Those of us involved in monitoring the rise of corporate marijuana should understand the value of our disquiet. It is an early warning sign.
The Parable of the Boiled Frog
Over twenty years ago M.I.T. systems thinker, Peter Senge, wrote about the “parable of the boiled frog.” In short: if you place a frog in a shallow pan of boiling water it will immediately try and jump out. But if you place the frog in warm water, and don’t startle him, he will remain there, unbothered. If the temperature of the water rises gradually, the frog will stay put in the pan, until it’s too late and he’s unable to climb out. As ghastly as the image of the boiled frog is, the lesson is clear. We are not unlike the frog. Our ability for sensing threats to survival is geared to immediate and sudden changes, not to slow, creeping, gradual changes.
(The Fifth Discipline: the Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge, Doubleday. August 1990)
As more marijuana becomes available in the U.S. over the past decade, marijuana use has doubled. And rates of cannabis dependence syndrome (addiction) are climbing as well. This biobehavioral disorder affects three out of every ten Americans who have used marijuana in the past year.
As we permit legalization and commercialization of marijuana in any form, we move into the business of manufacturing new addicts. Marijuana addiction now afflicts 6.8 million Americans. While addiction affects all socioeconomic and racial groups, notable increases in the disorder has occurred markedly among groups who are ages 45 to 64 and individuals who are black or Hispanic, with the lowest incomes, or living in the South.
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.
Those behind Massachusetts Question 4 insist that this law will reduce youth access by regulating marijuana like alcohol. Compare how Massachusetts has prohibited youth access to alcohol for decades with the way Question 4 will deal with this issue:
1 Failure to pay fine and complete drug class within a year may result in a delinquency complaint in juvenile court for violators under age 17. Same is true for misrepresentation of age or fraudulent identification. However, adults, who are most likely to be violators, never face criminal penalties. 2 Only similarity between alcohol and marijuana enforcement is Question 4 preserves the $500 civil fine for an “open container” of marijuana in a vehicle. Compare 90, § 24I with 94G, § 13(d).
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.
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.
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 a publication just issued, the Colorado Police Foundation and the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police have summarized law enforcement issues related to the legalization of marijuana in that state. This 84-page document covers topics such as the growth and history of legalization in Colorado as well as particular law enforcement issues dealing with establishing probable cause for arrest, search warrants, drug dogs, the continued existence of the black market, threats of explosions and fires, medibles, tourism and public safety, home marijuana grows, changes to hiring practices, the homeless, the presence of large amounts of cash, drugged driving offenses and the impact on youth and education.
One of the statements struck us as being particularly telling — “legalized marijuana may have increased the illegal drug trade.” Page 17.
You simply can’t make something legal without simultaneously making it illegal. And, when you make a commodity legal and tax it you make it expensive and unaffordable to many. Throw in commercialization–advertising, titillation, deception, promises of false rewards, and social norming and you create more would be buyers.
“There is ample evidence to support the government’s conclusion that “this psychoactive, addictive drug is not accepted as safe for medical use at this time, even with medical supervision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Broderick wrote.
Pot proponents stuck the Rohrbacher amendment into a thousand page appropriations bill in 2014, after relentless lobbying by drug advocacy groups, cutting funds for pot enforcement in medi-pot states. And so a budget was passed and the government was not shut down. This hardly means the administration supports legalizing pot, even if, for the budget year, medi-pot states are lawless when it comes to marijuana law enforcement.
This latest, consistent, decision speaks for itself. Research has been done– hundreds of studies. Pot’s harms outweigh its utility. FDA approved and safely dosed formulations are the best option for cannabaoid derived drugs. They are already available. Legalization and its subsequent commercialization is a money grubbing addictions-marketing sham.
…because pot is an unregulateable habit-forming and addictive substance which quickly slips out of control.
Already a black market is under-selling “taxed and regulated” pot in Colordao. There is still no reliable way of knowing exactly what is in the pot being sold. Reliable testing would be so expensive it would send many more users to cheaper unregulated sellers. The notion of seed to sale tracking is a pipe dream. You can’t put a gps chip in every seed, bud or leaf. It’s easy to dump excess inventory onto the black market. And it’s easy for criminals to grow and sell the drug — but difficult for anyone to determine the source of the product.
With all due respect to his family, Bob Marley did not appear to die a particularly unworried or happy death when he passed at age 36 from cancer back in 1981. And, in the perhaps the ultimate of ironies, the next great addiction-driven industry will exploit his soul for silver and gold.
Given what we now know know about ever more potent forms of 21st Century marijuana and the harms associated with it, capitalizing on Marley’s drug of choice seems worlds away from any sense of public good for the People.
When drugs are the only comfort a people have to turn to, they simply have too few options for a better life. The ironies are endless here.
The People deserve so much better than open drug markets. The marijuana moguls are the height of predatory market practices — exploiting anyone in order to release their drug on the masses.
This is most certainly not power to the people. It’s power to the Pied Pipers of Pot. And the marijuana moguls hope to be laughing all the way to the bank.
“I, I, I, I.” “Me, me, me, me.” “Money, money, money, money.” “I can buy whatever I want. Even ballot questions which defy the rule of the law of the land. Anytime I want to. In fact, I’m only getting better at it.”
But in many ways, this guy is the only one speaking the truth when it comes to marijuana politics.
Now the marijuana advocates in Florida are saying they should have done what worked in other states: trot out sick people and exploit them for public sympathy; find the rogue former law enforcement official who will publicly say marijuana legalization is a really great ideal; write vague and complicated ballot questions that the people won’t actually understand; work the young and impressionable college crowd hard — with late adolescent brains still under development they are easy targets for marijuana friendly votes.
Pour on millions of dollars of ideological advertising twisting the realities of this drug and ignoring the implications of its broad commercialization. Then get to work opening the markets to another addiction-for-profit business juggernaut that takes a half-century of public health and safety damage before the industry can be brought to its knees — just like Big Tobacco. Meanwhile, the marijuana moguls can be laughing all the way to the bank. And taxpayers can pay for the cleanup costs. Continue reading Me, Me, Me. Greed, Deception Fuels Marijuana Legalization
The growing commercialization of pot continues to create absurd results – including a possible conflict between two states where marijuana is widely distributed through legalization.
Hopefully, Oregon will not succumb to full legalization, but if so, Washington officials are concerned that Oregon’s market will impact Washington’s ability to collect drug proceeds in the form of taxes.
Full legalization in Oregon will allow Oregonians to possess a half pound of weed, 8 times the amount allowed in Washington or Colorado. Furthermore, Oregon pot will be taxed at a much lower rate, driving Washington users, and others, to Oregon and the black market.
This could all result in an advertising war over who has the best prices and the strongest dope–the scenario for marijuana commercialization gone wild. An aggressive competition to see which marijuana merchants can gain exposure of its drug to the most human brains and bodies.
Pair this scenario with the latest information on:
You have all the makings of a new wave of drug abuse — a new plague of drug addiction. With the marijuana moguls laughing all the way to the bank. We saw it with tobacco, an addictive drug that damages the lungs and the heart. Now we open the markets to marijuana, an addictive drug that damages lungs, heart, brain and immune system, and impairs memory, motivation, judgment and psychomotor skills.
The car crash graphic was an interesting choice for USA Today.
The comments are getting smarter:
incarceration not a real issue
big problems in Colorado
we already have medical mj [should be cannabis based medicines only, however]
But the pro-legalizers are still very much in the rhetoric. “most people think its ok”; “people shouldn’t go to jail”
We have to resist being part of the dialogue on how much pot is good for you or OK for you. The answer is, with everything science is telling us about the harms, generalized pot exposures should be eliminated as much as possible.
Simple public health message:
if it means more pot, pot promotion and more pot use, its a bad policy for Americans.
Commercialization is a bad answer and harms more people.
More pot means more harms.
It’s a lousy choice.
It’s not OK to collude with pot profiteers.
It’s not about one person. It’s about increasing harmful exposures across 315 million people.
Epidemiology should be easy for people to understand these days. Pot use can be contagious. And the harms follow for too many.
This new “freedom” message is bunk. Should marijuana users/sellers be free to hold the rest of us hostage to their promoting pot use to the most vulnerable for profit?
The idea that the US Attorney General has merely forgone the prosecution of users is ridiculous. The policies of this administration have allowed for the widespread commercialization of pot and unleashed a new big tobacco that is growing in power and influence as the federal government refuses to enforce clear and unambiguous federal law relating to DRUG TRAFFICKING (not use).
Sophistry is defined as the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving. Leaving pot users alone at the federal level is one thing, but claiming that this is the intent of your actions is sophistry taken to a new level.
The American public needs to understand that low level marijuana possession offenders were never put into the American prison system.
Drug traffickers were prosecuted — because profiting from addiction put money into the pockets of drug dealers at the expense of their customers who too often become dependent on the drugs and are vulnerable to a host of health ills and harms that accompany drug abuse.
Commercializing and industrializing an increasingly potent hallucinogenic drug, and releasing the forces of addictions marketing onto the people, is not something we should be “cautiously optimistic” about.
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.
Among other recent developments beginning to erase the mantra of “inevitability” for marijuana legalization, “medical” marijuana questions failed to make state ballots in Ohio and Arkansas in the 2014 election cycle.
Pot proponents now say they need paid signature gatherers. “You need paid help for an effort like this and what’s disappointing is that we can’t convince enough donors to contribute to get the necessary resources to put us over the top,” said John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group.
If you have to pay people to get signatures to legalize pot, how is that “the will of the people?”
WASHINGTON- Coming off of a Suffolk University/USA Today poll finding only 46% of Coloradans support legalization now, a new report released today finds that in a survey of over 4,500 adults, only 44% support marijuana legalization. 50% of Americans oppose it, including 24% who strongly oppose such a policy.
“Legalization is not a done deal – far from it,” remarked Kevin A. Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “People are waking up and realizing that legalization in practice does not represent the magic policy they were promised.”
Colorado Voters are Turning Against Marijuana Legalization.
A September 17, 2014 Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds support for legalization plummets 17% among Colorado voters.
DENVER- In the first indication of a backlash brewing in Colorado against legal pot, a Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds that now only 46% of likely voters support Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment legalizing and commercializing marijuana. 50% of likely voters oppose the measure entirely. That is a marked difference from election night 2012, when 55% of voters supported the measure. Even fewer people – 42% of likely voters – approve with the way the state is handling the legal change. Continue reading Marijuana Legalization Support Plummets 17% — USA Today/Suffolk University Poll
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:
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.
File 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.
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?
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:
This video deals exclusively with the documented negative health consequences of recreational cannabis use.
A version of the following letter was sent to us after its first draft was sent to Governor Dayton of Minnesota. It is as applicable as precautionary tale for Florida, Alaska, and any other state considering legalization of marijuana in any form.
Dear Governor Dayton — The marijuana backlash is coming. Don’t get caught on the wrong side of history.
Colorado’s wholesome image of fresh air and exercise, hiking and beautiful scenery gave way again this April to a haze of pot smoke while police largely ignored enforcement of the “no public consumption provisions” of the amendment that legalized marijuana in the state.
In addition to his legitimate and well-earned bone fides as a senior writer for NBC News and Newsweek and The Daily Beast before that, Tony Dokoupil comes at the marijuana legalization issue from an interesting perspective. As the son of a notorious marijuana dealer and folk hero, Dokoupil is quoted from his memoirThe Last Pirate–A Father, His Son and the Golden Age of Marijuana as saying, “My father went to jail for dealing weed and, to my surprise, I would keep him there.”
“If we really mean to sell marijuana like alcohol, then we mean to create a market where most of the revenue comes from people who have a problem.
That is the business model of alcohol. Eighty percent of the revenues comes from a tiny sliver of the users. It’s not the guy who has a drink after work. It’s the guy who has six and misses his kid’s bedtime, his marriage is in shambles. That’s the kind of guy who supports the industry.”
In a most eloquent, most thorough, most thoughtful consideration of the issue, David Frum provides the case against marijuana legalization.
“Today, the experiment of state-by-state marijuana legalization is failing before our eyes—and failing most signally where the experiment has been tried most boldly. The failure is accelerating even as the forces pushing legalization are on what appears to be an inexorable march.”
Maybe we can learn something from those going before us–if we can get anybody to listen.
Massachusetts, and all the other states before it, are going down the path towards legalization of marijuana. It starts, as it has in the UK, with “decriminalization” and moves through the next two steps in the Big Marijuana playbook–medicinalization, and then full legalization.
Since the 2012 election, national news coverage about marijuana has focused almost solely on the states of Colorado and Washington, creating the impression the country is moving toward legalization. But anti-marijuana forces actually won most of the contests in 2012 and in 2010, and lost only when outspent by large margins.
“As a result of false promises and unheeded warnings, Arizona is now dealing with blatant recreational use and promotion of marijuana, fights to keep dispensaries out of neighborhoods, and costly litigation.”
New Hampshire legislators, are considering a “medical” marijuana bill. The New Hampshire Legislature passed a “medical” marijuana bill during their last session, but it was vetoed by then-Governor Lynch. Their new Governor, Maggie Hassan, is believed to be generally supportive of such a law. A vote in the full New Hampshire House is imminent.
During this YouTube Q&A, the President responded to a question from a member of LEAP stating that he is not in favor of legalization though he does support addressing drug use as a public health concern, considering drug courts and other alternatives for non-violent drug offenders, reducing demand and getting resources to treatment.
It is encouraging to hear a nuanced, thoughtful, and sensible position from the President and we encourage him to continue to find the courage and fortitude to follow this up with real policy change while putting the brakes on the legalization march at the State level.