All posts by David Sly

Drug Policy Alliance Pushes Legalization of all Drugs

The growth of the Drug Policy Alliance’s influence and emphasis contributes to the staggering increase in overdose deaths. * DPA gets political mileage from using the term “war on drugs,” and turning it into a negative term.  However, the USA officially abandoned the term eight years ago, and then the death rate began to rise.

Drug Policy Alliance recently put out a paper on decriminalizing all drugs, a first step towards legalization of all drugs. This group often talks about Portugal as an example which is misleading, because Portugal never legalized drugs. Portugal decriminalized drugs while providing assessments and treatment.   Continue reading Drug Policy Alliance Pushes Legalization of all Drugs

Social Justice is a Pretext Legalizers Use to Get Support

Social Justice is a pretext, the handy catch phrase to get people to support the legalization of pot.  The idea doesn’t come from disadvantaged minorities.  “Marijuana legalization is the worst way forward to reforming drug policy for the minority community,” claims Will Jones, founder of Two is Enough D.C.

Jones, whose family has always been involved in the Civil Rights movement, is enraged by the social justice message. “If you aren’t a minority, maybe legalization does look ok because you’re not going to have the deluge of (pot) stores in your community,”  Liquor shops are on every block in his neighborhood.  Jones admonishes the marijuana industry for “cherry picking criminal justice issues to conveniently pick a statistic that helps them.”  Of the places that voted to legalize pot, only Washington DC has managed to stay free of commercial pot stores.

It was easy to cut through the illusion by watching Ethan Nadelmann at the Democratic National Convention last summer.  Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), was bragging to his supporters about how profitable the marijuana industry is.  At the end of the video, when the cameras was on him, he added “and don’t forget social justice.”  It was an afterthought.  He must have been joking.

The Reality Where Pot is Legalized

In Denver, the pot businesses have located mainly in low-income minority neighborhoods, taking advantage of those with the least amount of political clout.  Buzz Feed reports that black people are being shut out of America’s weed boom.  Blacks own only about one percent of the 3,600 storefront marijuana dispensaries in the United States.  Hispanics may own even less. For the most part, whites alone have benefited from the huge profits in the weed industry.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey recently explained that crime shot up after legalization in Colorado.  In fact, the homicide rate was higher in 2015 than it had ever been.    (Marijuana is the drug most likely to trigger crime.)    Homelessness as a result of legalization has also skyrocketed.  Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock blamed marijuana legalization on a violent rampage in the mall last summer.  

Where’s the Real Social Justice in a Mind-Destroying Drug?

We question the sincerity of those who promote “social justice” as a reason to legalize marijuana.   What is the “social justice” in promoting a substance that lowers your IQ, weakens memory and directly contributes to the mental illness as a causal factor?   Even without drug testing, using pot makes some people lazy and less likely to get a job or hold onto it.

CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) has always  encouraged communities to find youth ambassadors who are black or brown, because preventing drug use among minorities was a primary concern.  Impoverished youth–who are often Black or Hispanic – have the most to lose if they use drugs.  Youth who frequently use marijuana are 60 percent more likely to drop out of school and 7x more likely to attempt suicide.

A recent study out of the University of California, Davis, showed that marijuana users are much inclined to experience more downward mobility than their non-using peers.   Even compared to alcohol abusers, the hardcore marijuana users are less affluent than their parents.

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Government duty is to protect citizens. There’s no social justice in promoting a dangerous drug, Those who profit from legalizing pot say it’s “social justice,” but minorities see it differently.

 

It’s unfortunate that blacks and Hispanics are arrested more frequently for pot than whites.  Complex social problems like police bias never have simplistic solutions.

Alternatives that don’t involve Legalization

Convincing people that hundreds of thousands of people are in prison for marijuana use is one of the false narratives of the legalization movement.  The Sacramento Bee recently investigated and couldn’t find a single low level marijuana offender in California prisons.

Those who believe in social justice, should look into policies to reduce drug-related crimes and its ugly bedfellow, drug addiction.      Even if the “war on drugs didn’t work,” it’s false to claim legalization and incarceration are the only options.  Those trying to legalize marijuana intentionally scramble the messages so the public confuses decriminalization with legalization.

At the time Chicago decriminalized pot, 87 percent of the time cases were dismissed for those arrested in Chicago for marijuana.

There are plenty of ways to revise and improve criminal justice without harming people, and drug use harms people.  Drug courts and treatment have been criminal justice options for more than 20 years.

Criminal justice experts agree that loosening drug possession laws would have little effect on the total numbers in prison.

The Clearest Motivation of the Marijuana Legalization Ballots

Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), said: “An exploitative new industry, reminiscent of Big Tobacco, has hoisted the banner of “Ending the War on Drugs” for an ulterior, but far more straightforward motive—making a lot of money at the expense of public health.   He explains that marijuana legalization ballots are written and advertised entirely for the benefit the industry’s bottom line.

Since legalization, the number of actual marijuana users has increased to 13% of people ages 12 and older.   Thirty percent of those users, or 6 million people have Cannabis Use Disorder.  The business model of increasing addiction and making money off of those who are addicted is working.

Legalization is a scheme of those in the top one percent to enhance their bottom lines.  Many who invested in the California legalization ballot actually hoped to make a whole lot more money from it.   A recent headline claimed that the marijuana industry is a 25 billion dollar opportunity.

Investors and politicians claim that legalization can end the black market.   Evidence from Colorado and Washington shows that cartels are emboldened by legalization and the black market still thrives.

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) promotes a falsehood that marijuana is safer than alcohol, another delusion.  Instead of encouraging less drug use,  MPP, DPA, NORML and the ACLU manipulate opinion.  Financial opportunists connected to these lobbies pretend pot is harmless and that arrest discrepancies will be solved by legalization.  This marijuana industry and drug promotion organizations are devious, not compassionate.

Pot’s Downside Clear in Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October Can Shed Light on the Role of Drugs Like Pot in Domestic Violence

Few people dispute that alcohol contributes to domestic violence. They probably don’t flinch if you say methamphetamine is a cause. But they viciously attack anyone who blames the sacred marijuana plant.

A number of violent marijuana users have been in the news lately.

A 14-year-old boy who killed his father and injured three others at a South Carolina school came from a home with both domestic violence and pot. (A report shows his father had convictions for marijuana and domestic violence.)  Perhaps Jesse Osborne’s attack on his dad and others is a reflection of the trauma his dad — a pot user — had inflicted upon him and his mother.  Jesse had been asked to leave school for bringing a hatchet there.

Despite widespread denial among pot users, the following studies show a strong connection between marijuana and domestic violence.  (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life, by Emily B. Ansell, Holly B. Laws, Michael J. Roche, Rajita Sinha, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 148 (2015) 136-142. January 6, 2015.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2014.12.029/   (Study of 43 subject found marijuana, but not alcohol, use increased interpersonal hostility and impulsivity in daily life, day of use and next day, Smartphone assessments)

The Relationship Between Marijuana Use and Intimate Partner Violence in a Nationally Representative, Longitudinal Sample,”  by Jennifer M. Reingle, Stephanie A.S. Staras, Wesley G. Jennings, Jennifer Branchini, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May, 2012.  (Consistent use of marijuana during adolescence was predictive of committing intimate partner violence in early adulthood and being a victim, 2 x more likely.  Sample of 9,400)

Examining the relationship between marijuana use, medical marijuana dispensaries, and abusive and neglectful parenting, by Bridget Freishler, Paul J. Gruenewald, Jennifer Price Wolf,  Child Abuse & Neglect  (2015)  http://dx.doi.org/10/1016/j.chiabu.2015.07/008/  (Telephone survey of 3,023 in California cities concludes current marijuana use correlates to child physical abuse but not neglect, abuse more widespread closer to dispensaries.)

Alcohol and drug disorders among physically abusive and neglectful parents in a community-based sample, by K Kelleher, M Chaffin, J Hollenberg, and E Fischer. American Journal of Public Health, 84 (10) pp. 15861590, (11,000 people with substance abuse problems: abuse-3x more likely, neglect-4x. Substance abuse is involved in 50-80% of child abuse according to this study.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615078/

Violent Behavior as Related to Marijuana and Other Drugs, by Albert Friedman, Kimberly Glassman, Arlene Terras, Journal of Addictive Diseases, Vol 20(1), 2001,pp. 49-72. (Marijuana users nearly as likely to engage in violent behaviors as crack users)
As a nation, we are turning a blind eye to the damage marijuana users may present to women and children.  We need to stop underestimating the poor judgment and the warped sense of time that marijuana users have, which often combined with fires and hot cars, have been lethal.

The Need to Stop Multigenerational Violence and Substance Abuse

For groups advocating to stop violence against women, it’s recommended that “marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.”  Treating problems at their source is best.

We also must do this to avoid child abuse, because studies show that  “abused children are at special risk to become heavy pot users in adolescence. ” from   Characteristics of Child Maltreatment and Adolescent marijuana Use: A Prospective Study, by Howard Dubowitz, Richard Thompson, Amelia M. Arria, Diana English, Richard Metzger and Jonathan Kotch, Child Maltreatment.    

The Emerald Triangle of Northern California is a reflection of a society with widespread acceptance of marijuana use. There’s  multi-generational drug abuse woven into to the culture, and with it comes addiction and violence.

Prevent Child Abuse America was formed in 1974 and has made little progress.   We’ll only make progress if we make progress with “the war on drugs,” which Drug Policy Alliance mocks and calls a failure.  The alternative is chronic drug abuse and family violence which gives the drug abusers their freedoms but at what cost?   Consider some recent events in Pennsylvania:  a man killed his 5-month old daughter while high on marijuana.   In April, a mother who smoked throughout pregnancy smothered her three-week old daughter who died through asphyxiation.  She admitted to smoking marijuana which made her fall asleep with the daughter in her arms.

A case that happened in West Virginia on October 3 is even more shocking.  At 4:30 a.m., a mother awoke to find her baby covered in blood in the basement with her boyfriend.  The man had sexually assaulted the baby who was brain dead.   It turns out that both she and the boyfriend had smoked pot the previous night.   Under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol, he had a psychotic break.

Instead of arguing that another drug or that alcohol creates more domestic violence, we need to acknowledge that all drug use in interconnected.   Multi-substance abuse is the rule rather than an exception.  Marijuana, however, is most likely to contribute to psychosis, as described above or in other brutal murders.

Bicycling Can’t be Safe with Stoned Drivers on the Road

Photo originally from the website, bikelist.org.

The Richard Tom Foundation honors a bicyclist who was killed by a stoned driver on April 26, 2015, in a double fatal crash.   A homepage for the foundation says “supporting the safety and adventure of cycling for all.”   The driver had 36 nanograms of THC in his system, but it’s hard to get across how dangerous stoned driving is while marijuana proponents advocate for legalization.  (The crash was in Vermont, where legislators decided against legalizing pot this year.)

Photo courtesy of Bike ListPhoto of Richard Tom by John Matrix.  It originally appeared on another website, Bike List

The number of  bicyclists hit and killed by stoned drivers, or critically injured, is growing.  Of course it happens most frequently where marijuana is legalized or where there is medical marijuana.  Congressman Earl Blumenauer is a big advocate for bicycling, a healthy activity at odds with the marijuana businesses he supports.

Last December, a stoned driver hit and killed Martin Greenough in Portland, Oregon.  The man’s family is now suing Portland and the state of Oregon.

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Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Portland, is a great supporter of bicycling. However, advocating for marijuana puts  bicyclists in grave danger.

There were at least two fatal bicycling accidents in the Portland area involving impaired drivers this spring.  Articles mention that the drivers were under influence but don’t reveal what substances caused the impairment.   Stoned drivers are more common in the day while drunk drivers are usually out in the dark.

Kalamazoo, Michigan, June 7

The driver who killed five bicyclists near near Kalamazoo, Michigan on June 6, was high on drugs, legal drugs according to the prosecutors.  It may have been “medical” marijuana which is legal in Michigan.   Four more bicyclists were injured.   MADD warns that “drugged” driving will overtake drunk driving as a cause of accidents by 2020.  Marijuana is the most common drug found with drugged drivers.

Boulder County, Colorado, May 20

In Longmont, CO, a 20-year old driver under the influence of pot killed an 8-year-old girl riding her bike on May 20. She was coming back from school, accompanied by stepdad.

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The driver who killed Peyton Knowlton, 8, was high on marijuana.   She was riding her bike.

Boulder, Colorado, May 7

Teen Accused Of Being Stoned In Crash That Killed Boulder Couple

Stacy Reynolds and Joe Ramos were much beloved in the community and mourned after their death.  A stoned 17-year-old without a criminal record was driving home from smoking pot with friends.

Morris, Illinois, June 22

The a baggie thrown out to the car that killed bicyclists Janice and Mark Wendling tested positive for marijuana.  The 17-year-old driver said he had used marijuana 2 days earlier.    The driver was a former student of math teacher Janice Wendling.

Salt Lake City, Utah

A driver hit bicyclist while under influence of marijuana, causing critical injuries.

Berkeley, California, February 17

In Berkeley, California, a terrible crash happened when a driver had just come from a medical marijuana dispensary.  The woman was dragged and badly injured but she survived.   It should be mentioned that Berkeley gives out marijuana to homeless residents, a program which makes it more difficult for them to get back on their feet.

Bike lane opens in Berkeley by near-fatal crash site; charges filed against driver, who police say was high

California’s Proposition 64 is called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.  Anyone who believes that legalizing marijuana will keep it out of the hands of teenagers is nuts.   At least three of these fatal crashes were caused by 17-year-old drivers.  Sanctioning adult use of the substance means the children will use it more often and think it’s harmless.