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.

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

We’re 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 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 . 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.


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.

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:

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:

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 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:

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?

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:

Who is at Greatest Risk from Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization?

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…

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.


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.

Continue reading

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.


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.

Continue reading

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

Marijuana Legalization Narrative Evolving

A 2012 crash in West Hempstead, N.Y., in which the teen driver had smoked marijuana. (Photo: Frank Eltman, AP)

A 2012 crash in West Hempstead, N.Y., in which the teen driver had smoked marijuana.
(Photo: Frank Eltman, AP)

The car crash graphic was an interesting choice for USA Today.

The comments are getting smarter:

  • harmful
  • incarceration not a real issue
  • big problems in Colorado
  • we already have medical mj [should be cannabis based medicines only, however]

But the pro-legalizers are still very much in the rhetoric. “most people think its ok”; “people shouldn’t go to jail”

We have to resist being part of the dialogue on how much pot is good for you or OK for you. The answer is, with everything science is telling us about the harms, generalized pot exposures should be eliminated as much as possible.

Simple public health message:

  • if it means more pot, pot promotion and more pot use, its a bad policy for Americans.
  • Commercialization is a bad answer and harms more people.
  • More pot means more harms.
  • It’s a lousy choice.
  • It’s not OK to collude with pot profiteers.
  • It’s not about one person. It’s about increasing harmful exposures across 315 million people.

Epidemiology should be easy for people to understand these days. Pot use can be contagious. And the harms follow for too many.

This new “freedom” message is bunk. Should marijuana users/sellers be free to hold the rest of us hostage to their promoting pot use to the most vulnerable for profit?

There is no freedom to inflict harm on innocents.

But the tide does seem to be turning. Evitable.


Check out the referenced article from USA TODAY:

Marijuana legalization lights up midterms: Opinionline

Junk Science, Real Harm: the Marijuana Reality

Marijuana's junk science

Like Big Tobacco, the Marijuana Industry is using questionable “science” to justify benefits of its products.

We can already see the damage done by rising levels of increasingly potent marijuana use.

But quality science is catching up and is now methodically providing a body of evidence detailing the damage done by the drug.

From a policy perspective, pot legalization has produced the following results in CO:

What’s up?

  • black market sales and illegal drug diversion are up.
  • child drug exposures/poisonings are up
  • pot-related problems in schools are up
  • ER visits for adverse reactions to pot are up
  • marijuana-positive traffic deaths are up
  • workplace positives on drug tests are up
  • mj addiction treatment is up
  • butane hash oil explosions and fires are up
  • marijuana-related deaths are up
  • potency and concentration of THC are way up, hence new levels of damage being done by the drug
  • exposures during pregnancy, and hence infancy, are up

This list could be a lot longer, but that’s what we know so far. Continue reading

Holder’s position on Marijuana – Does he think we are all stupid?

Eric Holder-Marijuana.jpgThe idea that the US Attorney General has merely forgone the prosecution of users is ridiculous. The policies of this administration have allowed for the widespread commercialization of pot and unleashed a new big tobacco that is growing in power and influence as the federal government refuses to enforce clear and unambiguous federal law relating to DRUG TRAFFICKING (not use).

Sophistry is defined as the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving. Leaving pot users alone at the federal level is one thing, but claiming that this is the intent of your actions is sophistry taken to a new level.

The American public needs to understand that low level marijuana possession offenders were never put into the American prison system.

Drug traffickers were prosecuted — because profiting from addiction put money into the pockets of drug dealers at the expense of their customers who too often become dependent on the drugs and are vulnerable to a host of health ills and harms that accompany drug abuse.

Commercializing and industrializing an increasingly potent hallucinogenic drug, and releasing the forces of addictions marketing onto the people, is not something we should be “cautiously optimistic” about.

Continue reading

A Wasted Legacy — Obama, Holder & Marijuana

A wasted legacy--Obama, Holder and Marijuana

When legalization of marijuana yields national use rates of 40+% using the same deceptions that tobacco did, who foots the bill for rehabilitation, productivity loss and health effects?

By looking the other way as drugs are legalized by industry-funded state ballot questions in violation of federal and international law, President Obama and Attorney General Holder are legitimzing and normalizing the use of a mind-altering drug based on recollections of experiences from their youth. But make no mistake: they are setting an exmple for generations to come — demonstrating that in their view, drug abuse is not a serious social problem. When the smoke clears from the increasingly potent and addictive products from ever more agressively advertised new open drug markets, it is unfortunate but inevitable: Obama and Holder will have a “wasted” legacy on drug policy.

It’s a real shame.  Big Tobacco got its wish: Big Marijuana is next.

Michelle Obama addressed one public health epidemic (childhood obesity) while Barack ushered in the next: rising youth marijuana use of a potently disruptive chemical which primes the adolescent brain for progressive addiction.

I am a job creator, manufacturer, award-and patent-winning innovator, payroll meeter, benefit provider, 401k matcher, complier with government regulation and tax payer whose business employs 112 people—two dozen of whom were added in the last five years.

But before all that, I am a husband, father and coach.  I am also a local elected official, and give back in time and dollars through numerous charities.

I am an Independent in registration, but my sensibilities and votes tend toward democratic party policy. Until now.

On marijuana, we have become so open minded our brains have fallen out.

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Marijuana, Addiction, Legalization and the Parable of the Boiled Frog

The slow boil of marijuana legalization is underway. When will we panic? And, will it be too late?

The slow boil of marijuana legalization is underway. When will we panic? And, will it be too late?

Those of us involved in monitoring the rise of corporate marijuana should understand the value of our disquiet. It is an early warning sign.

The Parable of the Boiled Frog

Over twenty years ago M.I.T. systems thinker, Peter Senge, wrote about the “parable of the boiled frog.” In short: if you place a frog in a shallow pan of boiling water it will immediately try and jump out. But if you place the frog in warm water, and don’t startle him, he will remain there, unbothered. If the temperature of the water rises gradually, the frog will stay put in the pan, until it’s too late and he’s unable to climb out. As ghastly as the image of the boiled frog is, the lesson is clear. We are not unlike the frog. Our ability for sensing threats to survival is geared to immediate and sudden changes, not to slow, creeping, gradual changes.
(The Fifth Discipline: the Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge, Doubleday. August 1990)

What are the top factors which will awaken the rest of America to the bigger picture? Can we make clear the threats and opportunities we sense around us, or is the lull of the warm water just too tempting for a country brimming with distraction? Can we pay attention? Continue reading

Erasing the Inevitability of Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana legalization is not inevitable

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

Among other recent developments beginning to erase the mantra of “inevitability” for marijuana legalization, “medical” marijuana questions failed to make state ballots in Ohio and Arkansas in the 2014 election cycle.

Pot proponents now say they need paid signature gatherers. “You need paid help for an effort like this and what’s disappointing is that we can’t convince enough donors to contribute to get the necessary resources to put us over the top,” said John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group.

If you have to pay people to get signatures to legalize pot, how is that “the will of the people?”

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Ford Hall Forum Going to Pot? Buying into the Marijuana Industry Message of “Inevitability”

Is the Ford Hall Forum Going To Pot?

Re: October 9th Forum “Going to Pot”: Who will benefit most if pot is normalized? That’s a decent question. But if you really care about justice, the better question is: who will be most damaged?

Imagine our surprise when, just one week after a sold-out audience at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library listened to a presentation by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Addiction on the “Effects of Marijuana on the Brain, Body and Behavior”, we learned that the Ford Hall Forum (FHF) at Suffolk University was giving one of its sessions to marijuana industry promoters from the Hemp Industries Association and MassNORML.
FHF appear to be buying into the highly-financed and well-honed industry messaging strategy around “inevitability” of industrial marijuana legalization by those who seek to vastly expand pot production and consumption.
The evidence is clear, and getting clearer, that this drug holds significant negative consequence for American public health . . . primarily mental health.
Inviting the cannabis industry to be featured at a Forum is akin to inviting the tobacco industry in to discuss who should profit from their product marketing.  Not exactly a thoughtful or balanced “conversation”.
We invite FHF to take a look at just some of the evidence and data from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse. And consider how the simple but effective manipulative messaging of marijuana promoters is driving up use of this drug — along with its negative consequences.

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Can the USA Afford the Risk of Further Increases in Marijuana Use?

Marijuana's Effects on Brain, Body and Behavior

“Can the USA Afford the Risk of Further Increases in Cannabis Use? “Not if we want people  engaged in society” — Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA

It’s been an interesting week across the country on the marijuana issue.

See link on the homeless migrating to Colorado in search of jobs in the marijuana industry, and the news of current federal executive agencies making marijuana banking easier, while science is getting clearer and clearer on the developmental damage done by this drug.

Dr. Nora Volkow of NIDA spoke to sold out drug education events on Monday, 9/22, at the Butler Hospital in Providence and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on “Marijuana’s Effects on Brain, Body and Behavior”. Among the most recent scientific and research findings:

  • Past month marijuana use among 12th grade students now surpasses cigarette use.
  • Addiction is a developmental disease that starts in adolescence and childhood when the brain is most easily primed for the disease of addiction through early exposures to addictive substances.
  • Long-term effects: About 9% of marijuana users become drug dependent. One in six who begin marijuana exposures to the brain in adolescence (17%) become dependent on the drug. 25%-50% of daily users of marijuana are drug dependent .
  • Cannabis use and later life outcomes are dose dependent. When looking at the number of cannabis exposures during ages 14-21 in a population sample, those with 400 or more cannabis exposures represented 50-60% of the population sample who at age 21-25 were currently welfare dependent or unemployed. These high rates of marijuana exposure appeared in less than 2% of that same population sample that had gained a university degree by age 25. Inversely, those who had used marijuana zero times represented the largest percentage of the population with a college degree by age 25 at over 35%, while “never used marijuana” represented the smallest portion of the unemployed at ages 21-25 at below 25% of that group. Over 50% of that unemployed group had used marijuana 400 times or more during age 14-21, and nearly 60% of welfare dependent had used marijuana 400+ times during ages 14-21.
  • Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.
  • Amotivational syndrome is linked to persistent marijuana use. Drive and ambition are negatively impacted.
  • Brain abnormalities are associated with long-term heavy cannabis use.
  • High potency cannabis use significantly increases risk of psychosis.
  • Regular cannabis use increases risk of schizophrenia in the genetically vulnerable.
  • As THC potency has increased significantly in recent years with marijuana commercialization, emergency room visits for adverse marijuana reactions have risen significantly as well.
  • the percentage of marijuana-positive fatal car crashes in Colorado nearly doubled during post-marijuana commercialization in 2009 going forward.
  • Perceived risk for marijuana use among 12th graders for regular marijuana use has been declining since the early 90’s. During this same time, daily use of pot by 12th graders has been rising and is at a 30 year high.
  • Marijuana use has been linked to higher drop out rates and stop out rates in both high school and college.

Dr. Volkow’s parting rhetorical question was, “Do we really want half of America stoned?”  And her concerned reply? “Not if we want them fully engaged.”
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Marijuana Legalization: Not Looking So Good In Reality

Support for Marijuana Legalizaitn Drops. Good news for Teen Health, Public Health

Support for Marijuana Legalization Drops. Good news for Teen Health, Public Health.

With support for legalization slipping (down to just 44% from 51% a year ago) there is finally some encouraging news.

Legalization of another drug for recreational purposes might have looked like to good idea on paper to some drug policy and criminology intellectuals. But its not looking so great in reality.

Fortunately, there are now new resources to help Americans better understand the most misunderstood illicit drug in the country.

We don’t determine medicine by public opinion in this country.

And we should not have addiction for profit lobbying groups and wall street speculators pressuring America to legalize a third major addictive drug for “recreational” purposes.

The target market is always the most vulnerable. Predatory advertising targets the suffering and young people to create lifetime customers. Private profits soar, along with over-consumption and public health and safety fallout. Its time to get smart about the about the facts of this drug. Its not your Grandma’s Woodstock Weed anymore. Marijuana harms. Component medicines may heal — but that hasn’t been proven. Continue reading

Major Poll Finds National Support for Marijuana Legalization Down 7 Points (13.7%) Since 2013

Marijuana-support-for legaliztion-Down-Nationally

Public Religion Research Institute Poll, funded by the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, finds only 44% of Americans now support legalization, down from 51% in 2013. Opposition at 50%. 24% strongly oppose.

September 23, 2014

WASHINGTON- Coming off of a Suffolk University/USA Today poll finding only 46% of Coloradans support legalization now, a new report released today finds that in a survey of over 4,500 adults, only 44% support marijuana legalization. 50% of Americans oppose it, including 24% who strongly oppose such a policy.

“Legalization is not a done deal – far from it,” remarked Kevin A. Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “People are waking up and realizing that legalization in practice does not represent the magic policy they were promised.”

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Marijuana Legalization Support Plummets 17% — USA Today/Suffolk University Poll

Latest polls show support of marijuana legalization plummeting

“Marijuana Doubts: Colorado voters may be having second thoughts about the legalization of marijuana. A slight majority of voters (50.2 percent) say they do not agree with the decision to legalize recreational marijuana in that state—a decision made by voters in 2012–while 46 percent continue to support the decision. Nearly 49 percent do not approve of how the state is managing legalized pot, compared to 42 percent who approve.” Suffolk University News

Colorado Voters are Turning Against Marijuana Legalization.

A September 17, 2014 Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds support for legalization plummets 17% among Colorado voters.

DENVER- In the first indication of a backlash brewing in Colorado against legal pot, a Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds that now only 46% of likely voters support Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment legalizing and commercializing marijuana. 50% of likely voters oppose the measure entirely. That is a marked difference from election night 2012, when 55% of voters supported the measure. Even fewer people – 42% of likely voters – approve with the way the state is handling the legal change. Continue reading

Teen Marijuana Use: Is This A Price We’re Willing To Pay?

Parental attitudes critical in teen marijuana use

Kids are 6 times more likely to use pot simply because of a parental attitude of indifference

Its becoming increasingly common to hear proponents of marijuana legalization to say its “the government” who wants to keep this drug illegal. Understandably, if one cannot win an argument on the merits, then attack either A) the person making the better case, or B) the government or any other convenient conspiracy canard.

However — many doctors treating kids derailed by this drug, which is almost always a pre-cursor for their young patients and clients who move on to other drugs or developing other co-occurring mental health problems, think expanding the supply of this drug through open commercialization is a bad idea for public health.

The Lancet tells us why:

Dr. Muiris Houston emphasized the recent findings published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry regarding youth marijuana use, which included research showing teenagers who are daily users of marijuana are:

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Weed for Welfare: Another Avoidable Accident of Marijuana Legalization?

Avoidable accidents on the road to marijuana legalization Another weirdness in the odyssey of experimental marijuana promotion in the West: weed for welfare recipients.

With evidence pouring in on the risks to productivity and IQ losses associated with early and regular marijuana use, could this law and policy have gone further off the rails than in making marijuana available for purchase with welfare benefits?

Another avoidable accident on a road ostensibly paved with someones good intentions?

Weed for welfare recipients

It’s Come to This: Welfare For Medical Marijuana Recipients is Now a Thing

Mental Health Parity and Marijuana — Insurance Companies Will Have to Pay


Mental Health Parity is now the law of the land.

Mental Health Parity is now the law of the land. Insurance companies will have to cover the treatment costs for drug abuse and addiction when it strikes.

In the US, adolescent marijuana use is at the highest levels since 1992.  Canada’s stats look similar. And the marijuana they are smoking is at least 3 to 8 times more potent than the weed of previous decades.

What was happening in 1992 that led to some of the lowest rates of use of this drug over 40 years?

What was the messaging that persuaded kids not to use?

What was the funding for education, prevention and enforcement of marijuana laws?

What has changed?

Something was working then that is not working now . . . and our kids are paying the price. We are trending in the wrong direction with exposures to this drug.

Having pot profiteers waiting in the wings, advertising and glamorizing this drug — without consequence — is a very clear part of this picture.

Is this what we want for the coming generation? In the United States, Mental Health Parity is now the law of the land.  Insurance companies will have to cover the treatment costs for drug abuse and addiction when it strikes.  We know that one in six adolescents who use today’s marijuana will become addicted. And that risk of addiction goes up to 25-50% among those who smoke marijuana daily. Continue reading

Life and Learning Impaired: Marijuana and School Don’t Mix

Even a little pot increases college dropout risk.

Some say a 21-year-old age limit solves the problem of adolescent exposures to this drug. A ridiculous assertion. Society is a pourous. Where this is more pot, and more pot promotion, more of this drug falls into the hands of young people.d

Those who say a 21-year-old age limit on marijuana sales solves the problem of youth exposures are dreaming . . . society is porous . . . where there is more pot, more pot falls into the hands of young people.

Adolescent development is a stage where the brain does not process long term consequences, and it is a time of egocentrism and a strong need to figure out peer relationships and find a place to belong.

The euphoria of a cannabis high, when it falsely appears “all the kids are doing it” can trump what well intentioned adults have told their kids about the rules.

We are seeing the highest levels of youth marijuana use in 30 years. And it is a much more potent drug this time around as profiteers seek to deliver the most impactful high to eager consumers looking for just that.

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How Staten Island Is Fighting a Raging Drug Epidemic — Where does marijuana figure?

Marijuana-pathway-to-opiates….This article in the New Yorker, Sept 8, 2014, paints a poignant picture of the opiate crisis in one geography — Statan Island. It tells the pharmaceutical history of the chemical sources of the epidemic — and how Pharma companies engage in “tobacco-like” litigation to protect their sales. And how parents and churches take the lead in caring for addicts and work to prevent more addiction.

One topic missing this in this article is marijuana. Radio silence, again. Youth alcohol use is mentioned, pills, opiates, heroin.

Yet, in Massachusetts, each time we’ve spoken with groups of Learn to Cope parents of addicts in support groups, on average 28 of 30 say teen marijuana use preceded opiate addiction in their loved one. Continue reading

Our Country Will Never Prosper by Disguising Marijuana Proceeds as Taxes and Fees

Protect youth from marijuana legalizationThe Honorable Mayor of Denver, Michael B. Hancock, expressed his concerns about the impact that drug legalization will have on public health and safety. He concluded with the following words:

“As a parent, I worry about how the increased presence of marijuana in our city will affect our children and our grandchildren. Despite a few lessons learned from medical marijuana, the long-term implications of that industry and the potential for an expanded industry will not be known to us for perhaps a generation or more. There is no denying, however, the potential for a negative impact on our kids — on their home lives, their health, their education and their future. We already know the toll substance abuse takes on so many of our residents. Sadly, many of them are parents. The cost of substance abuse on our healthcare system, our jails and in our courts is substantial. I want more for all of our kids and for all Denverites.”

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Teen Marijuana Use at a 30 Year High. Like Tobacco, this is what the Pot Industry Wants

Teen marijuana use is at a 30 year highThe trends are very concerning. We are at a 30 year high for youth marijuana use. This is what the industry wants and is counting on. And the drug is much different this time around.

Prevention education will be more critical than ever for this drug. Sound drug policy, law and messaging should be driving use rates down, not up.

That will be the measure of success.

Here is an interesting infographic about youth marijuana use.

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As Trafficiking From Pot States Proliferates, Wisconsin Girl Eats Dad’s 225g THC Bar from Colorado

Marijuana Legalization creates new source for drug traffickingFile under child poisonings, diversion to youth; interstate black market:

A young girl in Wisconsin found a marijuana chocolate bar in her dad’s bedroom which came from Colorado. After eating it, she was found intoxicated at school and barely had a pulse. Her father is charged with child neglect. Just another example of Colorado pot being exported to other states.

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We’ve Become the Marijuana Black Market

IMG_4153.JPGSome criminologists fancy pot legalization as a magical scheme to get control of the black market for this drug, simple economics easily predicted what is actually occurring when states legalize and “regulate” pot. The black market thrives in the midst of expensive and aggressive “legitimate” pot markets.

Washington State’s pot consultant said in 1978:

“If we legalize marijuana or any other drug, either we will have a
private industry whose profits depend on creating addicts. Or we have a public beauracracy whose revenues depend on creating and maintaining addicts. Somebody’s going to get the revenue stream; whoever gets that revenue stream is going to try to maximize it.”

“This dynamic presents a much bigger threat to America’s Public Health picture that the legalizers seem to appreciate.”

Now we seem to be on a mad trajectory of proving in policy practice what we already knew in theory.

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