Tag Archives: Maine

Michigan Vote NO Marijuana, No on Blowing up Homes

Michigan “homes are blowing up from ‘blasting’ marijuana, a risky business,”  warned former judge Brian MacKenzie last year.  In Battle Creek, on July 22, 2018,  a massive fire displaced more than 60 people in a four-story apartment building.  The explosion started in a marijuana lab.   Since the Michigan ballot would allow 12 plants per residence — more than any state — it offers an invitation to hide drug labs in the home or apartment.  Could your family or neighborhood be next?

Another butane hash oil fire erupted in Battle Creek earlier this year, seriously injuring the young man who started the fire.  Firemen find butane hash oil fires far more dangerous than ordinary house fires because of their heat and explosiveness.  Continue reading Michigan Vote NO Marijuana, No on Blowing up Homes

Marijuana Will be Held Accountable After Mixed Election Results

Anti-Pot Movement Starts New Project After More States Vote to Legalize

After spending more  than $20 million, the deep pocketed pro-marijuana investors prevailed in California.  They also won in Nevada and Massachusetts, with the votes much closer.   Arizona fended off the attempt to legalize marijuana.    Vermont elected a governor who said he is against marijuana legalization.  Several Oregon cities rejected marijuana sales.
In Colorado, the products with a high amount of THC (the psychoactive quality that brings the high) have been responsible for most of the hospitalizations and deaths.  However,  the marijuana businesses bought out an attempt to put a ballot that would cap the THC at 16%.   So far the marijuana industry has not been held accountable for its deceptive political and marketing tactics.

SAM Project Will Make Pot Accountable

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and its partners are spearheading a new initiative called the Marijuana Accountability Project (MAP). Our objective is to be a credible resource for the oversight of the recreational marijuana industry as it begins to take hold in states.   There will be more ballots.  SAM hopes that some states will defeat these ballot measures, but acknowledges that some are likely to pass. Regardless of outcome, SAM and the Marijuana Accountability Project will continue pushing back against the abusive practices of the marijuana industry in the states that have already legalized marijuana.

In their announcement SAM said:  “We cannot let another industry dead-set on hooking a new generation gain an unfettered foothold in society without a watchdog at their back. We intend to launch the initiative in late 2016 with a press conference in Washington, D.C., where we will outline our objectives, year one activities, and a new research report that shows the true cost of marijuana legalization on the health of states.

MAP will include the following activities in 2017:

Congressional Outreach: SAM will boost federal lobbying efforts to stop legalization on the federal level.
State Report Card Tracking Project: Evaluate the states with legal recreational marijuana across the following metrics: Public health (incidence rates of poisonings across age and demos), public safety (car crashes, ER visits), marketing (evaluate and compare based on other legal drugs), political influence (track lobbying and spending), and economic impact (promises made on funding, promises kept?)
Community Roundtables: We anticipate holding up to five community roundtables, open to the media, in select states in the first year. At these events, we will release the results of the tracking project, and hear from citizens who have been impacted by legalization and the industry as a whole. These roundtables will serve two purposes: show the real life impact of legalization, and promote MAP as a critical oversight voice.
Public Education/PSA Campaign: SAM will launch a media campaign called “Are We Sure?” that asks localities if they really want marijuana stores in their neighborhoods. The campaign will also be used in non-legalization states, and will educate the public on today’s high THC marijuana and its impacts.
Earned Media: Earned media will be a critical component to ensure the accountability messaging and approach is well understood in our target states, and pushes the agenda forward. Our tactics will include op-eds, rapid response, editorial board visits, press conferences, and reporter briefings.
Organization of Municipalities Concerned about Marijuana (OMCM): OMCM will consist of officials from localities that have implemented strict controls on marijuana, including those that have banned marijuana stores altogether, and officials from other jurisdictions interested in promoting public health-based marijuana laws. Through OMCM, these localities will share best practices, model ordinances, and other strategies.
SAM Legal Initiative: SAM will launch an initiative to hold marijuana businesses accountable to the law of the land, and research legal compliance issues.
SAM State Legislative Caucus: The SAM State Legislative Caucus will bring together like-minded state legislators who want to stop legalization and commercialization, and share best practices on marijuana policy.
Model laws: MAP will also develop copies of model state laws and local ordinances to control the marijuana industry, incorporating best practices from existing laws and input from scientific and legal experts.   MAP needs founding partners.

Kevin Sabet, President of SAM said that we can change the trajectory of marijuana legalization.  SAM released a statement at 3 a.m. : “Tonight’s results were disappointing overall, but given how we were outspent by 15 to 1, not wholly unsurprising,” said SAM President Kevin Sabet, who also served as a White House drug advisor. “There are several bright spots: Arizona resisted legalization and their campaign will be a blueprint for other states in the future. Vermont Governor-elect Phil Scott will be replacing the most pro-legalization governor in our history (Peter Shumlin), and a pushback is starting in Oregon.  No matter what happens in Maine, we will be in a strong position when the legislature meets. We will redouble our efforts with this new Congress. And we won’t abandon the legalized states, where much work remains to be done.”

For more information, contact info@learnaboutsam.org.

Massachusetts Group Donates Against Legal Pot, Promotes Healthy Drug Policy

Massachusetts Can Lead Nation in Healthy Drug Policy

A foundation dedicated to the health and well-being of people in central Massachusetts donated $100,000 to defeat commercial marijuana in Massachusetts this year.  The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts is the official opposition effort against Question 4, which would legalize recreational pot.

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts,  Worcester, formally voted to oppose Question 4 and to make a large contribution in opposition to the ballot.  Marijuana proponents  outspend anti-legalization campaigns by millions of dollars, so donations to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts would be greatly appreciated. (Donate here)

The Health Foundation is concerned that allowing the billion-dollar commercial marijuana industry to promote and sell its products would negatively impact public health. Pot edibles which include highly potent products like candy, chocolates, cookies, and sodas would be allowed. These products are particularly attractive to kids and look like popular sweets.  They account for 50% of the sales in Colorado.

Question 4 sets no limits on the number of pot shops statewide. In Colorado, that has resulted in more pot shops than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.

“The leadership of the Health Foundation of Central MA is exemplary of what all organizations, groups, associations and residents need to do in order to keep the Commonwealth from being snowed by the marijuana industry who wrote the law that completely protects their big profit interests,” said Heidi Heilman of Massachusetts Prevention Alliance. “The law was written by the industry for the industry. If it passes it’ll be the tax-payers who’ll be burdened with the shovel-up costs from all the negative outcomes,” she concluded.

Most Massachusetts Politicians Join Forces to Oppose Question 4

gov-baker
Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts.  Photo: The Boston Globe

The Commonwealth could lead the country into smart drug policy.  A strong bipartisan team of leaders is working to shut the door on promoting drug dependency and addiction for profit.

The Foundation joins a bi-partisan coalition of elected leaders as well as health care, public safety, business, anti-addiction, and child protection advocates who are opposing Question 4. Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Sheriff Steve Tompkins, 120 legislators and many other elected leaders have come out in opposition to Question 4.

In fact, Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, Mayor Walsh and Speaker DeLeo have been exemplary leaders in their ability to study all aspects of the issue, educate the voters and work across the aisle.  A group of legislators went to Colorado to study legalization and see if it legal pot could be implemented safely.

An interviewer recently asked Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts if she supports marijuana legalization.  Senator Warren did not give a “yes” or “no” answer.  She replied that marijuana is decriminalized in Massachusetts, putting the state in a difficult position.  She did not endorse Question 4, and probably knows that enacting it would be bad for the Commonwealth.  It’s clear from the video that Senator Warren does not think there’s enough regulation now.  She’s smarter than the legalizers who would love to trap her into supporting Question 4.  (Decriminalization of pot in 2008 resulted in a great increase of marijuana use, followed by a opiate and heroin crisis.)

A citizens group of 20 claimed that Question 4 doesn’t have a definitive standard for testing drivers and that it lacks transparency while leaving policy specifics unsettled until after the vote.

One of the state’s Congressional representatives, Rep. Stephen Lynch, just announced that he is against Question 4.    Lynch said that he has worked with recovering addicts, noting that “I haven’t met an addict who didn’t start with marijuana.”

Investigative Journalism Misses the Mark — for the Most Part

Lee Fang’s “investigative” article published in The Nation two years ago suggested that only those who lose profits are against legalizing marijuana. His predictions have turned out to be largely incorrect. The pharmaceutical industry–like the marijuana industry — spends money on lobbying and donating to politicians, but is not politically involved in the marijuana issue.  According to the Brookings Institution, “pharmaceutical companies have kept an arm’s-length distance from marijuana ballot initiatives.”

Fang’s investigation provides excellent insight into the marijuana industry — which suspects that everyone must have a profit motive.  Much of the giving to marijuana ballots comes directly from the pot industry.  Three of the largest donations to marijuana legalization in Massachusetts come from marijuana businesses, including one in Colorado looking to expand.

In Massachusetts, some of the groups that oppose Question 4 include:
· Massachusetts Hospital Association
· Massachusetts Medical Society
· Massachusetts Municipal Association                                                                               -Massachusetts School Nurses Association
· Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals
· Associated Industries of Massachusetts
· Retailers Association of Massachusetts
· Association of School Superintendents
· Construction Industries of Massachusetts
· Action for Boston Community Development
· Association for Behavioral Healthcare
· National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) – Massachusetts
· Massachusetts Chiefs of Police
· Massachusetts Sheriffs Association
· all Massachusetts District Attorneys

The NAMI chapter in Maine will also be coming out against legalization in that state, a clear indication that marijuana is toxic for those diagnosed with mental illnesses.

Only in the instance of law enforcement have investigative journalists been correct in predicting opposition to legalization. Police unions oppose legalization, but The Nation article doesn’t probe the deeper reason for their opposition.

Looking for Evidence-Based Solutions

In explaining the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts,  President Jan Yost, Ed.D., said:  “The Foundation maintains that Massachusetts would be wise to wait for further evidence from research and other states’ experiences regarding the impact of the use of marijuana on health status, employee performance and public safety, before voting to allow recreational use. This position is consistent with the Foundation’s practice of advocating for public policy that is based on evidence.”

“In addition, the Foundation is concerned that sanctioning marijuana as a legal substance will likely normalize its use and create a commercial industry intent on spreading the use, like the tobacco industry.”   The Nation‘s 2014 article could have looked into why health organizations, hospitals, educators and doctors’ groups oppose marijuana legalization instead of promoting a preordained agenda set by financiers.

Health organizations have insights that a biased media does not have. Evidence-based solutions don’t support pot legalization.

Massachusetts is leading the country in wise drug polices. New England may be ahead of the rest of the country.  Vermont and Maine rejected legalization through their state legislators. These states realize that marijuana is not a solution to the opioid abuse that is rampant today.  Replacing one addiction with another addiction is a bad idea, and actually encourages multi-addiction, making recovery more difficult.   Please donate and vote against the addiction-for-profit industry in Massachusetts or in your state.

Marijuana Legislation Defeated in Multiple States

Last week a House bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol was soundly defeated in the state of New Hampshire.  Opponents questioned the wisdom of making another addictive drug legal during a time of drug overdoses and deaths.

The New Mexico legislature also killed a marijuana legalization measure on February 14.

Last week in Wyoming, a bill to decriminalize marijuana was soundly defeated.    It was the third year in a row that marijuana advocates tried to to pass a decriminalization bill which would have lessened the fine for pot possession.

Furthermore, an attempt get legalization of recreational use marijuana on the Wyoming ballot  failed.   “The group fell far short of the roughly 25,600 signatures from registered voters needed to get on November’s ballot.”   The Wyoming Senate Judiciary panel issued a favorable recommendation for a bill to make marijuana edibles illegal.  (Levi Thamba Pongi , a foreign exchange student at college in Wyoming, became psychotic and committed suicide after eating a marijuana cookie in Colorado in March, 2014.)

In Montana, a petition to put legalization of recreational marijuana on the November ballot is counterbalanced by the Safe Montana petition to keep recreational marijuana illegal.

Marijuana lobbyists and policy groups are making strong efforts to legalize or decriminalize marijuana in western and northeastern states.  Vermont, a bill to legalize marijuana has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Vermont gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman issued a statement critical of the governor and legislature for acting too quickly.  Six Vermont physician groups come out in opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in their state.  The state’s health department wrote a scathing attack against legalization.

An state considering legalization needs to recognized the continuous onslaught of problems in the schools of Colorado.  Last week, 9 students were negatively affected by marijuana edibles that had gotten into a Colorado High School. ( Maine, the state next to New Hampshire had already rejected a bill to legalize marijuana by a vote of 2 to 1, last summer. )

If Justin Trudeau pushes the legalization effort in Canada, he will into trouble with international treaties, and possibly in the province government of Quebec.  The Finance Minister of Quebec warned that it will be hard to push them to sell marijuana.