The Marijuana Policy Initiative

Don't Commercialize Marijuana.

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.

Opponents speak out as pot-control panel tours state

Past Month Youth Marijuana Use Legal vs Not Legal StatesBy Colin A. Young

State House News Service

BOSTON — One year ago, the battle over whether marijuana should be legal for adults to use was raging in Massachusetts. Now that it’s settled, the combatants are still engaged in a skirmish over how the legal marijuana market should be structured and regulated in Massachusetts.

The Cannabis Control Commission is in the middle of a series of listening sessions around the state and organizations from both sides of the legalization debate are hoping to pack those sessions to sway the commission’s regulations in their favor.

“We need the prevention community’s voice heard at these meetings,” the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, which opposed medical marijuana and adult use legalization, wrote to supporters in an email Tuesday. “PLEASE arrange your schedules to attend the remaining four of seven sessions THIS WEEK.”

Jody Hensley, policy adviser for the Prevention Alliance, said the organization wants to make sure community health supersedes interests of the marijuana industry as the CCC writes the rules of the budding industry.

“The overarching point is that the Cannabis Control Commission needs to be very clear that this drug is not harmless,” Hensley said. “Our government is here to protect us from the excesses of industry that could harm the public, and the Cannabis Control Commission is here to protect the people, not the industry.”  Continue reading

Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana — How to “Opt Out” — An Action Plan

Commercial Recreational Marijuana Opt-Out Action Plan

UPDATE: October 9, 2017

After the passage of House Bill No. 3818 that became the recreational marijuana law in July 2017, the process for opting out of commercial recreational marijuana activity has changed since Westborough became the first of about 30 communities to do so before this compromise law was signed by Governor Baker. A growing number of more than 100 communities have either Opted-Out or have passed moratoriums on recreational marijuana establishments citing among their reasons:

The law applies differently to each community based on whether that community voted in opposition (No On Q4 Community) or support (Yes on Q4 Community) of ballot Question 4 in November 2016.

Here is our understanding now based on information from the Massachusetts Municipal Association:

No On Q4 Communities:
Communities who voted “No” on Q4 in Nov 2016 have until December 31, 2019 to Opt-Out of recreational marijuana commerce (after that date they must follow the same procedure for Yes on Q4 communities).

These communities are required to prevail on one vote to OptOut locally (since local voters already voted against commercial marijuana in Fall 2016, enabling further local legislative action to Opt Out):

  1. a vote of the local legislative body to approve a zoning ordinance or bylaw Opting Out.
    (For example, the City of Lawrence is a No on Q4 Community that has Opted-Out by virtue of a unanimous vote of their City Council).

Yes on Q4 Communities:
Communities with “Yes” on Q4 majority votes in Fall of 2016 are required to prevail on two votes to OptOut locally:

  1. a vote of the voters at the ballot box, enabling:
  2. a vote of the local legislative body to approve a zoning ordinance or bylaw Opting Out.
    (For example, the Town of Milford voted “Yes” on Q4 and has voted in favor of opting out by a vote of the voters on a ballot question in a Special Town Election. This affirmative vote enables the Town to take a second vote on adopting the Opt-Out zoning bylaw at an upcoming Town Meeting.)

On opting out in a Yes on Q4 Community, the MA Municipal Association opinion of their lawyers is that based on the law (House 3818), passage of a ballot question is only an “enabling” action, that gives authority to the local legislative body to go through the process of adopting a zoning by-law.

Their opinion, and that of MA town counsels, is based on subsection (e) of Section 3:

(e) If an ordinance or by-law must be submitted for approval pursuant to subsection (a)(2), the following procedures will be followed:

(1) The city solicitor or town counsel shall prepare a fair and concise summary of the proposed ordinance or by-law which will make clear the number and types of marijuana establishments which will be permitted to operate under the proposed ordinance and by-law and shall be included on the ballot.

(2) A ballot shall be prepared asking “Shall this [city or town] adopt the following [by-law or ordinance]? [solicitor/counsel summary] [full text of by-law or ordinance]

(3) If the majority of the votes cast in answer to the question are in the affirmative, the city or town may adopt the by-law or ordinance, but if the majority is in the negative, the city or town shall not adopt the by-law or ordinance.

A ballot question under this subsection may be placed on the ballot at a regular or special election held by the city or town by a vote of the board of selectmen or city or town council, with the approval of the mayor, and subject to a municipal charter, if applicable.

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How to Proceed:

Step 1: Check this list to find out if your community was one of the 90 “No On Q4 Communities” in November 2016. Follow the requirements for either a “No on Q4” or “Yes on Q4” community listed above.

Step 2: Figure out who your local legislative body is: City Council? Town Council? Town Meeting?

Step 3: Figure out who puts zoning ordinances or bylaws on the council agenda or town warrant for a vote. (Council?, Planning Board?, Selectmen?) The requirement that a zoning bylaw be adopted by a community’s legislative body is written in the law.

Step 4: Adapt and Implement the Following Action Plan: Continue reading

Heavy Use, High Potency, Real Dangers of Pot Commercialization

Heavy use and high potency commercialized marijuana are real dangers of pot commercialization. Already this latest addiction for profit industry is proved to follow the others: 80% of profits come from 20% of daily chronic users. And as prices inevitably collapse with over supply, so do the tax revenues leaving insufficient funding for health services, regulation, enforcement and prevention.

This is unprecedented — a side effect of pot commercialization: much more heavy use of a much more potent drug.

This pot market takes on a life of its own. It quickly slips out of control. Agricultural economics and commodity market stampedes.

  • supply goes up
  • prices plummet
  • a glut of product results
  • cheap excess drug gets pushed onto new consumers
  • potency is driven up as producers try to differentiate their products
  • more people use more potent pot more often
  • predictable health and mental health consequences

See links below: Continue reading

Here’s What’s Coming to Your Back Yard — A tour of a Colorado Commercial Marijuana Operation

Our colleague,  Jo McGuire, in Denver was recently asked to accompany a group of delegates from other states investigating commercial marijuana legalization on a tour of the Colorado marijuana industry. Here’s her account what they observed:

________

A delegation from out of state came to Denver in late April to see how the Colorado marijuana industry is working. I was asked to help guide the tour and ask questions of the industry leaders.

This was an all-day experience, so I will give you the highlights that stand out to me.

After the delegation heard a bit about my experience and area of expertise in safe & drug free workplaces, we were given a presentation by two officers of the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in Colorado.

They started off the presentation by repeating how utterly impossible it is to regulate marijuana and keep all the rules and know all the enforcement measures they are supposed to follow (these are the people overseeing enforcement for the whole state.) They bragged that they now have 98 people in their office overseeing regulation but later in the day admitted that only 25% of those do on-site inspections statewide (3,000 facilities), the rest are trying to keep up with paperwork.

They cannot get to every site in the state for inspections (again – impossible) so they respond to complaints, spot-check and rely on other community entities to report anything they may find or see. The largest amount of complainants come from other MJ facilities trying to get their competition shut-down.

The greatest violations are:
1. Using pesticides banned in the U.S.
2. Not using the proper inventory tracking system
3. Waste disposal violations
4. Circumventing the required video-monitoring system

They were asked how potency of marijuana is determined and they said, “It is impossible to determine potency.” When challenged – they were adamant that it is not possible.

Continue reading

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

What Scientific & Medical Journals & Experts Say About Marijuana

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

This selection of 30 references is a thorough compilation of current research findings on the health impacts of marijuana and the public health impacts of marijuana legalization and commercialization.

Any policymaker or journalist seeking to be better informed than by the spin of industry promoters would do well to inform their decision making, advocacy and reporting by studying and referencing this work. 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

When it Comes to Marijuana, Some Revenue is Not Worth Taking

As cities and towns in Massachusetts consider whether to allow marijuana-related uses in their communities, many are doing the math and deciding it’s not worth it.

Westborough was the first to “Opt Out” AND others are following suit having asked themselves whether increased drug use and it’s predictable impacts on youth use rates, adult heavy use of an increasingly potent drug, and youth and adult addiction, are compatible with the brand of their communities.

The media loves headlines pronouncing the amount of revenue that taxing marijuana commerce may bring into states. But as is often the case with marijuana coverage, rarely do reporters inquire deeply and rarely do they put marijuana revenue into the context of public health, enforcement and societal costs, and seldom do they do the math. Continue reading

Opting Out of Massachusetts Marijuana Law is a Heavy Lift and Very Confusing. Why?

The Town of Westborough Massachusetts was the first to opt out of commercial marijuana commerce under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act passed by a small majority in November 2016. Westborough’s ballot question passed with 80% of the vote of its voters. Its General Bylaw passed at Town Meeting with 87% the vote and its Zoning Bylaw with 88%. Here’s how Westborough did it but it was no easy feat. Here’s why.

The MA Marijuana Law was written by and for the marijuana industry. Their ultimate aim is to maximize consumption in order to maximize profit. With each push into new states, the marijuana industry has tweaked ballot petitions based on issues that have become obstacles to maximizing their markets in other states. One of many examples is Local Control. Continue reading

Westborough’s Concerned Citizens to Host Marijuana “Opt-Out” Forum

Massachusetts’ First “Opt-Out” Town Attributes 10x-Margin Victory to Fact-Based Voter Education

Westborough’s Opt-Out Process–A Step-By-Step Action Plan

Opt Out Press Release on Westborough Concerned Citizens 4-12 Forum

WESTBOROUGH, MA – After voting by a slim 6% margin against the November 2016 Massachusetts’ Ballot Question 4 to legalize marijuana (53% v.47%), the Town of Westborough (March 2017) became the first community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to actively prohibit non-medical marijuana businesses, farms, testing and manufacturing. And, did so decisively at the ballot box (80%) and at Town Meeting
(87% General Bylaw / 88% Zoning Bylaw).

The 60+point margin victory was directly attributed to fact-based voter education and awareness on the risks and implications of today’s high-potency marijuana products, the speculative green-rush of an “addiction-for-profit” marijuana industry and specifically, the onerous underpinnings of Massachusetts Marijuana Law.

Continue reading

Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana Law Opt Out — Westborough Voter Guide

Opt Out Marijuana Massachusetts Westborough Guide

When voters become educated on the true nature of the predatory industry behind the MA Marijuana Law, they become very concerned about what this industry might do to the character of their communities. Educate, vote, opt out.

VOTE YES to OPT OUT to KEEP OUT Pot Shops:

(download this guide to print & share)

Q&A:

When do we vote?
TOWN ELECTIONS BALLOT – Tuesday, March 7, Westborough High School, 8am-8pm

TOWN MEETING – Saturday, March 18, Westborough High School, 1pm, (potential continuation to Monday, March 20, 7pm)

Do we have to vote twice?
We encourage you to vote twice. The two voting venues are independent of each other. If you are unable to vote twice, it is absolutely fine to just vote in one of the two voting dates.

Why do we need 2 votes – Town Ballot: Tues, Mar 7 and Town Meeting: Sat, Mar 18-20th?
To avoid the state mandate in the new marijuana law that our community host pot shops, we must “opt out.”

To “opt out” of commercial pot sales requires a “vote of the voters” to pass a “bylaw” preventing pot shops. A “vote of the voters” occurs at the ballot box. A “bylaw”, however, must be passed on the Town Meeting floor. To withstand legal challenge, Westborough, under the current law, must do both. The Board of Selectman and Town Manager are referring to it as a belt and suspenders approach.

Who can vote?
To vote you must be a U.S. Citizen, age 18 and older, and a Massachusetts resident. You must register 20 days prior to the election. Continue reading

MMA Appeals to State Leadership to Amend Marijuana Law to Protect Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Public Health, Interest and Safety

massachusetts-municipal-association2Update April 3, 2017: The Massachusetts Municipal Association continues to advocate for changes to the Massachusetts Marijuana Law that simply and clarify local control options for cities and towns. This is their letter to the Joint Committee on Marijuana.
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The Massachusetts Municipal Association sent, in November 2016, a strongly and thoughtfully worded appeal to State leaders urging changes be made to the law passed with Ballot Question 4 to regulate commercialized marijuana for recreational use. On December 7th, 2016 MMA issued a call to action to Massachusetts members and citizens to urge their legislators to delay and rewrite this law that is fraught with “many unanswered questions and many significant flaws”. Continue reading

Psychosis Causing Marijuana Concentrate “Shatter” Coming Soon to a Pot Shop Near You

A man holds a sheet of THC concentrate known as "shatter," in Denver, Colorado. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

A man holds a sheet of THC concentrate known as “shatter,” in Denver, Colorado. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

Residents in states that voted recently to approve recreational marijuana commercialization will now have to deal with the reality of what will be for sale in their downtown stores.

Among the “products” they legalized is “shatter”, a chemical reduction of the marijuana plant that is nearly 100% pure psychoactive neurotoxin THC. The product is consumed by “dabbing.” In a process akin to freebasing cocaine, shards of shatter are vaporized with a blowtorch in specially designed pipes–paraphernalia that will additionally grace neighborhood storefronts unless communities organize to opt out of recreational marijuana sales. 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

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 02/04/2017: The New York Times may finally be taking the public health impacts of marijuana commercialization more seriously if their article, “Pregnant Women Turn to Marijuana: Perhaps Harming Infants” is an indication. THC ingestion is among the more insidious downstream effects of the normalization of cannabis use. The percentages of pregnant moms using pot seems smallish, but the numbers have nearly doubled since legalization and commercialization. And that with more potent pot on the market.

The comparison with alcohol still irks. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a more universally understood risk. Don’t drink while pregnant is common advice. These are two completely different chemical exposures. With a beer or a glass of wine the water soluble alcohol is metabolized and excreted from the body in 24 hours. With cannabis, THC not only crosses placenta, but it is fat soluble and persists in the fatty tissues and breast milk for weeks or months–much more health education needed here.

Colorado hospitals have THC-positive babies needing extra care now in there maternity wards nearly every day now.

Marijuana investors and businesses would be wise to begin to accrue a legal liability fund. It is only a matter of time for evidence and public health policy to catch up, as it did with the tobacco industry and spurn lawsuits to reoup the costs caused by the downstream effects of THC normalization. Continue reading

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:  Continue reading

The 90 “No on Q4 Communities” That Voted In Opposition to Commercial Recreational Marijuana

“No on Q4 Communities”

Alphabetical list of Massachusetts Cities and Towns that voted in opposition to commercial recreational marijuana on ballot question 4 in November, 2016:

Massachusetts Community:
Agawam 50.8% to 49.2%
Andover 54.1% to 45.9%
Barnstable 52.1% to 47.9%
Bedford 52.9% to 47.1%
Bourne 51.6% to 48.4%
Boxford 52.0% to 48%
Boylston 50.3% to 49.7%
Braintree 54.3% to 45.7%
Brewster 51.8% to 48.2%
Bridgewater 50.6% to 49.4%
Burlington 54.9% to 45.1%
Canton 53.5% to 46.5%
Chatham 57.6% to 42.4%
Chelmsford 50.9% to 49.1%
Cohasset 56.3% to 43.7%
Danvers 52.5% to 47.5%
Dedham 50.0% to 50.0%
Dennis 53.2% to 46.8%
Dover 56.5% to 43.5%
Duxbury 56.8% to 43.2%
E. Longmeadow 53.9% to 46.1%
Easton 53.6% to 46.4%
Everett 51.2% to 48.8%
Falmouth 51.7% to 48.3%
Foxborough 51.2% to 48.8%
Hamilton 50.7% to 49.3%
Hampden 52.1% to 47.9%
Hanover 58.5% to 41.5%
Harwich 52.8% to 47.2%
Hingham 58.3% to 41.7%
Holden 51.8% to 48.2%
Hopkinton 52.0% to 48%
Kingston 51.2% to 48.8%
Lakeville 50.6% to 49.4%
Lancaster 50.1% to 49.9%
Lawrence 58% to 42%
Lexington 52.7% to 47.3%
Longmeadow 54.5% to 45.5%
Ludlow 51.9% to 48.1%
Lynnfield 60.1% to 39.9%
Marshfield 50.7% to 49.3%
Mashpee 53.5% to 46.5%
Mattspoisett 51.6% to 48.4%
Medfield 55.1% to 44.9%
Methuen 51.9% to 48.1%
Middleton 53.6% to 46.4%
Milton 54.9% to 45.1%
Needham 54.8% to 45.2%
Norfolk 51.0% to 49%
North Andover 53.3% to 46.7%
North Reading 53.9% to 46.1%
Northborough 50.6% to 49.4%
Norwell 54.5% to 45.5%
Norwood 53.0% to 47%
Orleans 50.8% to 49.2%
Paxton 54.1% to 45.9%
Peabody 54% to 46%
Pembroke 50.7% to 49.3%
Raynham 51.6% to 48.4%
Reading: 55.1% to 44.9%
Revere 52.7% to 47.3%
Rutland 50.5% to 49.5%
Sandwich 54.0% to 46.0%
Saugus 53.3% to 46.7%
Scituate 52.4% to 47.6%
Sherborn 52.1% to 47.9%
Shrewsbury 55.9% to 44.1%
Southboro 53.7% to 46.3%
Sterling 50.8% to 49.2%
Stoneham 53.0% to 47%
Sudbury 51.4% to 48.6%
Tewksbury 50.8% to 49.2%
Topsfield 57.2% to 42.8%
W. Boylston 52.1% to 47.9%
W. Bridgewater 50.7% to 49.3%
W. Springfield 51.8% to 48.2
Wakefield 52.6% to 47.4%
Walpole 56.6% to 43.4%
Wareham ?
Wellesley 58.3% to 41.7%
Wenham 53.4% to 46.6%
Westborough 52.6% to 47.4%
Westford 52.2% to 47.8%
Weston 55.9% to 44.1%
Westwood 58.5% to 41.5%
Weymouth 50.3% to 49.7%
Wilbraham 56.6% to 43.4%
Winchester 57.2% to 42.8%
Woburn 50.7% to 49.3%
Wrentham 51.0% to 49%
Yarmouth 55.5% to 44.5%

Growing List of Opposition to Ballot Question 4 To Legalize Commercial Marijuana Industry in Massachusetts

 



No on Question 4. No to commercial marijuana.Leaders From Every Region Join Growing List of Organizations To Say That Question 4 is Wrong Path For Their Communities

The list of health, business, faith, and local town boards and officials who oppose Question 4 continues to grow weekly. They join a bi-partisan coalition of 120 legislators from every region of the Commonwealth today voiced their opposition to ballot question 4 to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

[Added to the list below this week: Worcester Board of Health, Westborough Board of Selectmen, Milford Regional Medical Center, Tri-Town Council, Waltham City Council, Eight physicians organizations, Link to Mass Medical Society opposition booklet. Check back, list grows almost daily.] Continue reading

Wellesley, Mass League of Women Voters: A Forum on Ballot Question 4 on Marijuana Legalization and Commercialization

The Wellesley League of Women Voters explores what exactly would be legalized in Massachusetts under Ballot Question 4 including, butane hash oil extraction to produce the marijuana concentrate “shatter”; industrial grow operations; home grow and distribution provision; THC infused edibles and food products; public safety implications and much more.

Watch the forum here:

Employment and Workplace Issues; Youth Use Data for Colorado; Taxes and Revenues; Homegrows: Understanding the Marijuana Movement & Question 4

Commercialized Marijuana The Employer impactIn this second in a series from WestboroughTV, the issue of marijuana legalization and commercialization for recreational purposes is explored through conversation. In this episode, Colorado business consultant Jo McGuire joins hosts Heidi Heilman and Jody Hensley to shed light on what might be coming to Massachusetts should Ballot Question 4 be approved by the voters this November. Employment and workplace issues, types of marijuana and THC products, youth use data in Colorado, taxes and revenue and implications on youth access and the black market from home growing are discussed.  A must see for anyone considering which way to cast their vote in Massachusetts, or in Arizona, Maine, and Nevada where similar industry-written questions are on the ballot.

MUST WATCH: 60 Minutes Feature Highlights Impacts of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

60 Minutes on Marijuana

Pueblo Colorado Portends a Grim Reality for States that Vote for Pot

On Sunday night, October 28th, CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ ran a story, “The Pot Vote,” highlighting public health and safety impacts on Colorado since the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The segment – which features the firsthand experiences and expertise of doctors, law enforcement, and prevention advocates, and CO Governor John Hickenlooper – serves as a cautionary tale to other States considering legalizing recreational marijuana. We can and should heed their warning.

NOT WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED:

“It’s affecting the emergency room, it’s affecting the operating room, it’s affecting just about every aspect of medicine that you could think of,”
— Dr. Steven Simerville, Pediatrician and Medical Director of the newborn ICU, Pueblo’s Saint Mary Corwin Medical Center.

Continue reading

“Marijuana – The State of High” Anyone Considering a Vote on Marijuana Ballot Questions Must Watch This From Rocky Mountain PBS

Freebasing or "dabbing" marijuana

“Dabbing” is freebasing marijuana concentrate–a dangerous new development in marijuana consumption.

In the premier of a new Rocky Mountain PBS investigative series, “Insight”, news anchor John Ferrugia explores what is unknown about the risks of high potency THC for those who “dab” so-called “wax”, “honey”, or “shatter” that can bathe the brain with hundreds of milligrams of the drug. That’s compared to a limit of 10 milligrams per serving of edibles infused with THC.

“Dabbing” is freebasing marijuana. Yes, like freebasing cocaine only using nearly pure THC concentrate that is vaporized with a blow torch and inhaled. The concentrate is nearly 100% pure THC–stripped by distillation of any of the protectant CBD that is also present in plant marijuana. The effect is devastating on the brain, often irreversible, and can lead to severe mental illness and, in this story, death.

Oh, and yes, it is all perfectly legal in States that vote for recreational and medical marijuana ballot questions. Watch and reconsider your vote:

How’s It Going? My Colorado Friends On Marijuana Legalization

img_3928How’s Legalization Working out in CO?

I moved from Colorado a little over two years ago and I have not been back so I wanted to hear from my friends how marijuana legalization is working out. I posted on Facebook: “Through conversations I have found that people in MA have no idea about the unintended/unforeseen consequences of commercialized marijuana. I have not been back to CO since we moved two years ago so I thought it would interesting to hear from you about your experiences and what you would tell voters in states proposing to legalize recreational pot.”

The responses:

“Hate it! Worst thing ever. I want to move and I have lived here all of my life.”

CRIME GOES UP AND HOMELESS WILL FLOCK TO YOUR CITY”

“Hate what’s has happened to colorado. Look out the rest of the nation.” Continue reading

Pueblo Colorado Portends Grim Future for Marijuana Based Communities Concerned Citizens Organize to Throw the Industry Out at the Ballot Box

img_1010Pueblo, Colorado– The story of Pueblo is a cautionary tale of what happens when local governments try to resolve their financial difficulties with tax revenue from marijuana. This small city with a population of 120,000 is a former steel mill town which fell on hard times. It ranks #2 in the state for poverty.

Seventy percent of the counties in Colorado opted out of Amendment 64, which commercialized and legalized marijuana. The city of Pueblo banned retail marijuana, but the county of Pueblo began to give licenses to marijuana grows and retail stores. Pueblo County commissioners saw marijuana as an opportunity to fill empty factories and create jobs. They made the decision against the wishes of most of the county’s 160,000 residents.

Continue reading

Trooper’s Widow Urges Voters to Reject Legalizing Marijuana.

Will it really take a body count for our country to wake up to public health impact of legalized, commercialized marijuana industry using Big Tobacco’s playbook?

Reisa Clardy lost her husband and father to their seven children when a driver high on marijuana crossed three lanes of traffic and barreled into his cruiser. Here’s her appeal:

If this one incident is not enough, you don’t have to look far to find dozens of others. And the AAA, on their posting “Impaired Driving and Cannabis” reports:

“Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and these findings serve as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug.”

Protecting Our Kids Against Pot Profiteering. A Parishioner’s Appeal

I was invited to include an unprecedented guest column in my church’s newsletter on this issue and am attaching here:

Dear Friends,

Doctor Smokes Camels Doctors Recommend MarijuanaDo you remember the 1990s? In the 1990s, Massachusetts and other states successfully sued the tobacco industry for deceptive practices, including misrepresenting the harmful nature of tobacco products, intentionally attracting children to tobacco products, and targeting African-Americans. Those practices were wrong back then, and they still are today.

Now this fall we are faced with a statewide push to legalize THC, the active compound of marijuana, in ballot Question 4 – but the deception and hunger for profits remains. As someone who has always prioritized the health of children and families in our community – I am a father of three school-aged kids – I am troubled at what I have learned about Question 4 and its implications. The profiteering is immoral, dangerous for our children, and makes worse our current public health opioid crisis. So I hope we can learn and pray about this decision, because I consider the hazards serious:

Continue reading

Lessons Learned From Four Years of Marijuana Legalization — The SAM Report

Lessons Learned After Four Years of Marijuana LegalizationThough it is still early, these “experiments” in legalization are not succeeding. Marijuana commercialization is failing as a public health approach to drug use.

In the wake of multimillion-dollar political campaigns funded with out-of-state money, Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana in November 2012. Though it would take more than a year to set up retail stores, personal use (CO, WA) and home cultivation (in CO, which includes giving away of up to six plants) were almost immediately legalized after the vote. (Get the full 18-page Slide Deck Here) Continue reading

Mass Medical Society Believes the Health of The People Is at Stake with Question 4. Urges All Colleagues to “Vote No on 4”

Get, and share, their booklet here

mass-doctors-urge-no-on-ballot-question-4-public-health-at-stakeWhile the Yes On 4 campaign uses deceitful and confusing TV ads featuring “doctors” to push full-blown, commercialized, retail recreational bud, concentrate, edible THC-infused food and other high-potency marijuana-derived products, our real doctors are urging their colleagues, and all voters, to Vote No on Question 4 in Massachusetts. They join the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts and eight other Massachusetts-based physicians groups on a massive list list of those opposed.  In a new booklet distribute to their entire membership, and available here, MMS cites high-potency THC products, low tax rate, lack of public health oversight, lack of revenue earmarked for education, prevention and treatment, limits on local control, and highly problematic personal cultivation, the doctors organization among their reasons for opposition and sum up their position as follows:

“The MMS believes the health of the people of Massachusetts, particularly its children, adolescents, and young adults, is at stake with this ballot question,” says President James Gessner, MD in his cover letter.

And, they have good reason to be alarmed. Continue reading

While “YesOn4” Campaign Conflates Q4 with Medical Marijuana, Health and Hospital Professionals Continue to Urge a “NOon4” Vote

massachusetts-health-and-hosptial-association-opposes-marijuana-question-4While YesOn4 campaign’s TV ads (fact checked as FALSE by WCVB TV) feature “doctors” to confuse voters that this law has something to do with medical marijuana, our state’s hospital and healthcare professionals urge a “No” vote on Question 4 in Massachusetts.  In the most recent correspondence to their member hospitals and healthcare professionals, the MHHA points to the latest TV ad (fact checked as TRUE by WCVB). The ad rightly illustrates that this law is about commercial, retail, recreational marijuana with no limits on potency or the number of “establishments” that could grow, sell, process, and manufacture bud, hash, and marijuana infused edibles in our towns and communities “by right”. Continue reading

Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts Oppose Marijuana Question 4 — Urge a “No” Vote

mass-catholic-conference-opposes-question-4-on-commercial-reatail-marijuanaA STATEMENT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF MASSACHUSETTS ON THE LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA

Marijuana represents a significant part of substance use in America and adversely affects the health of millions of Americans. According to a recent report(1) issued by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.(2) Its widespread use and abuse, particularly by young people under the age of eighteen, is steadily increasing while scientific evidence clearly links its long term damaging effects on brain development. Continue reading

Can Your Child Tell the Difference Between Candy & Marijuana-Infused Edibles in Massachusetts?

Ballot Question 4 would allow an unlimited number pot shops, by right, in Massachusetts cities and towns. Shops that will sell THC-infused marijuana edibles, with no limits on potency, in the form of candy, chocolate, candy bars, soda, cookies, and baked goods indiscernible from their benign predecessors.  4000 kids in Colorado were exposed to these edibles in 2015 alone.

50% of revenue of the pot industry in other states comes from edibles. The law enfolded in Question 4 is a business plan, a corporate takeover of our towns, that maximizes sales for an out-of-state, predatory industry and puts the burden and cost for any limitations on our communities.

Please read the entire law. Please join us in voting No on Question 4 in Massachusetts.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Announces Opposition to Question 4 and Commercial, Retail, Recreational Marijuana Industry

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Announces Opposition to Question 4 and Commercial, Retail, Recreational Marijuana Industry

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce announces its opposition to ballot Question 4 which proposes the
legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana. Please see below for the official statement.
“The case against Question 4 is a compelling one on many levels, starting with the broad public health concerns raised by elected officials. The bill is drafted with the wants of the marijuana industry placed before the needs and safety of our communities, including the business community. Continue reading

No on Q4. Wrong Law. Wrong Time. Wrong for Massachusetts.

Vote No On Massachusetts Question 4 to Commercialize Marijuana.jpgThis law was written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry, will introduce an entirely new pot edibles market, and will harm our families and communities. Here are some of the facts:

  • The proposed law is written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana possession and authorized medical marijuana. People are not being jailed for marijuana use, and have access to it for health reasons. This ballot question is about allowing the national marijuana industry to come into Massachusetts and market and sell marijuana products in our communities.

Continue reading

Does Question 4 Really Treat Marijuana Like Alcohol When It Comes to Youth Access? Not at All.

Real questions about marijuana legalization.

Those behind Massachusetts Question 4 insist that this law will reduce youth access by regulating marijuana like alcohol. Compare how Massachusetts has prohibited youth access to alcohol for decades with the way Question 4 will deal with this issue:

regulate-marijuana-like-alcohol-in-massachusetts-1of2-jpg

regulate-marijuana-like-alcohol-in-massachusetts-2of2-jpg

1 Failure to pay fine and complete drug class within a year may result in a delinquency complaint in juvenile court for violators under age 17. Same is true for misrepresentation of age or fraudulent identification. However, adults, who are most likely to be violators, never face criminal penalties.
2 Only similarity between alcohol and marijuana enforcement is Question 4 preserves the $500 civil fine for an “open container” of marijuana in a vehicle. Compare 90, § 24I with 94G, § 13(d).

Weed worry: Why I dread advent of recreational pot

Big Marijuana, like Big Tobacco is counting on cultivating the youth market.

Big Marijuana, like Big Tobacco is counting on cultivating the youth market.

By PAUL M. McNEIL
Tuesday, August 02, 2016

When people ask me why I am against the legalization of marijuana, I need to take a deep breath and compose my thoughts, for I consistently struggle knowing where to begin.

My biggest concern is that by legalizing this increasingly potent psychoactive drug we are creating the next “Big Tobacco.” At the height of tobacco commercialization, over 50 percent of Americans smoked. That is not “progressive.” That’s an epidemic – and it’s the last thing I think Massachusetts wants and deserves with regards to marijuana legislation. Continue reading

The jig is up.The ruse perpetrated by the marijuana barons is being exposed at newer and broader levels than ever.

The jig is up. The ruse of the pot barons is being exposed at newer and broader levels.

The jig is up. The ruse of the pot barons is being exposed at newer and broader levels. So powerful to have the dirty tricks exposed in multiple states simultaneously.

Historic fundraising effort to counter non-medical marijuana initiatives comes on the heels of proposed measures that would legalize pot advertising and candies.

“This is about stopping the next Big Tobacco.”

[Alexandria, VA] – SAM Action, the non-profit 501(c)(4) affiliate of SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, co-founded by a former Obama Administration drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet, announced today a fundraising milestone of more than $2 million dedicated to defeating ballot measures that would legalize marijuana advertising, pot candies, and legitimize massive marijuana special interest groups across the country. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading