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.

Heavy Use, High Potency, Real Dangers of Pot Commercialization

Heavy use and high potency commercialized marijuana are real dangers of pot commercialization. Already this latest addiction for profit industry is proved to follow the others: 80% of profits come from 20% of daily chronic users. And as prices inevitably collapse with over supply, so do the tax revenues leaving insufficient funding for health services, regulation, enforcement and prevention.

This is unprecedented — a side effect of pot commercialization: much more heavy use of a much more potent drug.

This pot market takes on a life of its own. It quickly slips out of control. Agricultural economics and commodity market stampedes.

  • supply goes up
  • prices plummet
  • a glut of product results
  • cheap excess drug gets pushed onto new consumers
  • potency is driven up as producers try to differentiate their products
  • more people use more potent pot more often
  • predictable health and mental health consequences

See links below: Continue reading

What Scientific & Medical Journals & Experts Say About Marijuana

Consider all the brightly colored attractive marijuana ads we see in Colorado newspapers. You will actually experience increases in dopamine when you see a stimuli that predicts that you will get a reward

This selection of 30 references is a thorough compilation of current research findings on the health impacts of marijuana and the public health impacts of marijuana legalization and commercialization.

Any policymaker or journalist seeking to be better informed than by the spin of industry promoters would do well to inform their decision making, advocacy and reporting by studying and referencing this work. Continue reading

Manufacturing Addicts: Marijuana Use Doubles Among US Adults

Manufacturing marijuana addicts through commercialization and legalization.

As we permit legalization and commercialization of marijuana in any form, we move into the business of manufacturing new addicts.

As more marijuana becomes available in the U.S. over the past decade, marijuana use has doubled. And rates of cannabis dependence syndrome (addiction) are climbing as well. This biobehavioral disorder affects three out of every ten Americans who have used marijuana in the past year.

As we permit legalization and commercialization of marijuana in any form, we move into the business of manufacturing new addicts. Marijuana addiction now afflicts 6.8 million Americans. While addiction affects all socioeconomic and racial groups, notable increases in the disorder has occurred markedly among groups who are ages 45 to 64 and individuals who are black or Hispanic, with the lowest incomes, or living in the South.

In addition to more addiction, there have been notable increases in problems such cannabis-related emergency room visits and fatal vehicle crashes. Continue reading

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, adult heavy use of an increasingly potent drug, and youth and adult addiction, are compatible with the brand of their communities.

The media loves 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

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

MMA Appeals to State Leadership to Amend Marijuana Law to Protect Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Public Health, Interest and Safety

massachusetts-municipal-association2Update April 3, 2017: The Massachusetts Municipal Association continues to advocate for changes to the Massachusetts Marijuana Law that simply and clarify local control options for cities and towns. This is their letter to the Joint Committee on Marijuana.
______________

The Massachusetts Municipal Association sent, in November 2016, a strongly and thoughtfully worded appeal to State leaders urging changes be made to the law passed with Ballot Question 4 to regulate commercialized marijuana for recreational use. On December 7th, 2016 MMA issued a call to action to Massachusetts members and citizens to urge their legislators to delay and rewrite this law that is fraught with “many unanswered questions and many significant flaws”. Continue reading

Psychosis Causing Marijuana Concentrate “Shatter” Coming Soon to a Pot Shop Near You

A man holds a sheet of THC concentrate known as "shatter," in Denver, Colorado. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

A man holds a sheet of THC concentrate known as “shatter,” in Denver, Colorado. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

Residents in states that voted recently to approve recreational marijuana commercialization will now have to deal with the reality of what will be for sale in their downtown stores.

Among the “products” they legalized is “shatter”, a chemical reduction of the marijuana plant that is nearly 100% pure psychoactive neurotoxin THC. The product is consumed by “dabbing.” In a process akin to freebasing cocaine, shards of shatter are vaporized with a blowtorch in specially designed pipes–paraphernalia that will additionally grace neighborhood storefronts unless communities organize to opt out of recreational marijuana sales. 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

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

Employment and Workplace Issues; Youth Use Data for Colorado; Taxes and Revenues; Homegrows: Understanding the Marijuana Movement & Question 4

Commercialized Marijuana The Employer impactIn this second in a series from WestboroughTV, the issue of marijuana legalization and commercialization for recreational purposes is explored through conversation. In this episode, Colorado business consultant Jo McGuire joins hosts Heidi Heilman and Jody Hensley to shed light on what might be coming to Massachusetts should Ballot Question 4 be approved by the voters this November. Employment and workplace issues, types of marijuana and THC products, youth use data in Colorado, taxes and revenue and implications on youth access and the black market from home growing are discussed.  A must see for anyone considering which way to cast their vote in Massachusetts, or in Arizona, Maine, and Nevada where similar industry-written questions are on the ballot.

Protecting Our Kids Against Pot Profiteering. A Parishioner’s Appeal

I was invited to include an unprecedented guest column in my church’s newsletter on this issue and am attaching here:

Dear Friends,

Doctor Smokes Camels Doctors Recommend MarijuanaDo you remember the 1990s? In the 1990s, Massachusetts and other states successfully sued the tobacco industry for deceptive practices, including misrepresenting the harmful nature of tobacco products, intentionally attracting children to tobacco products, and targeting African-Americans. Those practices were wrong back then, and they still are today.

Now this fall we are faced with a statewide push to legalize THC, the active compound of marijuana, in ballot Question 4 – but the deception and hunger for profits remains. As someone who has always prioritized the health of children and families in our community – I am a father of three school-aged kids – I am troubled at what I have learned about Question 4 and its implications. The profiteering is immoral, dangerous for our children, and makes worse our current public health opioid crisis. So I hope we can learn and pray about this decision, because I consider the hazards serious:

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

While “YesOn4” Campaign Conflates Q4 with Medical Marijuana, Health and Hospital Professionals Continue to Urge a “NOon4” Vote

massachusetts-health-and-hosptial-association-opposes-marijuana-question-4While YesOn4 campaign’s TV ads (fact checked as FALSE by WCVB TV) feature “doctors” to confuse voters that this law has something to do with medical marijuana, our state’s hospital and healthcare professionals urge a “No” vote on Question 4 in Massachusetts.  In the most recent correspondence to their member hospitals and healthcare professionals, the MHHA points to the latest TV ad (fact checked as TRUE by WCVB). The ad rightly illustrates that this law is about commercial, retail, recreational marijuana with no limits on potency or the number of “establishments” that could grow, sell, process, and manufacture bud, hash, and marijuana infused edibles in our towns and communities “by right”. Continue reading

Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts Oppose Marijuana Question 4 — Urge a “No” Vote

mass-catholic-conference-opposes-question-4-on-commercial-reatail-marijuanaA STATEMENT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF MASSACHUSETTS ON THE LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA

Marijuana represents a significant part of substance use in America and adversely affects the health of millions of Americans. According to a recent report(1) issued by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.(2) Its widespread use and abuse, particularly by young people under the age of eighteen, is steadily increasing while scientific evidence clearly links its long term damaging effects on brain development. Continue reading

Can Your Child Tell the Difference Between Candy & Marijuana-Infused Edibles in Massachusetts?

Ballot Question 4 would allow an unlimited number pot shops, by right, in Massachusetts cities and towns. Shops that will sell THC-infused marijuana edibles, with no limits on potency, in the form of candy, chocolate, candy bars, soda, cookies, and baked goods indiscernible from their benign predecessors.  4000 kids in Colorado were exposed to these edibles in 2015 alone.

50% of revenue of the pot industry in other states comes from edibles. The law enfolded in Question 4 is a business plan, a corporate takeover of our towns, that maximizes sales for an out-of-state, predatory industry and puts the burden and cost for any limitations on our communities.

Please read the entire law. Please join us in voting No on Question 4 in Massachusetts.

No on Q4. Wrong Law. Wrong Time. Wrong for Massachusetts.

Vote No On Massachusetts Question 4 to Commercialize Marijuana.jpgThis law was written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry, will introduce an entirely new pot edibles market, and will harm our families and communities. Here are some of the facts:

  • The proposed law is written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana possession and authorized medical marijuana. People are not being jailed for marijuana use, and have access to it for health reasons. This ballot question is about allowing the national marijuana industry to come into Massachusetts and market and sell marijuana products in our communities.

Continue reading

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

“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

Massachusetts Supreme Court Challenge To Ballot Initiative To Supposedly Legalize “Marijuana”

shutterstock_141502252Attorney John Sofis Scheft, Of Counsel to the Bellotti Law Group, PC has filed a lawsuit challenging an initiative petition, which claims to legalize marijuana. The case, Hensley v. Attorney General, features 59 voters who argue that key information in the proposed law is presented in a misleading way to the voters.

The case will be heard by the full Supreme Judicial Court on June 8 in a special session.

Peter V. Bellotti, head of the firm, commented, “There are two powerful arguments that we felt we had to bring to the Supreme Court’s attention.” These concerns are spelled out in a complaint filed in Suffolk County.

1. The law claims to be legalizing marijuana when, in fact, it is legalizing concentrated forms of marijuana like “hashish” and other resins and extracts, which Attorney Scheft has called, “Cannabis Crack.” In his words: “These items bear no resemblance to the leafy substance that nostaligic adults think this law will legalize. Nature’s pot should only have a maximum of 2.5% Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the ingredient that gets people
high. But the people behind the ballot initiative know that the current, genetically modified products have 60%, 70% and even 90% THC. This is what is going to be peddled to consumers and what’s going to find its way into the hands of our kids – just like in Colorado and Washington.” 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

Hillary on Marijuana — Selling out the Village?

Hillary on Marijuana-- Selling Out the Village?

Hilllary knows full well it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village, and courageous leadership to keep kids off drugs. Pandering to those who would profit from the manufacture of addicts in order to get elected, is shameful.

She wrote the book on it, but will Hillary Clinton remember that it takes a village to raise a healthy child? And that the village is decidedly healthier with fewer drugs?

She is one smart cookie. And she didn’t spend her time at Wellesley College subtracting IQ points. Hillary says she didn’t use marijuana then, and won’t use marijuana now.

In 2012 findings from the most robust longitudinal study ever done on of the impacts of marijuana use over a lifetime showed clear evidence of an 8 point drop in IQ for marijuana users who began using in adolescence and persisted in using through their late 30’s. That’s a bigger drop in IQ than is caused by lead poisoning–a substance banned in our homes because of this risk.

Marijuana legalization/commercialization enthusiasts may think a liberal candidate will support their version of drug policy reform as drug legalization political funders drive messaging which pushes up demand and use. But Hillary wrote the book on what it takes for a village to raise a healthy child (It Takes A Village By Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1996).  Local pot shops are decidedly not in that village.

What we are seeing in Colorado in the wake of pot legalization is not good. The third Rocky Mountain HIDTA Report shows indicators of public health and safety moving in the wrong direction on every one of the eight priorities in enforcing the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) against marijuana-related conduct cited by the U.S. Department Of Justice (Cole Memo) as clear reasons to intervene in that state’s pot commercialization program. Continue reading

The Online Cult of Marijuana — Time for Parents To “Parent”

Social norming and marijuana

Unconditional access to the internet pits parenting against a barrage of messaging designed to drive them to pot.

Internet awash in pro-marijuana messaging.

If we let it, social norming can out influence parenting. It is up to us.

Some adults become so self-absorbed that they don’t tend to the age-appropriate needs of kids.

We are given birthing classes when our children are on the way.  But we are not given classes on the adolescent stage of development. We need them.

The internet is awash with messages that glorify the use of pot. Often these messages employ sarcasm and irony to drive home a message in contradiction to the more sensible advice of parents whose boundary-setting is based in the good advice of fact-backed research or often just good common sense.

This Cult of Marijuana is rife with messages that introduce “good reasons” to get high — appealing directly to the insecurities most teens feel. Kids do not get irony. Even if they laugh along.  These are adolescents and pre-adolescents.

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

Continue reading

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.

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 is a money-grubbing, addictions-marketing sham

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.

“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.

http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Feds-stick-to-court-argument-that-marijuana-is-5990798.php?cmpid=twitter-desktop

 

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

Colorado can't answer marijuana questions.

Why Can’t Colorado Officials Answer Basic Pot Questions?

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

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

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

Continue reading

Marley-branded Marijuana: Ironies and the Ultimate Sell-Out

In the ultimate sellout, Marely's is soul to be exploited for profit by pot profiteers driving the next addiction-based mega industry.

In the ultimate sellout, Marley’s soul to be exploited for profit by pot moguls pushing for the next commercialized, addiction-based mega industry.

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.

The wolves are indeed at the door. Are we going to let them in? Continue reading

Me, Me, Me. Greed, Deception Fuels Marijuana Legalization

Weed Greed--Marijuana and Legalization

Meanwhile, the marijuana moguls can be laughing all the way to the bank. And taxpayers can pay for the cleanup costs.

“I, I, I, I.” “Me, me, me, me.” “Money, money, money, money.” “I can buy whatever I want. Even ballot questions which defy the rule of the law of the land. Anytime I want to. In fact, I’m only getting better at it.”

That’s what comes to mind when John Morgan opens his mouth about marijuana ballot questions.

But in many ways, this guy is the only one speaking the truth when it comes to marijuana politics.

Now the marijuana advocates in Florida are saying they should have done what worked in other states: trot out sick people and exploit them for public sympathy; find the rogue former law enforcement official who will publicly say marijuana legalization is a really great ideal; write vague and complicated ballot questions that the people won’t actually understand;
work the young and impressionable college crowd hard — with late adolescent brains still under development they are easy targets for marijuana friendly votes.

Pour on millions of dollars of ideological advertising twisting the realities of this drug and ignoring the implications of its broad commercialization. Then get to work opening the markets to another addiction-for-profit business juggernaut that takes a half-century of public health and safety damage before the industry can be brought to its knees — just like Big Tobacco. Meanwhile, the marijuana moguls can be laughing all the way to the bank. And taxpayers can pay for the cleanup costs. Continue reading

Marijuana Legalization Gone Wild?

marijuana legalization tug of war between states

This could all result in an advertising war over who has the best prices and the strongest dope–the scenario for marijuana commercialization gone wild. An aggressive competition to see which marijuana merchants can gain exposure of its drug to the most human brains and bodies.

The growing commercialization of pot continues to create absurd results – including a possible conflict between two states where marijuana is widely distributed through legalization.

Hopefully, Oregon will not succumb to full legalization, but if so, Washington officials are concerned that Oregon’s market will impact Washington’s ability to collect drug proceeds in the form of taxes.

Full legalization in Oregon will allow Oregonians to possess a half pound of weed, 8 times the amount allowed in Washington or Colorado. Furthermore, Oregon pot will be taxed at a much lower rate, driving Washington users, and others, to Oregon and the black market.

This could all result in an advertising war over who has the best prices and the strongest dope–the scenario for marijuana commercialization gone wild. An aggressive competition to see which marijuana merchants can gain exposure of its drug to the most human brains and bodies.

Pair this scenario with the latest information on:

You have all the makings of a new wave of drug abuse — a new plague of drug addiction. With the marijuana moguls laughing all the way to the bank. We saw it with tobacco, an addictive drug that damages the lungs and the heart. Now we open the markets to marijuana, an addictive drug that damages lungs, heart, brain and immune system, and impairs memory, motivation, judgment and psychomotor skills.

Again, absurd. But what isn’t absurd about normalizing drug use? Continue reading

Marketing of increasingly potent marijuana drives up rates of harm and addiction

Consider all the brightly colored attractive marijuana ads we see in Colorado newspapers. You will actually experience increases in dopamine when you see a stimuli that predicts that you will get a reward

Consider all the brightly colored attractive marijuana ads we see in Colorado newspapers.
You will actually experience increases in dopamine when you see a stimuli that predicts that you will get a reward. If we legalize drugs, we are not only going to be making that drug more available, but we are going to be surrounding ourselves with all of these stimuli and we are going to get conditioned [to seek that drug induced dopamine reward]. It’s an automatic process.

Predictable consequences: open marketing of increasingly potent marijuana drives up rates of harm and addiction

As reported in the New York Times “This is your brain on drugs” this month: High-THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We have seen very, very significant increases in emergency room admissions associated with marijuana use that can’t be accounted for solely on basis of changes in prevalence rates,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a co-author of the THC study. “It can only be explained by the fact that current marijuana has higher potency associated with much greater risk for adverse effects.” Emergency room visits related to marijuana have nearly doubled, from 66,000 in 2004 to 129,000 in 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Higher potency may also accelerate addiction. “You don’t have to work so hard to get high,” said Alan J. Budney, a researcher and professor at Dartmouth’s medical school. “As you make it easier to get high, it makes a person more vulnerable to addiction.” Among adults, the rate is one of 11; for teenagers, one of six. Continue reading

Marijuana Legalization Narrative Evolving

A 2012 crash in West Hempstead, N.Y., in which the teen driver had smoked marijuana. (Photo: Frank Eltman, AP)

A 2012 crash in West Hempstead, N.Y., in which the teen driver had smoked marijuana.
(Photo: Frank Eltman, AP)

The car crash graphic was an interesting choice for USA Today.

The comments are getting smarter:

  • harmful
  • 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?

There is no freedom to inflict harm on innocents.

But the tide does seem to be turning. Evitable.

___________________________

Check out the referenced article from USA TODAY:

Marijuana legalization lights up midterms: Opinionline

Holder’s position on Marijuana – Does he think we are all stupid?

Eric Holder-Marijuana.jpgThe 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.

Continue reading

A Wasted Legacy — Obama, Holder & Marijuana

A wasted legacy--Obama, Holder and Marijuana

When legalization of marijuana yields national use rates of 40+% using the same deceptions that tobacco did, who foots the bill for rehabilitation, productivity loss and health effects?

By looking the other way as drugs are legalized by industry-funded state ballot questions in violation of federal and international law, President Obama and Attorney General Holder are legitimzing and normalizing the use of a mind-altering drug based on recollections of experiences from their youth. But make no mistake: they are setting an exmple for generations to come — demonstrating that in their view, drug abuse is not a serious social problem. When the smoke clears from the increasingly potent and addictive products from ever more agressively advertised new open drug markets, it is unfortunate but inevitable: Obama and Holder will have a “wasted” legacy on drug policy.

It’s a real shame.  Big Tobacco got its wish: Big Marijuana is next.

Michelle Obama addressed one public health epidemic (childhood obesity) while Barack ushered in the next: rising youth marijuana use of a potently disruptive chemical which primes the adolescent brain for progressive addiction.

I am a job creator, manufacturer, award-and patent-winning innovator, payroll meeter, benefit provider, 401k matcher, complier with government regulation and tax payer whose business employs 112 people—two dozen of whom were added in the last five years.

But before all that, I am a husband, father and coach.  I am also a local elected official, and give back in time and dollars through numerous charities.

I am an Independent in registration, but my sensibilities and votes tend toward democratic party policy. Until now.

On marijuana, we have become so open minded our brains have fallen out.

Continue reading

Erasing the Inevitability of Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana legalization is not inevitable

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

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?”

Continue reading

Can the USA Afford the Risk of Further Increases in Marijuana Use?

Marijuana's Effects on Brain, Body and Behavior

“Can the USA Afford the Risk of Further Increases in Cannabis Use? “Not if we want people  engaged in society” — Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA

It’s been an interesting week across the country on the marijuana issue.

See link on the homeless migrating to Colorado in search of jobs in the marijuana industry, and the news of current federal executive agencies making marijuana banking easier, while science is getting clearer and clearer on the developmental damage done by this drug.

Dr. Nora Volkow of NIDA spoke to sold out drug education events on Monday, 9/22, at the Butler Hospital in Providence and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on “Marijuana’s Effects on Brain, Body and Behavior”. Among the most recent scientific and research findings:

  • Past month marijuana use among 12th grade students now surpasses cigarette use.
  • Addiction is a developmental disease that starts in adolescence and childhood when the brain is most easily primed for the disease of addiction through early exposures to addictive substances.
  • Long-term effects: About 9% of marijuana users become drug dependent. One in six who begin marijuana exposures to the brain in adolescence (17%) become dependent on the drug. 25%-50% of daily users of marijuana are drug dependent .
  • Cannabis use and later life outcomes are dose dependent. When looking at the number of cannabis exposures during ages 14-21 in a population sample, those with 400 or more cannabis exposures represented 50-60% of the population sample who at age 21-25 were currently welfare dependent or unemployed. These high rates of marijuana exposure appeared in less than 2% of that same population sample that had gained a university degree by age 25. Inversely, those who had used marijuana zero times represented the largest percentage of the population with a college degree by age 25 at over 35%, while “never used marijuana” represented the smallest portion of the unemployed at ages 21-25 at below 25% of that group. Over 50% of that unemployed group had used marijuana 400 times or more during age 14-21, and nearly 60% of welfare dependent had used marijuana 400+ times during ages 14-21.
  • Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.
  • Amotivational syndrome is linked to persistent marijuana use. Drive and ambition are negatively impacted.
  • Brain abnormalities are associated with long-term heavy cannabis use.
  • High potency cannabis use significantly increases risk of psychosis.
  • Regular cannabis use increases risk of schizophrenia in the genetically vulnerable.
  • As THC potency has increased significantly in recent years with marijuana commercialization, emergency room visits for adverse marijuana reactions have risen significantly as well.
  • the percentage of marijuana-positive fatal car crashes in Colorado nearly doubled during post-marijuana commercialization in 2009 going forward.
  • Perceived risk for marijuana use among 12th graders for regular marijuana use has been declining since the early 90’s. During this same time, daily use of pot by 12th graders has been rising and is at a 30 year high.
  • Marijuana use has been linked to higher drop out rates and stop out rates in both high school and college.

Dr. Volkow’s parting rhetorical question was, “Do we really want half of America stoned?”  And her concerned reply? “Not if we want them fully engaged.”
Continue reading

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

Major Poll Finds National Support for Marijuana Legalization Down 7 Points (13.7%) Since 2013

Marijuana-support-for legaliztion-Down-Nationally

Public Religion Research Institute Poll, funded by the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, finds only 44% of Americans now support legalization, down from 51% in 2013. Opposition at 50%. 24% strongly oppose.

September 23, 2014

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.”

Continue reading