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.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Investigated

A reporter for Parents Opposed to Pot did some investigating of medical marijuana dispensaries in the West.  Here’s the report.

You don’t need a card to visit a medical marijuana dispensary, but I did obtain certification for the program. It’s easy. Anyone can obtain one. Just say you have pain, no proof required; headaches qualified me.  Visits to more than 20 marijuana dispensaries in the West have been revealing, even a bit horrifying.

I asked them to educate me about marijuana. They are happy to comply and worked diligently to sell me their drugs.  However, I brought up my concern about its addictive nature. They tell me I am wrong, it is not addictive, just a little bit psychologically addictive.

Wait a minute.  That is exactly what addiction is –- psychological, a brain disease.

Asked if they are familiar with the diagnosis of “severe cannabis-use disorder, they tell me no, never heard of it, no such thing. Or they rationalize:
“That is just anti-cannabis lobby talk.”
“It’s just a medical billing code for a doctor to be reimbursed by health insurance.”

I ask if a user has to use more of the drug all the time to achieve the same “medical” results and they answer me yes sometimes, but that does not mean it is addictive or that tolerance is being built. They just like it more. I was told by one young man that he can quit any day but that he won’t because he just doesn’t like being “NOT stoned all day long.”

One young receptionist told me she has her program card for pain but she really uses pot for studying because she has never before studied as well as she does when stoned. The truth is that marijuana is known to harm the brain, not help it. Is she really studying better, or just thinking that?

I’ve been told that the doctor who oversees dispensaries has assured all of the staff and the patients that the drug is not addictive. I know current studies show otherwise and some state programs require the dispensary to give the customer a printed disclosure of the risks of addiction. Still they deny it.

In my experience the doctor is often a naturopath, although one naturopath in Oregon strongly discourages pot.

In Colorado, the only requirement to be a medical marijuana provider must be age 21 or older.   What other “professions” require no qualifications, no training?

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Program issues an annual report each year with revealing statistics. In 2014 71% of the cardholders used the drug for severe and chronic pain as their only need. 90% claimed chronic pain as one of their needs. The largest category of cardholders are males under the age of 30. It is sad that there is so much severe and chronic pain in young males.medipot dispensary

In a medical marijuana clinic in Telluride, Colorado, a young woman became irritated with my questions and began discourse about alcohol being more dangerous than marijuana. I asked if their customers replace their alcohol use with marijuana.   Here is when it got really shocking. She answered that she advised them to do the same thing she does: eat a marijuana edible before going to a bar, then drink. The name for that is cross-fading. Each substance magnifies the effect of the other.

I asked one dispensary manager why the Arizona Program has a high limit for the amount that can be purchased, roughly the equivalent of 10 joints per day. He answered “Some people are so sick they need that much”. He showed me a small bud that had been treated with extracts resulting in THC equivalent of 10 joints. Turbo pot. The state program limit is in grams, not in potency. He was showing me I can purchase FAR more than the equivalent of 10 joints per day. No one uses that much; the program has much potential for those who resell to others. A user can support drug habits of several within the limits of this program.

My investigation gave me some insight into why the marijuana industry has worked so hard to increase the potency of pot. A little bit goes a long way and the addiction potential is so much stronger.

My opinion? Medical marijuana programs in the West are recreational marijuana programs. Each expansion of marijuana laws invites more young people into addictive activity. Is that what you want for our children and grandchildren? Remember, when they enter a dispensary, they will not be cautioned about addiction. They will be encouraged to buy excessive quantities of pot. That’s what dispensaries do – sell drugs.

The Other Side of Cannabis Screened at SLO Festival

The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth  will  be screened at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on Wednesday, March 11, 7 pm.   On April 9, the film’s producer will screen a segment from the film and speak at the SAM Summit in Atlanta, as a part of the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit.

Marijuana eduction is profoundly lacking.  Today’s marijuana is not what it used to be, but the perception is that it is a safe, natural substance with no side effects. This ground-breaking film—which illustrates the potential negative effects, can  be used by drug educators, schools, prevention groups, addiction treatment centers, psychiatrists, psychologists and other medical.

Continue reading The Other Side of Cannabis Screened at SLO Festival