Category Archives: News Articles

The Real Reason Pot is Illegal is Not Simple

Some supporters of legalized marijuana say the opposition has a financial incentive.   Should we assume those who support marijuana legalization are only inspired by the idea of making money from it?  “Where Commerce Meets Revolution” was the title of the Cannabis Industry Association’s meeting in Denver June 24-25.

Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, blames drug laws for the incarceration of too many black men.  However, now she is blaming the middle-aged white men who stand to make all the money off of marijuana legalization.  (George Soros’ Open Society Foundations funded Alexander’s book. )   The marijuana industry which started as a hippie, outsider, counterculture idea is now a dream of the gray-suited businessmen.

On Sunday, July 6 The Nation printed an article entitled “The Real Reason Pot is Still Illegal,” which suggested that the national prevention and treatment groups want marijuana illegal simply because they are taking corporate donations and entering into partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.  (Soros’ Open Society Foundation also funds The Nation in part.  Since Soros believes in marijuana legalization, one wonders if groups who take his money are expected to advocate for his views.)

It is amazing that a journalist would analyze a story from only one perspective and not realize that all issues are multi-dimensional.   Previously, the same author, Lee Fang, had written an article about the money given to oppose marijuana legalization in Colorado, suggesting that most of it had come from a donor who was involved with a rehabilitation group which was operating more than 20 years ago.   The New York Times or Washington Post would not use 20-year old stories to discuss current issues.

CADCA Responds

The chairman of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA )sent a letter to its members to address the slanderous article.  In his words:

“The author compares prescription drugs, particularly opioid pain medications, and marijuana, suggesting that pharmaceutical companies are supporting our work because the medicalization of pot represents a threat to their bottom line. The author also suggests that CADCA is not doing enough to battle opioid abuse, because we receive some funding from pharmaceutical companies. In fact, just the opposite is the case – our funding from the industry allows us to help offset the costs of our two major training events and to develop a number of products and initiatives designed to prevent and reduce medicine abuse. In total, support from the over-the-counter and pharmaceutical medicine industries combined is less than 7 percent of CADCA’s revenue. CADCA believes that the industry has a responsibility to help address and mitigate the complex issues surrounding our nation’s tragic prescription drug abuse crisis.

However, CADCA’s positions are not influenced by any outside organization. CADCA takes its direction from our Board of Directors, our Coalition Advisory Committee, and our membership base. Each group has asked CADCA to provide community leaders with tools to address both medicine abuse and marijuana.

We believe prescription drug abuse is a major epidemic, a point for which we have been sounding the alarm since 2001. More than a decade ago, CADCA published its first prescription drug abuse prevention toolkit to help community leaders address this problem. Every October, we ask our coalitions and partners to join us in a solutions-oriented national dialogue about OTC and Rx drug abuse through National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.

In the Nation article, the reporter makes a bizarre leap, attempting to connect resources received from pharmaceutical companies to our efforts to reduce youth marijuana use. CADCA believes that the U.S. “experiment” with medical and retail marijuana is a grave concern, particularly in that these efforts will increase youth marijuana use, which is damaging to the adolescent brain. The fact is CADCA receives no outside funding to do our marijuana-related policy work.

The reporter conveniently failed to mention the extensive prescription drug abuse training CADCA provides or the significant policy work we do. Omitted from the article is mention of the times CADCA has testified at Congressional hearings about ways to comprehensively prevent prescription drug diversion, abuse and addiction, as well as the various instances CADCA has supported legislation aimed at reducing medicine abuse.

The title of this article alone tells you where the real agenda lies. Sadly, we know many of you have faced the same kind of attacks at the local level. We stand by our positions and our prevention work on both fronts. In this instance, we take this article as a badge of honor that what we are doing is right and is having an impact.”

Poppot’s Position

Since an epidemic of prescription pain pill abuse in the 21st century came from over-prescribing these medications, it is correct to address the problem and work on prevention.  CADCA, which works in communities, provides many ways to address the abuse of opioid pills.  We applaud the pharmaceutical industry for addressing pain-pill abuse, a problem that is an outgrowth of their business.  We don’t deny they want to make money, too.  We believe they have been more responsible than the marijuana industry.

Parents Opposed to Pot warns against becoming a culture of pain, and a culture of escapism, which can be caused by both marijuana and too many pain pills.

Parents Opposed to Pot believes that a legalized marijuana industry would prey on the most vulnerable–children, teens and minorities –while adding to the problem of addiction today.

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Marijuana Puts Education, Kids Futures at Risk

Heather Mizeur naively campaigned for the governorship of Maryland by supporting universal pre-Kindergarten and paying for it by legalizing marijuana.  Her support came from NORML and the marijuana industry.

What good does earlier education do for child welfare when you introduce a whole set of new problems?

Look at what is going on in Colorado and Washington, and the unusual types of child endangerment that have gone on with legalization.   Many very young children have gotten into marijuana edibles which look like cookies and candy.

“Encouraging marijuana commercialism and consumption to fund and support education are two inconsistent goals,” explained Diane Carlson, a co-founder of Bravetracks, a non-profit devoted to encouraging youth activity, employment and engagement in Colorado.  “Even before Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana, Denver, where marijuana was first commercialized, had some of the highest youth use rates in the nation,” she said.

“The THC content of marijuana is extremely potent with levels reaching 20% and above in Colorado, due to competition in the industry.  Highly potent pot has become incredibly commercialized here and yet our kids have been told it’s benign. Increased access and use is a huge issue for Colorado teens who have no idea how such highly potent products can impact their health and their futures,” according to Carlson.

Since legalization, the pot problem only seems to be getting worse. “Disturbingly, Colorado kids will suck on lollipops, chew on gummy bears, or munch on granola bars without anyone knowing highly potent marijuana is being consumed. They have ‘vaped’ on pens, asthma inhalers or highlighters loaded with a concentrated form of THC that can go undetected in class.”

One high-school teacher in Denver, who wishes to remain anonymous, exclaimed, “Our job is so difficult and there are so many challenges to educating kids well in the best circumstances.  She added, “So why did the state add this other layer of challenge to our jobs and make it harder for our students to achieve success?”

Marijuana Money

“Where Commerce Meets Revolution” is how the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) describes the Cannabis Business Summit held yesterday and today in Denver.  This title leaves no doubt that the MMP and other pot advocacy groups are about the money.

Amendment 64 passed in Colorado despite warnings of the teachers’ union and a persuasive letter from teacher Christina Blair to the Huffington Post.  It is probably because big money paid for the win in Colorado, with most of that money coming from the industry’s out-of-state lobbying groups.

One year later, by December 2013,  school administrators and law enforcement noticed the changes that came into the schools.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has warned the governors of other states not to follow Colorado’s example.

Revolutionary ideas grab attention, but Heather Mizeur didn’t win her primary.  She only promoted an idea which was heard all over the nation’s capital region.

Most likely the children who heard Mizeur’s TV commercials about marijuana will end up believing marijuana is completely harmless and could indeed be tied to education.

The pot industry regularly promotes it as a way to fund education.   It is an ironic that they would suggest a solution that only makes a problem worse.

Beware that many local candidates and representatives in Congress are taking money from the marijuana industry.   We need to watch out for the fallout from this “green rush.”  It could be worse than the mess left by the mortgage industry.

Marijuana and Teens

With the push to legalize and expansion of medical marijuana, children and teens have gained an erroneous perception that pot is harmless, studies show.  Surveys of teens indicate use would definitely go up, if marijuana is legalized.

According to David G. Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition,  “Studies indicate that usage will increase to levels near between those of tobacco and alcohol users.”   The annual survey show that all teen marijuana use, and daily marijuana use, have consistently gone up over the last five years.  As a nation and for our individual children, we need to be concerned.

There is a connection to regular marijuana usage, gaps in college education and dropping out of high school, which often hinders future success.  “Chronic/heavy marijuana users are twice as likely to experience gaps in college enrollment as minimal users, ” according to  Dr. Robert DuPont, Director of the Institute for Behavior and Health,  in Rockville, MD.

Marijuana use in the young often creates a-motivational syndrome and apathy, in addition to and apart from the affects of addiction.  It is not a way of saying “yes to life, yes to love, yes to opportunity and yes to education,” as recommended by the Pope Francis in a recent address at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

Dr. DuPont and Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, wrote an article to suggest that changing policy necessitates a large, multi-year study using technology that has developed over the past 2 decades.  The study would aim to understand more about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain.  Researchers at Northwestern University recently published their studies indicating the changes on specific parts of the brain, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written about some of those findings.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry gives  a warning about  marijuana and young minds:  “Marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent brain development, cognition, and social functioning may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.”

 

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Pot Industry Uses Deceptive Ads Without Protecting Kids

The medical marijuana industry doesn’t assure that expansion into more states will not include marketing marijuana products to children.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment,  which passed in the House of Representatives last week, may be considered in the Senate.  The provision takes away the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute medical marijuana distributors who endanger others.  If a similar amendment passes in the Senate, it could cripple the government’s ability to investigate in states with thriving medical marijuana industries.

Abuses by the medical pot industry have been rampant, particularly in western states.  Potent edibles come without warnings; businesses have located close to schools and day care centers, and pot has been diverted to other states.

The use of seductive names has promoted the allure of pot – making it a symbol of wellness, rather than coming with the typical warnings needed for tobacco, alcohol, other drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, the marijuana industry and their public relations campaign have misled voters by suggesting that CBD, one treatment for children with epilepsy, is the same as the medical marijuana used for stimulating appetite in cancer or AIDs patients, or for generalized pain.
Let’s cast a healthy doubt on any products whose promoters believe it to be a “wonder drug” or “elixir of the gods.”   Medical marijuana has expanded exponentially since 2009.  It’s available in 22 states, up from 13 states at the end of 2009.   A current medical publication summarized the problems coming with rapid medical marijuana expansion.

Pharmaceutical products require rigorous testing and similar standards have not been in place for the marijuana drug industry.  Most people only want medical marijuana available in pharmacies rather than through upstart ganja-preneurs, or the tobacco industry, according to surveys.

Pressure from an industry group, Americans for Safe Access, has resulted in a deceptive campaign which suggests that innocent citizens go to jail and that opposition to medi-pot industry’s expansion represents a lack of compassion.

The Television Ads

The well-funded lobby effort, “Vote Medical Marijuana,” is running 30-second TV spots on MSNBC in Maryland and South Florida, the homes of two of the members who voted “no” to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment— Republican Andy Harris and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Over the past two years, the marijuana lobby has consistently threatened politicians who don’t vote with them.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who represents Miami, Florida, is keenly aware of the determination of the illegal drug traders in that region.  A 30-second ad against her alleges that Wasserman Schultz wants medical marijuana users to go to federal prison, while 88 percent of Floridians support legalizing access. The same man’s voice asks whether Wasserman Schultz is “out of touch” with Florida, and an image flashes across the screen of an elderly man and his wife, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a fatal neurological disease.

(A  personal injury lawyer in Orlando, John Morgan, is funding a medical marijuana ballot vote in Florida, using $4 million of his own money to finance the initiative in November, 2014.)
We need to be aware that Americans for Safe Access is manipulating us and our children with deceptive suggestions.  The ad in Maryland claims that Rep. Harris’ vote on May 30th will result in sending Maryland’s patients to prison.  A voice says,  “Congressman Andy Harris thinks it’s OK for medical marijuana patients to go to federal prison, even though Maryland passed a medical marijuana bill in April. ” and then shows the image of a 4-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy and his mother.

Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America explains the problem and suggests a solution to assure that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is not considered in the Senate.    There’s  a simple form to notify your Senator of opposition.

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Edible Pot Tricks Children

In Colorado and California, marijuana entrepreneurs have used deceptive packaging which is enticing to youngsters.  Many candies look like children’s favorites, such Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Gummy Bears.  At least nine incidences of marijuana poisoning in children have occurred in Colorado this year.  The problem of pot candy is expanding to other states, as the word is out and a “ganja-preneurial” spirit spreads.

There’s a huge business behind pushing cookies, candies and edible forms of marijuana, considered to be safer than smoked or vaporized pot, but these products take longer to have an effect and often lead people to ingest larger amounts to get their “high.” Continue reading Edible Pot Tricks Children

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