Category Archives: Editorial

Letter to the Editor: Prohibition Works

Pamela McColl, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia.  This letter, “Prohibition Works,” was first published in The Province, June 28, 2017.

In 1978, 10.7 per cent of U.S. high school students smoked cannabis every day. Survey data shows that marijuana use peaked in 1979 and was followed by a period of dramatic decline until 1992, when the rate of high school students who smoked pot daily dropped below two per cent.

Between 1979 and 1991, a huge prevention campaign in North America coincided with the dramatic decrease in drug use. Parents, teachers, police, youth leaders, social workers, churches and the children themselves all got involved. It worked. Users fell from 23 million to 14 million, cannabis and cocaine use halved and daily pot use dropped by 75 per cent.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that prohibition works either doesn’t know, or doesn’t remember, the rise and fall of drug use in the 1980s, and what it took to turn kids off the use of drugs.

Editor’s Note: Another success story was getting rid of Quaaludes, a scourge on American youth at the same time. By 1984, the DEA successfully stopped the worldwide production of Quaaludes.

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Press Needs to be More Honest about Marijuana

Parents Opposed to Pot calls on the Press to be more transparent in reporting the dangers and damage of marijuana.

Shortly after the Times Square incident, in which the driver was high on marijuana, German Lopez of Vox wrote an article calling for more attention to be focused on drunk driving.   One 18-year-old woman died and 22 more people were injured on May 18.  It was a terrifying incident, and the driver acted like a madman.  He was later sorry for the incident.  (Photo above is from CNN)

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt correctly reported that the driver admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.

Toxicology reports said the driver tested negative for alcohol, but positive for drugs.  Some news sources suggested he was high on marijuana laced with PCP.  Other news sources said he “smoked” something, “synthetic marijuana” or K2 Spice, or just PCP.

When there are psychotic rants and when “demons” or “voices” tell a person to do it, it’s more often drugged than drunken behavior.  Marijuana, particularly the super strong strains available today, is a drug likely to do that to someone.

Vox later corrected the story to say drugs, not alcohol caused the accident.  Vox never admitted that that marijuana was the drug.  When will there be a follow-up article, listing a litany of problems caused by driving under the influence of marijuana or drugs?  MRC reports that German Lopez has written more than 30 articles in favor of marijuana.

The website Lopez works for, Vox, puts up strange video with simplistic statements about marijuana.  However, it starts with the supposition that Congress had no business making marijuana a Schedule I drug.  Narrator Ezra Klein uses the slick film compare marijuana to alcohol.  Yes, alcohol is dangerous and brings out anger and can cause toxic overdose. But the risky behaviors from pot are very different.

Vox should remove this video from the Internet and apologize for posting misleading information. There are certainly people who will drive impaired after having seen the video.   The severe mental health risks of using marijuana for a short period of time are not a parallel with alcohol use.

Other Cases of Marijuana Psychosis

About five years ago, a man was eating the face of a homeless man in Florida.  Reporters thought the man was under the influence of Bath Salts.   However, tests showed that he only had marijuana in his system.

On May 9, a man high on marijuana was going 100 mph and killed another man in Nevada.  The driver denies that he was responsible but says car was taken over by demons.

Also in Nevada, Lekeisha Holloway, a woman from Oregon who drove into a crowd in Las Vegas, was high on marijuana at the time.

Impairment by marijuana is much more likely to bring out the crazy, psychotic rants like happened on Times Square or in the MAX train in Portland.   Impairment by pot also caused one of the most dangerous train crashes in American history in 1988.   Fourteen people died when both the Conrail engineer and his brakeman were stoned.

Press Ignores Truth

Why does much of the Press, including Voxdotcom, think that wisdom from past experience is irrelevant?  If some Vox and other news sources don’t stop the exaggerations about pot, they will lose all credibility for reporting on other issues.

Ariana Huffington was made part of the Honorary Board of Drug Policy Alliance, a reason that news service publishes many pro-pot articles.  Readers need to be skeptical of anything that Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post writes about marijuana, as he is very biased.  He used to work for the Brookings Institution which gave up its independent stance in order to take money from Peter Lewis.  Lewis’ money was earmarked to support legalization of marijuana.

It could be that newspapers are hoping that marijuana businesses could bring in new sources of advertising money and boost their bottom lines.  However, there’s recent news that The Cannabist at the Denver Post had to lay off its ad sales staff.

Why is there such fear in bringing up the truth about marijuana which can lead to psychosis in some individuals?  Reactions to marijuana vary from person to person. They also vary from how much, how strong the pot is and how young the person is when they start using the drug.  Today’s pot is extremely strong and people who tolerated pot 30 years ago may have great difficulty withstanding the pot of today.

 

 

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Marijuana Legalization Policy Prioritizes Profit over Human Life

Callous Disregard for Human Life in Pursuit of Profit and Getting Stoned

In California, a mother will soon go on trial for the drunk driving crash that killed her daughter and daughter’s friend.  The girls were skateboarding on a rural road in Humboldt County when a vehicle hit them.  Toxicology reports revealed that the 14-year-old girls had THC in their blood.  Marci Kitchen allegedly fled the scene of the accident on July 12, 2016 and tried to get rid of the pot in the car.  A judge has called for a jury to decide if she’s guilty of drunk driving and homicide.

In Washington, a man high on marijuana killed  policeman Jake Gutierrez. He was holding his 6-year-old daughter while in a standoff with multiple police that lasted 10 hours.  The perpetrator claimed  to be a sheriff named “Zeus.”   Bruce Randall Johnson, 38, had been unraveling for weeks before police fired the shots that killed him.   “A regular marijuana user, he’d been smoking more lately,” according to KIRO 7. The autopsy revealed:  “Johnson’s body weighed in at a spindly 104 pounds. He had no drugs in his system, apart from high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Left to right–Marijuana Victims Brandon Powell (Oregon), Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas (California) and Jake Gutierrez (Washington)

In March, Brandon Powell, an 18-year-old, went psychotic after smoking marijuana “dabs ” in Estacada, Oregon.  He left home barefoot in pajama bottoms and went missing until found dead in a river earlier this month.  Also in Estacada last weekend, a man carried a severed head into a convenience store and stabbed a store clerk.  The incident happened after a woman was reported dead in her home.  She was the mother of 36-year-old Joshua Lee Webb who has been connected to the crime.   He allegedly killed his mother first.  Nothing in reports links the killing to marijuana.

West Coast Problem Becoming a National Problem

States that legalize pot promote a substance which can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems.  Most of these hideous, vicious stories occurred on the West Coast of Weed.

It might be easy to pass judgment on people like Marci Kitchen and Bruce Johnson, but what about state policy that normalizes marijuana use?  Kitchen grew pot beside her garage, but she lives in a county where everyone does it.

Marijuana madness is spreading throughout the country.  In Massachusetts, two teens smoked marijuana together before one murdered and decapitated his  classmate.  In Texas,  Davie Dauzat murdered his wife after they had smoked marijuana together last August.  He said it was in a “battle between good and evil.”

Murders under the influence of marijuana often happen because the perpetrators become psychotic and hallucinate.

In Wisconsin recently, a mother murdered her toddler after smoking pot.   In West Virginia, the “Pretty Little Killers” planned and killed a friend under the influence of marijuana.    It is easy to judge and condemn the perpetrators of violent crimes, but what of the culture that promotes marijuana?  What of the culture that tells 14-year-olds it’s ok to get stoned and go skateboarding?

Profit Before People Drives the Legalization Ballots

Marijuana-induced insanity is recognized in every part of the world except North America.  It appears that the United States and Canada prioritize profit over mental health, safety and human life.   Voters pass these ballots even though there is no definitive, reliable test to detect stoned drivers, as there is for drunk drivers.

Legislative analysis for California Proposition 64 was written to emphasize that the state could earn 1 billion dollars annually.

The California government obviously thinks the tax money the state can earn from intoxication and addiction is the highest priority.  The opening statement on the ballot to legalize marijuana used profit as motivating reason to legalize. That’s government motivated by preying on its own people. The press is guilty of the same mentality that emphasizes profits over human costs.

Press Ignored Child Abuse Deaths in Colorado; Will Cover-up Continue?

When marijuana stores opened in Colorado in January 2014,  a toddler died in a fire while his parents smoked pot in another room.  The mother was a medical marijuana cardholder, and the press should have covered the incident.  During the same month another mother  who smoked pot while her two sons died of carbon monoxide poisoning went on trial.  These stories were in the local Press, but did not make national news.

According to NBC News, the driver who rammed into crowds in Times Square yesterday admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.  He killed an 18-year-old girl and injured 22 others.  Condolences to the heart-broken family of Alyssa Elsman.  Other news services reported “he smoked something” or  “mind-altering drug” or “synthetic marijuana.”  Are they covering up behalf of the pot industry?   Like the New York Times, do they want to legalize marijuana and try to downplay the bad news about pot?

In Oregon last fall, a driver smoked pot, went psychotic and deliberately killed a construction worker.  

When stoners argue in favor of legalization, they use the deaths caused by alcohol to promote their cause.  The truth is that neither drunk driving nor stoned driving should be tolerated.  But marijuana has more of a propensity to cause madness and psychosis.  National policy which refuses to warn the public, along with states that promote a dangerous drug industry,  share the blame for deaths.

No state successfully regulates to keep potent marijuana extracts — as used by Brandon Powell — away from teens.  Those who value  profit and tax money over people claim legalization is  successful.    Sadly, profit over human life is becoming the American way.

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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.

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