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.

“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

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.

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“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.

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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:

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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

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.

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.

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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

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

Marijuana edibles drive youth exposure, hospitalizations, addiction

Marijuana edibles drive youth exposure, hospitalizations, addiction

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

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

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Retailers Association Of Massachusetts Opposes Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana

Business Association Raises Concerns About Negative Impact On Companies And Communities

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

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

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Massachusetts School Superintendents Oppose Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana

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

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

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

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

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.

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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

Major Point of Marijuana Advocates is a Lie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lead paint laws protect public health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

This documentary should be seen in every community.

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

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

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

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

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

Colorado can't answer marijuana questions.

Why Can’t Colorado Officials Answer Basic Pot Questions?

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

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

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

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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

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 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

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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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

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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Marijuana? Now a Call to Legalize Heroin

Legalize marijuana and heroin?

Is the fact that 91% of Americans over the age of 12 don’t use drugs a failure or that only .01% or 200,000 people use heroin really a failure of prohibitive drug policies?

Pertaining to the Boston Globe’s recent publishing of an opinion piece advocating to “End Prohibition of Heroin”…

The Manipulation of the American Public

In 1912 the United States signed an international convention restricting the use of opium, heroin and cocaine and as a direct result of prohibitive drug policies, the use of these illicit drugs has remained below .5% for the American population.

Is the fact that 91% of Americans over the age of 12 don’t use drugs , and that only .01% or 200,000 people use heroin really a failure of prohibitive drug policies?

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Our Kids are the Canary in the Legal Marijuana Coal Mine

Kids are canaries in marijuana legalization coal mine

Sensitive to gases, canaries would chirp a warning before succumbing — warning miners to take precaution or back out of danger. Our youth, succumbing to the propaganda of the marijuana industry are similarly warning us to back out of the rush to legalization.

Our children are the canary in the coal mine of marijuana legalization.

Coal mines were/are dangerous places. Fumes can leak in undetected. Mining tragedies were not uncommon. Many miners were killed in explosions, asphyxiations or poisonings before they were aware that a hazardous substance had leaked into their midst.

But a tiny bird became their warning signal. A canary in a cage in the mine shaft, with its delicate constitution, would succumb to the hazard long before the men would sense it was there. When the canary showed signs of illnes, the miners new it was time to get out.

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Marijuana, the Most Dangerous Drug Out There. Why?

Marijuana, the most dangerous drug out there

Why is marijuana the most dangerous drug out there? “Because everyone thinks it’s safe,”

Fascinating perspective from the chief of science at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (who was speaking recently at a national conference in Washington DC). It is worth repeating.

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From www.addictionpro.com:

‘The most dangerous drug out there’

May 8, 2014 by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor

When you opened this blog post, what were you expecting to see as ‘the most dangerous drug out there’? Methamphetamine, opiates, oxycodone or crack cocaine? Continue reading

Video: Peer-Reviewed Publications on Negative Marijuana Health Effects


This video from a self-described “nerd” with no dog in the fight of legalization, takes a careful look at peer reviewed literature to address the many myths that are being perpetrated by the pot-lobby and marijuana proponents. Here are the YouTube notes and the bibliography:
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This video deals exclusively with the documented negative health consequences of recreational cannabis use.

I used data from over 140 papers in the process of preparing this video. I’ve done my best to document sources. Below are some key papers for reference. Continue reading

Teen Marijuana use highest in “medical” marijuana states.

Teen Marijuana use highest in "medical" marijuana states.

Teen Marijuana use highest in “medical” marijuana states. (Click to enlarge or download the .pdf)

Medical marijuana states have the highest rates of youth use in the nation. As marijuana availability increases, and perception of harm decreases, more kids use.

The reality is that 95% of users who frequent “medical” marijuana stores are simply drug-seeking individuals with vague unverifiable symptoms of “pain”, or “intractable pain”, or “chronic pain”. The amount allowed per patient is more than can possible be personally consumed. The rest is diverted — often to youth.

We end up with a large illicit supply and rising youth use rates.

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