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Four States decline to legalize pot through legislatures this year

Marijuana legalization hit stone walls in New York and New Jersey this week and another effort died in New Hampshire.   In Vermont, legislation to establish a commercial marijuana market faltered, too.  Four states failed.  Tiny windows of opportunity may still be open, but passing bills doesn’t appear possible before the end of this year’s legislative session.

It was the second year New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tried to implement marijuana legalization through the legislature.  In New Jersey, Continue reading Four States decline to legalize pot through legislatures this year

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My brother and I met up again and here’s what happened

By H. Swan, co-author, A Night in Jail Part 2 of a 3-Part Series. Read Part 1, Originally published on Momsstrong.org

As per the agreement with the intervention, we cut off contact with him. Tough love they call it. We didn’t know what else to do. K’s brain was obviously fried from all the drugs. Surely, he would die doing drugs and we couldn’t be part of it. We couldn’t have our own lives ruined because of his choices.

Looking back, he tells me he didn’t feel like anything was wrong with him. He was just a guy who chose to live the party life. He wasn’t going to be confined by “the nine-to-five job with a wife and kids.” He was born in the 60’s and wanted to live the footloose and fancy-free life. Continue reading My brother and I met up again and here’s what happened

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Years of pot, drug addiction and homelessness

By H. Swan, co-author, A Night in Jail

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series. This article first appeared on MomsStrong.org

K started getting high at a young age. He smoked just a little bit, almost every day, through junior high, high school, college and graduate school. To him, it seemed like harmless fun. But within a few years after completing his higher education, he became a homeless drug addict and dealer with schizophrenia. He went to jail eighteen times. Relative to so many others, K’s story ends well. He is alive, out of jail, off the streets, and is sober. He is receiving psychiatric care. He lives in a group home where his meals and transportation are provided, and his psychiatric medications are dispensed. He is alive to tell his harrowing story. To warn teenagers that what seems like harmless fun can actually ruin their lives, K and I wrote a book which is inspired by his experiences.

Continue reading Years of pot, drug addiction and homelessness
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Marijuana killed my son David in only a couple of years

Our son’s story is a warning to other parents

Our son was happy and healthy before he started using marijuana at age 14.  A friend introduced him to marijuana during a time when our family was supporting my wife in her fight against breast cancer.  We noticed David changing rapidly, but attributed the change to   puberty. 

After being kicked out of the private school he had attended for many years, he became a heavy user and seemed to lose motivation for school and for life. He graduated from high school at the bottom of his class and started work as a plumber’s assistant. With his paychecks, he would buy more weed.

As his use became even heavier, he became increasingly removed from our family. He spoke of seeing aliens. By last Thanksgiving he appeared catatonic. The next day he stabbed his right palm with his pocket knife. He was hospitalized in a local mental health facility and diagnosed with depression and psychosis, and only tested positive for marijuana. 

After a 6-day inpatient stay, David was discharged with no discharge planning. Notes from the facility reveal that David filled out a questionnaire on the day of discharge expressing that he “often” felt panic or terror and that he had made plans to end his life. This was not made known to the family, and he was discharged anyway.  

After discharge he started an outpatient program. On the fourth day he smoked cannabis in the woods behind our house. Then he came inside, got a gun from the safe and shot himself.

Marijuana kills! It killed my son. We will never escape David’s loss, but we hope that by telling his story we can help other parents and children understand that marijuana is far from harmless.   (We published a testimony by David’s sibling who described the effects of his death on the family.)

We have other articles that explain how the mental health system often fails in treatments for marijuana addiction, part 1.  Mental health care fails at addiction treatment, part 2

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