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.
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.
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
a glut of product results
cheap excess drug gets pushed onto new consumers
potency is driven up as producers try to differentiate their products
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.
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.”
“Hate it! Worst thing ever. I want to move and I have lived here all of my life.”
“CRIME GOES UP AND HOMELESS WILL FLOCK TO YOUR CITY”
Here is a two-page pdf of reasons why Massachusetts voters should be very concerned about the provisions of Question 4. Please read, download, forward, print, share. And, please vote “No” on Question 4.
I was invited to include an unprecedented guest column in my church’s newsletter on this issue and am attaching here:
Do 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:
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.
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
This is the target market for addiction for profit enterprises. Adding commercialized marijuana to alcohol and tobacco would mean we’re actually tripling down on unleashing addiction marketing forces to exploit the easiest targets for cash, and then collecting the most regressive of taxes on those least able to pay.
Public leaders and drug policy makers need to focus on winning and on measurable goals: Less pot supply and less pot use. Less marijuana exposure means less damage done to human potential.
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 ratesexceed 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
Using the same lies and tactics the marijuana industry will precede the next major American public health crisis. Commercialization drives use.
We were once fooled by a major industry living off addiction for profit. Let’s not let it happen again: