Marijuana, Addiction, Legalization and the Parable of the Boiled Frog

The slow boil of marijuana legalization is underway. When will we panic? And, will it be too late?
The slow boil of marijuana legalization is underway. When will we panic? And, will it be too late?

Those of us involved in monitoring the rise of corporate marijuana should understand the value of our disquiet. It is an early warning sign.

The Parable of the Boiled Frog

Over twenty years ago M.I.T. systems thinker, Peter Senge, wrote about the “parable of the boiled frog.” In short: if you place a frog in a shallow pan of boiling water it will immediately try and jump out. But if you place the frog in warm water, and don’t startle him, he will remain there, unbothered. If the temperature of the water rises gradually, the frog will stay put in the pan, until it’s too late and he’s unable to climb out. As ghastly as the image of the boiled frog is, the lesson is clear. We are not unlike the frog. Our ability for sensing threats to survival is geared to immediate and sudden changes, not to slow, creeping, gradual changes.
(The Fifth Discipline: the Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge, Doubleday. August 1990)

What are the top factors which will awaken the rest of America to the bigger picture? Can we make clear the threats and opportunities we sense around us, or is the lull of the warm water just too tempting for a country brimming with distraction? Can we pay attention? Continue reading Marijuana, Addiction, Legalization and the Parable of the Boiled Frog

Pediatricians, Mental Health and Addiction Clinicians & Scientists of Massachusetts Sign “Statement of Concern” on Marijuana Policy in Massachusetts”

Statement of Concern Marijuana Policy in MABOSTON – A consortium of clinicians and scientists from across Massachusetts has joined together to publicly release a “Statement of Concern” expressing their disagreement with how marijuana policy is being shaped in the Commonwealth.

According to the Statement of Concern, marijuana is being governed and regulated as if it were an “ordinary commodity”, rather than following a Public Health Framework. This is of concern because scientific evidence clearly establishes that marijuana (and specifically the psychoactive chemical THC) has the potential to do significant harm to public health. Harmful effects include, but are not limited to, the risk of addiction, impaired cognitive function, and increased risk of mental illness (including psychosis).

Yet, despite the fact that negative health effects are manifesting in patient populations across Massachusetts with an increase in the availability of marijuana and THC-containing products (including THC vapes), there is a lack of public awareness about the potential dangers of marijuana/THC.

“When public health is not prioritized in the regulation of addictive substances, the public and our young people are put at risk,” reports the consortium in its Statement of Concern. As a result, the consortium recommends that Massachusetts state marijuana laws and regulations meet key public health standards through the regulatory framework that prioritize population-level health over commercial market interests.

The consortium responsible for the document included over 40 professionals from major medical centers, medical schools, and health-related organizations in Massachusetts. These professionals include clinicians, researchers, scientists, and other health and medical professionals.

The Statement of Concern was created to give an advocacy voice to the professionals who know and understand the science, and clinicians seeing an increase in the negative health impacts of marijuana in their patient populations. The Massachusetts Prevention Alliance coordinated and supported the consortium through the drafting process of the document in an effort to provide the most up-to-date, clear and validated science on the public health impacts of marijuana/cannabis/THC commercialization. The document’s purpose is to assist State leaders with their drug policy decisions that serve to protect the health and safety of our youth in the Commonwealth.

It is clear that Lawmakers have always been concerned about the public health impacts of marijuana/cannabis/THC commercialization. This was evident when 121 members of the legislature opposed the law as written in Ballot Question 4 in 2016 and then worked arduously to pass the omnibus bill in 2017 to fix some of the problems with the law. Currently, in Massachusetts, a few of the standards in the public health framework are met in statutory marijuana language (MA General Law). Some standards are met through regulatory language (CCC regulations). A number of the unmet Public Health Standards have been proposed in bills for this 2019 legislative session. To further assist lawmakers a supplemental analysis comparing Massachusetts current marijuana policy to the Public Health Standard for policy making has additionally been provided to all Massachusetts lawmakers as an insert to the  Statement of Concern.

Read or download the full Statement of Concern here. Read or download the supplemental “Analysis of PHS vs MA MJ Policy” here.

Note: Production of the “Statement of Concern” was supported by the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, a private, non-partisan, 501c3 organization. Signatories were not compensated for their endorsement of this statement. For comments or inquiries, please email

Misguided Cannabis “Social Equity Program” Will Harm the Communities It’s Intended to Help

Social Equity Marijuana Cannabis
Marijuana Social Equity Programs were designed by the marijuana industry and are likely to increase public safety risks, health inequities and disparities in vulnerable populations.

Public health and addiction prevention professionals have been closely watching the development of regulations for, and roll-out of, a recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Many concerning policies are being institutionalized with many public health and prevention professionals sounding the alarm regarding the “Social Equity Program” and all associated components included in the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulations, driven by industry representatives, both internal and external to the process. These regulations increase availability and access of marijuana to populations who are already disproportionately affected by youth marijuana use: One quarter (24.5%) of Massachusetts youth (grades 9-12) used marijuana regularly (past 30-day). LGBTQ and Latino youth have higher use rates and students who identify as “multi-racial” are almost twice as likely to use marijuana regularly (45.8% compared to 24.5%) (Monitoring the Future 2015). Although, on the surface the “Social Equity Program” sounds like a good idea, the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulatory language drives market growth, targets communities with high unemployment rates (low income), minorities, veterans, the LGTBQ population, and is counter-productive to the state’s addiction prevention goals.

Continue reading Misguided Cannabis “Social Equity Program” Will Harm the Communities It’s Intended to Help

“Just Say Know.” 6-Years Later, What Really are the Effects of Marijuana/THC Commercialization in Colorado?

It has been the position of this blog to wait and see how things pan out in Colorado before rushing headlong into THC commercialization in other states. Yet rush headlong we did. And now 6-years later we get this alarmingly candid assessment from US District Attorney Troyer of Colorado. Any state or community that is still in a position to prevent the operation of commercial marijuana/THC establishments would do well to read this letter in any forum available and as Attorney Troyer implores, “reclaim our right as citizens to have a say in … health, safety, and environment.”

[As published by “The Denver Post” Emphasis added]

It’s high time we took a breath from marijuana commercialization

By BOB TROYER | Guest Commentary

September 28, 2018 at 4:51 pm

In 2012 we were told Colorado would lead the nation on a grand experiment in commercialized marijuana. Six years later – with two major industry reports just released and the state legislature and Denver City Council about to consider more expansion measures – it’s a perfect time to pause and assess some results of that experiment.

Where has our breathless sprint into full-scale marijuana commercialization led Colorado?

Well, recent reports from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, from Denver Health, from Energy Associates, from the Colorado Department of Revenue and from the City of Denver should be enough to give everyone in this race pause.

Now Colorado’s youth use marijuana at a rate 85 percent higher than the national average. Now marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151 percent. Now 70 percent of 400 licensed pot shops surveyed recommend that pregnant women use marijuana to treat morning sickness. Continue reading “Just Say Know.” 6-Years Later, What Really are the Effects of Marijuana/THC Commercialization in Colorado?

Less marijuana/THC is a worthy community health goal.  Opting Out on commercial marijuana is your Massachusetts community’s right

There are many many good reasons to refuse to support and promote commercial marijuana/THC in the community.

Do remember however, a “commercial” marijuana establishment Opt Out bylaw does not cover “medicinal” marijuana dispensaries.

The “medicinal” marijuana law which governs “medicinal marijuana treatment centers” (MMTC’s) was passed at the statewide ballot in 2012.

But unless a community passes an Opt Out Bylaw on commercial marijuana establishments, any MMTC in the community with a license before mid-2017 can automatically convert to full commercial cultivation, manufacturing (THC edibles, and concentrates for dabbing and vaping THC) and retail sales.

That is why marijuana companies with an early medipot license in a town are so eager to keep the commercial door open.  The industry goal was always commercial marijuana.

The Opt Out on commercial (recreational) marijuana is a very good idea, even if the town already had “medical” marijuana.

There is an honest disagreement in drug policy circles about how best to govern illicit drug availability.

Some think recreational drug use is an inevitable phenomenon, so regulating and requiring testing of the drug is a better policy. A policy of “grudging toleration” of regulated drug use is their position.

Others of us adhere to a “drug use prevention” perspective:  where there is increased availability, and decreased perception of harm, problematic drug use goes up.  Especially when driven by a profit motive.  More unsuspecting “customers” will be harmed by market driven pressures to use drugs.

So, do we want more habituating drug use in the community? Or less?

There are protective community environmental factors which discourage drug use.  Introducing more commercial drug outlets degrades those protective community environmental factors by serving to “normalize” drug use, increase the availability of the drug, and create marketing and social pressure to use the drug.

Fundamentally, this is an environmental  issue.   We worked for a generation to get lead out of our water, air and consumer products in our communities. Because lead is a known neurotoxin with negative effects on the developing brain.  Why would we now add more marijuana/THC back into our communities? THC also is a neurotoxic substance, is habituating, with known negative effects on the development and functioning of the brain for some people, especially those who use early and often, or those who have a vulnerability or susceptibility to addiction or mental illness.

Under the “precautionary principle” in public policy making, it is wisest to act so as to do the least harm.   Less marijuana/THC is a worthy community health goal.  Opting Out on commercial marijuana, as is your community’s right under the law, is a worthy local policy.

Marijuana Mills Drive Addiction. Resistance is Local.

Manufacturing marijuana addicts through commercialization and legalization.The marijuana lobby and its spokespersons now are actively blaming communities who refuse to support commercial drug use promotion for the black market in marijuana.

And unfortunately, the Boston Globe, Gatehouse Media and other media outlets are buying in.  The Globe’s July 7th, 2018 editorial “Mass. towns need to stop stalling on marijuana rules” is about the uncertainty created for the marijuana industry because of extended moratoriums.  But behind that pretense is the new blame game: saying that communities who choose to refuse to support or promote commercial marijuana/THC are responsible for the marijuana black market.

The notion that all communities should increase marijuana/THC availability and sales because some of them are stuck with it is illogical.  It’s like saying that because Flint has lead in its water, all communities in Michigan should have lead in their water for the sake of social justice.   Both are known neurotoxins to the developing brain.  And both hit vulnerable populations hardest.   And we need less of both neurotoxins in all of our communities.

If the shaky numbers coming out of UMass Amherst for the “marijuana baseline study” (with a survey response rate of 20ish % — too low to be valid)  are anywhere near true, with marijuana use rates at 19%, that number is worrisome and high.  Tobacco use rates have been brought down to 11% in Massachusetts.  The marijuana commercialization lobby is clearly driving a message that is encouraging more marijuana/THC use.  That’s a public health indicator that is moving in precisely the wrong direction.

Continue reading Marijuana Mills Drive Addiction. Resistance is Local.

Gatehouse Media Does For Pot Industry What MA Law Prohibits

Accuracy in reporting on marijuana - 5 waysThis Gatehouse Media link is full-on advertising and promoting Cannabis/THC as a health product.  Free advertising for an aggressive addiction-for-profit commercial sector.

The Mass Marijuana Law prohibits advertising where the audience cannot be proved to be less than 85% 21-years-of-age or older. Gatehouse contols the content of nearly every local and regional paper in Massachusetts and 37 other states. Their outlets are THE local news source for many Massachusetts communities and a primary source for youth sports team and cultural coverage and are broadly distributed in print and digitally. Their Twitter account boasts “10-million hyper-focused readers per week-online, in print, on mobile.”

For years we’ve appealed to the media to engage in credible journalism that seriously and properly investigates the population level public health impacts of commercialized cannabis. Continue reading Gatehouse Media Does For Pot Industry What MA Law Prohibits

Health care costs far outweigh any sales tax revenues—Of patients that use marijuana, over 80% of them do not pay their hospital bills.

If for no other reason, here’s why the movement to promote marijuana use in our communities for big profit needs to end: Health care costs far outweigh any sales tax revenues–a shortfall that we will all have to pay for through our own tax dollars.

Of patients that use marijuana, over 80% of them do not pay their hospital bills. Look at the losses of this one hospital in Colorado alone.

This data and findings from the Journal of Public Drug Policy and Practice. Kenneth Finn, MD, President Springs Rehab, PC; Rochelle Salmore, MSN, RN, NE-B, Nurse Scientist, Penrose St. Francis Health Services

“Conclusion: Subjects seen in the ED had similar diagnoses as those reviewed in the literature, confirming the serious side effects of marijuana use. During the study period, the study hospital incurred a true loss of twenty million dollars in uncollected charges after allowing for contractual obligations. While adverse health effects have been described in the literature, there is little data on the financial impact of marijuana use on the health care system. This study demonstrated an increasing number of patients who are seen in the ED also have used cannabis. These patients are not always able to pay their bills, resulting in a financial loss to the hospital. The authors encourage the collection of hospital financial data for analysis in the states where medicinal (MMJ) and/or recreational marijuana is legal.”

“Chronic State” How Marijuana Normalization Impacts Communities

Fact-packed. 1st person, on the ground testimonials from family members, physicians, social servants, law enforcement, environmental officials, business owners, and communities harmed by marijuana/cannabis/THC normalization, legalization, commercialization. This is worth sharing with every local and state policy maker that you know. It’s time to regroup, refocus, and put the lid back on commercial Pot.

Chronic State from DrugFree Idaho, Inc. on Vimeo.

The Idaho premiere of Chronic State was a great success. Held at the historic Egyptian theater in downtown Boise, audience members were introduced to Idaho’s new marijuana education campaign “KeepIdaho” ( before watching a powerful one-hour documentary that reveals the true consequences of legalization. This was followed by a panel discussion that included some of the amazing experts who appear in the film: Jo McQuire, Dr. Libby Stuyt, Dr. Brad Roberts, Aubree Adams, and Lynn Riemer.

The event concluded with a standing ovation from most members of the audience.

Chronic State was produced by DrugFree Idaho in partnership with the fantastic documentary film team of Ronn Seidenglanz and Tanya Pavlis ( Sidewayz previously produced our amazing youth video called “Natural High.”

Although Chronic State was produced in Idaho as part of our statewide marijuana education efforts, it is being made available to everyone. After watching it you will find ways that it can benefit your state.

Chronic State can be accessed through the DrugFree Idaho website (

Idaho’s new media campaign can be seen here:

Please forward these resources to everyone you know. If this information is widely shared with legislators, other public officials, community stakeholders, youth, and the general public, it will greatly assist you in your efforts to expose the real consequences of legalization.


A thoroughly referenced wake up call and must-read for anyone who thinks THC consumption is harmless and its legalization and commercialization a good idea. This urgent appeal from an Australian Doctor to the US Surgeon General should shake to the core anyone who still believes that increasing use rates of high-potency, industrially manufactured THC products is acceptable. Where there’s more pot, more people use. At population-level use rates the downstream effects of the accumulation of this chemical in our bodies will likely have significant, lasting and generational implications on public health. Read on below…



Dear Surgeon General Adams,

I am an Australian Professor of Addiction Medicine and researcher at the University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University both in Perth, Western Australia.

I have been becoming increasingly concerned at the implications of cannabis legalization across USA for patterns of congenital anomalies both in USA and across the world. Continue reading EXTREMELY URGENT IMPLICATIONS OF CANNABIS LEGALIZATION

Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana — How to “Opt-Out” — An Action Plan

How to Opt Out of Commercial Recreational MarijuanaCommercial Recreational Marijuana Opt-Out Action Plan

UPDATE May 13, 2018: It is becoming increasingly important to act quickly if your community wants any measure of local control over commercialized, recreational marijuana establishments. The temptation to ban just retail establishments and to allow cultivation and testing is to be avoided.

If it is believed that the sale of this drug is in not keeping with your prevention goals and in conflict with the character of your community, then it is hypocritical to allow it to be grown and taxed in your community and then exported for sale to your neighbors. The pot lobby is actively promoting and over promising possible tax benefits. Oversupply in Oregon has caused a dramatic price collapse. [“How do you move mountains of unwanted weed?”] Taxes are tied to revenue which is tied to price. As prices collapse, so does your tax revenue. Your costs escalate regardless. Your town is likely to get very little in revenue to offset regulation, inspection and enforcement of these establishments, let alone undo ill effects of increased youth and adult use. Where there is more pot, more kids use. Some revenue is not worth taking.

UPDATE: April 20, 2018–Added links to public service announcement, parental advisory ad, local town opt-out page.

UPDATE: November 16, 2017: Updates include addition of the excellent opt-out language passed by Longmeadow; and a link to a video of testimony to Bridgewater Town Council: “Commercial Marijuana Opt Out | What Every Elected Official Should Consider”

UPDATE: October 31, 2017–Having received an interpretation from Beacon Hill we have updated this post to once again advise that both a General Bylaw and Zoning Bylaw with identical language be voted on by your community’s legislative body. Nowhere in the recreational marijuana law does it explicitly require a Zoning Bylaw as the confirming action of a local legislative body. Therefore a General Bylaw, only requiring a simple majority vote (51%) is believed to be sufficient to confirm a community’s desire to Opt-Out or ban recreational marijuana establishments. Zoning Bylaws require a super majority (2/3 affirmative) vote to pass. It is recommended, out of an abundance of caution, that your community in addition to voting a General Bylaw vote on a Zoning Bylaw (after voting on the General Bylaw). Regardless of the outcome of the vote on the Zoning Bylaw, the General Bylaw is expected to be sufficient to uphold an Opt-Out intention of a community.

UPDATE: October 9, 2017–After the passage of House Bill No. 3818 that became the recreational marijuana law in July 2017, the process for opting out of commercial recreational marijuana activity has changed slightly since Westborough became the first of about 30 communities to do so before this compromise law was signed by Governor Baker. A growing number of more than 100 communities have either Opted-Out or have passed moratoriums on recreational, commercial marijuana establishments citing among their reasons:

The law applies differently to each community based on whether that community voted in opposition (No On Q4 Community) or support (Yes on Q4 Community) of ballot Question 4 in November 2016.

Here is our understanding now based on information from the Massachusetts Municipal Association: Continue reading Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana — How to “Opt-Out” — An Action Plan

When it Comes to Marijuana, Some Revenue is Not Worth Taking

CVS chose to give up $2 Billion in annual revenue from sale of tobacco products. Because a) it was deemed incompatible with the CVS brand as a wellness company; and b) because it was, in their words, the “right thing to do.”

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.

In the business world, any potential revenue stream is weighed against ability to meaningfully contribute to the financial health of the company and against its costs. The same should be true for revenue derived from State and Federal policy.

The possibility of $100 million a year in state tax revenue from commercializing marijuana is getting a lot of press in Massachusetts for example.

$100 million in revenue per year would contribute a mere .002% of the State’s annual ($40.1 Billion) budget. It takes around $110 million PER DAY to run the State. So all the revenue would net Massachusetts less than one day’s operating needs.

Continue reading When it Comes to Marijuana, Some Revenue is Not Worth Taking

Fact Check: Prisons Filled with Nonviolent Marijuana Users? FALSE

Recently John Boehner, and even more recently Elizabeth Warren, repeated a lie that has been used repeatedly by marijuana drug dealers, the pot industry, and as the misguided basis of a “social justice” argument, to trick voters into legalizing and commercializing marijuana.

“When you look at the number of people in our state and federal penitentiaries, who are there for possession of small amounts of cannabis, you begin to really scratch your head. We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there.” He said in an interview with Bloomberg News – Wednesday, April 11, 2018

For this statement he received 4 Pinocchio’s from the Washington Post!
Four Pinoccios for John Boehner's whopper of a lie about marijuana and incarceration rates


Four Pinocchios = Whopper!

Elizabeth Warren’s faulty claim about marijuana convictions invoked a further look into the incarceration myth:

“…more people locked up for low-level offenses on marijuana than for all violent crimes in this country. That makes no sense at all.”
— Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in remarks at the We the People summit, June 13, 2018

Her claims were similarly debunked by the Washington Post. Warren’s position is curious. To base her reputation and so vocal a public position in support of an addition-for-profit-industry by quoting this self-created, self-serving myth, is completely unjustifiable-in-fact. Her legacy as a prescient consumer protection advocate is put seriously into doubt.

Continue reading Fact Check: Prisons Filled with Nonviolent Marijuana Users? FALSE

Easing Access to Marijuana Is NOT a Way to Solve the Opioid Epidemic

Many young people are being mistakenly led to believe that commercial marijuana is a solution for routine anxiety. The rebound effect from using this drug often leaves anxiety and depression worse. Many adults are being deceived, by those who would profit from cannabis commercialization, that increasing access to marijuana will stem the opioid crisis.

In their April 12, 2018 op-ed, “Easing access to marijuana is not a way to solve the opioid epidemic,” published on “STAT”, Nicholas Chadi (a pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital) and Sharon Levy (director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital) make a compelling cautionary case for increasing and easing access to marijuana at a population level through commercialization.

“…There is ample evidence that individuals — especially adolescents — who use marijuana have much higher rates of mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders than their peers. The loss of motivation that we see in so many of our patients who use marijuana, its negative impact on functioning at school or at work, and its likely connection with cognitive decline are other serious and common harms.

Adolescents who use marijuana are also more likely to misuse prescription opioid medications. In our experience, nearly all of our patients with opioid addiction first used marijuana heavily.”

Here’s the full article as published at STAT:

Easing access to marijuana is not a way to solve the opioid epidemic

Easing access to marijuana is not a way to solve the opioid epidemic


Continue reading Easing Access to Marijuana Is NOT a Way to Solve the Opioid Epidemic

MA CCC Guidance for Municipalities in Consideration of Adult Marijuana Commercialization

Massachusetts citizens seeking to exercise local control over the emboldened and aggressive commercial marijuana industry are seeking clear information on how they may act under the evolving law and developing regulations. In addition to publishing their 107-page draft regulations for public comment,  the Cannabis Control Commission has issued this Guidance Document.

It takes a long time to get to the “Opt-Out” guidance for communities wishing to avoid a new State mandate that they must host commercial marijuana establishments.  The guidance initially spends a lot of time detailing all the different ways that marijuana WILL BE produced, sold, and transported through our communities. While the marijuana compromise law of July 2017 is characterized as having added limits and restrictions on local control, this document is further evidence that the industry is dominating this process, placing marijuana-industry interests above the community norms which would discourage drug use.

There are a number of ways that local control needs to be strengthened.  The notion that communities cannot restrict medical marijuana companies from converting to recreational commercial operations in place prior to July 2017 is of grave concern. It would enshrine the bait and switch tactics of the marijuana industry into law, tying the hands of people sympathetic to “medicinal” marijuana, but opposed to commercial marijuana.  These companies came to towns pleading to help the sick.  But now they get to cash in on commercial pot.

The Opt-Out guidance, referred to as a ban, still refers to requiring a generic bylaw or ordinance (simple majority), not to a zoning bylaw (super majority.)  Towns and cities are confused by that, and some have supported bans by less than 66%, but more than 50%. Continue reading MA CCC Guidance for Municipalities in Consideration of Adult Marijuana Commercialization

Marijuana, Brain Development and the Impact of Legalization and Commercialization

This slide presentation includes evidence and data regarding the impacts of lax marijuana policy in states experimenting with legalization, commercialization and industrialization of cannabis. It is a must read, must understand for all parents, concerned citizens, policy makers. Download the .pdf or view it in this post below:

Continue reading Marijuana, Brain Development and the Impact of Legalization and Commercialization

Cautionary findings. Should the Commonwealth (or Any State) be in the business of promoting Marijuana?

As the share of the population who uses marijuana increases, the number of users who become addicted to the product rises proportionately. Except in the 20th Century, we have much more potent marijuana and THC-laced products. So the new numbers on addiction rates are yet to be collected or fully analyzed.

We need less marijuana. Not more.

Here’s what’s trending in marijuana industrialization and commercialization news and why Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission and other States’ regulators should be paying attention:


Study: Poorer marijuana users smoking the most
Pot users profile closer to cigarette smokers than alcohol drinkers

Study: Poorer marijuana users smoking the most

Continue reading Cautionary findings. Should the Commonwealth (or Any State) be in the business of promoting Marijuana?

Recommendations to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission from a Neuroscientist

Marijuana IS NOT “Harmless”

Only the Cannabis Industry, and those deceived by their decades-long tobacco-like campaign of normalization, are saying marijuana is harmless. Those who are studying the effects of regular marijuana use are warning the drug is in fact clearly harmful — not only to those most vulnerable (youth and young adults with still-developing brains) but to regular adult heavy users as well.

Even as those appointed to regulate the marijuana industry in Massachusetts are being bombarded by the self-serving narrative of this next addiction-for-profit industry, doctors and scientists are amassing volumes of evidence that regular marijuana use IS harmful.

Here is the testimony of a neuroscientist submitted to the Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission. Lawmakers, voters, regulators, mothers and fathers, as well as would-be and current users, should read the following and its embedded links:


Dear Members of the Cannabis Control Commission,

I am a PhD level neuroscientist, trained analyst in mental health and substance use disorder pathophysiology and therapeutic areas, and parent of three young children; I have been a leader in youth substance abuse prevention efforts in the MetroWest region for the past 7 years.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that no amount of marijuana use is safe for children and youth; chronic use during adolescence is associated with long-lasting effects on the brain resulting in increased risk of addiction and negative impacts on mental health (including suicide and psychosis 1,2) and achievement metrics. Marijuana/cannabis is not “harmless”. Commercialization and use of high potency marijuana products, including concentrates and edibles, are of particular concern with respect to increased risk of negative consequences for public health and safety. Legalization of marijuana reduces youth perception of harm and increases access to marijuana by youth. Continue reading Recommendations to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission from a Neuroscientist

Why We Opt-Out — The Emerging Narrative on Community Marijuana Opt-Outs

Marijuana commercialization disguised as compassion
Under the guise of compassion and rights lurks an industry bent on creating a market of lifetime users.

It’s time to take our communities back from the national pot lobby.

“Opting Out on marijuana profiteering is Opting In to Community Health and Wellness” 

Important local messaging:

  1. Marijuana IS NOT harmless.  The only people saying marijuana is harmless are those standing to profit from it and those who believe them. Science and medicine tell us otherwise.
  2. Where there’s more pot more people use. Increased supply and commercial access to this drug impacts youth and vulnerable citizens. 80% of marijuana revenue now comes from 20% of heaviest users–this is the definition of an “Addiction-For-Profit” industry.

3. Normalization of marijuana use impacts use rates, school performance and workplace performance. The highest rates of use, across age categories, are where the drug had been commercialized. 

4. Public Health:  Addiction prevention involves community environmental factors that delay and minimize drug exposures, especially to the developing brain through age 25.  But heavy use, daily/near-daily use, and “Cannabis Use Disorder” (addiction) is now a defined substance use disorder in DSM 5 and is a growing public health issue of concern.  Continue reading Why We Opt-Out — The Emerging Narrative on Community Marijuana Opt-Outs

Opponents speak out as pot-control panel tours state

Past Month Youth Marijuana Use Legal vs Not Legal StatesBy Colin A. Young

State House News Service

BOSTON — One year ago, the battle over whether marijuana should be legal for adults to use was raging in Massachusetts. Now that it’s settled, the combatants are still engaged in a skirmish over how the legal marijuana market should be structured and regulated in Massachusetts.

The Cannabis Control Commission is in the middle of a series of listening sessions around the state and organizations from both sides of the legalization debate are hoping to pack those sessions to sway the commission’s regulations in their favor.

“We need the prevention community’s voice heard at these meetings,” the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, which opposed medical marijuana and adult use legalization, wrote to supporters in an email Tuesday. “PLEASE arrange your schedules to attend the remaining four of seven sessions THIS WEEK.”

Jody Hensley, policy adviser for the Prevention Alliance, said the organization wants to make sure community health supersedes interests of the marijuana industry as the CCC writes the rules of the budding industry.

“The overarching point is that the Cannabis Control Commission needs to be very clear that this drug is not harmless,” Hensley said. “Our government is here to protect us from the excesses of industry that could harm the public, and the Cannabis Control Commission is here to protect the people, not the industry.”  Continue reading Opponents speak out as pot-control panel tours state

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 sales 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 Heavy Use, High Potency, Real Dangers of Pot Commercialization

Here’s What’s Coming to Your Back Yard — A tour of a Colorado Commercial Marijuana Operation

Our colleague,  Jo McGuire, in Denver was recently asked to accompany a group of delegates from other states investigating commercial marijuana legalization on a tour of the Colorado marijuana industry. Here’s her account what they observed:


A delegation from out of state came to Denver in late April to see how the Colorado marijuana industry is working. I was asked to help guide the tour and ask questions of the industry leaders.

This was an all-day experience, so I will give you the highlights that stand out to me.

After the delegation heard a bit about my experience and area of expertise in safe & drug free workplaces, we were given a presentation by two officers of the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in Colorado.

They started off the presentation by repeating how utterly impossible it is to regulate marijuana and keep all the rules and know all the enforcement measures they are supposed to follow (these are the people overseeing enforcement for the whole state.) They bragged that they now have 98 people in their office overseeing regulation but later in the day admitted that only 25% of those do on-site inspections statewide (3,000 facilities), the rest are trying to keep up with paperwork.

They cannot get to every site in the state for inspections (again – impossible) so they respond to complaints, spot-check and rely on other community entities to report anything they may find or see. The largest amount of complainants come from other MJ facilities trying to get their competition shut-down.

The greatest violations are:
1. Using pesticides banned in the U.S.
2. Not using the proper inventory tracking system
3. Waste disposal violations
4. Circumventing the required video-monitoring system

They were asked how potency of marijuana is determined and they said, “It is impossible to determine potency.” When challenged – they were adamant that it is not possible.

Continue reading Here’s What’s Coming to Your Back Yard — A tour of a Colorado Commercial Marijuana Operation

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 What Scientific & Medical Journals & Experts Say About Marijuana

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 Manufacturing Addicts: Marijuana Use Doubles Among US Adults

Opting Out of Massachusetts Marijuana Law is a Heavy Lift and Very Confusing. Why?

The Town of Westborough Massachusetts was the first to opt out of commercial marijuana commerce under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act passed by a small majority in November 2016. Westborough’s ballot question passed with 80% of the vote of its voters. Its General Bylaw passed at Town Meeting with 87% the vote and its Zoning Bylaw with 88%. Here’s how Westborough did it but it was no easy feat. Here’s why.

The MA Marijuana Law was written by and for the marijuana industry. Their ultimate aim is to maximize consumption in order to maximize profit. With each push into new states, the marijuana industry has tweaked ballot petitions based on issues that have become obstacles to maximizing their markets in other states. One of many examples is Local Control. Continue reading Opting Out of Massachusetts Marijuana Law is a Heavy Lift and Very Confusing. Why?

Westborough’s Concerned Citizens to Host Marijuana “Opt-Out” Forum

Massachusetts’ First “Opt-Out” Town Attributes 10x-Margin Victory to Fact-Based Voter Education

Westborough’s Opt-Out Process–A Step-By-Step Action Plan

Opt Out Press Release on Westborough Concerned Citizens 4-12 Forum

WESTBOROUGH, MA – After voting by a slim 6% margin against the November 2016 Massachusetts’ Ballot Question 4 to legalize marijuana (53% v.47%), the Town of Westborough (March 2017) became the first community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to actively prohibit non-medical marijuana businesses, farms, testing and manufacturing. And, did so decisively at the ballot box (80%) and at Town Meeting
(87% General Bylaw / 88% Zoning Bylaw).

The 60+point margin victory was directly attributed to fact-based voter education and awareness on the risks and implications of today’s high-potency marijuana products, the speculative green-rush of an “addiction-for-profit” marijuana industry and specifically, the onerous underpinnings of Massachusetts Marijuana Law.

Continue reading Westborough’s Concerned Citizens to Host Marijuana “Opt-Out” Forum

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.


(download this guide to print & share)


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 Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana Law Opt Out — Westborough Voter Guide

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

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

“Pot used to be pretty harmless, but it’s plenty dangerous today” – Post-Gazette

Marijuana commercialization disguised as compassion
Under the guise of compassion and civil rights lurks an industry bent on creating a market of lifetime users.

The following is a very poignant letter from an addictions treatment physician to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As this blog has warned before, today’s marijuana is different and far more potent than that on which this well-intentioned but wildly misjudged push for legalization was conceived.

Hybridized, genetically-modified marijuana is the product of an industry that is cloaking its push for full-blown commercialization of another addictive and harmful product in the guise of compassion and civil rights.

The product they are pushing is being proved to be dangerously strong and the cause of wasted potential, wasted productivity, and wasted lives.

The simple truth of commercialization following legalization:

Increased availability and decreased perception of harm drive youth use and lowers the age of initiation to drug use — the goal of an industry working to capture lifetime customers, despite known consequences for physical and mental health.  Youth exposures double the risk of addiction. 

Here is “Pot used to be pretty harmless, but its plenty dangerous today” as printed in the Pittsburg Post Gazette: Continue reading “Pot used to be pretty harmless, but it’s plenty dangerous today” – Post-Gazette

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 Marijuana During Pregnancy — Real Risks Real Harm

Big Marijuana is Officially Corrupt. That’s What Colorado is Teaching Us. Will we listen?

Big Marijuana is officially corrupt.
Big Marijuana is officially corrupt.

Colorado is showing us that private pot interests dominate the regulatory and democratic process. And Big Money is how they do it.

….Borghesani [of the campaign to legalize and commercialize marijuana in Massachusetts] said,
“Let’s take the model in Colorado and several other states and put control under state and local authorities, put sales in the hands of legitimate tax-paying businesses and let’s generate revenue for the taxpayers in the Commonwealth.”

But here is what the marijuana industry he advocates for does in Colorado. It stacks the regulatory decision making in favor of drug sales and against the health and well being of the public.
Now, as an estimated 80% of Coloradans want childproof packaging, potency limits, and health warnings like tobacco or any FDA approved drug, Big Marijuana dollars shut down the people’s access to a vote on those regulatory measures.  You can expect nothing different here in the Commonwealth. The pot industry wrote the Massachusetts law to stack their Cannabis Advisory Board, which will devise marijuana regulations, with 9 of 15 members required from within the cannabis industry.

Remember, there is no money in NOT selling drugs. That’s why once addiction for profit enterprise takes root politically in a jurisdiction it is incredibly difficult to extricate. Drug money is poured back into the political process to maintain unbridled sales and marketing of their drug. This explains why use rates are highest where marijuana is legal, and use rates are lower where marijuana is not legal.

So here’s how they roll in Colorado — my way or the high way:  Continue reading Big Marijuana is Officially Corrupt. That’s What Colorado is Teaching Us. Will we listen?

When Considering Opting Out of Pot Establishments, Don’t be Confused by the “Pot Bar Provision”

Some communities and many Town Counsels have been confused by MGL Ch.94G, Sec.3 (b) of the Law–the “pot bar provision”. This provision has nothing to do with the process to Opt Out of commercial marijuana establishment land uses in your community.

Continue reading When Considering Opting Out of Pot Establishments, Don’t be Confused by the “Pot Bar Provision”

The 90 “No on Q4 Communities” That Voted In Opposition to Commercial Recreational Marijuana

“No on Q4 Communities”

Alphabetical list of Massachusetts Cities and Towns that voted in opposition to commercial recreational marijuana on ballot question 4 in November, 2016:

Massachusetts Community:
Agawam 50.8% to 49.2%
Andover 54.1% to 45.9%
Barnstable 52.1% to 47.9%
Bedford 52.9% to 47.1%
Bourne 51.6% to 48.4%
Boxford 52.0% to 48%
Boylston 50.3% to 49.7%
Braintree 54.3% to 45.7%
Brewster 51.8% to 48.2%
Bridgewater 50.6% to 49.4%
Burlington 54.9% to 45.1%
Canton 53.5% to 46.5%
Chatham 57.6% to 42.4%
Chelmsford 50.9% to 49.1%
Cohasset 56.3% to 43.7%
Danvers 52.5% to 47.5%
Dedham 50.0% to 50.0%
Dennis 53.2% to 46.8%
Dover 56.5% to 43.5%
Duxbury 56.8% to 43.2%
E. Longmeadow 53.9% to 46.1%
Easton 53.6% to 46.4%
Everett 51.2% to 48.8%
Falmouth 51.7% to 48.3%
Foxborough 51.2% to 48.8%
Hamilton 50.7% to 49.3%
Hampden 52.1% to 47.9%
Hanover 58.5% to 41.5%
Harwich 52.8% to 47.2%
Hingham 58.3% to 41.7%
Holden 51.8% to 48.2%
Hopkinton 52.0% to 48%
Kingston 51.2% to 48.8%
Lakeville 50.6% to 49.4%
Lancaster 50.1% to 49.9%
Lawrence 58% to 42%
Lexington 52.7% to 47.3%
Longmeadow 54.5% to 45.5%
Ludlow 51.9% to 48.1%
Lynnfield 60.1% to 39.9%
Marshfield 50.7% to 49.3%
Mashpee 53.5% to 46.5%
Mattspoisett 51.6% to 48.4%
Medfield 55.1% to 44.9%
Methuen 51.9% to 48.1%
Middleton 53.6% to 46.4%
Milton 54.9% to 45.1%
Needham 54.8% to 45.2%
Norfolk 51.0% to 49%
North Andover 53.3% to 46.7%
North Reading 53.9% to 46.1%
Northborough 50.6% to 49.4%
Norwell 54.5% to 45.5%
Norwood 53.0% to 47%
Orleans 50.8% to 49.2%
Paxton 54.1% to 45.9%
Peabody 54% to 46%
Pembroke 50.7% to 49.3%
Raynham 51.6% to 48.4%
Reading: 55.1% to 44.9%
Revere 52.7% to 47.3%
Rutland 50.5% to 49.5%
Sandwich 54.0% to 46.0%
Saugus 53.3% to 46.7%
Scituate 52.4% to 47.6%
Sherborn 52.1% to 47.9%
Shrewsbury 55.9% to 44.1%
Southboro 53.7% to 46.3%
Sterling 50.8% to 49.2%
Stoneham 53.0% to 47%
Sudbury 51.4% to 48.6%
Tewksbury 50.8% to 49.2%
Topsfield 57.2% to 42.8%
W. Boylston 52.1% to 47.9%
W. Bridgewater 50.7% to 49.3%
W. Springfield 51.8% to 48.2
Wakefield 52.6% to 47.4%
Walpole 56.6% to 43.4%
Wareham ?
Wellesley 58.3% to 41.7%
Wenham 53.4% to 46.6%
Westborough 52.6% to 47.4%
Westford 52.2% to 47.8%
Weston 55.9% to 44.1%
Westwood 58.5% to 41.5%
Weymouth 50.3% to 49.7%
Wilbraham 56.6% to 43.4%
Winchester 57.2% to 42.8%
Woburn 50.7% to 49.3%
Wrentham 51.0% to 49%
Yarmouth 55.5% to 44.5%

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 Growing List of Opposition to Ballot Question 4 To Legalize Commercial Marijuana Industry in Massachusetts

Wellesley, Mass League of Women Voters: A Forum on Ballot Question 4 on Marijuana Legalization and Commercialization

The Wellesley League of Women Voters explores what exactly would be legalized in Massachusetts under Ballot Question 4 including, butane hash oil extraction to produce the marijuana concentrate “shatter”; industrial grow operations; home grow and distribution provision; THC infused edibles and food products; public safety implications and much more.

Watch the forum here:

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

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

MUST WATCH: 60 Minutes Feature Highlights Impacts of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

60 Minutes on Marijuana
Pueblo Colorado Portends a Grim Reality for States that Vote for Pot

On Sunday night, October 28th, CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ ran a story, “The Pot Vote,” highlighting public health and safety impacts on Colorado since the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The segment – which features the firsthand experiences and expertise of doctors, law enforcement, and prevention advocates, and CO Governor John Hickenlooper – serves as a cautionary tale to other States considering legalizing recreational marijuana. We can and should heed their warning.


“It’s affecting the emergency room, it’s affecting the operating room, it’s affecting just about every aspect of medicine that you could think of,”
— Dr. Steven Simerville, Pediatrician and Medical Director of the newborn ICU, Pueblo’s Saint Mary Corwin Medical Center.

Continue reading MUST WATCH: 60 Minutes Feature Highlights Impacts of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

“Marijuana – The State of High” Anyone Considering a Vote on Marijuana Ballot Questions Must Watch This From Rocky Mountain PBS

Freebasing or "dabbing" marijuana
“Dabbing” is freebasing marijuana concentrate–a dangerous new development in marijuana consumption.

In the premier of a new Rocky Mountain PBS investigative series, “Insight”, news anchor John Ferrugia explores what is unknown about the risks of high potency THC for those who “dab” so-called “wax”, “honey”, or “shatter” that can bathe the brain with hundreds of milligrams of the drug. That’s compared to a limit of 10 milligrams per serving of edibles infused with THC.

“Dabbing” is freebasing marijuana. Yes, like freebasing cocaine only using nearly pure THC concentrate that is vaporized with a blow torch and inhaled. The concentrate is nearly 100% pure THC–stripped by distillation of any of the protectant CBD that is also present in plant marijuana. The effect is devastating on the brain, often irreversible, and can lead to severe mental illness and, in this story, death.

Oh, and yes, it is all perfectly legal in States that vote for recreational and medical marijuana ballot questions. Watch and reconsider your vote:

How’s It Going? My Colorado Friends On Marijuana Legalization

img_3928How’s Legalization Working out in CO?

I moved from Colorado a little over two years ago and I have not been back so I wanted to hear from my friends how marijuana legalization is working out. I posted on Facebook: “Through conversations I have found that people in MA have no idea about the unintended/unforeseen consequences of commercialized marijuana. I have not been back to CO since we moved two years ago so I thought it would interesting to hear from you about your experiences and what you would tell voters in states proposing to legalize recreational pot.”

The responses:

“Hate it! Worst thing ever. I want to move and I have lived here all of my life.”


“Hate what’s has happened to colorado. Look out the rest of the nation.” Continue reading How’s It Going? My Colorado Friends On Marijuana Legalization

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.

Continue reading Pueblo Colorado Portends Grim Future for Marijuana Based Communities Concerned Citizens Organize to Throw the Industry Out at the Ballot Box

Trooper’s Widow Urges Voters to Reject Legalizing Marijuana.

Will it really take a body count for our country to wake up to public health impact of legalized, commercialized marijuana industry using Big Tobacco’s playbook?

Reisa Clardy lost her husband and father to their seven children when a driver high on marijuana crossed three lanes of traffic and barreled into his cruiser. Here’s her appeal:

If this one incident is not enough, you don’t have to look far to find dozens of others. And the AAA, on their posting “Impaired Driving and Cannabis” reports:

“Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and these findings serve as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug.”

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

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

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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 Lessons Learned From Four Years of Marijuana Legalization — The SAM Report