The Marijuana Policy Initiative

Don't Legalize. We Change Minds About Marijuana Legalization/Commercialization

A volunteer non-partisan coalition of people from across the US and Canada who have come to understand the negative local-to-global public health and safety implications of an organized, legal, freely-traded, commercialized and industrialized marijuana market.

Marijuana Driving Problems/Fatalities Escalating

Marijuana related driving fatalities skyrocketing

“Normally, any drug with so many deaths, injuries, and associated problems would be pulled from the market by FDA”


From, “The Marijuana Report”

Marijuana DUII arrests in Oregon surged 163 percent in the first six months of recreational legalization, according to the Oregon State Police. DUII, driving under the influence of intoxicants, is the term Oregon uses to describe alcohol and drug impaired driving. Authorities say the lack of systematic data collection about marijuana-impaired driving is the biggest gap in the state’s preparation for recreational legalization. A report on the topic is due to the legislature next year. 
Read this story here.

An analysis of marijuana-related DUI arrests nationwide by a retired researcher for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concludes, “Anyone who says marijuana is a harmless drug is blowing smoke.”
California, where marijuana is legal for medical use, has documented 1,500 marijuana-related driver fatalities in the past five years. Nationwide, in the 23 states and DC where the drug is legal for medical use, more than 1,000 such fatalities occurred in the single year of 2014.

“Normally, any drug with so many deaths, injuries, and associated problems would be pulled from the market by FDA,” says Al Crancer, Jr, lead author of the analysis.

He predicts that marijuana legalization in more states will “cause a tidal wave of motor vehicle and other fatalities and soon rival alcohol as the No. 1 traffic safety problem.”

Read this report here.

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws has compiled a helpful list of drugged driving laws in all 50 states. Access this list here.

Edible Marijuana Overdoses Reported to US Poison Control Centers on Rise

The age groups with the most calls were children less than five years old (109 calls) and adolescents ages 13-19 (78 calls). The age groups with the most calls were children less than five years old (109 calls) and adolescents ages 13-19 (78 calls).

From, “The Marijuana Report
Researchers analyzed exposure calls coded to marijuana edibles that were reported to the National Poison Data System from January 2013 to December 2015. Four-hundred and thirty calls were reported.
The two states that had implemented recreational marijuana legalization by then had the most exposures:
Colorado—166, or 1.05 per 100,000

Washington—96, or .46 per 100,000

 Three-hundred and eighty-one (91%) calls occurred in states with medical and recreational marijuana, and the number of calls increased each year of the study.

The age groups with the most calls were children less than five years old (109 calls) and adolescents ages 13-19 (78 calls).

The most frequent clinical effects were drowsiness/lethargy (43%), tachycardia (31%), agitated/irritable (14%) and confusion (14%). The youngest children suffered the most intense effects.

Three patients had to be intubated (ages 4, 10, and 57); 23% were managed at home, 50% were treated and released; 3% were admitted to a critical care unit.

The researchers speculate that increasing edibles exposures may be related to delayed absorption of THC, lack of packaging regulations, increased availability of edibles in legal states, and increased familiarity of poison control center specialists with edible products to code events properly.

They conclude” “Edible marijuana exposures are increasing and may lead to severe respiratory depression.”

Read “Characterization of Edible Marijuana Product Exposures Reported to United States Poison Centers” here.

New poll shows a majority of MA voters are opposing Question 4 to legalize the commercial marijuana industry 

Good news!  A majority of Massachusetts voters would choose health and safety over a commercialized  marijuana industry

Good news! A majority of Massachusetts voters would choose health and safety over a commercialized marijuana industry


The Boston Globe, reports some positive news.
A new poll shows that a majority of voters are opposing Question 4 to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. 51% of voters oppose it, while just 41% support it.

It shows that as more people learn about this proposal written by and for the marijuana industry, the more concerns they are having.

Click here to support our campaign to oppose the commercial marijuana industry.

We know the marijuana industry will not go down without a fight. 

There are billions of dollars at stake for them.

While we know the promotion and sale of highly potent marijuana candies and edibles is bad for our kids, it means huge profits for the marijuana industry.

They are going to spend millions in ads to get their message out this fall.

So, we are asking for your help to counter that and get the facts out.

Please click here to support the effort to educate people about why Question 4 is the wrong path for Massachusetts.

With your help, the real positive news will be when people vote down this dangerous proposal in the fall.

Bipartisan Leadership Seeks Your Help in Making A Powerful Statement Against Marijuana Industry

Keep Massachusetts Clean, Healthy and Drug Free

Keep Massachusetts Clean, Healthy and Drug Free

Last Friday was an amazing day.
Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh, Speaker DeLeo, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Sheriff Tompkins, and so many health care, education, business, and anti-addiction leaders joined together to kick off the campaign to oppose the legalization of the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
Not many issues bring such a broad, bi-partisan coalition together. But this issue does.

They’re coming together to make a statement – that allowing the the billion dollar commercial Marijuana Industry into Massachusetts is the wrong path for our kids and our communities.

Please click here to support the campaign.

Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana use and made it available for medical purposes.

The question before voters now is if we want to allow the billion-dollar Marijuana Industry into Massachusetts to aggressively market and sell this drug.

To allow the sale of highly-potent marijuana edibles like gummy bears, cookies, and soda.

To increase access to kids (there are more pot shops in Colorado than Starbucks and McDonalds combined!)

To allow people to grow thousands of dollars worth of pot at their homes, even if neighbors object.

And to see an inevitable increase in impaired traffic deaths.

If you believe this is the wrong path, click here to support the campaign.

We are facing an unprecedented addiction crisis. As Governor Baker said, now is not the time to add another challenge to our young people and our addiction community.

Friday was an important day. But it was just a first step.

We believe information is our ally, and as more people are learning about what allowing the Marijuana Industry into Massachusetts really means, the more concerns they have.

We need your help to continue to spread the word. Educate yourselves, and then talk to your friends and your neighbors. 

If you do that, together a powerful statement will be made in November.

 

Big Marijuana is Officially Corrupt. That’s What Colorado is Teaching Us. Will we listen?

Big Marijuana is officially corrupt.

Big Marijuana is officially corrupt.


Colorado is showing us that private pot interests dominate the regulatory and democratic process. And Big Money is how they do it. 

….Borghesani [of the campaign to legalize and commercialize marijuana in Massachusetts] said,
“Let’s take the model in Colorado and several other states and put control under state and local authorities, put sales in the hands of legitimate tax-paying businesses and let’s generate revenue for the taxpayers in the Commonwealth.”

But here is what the marijuana industry he advocates for does in Colorado. It stacks the regulatory decision making in favor of drug sales and against the health and well being of the public.
Now, as an estimated 80% of Coloradans want childproof packaging, potency limits, and health warnings like tobacco or any FDA approved drug, Big Marijuana dollars shut down the people’s access to a vote on those regulatory measures.  You can expect nothing different here in the Commonwealth. The pot industry wrote the Massachusetts law to stack their Cannabis Advisory Board, which will devise marijuana regulations, with 9 of 15 members required from within the cannabis industry. 

Remember, there is no money in NOT selling drugs. That’s why once addiction for profit enterprise takes root politically in a jurisdiction it is incredibly difficult to extricate. Drug money is poured back into the political process to maintain unbridled sales and marketing of their drug. This explains why use rates are highest where marijuana is legal, and use rates are lower where marijuana is not legal.  

So here’s how they roll in Colorado — my way or the high way: 

By: The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board
July 8, 2016

Big Marijuana, created by voters, wants to prevent the public from voting on proposed marijuana regulations. (Courtesy parody photo)

Big Marijuana, created by voters, wants to prevent the public from voting on proposed marijuana regulations. (Courtesy parody photo)


Big Marijuana, created by voters, wants to prevent the public from voting on proposed regulation. 

Those who despise Big Tobacco’s notorious electioneering ain’t seen nothing yet. Big Tobacco 2.0, aka Big Marijuana, can negate Colorado’s grassroots petition process — which helped establish the industry.

When Colorado voters legalized marijuana, they meant well. They wanted a safe trade, regulated like alcohol.

They ended up with a system of, by and for Big Marijuana. It is a racket in which the will of voters gets quashed before votes are cast.

Any doubt about Big Marijuana’s disregard for Colorado’s desire for good regulation will disappear with a new revelation: the industry bought away the public’s chance to vote.

That’s right. Big Marijuana bought away a proposed vote on regulations in Colorado, where we vote on fixing potholes.

At issue is proposed ballot initiative 139, written to give voters a few reasonable options to improve regulation of recreational pot sales. The measure proposed no changes for medical marijuana. On recreational sales, it would have:

Required child-resistant packaging, as we have for aspirin and ibuprofen.

Put health warnings on marijuana labels.

Restricted product THC potency to 16 percent, even though THC occurs naturally at only 2 to 5 percent in cannabis.

Initiative 139 was so reasonable, so in line with the intentions of voters who legalized pot, recent polling showed 80 percent support among registered voters.

Big Marijuana opposes 139 because the industry wants to do as it pleases. It views potency restrictions, which would keep Colorado’s pot products among the more potent in the world, as a sales barrier. Big Marijuana doesn’t want the nuisance of labeling requirements and child-resistant packaging.

Knowing 139 was likely to pass, Big Marijuana sued to keep it off the ballot. The suit stalled efforts to raise money and recruit voluntary signature gatherers. When the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in defense of letting voters decide, Big Marijuana’s anti-139 campaign paid Colorado’s major signature firms to avoid gathering signatures for the pro-139 campaign.

“They were offering $75,000 to $200,0000, depending on size of each company, to get contracts that say they will not gather signatures for this ballot measure,” said attorney and former Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty, passing along information an anti-139 consultant shared with him.

As Big Marijuana paid for anti-petition contracts, the price of collecting signatures rose. Advocates of 139 responded by raising more money. Former lawmaker Patrick Kennedy, son of former Sen. Ted Kennedy, swooped in to help with a last-ditch fundraising effort this week that boosted the 139 war chest to nearly $800,000.

Just when the campaign planned to hire an Arizona-based firm to gather signatures, Big Marijuana paid the company off.

“The narrative of the marijuana industry has been ‘don’t meddle with our business, because the voters have spoken and the will of the voters is sacred. This is a democracy.’ Then we have a genuine democratic effort to improve recreational marijuana regulation, and the industry shuts down democracy with big money and a bag of dirty tricks,” said Ben Cort, a member of the board of directors of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “It became clear. No matter how much money we raised, and who we tried to hire, they were going to prevent voters from having any say.”

It is a sad day when an industry’s lawyers can buy away the people’s opportunity to petition for a vote, even after the state’s highest court defended the process. Big Marijuana stopped 139 by stomping on Colorado voters — the people who legalized their industry — as if their will should no longer count. Big Marijuana is officially corrupt.

–the gazette editorial board

“Reject Commercialized Marijuana,” Urges Bi-Partisan MA Coalition 

Broad-based Bi-partisan Coalition Urges Rejection of Ballot Question to Legalize Commercial Marijuana Industry in Massachusetts

As Commonwealth Confronts Addiction Crisis, Coalition Leaders Believe Allowing Billion-Dollar Industry to Market Edible Products, Increasing Access to Young People, Is Wrong Path for Massachusetts

BOSTON – A broad-based, bi-partisan coalition of community leaders and experts joined together today to urge voters to reject the proposed ballot question to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Particularly in the context of the addiction crisis we are currently facing, the leaders said allowing the billion-dollar marijuana industry into Massachusetts to market highly potent edible products and increase access to young people is the wrong path for the state.

The press conference, held today at the William J. Ostiguy Recovery High School in Boston, was the official kick off of the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts. Participating in the event included Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, health and anti-addiction advocates, doctors and educators, and business and public safety leaders.

“This ballot measure would create a billion dollar, for-profit marijuana industry and introduce highly potent marijuana edible products in the form of candies, sweets and sodas to our main-street shops,” Governor Baker said. “As our work to bend the trend on the opioid epidemic is just beginning, the last thing we need is to add yet another challenge for our young people and our addiction community. I’m honored to be part of a broad-based and bipartisan coalition that will make sure voters understand the honest and practical implications of this proposal.”

“This question is a reminder of calls from parents who are terrified of what is happening to their teenage child who is using marijuana,” Mayor Walsh said. “It’s a reminder of bright, happy kids taken down by pot in their teenage years, and a reminder of families crushed by sadness when it happens. The data tells a clear story of the dangers behind commercial marijuana, but it’s the suffering behind the data that really matters. This question only raises that risk, and I’m not going to stand by and watch it happen.”

“I’m so proud we took strong action in combatting opioid addiction with our substance addiction legislation this year. I wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that progress,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “At a time when we are dealing with an addiction crisis, it is reckless and unwise to increase access to another drug that we know is harmful to our kids and families.”

Massachusetts has already taken major steps to address concerns around this issue. Massachusetts has decriminalized the possession of marijuana – people are not being jailed for marijuana use nor are they receiving a criminal record for such activity. Massachusetts also legalized the use of marijuana for health purposes.

This proposed law is written by and for the Marijuana Industry. Among the concerns raised about the ballot question included:

It specifically authorizes the promotion and sale of highly potent marijuana edible products like candy, gummy bears, soda and other products that appeal to children. Edibles like this account for 50% of the sales in Colorado, and the Massachusetts ballot question places no potency limit on the products.

Since becoming the first state to legalize, Colorado has become the number one state in the nation for teen marijuana use.

The ballot measure sets no limit on the number of marijuana producers and sellers, leading to more pot shops being opened in CO than Starbucks and McDonalds combined.

It allows people to home-grow tens of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana in their households, even over objections by neighbors, which criminals are exploiting to create an entirely new black market in Colorado.

The measure is written by and for the marijuana industry, severely limiting the ability of cities and towns to set their own rules about the issue and giving preferential treatment to existing medical marijuana.

The ballot measure would increase drugged driving fatalities, with the number of traffic deaths due to marijuana impaired driving doubling in Washington state since legalization.

This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court allowed the proposed ballot question to go forward and proponents submitted the signatures required to get the ballot question before voters.

Among the groups that have already come out in opposition to this ballot question include:

Massachusetts Hospital Association

Massachusetts Medical Society

Massachusetts Municipal Association

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Retailers Association of Massachusetts

Association of School Superintendents

Construction Industries of Massachusetts

Action for Boston Community Development

Association for Behavioral Healthcare

National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter)

Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association

Massachusetts Sheriffs Association

All Massachusetts District Attorneys

The bi-partisan members of the campaign’s steering committee include: Senator Jason Lewis (D), Senator Vincent DeMacedo (R), Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe (R), Representative Paul Donato (D), Representative Hannah Kane (R), Heidi Heilman (President of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance), former Senator Steven Baddour, Jim Conroy (former Senior Advisor to Governor Baker), Corey Welford (former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Maura Healey) and David Stone (political advisor to Mayor Walsh).

For more information on the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, visit safeandhealthyma.com or on twitter at @safehealthyma

Mass SJC Agrees Ballot Question Misleading–Revises

Marijuana ballot question revised by SJC
SJC Revises Description To Include Reference to Marijuana Edibles Market

BOSTON – Today, the Supreme Judicial Court, while allowing the ballot question that would legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts to move forward, has revised the one-sentence ballot description of a yes vote to make explicit that marijuana edibles would be legalized.

Food products adultereated with hallucinogenic THC marijuana extract would be legalized and commercialized by Massachusetts ballot question

Food products adulterated with high-potency, hallucinogenic THC marijuana concentrate would be legalized and commercialized by Massachusetts ballot question


Marijuana edibles account for approximately 50% of marijuana product sales in Colorado since legalization. The ballot question places no restriction on the potency of these products, which have THC levels as high as 90% in Colorado. Edible products include candies like gummy bears and swedish fish, chocolate bars, cookies, and sodas.
Statement from Corey Welford, Spokesperson for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign

“We are pleased the SJC has recognized that this ballot question would usher in an entirely new marijuana edibles market and that voters must be informed of that fact. Under this proposal, the Marijuana Industry would be allowed to promote and sell these highly potent products, in the form of gummy bears and other candies, that are a particular risk for accidental use by kids.”

Fact Sheet on Marijuana Edibles

A major part of the Marijuana Industry’s profit goals

Marijuana Edibles now account for approximately 50% of marijuana product sales in Colorado since legalization, and that number is growing.

Highly potent products

There is no limit on the potency of edible products in Colorado, nor are limits written into the proposed law in Massachusetts

Edible products have been known to have THC levels reaching as high as 50 to 95%. That compares to the THC in current marijuana joints that average 17-18% THC, and typical marijuana THC levels of 3-4% that existed back in the 1980s.

A danger for kids

Marijuana infused products such as gummy bears, candy bars, cookies, and “cannabis cola” are often indistinguishable from traditional products.

These products are attractive to children, placing them at risk of accidental use.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Denver reported that, after legalization, the ER began treating one to two kids a month for accidental marijuana ingestion, mostly in the form of edibles. Prior to legalization, they reported none.[1]

For example, in 2014, a two-year old girl from Longmont, Colorado was sent to the hospital after accidentally eating a marijuana cookie she found in front of her apartment building.

[1] USA Today, “Kids Getting into parents’ pot-laced goodies,” April 2, 2014. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/02/marijuana-pot-edibles-colorado/7154651/)

Child Wellness Advocates – When It Comes To Impact On Kids, Marijuana Is Not “Benign”

Add commercialism to youthful indiscretion and the result can be devastating.

Add commercialism to youthful indiscretion and the result can be devastating


BOSTON – Two child wellness and anti-addiction advocates responded to comments made by marijuana legalization proponents that sought to diminish the harmful impact of the drug.
At a press conference on Friday held by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, legalization proponents called marijuana a relatively “benign plant.” In response, a letter was sent by a doctor from Children’s Hospital and the Director of the Northshore Recovery High School objecting to those “unfortunate comments that diminished the harms marijuana imposes on our kids.”

“We can have a healthy debate on the issue of legalization,” wrote Dr. Sion Harris and Director Michelle Lipinski. “But the fact that marijuana is addictive and has a negative impact on young people is not debatable.”

Harris and Lipinski then referenced their work with families and outlined basic facts about the impact of marijuana on youth, including:

One in six people who start using marijuana as minors become dependent.

Marijuana products now have THC content that is 300% higher than it was in the 1990s.

Use of marijuana can have serious impacts on young people’s brain development, career growth, and even their IQ.

They labeled the attempts of the legalization proponents to tie the impact of marijuana to alcohol as a “misdirection.”

“There is one issue before the voters this November, and that is whether to legalize the marijuana industry in Massachusetts and dramatically expand access to a drug that we know is harmful to our kids and communities,” the child advocates said.

For a complete copy of the letter, click here.

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts is a growing, bi-partisan coalition of health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, business groups, first responders, and families who are opposing this proposed legalization of the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

Recovery High School Principal Takes Stand Against Legalizing Pot

“We can tell you first-hand that marijuana is not benign.”


“Why would we even tinker with the thought (of legalization) knowing what’s happening to this generation right now?”

By Arianna MacNeill, as published in The Salem News

BEVERLY — While voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use this fall, the highest rate of users right now is a population that wouldn’t legally be able to buy it, according to the principal of a high school for teens in substance abuse recovery.

Northshore Recovery High School Principal Michelle Lipinski, along with Dr. Sion Harris of Boston Children’s Hospital, wrote a letter to Will Luzier of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, dated April 20, accusing him of “trying to misdirect voters.”

The campaign is the “driving force” behind a ballot question, which will appear before voters in November, that aims to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Massachusetts.

According to the campaign’s “The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act,” people 21 or older would be able to buy marijuana and keep 10 ounces or less in their homes.

“On Friday (April 15), your campaign staged a press conference in which you labelled marijuana a relatively ‘benign plant,'” Lipinski and Harris wrote. “We can tell you first-hand that marijuana is not benign.”

In the letter, the pair describes how marijuana is 300 percent more toxic than it was two decades ago. They said scientific research has proven that the drug also negatively affects many aspects of an adolescent’s development, from IQ to brain development.

In a later interview, Lipinski, an educator for 20 years, said she can’t speak of the drug’s negative effects on other age groups; however, the top reason adolescents age 12 to 17 enter substance abuse treatment in Massachusetts is for marijuana use, she explained. The rate of dependency drops dramatically after age 21, research has shown, she said.

In addition, research conducted by Dr. Nathaniel Katz, president of Analgesic Solutions, has shown marijuana use can lead to opioid use, said Lipinski.

“Why would we even tinker with the thought (of legalization) knowing what’s happening to this generation right now?” she said.

Lipinski has met with educators in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where marijuana has been legal statewide for several years. There, marijuana use is much more complicated, she said — students don’t necessarily smoke it, but may eat brownies, gummy bears or other foods containing the drug.

One of the problems with marijuana is the perception that it’s harmless, according to Lipinski.

“It’s not taboo,” she said, adding that students at Northshore Recovery High School sometimes come in wearing shirts that include a marijuana leaf in the design. “It’s just embedded in the culture.”

In the beginning, adolescents may not see the negative effects of marijuana use. But eventually it can lead to interruptions in sleep cycles, eating habits, and other aspects of life, she said.

There isn’t enough data yet from Colorado to show the full effects of legalizing pot, Lipinski said, other than it being highly profitable. If, in a few years, studies show it isn’t harmful or doesn’t have negative consequences, she acknowledged she may change her stance on the issue.

But for now, Lipinski knows from working with her students — and seeing some lose their lives to addiction — just how harmful drugs can be.

Behavioral Health Association Opposes Commercial Legalization of Marijuana


During Opiate Crisis,ABH Urges Voters To Reject Effort To Commercialize Another Addictive Drug

BOSTON – A statewide association of organizations committed to providing behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts has voiced its opposition to the proposed initiative to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) voted to oppose the ballot referendum last week. ABH represents more than eighty community-based mental health and addiction provider organizations across Massachusetts.

Its members serve approximately 81,000 Massachusetts residents daily and 1.5 million annually.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of families struggling with addiction during this devastating opiate crisis,” Vicker DiGravio, CEO of ABH said. “We do not believe now is the time to increase access to another addictive drug in our state. We hope as people learn more about this ballot question, they will vote against commercializing a drug that we see impact far too many young people and families.”

ABH’s Board also urged public officials to address addiction as a public health concern by expanding access to treatment as an alternative to prosecution and incarceration.

ABH joins a growing coalition of health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, business groups, first responders, and families who are opposing this proposed legalization of the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

Among the groups that have already come out in opposition to this initiative include: the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Association of School Superintendents, and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.

NAMI Mass Announces Opposition to Legalized Marijuana


Boston, MA – NAMI Mass, the state’s largest advocacy organization for people and families living with mental illness, is joining a growing coalition of groups voicing opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.

“Marijuana poses a danger for those with mental illness and young people predisposed to mental illness because of the neurological actions of the drug,” says NAMI Mass Executive Director Laurie Martinelli. “In addition, marijuana use can hinder the effective treatment of mental illness.”

NAMI Mass is issuing this statement from its Board of Directors strongly opposing the ballot measure saying, “Legalizing recreational marijuana use would pose a great threat to the health and wellbeing of those with mental illness as well as young people predisposed to mental illness.”

Research shows many indicators of mental health including psychosis, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, brain function, and psychosocial functioning are all worsened by non-medical marijuana use. 

NAMI Mass believes the availability of recreational marijuana will pose a great risk to those with mental illness because of both the direct effects on the brain and the consequent effects on treatment adherence.

In its 2013 “Position Statement on Marijuana as Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association wrote, “There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to harm, given the effects of cannabis on neurological development.”

NAMI Mass joins several prominent state organizations and associations calling for a defeat of the ballot initiative including: the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Association of School Superintendents, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare and all Massachusetts District Attorneys, in addition to Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.

Media Contact: Matt Ellis

Ellis Strategies, Inc.

matt@ellisstrategies.com | 617-278-6560 

About the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass)
Founded in 1982, NAMI Mass is a nonprofit, grassroots education, support and advocacy organization. It is the state’s voice on mental illness, with 21 local chapters and more than 2,000 members. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mental health challenges and their families by educating the public; fighting stigma, discrimination and stereotypes; and promoting recovery. To that end, the organization offers free, peer-led programs that provide resources, insights, coping skills and genuine support.

“It’s just a plant”–NOT! Adulterated food big part of commercial marijuana plan

Marijuana edibles drive youth exposure, hospitalizations, addiction

Marijuana edibles drive youth exposure, hospitalizations, addiction


PROLIFERATION OF POT EDIBLES UNDER COMMERCIAL LEGALIZATION DRIVES YOUTH EXPOSURE, ADDICTION Pot-Infused Edibles Like Candy And Soda Are Highly Potent, A Danger For Accidental Overdoses, and Represent 50% Of Retail Sales In Colorado

FRAMINGHAM – Highlighting the marketing and sale of pot-infused edibles as a major part of the Marijuana Industry’s profit model under commercial legalization, the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts held a press conference today to discuss the impact these edibles would have on Massachusetts. Edibles have a much higher potency than marijuana plants, have no potency limits placed on them under the pending ballot question, and are a significant risk for accidental use by kids.

Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael and Representative Hannah Kane held the press availability to show examples of the kinds of candies, sodas, patches, and other products that have been marketed and sold under commercial legalization. Edibles account for 50% of the sales in Colorado since commercial legalization and will be a major part of the market in Massachusetts if the ballot question is passed.

“Our goal is simply to make sure voters know what they are voting on before they go to the ballot in November,” Kane said. “A vote for commercial legalization is a vote to allow the marketing and retail sale of marijuana-laced products like gummy bears, cookies, and soda. These products are highly potent, look like regular candy, and are a significant risk for accidental use by our kids and overdoses by adults”

Among the facts highlighted in today’s press event included:

Marijuana Edibles now account for approximately 50% of marijuana product sales in Colorado since legalization, and that number is growing.

There is no limit on the potency of edible products in Colorado, nor are limits written into the proposed law in Massachusetts.

Edible products have been known to have THC levels reaching as high as 95%. That compares to the THC in current marijuana plants that average 17-18% THC, and marijuana THC levels of 3-4% that existed back in the 1980s.

Marijuana infused products such as gummy bears, candy bars, cookies, and “cannabis cola” are often indistinguishable from traditional products and attractive to children.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Denver reported that, after legalization, the ER began treating one to two kids a month for accidental marijuana ingestion, mostly in the form of edibles. Prior to legalization, they reported none.

For example, in 2014, a two-year old girl from Longmont, Colorado was sent to the hospital after accidentally eating a marijuana cookie she found in front of her apartment building.

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts represents a growing coalition of health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, business groups, first responders, and families who are opposing this proposed legalization of the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

Among the groups that have already come out in opposition to this initiative include: the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Association of School Superintendents, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter), the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.

Photos from event included below. Please click to enlarge.



Coming soon to a

Coming soon to a “marijuana” shop near you and your kids

Marijuana Industry’s Failed Commitment To Protecting Massachusetts Consumers and Communities

Response To Statement By Industry’s Spokesperson; 24-Page Ballot Question Protects Industry, Fails To Protect Consumers

BOSTON – The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts (SHMA) issued the following statement regarding the Marijuana Industry’s commitment to protecting kids and communities. 

The statement is in response to quotes from the industry’s Massachusetts spokesperson following a SHMA press conference regarding the edibles market that would be established under commercial legalization.

The SHMA press conference highlighted the prevalence of the edibles market under commercial legalization and the fact that there would be no potency limits placed on those products. In response, the industry’s spokesperson offered a familiar refrain – pushing it to the Cannabis Control Commission, which would be formed after the question was passed.

“I find it very difficult to believe that the Cannabis Control Commission, who has full authority to exercise what type of products can be sold — what shape, what manner, how they’re packaged, how they’re marketed — would allow anything to be sold that would pose any sort of a threat to children,” said spokesperson Jim Borghesani. (WBUR – http://www.wbur.org/news/2016/06/23/recreational-marijuana-edibles-dangers)

The following is a statement from Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign Manager Nick Bayer:

“Every time concerns come up about protecting consumers or limiting the harmful impact of edibles, the Marijuana Industry has the same response – let the Cannabis Control Commission deal with it. Their constant referencing of the Cannabis Control Commission is just a head fake from the real issue. Because if the Marijuana Industry really was concerned with protecting consumers or addressing the edibles problem, they would have written meaningful protections into their own ballot question. Instead, their ballot proposal specifically authorizes edibles, places no restrictions on potencies, authorizes the marketing of these products, and does nothing to address impaired driving. And we know in Colorado, once the ballot question passed, the Industry then fought regulations every step of the way.

The Marijuana Industry devoted twenty-four pages of this ballot question to protect their interests, but failed to protect Massachusetts consumers and communities. That is why this ballot question – written by and for the Big Marijuana Industry – is the wrong path for Massachusetts.”

Background

The ballot question written by the marijuana industry is twenty-four pages. Among the provisions written INTO the ballot question include:

SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES marijuana edibles (products like candy bars, gummy bears, “cannabis cola,” etc.), oils and concentrates

SEVERELY RESTRICTS municipalities’ (and the state’s) ability to limit the nature and presence of the marijuana industry in their communities.

BARS communities from restricting “home grows.”

GUARANTEES PREFERENTIAL LICENSING for existing industry insiders

SETS tax rate very low, meaning little or no net revenue benefit

Among the protections NOT included into the ballot question:

NO limits on THC percentage

NO protections against drugged driving

NO provisions for data collection and research

NO LIMIT on the number of stores that can sell marijuana statewide or number of operations to grow or manufacture marijuana and marijuana products.

Construction Industries of Massachusetts Opposes Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana 


Association Cites Concerns Around Worker Safety, Impact on Communities; Joins Coalition Of Workers, Businesses, And Others Opposing Ballot Question

BOSTON – One of the state’s largest construction associations today voiced its opposition to the ballot question to legalize commercial marijuana in Massachusetts. The Construction Industries of Massachusetts (CIM) cited concerns around worker safety on projects and the overall impact of commercial legalization on families and communities.

CIM is an association representing all aspects of the transportation and public works construction industry in Massachusetts. Members are general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment dealers, engineers, consultants, insurance and bonding companies, law firms and accounting firms and many other companies interested in furthering the progress of the industry.

One of CIM’s major concerns is the impact of increased use of marijuana on the worksite, particularly based on the influx of legal edible products that would come with commercial legalization. Employees who test positive for marijuana have significantly higher rates of workplace accidents.

CIM also expressed concerns about the negative impact commercial legalization will have on families and communities. At a time that many families are dealing with the impact of the opiate crisis, CIM believes that now is not the time to allow an industry into Massachusetts whose profit model is based on the promotion and sale of another addictive drug.

“Our members spend their days on worksites across the Commonwealth, and we believe increasing the availability of marijuana will undermine the safety of our workers,” CIM Executive Director John Pourbaix said. “The marijuana industry is a big business focused on the marketing and sale of an addictive drug, and we simply believe allowing this industry into Massachusetts is a bad idea for our workers and their families.”

CIM joins a growing coalition of workers, businesses, health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, first responders, and families who are opposing the legalization of commercial marijuana in Massachusetts.

Among the groups that have already come out in opposition to this initiative are: the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, the Association of School Superintendents, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter), the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.

Retailers Association Of Massachusetts Opposes Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana

Business Association Raises Concerns About Negative Impact On Companies And Communities

BOSTON – One of the state’s most prominent business associations today announced its opposition to the ballot question to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) cited numerous concerns, including the increased risks around job safety and the overall impact on Massachusetts communities.

RAM has been the voice of the Commonwealth’s retailers for almost 100 years, representing small and medium-sized businesses across Massachusetts. Among the business concerns that it cited included issues around worker safety and reports of higher absenteeism rates for employees who test positive for marijuana.

Local retailers are also active members of their communities, and RAM cited numerous concerns about the impact of marijuana legalization on families and neighborhoods. For instance, RAM raised concerns about the promotion and sale of edible marijuana products, and their impact on children. The small business community also is focused on maintaining a main streets environment featuring a mix of family-oriented business to continue to attract viable consumer traffic.

“The Retailers Association believes the legalization of the marijuana industry in Massachusetts is the wrong path for businesses and our communities,” RAM President Jon Hurst said. “The increased accessibility of marijuana will negatively impact worker safety and productivity in many companies across the state. Retailers also have a major stake in promoting safe, healthy communities, and the introduction of the marijuana industry runs counter to that goal.”

RAM joins the Associated Industries of Massachusetts as major business associations opposing this ballot question. It also joins a growing coalition of health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, first responders, and families who are opposing the legalization of commercial marijuana in Massachusetts.

Among the groups that have already come out in opposition to this initiative include: the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Association of School Superintendents, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter), the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.

Massachusetts Supreme Court Challenge To Ballot Initiative To Supposedly Legalize “Marijuana”

shutterstock_141502252Attorney John Sofis Scheft, Of Counsel to the Bellotti Law Group, PC has filed a lawsuit challenging an initiative petition, which claims to legalize marijuana. The case, Hensley v. Attorney General, features 59 voters who argue that key information in the proposed law is presented in a misleading way to the voters.

The case will be heard by the full Supreme Judicial Court on June 8 in a special session.

Peter V. Bellotti, head of the firm, commented, “There are two powerful arguments that we felt we had to bring to the Supreme Court’s attention.” These concerns are spelled out in a complaint filed in Suffolk County.

1. The law claims to be legalizing marijuana when, in fact, it is legalizing concentrated forms of marijuana like “hashish” and other resins and extracts, which Attorney Scheft has called, “Cannabis Crack.” In his words: “These items bear no resemblance to the leafy substance that nostaligic adults think this law will legalize. Nature’s pot should only have a maximum of 2.5% Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the ingredient that gets people
high. But the people behind the ballot initiative know that the current, genetically modified products have 60%, 70% and even 90% THC. This is what is going to be peddled to consumers and what’s going to find its way into the hands of our kids – just like in Colorado and Washington.” Continue reading

Massachusetts School Superintendents Oppose Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana

Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Oppose Marijuana BallotThe Massachusetts Assocation of School Superintendents (MASS) has taken a unambiguous position against the proposed Massachusetts ballot question that would open the doors to legal marijuana commercialization and an industry interested in expanding use of the drug.  Citing negative impacts on young people in their communities, MASS “are strongly united in opposition to House Bill #3932”

BOSTON – Raising concerns about the negative impact increased access to marijuana will have on students and young people in their schools and communities, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) announced their opposition to the ballot question that would legalize commercial marijuana in the Commonwealth.

The Association, which represents 277 Superintendents and 148 Assistant Superintendents, cited numerous concerns about the impact on young people, including:

• In states where Marijuana is legal, minors and young adults have seen an increase in use. Since becoming the first state to legalize, Colorado has also become the #1 state in the nation for teen marijuana use. Teen use jumped 20% in Colorado in the two years since legalization, even as that rate has declined nationally. Continue reading

Marijuana and the Opiate/Heroin Epidemic: Brain Science Reveals a Connection

This is a 3D model of what happiness looks like in our brain. What you see is a myosin protein dragging an endorphin along a filament to the inner part of the brain's parietal cortex which creates Happiness. What happens to this little guy when in his early years - during the time his brain's host is between 12 to 25 years old, he's exposed to 21st century THC? Research is beginning to reveal, not such good things.

This is a 3D model of what happiness looks like in our brain. What you see is a myosin protein dragging an endorphin along a filament to the inner part of the brain’s parietal cortex which creates Happiness. What happens to this little guy when in his early years – during the time his brain’s host is between 12 to 25 years old, he’s exposed to 21st century THC? Research is beginning to reveal, not such good things.

Current brain science is suggesting strong plausibility that the opiate and heroin epidemic will continue to worsen with commercializing and industrializing production and sales of marijuana at levels the likes of tobacco, alcohol and prescription drugs.

With more 21st century marijuana in our communities, opiate and heroin use rises. The brain science is beginning to explain why this is. We are, with marijuana research, where we were in the 1920s and 30s with tobacco research linking smoking to cancer.

Studies are revealing that the cannabinoid-opioid systems of the brain are intimately connected.

In the areas of the brain where cannabinoids bind, opioids bind as well, and if you modify one system, you automatically change the other. Continue reading

An Adult in the Room: MA Senator Lewis on Marijuana

Looking closer at marijuana commercialization

Looking closer at marijuana commercialization.

Kudos to Senator Jason Lewis (MA-D) for being the level-headed, unflappable, well informed adult in the room, and for speaking to the facts and with honesty about what he saw and learned on a fact-finding trip to Colorado. While he hasn’t made public his decision on how he will vote on the 2016 ballot question that would commercialize marijuana for recreational use in Massachusetts, the Senator, unlike much of the media, is at least digging into the issue to properly understand it.

The show on which Senator Lewis appeared is a very popular, generally liberal, public radio talk show in Boston. Upon returning from a fact finding trip in Colorado, Senator Lewis was very clear on the possible downside consequences of a rising commercial/corporate marijuana industry. Continue reading

Medical Marijuana’s Box Canyon and the “Dreaded High”

Marijuana legalization is not inevitable

ev·i·ta·ble adjective \ˈe-və-tə-bəl\
Definition of EVITABLE: capable of being avoided

It seems one of the best places to look for evidence of a trend of awakening to the realities of marijuana legalization may be in the pot legalizers’ own literature.

Their own original playbook was:
1) decriminalization — which played on sympathies for the  unjustly incarcerated, lowered stigma and consequences, and dramatically drove up availability and ease of use,
2) medicalization — which ingratiated the street drug into the good graces of the mainstream with appeals to sympathies for the profoundly ill, and that further lowered perception of harm and further increased use — though because these laws were written to deceive they brought defacto legalization, and now,
3) a mantra of “inevitability” of the march toward full-blown legalization and enormous profits as a newly enriched pot lobby funds its messaging among online youth audiences and lawmakers.

Here is video of the early organizers of the legalization movement. Laughing about the scam they intend to pull on the American people, and screaming “because I like to get high” doesn’t sound so good in the midst of a 21st Century addiction and overdose epidemic that’s killing more Americans now that either car crashes or gun violence.

But full-blown legalization is NOT inevitable. Continue reading

Hillary on Marijuana — Selling out the Village?

Hillary on Marijuana-- Selling Out the Village?

Hilllary knows full well it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village, and courageous leadership to keep kids off drugs. Pandering to those who would profit from the manufacture of addicts in order to get elected, is shameful.

She wrote the book on it, but will Hillary Clinton remember that it takes a village to raise a healthy child? And that the village is decidedly healthier with fewer drugs?

She is one smart cookie. And she didn’t spend her time at Wellesley College subtracting IQ points. Hillary says she didn’t use marijuana then, and won’t use marijuana now.

In 2012 findings from the most robust longitudinal study ever done on of the impacts of marijuana use over a lifetime showed clear evidence of an 8 point drop in IQ for marijuana users who began using in adolescence and persisted in using through their late 30’s. That’s a bigger drop in IQ than is caused by lead poisoning–a substance banned in our homes because of this risk.

Marijuana legalization/commercialization enthusiasts may think a liberal candidate will support their version of drug policy reform as drug legalization political funders drive messaging which pushes up demand and use. But Hillary wrote the book on what it takes for a village to raise a healthy child (It Takes A Village By Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1996).  Local pot shops are decidedly not in that village.

What we are seeing in Colorado in the wake of pot legalization is not good. The third Rocky Mountain HIDTA Report shows indicators of public health and safety moving in the wrong direction on every one of the eight priorities in enforcing the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) against marijuana-related conduct cited by the U.S. Department Of Justice (Cole Memo) as clear reasons to intervene in that state’s pot commercialization program. Continue reading

The Online Cult of Marijuana — Time for Parents To “Parent”

Social norming and marijuana

Unconditional access to the internet pits parenting against a barrage of messaging designed to drive them to pot.

Internet awash in pro-marijuana messaging.

If we let it, social norming can out influence parenting. It is up to us.

Some adults become so self-absorbed that they don’t tend to the age-appropriate needs of kids.

We are given birthing classes when our children are on the way.  But we are not given classes on the adolescent stage of development. We need them.

The internet is awash with messages that glorify the use of pot. Often these messages employ sarcasm and irony to drive home a message in contradiction to the more sensible advice of parents whose boundary-setting is based in the good advice of fact-backed research or often just good common sense.

This Cult of Marijuana is rife with messages that introduce “good reasons” to get high — appealing directly to the insecurities most teens feel. Kids do not get irony. Even if they laugh along.  These are adolescents and pre-adolescents.

Continue reading

Manufacturing Addicts: Marijuana Use Doubles Among US Adults

Manufacturing marijuana addicts through commercialization and legalization.

As we permit legalization and commercialization of marijuana in any form, we move into the business of manufacturing new addicts.

As more marijuana becomes available in the U.S. over the past decade, marijuana use has doubled. And rates of cannabis dependence syndrome (addiction) are climbing as well. This biobehavioral disorder affects three out of every ten Americans who have used marijuana in the past year.

As we permit legalization and commercialization of marijuana in any form, we move into the business of manufacturing new addicts. Marijuana addiction now afflicts 6.8 million Americans. While addiction affects all socioeconomic and racial groups, notable increases in the disorder has occurred markedly among groups who are ages 45 to 64 and individuals who are black or Hispanic, with the lowest incomes, or living in the South.

In addition to more addiction, there have been notable increases in problems such cannabis-related emergency room visits and fatal vehicle crashes. Continue reading

Marijuana During Pregnancy — Real Risks Real Harm

Marijuan and Pregnancy Risks

“Prenatal marijuana exposure does have negative consequences on both the mother and child. This impact should be known so that expectant mothers can make informed choices about how to treat their morning sickness and ultimately care for the future of their children.”

“Marijuana use during pregnancy interrupts fetal brain development. This can result in permanent damage and compromise the development of future cognitive abilities (1). It is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, that impacts the growth of the brain and this stage of the brain’s development. “

Update 10/19/2015: A new study on marijuana in pregnancy provides further reason for caution. “…At a bare minimum, these findings suggest we should be avoiding recreational cannabis use during pregnancy. Perhaps someday soon legal marijuana will come with a “do not consume while pregnant” warning, just like alcohol does.”

This beautifully written and thoroughly research-validated article by Pamela McColl is a must-read for anyone who has been deceived by untruths about the benefits of marijuana for pain management and nausea during pregnancy. Continue reading

Major Point of Marijuana Advocates is a Lie

Major points of marijuana advocates are lies.Well-funded advocates are attempting to make the case for the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts.

Their major point – marijuana smokers have their lives ruined by the criminal justice system – is a lie. Since 1975 – 1975! — all first time marijuana users in Massachusetts have had their cases automatically sealed or dismissed. Even marijuana distribution is a misdemeanor. I was a prosecutor and defense attorney in Middlesex County from 1986 to 1993. No one went to jail for marijuana possession. No one.

This deception is nothing new. In Oregon, legalization advocates lied that marijuana users amounted to more than half of all drug arrests in the state. They were exposed by politifact.com . The true figure was a tiny fraction.

So why lie? Because the legalization movement has never really been about justice or freedom, it’s driven by corporate interests who make money off addiction. Marijuana is the new Big Tobacco, and like tobacco, the industry will need to capture the youth market for repeat customers. Continue reading

“Pot used to be pretty harmless, but it’s plenty dangerous today” – Post-Gazette

Marijuana commercialization disguised as compassion

Under the guise of compassion and civil rights lurks an industry bent on creating a market of lifetime users.

The following is a very poignant letter from an addictions treatment physician to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As this blog has warned before, today’s marijuana is different and far more potent than that on which this well-intentioned but wildly misjudged push for legalization was conceived.

Hybridized, genetically-modified marijuana is the product of an industry that is cloaking its push for full-blown commercialization of another addictive and harmful product in the guise of compassion and civil rights.

The product they are pushing is being proved to be dangerously strong and the cause of wasted potential, wasted productivity, and wasted lives.

The simple truth of commercialization following legalization:

Increased availability and decreased perception of harm drive youth use and lowers the age of initiation to drug use — the goal of an industry working to capture lifetime customers, despite known consequences for physical and mental health.  Youth exposures double the risk of addiction. 

Here is “Pot used to be pretty harmless, but its plenty dangerous today” as printed in the Pittsburg Post Gazette: Continue reading

Pot promoters continue to insist it’s harmless while marijuana deaths get more press

Will it really take a body count to shock us out of the folly of enabling a third addiction-based industry?

Another death in Colorado related to marijuana use has been reported after a local Denver CBS news affiliate obtained a previously undisclosed autopsy report of a teenage suicide in September 2012.

This time is was an 18 year-old who stabbed himself 20 times while high. His marijuana blood level was many times greater than the threshold amount for impaired driving. Although it was initially thought that meth or some other drug was involved, the autopsy revealed that no other drugs were present and that “marijuana intoxication” was a “significant condition” in his death.

It is important that you go directly to the CBS website so that you can read the article, and see the pictures of the victims and watch the news video that summarizes this and other marijuana-related deaths.

Mason Tvert of the pro-pot Marijuana Policy Project, sounding more and more like tobacco industry harm deniers, responds with his usual gibberish about marijuana being harmless.

In May of 2014, this blog made the appeal “For The Sake of Journalism, Marijuana Reporters Need To Take a Deeper Look.”  Kudos to Brian Maas and the CBS Denver for doing just that. The media has in general been far too enamored of the rise of the Marijuana Industry, and far too blind to its harms and the continually emerging science that portends the resulting public health crisis that follows commercialization. Continue reading

Youth Brains + Lead Paint = IQ -7; Youth Brains + Marijuana = IQ -8. You do the math on legalization.

Lead paint laws protect public health.

Lead paint laws put the public health rights of our youth ahead of those of paint manufacturers.

Lead-Paint-Like-Marijuana-Lowers-IQ-in-Youth

Youth Brains + Lead Paint = IQ-7; Youth Brains + Marijuana = IQ-8. Can you do math?

Look what a trip to the Benjamin Moore paint store revealed this weekend.  A brochure entitled:   “Prevent Lead Poisoning.”

By 1978 we passed laws to get lead out of our homes, our gasoline, toys and other consumer products.

Why do we keep lead out of our environments?  To protect our children’s health and our own health.

The risks are eerily similar to those of ongoing marijuana exposures.  Except lead can cost a young person 7 IQ points where marijuana use can cost 8 IQ points.

 

We’ve taken lead out of our environment. Why would we ever choose to put more marijuana into our environment?

It’s not a civil rights issue. It’s a public health issue.

Continue reading

Legalization/Commercialization of Marijuana Drives Use Rates

Marijuana Usage by State and State of Legalization

[click image to enlarge] Looser laws drive use. Use drives addiction.

From The Marijuana Report, this infographic contains one of the most powerful graphics you can use in fighting the pot industry. The red lines show the highest rates of youth marijuana use in states that have legalized.

For a detailed summary of the chaos in Colorado, please refer to the latest publication from the Rocky Mountain HITDA group. This document is the go-to source for everything that is happening there.

If someone really wants to know about Colorado, they should start with this document. I strongly urge review of the youth use data, starting on page 9, which shows that Colorado is ranked 3rd in the nation for current marijuana use among youth (56.08 percent higher than the national average). They were ranked 14th in the nation in 2006 before commercialization began.

For a journalistic view of these problems, please see this series of recent articles published by The Colorado Springs Gazette — a 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner — to investigate the impact of marijuana legalization on Colorado and beyond.

http://gazette.com/clearingthehaze

Teens Tackle 4/20 Tokers with Anti-Marijuana Message

From left, Surrey teens Jordan Smith with twins Connor and Duncan Fesenmaier at the Vancouver Art Gallery on April 20. The high school students were protesting the use and legalization or marijuana. (Photos: AMY REID) - See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/bud-busters-surrey-teens-take-on-the-tokers-at-420-rally-in-vancouver-1.1831521#sthash.wK5QuL33.dpuf

From left, Surrey teens Jordan Smith with twins Connor and Duncan Fesenmaier at the Vancouver Art Gallery on April 20. The high school students were protesting the use and legalization or marijuana. (Photos: AMY REID) – See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/bud-busters-surrey-teens-take-on-the-tokers-at-420-rally-in-vancouver-1.1831521#sthash.wK5QuL33.dpuf

As most of us simply watched marijuana’s “holiday” from our TVs or windows last Monday, a couple of SAM Canada youth decided to take back 4-20-15 for themselves.

Meet Connor and Duncan Fesenmaier, twin brothers active in SAM Canada, and their friend Jordan Smith.

They’re regular high school kids living in Vancouver, Canada who didn’t intend to make national headlines by wearing an anti-pot t-shirt to school.

But they did.

School officials, worried the shirts might actually encourage marijuana use, hauled the boys into the vice-principal’s office and asked politely if they would change their shirts at once.

Connor, Duncan, and Jordan all declined (politely of course). Continue reading

Workplace Impacts from Legalized/Commercialized Marijuana

Use increases with commercialization. Marijuana is no different. Where to employers stand?

Commercial marijuana lobbyists are working to change laws to force employers to eliminate drug testing and/or retain employees who test positive for marijuana. What does this mean for safety, productivity and profit?

Questions every employer should consider:
1) If you own a business, and employees smoke marijuana off-site, will those employees be under the influence of an intoxicating drug while on the job?

2) Can employees be under the influence of a recreational drug at work?

3) Must employers pay for “medical” marijuana for on-the-job injuries?

4) Must an employer pay unemployment insurance for employees with a marijuana positive drug test?

In the era of marijuana glamorization, legalization and commercialization, employers have a major threat coming to them and most of them don’t know it yet. Here’s a quote from the attorney hired by marijuana industry interests in Colorado after Amendment 64 passed in a highly funded ballot question in 2012 legalized and commercialized marijuana: “Every existing Colorado law that is not compliant with Amendment 64 should be changed . . . because an employee’s Constitutional Right to use marijuana supersedes an employer’s right to drug test.“– Kimberlie Ryan, Atty

Continue reading

The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth — A Documentary

The rise of the marijuana legalization and commercialization movement has already produced new casualties.  By lowering the perception of risk, and expanding the availability of the drug, millions of people — including parents and young people — are increasingly vulnerable to the lure of the cult of cannabis.  For those who drift into addiction or other marijuana induced illness, there is a sense of incredulity:  “I thought it was just marijuana.”  Here’s the story of one ordinary Mom who learned the hard way:  “There’s no such thing as ‘just marijuana’ ” anymore.

This documentary should be seen in every community.

THE OSC DOCUMENTARY is an independent film project created by ordinary citizens with no political or economic affiliations or interests, other than bringing attention to the potential negative effects of marijuana on our youth–adolescents, teenagers and young adults whose brains are still forming.

We are reaching out to our youth, as well as educators, medical and health professionals, researchers, and media, in addition to recovery and treatment center programs. In order to make an informed decision to use marijuana, it is important to know the potential risks.

The message that marijuana is safe, natural and harmless as a recreational substance, must be weighed against the evidence of associated risks.

Get the documentary here: http://www.othersideofcannabis.com/

Does Pot Cause Your Brain to Rot? – Scientific American

Does Pot Cause Your Brain to Rot?

[click image to enlarge] Does Pot Cause Your Brain to Rot? http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-pot-cause-your-brain-to-rot/

Here’s the straight dope from young science writers at Wake Forest University. In an up-to-the-minute graphic novel format, no less. Each graphically supported factoid raises as many health and policy consequence questions as it answers. But it gets the science out there is an accessible way.

The scientific question not addressed here: Does commercialization and marketing/messaging drive higher rates of use and addiction? Why or why not? (Nora Volkow has hypothesized/stated that commercialization and advertising do indeed drive higher rates of use and addiction.)

See it at the source at Scientific American.

Who is at Greatest Risk from Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization?

People with college educations don't use the most marijuana

People with college educations don’t use the most marijuana. So why are they the ones arguing for commercialization? See: http://www.vox.com/2015/3/13/8207577/marijuana-use-education

Who is at Greatest Risk from Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization?

Surprise?
It’s the less educated and lower income.
We’ve already been persuaded that a criminal record is a very damaging prospect for this demographic.  But chronic pot use with its devastating impact on IQ, motivation, memory and mental health is a losing prospect for these communities and individuals as well.
Pot addiction carries devastating long term consequences.
This is the target market for addiction for profit enterprises.  Adding commercialized marijuana to alcohol and tobacco would mean we’re actually tripling down on unleashing addiction marketing forces to exploit the easiest targets for cash, and then collecting the most regressive of taxes on those least able to pay.
Public leaders and drug policy makers need to focus on winning and on measurable goals:  Less pot supply and less pot use.  Less marijuana exposure means less damage done to human potential.
Commercialization drives use and addiction and lowers the age of initiation — key to forming life long habits and addictions.

Continue reading

The Truth to Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization & Minority Communities. Will Jones.

What does a young, black DC urbanite think of marijuana legalization?

“Let’s not legalize a third drug, isn’t two enough?”
“It’s my people that will pay the cost.”

Will Jones, spoken word. The truth to marijuana legalization and commercialization. In DC, more whites voted for weed for blacks than blacks voted for marijuana in their communities. Here’s what the chattering intellectual class is missing…

Excerpts:
The amount of stores selling liquor to blacks is disproportionately high and it’s the same for cigarettes.
If we want to change statistics of people of color locked away let’s be realistic and act in a more rational way.
Let’s address racial profiling and unjust discrimination and clean up the defiling of our criminal justice system,
Let’s work to create better jobs and school opportunities, instead of changing the rules, lets try and change our communities.
Let’s make our voices heard above the media and all their stuff, let’s not legalize a third drug, isn’t two enough?
They say it’s about civil rights and equal opportunity but we’re in a fight targeting black communities. Not a war with guns and knives but with smooth, strategic words. Still the cost will be our lives if the voice of truth is not heard.
They say it’s about discrimination so their plan is untouchable, but I say it’s an indication that some people are gullible. They’re deceived to believe what the media breathe…

Have they helped to create responsible men or just boys trying to have fun?

Latest report on the impact of marijuana legalization/commercialization in Colorado

Effect of marijuana legalization and commercialization in Colorado

Colorado’s failed marijuana commercialization policy is negatively impacting schools, our healthcare system, youth and adults, and community safety. This is the third report from Rocky Mountain HIDTA.

2015-04-09

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) has published its latest report on the impact of marijuana legalization/commercialization in Colorado.

As you will see, Colorado’s failed marijuana commercialization policy is negatively impacting schools, our healthcare system, youth and adults, and community safety.

This is the third report from Rocky Mountain HIDTA–Read it here. The new report and copies of the previous two can be found here.

While the state continues to only put out revenue figures, the costs continue to grow. What this new report and growing data continue to show is voters in Colorado were deceived and marijuana commercialization is a failed policy approach.

The latest report highlights include:

  • Impaired driving related to marijuana is increasing
  • Colorado marijuana use rates exceed the national average in every age category, including almost a third of 18-25 year olds using
  • School drug related expulsions/suspensions are up dramatically since commercialization began under the guise of medicine in 2009-10
  • Marijuana related ER visits are continuing to go up
  • Marijuana related hospital discharges (at least an overnight stay) are up
  • More marijuana calls to poison control and youth poisonings
  • Illegal diversion of marijuana continues to grow

View the report for yourself.

Colorado Police Foundation: Legalized Marijuana may have increased illegal drug trade

Marijuana guidebook colorado police foundation

Although the Colorado Police Association report tries not to take a position on marijuana legalization itself, the facts argue strongly against it. [Click Image to Download the Report]

In a publication just issued, the Colorado Police Foundation and the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police have summarized law enforcement issues related to the legalization of marijuana in that state. This 84-page document covers topics such as the growth and history of legalization in Colorado as well as particular law enforcement issues dealing with establishing probable cause for arrest, search warrants, drug dogs, the continued existence of the black market, threats of explosions and fires, medibles, tourism and public safety, home marijuana grows, changes to hiring practices, the homeless, the presence of large amounts of cash, drugged driving offenses and the impact on youth and education.

One of the statements struck us as being particularly telling — “legalized marijuana may have increased the illegal drug trade.” Page 17.

You simply can’t make something legal without simultaneously making it illegal. And, when you make a commodity legal and tax it you make it expensive and unaffordable to many. Throw in commercialization–advertising, titillation, deception, promises of false rewards, and social norming and you create more would be buyers.

Layer this all with addiction to high-potency engineered and distilled cannabis derivatives and you have the perfect conditions for a burgeoning black market.

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Marijuana Legalization is a money-grubbing, addictions-marketing sham

Pour on millions of dollars of ideological advertising twisting the realities of this drug and ignoring the implications of its broad commercialization. Then get to work opening the markets to another addiction-for-profit business juggernaut that takes a half-century of public health and safety damage before the industry can be brought to its knees — just like Big Tobacco.

“There is ample evidence to support the government’s conclusion that “this psychoactive, addictive drug is not accepted as safe for medical use at this time, even with medical supervision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Broderick wrote.

Pot proponents stuck the Rohrbacher amendment into a thousand page appropriations bill in 2014, after relentless lobbying by drug advocacy groups, cutting funds for pot enforcement in medi-pot states. And so a budget was passed and the government was not shut down. This hardly means the administration supports legalizing pot, even if, for the budget year, medi-pot states are lawless when it comes to marijuana law enforcement.

This latest, consistent, decision speaks for itself. Research has been done– hundreds of studies. Pot’s harms outweigh its utility. FDA approved and safely dosed formulations are the best option for cannabaoid derived drugs. They are already available.  Legalization and its subsequent commercialization is a money grubbing addictions-marketing sham.

http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Feds-stick-to-court-argument-that-marijuana-is-5990798.php?cmpid=twitter-desktop

 

Why “Colorado regulators can’t answer basic pot questions”…

Colorado can't answer marijuana questions.

Why Can’t Colorado Officials Answer Basic Pot Questions?

…because pot is an unregulateable habit-forming and addictive substance which quickly slips out of control.

Already a black market is under-selling “taxed and regulated” pot in Colordao.  There is still no reliable way of knowing exactly what is in the pot being sold.  Reliable testing would be so expensive it would send many more users to cheaper unregulated sellers. The notion of seed to sale tracking is a pipe dream.  You can’t put a gps chip in every seed, bud or leaf.  It’s easy to dump excess inventory onto the black market. And it’s easy for criminals to grow and sell the drug — but difficult for anyone to determine the source of the product.

Where there is more pot, there is more pot use — including among young people with developing brains, one in six of whom will develop addiction.

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Marley-branded Marijuana: Ironies and the Ultimate Sell-Out

In the ultimate sellout, Marely's is soul to be exploited for profit by pot profiteers driving the next addiction-based mega industry.

In the ultimate sellout, Marley’s soul to be exploited for profit by pot moguls pushing for the next commercialized, addiction-based mega industry.

With all due respect to his family, Bob Marley did not appear to die a particularly unworried or happy death when he passed at age 36 from cancer back in 1981. And, in the perhaps the ultimate of ironies, the next great addiction-driven industry will exploit his soul for silver and gold.

Given what we now know know about ever more potent forms of 21st Century marijuana and the harms associated with it, capitalizing on Marley’s drug of choice seems worlds away from any sense of public good for the People.

When drugs are the only comfort a people have to turn to, they simply have too few options for a better life. The ironies are endless here.

The People deserve so much better than open drug markets. The marijuana moguls are the height of predatory market practices — exploiting anyone in order to release their drug on the masses.

This is most certainly not power to the people. It’s power to the Pied Pipers of Pot. And the marijuana moguls hope to be laughing all the way to the bank.

The wolves are indeed at the door. Are we going to let them in? Continue reading

Me, Me, Me. Greed, Deception Fuels Marijuana Legalization

Weed Greed--Marijuana and Legalization

Meanwhile, the marijuana moguls can be laughing all the way to the bank. And taxpayers can pay for the cleanup costs.

“I, I, I, I.” “Me, me, me, me.” “Money, money, money, money.” “I can buy whatever I want. Even ballot questions which defy the rule of the law of the land. Anytime I want to. In fact, I’m only getting better at it.”

That’s what comes to mind when John Morgan opens his mouth about marijuana ballot questions.

But in many ways, this guy is the only one speaking the truth when it comes to marijuana politics.

Now the marijuana advocates in Florida are saying they should have done what worked in other states: trot out sick people and exploit them for public sympathy; find the rogue former law enforcement official who will publicly say marijuana legalization is a really great ideal; write vague and complicated ballot questions that the people won’t actually understand;
work the young and impressionable college crowd hard — with late adolescent brains still under development they are easy targets for marijuana friendly votes.

Pour on millions of dollars of ideological advertising twisting the realities of this drug and ignoring the implications of its broad commercialization. Then get to work opening the markets to another addiction-for-profit business juggernaut that takes a half-century of public health and safety damage before the industry can be brought to its knees — just like Big Tobacco. Meanwhile, the marijuana moguls can be laughing all the way to the bank. And taxpayers can pay for the cleanup costs. Continue reading

Marijuana Legalization Gone Wild?

marijuana legalization tug of war between states

This could all result in an advertising war over who has the best prices and the strongest dope–the scenario for marijuana commercialization gone wild. An aggressive competition to see which marijuana merchants can gain exposure of its drug to the most human brains and bodies.

The growing commercialization of pot continues to create absurd results – including a possible conflict between two states where marijuana is widely distributed through legalization.

Hopefully, Oregon will not succumb to full legalization, but if so, Washington officials are concerned that Oregon’s market will impact Washington’s ability to collect drug proceeds in the form of taxes.

Full legalization in Oregon will allow Oregonians to possess a half pound of weed, 8 times the amount allowed in Washington or Colorado. Furthermore, Oregon pot will be taxed at a much lower rate, driving Washington users, and others, to Oregon and the black market.

This could all result in an advertising war over who has the best prices and the strongest dope–the scenario for marijuana commercialization gone wild. An aggressive competition to see which marijuana merchants can gain exposure of its drug to the most human brains and bodies.

Pair this scenario with the latest information on:

You have all the makings of a new wave of drug abuse — a new plague of drug addiction. With the marijuana moguls laughing all the way to the bank. We saw it with tobacco, an addictive drug that damages the lungs and the heart. Now we open the markets to marijuana, an addictive drug that damages lungs, heart, brain and immune system, and impairs memory, motivation, judgment and psychomotor skills.

Again, absurd. But what isn’t absurd about normalizing drug use? Continue reading

Marketing of increasingly potent marijuana drives up rates of harm and addiction

Consider all the brightly colored attractive marijuana ads we see in Colorado newspapers. You will actually experience increases in dopamine when you see a stimuli that predicts that you will get a reward

Consider all the brightly colored attractive marijuana ads we see in Colorado newspapers.
You will actually experience increases in dopamine when you see a stimuli that predicts that you will get a reward. If we legalize drugs, we are not only going to be making that drug more available, but we are going to be surrounding ourselves with all of these stimuli and we are going to get conditioned [to seek that drug induced dopamine reward]. It’s an automatic process.

Predictable consequences: open marketing of increasingly potent marijuana drives up rates of harm and addiction

As reported in the New York Times “This is your brain on drugs” this month: 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.

Higher potency may also accelerate addiction. “You don’t have to work so hard to get high,” said Alan J. Budney, a researcher and professor at Dartmouth’s medical school. “As you make it easier to get high, it makes a person more vulnerable to addiction.” Among adults, the rate is one of 11; for teenagers, one of six. Continue reading