As the share of the population who uses marijuana increases, the number of users who become addicted to the product rises proportionately. Except in the 20th Century, we have much more potent marijuana and THC-laced products. So the new numbers on addiction rates are yet to be collected or fully analyzed.
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.
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)
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.
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 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.
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.
In 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.
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.
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:
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.”
“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”
Here is a two-page pdf of reasons why Massachusetts voters should be very concerned about the provisions of Question 4. Please read, download, forward, print, share. And, please vote “No” on Question 4.
I was invited to include an unprecedented guest column in my church’s newsletter on this issue and am attaching here:
Do 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:
While 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 While “YesOn4” Campaign Conflates Q4 with Medical Marijuana, Health and Hospital Professionals Continue to Urge a “NOon4” Vote
A 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 Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts Oppose Marijuana Question 4 — Urge a “No” Vote
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.
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:
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).
Where there is more marijuana, more kids use. School nurses understand social norming pressures on kids today. As well as the negative impacts of recreational drug use. That’s why they oppose the legalization and commercialization of marijuana in Massachusetts.
BOSTON – Two child wellness and anti-addiction advocates responded to comments made by marijuana legalization proponents that sought to diminish the harmful impact of the drug.
At a press conference on Friday held by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, legalization proponents called marijuana a relatively “benign plant.” In response, a letter was sent by a doctor from Children’s Hospital and the Director of the Northshore Recovery High School objecting to those “unfortunate comments that diminished the harms marijuana imposes on our kids.”
“We can have a healthy debate on the issue of legalization,” wrote Dr. Sion Harris and Director Michelle Lipinski. “But the fact that marijuana is addictive and has a negative impact on young people is not debatable.”
“Why would we even tinker with the thought (of legalization) knowing what’s happening to this generation right now?”
By Arianna MacNeill, as published in The Salem News
BEVERLY — While voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use this fall, the highest rate of users right now is a population that wouldn’t legally be able to buy it, according to the principal of a high school for teens in substance abuse recovery.
Northshore Recovery High School Principal Michelle Lipinski, along with Dr. Sion Harris of Boston Children’s Hospital, wrote a letter to Will Luzier of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, dated April 20, accusing him of “trying to misdirect voters.”
During Opiate Crisis,ABH Urges Voters To Reject Effort To Commercialize Another Addictive Drug
BOSTON – A statewide association of organizations committed to providing behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts has voiced its opposition to the proposed initiative to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) voted to oppose the ballot referendum last week. ABH represents more than eighty community-based mental health and addiction provider organizations across Massachusetts.
Its members serve approximately 81,000 Massachusetts residents daily and 1.5 million annually.
Boston, MA – NAMI Mass, the state’s largest advocacy organization for people and families living with mental illness, is joining a growing coalition of groups voicing opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.
“Marijuana poses a danger for those with mental illness and young people predisposed to mental illness because of the neurological actions of the drug,” says NAMI Mass Executive Director Laurie Martinelli. “In addition, marijuana use can hinder the effective treatment of mental illness.”
PROLIFERATION OF POT EDIBLES UNDER COMMERCIAL LEGALIZATION DRIVES YOUTH EXPOSURE, ADDICTION Pot-Infused Edibles Like Candy And Soda Are Highly Potent, A Danger For Accidental Overdoses, and Represent 50% Of Retail Sales In Colorado
FRAMINGHAM – Highlighting the marketing and sale of pot-infused edibles as a major part of the Marijuana Industry’s profit model under commercial legalization, the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts held a press conference today to discuss the impact these edibles would have on Massachusetts. Edibles have a much higher potency than marijuana plants, have no potency limits placed on them under the pending ballot question, and are a significant risk for accidental use by kids.
Business Association Raises Concerns About Negative Impact On Companies And Communities
BOSTON – One of the state’s most prominent business associations today announced its opposition to the ballot question to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) cited numerous concerns, including the increased risks around job safety and the overall impact on Massachusetts communities.
RAM has been the voice of the Commonwealth’s retailers for almost 100 years, representing small and medium-sized businesses across Massachusetts. Among the business concerns that it cited included issues around worker safety and reports of higher absenteeism rates for employees who test positive for marijuana.
The Massachusetts Assocation of School Superintendents (MASS) has taken a unambiguous position against the proposed Massachusetts ballot question that would open the doors to legal marijuana commercialization and an industry interested in expanding use of the drug. Citing negative impacts on young people in their communities, MASS “are strongly united in opposition to House Bill #3932”
BOSTON – Raising concerns about the negative impact increased access to marijuana will have on students and young people in their schools and communities, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) announced their opposition to the ballot question that would legalize commercial marijuana in the Commonwealth.
The Association, which represents 277 Superintendents and 148 Assistant Superintendents, cited numerous concerns about the impact on young people, including:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rise of the marijuana legalization and commercialization movement has already produced new casualties. By lowering the perception of risk, and expanding the availability of the drug, millions of people — including parents and young people — are increasingly vulnerable to the lure of the cult of cannabis. For those who drift into addiction or other marijuana induced illness, there is a sense of incredulity: “I thought it was just marijuana.” Here’s the story of one ordinary Mom who learned the hard way: “There’s no such thing as ‘just marijuana’ ” anymore.
This documentary should be seen in every community.
THE OSC DOCUMENTARY is an independent film project created by ordinary citizens with no political or economic affiliations or interests, other than bringing attention to the potential negative effects of marijuana on our youth–adolescents, teenagers and young adults whose brains are still forming.
We are reaching out to our youth, as well as educators, medical and health professionals, researchers, and media, in addition to recovery and treatment center programs. In order to make an informed decision to use marijuana, it is important to know the potential risks.
The message that marijuana is safe, natural and harmless as a recreational substance, must be weighed against the evidence of associated risks.
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.
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?
…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.
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.
“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.”
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 Me, Me, Me. Greed, Deception Fuels Marijuana Legalization
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.
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?”