The Marijuana Policy Initiative

Prevent Don't Promote Drug Use–Do You Want More Marijuana in Your Community or Less?

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.

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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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

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:

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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).

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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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.

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The Truth to Marijuana Legalization & Commercialization & Minority Communities. Will Jones.

What does a young, black DC urbanite think of marijuana legalization?

“Let’s not legalize a third drug, isn’t two enough?”
“It’s my people that will pay the cost.”

Will Jones, spoken word. The truth to marijuana legalization and commercialization. In DC, more whites voted for weed for blacks than blacks voted for marijuana in their communities. Here’s what the chattering intellectual class is missing…

Excerpts:
The amount of stores selling liquor to blacks is disproportionately high and it’s the same for cigarettes.
If we want to change statistics of people of color locked away let’s be realistic and act in a more rational way.
Let’s address racial profiling and unjust discrimination and clean up the defiling of our criminal justice system,
Let’s work to create better jobs and school opportunities, instead of changing the rules, lets try and change our communities.
Let’s make our voices heard above the media and all their stuff, let’s not legalize a third drug, isn’t two enough?
They say it’s about civil rights and equal opportunity but we’re in a fight targeting black communities. Not a war with guns and knives but with smooth, strategic words. Still the cost will be our lives if the voice of truth is not heard.
They say it’s about discrimination so their plan is untouchable, but I say it’s an indication that some people are gullible. They’re deceived to believe what the media breathe…

Have they helped to create responsible men or just boys trying to have fun?

Latest report on the impact of marijuana legalization/commercialization in Colorado

Effect of marijuana legalization and commercialization in Colorado

Colorado’s failed marijuana commercialization policy is negatively impacting schools, our healthcare system, youth and adults, and community safety. This is the third report from Rocky Mountain HIDTA.

2015-04-09

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) has published its latest report on the impact of marijuana legalization/commercialization in Colorado.

As you will see, Colorado’s failed marijuana commercialization policy is negatively impacting schools, our healthcare system, youth and adults, and community safety.

This is the third report from Rocky Mountain HIDTA–Read it here. The new report and copies of the previous two can be found here.

While the state continues to only put out revenue figures, the costs continue to grow. What this new report and growing data continue to show is voters in Colorado were deceived and marijuana commercialization is a failed policy approach.

The latest report highlights include:

  • Impaired driving related to marijuana is increasing
  • Colorado marijuana use rates exceed the national average in every age category, including almost a third of 18-25 year olds using
  • School drug related expulsions/suspensions are up dramatically since commercialization began under the guise of medicine in 2009-10
  • Marijuana related ER visits are continuing to go up
  • Marijuana related hospital discharges (at least an overnight stay) are up
  • More marijuana calls to poison control and youth poisonings
  • Illegal diversion of marijuana continues to grow

View the report for yourself.

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

Florida Fights Back Corporate Marijuana

Florida organizes against big marijuana

A concerted and well organized push back in Florida is educating voters to the deceptions of organized, corporate marijuana industry lobbyists.

The formula is being repeated. Marijuana profiteers are picking off states one by one.

The same laws, written by the same pro-pot lobbyists, with the same negative consequences for youth and other vulnerable populations as unsuspecting voters are manipulated into voting against their own best interests for public health and public safety.

Florida is organizing. And doing it well. We’ve seen the playbook so many times. Thankfully Florida got an advance copy and can mount a truth campaign based on experiences in other states.
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Buyers Remorse? Montana Initiative to ban marijuana cleared for signatures

Montana buyers remorse on MarijuanaIt’s encouraging to see at least one State’s citizens fighting back against the rise of Big Marijuana. Big Sky Country would be much better off.

That those 8% of Americans who choose to regularly expose their brains to THC get to twist drug control history in order to open the markets to this insidious frequently abused, addictive, drug is beyond common sense.

Most Americans stand with Montana and against commercialized pot. The marijuana backlash is coming. Continue reading

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

Magical Notion: Legalization of Marijuana will keep it away from kids

Pot brownie edible as "medical" just another part of the marijuana farseThe magical notion that legalizing marijuana is going to help to keep the drug out of the hands of kids is a pipe dream. We need much smarter policy solutions, which lower use rates and drive down demand for this drug.

Only two states have have legalized pot recreationally and yet diversion to youth is getting worse everywhere–the following story from NJ.

Even as this dangerous drug is promoted through legalization campaigns, uncontrolled supply is increasing, intentionally confusing messaging about the risks associated with use of marijuana are lowering perception of harm, and promotional media messaging is driving up demand.

When the novel solution (drug legalization) is making a bad situation worse, its time to find another way. Continue reading

Why I won’t prescribe medical marijuana — Dr. Alan Berkenwald

Medical marijuana -- why I won't prescribe

“The newest “cause” behind the current narcotic epidemic is being laid at the feet of doctors who are being told they over-prescribe opiate pain killers. Now, I am asked to be the gatekeeper for a mood- and mind-altering drug that has both recreational and (presumed) medical use.”

Hooray for Alan Berkenwald, M.D., who practices in Northampton, MA.

We need more bold medical professionals willing to speak out about the realities of these laws. What actually happens when medical issues are put to popular vote? We are boxed in by laws that were written to deceive the people, after outside funders paid over $1 million to promote their position and their product through sly — yet effective — propaganda to an unsuspecting public. No mention of risks or harms associated with using this drug. That is clearly not medicine.

Over 90% of the families of young opiate/heroin addicts that we’ve spoken to this year say that their children started with marijuana — a practical finding that bares out the science on how, far too often, the brain becomes primed for progressive addiction.

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Families BOYCOTT COLORADO Ski Tourism–Your State on Marijuana

Pot smoke over Boulder. Pot-CO's new image.

Colorado: This is your state’s new tourism image. Yes, that’s pot smoke over Boulder. Cool huh? Why would anyone choose to ski here?

Don't ski in marijuana states.

Families taking their ski business to non-marijuana states.

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Update: Since we first published this piece in May of 2014, the following article, “Pot Perception Worries Some Colorado Resort Towns” appeared recently.
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When you’ve taken the policy decision to trade wholesome outdoor recreation for clouds of pot smoke as your state’s tourism image, you are bound to have some blowback.

This  letter came to us from a family whose ties to Colorado are deep but who have decided to take their ski-vacations elsewhere.

They asked to remain anonymous as the nastiness of the pot lobby and its army of online Trolls is abusive.  They asked to be spared exposure to this bullying.

“Dear Colorado Ski USA,

I read about your opposition to the ski resort symbols on marijuana edibles.

Thank you for remaining steadfast in your policies and practices that disassociate the ski industry from marijuana and drug use.

America is watching Colorado (and Washington) lead its people into drug normalization that is yielding a new plague of substance abuse. Continue reading