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

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

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

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