Category Archives: California

Child Abuse, Exploitation in California’s Marijuana Country

The Emerald Triangle can’t hide behind its secrets after a report of widespread abuse, sexual exploitation and worker exploitation was published last week by Reveal News. There’s both worker and sexual exploitation.  Cosmopolitan Magazine published another version of the story.  Here are some of the most hideous incidents affecting children and teens.

  • A  girl from Humboldt County started  working for a local grower at 12.  He gave her methamphetamine to speed up her work as a trimmer,  and passed her around to pay off debts.   She ran away to a homeless shelter and found that pimps were using it for a hunting ground.
  • Two other teens in that same homeless shelter report having been trafficked for sex.   Both local and out-of-town teens may be involved.
  • They give girls weed, alcohol and food in exchange for trimming. Sex is also expected to go with it.
  • A 15-year-old  runaway from southern California,  was kept inside a box and forced to have sex with the two growers from Lake County, near Humboldt County,  who had found her.

    Federal prosecutors said they directed her to trim marijuana and have sex with them, sometimes while chained to a metal rack.   For several few days, she was kept inside a box.

    The men also shocked the girl with a cattle prod and told her she would be shot by neighbors if she attempted to leave, an employee later told police.  The men were initially charged with human trafficking.  When federal authorities took over, the trafficking charges were dropped. The men are expected to plead guilty to lesser charges of employing a minor and illegal marijuana cultivation.    (The Cosmopolitan article has more information about this incident.)

    DrugPreventionEducation
    Parents Opposed to Pot stands by its belief that preventing drug use is the key to preventing social problems and so much human suffering.   After exploitation, teens and other workers who came to the area to work in the marijuana industry frequently end up homeless.

     

  • After exploitation, teens and other workers many end up in homeless shelters

A housing and homelessness report of Humboldt County showed that 33% of the homeless said they had a substance abuse problem. (Not everyone with substance abuse disorders knows or admits it.)  The same report said 37% had been victims of domestic violence.  Mental health affects 30% of them.  Parents Opposed stands by its belief that preventing substance use in the first place will diminish all these problems and save so much anguish.   (Read one of our testimonies about marijuana and domestic violence.)

In summer and fall, temporary workers come in town to work the marijuana harvests. These “trimmigrants” sometimes end up homeless and without jobs.   In one article, it’s reported that 100 European “trimmigrants” were stiffed for pay, broke, without a place to go and ended up in homeless shelters.   Mexican and other immigrants also face abuse.

There’s a frequent “missing persons” problem in the area, which shows up through a quick search on the Internet.  Sometimes the lost people are found, but at least 5 women have never been found.

In fact, Cosmopolitan reports that Humboldt County, center of the marijuana cultivation, has the largest number of missing persons in the state on a per capita basis.

Reveal  is based in San Francisco and is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, found in 1977.   Journalists Shoshana Walter and Elle Snow (not her real name) did outstanding jobs in their respective publications, Reveal.org and Cosmopolitan.     Elle is a victim of sexual trafficking and she is now working against this problem and has started an organization in Eureka, Game Over.   Listen to Against Their Will.

Mass Illnesses Due to Marijuana Edibles, Brownies, Candy

Mass Illness from Marijuana Edibles in San Francisco

There’s more potential for overdose from edibles than smoked marijuana, although the teen in Seattle who jumped to his death last December did it after smoking pot for the first time.  Two shocking incidents in California suggest that overdose emergencies will increase if that states vote to legalize marijuana in November.  Here’s a summary of recent cases of toxicity from edibles:

    • 19 people were hospitalized in San Francisco on August 7 from THC, after attending a quinceañera party.  The source is believed be marijuana-infused candies, perhaps gummy bears. Several children were among those poisoned, one as young as six.  A 9-year-old had severe difficulty breathing.
    • A JAMA Pediatrics article explains the dramatic rise in children’s hospitalizations related to marijuana in Colorado since legalization.  In 10 cases, the product was not in a child-resistant container; in 40 scenarios (34%) there was poor child supervision or product storage.  Edible products were responsible for 51 (52% ) of exposures.  The report claimed that child-resistant packaging has not been as effective in reducing kids’ unintended exposure to pot as hoped.
    • The report mentions the death of one child, an 11-month-old baby.  Nine of the children had symptoms so serious that they ended up in the intensive care unit of Colorado Children’s  Hospital.  Two children needed breathing tubes.

      HamzaWarsame
      Hamza Warsame, 16,  jumped 6 stories after smoking pot in Seattle in December. Photo: Seattle Times, from the Warsame Family
    • The state of Washington has a similar problem with edibles, as reported on the King County Health Department’s website.  From 2013 to May 2015, there were 46 cases of children’s intoxications related to marijuana edibles reported in Washington.  However, reporting is voluntary and the state estimates that  number could be much higher.
    •  In May, a father plead guilty to deliberately giving his 4-year-old daughter marijuana-laced cake in Vancouver, Washington.  He was sentenced to two years in prison.

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      Intoxication from marijuana edibles has risen steadily since legalization. Source: King County Department of Health. Top photo: AP
    • In Hingham, MA, there was a 911  related to teen girl who ingested marijuana edibles.  The candies were in a package labelled Conscious Creations, which didn’t disclose ingredients.   Massachusetts has a medical marijuana program, but it is not clear how or to whom they were sold or dispensed.
    • July, 2016: A California man was arrested for giving candy laced with marijuana to a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy; the 6-year-old was hospitalized for marijuana poisoning.
    • July, 2016: Police in Arizona arrested a mother for allegedly giving her 11- and 12-year-old children gummy candy infused with marijuana. Police say the marijuana-infused candy was originally purchased by an Arizona medical marijuana user, but was illegally transferred to the mother in question.  (State medical marijuana programs have poor track records of assuring the “medicine” goes to whom it is intended.)
    • On April 27, a Georgia woman was arrested after a 5- year-old said he ate a marijuana cake for breakfast.  The child was taken to the hospital for treatment following the incident; according to officials, his pulse was measured at over 200 beats per minute.

Edible marijuana poses a “unique problem,” because “no other drug is infused into a palatable and appetizing form” – such as cookies, brownies and candy.    Many household items cause poisonings, but marijuana edibles are different because they’re made to look appealing and they appeal to children.

Adult Use of Marijuana Act is Wrong for California

Proposition 64 Allows Pot Edibles and Advertising

California’s Proposition 64 is called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or AUMA. Please tell your friends in California to vote NO ON 64 for good reasons.

1)It allows pot shops sell marijuana candy and soda, near where children live. According to the Latino Report the former mayor of Downey said, “These things look just like the candy that children love, and I’m not sure why the pot industry feels the need to market such kid-friendly stuff, unless it is taking a page from the tobacco industry’s handbook.”

Pot drinks showed up the backpacks of 5th graders at a Seattle school
Pot drinks showed up the backpacks of 5th graders at a Seattle school after legalization.

The marijuana lobbyists tell voters that “drug dealers don’t card but dispensaries do.”  That statement implies that children won’t take it from their parents, which is either very naive or deliberately deceptive. All evidence is contrary.

 

2) It fails to properly protect from stoned drivers: Proposition 64’s proponents refused to include a DUI standard for marijuana. This has become a real problem in states that have legalized pot like Washington, where the percentage of traffic deaths involving stoned drivers doubled in just one year post-legalization.

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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.

3) Stoned drivers and underage use packs a double whammy:  An under-aged marijuana user in Colorado recently killed an 8-year-old girl riding her bike.  In Washington, a 17-year-old driver killed three of his classmates while driving after he got stoned.  In the past four months, 17-year-old drivers killed bicyclists while driving stoned in three separate  fatal crashes.  Proposition 64 cannot make right the wrongs of marijuana legalization.

Marijuana Edibles available in Colorado often look like familiar candies.i
Marijuana Edibles  often look like familiar candies. Proposition 64 allows the industry to set safety standards and do the testing.

4) It puts the pot industry in charge of safety standards: Proposition 64  allows the pot lobby to set the  product safety and testing standard which  will be based on voluntary codes. That’s like putting Philip Morris in charge of tobacco regulation.

5) Increased homelessness/mental illness:  It will bring more people to the state for marijuana who may suffer from mental illness as a consequence of their drug use and end up homeless.*  California’s drug users already face the problem of homelessness.  At first glance, it seems that the West Coast has more homelessness because its warm weather attracts people. It may be that marijuana use —  most popular in the West — has caused the homelessness.

6) Proposition 64 doesn’t prohibit advertising.

7) It specifically allows convicted drug-dealing felons to get into the marijuana businesses.  (California’s current medical marijuana law does not allow these same felons to get into the business.)

The marijuana industry tells us that “Prohibition has failed.”  Legalization is a much bigger failure.  Let’s not be duped again.  Please donate to either No on 64,  to Citizens Against the Legalization of Marijuana (CALM).   If you want to help all states fight legalization, please support SAM Action, and its educational wing, Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

DrugPreventionEducation
We have failed miserably at educating why not to use drugs. It’s time for a big change in strategies, back to education in the schools.

In California, anyone who is 18 can get a medical marijuana card for the most dubious of reasons.  Some may argue that the by legalizing marijuana for adults only, the state will control its out-of-control drug dealing in the form medical pot dispensaries.  A state as big and diverse as California failed miserably with medical marijuana. What makes you think they can do any better.  Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says  California doesn’t want to make the same mistakes as Colorado, Oregon and Washington.  Then don’t legalize pot at all.

Marijuana Lobby Plays Retribution and Slander to the Max

The Power and Deception of the Marijuana Lobby

Since the marijuana industry bought off ALL of the companies authorized to collect petition signatures in Colorado, it’s not surprising how deep corruption runs through that industry.   Some dirty  tactics have been going on for years.   (Please read Part 1 and Part 2 of exposing the deceptive tactics of the marijuana industry.)

In 2012, Oregon Attorney General candidate Dwight Holton was defeated in the Democratic primary, because he had inspired the wrath of the marijuana industry.   Only 25% of Oregon’s Democrats voted, but that success gave marijuana lobby the boost it needed to threaten anyone who would dare go against them.

Pro-pot groups also claimed that they defeated California Attorney General candidate Steve Cooley in 2010.  Cooley was no friend to medical marijuana violators in southern California.  He lost in a very close race that took weeks to count.

2012: “The Wrath of the Weed Vote”

The Oregon Attorney General’s race shows how vindictive the marijuana lobbyists really are.  Dwight Holton, former acting US Attorney for Oregon, was highly regarded as a prosecutor (pictured below). But he also prosecuted marijuana violations, while opponent Ellen Rosenblum promised to go lightly on “medical” marijuana, and even courted the marijuana businesses.  She won.  The biggest contributors to her campaign were Drug Policy Action and John Sperling, founder of University of Phoenix and a billionaire marijuana contributor.  Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, a marijuana legalization group, spent more $53,000 in radio ads against Holton.  The political reason to oppose Holton was that he was a relative newcomer to the state of Oregon, but the true reason he lost was that the marijuana  forces came out to defeat him.

DwightHolton
Dwight Holton ran for Attorney General in Oregon, but lost because he faced “the wrath of the weed vote.:”  He is now CEO of Lines of Life, a non-profit committed to the prevention of suicide.

In fact, a headline earlier this year reminded politicians of Dwight Holton’s fate and warned that lists will be kept of those who support local marijuana bans in Oregon.  There’s much written about the corruption in the state’s marijuana businesses, both in the past and in the present.

Carmen Trutanich also “was one of a number of politicians to suffer the wrath of the weed vote” in the California primary on June 5, 2012.  In California, Los Angeles City Attorney Trutanich lost his bid for District Attorney because of his stance towards marijuana businesses, according to one of the marijuana blogs.

Since 2012, the marijuana lobby has promised backlash against politicians who aren’t with them.  By 2012, financiers such as Peter Lewis and George Soros were giving big donations to the legalization campaigns in Colorado and Washington.   This year Sean Parker has already given more than $2 million to the legalization effort in California.

Politicians who don’t support the marijuana industry’s agenda — using “medical” marijuana as a backdoor to full legalization — are accused of wanting people to die or wanting to send innocent people to jail. Those who are skeptical of the efficacy of “medical” marijuana are painted as individuals lacking compassion in well- orchestrated smear campaigns. In 2014, some politicians felt the backlash through dishonest television ads.  Using the word “compassion” helps initiatives pass, although in reality it’s about corruption and full of entirely different motives.

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Will politicians stop calling out graft and corruption in the marijuana industry because they face slander and revenge from the pot lobby?

The Television Ads

In 2014, Americans for Safe Access, a “medical” marijuana lobbying group (funded by Soros?), ran television advertisements on  MSNBC in Maryland and South Florida.  They targeted two members of Congress who voted “no” to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment in their districts, Republican Andy Harris of MD and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz of FL. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was the first major victory for the heavily-funded marijuana lobby.*

The ad that ran against Rep. Wasserman Schultz alleged that the Congresswomen thinks it’s ok for medical marijuana users to go to federal prison. It flashed an image across the screen of an elderly man and his wife, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a fatal neurological disease.  It is well understood in legal circles that “patients” who use  “medical” marijuana for their own illnesses have never gone to jail.

Has anyone ever investigated how much the marijuana lobby pays “patients” to advertise and go on TV on behalf of medical marijuana?

The ad in Maryland claimed that Rep. Harris’ vote would result in sending Maryland’s patients to prison.  A voice said: “Congressman Andy Harris thinks it’s OK for medical marijuana patients to go to federal prison.” The ad was juxtaposed with the image of a 4-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy and his mother.

Since that time, both Harris and Wasserman Schultz have made made some concessions in how they vote for medical marijuana.  The industry must be congratulating itself.  

We need more politicians who are brave and who stand up to this political corruption to protect the children.  The bravery of Steve Cooley, Dwight Holton, Carmen Trutanich, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Andy Harris, and Linda Newell in Colorado, is much appreciated.

*The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment prohibits funds to the Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA) to be used for “medical” marijuana in states that have authorized state “medical” marijuana programs.