizing marijuana for recreational use poses risks to traffic safety
This election year, voters in five states will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use. Among them are California with Proposition 64 and Maine with Question 1. Any states that do will join the four others where the drug is already legal for recreational use. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed cannabis use by drivers in one of those states, Washington, and found that the proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had recently used marijuana more than doubled after Washington legalized the drug for recreational use. In addition, there’s currently no easy way to test whether a driver is impaired by marijuana: Unlike alcohol, it can’t be determined by breath or blood tests.
Student Asked Attorney General if Marijuana is a Gateway to Heroin
When Attorney General Loretta Lynch went to Kentucky last week to address the heroin epidemic, a high school student asked if marijuana is a gateway to heroin addiction. The Attorney General never denied that marijuana may have an influence, but the marijuana lobby claimed she said ‘marijuana is not a gateway drug.’ Her implication was that opiate pain pills may have the most direct link and immediate link to heroin addiction. (Heroin is cheap right now and it’s harder to get opiate pain pills today.)
Certain biologists, addiction specialists, ONDCP director Michael Botticelli and parents are most capable of answering this question. Traditionally marijuana, alcohol and tobacco are considered gateways to other drugs. Under many circumstances, teen marijuana experimentation leads to the usage of other harmful drugs, including those that cause toxic overdose. Scientific studies on the drug have shown its ability to damage brain circuitry. It numbs the reward system, sending users on a search for a stronger high. Peer influence or personality traits can spiral into the use of drugs beyond marijuana. Here are some reasons why marijuana tempts someone to open the gate and try other drugs.
Marijuana advocates dismiss the gateway “theory,” but they also deny that marijuana affects different people very differently. It is not part of their agenda to accept or acknowledge these differences.
Cannabis Advertising on Prime-Time TV a Reality Thanks to this Bold Activist and Entrepreneur
July 20, 2016
by Alan Brochstein, CFA
Advertising is a huge challenge for companies in the cannabis industry, with television opportunities extremely rare. One activist and entrepreneur who is seeking create the biggest cannabis media blitz since “Reefer Madness” is Kerri Accardi, the President of 420MEDIA, which is creating a prime-time show on medical cannabis that will air in multiple markets with advertising opportunities for cannabis companies.
The Dark Side of Medical Marijuana's Miracle Elixir
by Amanda Chicago Lewis
Certain compounds in cannabis have serious medical potential for everyone from cancer patients to children suffering from seizures. But patients and parents have no way to distinguish the snake oil salesmen from the trustworthy companies.
Now that 38 states have legalized some form of cannabis, many people assume the plant’s therapeutic uses are being carefully regulated, dosed, and studied. This is not the case. Marijuana is still illegal everywhere under federal law, which prevents the agencies that would traditionally provide oversight from getting involved. Consumers have no way to know for sure what they are actually buying.
The DEA has released a new report showing how Hash labs are becoming the new meth labs. In this new report they outline how Colorado's legalization is not only responsible for these labs existing, but also how the state has no way to enforce them. The Denver office is reporting that Amendment 20 and Amendment 64 are helping to create these hash labs because of the language in regards to personal grow limits.
"There is no mechanism at the state-level to document or regulate home grows, even large ones. This has led to a proliferation of large-scale marijuana grow operations in hundreds of homes throughout the state." says the DEA report. They also say that Loopholes in Amendment 20 and 64 have led to unfettered production in private residences throughout the state. Amendment 20 alone allows patients to possess up to six plants unless more are recommended by a Physician. In 2016 it wasn't uncommon for a Physician to recommend 75 plants or more, which lead to the license suspension of 4 Doctors this month. Amendment 20 was pretty much set up with no regulatory system put into place to track who was growing the marijuana or where it was going, which partnered with the excessive grow amounts, lead to a good portion of this marijuana to be transported out of state for illegal sales.
50-year study finds causal link between cannabis and subsequent violent behavior
Posted Mar 20, 2016
R. Douglas Fields Ph.D., The New Brain
New research published on-line in advance of print in the journal <em>Psychological Medicine</em>, concludes that continued use of cannabis causes violent behavior as a direct result of changes in brain function that are caused by smoking weed over many years.
Researchers have long debated a possible link between use of marijuana and violent crime. In contrast to alcohol, meth, and many other illegal drugs, the mellowing effects of cannabis seem unsuited to promoting violent behavior. However, ample previous research has linked marijuana use to increased violent behavior. The sticky problem in such studies are the many confounding factors involved in interpreting this correlation. It is very difficult to determine whether any statistical correlation between marijuana use and violent behavior are causally linked, or instead the two are associated through some other factor, such as socioeconomic status, personality traits, or many other variables that are related to the propensity to use marijuana. Moreover, the causal relation between smoking pot and violent behavior could be in exactly the opposite direction. That is, individuals who are involved in violence or who commit criminal offenses may also be people who are more open to using marijuana. After all, marijuana is an illegal substance in most places, so people with antisocial personality traits and those with tendencies toward lawlessness may be the type of individuals inclined to be more open to obtaining and using the illegal substance. Not so, conclude neuroscientist Tabea Schoeler at Kings College London, and her colleagues, "Together, the results of the present study provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to cannabis and subsequent violent outcomes across a major part of the lifespan." Let's examine the evidence provided by this new study.
State not tracking lobbying by marijuana companies
Scott Kraus, Contact Reporter, The Morning Call
In the first quarter of 2016, Vireo Health spent $30,000 lobbying state officials on the issue of medical marijuana.
It was a critical time when state lawmakers were drafting legislation and negotiating the details of what would eventually become Act 16 of 2016, the Medical Marijuana Act.
The company is a player in the medical marijuana industry, operating production facilities and dispensaries in New York and Minnesota and recently won a grower/processor license in Maryland. Its CEO has said the company is interested in getting into the business in Pennsylvania and has looked at sites in the Lehigh Valley.
But unless you know that, there's no way to know that's what Vireo was doing.
The company's $30,000 expenditure was lumped in with $4.4 million in direct lobbying communication reported that quarter under the broad topic of "health care" in the state's lobbying disclosure database, which is designed to shed light on the amounts being spent to influence state policy.
It didn't show up when the Department of State, which oversees the state's lobbying disclosure system, ran a search of a reporting database for medical marijuana-related activity over the last four quarters at The Morning Call's request.
That search turned up one lobbying company and three principals that reported lobbying lawmakers on the issue of medical marijuana over the last 12 months. The Morning Call's own look at lobbying by companies connected to the marijuana industry turned up eight additional entities in the first quarter of 2016 alone.
How much has been spent trying to tilt the playing field for a potentially lucrative but also controversial medical marijuana industry that is in its infancy in Pennsylvania? It's impossible to know.
Legalized pot is making America’s lower class poorer and less responsible
By Naomi Schaefer Riley
August 20, 2016
Pot for the poor! That could be the new slogan of marijuana legalization advocates.
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. There are now 25 states that permit the use of marijuana, including four as well as the District of Columbia that permit it for purely recreational use.
The effects of these new laws have been immediate. One study, which collected data from 2011-12 and 2012-13, showed a 22 percent increase in monthly use in Colorado. The percentage of people there who used daily or almost daily also went up. So have marijuana-related driving fatalities. And so have incidents of children being hospitalized for accidentally ingesting edible marijuana products.
But legalization and our growing cultural acceptance of marijuana have disproportionately affected one group in particular: the lower class.
A recent study by Steven Davenport of RAND and Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon notes that “despite the popular stereotype of marijuana users as well-off and well-educated . . . they lag behind national averages” on both income and schooling.
Low cost, flavors, convenience turn teens on to vaping: study
HEALTH NEWS | Aug 8, 2016
By Jilian Mincer
Young people try electronic cigarettes out of curiosity about the devices and alluring flavors that range from cotton candy to pizza, but keep vaping because of their low cost, according to a study released on Monday.
The report published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that some of the reasons prompting teenagers to try the battery-operated devices, which heat liquids typically laced with nicotine to deliver vapor, help to predict ongoing use.
The most likely draws are the cost, which is much lower than for combustible cigarettes, and ability to vape in places where smoking may be banned, according to the study led by Yale School of Medicine professors. Costs can vary widely, depending on the brand and state cigarette taxes, but savings can add up to thousands of dollars a year for the average smoker, according to various vaping industry estimates.
The ongoing Connecticut-based study was based on surveys in two middle schools and three high schools in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014. About 340 of the 2,100 students surveyed had used e-cigarettes.
Colombia’s New, Legal Drug Barons Focus on Medical Marijuana
By EZRA KAPLAN
August 4, 2016
RIONEGRO, Colombia — Like many drug barons in Colombia, Federico Cock-Correa wants to sell his product globally. Just 15 miles outside Medellín, Mr. Cock-Correa is looking to replace vast acres of flowers with marijuana plants, with plans to export the harvest.
But unlike the brutal heroin and cocaine trade that once flourished nearby, his operation has the government’s stamp of approval.
Last year, President Juan Manuel Santos spearheaded an overhaul of Colombia’s 30-year-old drug laws, which formally legalized medical marijuana for domestic use. Crucially, the new law also allowed the commercial cultivation, processing and export of medical marijuana products — like oils and creams — although not the flower, the part of the plant normally rolled into a joint.
Officials hope the move will put a dent in Colombia’s drug trafficking business by creating a legal opportunity in an industry historically controlled by the black market. The authorities believe the new law will also help attract investment and give the economy a lift, though it will take several years before the returns on the investments become clear.
Medical marijuana grows under strict conditions as industry expands
In a warehouse in Joliet, hundreds of marijuana plants sway under high-intensity lights, taking in carbon dioxide-rich air, sucking up a constant feed of nutrients and bristling with buds.
Like Olympic athletes, the plants are rigorously trained and intensively pampered. Tiny predator bugs patrol the surface of the vegetation, hunting down any pests. Workers prune stems and leaves to put all the plants' energy into buds that produce the drug's euphoric and medicinal effects. The process churns out 200 pounds of high-grade pot every month.
The grow house at Cresco Labs is one of 19 cultivation centers in Illinois authorized by the state to produce medical cannabis. The facilities generally had been closed to the media until Wednesday, when reporters were allowed an unprecedented tour of the growing operation.
The look inside the state's secretive program comes as the struggling medical marijuana industry in Illinois is poised to grow. Last month, for the first time, the state added two new medical conditions — post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness — to the list of about 40 that qualify patients to buy the drug.
To address doctors' concerns that federal law still prohibits the distribution of marijuana, lawmakers also changed the statute to allow physicians to certify patients as having a qualifying medical condition without having to risk their licenses by vouching for the drug's medical benefits.
And in court, recent rulings are forcing state officials to reconsider adding other new conditions such as migraine headaches and chronic post-operative pain.
Though Illinois has one of the most restrictive programs in the nation with only 9,000 patients, they spent about $3 million on the drug last month.
Industry leaders are hopeful that expanded access will translate into more patients and a more sustainable program.
Charles Bachtell, founder and CEO of Cresco Labs, said a consultant estimates there will be more than 100,000 patients in Illinois, comparable to Colorado's medical cannabis population, by year three of the pilot program that began when the first licensed dispensaries opened in November.
California initiative draws fire for opening the door to TV ads that promote pot smoking
July 31, 2016
Nearly a half-century after tobacco ads were kicked off television in the United States, an initiative in California would take a first step toward allowing TV commercials promoting pot to air alongside advertisements for cereal and cleaning products.
Proposition 64, which is on the November ballot, would allow people age 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and would allow pot shops to sell cannabis for recreational use.
The initiative also includes a provision that could someday allow cannabis sellers to advertise their products in print ads and on digital sites and radio and television stations, but would “prohibit the marketing and advertising of non-medical marijuana to persons younger than 21 years old or near schools or other places where children are present.”
Television ads are not likely to appear soon, even if voters approve the initiative. There are other impediments to pot ads hitting the airwaves in California, including the fact that cannabis is still seen by the federal government as an illegal drug.
Still, the possibility that television commercials will some day pop up featuring people smoking marijuana has been seized on by opponents of the ballot measure, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
“It rolls back anti-smoking advertising protections we’ve had for decades and allows marijuana smoking ads in prime time, on programs with millions of children and teenage viewers,” Feinstein said this month in announcing her opposition to Proposition 64.
Health officials are also concerned. The American Heart Assn. of Greater Los Angeles has not yet taken a position on the initiative, but its board president, Dr. Ravi Dave, said it would be “tragic” if television was opened to ads for smoking marijuana.
“We view marijuana advertising in the same light as cigarette and e-cigarette advertising — we don’t want to see smoking re-normalized, and exposure to marketing and advertising does that,” said Dave, a UCLA Health cardiologist.
Marijuana lobby finds welcome vibe at the Democratic National Convention
Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY
July 27, 2016
PHILADELPHIA — Marijuana has gone mainstream at the Democratic National Convention this week.
Democratic officials, including Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and his state’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, mingled with pot industry executives Monday night at a reception at a sleek bar downtown, miles away from the convention hall. A day earlier, the Marijuana Policy Project staged a fundraiser to support its work to push new laws around the country legalizing the use of marijuana. And inside the hall Monday, convention delegates endorsed a platform that calls for a “reasoned pathway” for the drug’s legalization.
“This is a very legitimate and very big industry,” said Michael Bronstein, co-founder of the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, which represents about 20 of the marijuana sector’s biggest players and co-sponsored a crowded weeknight party at bop, a Korean-styled bar and restaurant.
“A necessary extension of a legitimate cannabis industry is for the industry to become politically involved,” he said, explaining the group’s presence in Philadelphia.
The rapidly expanding market for legal marijuana is expected to hit $6.7 billion in sales this year, up from $5.4 billion in 2015, according to industry-affiliated ArcView Market Research.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes now is legal in 25 states, and it can be sold for recreational purposes in four more: Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. In the nation’s capital, it’s also legal to possess and cultivate cannabis but retail sales are banned.
Billionaire Richard Branson's unexpected message to Chicago business conference:
Smoke 'em up!
That was the unexpected message for thousands of budding entrepreneurs who paid to come to Chicago's McCormick Place on Tuesday morning hoping to hear business tips from laid-back British billionaire Sir Richard Branson.
The 66-year-old Virgin Group founder mixed in some unorthodox parenting advice along with his more conventional business bromides.
“If they're going to have a joint, do it with them,” the father of two told conventioneers from the stage. “Don't let them sneak off and do it on their own.”
After a smattering of awkward laughter, Branson felt compelled to add that “I'm on the global drug commission” and that he has been working hard to reinforce the idea that drugs are “a health problem and not a criminal problem,” a message that got a warmer response from his audience.
Branson has made no secret of his occasional marijuana use and has been an advocate for decriminalizing marijuana.
Judge orders state to reconsider medical marijuana for migraines
Brian Nguyen / Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune
In a ruling that could significantly expand the use of medical marijuana in Illinois, a judge has ordered state officials to reconsider adding migraine headaches to the list of conditions that qualify a patient to buy the drug.
Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Rita Novak overturned Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah's denial of a petition to add migraines to that list.
The judge ordered Shah to reconsider evidence presented to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board before its members voted to recommend approval of marijuana to treat migraines.
The court ruling came in response to a suit filed by a man whose name was kept secret because he already has been using marijuana to treat his headaches, his attorneys said. Since adolescence, the middle-age man has suffered migraines up to three times a week, lasting from several hours up to three days, attorney Robert Bauerschmidt said.
Why Colorado Marijuana Businesses Suddenly Have an IRS Problem
By Will Yakowicz
Moneybox A BLOG ABOUT BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS
JULY 22 2016
The IRS appears to be harshing the mellow of some 30 cannabis companies in Colorado.
That’s according to tax lawyers, accountants. and business owners in the state, who say the federal agency is auditing the cannabis entrepreneurs for tax years 2014 and 2015, possibly because they failed to fill out form 8300—a document that businesses file when they make cash deposits over $10,000. Some companies are also having issues with tax code 280e, which was created for drug traffickers and does not allow for normal business deductions.
Whether the audits are civil or criminal is unclear, according to tax attorney James Thorburn of Thorburn Walker LLC, who is representing some of the business owners. One audit letter obtained by Inc. was sent from the IRS’s fraud group. “When you see something about criminal investigations and fraud, it typically is not a civil audit,” he says.
However, Thorburn says that when he questioned an IRS agent about the specific department, the agent said he used “inappropriate letterhead” and is no longer part of the fraud group. Still, “I am telling my clients that there is potential for criminal charges,” Thorburn says.
Long-Term Marijuana Use Changes Brain's Reward Circuit
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
18 June 2016
Chronic marijuana use disrupts the brain’s natural reward processes, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.
In a paper published in Human Brain Mapping, researchers demonstrated for the first time with functional magnetic resonance imaging that long-term marijuana users had more brain activity in the mesocorticolimbic-reward system when presented with cannabis cues than with natural reward cues.
Researchers studied 59 adult marijuana users and 70 nonusers, accounting for potential biases such as traumatic brain injury and other drug use.
Study participants rated their urge to use marijuana after looking at various visual cannabis cues, such as a pipe, bong, joint or blunt, and self-selected images of preferred fruit, such as a banana, an apple, grapes or an orange.
Researchers also collected self-reports from study participants to measure problems associated with marijuana use. On average, marijuana participants had used the drug for 12 years.
When presented with marijuana cues compared to fruit, marijuana users showed enhanced response in the brain regions associated with reward, such as the orbitofrontal cortex, striatum, anterior cingulate gyrus, precuneus and the ventral tegmental area.
The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
How Legalized Marijuana Is Sweeping the U.S.—in One Map
by Tom Huddleston, Jr.
JUNE 29, 2016
Colorado’s legal marijuana sales grew more than 40% to nearly $1 billion in 2015, creating more than $135 million in revenue from taxes and fees that the state put toward school construction and other public projects. But, as Fortune reported, an increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits and the persistent black market has dampened some public support for legal pot in Colorado.
Still, there seems to be no stopping the rising tide of legal pot in the U.S.—despite, of course, the fact that the drug remains very much illegal on the federal level. As the map below shows, legal cannabis is spreading across the US, whether it be in the medical or recreational form, or both.
Already, 25 states have legalized medical marijuana, while four states—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—have legalized recreational pot, as has Washington, D.C.
Click here to read the rest of the article and access the map.
BICYCLING CAN’T BE SAFE WITH STONED DRIVERS ON THE ROAD
JULY 10, 2016
EDITOR, Parents Opposed to Pot
The Richard Tom Foundation honors a bicyclist who was killed by a stoned driver on April 26, 2015, in a double fatal crash. A homepage for the foundation says “supporting the safety and adventure of cycling for all.” The driver had 36 nanograms of THC in his system, but it’s hard to get across how dangerous stoned driving is while marijuana proponents advocate for legalization. (The crash was in Vermont, where legislators finally decided against legalizing pot this year.)
The number of bicyclists hit and killed by stoned drivers, or critically injured, is growing. Of course it happens most frequently where marijuana is legalized or where there is medical marijuana. Congressman Earl Blumenauer is a big advocate for bicycling, a healthy activity at odds with the marijuana businesses he supports.
The Hidden Costs of Marijuana Use in Colorado: One Emergency Department’s Experience
Kenneth Finn, MD, President Springs Rehab, PC
Rochelle Salmore, MSN, RN, NE-B, Nurse Scientist, Penrose St. Francis Health Services (retired)
Purpose: This study aims to assess potential health care costs and adverse health effects related to cannabis use in an acute care community hospital in Colorado, comparing study findings to those medical diagnoses noted in the literature. Little information is available about specific hospital health care costs, thus this study will add to the knowledge gap and describe charges and collections from visits of these patients in one hospital’s Emergency Department (ED).
Objective: Review diagnoses of cannabis users visiting a local ED and outline the potential financial and health effects of these patients on the health care system.
Design: An Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved retrospective observational study of patients seen in the ED from 2009 to 2014 with cannabis diagnoses and positive urine drug analyses (UDA) matched with hospital billing records. Randomized patient records were reviewed to determine completeness of documentation and coding related to cannabis use.
Setting: An acute care hospital in one city in Colorado. The city has nearly 100 medical marijuana dispensaries, but has not legalized recreational cannabis use. The city decided to not allow recreational stores in city limits as they were allowed to make that determination as a result of Amendment 64, which allowed municipalities to determine if they wanted recreational marijuana in their town. As of this publication, more than 70% of Colorado’s municipalities have opted out of recreation marijuana sales.
Participants: Subjects seen through the ED who had both a diagnosis code listing cannabis and a positive UDA for cannabis. Exclusions were subjects with UDA for cannabis but also tested positive for other substances, subjects who had cannabis diagnosis but no UDA result or those who had no UDA but did have a cannabis diagnosis.
Conclusion: Subjects seen in the ED had similar diagnoses as those reviewed in the literature, confirming the serious side effects of marijuana use. During the study period, the study hospital incurred a true loss of twenty million dollars in uncollected charges after allowing for contractual obligations. While adverse health effects have been described in the literature, there is little data on the financial impact of marijuana use on the health care system. This study demonstrated an increasing number of patients who are seen in the ED also have used cannabis. These patients are not always able to pay their bills, resulting in a financial loss to the hospital. The authors encourage the collection of hospital financial data for analysis in the states where medicinal (MMJ) and/or recreational marijuana is legal.
Click here for a copy of the article on The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice website.
Click here to access this notice on the SAMHSA website.
Secondhand pot smoke can give you more than just a contact high
The Sacramento Bee
BY PETER HECHT
Matthew Springer, a researcher in cardiovascular disease, was attending a Paul McCartney concert at AT&T Park in San Francisco in 2010 when he took particular note of the “haze of smoke over the whole audience.”
Springer, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, had studied the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on heart and vascular function. But this smoke was marijuana, a fact that McCartney noted from the stage as the performer commented on the familiar herbal-scented San Francisco air, Springer recalled.
“There were all these people who wouldn’t have tolerated people next to them smoking cigarettes. But it was OK with marijuana,” he said.
Springer, who spoke April 21 at the UC Center in Sacramento, said the concert haze and aroma inspired a research curiosity: What is the impact of secondhand marijuana smoke on blood vessel function?
This week four Senators introduced the the MEDS Act to streamline the process of approving any medicine derived from the cannabis plant. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina introduced the Marijuana Effective Drug Studies Act (MEDS) of 2016.
The MEDS Act offers comprehensive, responsible solutions instead of “medicine by ballot initiative,” or the poorly-designed CARERS Act.
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii explains: “The MEDS Act will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options.”
Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said: “The MEDS Act is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to remove unnecessary barriers that will give scientists the ability to study the biochemical processes, impact, dosing, risks and possible benefits of cannabidiol and other components of the marijuana plant.”
As Smart Approaches to Marijuana which supports the bill explains, the bill:
*Enables more research on marijuana by creating a faster, more streamlined process for obtaining approval from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to conduct research, including the ability to amend and supplement research proposals without reapplying. Currently, researchers who want to conduct research on marijuana must interface with several federal agencies and engage in a complex application process that can take a year or longer must start from scratch if they make any changes to their research proposal;
*Eliminates the burdensome requirement of some DEA field offices that marijuana be kept in bolted safes – a requirement not possible in many research and clinical settings – and codifies current DEA regulations that allow marijuana to be stored in securely locked, substantially constructed cabinets; and
*Requires the licensing of marijuana manufacturers for the purpose of valid scientific and clinical research and drug development and establishes manufacturing licenses for the commercial production of FDA-approved medical marijuana products.
Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said. “Despite state laws, raw marijuana (smoked or ingested) is not medicine, and has never passed through the rigorous FDA approval process to ensure the health and safety of patients. The plant’s components should be studied so those in need can access any therapeutic benefits while knowing dosage, side effects, and contraindications. And more broadly speaking, the MEDS Act upholds the important, basic principle that all medications-including marijuana-based drugs-should go through the scientific process and accessed through legitimate doctors.”
The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Preventive Medical Association, American Pain Society, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the American Academy of Pain Medicine in support of the MEDS Act.
We salute the bipartisan nature of this bill. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Rep. Sam Farr of California, Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Rep Andy Harris of Maryland are expected to introduce a similar bill.
The MEDS Act represents a great improvement over the CARERS Act. Three Senators presented the CARERS Act to garner media attention last year. It was a dramatic gesture. We live in a time when too many people believe that anything derived from nature, such is poison ivy or snake oil, must be safe because it is “from nature” or “a gift from God.” Sometimes these purveyors of natural medicine make promises that cannot be kept.
Many states do not keep track of doctors and others who prescribe “medical” marijuana for nebulous reasons. Other states, such as New Jersey and Illinois, have highly controlled program.
Psychiatric problems that have ballooned in states that give out medical marijuana without reasonable medical purpose, but that can be addressed at a later date. For this reason a doctor in Florida, is urging residents in his states not to pass Amendment 2. “The easy access to marijuana has led to exacerbations of chronic health conditions, particularly mental health disease. It is difficult to fully quantify the worsening of psychosis, anxiety, depression and other mental health diseases, but easy access to marijuana and other narcotics makes a bad condition worse.” warned Dr. Allen Weiss, head of the Naples Health Care System.
Click here to read the article on the Parents Opposed to Pot website.
Gambling on weed
By:E.ROYAL EMERSON | Staff writer
SIREN - Stating that he wanted to make amends for a previously unsuccessful tribal business venture, St. Croix Chippewa Tribal Council member Elmer “Jay” Emery, speaking to the Burnett County Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, June 14, outlined tribal council plans to transform its vacant fish hatchery in Danbury into an operation for manufacturing, producing and distributing cannabis oil.
According to Emery, beginning a decade or more ago, when he previously served on the tribal council, and extending out over years, the St. Croix Chippewa invested $36 million on its St. Croix Fisheries facility. The venture failed, closing down after a dispute with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and EPA over discharge of hatchery water into the federally protected St. Croix River watershed. The facility has since sat vacant for a number of years.
Cannabis oil, formally known as Cannabidiol, is a derivative of the marijuana plant. On April 16, 2014, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a bill allowing CBD oil for treatment of children suffering from intractable epilepsy. CBD oil contains only trace amounts of the high-inducing compound known as THC.
The scope of the state law is narrow. The measure reclassifies CBD from the state’s list of prohibited substances only in instances where a physician or state-licensed pharmacist dispenses it explicitly for the treatment of a seizure disorder, and only after having first secured approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The state has not legalized growing marijuana for medical purposes and current federal law prohibits transportation of marijuana or marijuana-derived products across state lines, even where the cannabis contains but trace amounts of THC.
The narrow scope of state law makes it most difficult, if not legally impossible, for those suffering from epileptic seizure disorders in Wisconsin to obtain CBD oil.
Claims of tribal sovereignty
According to Emery, and other tribal representatives attending the HHS meeting, irrespective of existing federal or state law, the St. Croix Chippewa have a sovereign right to produce and distribute CBD oil.
Besides Emery, other tribal nation members attending the meeting included tribal Chairman Lewis Taylor, St. Croix Chippewa Intergovernmental Affairs representatives Michael Decorah and Ed Songetay, and Duane Emery, of tribal housing and economic development.
“Over the past years I put together a deal for CBD oil. My company works in Washington and Oregon state for the past three years. I see people suffering from diseases that can be controlled through CBD oil,” Emery told HHS committee members as he outlined tribal council plans to transform the fish hatchery into a CBD oil manufacturing and distribution operation.
“I got attorneys hired from Colorado and Washington, D.C.,” Emery said. “I got lobbyists from Oregon and Washington. As a sovereign nation we have a right to provide for our membership. We are a sovereign nation. We could say we are doing this (CBD oil) and let’s go into litigation. And we’d spend a ****load of money doing it. Our war chest is $5 million. But if we are going to do it, I want to do it the right way, in cooperation with the county and health and human services. So, we welcome an oversight board … I want to be transparent in everything I do,” Emery said. “This is the only plan that I can see that can recoup the $36 million (invested in the fish hatchery venture). If my plan happens, gaming will be secondary to CBD oil.”
U.S. district attorney for western Wisconsin responds
John Vaudreuil is the U.S. district attorney for western Wisconsin. Prior to his appointment to that position in 2010 by President Obama, Vaudreuil served as assistant U.S. attorney for western Wisconsin since 1980. He knows the area, and its politics, very well.
“Oh boy,” Vaudreuil said in a phone interview when told of the tribe’s CBD oil plans. “I met with the tribe at the old fish hatchery one year ago last spring. I tried to clear up some misconceptions the tribe had with the state (CBD) law. Growing marijuana, distributing marijuana and manufacturing marijuana is against the law. There is no exception in the state of Wisconsin,” Vaudreuil said. “What I impart to all the tribes if they are going to move forward is we should talk about these things. Growing marijuana or processing it will lead to federal prosecution and enforcement action. If we are going to end up in litigation with the tribe, OK, let’s go to litigation. But let’s not do it with somebody in jail.”
The First Big Company to Say It’s Serving the Legal Marijuana Trade? Microsoft.
By NATHANIEL POPPER
JUNE 16, 2016
As state after state has legalized marijuana in one way or another, big names in corporate America have stayed away entirely. Marijuana, after all, is still illegal, according to the federal government.
But Microsoft is breaking the corporate taboo on pot this week by announcing a partnership to begin offering software that tracks marijuana plants from “seed to sale,” as the pot industry puts it.
The software — a new product in Microsoft’s cloud computing business — is meant to help states that have legalized the medical or recreational use of marijuana keep tabs on sales and commerce, ensuring that they remain in the daylight of legality.
But until now, even that boring part of the pot world was too controversial for mainstream companies. It is apparent now, though, that the legalization train is not slowing down: This fall, at least five states, including the biggest of them all — California — will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
So far, only a handful of smaller banks are willing to offer accounts to companies that grow or sell marijuana, and Microsoft will not be touching that part of the business. But the company’s entry into the government compliance side of the business suggests the beginning of a legitimate infrastructure for an industry that has been growing fast and attracting lots of attention, both good and bad.
“We do think there will be significant growth,” said Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft. “As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.”
Microsoft’s baby step into the business came through an announcement on Thursday that it was teaming up with a Los Angeles start-up, Kind, that built the software the tech giant will begin marketing. Kind — one of many small companies trying to take the marijuana business mainstream — offers a range of products, including A.T.M.-style kiosks that facilitate marijuana sales, working through some of the state-chartered banks that are comfortable with such customers.
Microsoft will not be getting anywhere near these kiosks or the actual plants. Rather, it will be working with Kind’s “government solutions” division, offering software only to state and local governments that are trying to build compliance systems.
Youth Perception of Marijuana Harm Decreases as “710” Becomes More Potent
Although marijuana use among youth poses a risk to health, nationally only 1 in 5 adolescents perceived it as such. According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, this misperception among youth exists at a time when marijuana concentrates continue to become more potent, which is cause for public concern. This demonstrates the need to educate young people about various forms of marijuana and their related health consequences and harms.
According to SAMHSA’s Short Report, “State Estimates of Adolescent Marijuana Use and Perceptions of Risk of Harm from Marijuana Use: 2013 and 2014,” in the 12 to 17 age group, approximately 1.8 million youth reported using marijuana in the past month.
Health risks associated with youth marijuana use include poorer education/employment outcomes, cognitive problems, increased likelihood of vehicle crashes, and increased addiction risk.
The Drug Enforcement Agency describes marijuana concentrate as a substance containing highly potent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana). This concentrate is often referred to as oil or “710” (“OIL” spelled upside down and backwards). THC levels in this oil could range from 40 to 80 percent, which is about four times stronger than what is found in a “high grade” marijuana plant.
Using marijuana concentrates is different from smoking marijuana in several ways:
Oil is harder to detect. When marijuana is smoked it causes a distinctive smell. But when oil from the marijuana plant is extracted and concentrated, it is odorless, making it harder to detect, for example, in e-cigarettes or foods. Because of this particular characteristic, it could be harder for parents, teachers, and law enforcement to know when marijuana is being used.
“Vaping is much easier to conceal and it is harder to tell if kids are vaping and getting high,” said David Dickinson, M.A., SAMHSA’s Region 10 Administrator. “Teachers may not have a full awareness of what’s happening and THC overdose is a real concern.”
Oil can be mixed into other products. Oil is also sometimes mixed with other drugs including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine (PCP), creating an even stronger psychoactive response. It is also commonly added to sweet drinks and foods like brownies that appeal to youth, which can lead to high levels of exposure and can have toxic consequences when accidentally ingested.
“It’s not just smoking that concerns us, edibles and drinkables are also really popular with teens and young adults,” said Charles Smith, Ph.D., SAMHSA’s Region 8 Administrator. People eating a brownie containing marijuana, vaping the oil from an e-cigarette, or mixing it with other drugs may not fully realize the potency or effects until they are feeling unwell or even at a point of crisis from overdose.
There are other problems with marijuana use to consider as well:
Additives and other chemicals may be toxic. According to Charles LoDico, MS, F-ABFT, a chemist in SAMHSA’s Division of Workplace Programs, marijuana concentrate can be extracted by using liquid butane, which is a highly flammable carcinogen. In many cases, trace butane remains and, when inhaled, can lead to long-term cognitive impairment and can affect nervous system functioning. And butane isn’t the only potential chemical exposure – pesticides used when growing the plant are also cause for concern.
The Need for More Research
Jon Perez, Ph.D., SAMHSA’s Region 9 Administrator, said “In the case of marijuana, the science lags behind policy and access. That means we do not yet have a full understanding of the health consequences of marijuana, hash concentrates, or what happens when it’s consumed through e-cigarettes.”
Douglas Tipperman, M.S.W., SAMHSA’s Tobacco Policy Liaison, noted that the record growth of smoke shops in recent years coincides with the emergence of the e-cigarette and the legalization of marijuana. He said, “While research is still needed to fully understand the health effects of e-cigarettes at the individual and population level, we also need to consider how marijuana concentrates in e-cigarettes may also pose additional significant health risks.”
Although more data are needed on the impact of marijuana concentrates, it is clear that in order to prevent use by youth, public education and awareness of the potential health risks are critical.
Street Names for Cannabis Extracts & Oils
Butane Honey Oil (BHO)
Pull-and-Snap or Snap-and-Pull
710 (“OIL” spelled upside down and backwards)
To read this article on the SAMHSA website, click here.
New school in Colorado Springs to help kids in recovery excel
By: Debbie Kelley
May 21, 2016
A sober high school?
One could be up and operating in Colorado Springs by January.
A group that wants to start a school for teens who are recovering from addiction to illegal drugs, prescription medications or alcohol is gaining widespread support and making progress.
"High school is a really hostile environment for kids trying to get sober," said Cathy Plush, co-founder of Springs Recovery Connection. The organization provides peer support for individuals and families dealing with addiction.
What typically happens is youths get sent to treatment, then return home and go back to school.
"They often immediately relapse," Plush said. "There's a stigma associated with it, and they don't get the message that it's OK to be well. It's hard enough for adults, let alone kids."
New law could put some medical marijuana dispensaries out of business
Los Angeles Times
May 13, 2016
In 2001, Steve DeAngelo agreed to help a friend by attending the delivery of nearly 200 pounds of marijuana in a Maryland trailer park and verifying the quality of the product. In exchange, DeAngelo said he would get 10 pounds of the cannabis that he planned to distribute to medical marijuana patients in that state, where he lived at the time.
Instead, the police swooped in, and DeAngelo ended up convicted of felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Fifteen years later, DeAngelo runs what may be the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the U.S., but a new law says he will have to get a state license by 2018 — and the state can reject applications from those with drug felonies on their records.
DeAngelo, whose Harborside Health Center in Oakland has annual sales of $30 million, plans to go through the appeal process.
See the most-read stories this hour >>
“My argument is simple: Cannabis should never have been made illegal in the first place,” he said.
Still, industry leaders say the new law could hurt hundreds of growers and sellers who planned to apply for state licenses but who have felony drug convictions on their records.
“It’s a huge issue,” said Casey O'Neill, board chairman of the California Growers Assn., a 500-member group representing cannabis cultivators in the state. “Twenty-five to 30% of our members are in this boat” with felony drug convictions, he said.
House of Representatives Passes Marijuana for Veterans Amendment
Parents Opposed to Pot (www.poppot.org)
May 20, 2016
Allowing Veterans Marijuana for PTSD Ignores all Science
An amendment which will require Veterans’ Administration psychiatrists to allow medical marijuana for veterans with PTSD passed the House of Representatives on May 19. If this law had been in place on February 2, 2013, when Eddie Routh killed Chad Littlefield and Chris Kyle, their families could have sued the VA.
The defendant in the “American Sniper” murder trial, Eddie Routh, was found guilty of murder even though he plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors argued his deadly behavior was brought on not by schizophrenia, but weed. They called it “marijuana psychosis.” He was a veteran, but certainly not the first veteran to go into a raging psychosis after using marijuana. One of Parents Opposed to Pot’s followers begged us for help to save her son.
Congress is choosing to act against the scientific literature, most recently the study from Yale which covered more than 2,000 veterans between 1992 and 2011. For the veterans who used marijuana, there was a worsening of PTSD symptoms and increased violence. Congress is following a course that risks making people who are already fragile more depressed and anxious, and possibly violent.
Marijuana Industry Taking Advantage of Opiate Problem to Entrap More People
Editorial, Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana proponents have a nationwide effort to add opiate addiction to the list of conditions for medical marijuana. They aren’t just saying medical marijuana is a replacement for opiates; they are now pitching it as a medical treatment for opiate addiction. The marijuana industry’s savvy marketing campaign is bigger, trickier and even more devious than Big Tobacco and Big Pharma ever dreamed. Yet people who get addicted to opiates were already addicted to drugs via marijuana.
Mixing marijuana with other drugs is becoming so routine that “drugged and stoned” is a new normal. When Pennsylvania college student Garet Schenker of Bloomsburg University recently died, it was the combination of marijuana wax and Xanax that killed him. References to his death and the toxicology report have been removed from the Internet. Just because another person didn’t die from doing “dabs” and mixing it with Xanax doesn’t mean we shouldn’t warn our children of this dangerous practice.
A new study shows what happens to babies if the mother smokes marijuana during pregnancy
Madeline Kennedy, Reuters
Apr. 8, 2016
Babies exposed to marijuana in the womb are likely to be born smaller than those not exposed, and more likely to need intensive care after birth, according to a new analysis of existing evidence.
Mothers who smoke marijuana while pregnant are also more likely than those who don’t to have iron-deficiency anemia, researchers report in the journal BMJ Open.
“We know that caring for yourself before you become pregnant is one of the best ways to make sure your baby will be born healthy,” said study author Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona’s Department of Health Services in Phoenix.
“This may include taking vitamins including folic acid, making changes to your diet, and not using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs,” Christ told Reuters Health by email.
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs worldwide and in North America, nearly one in eight people aged 15 to 64 years use marijuana, the researchers note.
Yes, Marijuana Kills and This Time it was a 16-Year-Old
May 11, 2016
editor, Parent's Opposed to Pot
There are echoes of Levy Thamba’s death in the story of a 16-year-old student in Seattle who jumped to his death after trying marijuana for the first time. The Seattle Police Department ruled that the death of Hamza Warsame was an accident. He had gone to the 6th floor apartment of an older classmate to work on a project. After having marijuana, he became “frantic,” went out on the balcony and fell off the building.
Hamza Warsame’s death follows that of Levy Thamba (photo above), Luke Goodman and Justin Bondi, youths whose tragic deaths have been linked to marijuana.
Each of these deaths occurred after marijuana was legalized with commercial marijuana sales in Washington or Colorado. Warsame was not old enough to legally purchase marijuana, but his classmate was 21 and had purchased it legally. Last year CBS News Denver did a report on marijuana intoxication deaths which occurred before marijuana became legal in Colorado.
Local doctor lobbies legislature against medical marijuana measure
Meg Farris / Medical Reporter , WWL
NEW ORLEANS - As the topic of medical marijuana makes its way through the legislature, those in favor argue that studies show it treats symptoms of serious and painful illness.
But the National Institute on Drug Abuse says the evidence of its benefits is not enough to give marijuana Food and Drug Administration approval.
And now a local doctor explains why he wrote to every lawmakers to vote against it.
"There is no mistake here, this is not an effort to help sick people," said Dr. Ken Roy, of Addiction Recovery Resources in Metairie.
Psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Roy says he and the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association are against medical marijuana.
"It concerns me because there's no such thing, " he said.
He says there's no useful research showing whole marijuana as effective for conditions it's proposed for. There is no dose, concentration, consistency, purity, or side effect warnings as is required by the FDA for safety and efficacy of all other prescriptions.
Roy says certain useful compounds like THC and cannabinol in marijuana have already been extracted, tested, and purified in four medications. Two are on the market covered by insurance, and two are about to get FDA approval.
Fatal Road Crashes Involving Marijuana Double After State Legalizes Drug
Michael Green, Director, AAA Public Relations
New AAA Foundation Research Also Shows that Legal Limits for Marijuana and Driving are Meaningless
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 10, 2016) – Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. New research also shows that legal limits for marijuana and driving are arbitrary and unsupported by science, which could result in unsafe motorists going free and others being wrongfully convicted for impaired driving. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and these findings raise serious concerns about drug-impaired driving with at least 20 states considering marijuana legalization this year.
The Foundation examined drug tests and fatal crashes among drivers in Washington, a state that legalized marijuana in December 2012. The researchers found:
The percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who recently used marijuana more than doubled from eight to 17 percent between 2013 and 2014.
One in six drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had recently used marijuana, which is the most recent data available.
Denver Public Schools uses video to bust marijuana myth about tax money
by Kent Erdahl
April 27, 2016
DENVER -- Denver Public Schools will consider whether to ask voters to approve a new bond issue in November, but in the meantime, it's using a video to combat what it calls one of the biggest misconceptions about marijuana taxes and school funding.
The video, “How Marijuana Legalization Impacts Denver Public Schools” is aimed at voters who don’t understand the reality of how state excise taxes on marijuana are used.
"I have people asking me all the time, why are we struggling with school funding when we have marijuana taxes? Truth be told, only a portion of the marijuana taxes were dedicated to public schools and only for capital construction,” State Sen. Pat Steadman said.
Colorado pot industry steps up pesticide fight against regulators
By Ricardo Baca and David Migoya
The Denver Post
The Colorado marijuana industry is stepping up its fight against the state's efforts to regulate the application of pesticides on cannabis.
After passing in the state House, a bill that would have codified Gov. John Hickenlooper's November executive order — telling state agencies that any marijuana grown with unapproved pesticides is a threat to public safety and should be removed from commerce and destroyed — died in a state Senate committee last week.
High Times and Agency Unite to Sell Marijuana to Mainstream
By MATT KRUPNICK
MAY 1, 2016
MARIJUANA advocates are teaming up with Madison Avenue to try to make pot palatable to mainstream Americans — and to the advertisers that want to reach them.
High Times, the 42-year-old must-have magazine for the cannabis enthusiast, has collaborated with Sparks & Honey, an Omnicom advertising agency, on a report meant to prompt big-picture thinking in the marijuana industry. The paper, “Rebranding Marijuana,” was released April 20, the unofficial pot holiday.
“Through the slow legal and regulatory processes,” the report noted, “marijuana is opening up opportunities across a variety of industries, most of which have nothing to do with yesterday’s stoner weed.”
The partnership is an unusual step for a mainstream ad agency, which would usually focus on individual brands rather than an entire — and not uniformly legal — industry.
The Addiction Paradigm Shift Away from Heroin to Marijuana
April 19, 2016
There needs to be greater understanding of the nature of addiction with medical practitioners. Prescriptions for opiate painkillers can lead to a dependency that evolves into heroin use which is cheaper and easy to access via the internet.
However, the low perception of harm with youth using marijuana contributes to the heroin epidemic in as much as most people do not understand a) that addiction to heroin and marijuana are essentially the same disease, and b) the THC levels of marijuana (the chemical component that gives the intoxication) are much higher today than in previous time periods.
The ways in which kids are using pot in high concentrations, known as wax/dabs and oils consumed as edibles (cookies, candies, etc.), makes it very addictive and can also cause psychotic breaks.
Marijuana would worsen, not improve, the opiate crisis
By Scott M. Gagnon, MPP, PS-C
April 18, 2016
Back in October 2015, U.S Attorney Thomas Delahanty recruited around 3 dozen professionals from around Maine to sit on the three task forces making up the Maine Opiate Collaborative. The law enforcement, treatment, and prevention task forces were to charged with developing comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to address the worsening heroin crisis. Along with my fellow Co Chair, William Paterson, Substance Abuse Prevention Director at the University of New England, we have convened the prevention task force every two weeks to develop our plan. We have had some of the top prevention, harm reduction, recovery, and medical experts around the table working to create the strategic plan. The work has involved gathering the latest data and latest research on effective prevention approaches to this public health epidemic. Our final plan will be released in early May.
Here is what you won’t find in any of the final recommendations from any of the three task forces; treating opiate addiction with medical marijuana. Yet, tomorrow at the Department of Health and Human Services, there will be a hearing on a petition to add opiate addiction as a qualifying condition for Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program. As I wrote about in a previous article, this legislative session the marijuana industry in Maine has been trying to take advantage and cash-in on the heroin crisis. They have made several unsuccessful attempts to shoe-horn into the various heroin bills, language to add opiate addiction to the list of allowed conditions for the medical marijuana program. This is the next phase in their agenda.
A growing number of states are weighing whether to legalize marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. But for many veterans, the debate is already over.
They're increasingly using cannabis even though it remains illegal in most states and is unapproved by the Department of Veterans Affairs because major studies have yet to show it is effective against PTSD.
While the research has been contradictory and limited, some former members of the military say pot helps them manage their anxiety, insomnia and nightmares. Prescription drugs such as Klonopin and Zoloft weren't effective or left them feeling like zombies, some say.
"I went from being an anxious mess to numbing myself with the pills they were giving me," said Mike Whiter, a 39-year-old former Marine who lives in Philadelphia, where marijuana is illegal. "Cannabis helped me get out of the hole I was in. I started to talk to people and get over my social anxiety."
Others, though, have seen little benefit from the drug. And the VA has documented a troubling rise in the number of PTSD-afflicted veterans who have been diagnosed with marijuana dependence, which some experts say can hamper recovery from war trauma.
Sally Schindel, of Prescott, Arizona, said the VA diagnosed her son Andy Zorn with PTSD after he served in the Army in Iraq. The agency later diagnosed him with marijuana dependence as well as depression and bipolar disorder, she said.
Schindel said her son was using marijuana not for recreation but as self-medication, particularly to help him sleep. He killed himself at age 31 in 2014, writing in his suicide note that "marijuana killed my soul & ruined my brain."
"He told me he found it much harder to quit than he thought it would be," Schindel said. "He'd buy it and smoke it and then flush the rest of it. The next day he bought it again."
The stories of vets like Zorn and Whiter have helped fuel the debate over whether states and the federal government should legalize the drug for PTSD treatment. Lawmakers are increasingly sympathizing with vets like Whiter, despite the lack of scientific evidence. While some limited studies have shown that marijuana helps people manage PTSD symptoms in the short term, another suggested it may make symptoms worse.
Rescheduling Marijuana and other Parts of the CARERs Act
April 4, 2016
by Randy Philbrick
Director, Smart Approaches to Marijuana – Oregon
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug because it lacks any scientific evidence supporting its medicinal value. The pro pot lobby is trying to get Congress to pass the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERs Act). Here is a summary of the proposed CARERs Act:
1. Amending the Controlled Substance Act allowing states to make their own drug policy.
2. Reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II.
3. Allow states to import the drug across state lines.
4. Provide access to veterans by allowing the VA to give the drug to Vets.
5. Expand Opportunity for research
6. Allow banks to work with marijuana businesses.
Debunking CARERs Act, one point at a time
#1 Allowing states to make their own drug policy. 4 states have been allowed to legalize marijuana. 23 states have their own medical marijuana programs. I’d say that’s a big ✔ on that one, wouldn’t you? Now on to......
#2 Rescheduling marijuana. Well, show me the science to prove without a doubt that marijuana is medicinal then we’ll talk. But then we run into the problem of the probability of addiction going up due to the higher potency in marijuana. NEXT!
#3 Allowing states to transport the drug across state lines. What if the state they’re transporting to doesn’t recognize marijuana as a medicine? Do you see the problem here? It looks like this one is a no go too.
#4 The VA is a federally funded facility. They cannot give a federally illegal drug to a Vet. And with the current science we should not be giving a psychoactive drug to a vet with a neurological disorder.
#5 Expand the opportunity for research. You might remember a few articles we used about the current state of the CBD drug Epidiolex? And also the fact that the DEA loosened restrictions on obtaining CBD for these studies. Another ✔ there. Well it’s a work in progress.
#6, If we didn’t have dispensaries there would be no need for this one.
Final thoughts on the CARERs Act
Does Congress have the power to reschedule marijuana? They sure do. However, in the history of the Controlled Substance Act Congress has only ONCE interjected to reschedule a drug. This occurred in 2000 when they rescheduled GHB (the date rape drug)to Schedule I. This was called the Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reed Date-Rape Drug Prohibition Act of 2000. Will Congress reschedule marijuana? Probably not. Here’s another tidbit in regards to #1. The Oregon State Board of Pharmacy rescheduled marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II back in 2010. This is something we planned on discussing with them as well. But if a state doesn’t already have the power to make their own drug policy then how did that happen?
This whole CARERs Act seems like a whole lot of wasted tax payer money to have Congress even consider it. They’re pushing policy that is already in place or causes more harm than good. Hopefully our federal legislators are smarter than the voting public.
Click here to access the Smart Approaches to Marijuana website.
Effort to limit pot's THC count raises questions
Those behind the THC-limiting proposals say they're smart, cautious moves; Opponents say they'll hurt the pot industry
By Ricardo Baca and John Ingold
The Denver Post
A proposed ballot initiative and an amendment to a bill in the state House would cap the THC potency of recreational cannabis and marijuana products at a percentage below most of those products' current averages.
The initiative would limit the potency of "marijuana and marijuana products" to 15 percent or 16 percent THC.
The average potencies of Colorado pot products are already higher — 17.1 percent for cannabis flowers and 62.1 percent for marijuana extracts, according to a state study.
Supporters of the legislation, introduced by Republican state Rep. Kathleen Conti, say they're being cautious until more research has been done on protecting the brain development of adolescents.
"All the studies that have been done on THC levels have been done on THC levels between 2 and 8 percent," said Conti, whose district encompasses parts of Greenwood Village and Littleton. "Most of the marijuana coming in now, the flowers are being rated at a THC count of about 17 percent on average, so this is dramatically over, and we really don't know that we've gotten the true feel on the health risks associated with that marijuana."
Fairfield seeks balance between medical marijuana grower, unhappy neighbors
A registered caregiver growing pot in a house on High Street is at the center of a discussion of whether the town can restrict where medical marijuana is grown.
By Peter McGuire Staff Writer email@example.com | @PeteL_McGuire
FAIRFIELD — Neighborhood complaints about a resident growing medical marijuana at his house have the town seeking a way to solve the problem, but restricting the caregiver isn’t an option.
Some residents of High Street are complaining that a caregiver who moved into their neighborhood in the past year has brought increased traffic, noise and disruption. They say they don’t feel comfortable living near where marijuana is being cultivated.
But Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said Friday that caregivers aren’t businesses, so it makes it difficult to enact an ordinance that would restrict where they are sited or force them to register with the town.
“They are caregivers. You can’t subject them to the same rules as a home business,” Flewelling said. “At this point in time, we are not aware of anything that can be done at a local level.”
Fairfield is one of several areas communities grappling with issues involving medical marijuana businesses and operations.
Vermont legislature on track to be first in U.S. to legalize marijuana
mobile.reuters.com Mar 14, 2016 By Scott Malone
MONTPELIER, Vt. (Reuters) - Liberal-leaning Vermont could become the first U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use through legislation, rather than by voter initiative, in a move that advocates for the drug say could speed its acceptance across the nation.
State representatives this month are set to take up a bill passed by the state Senate in February that would allow adults over 21 to purchase and smoke the drug beginning in 2018.
FDA Sends Warning Letters To Cannabis Companies Over False Claims
www.forbes.com Debra Borchardt
On February 9, the FDA sent out a number of warning letters to companies that make and sell products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a type of cannabinoid found in marijuana. Some of the products that the FDA tested contained no CBD in them at all.
Even more troubling, many of the products claim to be treatments for serious diseases and suggest that patients go into remission once they take the CBD product. The FDA is concerned that patients may believe these claims and delay seeing a doctor and taking approved drugs with a proven track record.
Colorado's $1 Billion Pot Industry Saves Towns as It Sows Mayhem
www.bloomberg.com by Jennifer Oldham March 9, 2016
Taxes generated by Colorado’s $1 billion marijuana industry are keeping some struggling towns solvent even as growing numbers of high-schoolers are getting stoned at lunch, police are coping with a doubling of cannabis-related traffic deaths and doped-up tourists flock to emergency rooms.
About 938 dispensaries, which outnumber Starbucks in Colorado, in 2015 yielded $135 million in state taxes and fees, 44 percent more than a year earlier. Yet as the market enters its third year after voters legalized retail sales in 2012, officials question whether the newfound income outweighs the escalating social costs.
“People here don’t really care for marijuana, but the sales tax from pot is helping us stay afloat,” said Richard Sprague, a town trustee in Empire, 42 miles (67 kilometers) west of Denver, where two dispensaries are replacing revenue lost after antique and convenience stores closed in 2015.
Colorado isn’t alone in making money off pot as it emerges from prohibition. In Washington, where advocates sold voters on legalization as a way to decrease local-government expenses, dispensaries generated $65 million in state taxes in fiscal 2015, about $6 million of which was shared with cities. California may legalize retail sales this year in a ballot initiative that could generate as much as $1 billion in new state and local levies.
A Blunt Force to Crush Floridians’ Opposition to Marijuana
www.sunshinestatenews.com By Bertha K. Madras March 2, 2016 - 12:30pm
The well-funded movement to medicalize marijuana spreading across our nation calls out for caution and restraint. Activists claim that marijuana is a safe medicine but de facto, it is evolving into a gateway for marijuana legalization. The claim conflicts with current science, with intelligent public health policy, with rigorous standards of the drug approval process, and with best practices of medicine.
In 2014, Floridians wisely rejected legalization of marijuana as a medicine by their votes on a ballot initiative. This sensible outcome was shaped by enough funds to educate the public on the realities of this critical issue and to counter misinformation circulating in Florida. But once again, the persistent marijuana industry is knocking on the gates of Florida, this time through legislative action in the Florida state House.
Florida Senator Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, recently introduced an amendment to Florida Bill SB 460. In its original form, the bill limits the potency THC, of the main psychoactive, intoxicating, and addictive substance in marijuana, to 0.8%. The spirit of the bill was to provide access to cannabidiol, a candidate anti-seizure medication that has been essentially bred out of most of the marijuana sold in dispensaries nation-wide. Cannabidiol is not intoxicating, is not addictive, does not interfere with learning and memory, and may even oppose the psychosis induced by THC in susceptible people. In its original language, the bill allows for “low-THC cannabis”, the dried flowers of which contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive and addictive component of marijuana and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD).
The Bradley amendment is a “Hail Mary pass” or a “cloaking device” or a “stealth bomber” –choose your metaphor. It is a furtive attempt to circumvent the decision of sage Florida voters who turned down the medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2014. The original bill wisely set THC levels at 0.8%, which are not generally intoxicating. Instead of referring to low-THC-cannabis, the amendment (line 35 onwards) now refers to low-THC cannabis and/or medical cannabis. By not defining medical cannabis, nor stating limits on THC doses, it opens the floodgates to “anything goes” – unspecified THC levels in marijuana that may range from 0.8 percent to 80 percent. In its current amended form, SB 460 creates a marijuana industry, allowing high potency marijuana and marijuana edibles (cookies, sodas, candy), which are inherently hazardous and without any scientific evidence of medical safety or effectiveness.
If you’re confused by synthetic marijuana, then a series of recent news stories about the drug probably didn’t clear things up. First, the Boston Globe reported that New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones “had a bad reaction to a substance he put into his body” and walked to a nearby police station to get help. That substance, the Globe later explained, was synthetic marijuana. Then last week, police in Washington state reported that another NFL player, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, admitted to smoking synthetic weed in October before getting into a hit-and-run car accident. After the accident, witnesses described Coleman as acting “delirious and aggravated.”
Off the sports pages, you might have seen a story about a group of senior citizens in Pennsylvania who got arrested for running a synthetic marijuana trafficking ring worth more than $1.5 million. Or perhaps you saw the one about a pair of brothers in Milwaukee, ages 12 and 13, ending up in the hospital after smoking some fake pot and having a violent reaction that included foaming at the mouth, “throwing up white mucus,” “talking funny,” and shaking.
These are only the latest data points showing the rise of synthetic marijuana as a staple of recreational drug use in America. Against the backdrop of softening attitudes toward actual marijuana, synthetic weed has attracted a strange coalition of users, including athletes, curious teenagers, and desperate homeless people. Here’s a primer on the drug whose ambiguous legal status and unpredictable side effects have turned it into a bleak cultural phenomenon.
Colorado’s Marijuana Regime Is an Affront to Federalism and the Rule of Law
by Doug Peterson, Attorney General of Nebraska February 23, 2016 www.nationalreview.com
In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (the CSA) was passed with overwhelming majorities in Congress. Its enactment represented, for the first time, the creation of an integrated, comprehensive national drug policy. For nearly half a century, the CSA has stood as the law of the land, marking a consistent and collective recognition that the inherently interstate problem of drug trafficking can only effectively be addressed on a national scale.
The dismantling of this national legal framework by those charged with upholding it began in October of 2009, when President Obama’s deputy attorney general issued memoranda instructing U.S. attorneys to ostensibly ignore enforcement of marijuana laws. The Justice Department’s deliberate inaction unlocked the door for state-sanctioned facilitation of the production, distribution, and retail sale of this illegal substance on a truly industrial scale.
Colorado has since incentivized the growth of a billion-dollar impairment industry that has proven efficient in producing a ubiquitous variety of marijuana products of a potency level that is globally without parallel. Colorado’s experiment in sanctioning this illegal drug has, according to Colorado’s attorney general, failed to curtail the influence of international cartels over the controlled-substances black market within Colorado, leading the federal director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area to declare Colorado “the black market for the rest of the country.”
Whatever may be said of the economic success of Colorado’s impairment industry, it is not a success for the rule of law. Nor has it been anything but harmful and expensive for Colorado’s neighbors, like Nebraska, who continue to interdict illegal marijuana consistent with their own laws and, lest we forget, the CSA.
Colorado’s regulatory scheme, coupled with federal inaction, effectively renders the CSA a nullity when it comes to marijuana. Colorado’s regulatory scheme, coupled with federal inaction, effectively renders the CSA a nullity when it comes to marijuana. How can Colorado’s state-facilitated billion-dollar marijuana industry not conflict with Congress’s nationwide prohibition on marijuana when it has been shown (by federal drug-trafficking reports) that Colorado marijuana reaches a substantial majority of states? It can’t. How can Colorado’s regulations even be said to implicate only purely intra-state activities when they have almost no protections against sales to non-Colorado buyers? They don’t. Did the Framers of the Constitution really intend for unelected bureaucrats to have the power to allow states to circumvent federal law? No chance.
This is why Nebraska, joined by Oklahoma, is seeking a declaration from the United States Supreme Court that Colorado’s marijuana scheme violates the Constitution. Our lawsuit, brought as an original action given its state-versus-state nature, tests whether individual states can effectively nullify federal law. Resolution is needed in the Supreme Court, particularly since the administration — consistent with its actions in so many other areas ranging from environmental regulation to illegal immigration — has abdicated its obligations under the law.
Former Facebook president Sean Parker donates $1 million to marijuana effort
Trevor Hughes USA TODAY February 18, 2016
Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker donated $1 million to an effort to legalize recreational marijuana in California.
Parker is the single largest contributor to the ballot measure, which likely will go before voters in November, according to the California Secretary of State’s office. Backers are collecting the 365,880 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. They have received $1.25 million from other donors, including Weedmaps and the Drug Policy Action committee. The money helps pay for people to collect signatures and for advertising to generate public support.
The ballot measure dovetails with and builds on newly passed California legislation establishing basic ground rules for legal marijuana in the Golden State.
Study Links Marijuana Use to Greater Risk for Developing Addiction to Other Drugs
By Join Together Staff www.drugfree.org February 18th, 2016
A new study suggests marijuana smokers may be significantly more likely to develop an addiction to other drugs and alcohol than people who don’t use marijuana.
People who used marijuana were not more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder, HealthDay reports.
“This new finding raises the possibility that the recent rise in marijuana use may be contributing to the coincident rise in serious harms related to narcotics and other drugs of abuse,” said lead researcher Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University Medical Center.
The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, included almost 35,000 adults who were interviewed three years apart. At the time of the first interview, almost 1,300 used marijuana. After three years, two-thirds of people who used marijuana had some form of substance use disorder, compared with less than 20 percent of people who did not use marijuana in the previous year.
People who used marijuana once or more a month had higher rates of substance use disorders. Olfson noted the study did not prove that marijuana caused other addictions, but said the possibility should be considered.
“In the ongoing national debate concerning whether to legalize recreational marijuana, the public and legislators should take into consideration the potential for marijuana use to increase the risk of developing alcohol abuse and other serious drug problems,” he said.
As Marijuana Sales Grow, Start-Ups Step In for Wary Banks
by Nathaniel Popper
February 16, 2016
When Lamine Zarrad was not at his job as a federal banking regulator in recent months, he was spending a lot of time at Denver’s marijuana dispensaries.
As a federal employee, he could not partake of the pot.
He was there, instead, to pitch the shops on a start-up he has been working on in his free time and is making official this week after quitting his job as a bank examiner at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a division of the Treasury Department.
Mr. Zarrad’s start-up, Tokken (pronounced token), is one of several recently created companies looking to solve one of the most vexing problems facing marijuana businesses in Colorado and several other states: the endless flow of dirty, dangerous, hard-to-track cash.
The State of Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014, joining several other states where the drug has been decriminalized in some form, but Visa and MasterCard will not process transactions for pot dispensaries and most banks will not open accounts for the businesses — leaving dispensaries dealing with a constant influx of cash, and nowhere good to put it.
Tokken and others start-ups, with names like Hypur and Kind Financial, have been putting together software that helps banks and dispensaries monitor and record transactions, with the long-term goal of moving transactions away from cash.
The DEA Investigates Cannabis-Oil Company True North Extracts
Federal agents searched the homes of True North’s owners after its facility was shut down in December.
By Aaron Mesh
February 10, 2016
For more than a year, the Portland company True North Extracts has sold a marijuana product it says is pure, safe and legal.
True North manufactures and sells CO2 oil—a marijuana concentrate made by stripping compounds like THC from the plant using compressed carbon dioxide. Users inhale the gooey, amber oil through vaporizer pens.
True North sells its vape-pen cartridges at medical marijuana dispensaries, advertising its product as free from the chemical solvents in some cannabis oils.
"True North products are designed for anyone looking for a completely clean and gentle experience," the company's website says, "that benefits the mind, body and soul."
But the owners of True North Extracts have been recently waylaid by a traditional nemesis of the marijuana business: the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
A federal search-warrant affidavit shows that DEA agents searched the homes of True North's owners, Michael Andrew "Drew" Dillon and Michael Corby, after the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office shut down True North's oil-extraction facility in Wood Village, saying the warehouse violated building and fire codes.
In the Dec. 23 search-warrant affidavit, DEA agent Laci Larsen said True North Extracts' operators had only enough Oregon Medical Marijuana Program registration cards to supply a handful of patients, yet had produced more than 50 pounds of CO2 oil.
Larsen also wrote she suspected Dillon and Corby of money laundering and endangering human life while illegally manufacturing a controlled substance—both federal felonies.
Why Is It So Hard To Test Whether Drivers Are Stoned?
February 9, 2016
By: Angus Chen
Law enforcement officials would love to have a clear way to tell when a driver is too drugged to drive. But the decades of experience the country has in setting limits for alcohol have turned out to be rather useless so far because the mind-altering compound in cannabis, THC, dissolves in fat, whereas alcohol dissolves in water.
And that changes everything. "It's really difficult to document drugged driving in a relevant way," says Margaret Haney, a neurobiologist at Columbia University, "[because of] the simple fact that THC is fat soluble. That makes it absorbed in a very different way and much more difficult to relate behavior to, say, [blood] levels of THC or develop a breathalyzer."
When you drink, alcohol spreads through your saliva and breath. It evenly saturates your lungs and blood. Measuring the volume of alcohol in one part of your body can predictably tell you how much is in any other part of your body — like how much is affecting your brain at any given time.
That made it possible to do the science on alcohol and crash risk back in the mid-20th century. Eventually, decades of study helped formulate the 0.08 blood alcohol limit as too drunk to drive safely. "The 0.08 standard in alcohol is from decades of careful epidemiological research," says Andrea Roth, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley.
But marijuana isn't like that. The height of your intoxication isn't at the moment when blood THC levels peak, and the high doesn't rise and fall uniformly based on how much THC leaves and enters your bodily fluids, says Marilyn Huestis, who headed the chemistry and drug metabolism section at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Teens Likely to Use Alcohol Before Trying Marijuana or Tobacco: Study
Join Together Staff
January 12th, 2016
Teens are likely to try alcohol before they try either tobacco or marijuana, a new study concludes. The findings come from a study of 2,835 U.S. high school seniors, The Washington Post reports.
The researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Florida examined data from the Monitoring the Future study, an annual survey of teen substance use. The researchers found that teens were less likely to start using marijuana first, compared with alcohol and tobacco.
“Alcohol was the most widely used substance among respondents, initiated earliest, and also the first substance most commonly used in the progression of substance use,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of School Health.
Teens who started drinking alcohol in sixth grade reported significantly greater lifetime illicit substance use, and more frequent illicit substance use, compared with teens who started drinking in ninth grade or later. Teens who had their first drink in sixth or seventh grade subsequently tried an average of almost two illicit substances later. In contrast, teens who didn’t start drinking until 12th grade only tried an average of 0.4 substances.
“Overall, early onset substance initiation, whether that is alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, exerts a powerful influence over future health risk behaviors,” the researchers noted.
The researchers say their findings “underscore the importance of screening for substance use, even among youth enrolled in elementary/middle school. In addition, school prevention programs should begin in elementary school (third grade) and target alcohol use.”
Is risk of state discipline scaring doctors away from medical marijuana?
By Robert McCoppin
February 10, 2016, 7:07 AM
The patients seeking medical marijuana inquire almost daily with Dr. Rahul Khare at his storefront health care clinic in Lincoln Park.
They come with cancer, spinal cord diseases, rheumatoid arthritis. Some have been turned down for a cannabis referral by the doctors they see regularly, not because they might not qualify, Khare contends, but because many physicians are hesitant to refer anyone for marijuana.
Khare, who said he has been writing marijuana referrals for only a few weeks, sympathizes with doctors who don't want to put patients on pot but believes some are unfairly withholding a drug that could bring relief to many.
"Three months ago, marijuana was an illicit drug (in Illinois). If a patient said they were using it, it was my responsibility to put my hand on their shoulder and say, 'I must tell you, it's illegal.' Now — boom! It's a very different mindset for physicians," said Khare, a former Northwestern University physician who now runs the Innovative Express Care clinic in Chicago. "... Patients (I've recommended for marijuana) are so appreciative."
Medical marijuana industry advocates and observers say a dearth of doctors willing to recommend patients is among the hurdles the state's fledgling industry needs to overcome. Some detractors believe Illinois' efforts to make its program stricter than those of other states has created a situation where too much is required of doctors and patients before they can be certified.
That also may be one reason why a single doctor was responsible for writing the referrals for almost one-third of the 3,300 patients who completed the certification application as of last June, according to the state's last annual report on the medical marijuana pilot program. Another doctor was responsible for referring an additional 101 patients, the report said.
State authorities have not identified those doctors or revealed whether they are being investigated. But the state agency that regulates physicians has so far filed medical marijuana-related complaints against four doctors.
GAO Critiques Justice Department for Allowing Failed Pot Experiment
February 1, 2016
Government Accountability Office Takes on DOJ for Failure
Today the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report recommending the Department of Justice (DOJ) implement a specific plan for documenting the effects of marijuana legalization.
The report, which Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) requested, states that DOJ has not “documented their monitoring process or provided specificity about key aspects of it[.]” This lack of specificity includes missing information about “potential limitations of the data [DOJ officials] report using and how they will use the data to identify states that are not effectively protecting federal enforcement priorities.”
When asked about how DOJ is doing at tracking its priorities, the lead GAO author responded, “It’s hard to tell, because DOJ has not documented its plan for monitoring the effects of the state marijuana legalization.” The Department of Justice has been allowing commercialized sales in the marijuana, beginning in 2014, including the very potent edibles. Since December, 2012 for state of Washington, and January, 2013, all penalties for the private growing, possession and consumption of marijuana have been removed, in opposition to federal law and international treaties.
State Drug Prevention Advocates Respond
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, scientists, prevention professionals, treatment professionals and others who are opposed to marijuana legalization. SAM –which has affiliates in 31 states — wants health and science to inform policy. States that have legalized marijuana have experienced a plethora of problems.
From Washington State: “The DOJ’s failure to monitor has given free rein to the marijuana industry’s disregard for Washington State laws,” said Derek Franklin, president of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention. “As a result, illegal, black market dispensaries and home delivery businesses are flourishing, and pot lobbyists are pushing to expand availability closer to schools and parks. It’s a free-for-all.”
From Colorado: “Already, our state agencies are compromised because of their coziness with Big Marijuana. We’re unprepared to monitor outcomes on our own. This report confirms our worst fears that the Feds have been looking the other way while we have been dealing with the consequences,” said Jo McGuire, co-chair of Colorado SAM.
From Oregon: “Knowing that only lip service is being paid to our situation out here – which includes the new marijuana industry spending thousands of dollars on lobbying for rules that are beneficial to them – is more than just a little disheartening — it’s outrageous,” said Randy Philbrick, chair of SAM Oregon.
Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy and tireless advocate for mental health care reform, said: “The lack of accountability of the marijuana industry has been astonishing. From day one, they have put profits ahead of our health and safety. They spend millions lobbying against regulations on advertising that targets children, and rules keeping pot shops away from schools and day care centers. They flood the market with pot candies and sodas that poison children as young as five years old.” Kennedy is a co-founder and Honorary Advisor to Project SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana.
Highlights of the Report
The report also highlights unusual attitudes and behavior by DOJ officials concerning monitoring of the agency’s own priorities concerning marijuana, including that:
“[O]fficials reported that they did not see a benefit in DOJ documenting how it would monitor the effects of state marijuana legalization relative to the August 2013 [Office of the Deputy Attorney General] guidance,”
DOJ field offices “do not consistently enter information” in a “key source of information for monitoring,” thus ensuring that the database “would not provide reliable information regarding the extent of marijuana-related cases,” and
DEA and DOJ officials from California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington reported that they had not sent warning letters to owners and lien holders of medical marijuana dispensaries since DOJ issued August 2013 guidance on marijuana.
Click here to read the article on the Parents Opposed to Pot website.
New type of marijuana could be ‘extremely dangerous,’ expert warns
By David Matthau
December 28, 2015
A new type of high potency marijuana called “Shatter” is now being used by some Garden State residents, according to experts.
Experts are warning that Shatter is dangerous, for a variety of reasons.
Angelo Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, said Shatter is five times more potent than regular pot, and it can easily ignite, because it’s made by combining marijuana and butane gas.
“This is extremely dangerous, there are many home explosions in this process,” Valente said. “So there’s not only concern about the use of this type of a chemical going into a child or a young person’s body, but also the immediate concern about explosions that we might be seeing in the state of New Jersey.”
It’s official (still), the marijuana experiment in Colorado has failed
December 19, 2015
By Scott M. Gagnon, MPP, PS-C
If there has been any doubt that the legal marijuana policy in Colorado has been a failure, new numbers from US Health and Human Services seal the deal. The new 2013-2014 report of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that Colorado is now 1st in the nation for past month use of marijuana amongst 12 – 17 year olds. In the previous 2012-2013 report they were 3rd, in 2011-2012 they were fourth. What’s more, back in 2006, before there was legal retail marijuana, and before Colorado’s hyper-commercialized medical marijuana program, they were way back at number 14. Objectively, legalized commercialized marijuana has created more use of marijuana amongst Colorado youth. You can’t look at these numbers and argue otherwise.
Denver's pot businesses mostly in low-income, minority neighborhoods
After two years of retail marijuana sales, Denver communities of color and lower income say they bear disproportionate number of pot licensees
By David Migoya and Ricardo Baca
The Denver Post www.denverpost.com
Recreational marijuana businesses have proliferated so rapidly in some of Denver's poorer neighborhoods during the past two years that city officials are exploring ways to disperse future growth more evenly.
The pot boom in neighborhoods such as Elyria Swansea, Globeville and Northeast Park Hill in north Denver, and Overland to the south, wasn't exactly unexpected, but it still has residents and community groups concerned.
Maine bankers give cold shoulder to medical marijuana industry
Dispensaries and caregivers are often forced to do business in cash because federal law raises the threat of penalties against banks.
By Gillian Graham Staff Writer
UNITY — Once a month, Dawson Julia walks into Wal-Mart to pay his $3,000 electric bill in cash.
His medical marijuana caregiver business occupies a prominent location in a 14,000-square-foot warehouse in Unity, and he gives public testimony to the Legislature on marijuana issues. But when it comes to managing the finances of his business, Julia leans heavily on cash transactions and tries to use his bank account as little as possible.
Tim Smale, owner of the Remedy Compassion Center medical marijuana dispensary in Auburn, said his business has been bounced from bank to bank over the last few years – including one bank he wouldn’t name that, because of his involvement with marijuana, shut down a personal checking account he had used for 20 years
Pot group calls for Holiday Inn boycott after one hotel files anti-cannabis suit
By Ricardo Baca, The Cannabist Staff
Feb 20, 2015, 11:07
One of the largest cannabis policy groups in the U.S. is calling for a boycott on all Holiday Inns after one Colorado hotel filed a lawsuit on Feb. 19 meant to “end the sale of recreational marijuana in this state.”
As we reported yesterday, the Holiday Inn in ski-town Frisco, Colo., claims its business is already suffering because of a recreational marijuana shop it says is planning to open 75 yards from the hotel’s front door.
“Many of its guests are youth ski teams and families with children,” the lawsuit says. “Many parents and coaches will avoid booking with a hotel that is within a short walking distance and direct sight of a recreational marijuana store and grow facility.”
Now the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project is fighting back with a call to boycott all Holiday Inns and a petition encouraging the local hotel operator to withdraw the suit.
Maine study group recommends THC blood-level limit for marijuana-using drivers
It also makes other impairment proposals to legislators as the state prepares for a possible vote to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.
By Gillian Graham Staff Writer
The Legislature is being urged to pass a law setting a blood-level limit that determines when someone is driving under the influence of marijuana.
Members of a study group made the recommendation Tuesday. They were split, however, on what level of THC in the blood would show impairment, with some members saying the scientific community is divided on the issue and uncertainty could lead to false convictions.
How to deal with impaired drivers is likely to become a more pressing issue as Maine considers joining four other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. A group is collecting signatures to get a proposal to legalize recreational use on the November 2016 ballot.
Study shows white matter damage may be caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis
Kings College London 27/11/2015
Smoking high potency ‘skunk-like’ cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King’s College London and Sapienza University of Rome.
Researchers have known for some time that long-term cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis, and recent evidence suggests that alterations in brain function and structure may be responsible for this greater vulnerability. However, this new research, published today in Psychological Medicine, is the first to examine the effect of cannabis potency on brain structure.
DENVER -- Colorado's governor has ordered the destruction of marijuana treated with unapproved pesticides, his first action on the matter after months of product recalls and media warnings about unhealthy pesticides on pot.
The executive order by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday, Nov. 12, called marijuana treated with certain pesticides a "threat to public safety" and said it should be destroyed.
The governor acknowledged that there's scant scientific evidence about which pesticides and fungicides are safe to use on marijuana, but he said that questionable pot should be destroyed until more is known.
"When a pesticide is applied to a crop in a manner that is inconsistent with the pesticide's label, and the crop is contaminated by that pesticide, it constitutes a threat to the public safety," the order said.
The order came after The Denver Post reported that pesticides barred for use on cannabis were still being applied and found at high concentrations in products sold to consumers.
Denver city officials placed thousands of plants on hold last spring after finding they'd been treated with unauthorized chemicals.
It turns out that Denver, Colorado may not be the only major American city seeing an increase in crime following marijuana legalization. Seattle, Washington looks to be experiencing some blowback as well.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, "[a]dult possession of marijuana became legal [in Washington State] on December 6, 2012, 30 days after the passage of I-502, the voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older. A year-and-a-half later, the first retail marijuana store opened its doors on July 8, 2014."
When we look at the number of total and property crimes in Seattle from 2008 through 2014, there are massive increases during 2013 and 2014 after adult possession of marijuana became legal during December 2012. The number of these crimes was stable or declining from 2008 through 2012, after which total crimes jumped 13 percent from 2012 to 2013. By the end of 2014, the number of total crimes was 24 percent higher than in 2012.
Silicon Valley Tries to Alter Your Perception of Cannabis
NOV. 11, 2015
One morning in September, I logged on to the website of HelloMD, a medical start-up that promises to connect patients with doctors instantly over the Internet. I filled out my personal details, explained my ailment — I often get heartburn — and entered in my credit card number to cover the $50 consultation fee.
Within 10 minutes, a pediatrician based near Washington who is licensed to practice medicine in my home state of California popped up on my screen. She appeared to be sitting in her home — there were a few teddy bears and ceramic figurines on a cabinet behind her — and she wore a red shirt, not a white coat.
The doctor asked about my medical history, current symptoms and familiarity with certain medicines. The interview lasted about three minutes, after which she announced what everyone who visits HelloMD expects to hear: According to her diagnosis, my heartburn made me a candidate for medical marijuana, which has been legal in California since 1996.
HelloMD is at the forefront of a new trend in Silicon Valley: the cannabis tech start-up. As marijuana laws are being loosened across the country, entrepreneurs and investors are creating new businesses to cash in on what they see as an emerging bonanza. Like start-ups in other industries, these firms are trying to use technology to bring speed and efficiency to what has long been a face-to-face, pen-and-paper market. In the process, they are also trying to alter mainstream perceptions of the marijuana industry, shedding the ganja and Rasta imagery to cultivate a wider audience.
Medical Marijuana Should Be Held to Same Standard as Other Drugs, UB Pharmacist Says
People are advocating for medical marijuana for ‘less than pure reasons,’ says Edward Bednarczyk
Source Newsroom: University at Buffalo
Newswise — BUFFALO, N.Y. – When medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon opened their doors to sell to anyone who is 21 years or older last month, the lines between recreation and medicine were officially blurred, said Edward Bednarczyk, PharmD, pharmacy practice chair in the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
“That is the heart of the problem. If we want to seriously explore the medical side of marijuana, not much good can come from combining medical dispensaries with recreational ones,” he says. “This, unfortunately, is the direction things are going in. Removing the veneer idea of there being a distinction between medicine and recreation has the potential of slowing down meaningful research on cannabis.”
Dan Walters: Could pot become new giant in California?
Marijuana legalization heads for ballot
Making pot legal would have big impact
It could transform some communities and create huge legal industry
BY DAN WALTERS
NOVEMBER 3, 2015
California is definitely going to pot, but how far remains uncertain.
The state has had a thriving and very lucrative, if illegal, marijuana industry for decades. Indeed, with the demise of timber and other resource activities, it’s become a mainstay in some communities, particularly on the remote North Coast.
In recent years, marijuana edged into quasi-legality with the passage of a ballot measure authorizing cultivation, sale and possession for medical purposes – embraced in some communities, rejected in others and in violation of federal law everywhere.
Just weeks ago, the Legislature passed a package of bills aimed at further legalizing – and regulating – the medical uses of pot. And this week, the most ambitious of several ballot measures aimed at complete legalization was unveiled.
The measure had mixed support from legalization activists.
Deputy Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
Ohio voted Tuesday against legalizing recreational and medical marijuana via an amendment to the state's constitution, shooting down a proposal to grant a small number of wealthy investors sole permission to operate commercial marijuana farms.
"The people of Ohio have understandably rejected a deeply flawed, monopolistic approach to marijuana reform that failed to garner broad support from advocates or industry leaders," National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said in a statement after Tuesday's vote. "This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Now the foundation has been laid for a potential 2016 effort that would put forward a more common-sense initiative and have a major impact on the presidential conversation in the process."
Mexico’s Supreme Court Opens Door to Legalizing Marijuana Use
By ELISABETH MALKIN and AZAM AHMED
NOV. 4, 2015
The Mexican Supreme Court opened the door to legalizing marijuana on Wednesday, delivering a pointed challenge to the nation’s strict substance abuse laws and adding its weight to the growing debate in Latin America over the costs and consequences of the war against drugs.
The vote by the court’s criminal chamber declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use. The ruling is a first step — applying only to a single cannabis club that brought the suit — and does not strike down Mexico’s current drug laws. But it lays the groundwork for a wave of legal actions that could ultimately legalize marijuana.
LET’S RECONSIDER DRUG POLICY AND CONCENTRATE ON EDUCATION
NOVEMBER 2, 2015
Rather than considering drugs a criminal justice issue or a health issue, drugs are an education issue and the United States has failed miserably.
The current heroin epidemic offers a chance to revise drug policies, particularly prevention and treatment. Since our entertainment industry, media and society idealize drugs, a first step would be a national drug education program that is in every classroom in every year of the first 12 grades. We should also demand that popular media promote better values and stop glorifying drug use on TV.
Regulation of alcohol does not keep alcohol out of the hands of children and teens. So when pro-pot people came up the idea “Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol,” they should have known that part of the plan would not be successful either. Just ask any teacher in Colorado. As propagandists push marijuana to achieve equality with alcohol in American life, here’s a look at how they compare:
According to a report that came out last week, 30 % of marijuana users in the United States qualify as having Cannabis Use Disorder, vs. 10-20% of those who drink who are alcoholics.
With THC (most psychoactive part of pot) as high as it is today, there is no equivalent to dope that is like beer or wine. Since competition between growers has created the higher THC, consumers won’t go back to the weak, old-fashioned pot that was in existence before the “medical marijuana” scam was introduced in the mid-90s. Average THC in Colorado is 17% vs. 1-3% in ’70s.
Frequent users of marijuana are more likely to have a-motivational syndrome, compared to frequent drinkers.
Students who are heavy weed users are much more likely to drop out of school than students who drink heavily. After all, weed is nicknamed “dope” for a reason.
Both are readily available to children and teens. Pot is more available in marijuana states, as the parents may have it at home.
Marijuana stays in system longer, up to a month and even more for chronic users, while alcohol goes out of the system in 24 hours. Some marijuana users experience flashbacks which can be very dangerous while driving or when they come on unexpectedly.
There are high-functioning alcoholics and there are regular marijuana users who hold jobs and function reasonably well. The latter is less frequent, and those who manage well tend to give an erroneous impression to others who become addicted quickly and show a greater impairment from using pot.
Both marijuana and alcohol are depressants
Marijuana causes paranoia, anxiety and mental health problems at much higher rates than alcohol.
Marijuana advocates claim it is “harmless” and “not addictive,” both false claims. They also claim to drive better while stoned. Drinkers don’t have similar delusions about alcohol being harmless and non-addictive. Individual problem drinkers may deny that they have a problem, while pot activists deny marijuana is a problem.
Binge drinking in very, very heavy doses can lead to death. While marijuana doesn’t go into the brain stem, in heavy doses it can lead to psychosis. Pot has been know to cause death for those who have a psychotic reaction to marijuana.
Marijuana doesn’t cause a hangover. Skipping the headache is not a good reason to do pot. Just don’t drink or drink less.
No one is forced or compelled to drink, another falsehood promoted by the marijuana lobby. Many adults choose not to drink or do any drugs. More power to them. Our comparison shows 2 ways marijuana is safer, and 7 ways it is less safe and 4 ways they are a draw. Read our other article on marijuana vs. alcohol.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said legalization “wasn’t worth it.” Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper said that legalization was “reckless.” The state of Washington saw a great increase in marijuana-impaired drivers last year.
About 10% of the US uses marijuana, compared to up to 60% of adults who use alcohol. Evidence shows that marijuana users drink more alcohol, too.
SANDERS DOESN’T FULLY UNDERSTAND DRUG USE AND INCARCERATION
OCTOBER 18, 2015
During the Democratic debate on October 13, Bernie Sanders had a misunderstanding of the facts when he suggested people go to prison for smoking a joint. A few days ago, Dan Riffle, a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project, admitted on Twitter that it doesn’t happen. However, for the last five years, the marijuana advocates have aggressively promoted the misconception that people are arrested and go to prison for pot possession alone.
This misconception has fed a movement to empty federal prisons, because people have been given the wrong impression that drug abuse is a victimless crime. Preventing incarceration begins with preventing drug usage.
Sanders hesitantly suggested he would vote to legalize marijuana in Nevada. Legalization would run counter to Sanders’ idea of erasing income inequality. Marijuana legalization would increase income inequality, as masses of people will become less competent and underemployed. It’s already happening in the cities with a marijuana markets: Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Sanders needs to do his research. He made it clear that he doesn’t like big pharmaceutical companies, but wait until he learns about BIG MARIJUANA, which takes its lessons from Big Tobacco. Does he know that today’s marijuana is much like a GMO?
Small percentage of patients may be at risk, experts say
By Robert McCoppin
Depressed, withdrawn and coping with a death in the family, Joseph thought getting high would help him feel better.
Instead, he said, his marijuana smoking grew into a daily habit that made him paranoid and constantly question how others saw him. He went days without going home, showering or eating much besides potato chips.
“I always thought (marijuana) would bring down my anxiety, but it just made it that much worse,” the Rockford-area man said.
One day, after getting so high that he was pacing around, alarmed by his own gaunt appearance and generally “freaking out,” Joseph was taken by his brother to a Rosecrance drug treatment center in Rockford, where he entered an inpatient program.
Joseph, who asked not to be identified by his full name, managed to quit until after he finished his high school final exams, but then started smoking heavily again. Eventually, feeling suicidal, he checked himself back into Rosecrance and entered a 12-step program. Now 19, he’s still in treatment and said he’s been sober for seven months.
MARIJUANA USE IN US ADULTS DOUBLES IN DECADE, SURVEYS SHOW
Oct 21, 2015
BY LINDSEY TANNER
AP MEDICAL WRITER
CHICAGO (AP) -- Marijuana use among U.S. adults doubled over a decade, rising to almost 10 percent or more than 22 million mostly recreational users, government surveys show.
The trend reflects a cultural shift and increasingly permissive views about the drug, the researchers say, noting that other studies have shown increasing numbers of adults think marijuana should be legalized. Recreational use is now permitted in four states.
Almost 1 in 3 users had signs of marijuana dependence or abuse, a slight decline from a decade ago.
Marijuana legalization is off to a shaky start in Oregon. Less than a week after commercial marijuana shops opened, Elizabeth Kemble was hit by the car of a stoned driver while crossing the street. She died 11 hours later, on October 5. The driver admitted to smoking pot behind the wheel. By all accounts, Kemble was a wonderful person who was born in El Salvador and spent much of her free time doing volunteer work to help others.
Since marijuana stores opened in Oregon October 1, it took no time for a company to violate the rules by offering free cannabis-infused lozenges. Stores are not allowed to distribute edibles at this time. (Photo courtesy of SAM Oregon). The arrest of several youths in Redmond near a school shows that Oregon marijuana laws are not successful in keeping it away from youth.
Where to Stash Cannabis Cash? Tribal Nations Make Bid to Bank It
October 11, 2015
Shaun Gindi brought a duffel bag stuffed with 1,000 twenty-dollar bills to open a checking account at his local Chase branch. He was successful. Until the branch closed the account a week later.
“I’ve gone through at least eight banks,” said Gindi, 38.
As the owner of two marijuana shops and a weed warehouse in Colorado, where the drug is legal, Gindi is a pariah to banks, which face expensive compliance hurdles and uncertain legal consequences because ganja still violates federal law. Of the more than 7,600 banks and credit unions in the U.S., only 220 accept cannabis cash, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Anthony Rivera says he has a solution: an American Indian banking system.
Marijuana Extract Doesn't Reduce Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting
Released: 6-Oct-2015 10:30 AM EDT
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
Newswise — October 6, 2015 – The marijuana extract tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) isn't effective in preventing nausea and vomiting after surgery in patients at high risk of this common complication, reports a study in Anesthesia & Analgesia.
The NDEWS Coordinating Center thought you might be interested in a new report on drugged driving.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report on Sept 30 providing new data on drugged driving, its impact on traffic safety, and what states can do to address and prevent it. Three main data sources were utilized: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 2013-2014 NHTSA roadside survey, and the 2015 GHSA survey of state highway safety offices. According to the press release from GHSA: “The most recent national data show drugged driving is increasing while drunk driving is declining. The percentage of fatally-injured drivers testing positive for drugs – 40 percent – is almost the same as those testing positive for any alcohol [BAC]. The most recent roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for some drug or medication.” Other key stats highlighted by GHSA include:
Nationwide in 2013, 62.6% of fatally injured drivers were tested for drugs; More than half (57.3%) were negative for all drugs; More than one-third (34.7%) were positive for marijuana; Approximately 1 in 10 (9.7%) were positive for amphetamine (source: FARS).
The national highway safety fatality database includes 430 specific drugs or metabolites (source: FARS).
31 states responded to the GHSA survey; 17 include drugged driving topics in their driver education courses; 12 have employers with programs or training to prevent drugged driving (Source: GHSA survey of state highway safety offices 2015).
For additional information, please see the press release and full report at the sites listed below.
Marijuana Debunked is a recently-published book by an addictions psychiatrist, Dr. Ed Gogek. The pro-legalization community pretends that the only policy choices are legalization and jail. However, if the legalization advocates told us that truth, they would lose their talking points. Gogek exposes the flaws of their arguments.
Here’s a sample of some quotes from the book, each one an important issue for parents who are faced with the challenge of educating our children about drugs.
Debunking Marijuana Myth #1: Pot is not Safer than Alcohol
“There is no way to say one drug of abuse is safer than another. Each drug has at least one way in which it’s worse than all the rest.”
Marijuana is worse than all the others in TWO Ways. It “causes the most permanent damage to the adolescent brain; it causes the most students to drop out.”
Debunking Marijuana Myth #2 If pot is legal, people will drink less
“Legalizing marijuana won’t curb alcohol abuse. It would just create more people who abuse alcohol and marijuana together.”
“Problem drinkers don’t switch, they just abuse marijuana along with alcohol.”
A ‘niche business’: Mainstream doctors are wary of prescribing medical marijuana
Marijuana ‘clinics’ are certifying patients for medical cannabis as doctors remain on the fence.
By Allison Manning
Looking for a medical marijuana prescription? Your general practitioner probably won’t help you get it.
Most doctors aren’t approved to certify Massachusetts residents as medical-marijuana patients, which is the first step toward receiving legal marijuana from one of the state’s two open dispensaries. In fact, there are only 108 certified doctors in the entire state.
Because of the prevailing stigma among general practitioners, prescribing medical cannabis is a niche business for many clinics. Those who certify patients say it’s a “specialty medicine,” similar to a podiatrist, chiropractor or ear-nose-and-throat doctor. But some experts are concerned that this system encourages a culture of drive-by doctors who prescribe marijuana on an a la carte basis, rather than in the context of a valid doctor-patient relationship.
Wyoming Medical Society Opposes Medical Marijuana Legalization Effort
CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Medical Society (WMS) announced its position in opposition to a possible 2016 general election ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana today in Cheyenne.
The Wyoming Medical Society was founded in 1903 to provide representation, advocacy and service to Wyoming physicians. WMS serves our membership, and their patients, and works to improve the health of Wyoming's citizens. Currently, the WMS names over 700 physicians and Physician Assistants as members.
The WMS has based its opposition largely on the fact a vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana at the state level would subvert the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process for development and approval of medications. The WMS supports the work done by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which offers unbiased reviews to establish a drug’s quality, and safety.
“The WMS opposes legalization of medical marijuana outside of the regulatory process of the US Food and Drug Administration, recognizing however that marijuana may be an option for cannabinoid administration for children and adults with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions for whom current therapies are inadequate,” says WMS Board of Directors President, Sigsbee Duck, MD, R.Ph.
REPORT: MARIJUANA COMMERCIALIZATION FAILING IN COLORADO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2015
Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) report shows significant increases in traffic fatalities, child poison control exposures, hospitalizations, youth use, amongst other alarming data, detailing how Colorado’s experiment with retail marijuana regulation is a public health and safety failure.
DENVER, CO – The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) has released its updated report, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado The Impact, Volume 3,” which outlines the most alarming data to date, demonstrating how Colorado marijuana legalization policies have harmed public safety and health. Click herefor a pdf copy of this report.
Highlights from the report show serious changes since 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating in Colorado, including:
Traffic deaths: A 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013
Driving under the influence: Toxicology reports with positive marijuana results of active THC for primarily driving under the influence have increased 45 percent
Marijuana use by children: Colorado youth usage (ages 12 to 17) ranks 56 percent higher than the national average
ER visits:A 29 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits
Hospitalizations: A 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations
Poison control:Marijuana-only related exposures increased 72 percent in only one year
More marijuana trafficking:The yearly average interdiction seizures of Colorado marijuana increased another 34 percent
“This report serves as a wake-up call for all Coloradans,” said Bob Doyle, chair of Colorado SAM. “It is time to stop yielding to Big Marijuana special interests and put health and safety ahead of marijuana commercialization.”
“For too long, the marijuana industry has been telling Americans that ‘everything’s fine’ in Colorado. This data-driven report tells a very different story,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM and an assistant professor at the University of Florida.
Jo McGuire, co-chair of Colorado SAM added, “We are prepared to engage Colorado community members in conversations that will send strong messages to our state leaders that these outcomes are unacceptable and legalization clearly does not work.”
In August 2015, poll results showed that popularity for marijuana legalization amongst Coloradans is losing support over concerns of traffic problems, youth usage, child exposures and the proliferation of edible products.
About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of “incarceration versus legalization” when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.
Maine Tribe Nears Deal to Develop Marijuana Cultivation Facility
A Passamaquoddy leader says a letter of intent with a Colorado consultant is about hemp production, but that could change, and legal gray areas abound.
By Whit Richardson
The Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township has signed a letter of intent with a Denver-based medical marijuana management and consulting company to develop a cultivation facility on tribal land in Washington County.
Monarch America Inc. announced last week that it intends to design and manage a “state of the art” marijuana cultivation facility in an existing 35,000-square-foot building on Passamaquoddy Tribal Trust Land in Princeton, Maine.
Billy Nicholas, chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, confirmed Tuesday that the tribe had signed the letter of intent, but characterized the potential operation as an industrial hemp production facility rather than a medical marijuana cultivation facility. “We’re talking about starting off with hemp production and as the state of Maine and federal law allows, we’ll reassess to see whether we expand into other areas,” Nicholas said. “But don’t get me wrong: We’re not here to break the law.”
If the tribal government formalizes a partnership with Monarch, it will enter a fuzzy legal area. Although Maine has legalized medical marijuana and industrial hemp production, the federal government considers both illegal. Hemp and marijuana are variants of the cannabis plant, but the latter contains more of the chemical that produces mind-altering effects while the former can be used in myriad products, from building materials to clothing to plastic composites.
More Teens Using E-Cig Devices to Vaproize Pot, Researchers Say
By Gillian Mohney
September 7, 2015
Teens are increasingly turning to electronic cigarettes not to get their tobacco fix, but instead to inhale pot.
A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that teens have devised ways to turn e-cigarettes into devices for hashish oil, marijuana, wax and other cannabis products. Researchers surveyed 3,847 Connecticut high school students about their drug and e-cigarette use and found that students using e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis was 27 times higher than the adult rate.
TV Anchor in Car Accident Promotes Responsible Pot
August 28, 2015
Generational Divides Among Marijuana Users
Imagine getting into a fender bender with the company car and calling yourself an example of “responsible drinking.” Cyd Maurer had a fender bender while working for a TV Station in Eugene, Oregon. Her company called for drug testing. After it was found that she had THC metabolites, the 25-year-old was fired. She has put out video claiming that she is an example of “responsible marijuana use.” Isn’t it ironic? In other words, getting into an accident in the company car is not a problem for her employer. Will she pay for the car repair, or will she be covering the rise in the station’s insurance premium, as a responsible person would do?
Illinois doctor fights charges he misled patient about marijuana
By Carla K. Johnson, Associated Press
August 28, 2015, 12:37 PM |CHICAGO
Supporters of an Illinois doctor who's in trouble for a marijuana recommendation say his case could have a chilling effect on other doctors' participation in the state's medical cannabis pilot program..
Dr. Joseph Starkman, 36, faces possible suspension or revocation of his license for multiple violations of the Medical Practice Act. Starkman finished his testimony Friday, said Stephanie Wolfson, an attorney for Starkman who was at the hearing.
Today there’s news out of Denver that is a negative for the marijuana industry.
SmithJohnson Research, a polling firm who has worked with Democrats and Republicans, today released a poll finding that a majority (51%) of likely Coloradan voters would oppose Amendment 64 today. About quarter of voters thought the Amendment had done a good job at regulation, but most voters did not think so. Supporters of Amendment 64 had promised that legalizing marijuana would keep it from children and teens and that hasn’t happened.
Forty-five percent said they would strongly oppose the measure. Only 36% said they would be strongly for the measure if it were on a ballot now. The telephone poll queried 600 likely voters, yielding a sampling error of +/- 4%. The top-cited concerns of voters were edible marijuana products and driving under the influence of marijuana. (The measure passed in 2012 with 54% of the vote. Since that time and many disasters later, people have been able to see that marijuana legalization doesn’t work.)
“After two years of increased marijuana usei, a growing proliferation of marijuana candies aimed at children, more arrests in schools for potii, a jump in the number of people publicly using marijuanaiii, and an increase in marijuana-related driving citationsiv, we shouldn’t be surprised that Coloradans are coming around to opposing legalization,” said Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Florida and President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. ” The special interest marijuana industry has too firm a grip on regulations in Colorado, and voters don’t like what they’re getting.”
At the present time, an independent group of citizens in Colorado, Smart Colorado, is insisting on uniform labeling for marijuana edibles, one that would consist of a stop sign and something to denote the presence of THC. The Health Department seems likely to adopt the new plan.StopSign
“It’s time for a renewed conversation about marijuana in Colorado,” said Ben Cort, Colorado SAM Member and an addiction treatment professional.
Bob Doyle, chair of Colorado SAM said, “We intend to kick-start those conversations so that Coloradans – rather than the marijuana industry – can determine the future of their own state.”
About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of “incarceration versus legalization” when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.
iNational Survey on Drug Use and Health, Colorado State Estimates (2014).
iiDenver Police Department Versadex and OSI database (2014).
iiiDenver Police Department, 2014
ivDenver Police Department, Data from Aurora and Denver through Dec 1, 2014.
The Health Effects of Commonly Used Drugs
All Drug Abuse Can Affect Your Health
By Buddy T, Alcoholism Expert
August 02, 2015.
One of the myths floating around about drug abuse is if it can be or usually is used as a medication, it's not harmful. Contrary to what some believe, the abuse or nonmedical use of any drug can have long-lasting effects on your health.
The truth is even the "safest" drugs can have negative effects on your health and well-being if they are used too often or over too long a period of time. Besides alcohol (which has its own set of health effects), the following are the most commonly abused drugs in the United States, in order of popularity, and how they can effect your health.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. When smoked, it begins to effect users almost immediately and can last for one to three hours. Users claim that smoking marijuana is not harmful, but scientific evidence proves otherwise
Nearly all young people who die of drug overdose begin their drug use with marijuana. A national policy based on harm reduction will never be nearly as effective as a policy based on drug prevention. We support addiction treatment, but admit there is no guarantee of success.
Yesterday a coalition of national groups ran an ad in the Washington Times calling for enforcement of federal marijuana laws, as a step to end the national crisis of drug overdose deaths. The ad was sponsored by the National Institute of Citizen Anti-drug Policy (NICAP) Below is most of the full page ad:
Epilepsy is a different disease for many people. Some people are born with it, some develop it from a head or brain injury. There are dozens of different types of seizures and it’s not just one kind of disease with typical symptoms for each sufferer, and the treatment options differ from person to person. What controls your seizures can be so different from another person, just like your seizures might be different than another persons. It’s not an atypical experience for every person.
I have occipital lobe seizures, which means my seizures originate from my occipital lobe, which is in the back of your head, near you neck. There are many, many types of seizures and they can all originate in different parts of the brain, because the brain is a very complex organ. There are over 14 different seizure medications on the market, and I have had to try 8 of them before I found one that actually controlled my seizures. But the other 7 actually made my seizures WORSE. Can you imagine that? An Epilepsy medication making seizures WORSE?
Resistance to a Colorado law passed in 2012 legalizing the recreational use of marijuana is growing steadily as unnerving results continue to mount.
Some voters who supported the law are now voting to block pot shops in their communities. Education organizations are springing up around the state, and a fledgling repeal movement is underway.
"There is a growing angst among people who are now pushing back," says Bob Doyle, executive director of the advocacy group Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance. "People have become aware of what this is all about—the mass commercialization of marijuana, not social justice or (reducing) incarceration rates."
A top concern for many people who are now part of the resistance is the fact that kids under the age of 21—the minimum age for purchasing marijuana that was written into the law—are nonetheless consuming it at stunning levels, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA), an offshoot of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which coordinates efforts between federal, state and local drug-enforcement agencies.
Moreover, today's marijuana includes concentrated products, like cannabis butter or oil, which are made by extracting the psychoactive ingredient of the plant for a very powerful effect.
"I feel like we're losing a generation. I talk to these kids, mainstream kids, and they are doing the concentrate every day. Every day," says Diane Carlson, co-founder of Smart Colorado, a youth advocacy group that works with many schools. "The potential for harm and the implications for their future is unfathomable."
The new law has caused headaches for its neighbors, too. Two states and a consortium of law enforcement agencies from three are suing Colorado for the spillover effects they're now seeing in their own neighborhoods, where marijuana usage remains illegal.
Click here to read the rest of the article and others in the series.
Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Leads to First ‘Weedery’
AUG. 11, 2015
Wineries and breweries should brace themselves for some unusual competition. Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, will get its first “weedery” in early 2016.
The $35 million project, Colorado Cannabis Ranch and Amphitheater, the brainchild of Christian Hageseth, is set to open in Denver. Its greenhouses represent a major shift because producers have largely cultivated marijuana indoors; there will also be a performance space, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, a gift shop and, of course, a marijuana dispensary.
Mr. Hageseth, who founded the Green Man Cannabis marijuana company and chronicled his adventures in the medical and legal marijuana business in the book “Big Weed,” says he enjoys his own product but shatters stereotypes. He’s an ambitious entrepreneur with a background in real estate, who sat down for an interview while visiting New York to meet with investment bankers.
Edible Marijuana Products in Colorado Would Have Stop Sign Under Proposed Rules
/BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
August 12th, 2015
Colorado officials are recommending that edible marijuana products be labeled with a red stop sign, the Associated Press reports. The state may also ban the word “candy” from edible labels.
Draft rules released this week by state marijuana regulators call for an octagon stop-sign shape with the letters “THC,” indicating marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, to be placed on individual edible products.
Under the proposed rules, liquid marijuana products would be limited to single-serve packaging, with 10 milligrams of THC per serving.
“The universal symbol of a red stop sign combined with the words THC provides the public a visible way of identifying marijuana while signaling risks are involved,” said Diane Carlson of Smart Colorado, a parents’ group that has advocated for giving edible marijuana products a distinct look. “This comprehensive approach will ensure children and teenagers are better protected by providing a tool that allows everyone to know when and if marijuana is in a food, candy or soda. It also provides adults a way to discern whether or not a marijuana product has been purchased on the legal market,” she said in a statement.
The proposal would also ban premade edible items. Manufacturers would not be allowed to buy bulk candy and spray it with cannabis oil. Cartoon characters are already banned from marijuana edibles packaging. The state has also prohibited manufacturers from making “look-alike” products such as candies.
A 2014 law requires edible marijuana to have a distinct look when outside its packaging. The law will be implemented starting in January.
Edible marijuana products have become a popular alternative to smoking marijuana in Colorado, since retail sales of the products became legal. Adults 21 and over can legally purchase marijuana edibles at state-licensed stores. Marijuana is now available in products ranging from candy to soda and granola. The amount of marijuana in edible products varies widely. In some cases, products contain levels so high that people experience extreme paranoia and anxiety.
Backers of Denver initiative allowing marijuana in bars deliver petitions, await ballot certification
By Jon Murray The Denver Post
Whether Denver voters in November will face a choice about allowing patrons to use marijuana in bars and some other businesses wasn’t in dispute Monday, though ballot certification still could be weeks away.
Instead, the city attorney’s office and the initiative’s backers, who said they turned in more 10,700 petition signatures — more than twice as many as needed — continued to air a longstanding debate. It centers on state law’s prohibition on using marijuana “openly and publicly” and if that law would trump any local decision to allow vaping or edibles inside privately owned (but publicly accessible) bars or other establishments.
“The adoption of the initiated ordinance in Denver will create a serious conflict with state law, and may prompt the General Assembly to address the subject of public consumption of marijuana on a statewide basis as early as the 2016 session,” assistant city attorney David Broadwell wrote in a new memo sent to the City Council on Monday.
CALIFORNIA CITIZENS CALL FOR ENFORCEMENT OF MARIJUANA LAWS
JULY 21, 2015
By Roger Morgan, Take Back America Campaign #Stoppot2016
Passage of Prop 215, The Compassionate Use Act, in 1996 was a result of a propaganda campaign financed by three out of state billionaires, with George Soros at the helm. It is hard to even describe what one means by “medical marijuana.” The potency (i.e. THC) has escalated from 4 to 6% in 1996 to as high as 40% in smoked form, and 96% as Butane Honey Oil (BHO). Cannibidiol (CBD), the one component that may have therapeutic potential, has been largely bio-engineered out of the plant in favor of THC, because “patients” just want to get high.
Undeterred by the fact that manufacturing BHO is a felony, amateurs are routinely blowing up houses and apartments, killing some, badly burning others, including their kids. Survivors are filling up burn centers throughout the state, costing taxpayers millions of dollars for skin grafts and long hospital stays.
According to the California Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center (DEC-TAC), from December 2010 until April 5, 2015, 441 BHO extraction laboratories were located in California; 291 in 2014, and 53 during the first 3 months of this year. DEC-TAC reports children were present at 72 THC extraction laboratories found during this 4.5 year period, resulting in deaths of 3 children and the injury of 12 children. During the same period, 41 adults died and 140 adults were injured. The fact that it is a felony to manufacture BHO from marijuana hasn’t stopped these people.
Is marijuana really an effective drug? Surprisingly, scientists have no solid answer
July 19, 2015 · 10:30 AM EDT
By Adam Wernick
One would think that with medical marijuana now legal in 23 states, the science to support its efficacy would be fairly definitive. Surprisingly, that's not the case.
Despite the fierce political tussles and competing medical claims the truth is this: Very little solid scientific evidence exists to either confirm or dispute marijuana’s effectiveness as a drug or its potential for harm.
Marijuana is still classified by the US federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance (meaning it has “no currently acceptable medical use”), so serious research into marijuana is extremely difficult, especially FDA-approved clinical trials that would either prove or disprove marijuana's health benefits.
States that have approved marijuana for medical use have done so through a legislative process, not a scientific one, researchers say. And that’s a real problem, both for scientists trying to determine marijuana’s effects and for people seeking cannabis to treat chronic medical conditions.
The media isn’t helping. Parents of children with epilepsy may believe, based on what they see in the media, that marijuana is almost a miracle cure, despairs one researcher. But anecdotal evidence is not the same as scientific evidence — and the scientific evidence for marijuana’s efficacy is pretty limited at this point, says Kristen Park, an assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Colorado.
Research done in the 1970s and 1980s suggests that the active ingredient, cannabis, has anti-seizure effects, so there is a scientific foundation to the concept, but the data is mixed, according to Park.
“THC, the main component responsible for the high of pot, is mixed in its effects,” she says. “Some of the other cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), are felt to be more anti-convulsant than THC.”
Data from studies designed for safety and dosage indicate that about 30 percent of children who suffer from seizures respond to marijuana treatment when given in a controlled setting, Park says. But it's important to point out, she notes, that some of the FDA approved epilepsy drugs have a placebo response rate of the same 30 percent.
Marijuana legalization now enjoys majority support in the U.S. -- 52 percent of Americans support legalization, 42 percent oppose it, and 7 percent remain undecided, according to the latest General Social Survey.
But most changes to marijuana law aren't happening at the federal level, they're happening in the states. In some, possession and use remains a crime. Other states have decriminalized possession of small amounts, 24 have legalized marijuana for medical use, and 4 states plus Washington, D.C., have gone fully legal. There are as many shades of grey (or green) between these policies as there are states.
So it's useful to have some sense of public attitudes toward marijuana at the state level, especially considering marijuana will be on the ballot in many states in 2016. No polling outlet that I'm aware of has released comprehensive state-level results for attitudes toward marijuana legalization. But the question has been asked in most states by a variety of polling firms in recent years, and I thought it might be useful to compile all those results in once place. So here they are.
The pot head’s argument for health benefits goes up in smoke
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES - July 12, 2015
Celebrating the medical benefits, if any, of marijuana has been an effective ruse to win social acceptance for getting high. This was thoroughly predictable, and now it’s clear that the organized pot heads have been blowing smoke at us.
This is the preliminary conclusion of a new wide-ranging study of the effects of medical pot. The rush toward legalization, like most whoring after new things, is likely doing considerably more harm than minuscule good.
The Journal of the American Medical Association last month published a compilation of 79 studies of the experiences of 6,000 patients who used the weed as a medicinal palliative. Smoking pot was found to be of little use in relieving symptoms for many ailments, among them hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers found that smoking pot did show some success in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy, and “spasticity” for multiple sclerosis patients.
Colorado Adult Marijuana Use Now Almost Double the National Average
Denver is home to the most number of marijuana stores - and leads the state with 18.5% of adults as current users
(DENVER, CO) - A new statewide study funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found that 13.6% of Colorado adults are regular users of marijuana - almost double the rate (7.4%) of the entire country, according to recent Health and Human Services studies. 1 in 5 marijuana users in the state also reported driving after using marijuana.
DETAILS OF THE SURVEY INCLUDED:
1 in 3 users are daily users
Black adults in Colorado are using at almost 50% higher than the state average for adults; Hispanics have the lowest use rates
Low income Colorado adults are using at higher rates than the state average
Almost a third of 18-24 year olds are using marijuana
Almost a third of gay and lesbian adults are using marijuana - more than twice the state average for adults
Almost 1 in five reported driving after using marijuana
National study finds rising rate of marijuana exposure among children 5 years old, younger
Researchers urge states to put child safety requirements in place when considering marijuana legalization
NATIONWIDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
Debates about legalizing marijuana have focused on crime rates, economic benefits, and health effects among adults. But a study published today from researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital shows that the risk to young children of swallowing, breathing in or otherwise being exposed to marijuana also needs to be considered.
The study, published online today in Clinical Pediatrics, found that the rate of marijuana exposure among children 5 years of age and younger rose 147.5 percent from 2006 through 2013 across the United States. The rate increased almost 610 percent during the same period in states that legalized marijuana for medical use before 2000.
In states that legalized marijuana from 2000 through 2013, the rate increased almost 16 percent per year after legalization, with a particular jump in the year that marijuana was legalized. Even states that had not legalized marijuana by 2013 saw a rise of 63 percent in the rate of marijuana exposures among young children from 2000 through 2013.
More than 75 percent of the children who were exposed were younger than 3 years of age, and most children were exposed when they swallowed marijuana.
"The high percentage of ingestions may be related to the popularity of marijuana brownies, cookies and other foods," said Henry Spiller, D.ABAT, a co-author of the study, toxicologist, and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's. "Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive."
The study findings showed that most exposures resulted in only minor clinical effects, but some children experienced coma, decreased breathing, or seizures. The main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, THC, can be especially high in marijuana food products, and that may have contributed to some of the observed severe effects. More than 18 percent of children who were exposed were hospitalized. These hospital admissions were likely due not only to the clinical effects, but also the need to investigate the circumstances that lead to the exposure in the home.
Overall, there were 1,969 young children reported to Poison Control Centers in the United States because of marijuana exposure from 2000 through 2013. While that is a relatively small number of total cases, the steep rate of increase in states that have legalized marijuana is reason for concern, said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's.
"Any state considering marijuana legalization needs to include child protections in its laws from the very beginning," Dr. Smith said. "Child safety must be part of the discussion when a state is considering legalization of marijuana."
Researchers recommend the same measures for commercially-available marijuana products that are now used to protect children from medicines and dangerous household chemicals, including requirements for child-resistant packaging and packaging that is not see-through. These same precautions need to be used for homemade marijuana products. If any marijuana products are in a household, they need to be kept up, away and out of sight of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
Data for this study came from the National Poison Database System, the most comprehensive and accurate database available for investigation of poisonings in the United States. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center, both at Nationwide Children's.
The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research at its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy, and advances in clinical care. To learn more about CIRP, visit http://www.injurycenter.org.
The Central Ohio Poison Center provides state-of-the-art poison prevention, assessment and treatment to residents in 64 of Ohio's 88 counties. The center services are available to the public, medical professionals, industry, and human service agencies. The Poison Center handles more than 42,000 poison exposure calls annually, and confidential, free emergency poisoning treatment advice is available 24/7. To learn more about the Poison Center, visit http://www.bepoisonsmart.org.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Growing number of celebrities cashing in on pot business
CBS NEWSJune 8, 2015, 11:01 AM
The number of companies looking to cash in on marijuana is growing, including some with celebrity backers, like Melissa Etheridge, reports CBS News correspondent Gigi Stone Woods.
Etheridge never really fit the rock star image.
"I saw alcohol, I saw what it did. I was too excited about music to let that ruin it. So, all of the drugs days in the '80s and '90s, I really let that go by without ever getting involved in it," she said.
But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, she said marijuana saved her life.
"It helped with the psychological effects of being on chemo and trying to understand what's happening to you," she said.
She became an unlikely spokesperson for marijuana legalization, and now she's an even more unlikely entrepreneur. Etheridge helped create a marijuana-infused wine.
Mixing alcohol and pot can increase the negative effects of each drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, sometimes even leading to death. But Etheridge said the cannabis in her wine is not dangerous in moderation: because it is cold pressed, never heated, it doesn't have a psychoactive effect.
"It doesn't make you high as you and I would know it, like, 'Whoa!'" she said. "If you're looking to get high I would say, 'No this this cannabis wine is not for you.'"
Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, Ph.D. and Glenna S. Rousseau, Ph.D.
Marijuana use for medical conditions is an issue of growing concern. Some Veterans use marijuana to relieve symptoms of PTSD and several states specifically approve the use of medical marijuana for PTSD. However, controlled studies have not been conducted to evaluate the safety or effectiveness of medical marijuana for PTSD. Thus, there is no evidence at this time that marijuana is an effective treatment for PTSD. In fact, research suggests that marijuana can be harmful to individuals with PTSD.
Investors finally seeing marijuana's high market potential
by Jennifer Alsever JUNE 7, 2015
The business of legal weed is entering a new stage, as a broad infrastructure of related services, particularly financial, develops.
Last year former video-game entrepreneur Dooma Wendschuh began soliciting investors for what he viewed as a big idea: distilled marijuana extracts, developed by scientists, that could be used for “edibles,” such as brownies, and vaporizers. Rather than hawking flavors or strains of pot, his company, Ebbu, would aim to deliver consistent feelings, such as “chill” and “giggles.”
Raising funds wasn’t easy, to put it mildly. Wendschuh approached seven investing groups, by his estimate, made hundreds of presentations, and asked more than 450 individuals to put up cash. Four months of grueling effort yielded him $2 million. So far business has been good. Ebbu’s first line of extracts has been flying off the shelves in four Colorado dispensaries since it launched in April. The profit margins are huge: Ebbu makes its extracts for $2 and sells them for $35. “You can make a lot of money in marijuana,” Wendschuh says. “If you make it, it will sell. It’s unreal.”
Rev. Al Sharp - On a moral cause for marijuana LEGALIZATION
Clergy see laws as harsh, involving race, fair housing. Click here for the pdf of the article.
If Food Was Pot, Boston Would Starve
HIGH STANDARDS06.02.155:15 AM ET
Heavy metal may derail medical pot in Massachusetts.
It’s been a few years since Massachusetts voters legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state and, after what translates to a comedy of errors as far as licensing and regulations, the first dispensary is finally slated to open this summer. But there’s still one more hurdle coming out of left field for properly certified Bay State tokers to clear before they can legally light up: heavy metal.
No, not like the Boston hardcore band the Dropkick Murphys, or any other head-banging hessian rock group. It’s actual heavy metals—specifically lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium—that are the most recent thorn in the side of the state’s budding cannabis industry.
Study Shows Mixing Marijuana and Alcohol Increases Concentration of THC in the Blood
/BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
May 28th, 2015
Using marijuana and alcohol together greatly increases the amount of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, in the blood, a new study concludes. Using the two substances together raises THC levels much more than using marijuana by itself.
The researchers say using alcohol and marijuana together considerably increases the risk of car crashes, compared with using marijuana alone.
The study included 19 people who drank alcohol or a placebo in low doses 10 minutes before they inhaled vaporized marijuana in either a low or high dose, Time reports. When a person drank alcohol, their blood concentration of THC was much higher.
The findings are published in Clinical Chemistry.
A study published last year found teenagers who use marijuana and alcohol together are more likely to engage in unsafe driving, compared with those who use one of those substances alone.
Teens who used alcohol alone were 40 percent more likely to admit they had gotten a traffic ticket and 24 percent more likely to admit involvement in a traffic crash, compared with teens who didn’t smoke marijuana or drink. Teens who smoked marijuana and drank were 90 percent more likely to get a ticket and 50 percent more likely to be in a car crash, compared with their peers who didn’t use either substance.
Marijuana infused coffee pods hit store shelves
Published May 18, 2015 | FoxNews.com
Cannabis infused coffee is now available in convenient single use pods for those who want a little more buzz to their a.m. jolt.
Seattle based Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop now sells pods of premium Catapult coffee at a steep $10 per pod. Each pod works in standard, single serve coffee makers and contain 10 mg of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. The shop previously sold loose grounds infused with marijuana but the pods are “quickly becoming big sellers,” said the shop.
“I liken it to a Red Bull and vodka,” Jennifer Lanzador, Uncle Ike’s sales manager, told Yahoo. “I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis.”
Fairwinds Manufacturing, the Vancouver company that actually makes the pods for Uncle Ike’s, reported that the pods now account for 60 percent of company sales.
Marijuana expo draws 'gold rush' to Illinois, without the gold
By Robert McCoppin Chicago Tribune May 21, 2015
Oils and extracts, vaporizers, grow lights and joint rollers filled a marijuana convention in Chicago on Wednesday — without a puff of pot in the air or a single leaf of the drug yet sold legally in Illinois. More than 2,000 people attended the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, hoping to cash in on a business that is forecast by one industry-backed market research group to grow to $11 billion in annual sales nationwide by 2019, with the prospect of legalization in several more states.
Yet the vast majority of entrepreneurs will have no shot at growing or selling pot legally, said Adam Bierman, managing partner of MedMen, a consulting firm. Since he opened his first "pot shop" for $13,000 in California, he said, the industry has increasingly become controlled by "titans" who have six figures or more to invest.
And as more states — including Illinois, with its fledgling medical pot program — limit and closely regulate who can grow and sell the drug, many seeking a foothold in the business are focused finding their own niches. To that end, the expo featured 162 exhibitors hawking ancillary products like childresistant and odor-masking containers, climate control systems, cash counting machines and safes. Illinois, which many analysts said is the most "hyper-regulated" of the 23 states that have legalized medicinal pot, has requirements like fingerprinting and backgrounds checks for patients, and so far only 2,300 have been approved. And delays in implementation mean it will likely be this fall — more than two years after the medical pot law was passed — before the product will be available.
On April 16, 2015, Governor Butch Otter of Idaho issued an executive order authorizing the Department of Health and Welfare to implement an FDA-approved expanded access program for treatment-resistant epilepsy in children.
He vetoed a bill that would have allowed a non-pharmacy grade of cannabidiol oil (CBD) to be purchased through an uncontrolled system from questionable sources. Instead, the governor decided upon a plan allowing children with intractable epilepsy to access Epidiolex, a pure, pharmaceutical-grade of CBD, through an FDA-approved clinical trial.
The governor’s decision provides access to CBD oil without violating federal law or going outside of the protections offered by our system of approving medicine. It also provides for the CBD oil to be obtained and administered under strict medical supervision while advancing scientific research into the possible uses of the substance.
Marijuana Bill Faces Opposition by Members of Senate Judiciary Committee
/BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
March 25, 2015
A bill introduced by three U.S. senators that would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana faces opposition by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Politico. The committee includes some of the most senior legislators in Congress.
Many of the committee members came to power when tougher penalties were being implemented for drug possession, the article notes. Several members say the Obama Administration is not adequately enforcing existing federal drug laws.
“I’m probably against it,” Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the most senior Senate Republican and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said of the new bill. “I don’t think we need to go there,” added Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican. “This is a more dangerous topic than what a lot of the advocates acknowledge.”
The new measure was introduced by Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, both Democrats, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, would reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs, which include heroin, have no accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule II drugs have a legitimate medical use but also have a high potential for abuse.
The bill would permit Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans, and would make it easier for scientists to obtain marijuana for medical research. It would allow banks and credit unions to provide the same services to the marijuana industry as they do to other businesses, without the fear of federal prosecution or investigation, the article notes.
Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, banks have been reluctant to conduct business with marijuana-related companies. Banks have feared being accused of helping these businesses launder their money.
Legalizing Marijuana and the New Science of Weed
This research will be presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Source Newsroom: American Chemical Society (ACS)
249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS)
DENVER, March 23, 2015 — More than a year into Colorado’s experiment legalizing marijuana, labs testing the plants are able for the first time to take stock of the drug’s potency and contaminants — and openly paint a picture of what’s in today’s weed. At the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), one such lab will present trends — and some surprises — that its preliminary testing has revealed about the marijuana now on the market.
Obama Says Congress Might Reschedule Marijuana If Enough States Decriminalize It
BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
March 19th, 2015
President Barack Obama this week said if enough states decriminalize marijuana, Congress might reschedule the drug. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which is defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Other Schedule I drugs include LSD and heroin.
In an interview with Vice News, Obama said the divide between Democrats and Republicans on marijuana politics is narrowing, NPR reports. “What I’m encouraged by is you’re starting to see not just liberal Democrats, but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn’t make sense, including sort of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party,” he said.
The American criminal justice system is “heavily skewed toward cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders,” Obama noted. He added the system has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, while also being very costly for states.
Last week a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs have a legitimate medical use but also have a high potential for abuse.
Nevada Measure Would Allow Medical Marijuana Use for Pets
BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
March 18th, 2015
Medical marijuana would be permitted for pets under a measure introduced this week in the Nevada legislature. A veterinarian would have to certify that the animal has an illness that might be alleviated by marijuana, the Associated Press reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Tick Segerblom, acknowledged some animals might have adverse reactions to medical marijuana, but added, “you don’t know until you try.” The measure is part of a larger bill that would overhaul Nevada’s medical marijuana law.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, medications do not necessarily work the same in animals as they do people. The association does not have an official position on medical marijuana for pets. “There are possibilities of adverse reactions, including toxicities and failure to treat the clinical condition at hand,” the group says on its website. The group adds, “Veterinarians making treatment decisions must use sound clinical judgment and current medical information, and must be in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.”
Some veterinarians say marijuana can relieve the symptoms of some sick and dying pets. Marijuana has not been proven to be effective as a painkiller for animals, the article notes.
Five States May Consider Marijuana Legalization Next Year
BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
March 18th, 2015
A marijuana legalization measure will be on the ballot in Nevada in 2016, Time reports. California, Massachusetts, Maine and Arizona are the states most likely to join Nevada in putting legalization measures before voters next year, advocates say.
Lawmakers in Nevada adjourned on Friday without voting on a petition to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol, the article notes. This move ensures the measure will be on the ballot in 2016. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized marijuana.
In California, legalization advocates are drafting a ballot initiative. “California was the first state to adopt a medical marijuana law and it inspired states around the country to adopt similar laws,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Arizona, with many conservative voters, may be less likely to support a legalization measure. But that could be changing. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that among Republicans ages 18 to 34, almost two-thirds say they support marijuana legalization. Among Republicans ages 35 to 50, almost half approve legalization.
In 2013, voters in Portland, Maine, approved an initiative that legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, who can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Portland became the first city on the East Coast to legalize marijuana. The initiative did not legalize the sale or purchase of marijuana, but allows adults 21 or older to “engage in activities for the purposes of ascertaining the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.” The vote was largely symbolic, according to the magazine.
Massachusetts voters passed a measure in 2012 to legalize medical marijuana, after decriminalizing the drug in 2008. Last year, more than a dozen districts supported non-binding ballot measures that supported legalizing marijuana. The state legislature has heard testimony on a bill to legalize marijuana.
Senate Bill Would End Federal Prohibition on Medical Marijuana
BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
March 11th, 2015
A bill introduced Tuesday by three U.S. senators would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana, The Washington Post reports.
The bill was introduced by Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, both Democrats, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, would reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs, which include heroin, have no accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule II drugs have a legitimate medical use but also have a high potential for abuse.
The bill would permit Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans, and would make it easier for scientists to obtain marijuana for medical research. It would allow banks and credit unions to provide the same services to the marijuana industry as they do to other businesses, without the fear of federal prosecution or investigation, the article notes.
Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, banks have been reluctant to conduct business with marijuana-related companies. Banks have feared being accused of helping these businesses launder their money.
The measure would not legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states, but would prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in states that have their own medical marijuana programs. Currently 23 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.
An additional 12 states have approved use of marijuana strains with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce the high associated with the drug, and is used to treat epileptic seizures. The measure would remove specific strains of CBD oil from the federal definition of marijuana, to allow its use in treatment of intractable seizures.
The bill’s fate in the Senate is unclear, according to the newspaper.
Obama on marijuana legalization: ‘My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this’
By Niraj Chokshi January 22
President Obama on Thursday said he expects more states to experiment with marijuana legalization.
In a 5 p.m. interview conducted by a handful of YouTube stars, Obama discussed the fragmented policy surrounding the plant, which is legal in Colorado and Washington and regulated differently state by state.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to a question posed by Hank Green, who with his brother runs a YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers.
15 DEATHS IN CRASHES, FIRES, SHOOTINGS CAUSED BY POT
MARCH 7, 2015 EDITOR
Please share this post with every concerned parent you know! Spread the Word about Pop Pot!
For the state of Washington, we’ve tracked 15 deaths in which marijuana was a direct causal factor, since marijuana possession became legal. In 3 more deaths, it’s likely that pot was a contributing cause. Here’s the tally beginning December, 5, 2012:
5 pedestrian deaths in Vancouver, WA
5 deaths in a school shooting including the gunman
3 teens killed in crash by student driver high on marijuana
2 neighbors died after hash oil explosions
2 shooting deaths for robbing a marijuana grow
1 motorcyclist killed by a stoned driver
“THE world is watching Washington’s historic experiment with marijuana legalization, and we’re screwing it up.” claimed a recent editorial in the Seattle Times.
Almost Two-Thirds of Young Republicans Support Marijuana Legalization: Survey
/BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
March 4th, 2015
Among Republicans ages 18 to 34, almost two-thirds say they support marijuana legalization, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Among Republicans ages 35 to 50, almost half approve legalization, NPR reports.
The survey found 77 percent of young adult Democrats (known as Millenials), and 61 percent of those ages 35 to 50, favor legalization.
According to Pew, “The debate over marijuana also comes ahead of the 2016 presidential election, when both political parties are fighting over the coveted Millennial vote as this group of eligible voters swells in size, even if its members do not consistently show up on Election Day.”
Pew found 38 percent of Baby Boomer Republicans, ages 51 to 69, favor legalizing marijuana, compared with 66 percent of Democrats of the same age.
A survey conducted by Pew in 2014 found 75 percent of Americans think it is inevitable that recreational marijuana will become legal across the country. More Americans are in favor of overturning laws that require jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana, the survey found.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said they thought marijuana legalization would lead to more underage people trying the drug.
Marijuana Saps Creativity, Study Finds
February 3, 2015
Marijuana Saps Creativity, Study FindsAlthough marijuana users often say the drug enhances their creativity, new research has found just the opposite. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana decreases creativity.
Marijuana/cannabis is known for its ability to significantly alter the mental processes of its users. Anecdotal accounts sometimes cite this mental alteration as a beneficial effect of cannabis use and point toward an increase in creativity as evidence of such an effect. In a study published in October 2014 in the journal Psychopharmacology, a team of researchers from the Netherlands looked for signs of increased creativity in people who consume low doses and high doses of the main marijuana/cannabis ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). These researchers concluded that, depending on the amount of THC consumed, cannabis intake either does not alter users’ creativity levels or actively reduces creativity.
There are a growing number of medical marijuana dispensaries across the United States and a majority of Americans who support legalization. But two critics of the drug said the science points to serious problems with pot.
Speaking at a Heritage Foundation event Monday, former drug czar William J. Bennett and federal prosecutor Robert A. White outlined the evidence in their new book, “Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America.”
“Almost all evidence is on our side, the side of science and fact,” said Bennett, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush. “The legalization advocates are winning the debate,” added White, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey. “They are organized and well-funded. And they are winning because the public is not informed of the harms of marijuana.”
White said misinformation was part of the problem. He pointed to the fact marijuana is stronger today than in the 1970s. “Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive drug in marijuana, has risen from 5 percent to an average of 13 percent as a part of marijuana. In some medical dispensaries in Colorado, it now makes upwards of 30 percent of the drug,” White said.
Bennett interjected, “This isn’t your grandfather’s pot.”
There's been a general principle guiding drug policy for years: drug laws are enforced in tandem with the drug's use. But recent enforcement of marijuana laws has not followed that principle. The federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that in the aggregate Americans used marijuana on over 3.5 billion days in 2013, a rise of 57 percent since 2007. But over that same period, the FBI Uniform Crime Report recorded that marijuana possession arrests fell 21 percent to 609,000.
The net effect of these two trends is a 50 percent drop in marijuana enforcement intensity, from roughly one arrest for every 2,900 days of use in 2007 to about one arrest for every 5,800 days of use in 2013. The average twice a week marijuana user could thus today reasonably expect to be arrested less than once per half-century.
Recreational marijuana wasn’t legalized anywhere in the U.S. until 2012, so why did marijuana enforcement begin waning well before that? Internationally respected marijuana policy expert Dr. Beau Kilmer of the RAND Corporation attributes it to multiple factors, including “the increasing legal protections offered by medical marijuana laws and the decriminalization of possession in California."
The District of Columbia could soon earn a new nickname: the Wild West of marijuana.
In 10 days, a voter-approved initiative to legalize marijuana will take effect, D.C. officials say. Residents and visitors old enough to drink a beer will be able to possess enough pot to roll 100 joints. They will be able to carry it, share it, smoke it and grow it.
But it’s entirely unclear how anyone will obtain it. Unlike the four states where voters have approved recreational pot use, the District government has been barred from establishing rules governing how marijuana will be sold. It was prohibited from doing so by Congress, which has jurisdiction over the city.
In December, after voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to legalize pot use, opponents in Congress tried to upend the result by blocking any new rules establishing legal ways to sell it, protections for those caught purchasing it or taxes to cover its social costs.
D.C. officials say that Congress’s action did not halt the initiative, but it did set the city up for potential chaos. Barring last-minute federal intervention, the District’s attorney general said that pot will become legal as early as Feb. 26 without any regulations in place to govern a new marketplace that is likely to explode into view.
Grower's Case Rivets Investors Seeking Pots of Gold
by Karen Gullo
(Bloomberg) -- A federal drug enforcement agent turned private-equity manager at a firm backed by PayPal Inc. co-founder Peter Thiel is watching the trial of a garden-variety pot grower with high hopes for the nascent marijuana industry.
It may sound like an only-in-California story -- and it is, for now -- but a win by the defendant may move the entire nation toward legalization of a business some value at more than $50 billion a year.
Patrick Moen, head of compliance and chief lawyer at Privateer Holdings Inc., an investment firm focused on cannabis, is following the case of a man described by prosecutors as the “go-to” guy at a sprawling marijuana plantation in the mountains of Northern California.
The defendant’s lawyers won the right to challenge the government’s treatment of marijuana as a controlled substance, as dangerous as heroin. They’re making their final pitch Wednesday for a federal judge to declare the government’s position unconstitutional in light of evidence of pot’s medical uses and steps the U.S. has taken to recognize legalization efforts in several states.
A defense win would boost the legal market for cannabis-related products and confirm for investors that the times for pot are changing.
Nebraska Says Colorado Pot Isn't Staying Across The Border
FEBRUARY 03, 2015
There's a PSA that greets you on the radio when you're driving the flat stretch of Colorado State Highway 113 near the Nebraska state line: "With marijuana legal under Colorado law, we've all got a few things to know. ... Once you get here, can't leave our state. Stick around, this place is pretty great."
B.J. Wilkinson, police chief of nearby Sidney, Neb., rolls his eyes whenever he hears that spot, made by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Sidney is the first town north of the border, and Wilkinson knows firsthand that not everyone's listening to those ads.
"Do you really think that somebody listening to that is going to say, 'Oh, they said on the radio I shouldn't take my marijuana back into Nebraska. So because they said it on the radio and I got a warning, I'm gonna listen to it'? Nah," he says.
It's been more than a year since Colorado formally legalized recreational marijuana, and the police in the rural counties that border the state are reporting big increases in illegal marijuana trafficking.
Wilkinson says marijuana-related offenses in Sidney have increased 50 percent in that time, jumping from 100 to 150 cases.
Police in border towns like Sidney say that they didn't vote to legalize the drug, but that their communities are burdened with some of the consequences. Two states, Nebraska and Oklahoma, are asking the Supreme Court to throw out Colorado's law altogether. Colorado has a month left to respond to the lawsuit.
Today the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Tracking Authority (RMHIDTA) issued a Press Release. The report counters much of the drug lobbying group’s “spin” on marijuana.
Spin: Drug Policy Alliance’s recent Status Report: Marijuana Legalization in Colorado After One Year of Retail Sales  and Two Years of Decriminalization ” claims: “Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1st, 2014, the state of Colorado has benefited from a decrease in crime rates…” The report then cites some crime categories in the City of Denver.
Truth: According to Denver Police Department’s National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), total reported crimes for all categories, not just the few selected by the Drug Policy Alliance, shows an overall increase of 8.6 percent from 2012 through 2013, the first year recreational marijuana was legalized. The increase continued through 2014 with a 2.5 percent increase from 2013.
Denver Police Department Reported Crimes
Spin: The same Drug Policy Alliance’s Status Report: Marijuana Legalization in Colorado After One Year of Retail Sales  and Two Years of Decriminalization ” claims: “The decline in fatalities in 2014 marks a continuation of a 12-year long downward trend in traffic fatalities in the state of Colorado.”
Truth: According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) with information provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT): The past 12 years have not shown a consecutive year to year decrease. In fact, the data shows four separate years where the number of fatalities increased including 2013, the first year recreational marijuana was legalized.
Traffic fatalities have gone done nationwide as a reflection of outstanding strides in emergency room treatments. The 2014 data is still in the process of being finalized by CDOT.
Hash Oil Explosions: There were 32 hash oil explosions in 2014, the first year recreational marijuana went on sale at retail stores, up from 11 in 2013.
30 people were burned or injured in hash oil explosions last year, 11 of them children. In 2013, there were 18 injuries reported from hash oil explosions.
Spin: The Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance and NORML don’t discuss the explosions. Marijuana attorney Robert Corry believes that making hash oil at home is legal under Amendment 64, although Colorado Attorney General John said it is not legal under the amendment. A frequent comment from pot promoters is that the explosions occur because marijuana is illegal. Guess they still think it’s illegal in Colorado.
Click here for the Parents Opposed to Pot website.
Parents Opposed to Pot is a non-partisan grassroots campaign started by parents concerned about the commercial pot industry and its devastating impact on youth and communities. We write anonymously to explore these important issues and protect the privacy of our bloggers. We are totally funded by private donations, rather than industry or government.
Using medical pot could make parent unfit, Maine’s highest court rules
The state's marijuana law protects patients in custody cases, but that can be superseded when the drug impairs caring for a child, justices rule in a York County case.
BY SCOTT DOLAN STAFF WRITER
The state’s highest court has ruled in a child custody case that although medical marijuana is legal in Maine, it can make a person unfit as a parent.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court made that decision unanimously Thursday in a York County custody battle between Jeanette Daggett and Dustin Sternick, ruling that Daggett should have primary custody of the couple’s daughter in part because of Sternick’s medical marijuana use.
Sternick kept “voluminous amounts” of baked goods with marijuana in his freezer and jars full of marijuana in the kitchen cabinet, and both locations were accessible to the child, the court’s opinion said. Daggett had testified at trial in Biddeford District Court that their daughter “reeked of marijuana butter” when she returned from staying with Sternick, according to the decision.
Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains
JANUARY 28, 2015
Teens can't control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why?
Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.
"Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' " Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Jensen, who's a neuroscientist and was a single mother of two boys who are now in their 20s, wrote The Teenage Brain to explore the science of how the brain grows — and why teenagers can be especially impulsive, moody and not very good at responsible decision-making.
"We have a natural insulation ... called myelin," she says. "It's a fat, and it takes time. Cells have to build myelin, and they grow it around the outside of these tracks, and that takes years."
Drug Trend Alert: Marijuana Wax, Oil or Concentrates
By Jermaine Galloway · January 26, 2015
This drug has a THC level of 60%-80% and is growing in popularity. Additionally, its method of production has led to explosions, which have caused injuries and deaths.
There is a new drug trend that is currently sweeping the country and is overwhelming college campus law enforcement, safety officials and administrators. The term for it is “dabbing,” but at a street level it is referred to as marijuana wax, oil or concentrates.
As many would expect when they hear the word marijuana, what comes to mind is a green leafy substance that is smoked through a glass marijuana pipe or a bong. The first thing that you need to do is get that image, knowledge of standard paraphernalia and terms out of your mind. This “new” marijuana is completely different than anything we have dealt with in the past.
What Are Marijuana Concentrates?
Marijuana concentrates are the extracted resins from green leafy marijuana, which can raise the THC content from the standard street level 15% THC to 60-80% THC. Also, concentrates are not green or leafy. They look like wax, butter, oil or amber colored glass shards, called “shatter.”
Kevin Allison & Daniel Indiviglio January 13, 2015
Peter Thiel may reckon regulators are just blowing smoke on weed. The PayPal billionaire's Founders Fund is backing the marijuana business, investing in Seattle-based farming firm Privateer Holdings. Though the stake could run up against US anti-drug laws, Thiel - like sharing-economy upstarts Airbnb and Uber - is wagering that the legal haze will clear. His reward could be sky-high returns.
America's cannabis market seems to be budding nicely. Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia voted in November to join Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational pot use. Nearly half of US states already allow medical marijuana.
Meet the Family Behind the Legal Weed Industry's First Credit Union
With the help of his father, mother and little sister, Alex Mason is leading the charge to get cannabis businesses and charities much-needed access to banking
By Missy Baxter | January 8, 2015
When Alex Mason, a gregarious 25-year-old South Carolina native, moved to Colorado in 2012 to pursue advanced wilderness EMT certification and a passion for mountain climbing, he never imagined that he would end up founding the world's first financial institution dedicated to the legal cannabis industry. That institution, the Fourth Corner Credit Union, received a green light from state banking regulators in November, and is set to open in downtown Denver by mid-January.
"I always saw myself as an outdoorsman who would one day climb the highest mountain," Mason says. "Maybe that mountain was trying to figure out how to help the legal cannabis industry get banking services."
But Mason couldn't scale that peak alone. So he recruited his family – father Mark, mother Rhoda and sister Delaney – to assist with his budding idea.
"Alex called one Sunday in February and I could sense in his voice he was really passionate about this issue," recalls Mark Mason, a South Carolina attorney. "He wasn't venting. He had an idea to solve this problem. He said, 'Dad, the legal cannabis industry needs to start its own credit union.' Everyone said it could not be done, but no one had actually tried."
The problem that needed solving was a big one: Although the U.S. Department of Treasury released banking guidelines for state-licensed marijuana businesses last year, most banks and credit unions still steer clear to avoid bureaucratic red tape and risk of hefty fines, since weed is illegal on the federal level. As a result, ganja entrepreneurs can have a hard time finding both legitimate funding and a secure place to stash what money they have and make.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein resolute in opposition to legalizing pot
January 14, 2015
As the majority of California voters grow comfortable with the idea of pot legalization, their senior senator in Washington is making it clear that she most certainly is not.
Dianne Feinstein is emerging as one of Washington's toughest critics of the Obama administration's tolerance for marijuana use. Long a strident supporter of the government's War on Drugs, the 81-year-old Democrat is showing no sign of bowing to the shifting views of constituents in California and colleagues on Capitol Hill.
Feinstein's resolve was on full display in two letters she and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), her co-chair on a Senate panel that oversees international narcotics control, fired off this month to the administration.
In dispatches to Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry, the senators expressed bewilderment at the administration's leniency with states that permit the sale of pot to any adult who wants it.
"We are already seeing signs that the United States' position on drug control issues has been weakened," they wrote to Holder. "It is our understanding that no one in the Justice Department has initiated a centralized effort to measure the overall effect of these laws."
The letters warned that legal recreational pot sales appear to violate a United Nations treaty the U.S. signed that is a linchpin of international drug control efforts. They protested that the federal government appears to be doing nothing to monitor the impact in states where recreational sales are underway.
Kentucky high schoolers packing devices with marijuana
By Erica Coghill
UPDATED 6:50 AM EST Jan 07, 2015
CARROLLTON, Ky. —Electronic cigarettes are used to help tobacco users quit smoking, but local authorities said some are using them as a disguise for drugs.
E-cigarettes are composed of water vapor, flavoring and nicotine, but some are packing them with heroin and marijuana.
"What they do is they take marijuana, then take the THC out of it, put it in wax form, stick it in an e-cig, which heats it up, melts it, and you smoke it just like an e-cig, but you get the high off the marijuana," said Carrollton police Officer Tim Gividen.
The marijuana is undetected by sight and smell.
"You're not going to get the marijuana smell off the smoke, because it is going to be disguised with flavoring," said Gividen.
Gividen patrols schools in Carroll County.
It was when he confiscated an e-cigarette from a student at Carroll County High School and started asking questions that he learned of the growing trend.
Crime Is Up in Colorado: What That Tells Us About Pot Legalization and, Perhaps More Importantly, Lazy Reporting
Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.
Co-founder, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
Asst. Professor, University of Florida
How goes Colorado's experience with legal marijuana? Spend some time on social media or on numerous blogs and you'll read headlines like "Revenue Up, Crime Down!" or "Youth Use Declining After Legalization." In this short blog series, I will tackle different topics that have been the subject of myth and misinformation.
First up: crime.
Lately legalization advocates have been cheering numbers that show a decline in crime. There are literally hundreds of articles that have been written with this narrative. But an honest look at the statistics shows an increase -- not decrease -- in Denver crime rates.
Crime is tracked through two reporting mechanisms: the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which examines about 35 types of crime, and the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). The FBI UCR only captures about 50 percent of all crimes in Denver, so the NIBRS is generally regarded as more credible. The Denver Police Department (DPD) uses NIBRS categories to examine an array of crime statistics, since it is the more detailed and comprehensive source of numbers.
At least 20 small children have died nationwide because of their parents’ or caretaker’s marijuana usage, since Colorado and Washington voted to legalize pot. It began in November 2012, just over two years ago, and it continues to happen in 2015. Four of those deaths occurred in Colorado, three in California.
It’s high time that a parents’ marijuana usage becomes part of the national discussion of child custody and visitation. It’s hard to understand why Doreen Reyes of Palmetto Bay, FL, had to allow her son, 4-year old Javon Dade, Jr., overnight visitation to the father who used marijuana, cocaine, had several drug arrests and kept pit bulls. The last time Javon spent the night with him was in August, the time that he died.
Children’s deaths — involving parents whose marijuana use interfered with parenting — have occurred in every corner of the country—from Vermont to Florida, from Michigan to Texas, from Oregon to Arizona, from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma. The more pot promoters say that marijuana is harmless and justify their growing industry, the more neglected and abused children there will be; some will suffer and die — unnecessarily.
Marijuana users—if addicted– have a tendency to lose a sense of time and be neglectful parents, or in some cases, abusive. Unfortunately, in many cases, both parents are drug abusers. Many medical marijuana “patients” prefer to convert pot into hash oil. When these “patients” use butane or other flammables, they should not be given custody and should only be allowed supervised visitation. Too many fires have resulted in children treated for burns.
Montana Judge Blocks Enforcement of Medical Marijuana Restrictions
Phillip Smith | StopTheDrugWar.org
January 5, 2015
HELENA, MT — A state district court judge last Friday dealt a hard blow to provisions of a restrictive state medical marijuana law passed by the Republican-dominated legislature seven years after Big Sky voters approved a more open initiative allowing for medicinal use and a wide open dispensary scene.
District Judge James Reynolds in Helena permanently enjoined the implementation of certain key provisions in the law. Those provisions have never actually taken effect because Reynolds blocked them with a temporary injunction back in 2011.
Reynolds blocked provisions that ban medical marijuana advertising, forbid the commercial sale of marijuana to authorized patients, restrict caregivers from growing for more than three patients, and require the state to report the names of doctors who recommended more than 25 patients for medical marijuana in a 12-month period to the state Board of Medical Examiners. That final provision would have triggered at automatic review of the doctor’s practices—at his own expense.
Pot Pie, Redefined? Chefs Start to Experiment With Cannabis
By KIM SEVERSON
NEW YORK TIMES
DECEMBER 28, 2014
BOULDER, Colo. — Recreational marijuana is both illegal and controversial in most of the country, and its relationship to food does not rise much above a joke about brownies or a stoner chef’s late-night pork belly poutine.
But cooking with cannabis is emerging as a legitimate and very lucrative culinary pursuit.
In Colorado, which has issued more than 160 edible marijuana licenses, skilled line cooks are leaving respected restaurants to take more lucrative jobs infusing cannabis into food and drinks. In Washington, one of four states that allow recreational marijuana sales, a large cannabis bakery dedicated to affluent customers with good palates will soon open in Seattle.
Major New York publishing houses and noted cookbook authors are pondering marijuana projects, and chefs on both coasts and in food-forward countries like Denmark have been staging underground meals with modern twists like compressed watermelon, smoked cheese and marijuana-oil vinaigrette.
Monitoring the Future Survey, Overview of Findings 2014
This year’s Monitoring the Future Survey of drug use and attitudes among American 8th, 10th, and 12th graders continues to show encouraging news, with decreasing use of alcohol, cigarettes, and misuse of prescription pain relievers; stable rates of marijuana use among teens; decreasing use of inhalants and synthetic drugs, including K2/Spice and Bath Salts; and a general decline over the last two decades in the use of illicit drugs. However, the survey highlighted growing concerns over the high rate of electronic cigarette use and softening of attitudes around some types of drug use, particularly decreases in perceived harm and disapproval of marijuana use.
Medical Marijuana and the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know Now
By John A. DiNome, Amanda D. Haverstick, and Hadley B. Perkins
There are now 24 jurisdictions with laws that legalize use of marijuana for medical purposes. Five of those jurisdictions—Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia—have gone so far as to legalize the drug for recreational use, with similar legislation pending or under consideration in a number of other states. Because state statutes in this area are generally very new, most have not yet had opportunity for judicial interpretation. This means there is little (if any) guidance—even generally—about what the statutes mean, much less any clear direction for employers that are trying to grapple with whether—and, if so, how—their employment policies and practices should be modified to take into account the new statutes. Compounding the uncertainty for employers is that federal law continues to prohibit marijuana use, distribution, and possession for any reason.
Set forth below is the most definitive guidance that currently can be gleaned from the text of the state laws and the few court decisions that have been rendered in this area. We will continue to update you with new developments.
(St. Petersburg, FL) Today, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released the results of the 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey. The report showed teen perceived risk of smoking marijuana is on the decline among 12th graders, an alarming trend that traditionally precedes changes in reported use. Marijuana use continues to exceed the use of cigarettes and although the use of others drugs such as prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco is decreasing, marijuana edible use is increasing. Anti-drug advocates believe this is due to the normalization and commercialization of marijuana products in states where it is legal.
“We continue to be concerned about the changing attitudes among young people about the regular use of marijuana. Although overall marijuana use did not increase in 2014, the decrease in perceived risk of its use was substantial. This is a sure-fire indicator that we will see a rise in its use in the near future,” said Calvina Fay, Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. and Save Our Society From Drugs. “There also continues to be new trends and challenges we face today, such as highly potent marijuana-infused edible products that are being wittingly and unwittingly ingested. According to this report there are more youth that consume these edible products in states where marijuana is legal under the guise of medicine versus those who reside in states where it is not legal. The statistics show 40% of young people have used an edible product in medi-pot states versus 26% in states where marijuana is not legally available as a so-called medicine,” continued Fay.
“Now more than ever we need to be concerned about these trends, because of the increased potency of marijuana, especially in edibles, over the last decade. The rise in emergency room visits relating to marijuana poisonings in states where marijuana is legal is also alarming. Clearly, this is due to the increasing availability of marijuana edibles infused with extremely high levels of the psycho-active ingredient THC. Additionally, there is a lack of child-resistant packaging mandates that is likely contributing to the increase in pediatric exposures,” continued Fay. “My question is, now that this social experiment of legalizing marijuana is a proven train wreck – what is our government going to do to reverse these negative trends? Conducting important research such as this survey produces valuable data, but where is the plan to remedy the damaging results?” concluded Fay.
Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a national and international drug policy organization promoting effective sound drug policies, education and prevention. www.dfaf.org.
Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.) takes a comprehensive approach to promote sound drug policy that includes education, prevention, abstinence-based treatment, scientific research, and community awareness. www.saveoursociety.org.
Vice Wars: Tobacco, Alcohol and the Rise of Big Marijuana
BY TONY DOKOUPIL
Drug reformers always dreamed of a world where users were safe and dealers were free. Then that world arrived, at least in the states where marijuana is legal. Now they see a new nightmare on the horizon: Big Pot.
The specter of corporate cannabis loomed large on Tuesday, when the family of Bob Marley appeared on NBC's Today Show, announcing the creation of Marley Natural. The world's first global brand of marijuana launched with the support of $50 million dollars in private equity and the same marketing machine that took Starbucks to the masses.
"We see the inevitability of large, well-run companies to sell cannabis," said Brendan Kennedy, the CEO of Privateer Holding, the Seattle-based company that's behind the Marley brand. "That train left the station a long time ago."
Less than a year after Colorado and Washington state opened the first commercial pot markets, and less than a month after two more states voted to follow suit, such frank capitalism has shocked the smiling wise-men of weed and their crusading friends in the legalization movement. Most hoped the market would remain a cottage industry of small-scale growers, collectives and dispensaries. Few expect it will.
"My concern is the Marlboro-ization or Budweiser-ization of marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "That's not what I'm fighting for."
"It's a cultural thing," said Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the country's oldest consumer pot lobby. "All of us have at least a little bit of discomfort with the corporate stuff."
But they're not the only ones who are worried. Alcohol and tobacco interests are also keeping an eye on the burgeoning market. The alcohol industry in particular has been communicating with representatives of NORML, DPA, and the Marijuana Policy Project, according to sources on both sides of the table.
CNN’s Don Lemon is under fire for making the elementary observation that some of the Ferguson protesters planning violence and mayhem were smoking pot. Linking dope to violence is taboo for most of the media.
Reporting from the scene, Lemon said, “Maybe a minute, two minutes ago we heard a gunshot and watched people scattering. And we’re watching people on the roofs of cars, on the tops of cars and…Obviously there’s a smell of marijuana here as well.”
“Lemon’s comments sparked fierce backlash on social media,” reported Toyin Owoseje of the International Business Times. She said “many members of the online community” accused him of “adding fire to the flames and promoting his own agenda.”
It’s the marijuana, not Lemon’s observation, which added fire to the flames. He was just pointing out the obvious. Are journalists supposed to ignore the use of mind-altering substances by demonstrators planning the burning and looting of businesses?
That Lemon’s simple observation has generated outrage in the press demonstrates how most journalists are trying to play down the harmful effects of the drug and ignore the epidemic of drug use in minority communities. Our media, and some libertarian politicians such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), want everyone to believe that police who enforce the laws and the “War on Drugs” are the problem.
No, it’s the drugs and their consequences, including mental illness and violence.
Don Kaplan of the New York Daily News called Lemon’s remark a “culturally insensitive comment,” as if dope-smoking was something indigenous to Ferguson residents. He also called it a “useless observation” which “polarized critics” against Lemon.
Catherine Taibi of the always politically-correct The Huffington Post said the remarks sparked a “backlash” against Lemon.
Why so much outrage over a simple observation of fact? Aren’t journalists supposed to report facts?
CNHI News Service | Posted: Friday, November 14, 2014
EFFINGHAM, Ill. — Chicago investors who want to operate a medical marijuana farm in this rural south-central Illinois community said they will donate more than $1 million over 10 years to local schools if city and state officials approve the proposal.
But city officials who turned down the project last month likened the offer to a bribe and said they don’t expect to change their mind when the city council meets next week to discuss the gift.
“If I was to change my vote now, I would be nothing more than a Judas,” said Commissioner Matt Hirtzel. “Instead of 30 pieces of silver, it would be a million dollars to the schools.”
Commissioner Brian Milleville observed that “this must be the Chicago way. They want to grease a palm, but because it is in a public setting, they call it legal.”
ACLU Turns From Legalization to Decriminalizing Drug Possession
November 12th, 2014
Now that four states have legalized recreational marijuana, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUS) plans to turn its focus from legalization to decriminalizing drug possession, according to U.S. News & World Report .
“What the marijuana legalization votes tell us is the door is open to reconsidering all of our drug laws,” said Alison Holcomb, National Director of the ACLU’s new nationwide campaign against “mass incarceration.” The effort will be funded by a $50 million grant from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
The ACLU hopes to replicate the success of California’s Proposition 47. The measure, approved by 58 percent of state voters last week, lowers penalties for drug possession and other nonviolent crimes. It also allows felony convictions to be retroactively reclassified as misdemeanors, and calls for sentencing reductions for current inmates. “Hopefully we will be able to find states where we can go further and say, ‘Let’s decriminalize the possession of drugs and let’s talk about what we can do to address drug use and abuse,’” Holcomb said.
“When it comes to criminal justice and drug policy, Americans are thinking differently about these issues,” says Lenore Anderson, a co-author of Proposition 47.
“The main message for policymakers is some of the old ways of thinking around prison-first policies and using the criminal justice system to deal with something like drug addiction is something the public doesn’t think is wise anymore.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to reduce the base offense for criminals caught with various amounts of drugs. Nonviolent, low-level drug offenders who do not have deep criminal ties would qualify for retroactive sentences. The Commission later voted to apply the reduction in sentencing guidelines applicable to most federal drug trafficking offenders retroactively. This means many offenders currently in prison could be eligible for reduced sentences beginning in November 2015.
Marijuana-Legalization Supporters See Next Battleground in California
Following the passage of measures to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., advocates say they are now focusing on California.
Oregon and Alaska voted to legalize recreational marijuana use on Tuesday. In Washington, D.C., residents voted to allow possession of marijuana, but not retail sales of the drug. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Oregon and Alaska will follow Colorado and Washington state, which legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012.
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said it is likely pro-legalization measures will be on the ballot in 2016 in California, Maine and Nevada. They may also appear on the ballot in Massachusetts and Arizona, he said.
Because of California’s large population, a vote to legalize marijuana in the state would be “a real game-changer,” Beau Kilmer, Co-Director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, told The Wall Street Journal. There have been major changes since California voters defeated an initiative to legalize marijuana in 2010, Kilmer said. “There’s serious money behind these efforts and they’re spending more time putting the ballot initiatives together,” he noted.
Legalization opponent Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana said voters will become more cautious in the future. “We are confident the more people know the truth about marijuana and the Big Tobacco-like marijuana industry, the more opposition to marijuana legalization will continue to grow,” he said.
Almost 55 percent of Oregon voters supported a measure to tax and regulate sales of recreational marijuana, while 52 percent of Alaska voters favored the state’s legalization measure.
Alaskans vote to legalize marijuana
Suzanna Caldwell,Laurel Andrews
Alaska Dispatch News
November 4, 2014
After years of debate -- and decades of semi-legal status -- Alaskans will finally be able to light up legally. On Tuesday, voters approved Ballot Measure 2, an initiative legalizing recreational marijuana in Alaska, by about 52 percent in favor to 48 percent opposed, with 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting.
With the vote, Alaska joins Washington, Colorado and Oregon -- the latter of which also approved a similar initiative Tuesday -- as the first states in the country to legalize pot. Washington and Colorado approved their own initiatives in 2012.
The initiative will not become law until 90 days after the election is certified, which is expected to be in late November. Per the law, the state can then create a marijuana control board -- expected to be housed under the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. That group will then have nine months to craft regulations dealing with how marijuana businesses will operate.
The initiative was years in the making. Alaska voters considered similar measures in 2000 and 2004. Both failed, though each indicated a measure of support for legalization. Measure 5 in 2000 took 40.9 percent of the vote; Ballot Measure 2 in 2004 gained a few more points, with 44 percent of the electorate voting in favor of it.
Supporters expressed relief Tuesday as results streamed in.
“It looks good for us, but there are still a lot of votes to be counted” said Taylor Bickford, spokesman for the pro-legalization Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, as the results ticked up to 44 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday evening.
But by 2 a.m. Wednesday, with all precincts reporting, the pro-legalization crowd was declaring victory.
"Now that the campaign is over, it’s time to establish a robust regulatory system that sets an example for other states," Bickford said in a prepared statement. "A regulated marijuana market will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and create good jobs for Alaskans. Law enforcement will be able to spend their time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws."
What had seemed like an easy win earlier in the year appeared to slip in the weeks leading up to the election. Polls showed support for the measure at over 50 percent earlier in the year, but that appeared to decline over the summer and into fall. Dueling polls commissioned by both sides of the campaign showed striking differences between the two, making it anyone’s guess which side would ultimately come out ahead in the vote.
The Yes campaign fought vigorously to get out their message of the failures of marijuana “prohibition” across the state. They contended that Ballot Measure 2 would regulate and tax a substance already being used by over 100,000 Alaskans each year. Doing so would begin to eliminate the black market and prevent people from being arrested for possessing or using a substance many argue is objectively safer than alcohol.
The campaign noted that Ballot Measure 2 would allow for regulation of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol by controlling the types of products sold, prohibiting sales to those under 21 and taxing marijuana at $50 per ounce wholesale.
Proponents also championed the idea of reconciling what co-sponsor Tim Hinterberger, a longtime marijuana legalization advocate, called “illogical” laws.
A resolution to Alaska's complicated marijuana laws
Alaska’s relationship with marijuana has long been a complicated one. The 1975 Alaska Supreme Court decision in Ravin v. State that Alaskans’ right to privacy protected the possession of a small amount of marijuana in the home effectively legalized the substance.
Despite that status, the legality of marijuana has remained in question. The Ravin ruling has been interpreted to be narrow, protecting use only in the home. Alaska statutes prohibit the possession of even a small amount of marijuana. Making things more complicated are the state’s medical marijuana laws, approved by voters in 1998. Patients can be prescribed the drug, however, with no dispensaries there is no legal way to acquire it.
Opponents of legalization agreed some reform to Alaska’s marijuana laws might be appropriate, but that vagaries of Ballot Measure 2 made the initiative inappropriate for Alaska.
Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2, the group opposing the measure, had concerns over the language of the initiative -- specifically that it left too much up to the regulatory process. With so many questions unanswered in the initiative’s language, they voiced concerns over possible increases in marijuana use. They argued that more use would lead to more problems related to increased teen access, public health risks, potent marijuana concentrates and additional cost and resource burdens on public safety departments.
The No campaign expressed frustration with the results Tuesday night.
"We're disappointed in the numbers right now,” said No campaign deputy treasurer Deborah Williams, but added, “We're very proud of the campaign we ran."
“The campaign pointed out a lot of needed areas for amendments and improvements ... the people in this campaign are committed to doing what is best for Alaska,” she said.
But as the results continued to arrive and the gap became slightly more narrow as the night wore on, Williams expressed some optimism.
As she left Election Central at 11:30 p.m., Williams had her phone in hand and was refreshing election results every few minutes. "We keep narrowing the gap," she said. "Obviously we have a lot of ground to make up."
Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. legalize marijuana
By Dan Merica, CNN
updated 2:39 PM EST, Wed November 5, 2014
Washington (CNN) -- Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. have voted to approve sweeping pro-marijuana legalization, according to a CNN projections.
The three wins have pro-legalization activists enthused and many are already looking towards 2016, when ballot initiatives in states such as California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Arizona are likely to be put to voters.
In Oregon, the law legalizes personal possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older. Mimicking similar plans in Washington State and Colorado, the Oregon law will also create a commercial regulatory system for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.
Alaska's law is similar to Oregon and would tax and regulate the production, sale and use of marijuana, making the use legal for people over 21 years old
Washington, D.C.'s proposal, while scaled back compared to the others, allows for a person over 21 years old to posses up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six cannabis plants in their home. It also allows people to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to another person, but not sell it.
The issue is not fully resolved for the District of Columbia, however. Because of its unique status as a district, not a state, Congress has the authority to overrule D.C. laws and some lawmakers have signaled that they would likely work to overrule the popular vote.
Pro-marijuana activists heralded the victories as "huge" on Tuesday.
"It's always an uphill battle to win a marijuana legalization initiative in a year like this, when young people are so much less likely to vote, which makes today's victory all the sweeter," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance said about Oregon. "The pace of reform is accelerating, other states are sure to follow, and even Congress is poised to wake from its slumber."
Wins in Washington, D.C. also have activists hoping for federal recognition.
"With marijuana legal in the federal government's backyard," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, "it's going to be increasingly difficult for national politicians to continue ignoring the growing majority of voters who want to end prohibition."
Not all news was positive, however, for marijuana activists on Tuesday, however.
Voters in Florida gave the thumbs down to medical marijuana in the the Sunshine State earlier in the night, according to a CNN projection.
Kennedy: Are We Ready For Big Tobacco-Style Marketing For Marijuana?
October 30, 201410:27 PM ET
There has been a lot of talk recently about marijuana legalization — increasing tax revenue for states, getting nonviolent offenders out of the prison system, protecting personal liberty, possible health benefits for those with severe illnesses. These are good and important conversations to have, and smart people from across the ideological spectrum are sharing their perspectives.
But one key dimension of the issue has been left out of the discussion until now: the marketing machine that will spring up to support these now-legal businesses, and the detrimental effect this will have on our kids.
Will Marijuana Follow In The Steps Of Big Tobacco?
Curious how this might work? Look no further than Big Tobacco. In 1999, the year after a massive legal settlement that restricted certain forms of advertising, the major cigarette companies spent a record $8.4 billion on marketing. In 2011, that number reached $8.8 billion, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. To put it into context, the auto industry spent less than half of that on advertising in 2011, and car ads are everywhere.
At the same time, despite advertising bans, these notoriously sneaky tobacco companies continue to find creative ways to target kids. Data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that the most heavily marketed brands of cigarettes were also the most popular among people under 18.
This is not a coincidence, and gets to the very core of Big Tobacco's approach: Hook them young, and they have a customer for life. Why do we think the legal marijuana industry will behave differently from Big Tobacco? When the goal is addiction, all bets are off.
By ABIGAIL SULLIVAN MOORE and JULIE TURKEWITZ OCT. 29, 2014
In an apartment complex just outside the western edge of the University of Colorado’s flagship campus, a 22-year-old psychology major named Zach has just leaned over an expensive oil rig — a twisting glass tube that he will use to smoke shatter, a hash oil concentrate. Once he lights up, his high will be rapid and intense.
Zach spends hundreds of dollars on smoking devices. But he has a side income. This evening’s session was preceded by visits to three medical marijuana dispensaries, where, using his state-issued card, he bought pot products to sell to friends at a markup. “Runners” — campus argot, as in running around buying for others — are an open secret on campus.
Zach takes a seat on his overstuffed sectional and tells how it happened: His first day living on campus, a sophomore had taken him to a dispensary for a pizza with marijuana baked in. He asked how he could get his own card, and friends coached him on telling a doctor about anxiety, nausea or back pain. “I just said I had a bike accident when I was younger, and that caused lower back pain, which caused nausea and that caused anxiety,” he recalls. “I was afraid it wouldn’t happen, so I just got all three knocked out.”
He presented a bill mailed to his dorm as proof he was a state resident, which he wasn’t, and received a card allowing him to access medical marijuana immediately, two ounces at a time.
Some of Zach’s clients are under 21 and cannot buy recreational cannabis legally. But others are older students who simply don’t want to pay the hefty tax — three times that levied on medical marijuana. So despite the abundance of recreational cannabis products since the first retail shops opened in January, there is still a vibrant black market for medical marijuana, which has been legal in Colorado since 2001 with a doctor’s recommendation.
The gray matter of the nucleus accumbens, the walnut-shaped pleasure center of the brain, was glowing like a flame, showing a notable increase in density. “It could mean that there’s some sort of drug learning taking place,” speculated Jodi Gilman, at her computer screen at the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. Was the brain adapting to marijuana exposure, rewiring the reward system to demand the drug?
Dr. Gilman was reviewing a composite scan of the brains of 20 pot smokers, ages 18 to 25. What she and fellow researchers at Harvard and Northwestern University found within those scans surprised them. Even in the seven participants who smoked only once or twice a week, there was evidence of structural differences in two significant regions of the brain. The more the subjects smoked, the greater the differences.
Moderate marijuana use by healthy adults seems to pose little risk, and there are potential medical benefits, including easing nausea and pain. But it has long been known that, with the brain developing into the mid-20s, young people who smoke early and often are more likely to have learning and mental health problems. Now researchers suggest existing studies are no longer sufficient. Much of what’s known is based on studies conducted years ago with much less powerful pot.
Marijuana samples seized by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency show the concentration of THC, the drug’s psychoactive compound, rising from a mean of 3.75 percent in 1995 to 13 percent in 2013. Potency seesaws depending on the strain and form. Fresh Baked, which sells recreational marijuana in Boulder, Colo., offers “Green Crack,” with a THC content of about 21 percent, and “Phnom Pen,” with about 8 percent. The level in a concentrate called “Bubble Hash” is about 70 percent; cartridges for vaporizers, much like e-cigarettes, range from 15 to 30 percent THC.
High-THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We have seen very, very significant increases in emergency room admissions associated with marijuana use that can’t be accounted for solely on basis of changes in prevalence rates,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a co-author of the THC study. “It can only be explained by the fact that current marijuana has higher potency associated with much greater risk for adverse effects.” Emergency room visits related to marijuana have nearly doubled, from 66,000 in 2004 to 129,000 in 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Commentary: Before legalizing marijuana, Maine should consider the cost
What’s the cost of a third legal drug? Apparently, it would be substantial – and painful.
BY M.D. HARMON
Posted October 10, 2014
Marijuana legalization is apparently sweeping all resistance before it, with two states, Washington and Colorado, leading the way (insert your own “Rocky Mountain High” joke here, I’m tired of them). Several other states seem poised to follow.
Portland approved an ordinance last year to stop penalizing consenting adults for possessing small amounts, and South Portland and Lewiston are voting on similar measures next month.
Back in 1999, Maine voters approved the use of medical marijuana in a referendum, and authorized dispensaries under certain conditions in 2009. Twenty-two other states and the District of Columbia have similar laws.
But there’s a lot being said on both sides of the issue that’s worth hearing before the effort to add “a third legal recreational drug” to the nation’s pharmacopoeia kicks all objections to the curb.
The NORML website (norml.org, for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) says: “Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans.”
It continues: “Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it. Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose.”
And according to the pro-pot Marijuana Policy Project (www.mpp.org), “These (Maine) campaigns will help build momentum for a change in marijuana policy statewide. We have been clear about our efforts to bring the question of taxing and regulating marijuana to voters statewide in 2016. Talking to folks around the state, it is clear that Mainers are ready to make marijuana legal.”
But saying that marijuana is less dangerous than currently legal drugs is not the same thing as saying it is safe, according to Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency.
“Look at the evidence,” Volkow said recently, pointing to the harms already inflicted by tobacco and alcohol. “It’s not subtle – it’s huge. Legal drugs are the main problem that we have in our country as it relates to morbidity and mortality. By far. Many more people die of tobacco than all of the drugs together. Many more people die of alcohol than all of the illicit drugs together.”
Oregon rolls out legal-pot plan far different from Washington’s
OREGON VOTERS WILL DECIDE THIS FALL WHETHER TO ALLOW RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE. THE INITIATIVE CALLS FOR LOWER TAXES AND THE ABILITY TO POSSESS MORE POT THAN IS ALLOWED UNDER WASHINGTON’S NEW LAW.
By Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporter
Originally published October 5, 2014
PORTLAND — Matt Price sells 100 different kinds of edibles, tinctures, buds and other marijuana offerings to the patients who frequent Cannabliss, the medical dispensary he opened up in a historic brick building that once served as a fire station.
Unlike in Washington, Price’s medical-marijuana business is licensed by the state, and all the pot he sells is subject to mandatory testing and labeling.
The 28-year-old entrepreneur says he’s now ready for his next step — an expansion into recreational marijuana if Oregon voters pass a measure this fall that would legalize pot sales to anyone 21 years of age or older.
“We’ve had inspections,” Price said, referring to medical-marijuana dispensaries. “We’re already abiding by the laws. So being first up for recreational makes logical sense.”
The expansion of Oregon medical-marijuana marketers into recreational sales would mark a very different industry evolution than in Washington, where there is a sharp separation between heavily regulated pot shops open to all adults and a much bigger medical-marijuana trade with scant government oversight.
Recreational marijuana sellers are reaching out to novice cannabis users with a raft of edible products that impart a milder buzz and make it easy for inexperienced customers to find a dose they won't regret taking.
In many ways, the marketing shift is the pot-industry equivalent of selling beer and wine alongside higher-alcohol options such as whiskey and vodka.
"No one buys a handle of Jim Beam and thinks they should drink all of that in one sitting," said Tim Cullen, owner of two Denver-area marijuana dispensaries. "But people do want to eat an entire cookie, an entire piece of chocolate. So these products allow you to do that and not have a miserable experience."
Nine months into Colorado's recreational pot experiment, retailers have good reason to court new users. A market study released in July suggested 40 percent of customers in Denver-area recreational marijuana shops are tourists. That figure spikes to 90 percent in ski towns such as Aspen or Breckenridge. Tourists cannot shop in medical-marijuana dispensaries, so many of those customers may be buying legal weed for the first time.
New on the shelves in Colorado's recreational pot shops is the "Rookie Cookie," a marijuana-infused confection that contains 10 milligrams of marijuana's psychoactive ingredient. That's a low enough dose that most adults wouldn't be too impaired to drive a car.
Then there's a new marijuana-infused soda that's 15 times weaker than the company's best-known soda. The Dixie One watermelon cream soda contains 5 milligrams of THC - half of what the state considers a serving size - and is billed as "great for those who are new to THC or don't like to share."
The wave of lighter choices comes as the new industry tries to pivot away from products aimed at frequent, heavy pot users to newer customers who weren't interested in the drug when it was illegal.
"For a long time, the medical market was a race to the strongest edibles. Now it's a new market, and people want something that won't get them so inebriated they're not functional," said Holden Sproul of the Growing Kitchen, which makes the "Rookie Cookie" and is phasing out some of its stronger offerings.
There's no publicly available data on which products are selling. But interviews with dispensary owners and marijuana producers suggest the lighter products are booming.
The popularity of marijuana-derived concentrates, including wax, honey oil, and shatter, has correlated to a rash of extraction-lab explosions across Southern Calfornia over the last two years.
But police operations specifically targeting the makers of this potent form of medicine have been few and far between, with authorities often breaking out the handcuffs only after the firefighters have arrived.
See also: Hash-Oil Blast In San Diego Investigated By DEA
It turns out that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has been quietly on the case of concentrates in SoCal for a while, though:
The DEA this week announced that nine people have been arrested as part of a year-long investigation it's calling "Operation Shattered Dreams." They were scheduled to be in court today.
Smoking marijuana can seriously impair the ability to drive a motor vehicle safely, but many marijuana users actually believe they drive better while under the influence of cannabis.
An article on this website titled Marijuana Causes Many Deaths Reported as 'Accidents', drew comments from many self-reported marijuana users who insisted their driving is not affected by being high, and in fact, some were adamant that their driving skills actually improve under the influence.
But scientific research does not back up these claims. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed 25 published studies conducted on the effects that smoking marijuana has on driving skills and performance. The review was part of the agency's effort to determine the effects on driving of more than 16 illegal and prescription drugs.
The resulting NHTSA Fact Sheets not only outlined the overall effects of smoking marijuana on users, but detailed specifically how smoking weed can impair driving skills. Following are some of the findings.
Forget 2014, pot advocates are already pushing legalization in at least six states for 2016
By Niraj Chokshi October 1, 2014
Advocates have taken first steps toward getting marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot in at least six states, with two more joining the growing list this week.
In Maine, advocates formed a political action committee to support their fight with proposed initiative language forthcoming, while a local Democratic activist in Mississippi submitted a nine-page proposed ballot measure with the state. Both efforts, launched Monday, join similar efforts underway in Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Nevada. The Marijuana Policy Project, which played an instrumental role in legalizing the drug in Colorado, has started or been involved with all but the Mississippi measure.
As voters and lawmakers in more states decide to legalize marijuana, policy makers will have to answer a fresh and difficult question: How should governments regulate the production and sale of the drug?
Beyond keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors, a good regulatory system has to limit the increase in drug abuse that is likely to accompany lower prices and greater availability after legalization. It should protect consumers from both dangerous and counterfeit products, reducing the physical risk from a psychoactive substance. And a well-regulated system should undermine and eventually eliminate the black market for marijuana, which has done great damage to society.
The experiences of Colorado and Washington, where sales of recreational marijuana started this year, will prove instructive. While there are important differences in their approaches, both states have licensed businesses to grow, process and sell marijuana while imposing strict rules and high taxes on them. Other states that legalize will probably adopt a similar model, because it resembles how the federal and state governments regulate tobacco and alcohol.
DENVER — Accidentally overdosing on marijuana-infused candies, cookies and brownies may get harder under new rules being considered by Colorado.
State marijuana enforcers have proposed making it easier for "edibles" buyers to tell exactly how much pot is in each portion of infused foods, according to proposed regulations that have not yet been made public. The Associated Press first reported the details of the proposal on Thursday evening, and USA TODAY has confirmed them with industry sources.
The rules apply only to recreational, not medical, marijuana products, and are aimed at reducing incidents of the kind related by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who said she hallucinated that she had died after eating too much of a pot-infused candy bar.
Medical marijuana users, who tend to be more experienced users, prefer a high-dose product, Hodas said.
Big Oil has one. Big Telecom has one. Big Pharma has one. If you're an industry with a true foothold in Washington—a "Big" lobby, in other words—you've got to have a "revolving door."
And increasingly, it seems like the $2.5 billion-a-year (and growing) American cannabis trade is building its own—let's call it a "revolving hotbox," to use the pot smoker's parlance—attracting a growing number of ex-politicians and former political staffers to the industry's cause.
Earlier this summer, Jack Lavin, former chief of staff to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, resigned to become a lobbyist. One of his first three clients was a marijuana start-up company, which hired Lavin specifically to lobby the governor's office.
Read More WARNING!!! Legalizing pot will make income inequality a lot worse
William Delahunt, a former U.S. representative from Massachusetts, started a nonprofit medical marijuana company last year. That outfit became the subject of controversy last month, when the state pulled its three dispensary licenses, after public outcry over its financial ties to a consulting firm Delahunt runs.
City plans for strict limits on medical pot sites go up in smoke
TUE, 07/29/2014 - 8:28PM
Chicago medical marijuana dispensaries are likely coming to busy shopping areas, despite the city’s initial attempt to hide them away at the edges of the city.
That means a medical marijuana dispensary could potentially open next door to a tony restaurant on Randolph Street or in River North near touristy fast food joints, according to new zoning regulations approved Tuesday by a the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.
Essentially most business and commercial strips are fair game.
Feds need a coherent weed policy, say Colorado and Washington senators
By Mark K. Matthews
The Denver Post 07/29/2014
WASHINGTON — Concerned that federal policies toward marijuana usage in states that have legalized the drug often are "at odds with one another," the four U.S. senators from Colorado and Washington state are asking the White House to intervene and establish "consistent and uniform" guidelines across the administration.
In a letter dated Monday, the senators expressed frustration with what they saw as conflicting messages coming from various federal agencies. And they urged Attorney General Eric Holder and Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, to help develop a single policy that would respect the rights of their states to regulate the fledgling industry.
Washington State has become the second state to legalize marijuana. Christians need to be prepared to speak to this issue.
REASONS TO OPPOSE MARIJUANA ARE HERE GIVEN IN THE FORM OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol, and alcohol is legal.Alcohol is America’s number one drug problem. Why should we now unleash another harmful drug on America? When marijuana has been legalized, it has led to an increase in crime and societal problems. Alcohol and marijuana have been classified as “gateway drugs,” drugs that often lead to harder drugs. Isn’t one legal gateway drug enough?
We have not won the war against drugs, including marijuana. So why not legalize it?We haven’t won the war against murder either. Should we therefore legalize murder? Should we just tax murder? Of course not. Passing a law against a harmful practice does not eliminate the practice. But it does limit it, stigmatize it, and punish the abusers.
Medical marijuana should be legalized.The argument for medical marijuana usually is just a way of opening the door to the recreational use of marijuana. When a state legalizes smoking marijuana for pain, you can expect the next push to be for legalizing recreational marijuana. Christian abstainers, however, do accept the use of drugs for medicinal necessity, rather than recreational purposes. For some the pain-relieving aspects of marijuana loses appeal when you take away the idea of smoking a joint and getting high. Marijuana is already available in drug form that does not get you high, yet can be used for pain or other medical conditions. Barrett Duke of the ERLC explains, “Marijuana’s pain-relieving ingredient has been available by prescription for years. A person can purchase Marinol – right now – with a doctor’s prescription. The plain fact of the matter is that there are better and safer drugs [for pain]” (bpnews.net; 8-6-2012).
People have a right to smoke marijuana if they choose.Our rights must sometimes end when a practice or substance becomes too harmful to ourselves and others. I know there is a fine line that sometimes has to be drawn, but dangerous drugs that harm the user and innocent others should be severely limited. Isn’t it strange that just as society is turning against smoking tobacco, it is now moving toward sanctioning smoking marijuana?
We can get taxes from the legal sales of marijuana.We could also get taxes from legalizing other harmful practices. Invariably, when we allow and tax a practice that is harmful to society, we end up paying more to control it and deal with its consequences, than we receive in taxes. Government would do better to get their taxes up front and honestly, not by legalizing destructive behavior.
You can’t legislate morality. Yes you can. Our laws against murder and theft legislate morality. The question is where you draw the line. Some things need to be criminalized, limited, and stigmatized.
Penalties for marijuana should change. Perhaps this is true. Barrett Duke has suggested, “A system of increasing fines, penalties and requirements, like substance-abuse counseling, can be developed. Penalties even could include the loss of one’s driver’s license. Jail could be a last resort for habitual offenders” (-BP).
Marijuana is not that bad.Rather, when marijuana has been legalized, it has magnified an existing problem. Marijuana has multiple toxic chemicals and gives a higher risk for cancer, psychosis, strokes, respiratory damage and heart attack. It causes impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, impairs driving and reaction time. It lowers the I.Q. of teenage smokers. Acceptance of another mind-altering recreational drug always changes things for the worse.
BIBLICAL REASONS TO OPPOSE MARIJUANA.
Every biblical injunction against alcohol is also a condemnation of marijuana and other recreational drugs.
Scripture describes in detail the dangerous effects of alcoholic wine and says not to even look at it (Proverbs 23:29-35). It’s not much of a leap to take the same low view of other dangerous drugs.
Kings are commanded not to drink wine lest they pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-5). Believers are called kings and priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) and neither should we take drugs that would cause us to do things we’d never do in our right minds.
Drinking hurts your Christian influence and leads others astray (1 Corinthians 8:9; 10:23).
One very big problem Christian social drinkers have is if they are justified in taking one mind-altering recreational drug (alcohol), then they have no legitimate argument against another legal mind-altering recreational drug (marijuana). The wise thing for Christians is to have nothing to do with either drug.
It should also be remembered that legal and moral are not synonymous. Whether alcohol, marijuana, or other harmful drugs are legal, a Christian answers to a higher standard.