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.

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

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

Opt-Out Action Plan based on Westborough’s Opt-Out Process

Updated April 15, 2017

  1. Assemble a small group of concerned citizens
    • suggest including active Mothers in your community.
  2. Consult & Educate Town Counsel
    For Westborough Opt-Out, KP Law (Kopelman Paige) is our contracted Town Counsel. They are also counsel to approximately 250 other MA cities and towns. KP Law recommended the Opt-Out process follow a “belt and suspenders” approach with one (1) vote at town ballot vote and two (2) votes at town meeting; see below. Why such a confusing and cumbersome process?
  3. Request agenda item at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting:
    Request to Approve Placing a Question on the (date) Town Ballot and on the (date) Annual Town Meeting Warrant Amending the General Bylaws and another amending Zoning Bylaws

  4. Educate Your Selectmen
    • Put revenue potential into context–Some revenue is not worth taking
    • Remind them of their role as leaders as it relates to messages we wish to send to our citizens and particularly our youth. The message they send in regard to these uses will shape how youth feel about the products being promoted by these uses.

    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

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, youth and adult addiction, are compatible with the brand of their communities.

The media loves of 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

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

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

“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

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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Mass SJC Agrees Ballot Question Misleading–Revises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Add commercialism to youthful indiscretion and the result can be devastating

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

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

Continue reading

Recovery High School Principal Takes Stand Against Legalizing Pot

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

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

By Arianna MacNeill, as published in The Salem News

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

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

Continue reading

Behavioral Health Association Opposes Commercial Legalization of Marijuana


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

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

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

Continue reading

NAMI Mass Announces Opposition to Legalized Marijuana


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

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

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.

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Construction Industries of Massachusetts Opposes Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana 


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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Massachusetts School Superintendents Oppose Ballot Question To Legalize Commercial Marijuana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Adult in the Room: MA Senator Lewis on Marijuana

Looking closer at marijuana commercialization

Looking closer at marijuana commercialization.

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

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

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

Marijuana legalization is not inevitable

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

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

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

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

But full-blown legalization is NOT inevitable. Continue reading

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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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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Legalization/Commercialization of Marijuana Drives Use Rates

Marijuana Usage by State and State of Legalization

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

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

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

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

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

http://gazette.com/clearingthehaze

Teens Tackle 4/20 Tokers with Anti-Marijuana Message

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

From left, Surrey teens Jordan Smith with twins Connor and Duncan Fesenmaier at the Vancouver Art Gallery on April 20. The high school students were protesting the use and legalization or marijuana. (Photos: AMY REID)

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

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

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

But they did.

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

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

Workplace Impacts from Legalized/Commercialized Marijuana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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/

Does Pot Cause Your Brain to Rot? – Scientific American

Does Pot Cause Your Brain to Rot?

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

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

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

See it at the source at Scientific American.

Who is at Greatest Risk from Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization?

People with college educations don't use the most marijuana

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

Who is at Greatest Risk from Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization?

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

Continue reading