Tag Archives: Alcohol

Lies and propaganda designed to get full marijuana legalization

These claims aren’t based on fact, but they’re propaganda points commonly used to get public support for legalization.

  • Marijuana needs to be rescheduled in order to explore its medical properties. (The National Academy of Medicine Report of 2017 considered at 10,000 scientific abstracts to reach 100 conclusions.  There’s no shortage of research studies on marijuana.)
  • Marijuana is safer than alcohol. (The risks of marijuana use are somewhat different from those of alcohol. Seth Leibsohn’s article, When a Lie Travels, demonstrates why it’s inappropriate to compare these two substances.  Both are dangerous, but marijuana is far more toxic to the brain than alcohol. Keeping marijuana illegal keeps usage down which is a form of “harm reduction.”)

Strangely, pot advocates often talk about the dangers of alcohol as a reason to legalize marijuana.

  • Millions of people are in jail for possessing small amounts of marijuana. (The number of people in federal and state prisons for minor marijuana infractions is less than 1%. There is truth to the claim that blacks and Hispanics are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. True before and after legalization, this issue cannot be resolved by legalization and it isn’t limited to drug policy.)

Not good substitute for opioids

  • Legalizing marijuana frees police to concentrate on more serious crimes. (FBI data from the first four states to legalize, Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, shows that crime increases significantly after legalization. Those four states had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults in 2013. In 2018, they had almost 620 murders and 38,000 aggravated assaults—an increase of 37 percent for murders and 25 percent for aggravated assaults, far greater than the national increase.
  • Regulation works. (Despite the fact that states have costly regulatory bodies, much dispensary marijuana is tainted with mold, fungus and pesticides.  Some of the vaping illnesses and deaths can be traced to legal, regulated marijuana stores. In other words, it’s not only bootleg marijuana vapes that are causing deaths.)

Not a tax windfall

  • Legalized marijuana brings billions of tax dollars into the states that have legalized. (In all the states that have legalized, marijuana tax money represents less than 1% of state revenue.  We don’t have detailed analysis of the social costs: crashes, traffic deaths, butane hash oil explosions, mental health and emergency room costs related to cannabis.)  States that have legalized faced a huge increase in homelessness.
  • People do not drive better under the influence of marijuana, as pot advocates claim. (Traffic deaths rose in the first states to legalize marijuana. Although data is preliminary, insurance company statistics suggest this outcome, too.  Mixing marijuana and alcohol, and multi-drug impairment is a rising problem that coincides with marijuana legalization. Drugged driving surpassed drunk driving as a cause of traffic deaths a few years ago. Marijuana is the number one drug associated with drugged driving.)
  • Marijuana isn’t addictive. (Roughly 30% of regular marijuana users in the US are classified as having a cannabis use disorder, versus 10-20% of alcohol users.  A study from UC Davis found that adults dependent on cannabis had more financial and social problems than those dependent on alcohol. Addiction studies show that 9% of adult users and 17% of those who begin pot use as adolescents become addicted. These statistics come from the last century and don’t account for today’s high potency cannabis.)

The most devious lie

  • Marijuana never killed anyone.  The most pernicious lie is that marijuana never killed anyone, which advocates repeat because marijuana doesn’t cause overdose deaths by crossing the blood-brain barrier.  (In addition to those killed by marijuana-impaired drivers, we have a long list of those whose marijuana use caused mental illness and led to other drugs or suicide.  Young people have also died from cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, heart arrhythmia and from vaping marijuana. Not to mention when people do foolish and stupid things when under the influence, causing accidental death.)

When asked in polls, about 65% of the people claim to favor legalization, but these polls don’t ask about decriminalization.   When polls ask about decriminalization, the answers change.

The Drug Policy Alliance, an organization at the forefront of drug policy reform, pushes for the legalization of all drugs.

Alcohol and Marijuana together Magnifies Driving Difficulties

Mixing Alcohol and Marijuana Amplifies THC in the System

Three news stories exemplify the tragic results of mixing alcohol and marijuana before getting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  Most recently, a suspected-DUI driver crashed into a California Highway patrolman in a parked vehicle on Christmas Eve.  Andrew Camilleri, 33, died instantly.  He left behind a wife and three children. Continue reading Alcohol and Marijuana together Magnifies Driving Difficulties

Time to get mad, change attitudes about stoned driving, part 2

Read Part I: Time to get mad about stoned driving.  The next step is to change attitudes about stoned driving.

Marijuana Policy Project promoted marijuana as an alternative to alcohol in the 2012 campaign to legalize pot in Colorado.  However, the recent Rocky Mountain HIDTA Report revealed the overlap between those who use marijuana and drink before driving.   It’s not a substitution, but an adjunct to alcohol.  The alcohol industry has been selling more since legalization. Continue reading Time to get mad, change attitudes about stoned driving, part 2

Marijuana and Other Drugs: A Link We Can’t Ignore

by SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)   Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s 2017 publication references academic studies which suggest that marijuana primes the brain for other types of drug usage.  Here’s the summary on that subject from page 4, Marijuana and Other Drugs: A Link We Can’t Ignore :

MORE THAN FOUR in 10 people who ever use marijuana will go on to use other illicit drugs, per a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.(1) The CDC also says that marijuana users are three times more likely to become addicted to heroin.(2)

Although 92% of heroin users first used marijuana before going to heroin, less than half used painkillers before going to heroin.

And according to the seminal 2017 National Academy of Sciences report, “There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of substance dependence and/or a substance abuse disorder for substances including alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs.”(3)

RECENT STUDIES WITH animals also indicate that marijuana use is connected to use and abuse of other drugs. A 2007 Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology study found that rats given THC later self administered heroin as adults, and increased their heroin usage, while those rats that had not been treated with THC maintained a steady level of heroin intake.(4) Another 2014 study found that adolescent THC exposure in rats seemed to change the rodents’ brains, as they subsequently displayed “heroin-seeking” behavior. Youth marijuana use could thus lead to “increased vulnerability to drug relapse in adulthood.”(5)

National Institutes of Health Report

The National Institutes of Health says that research in this area is “consistent with animal experiments showing THC’s ability to ‘prime’ the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs. For example, rats previously administered THC show heightened behavioral response not only when further exposed to THC, but also when exposed to other drugs such as morphine—a phenomenon called cross-sensitization.”(6)

Suggestions that one addictive substance replaces another ignores the problem of polysubstance abuse, the common addiction of today.

ADDITIONALLY, THE MAJORITY of studies find that marijuana users are often polysubstance users, despite a few studies finding limited evidence that some people substitute marijuana for opiate medication. That is, people generally do not substitute marijuana for other drugs. Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences report found that “with regard to opioids, cannabis use predicted continued opioid prescriptions 1 year after injury.  Finally, cannabis use was associated with reduced odds of achieving abstinence from alcohol, cocaine, or polysubstance use after inpatient hospitalization and treatment for substance use disorders” [emphasis added].(7)

Moreover, a three-year 2016 study of adults also found that marijuana compounds problems with alcohol. Those who reported marijuana use during the first wave of the survey were more likely than adults who did not use marijuana to develop an alcohol use disorder within three years.(8) Similarly, alcohol consumption in Colorado has increased slightly since legalization. (9)

Data on Marijuana Policy for 2017

Here’s the complete Data on Marijuana Policy for 2017 in pdf form.

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Secades-Villa R, Garcia-Rodríguez O, Jin CJ, Wang S, Blanco C Probability and predictors of the cannabis gateway effect: a national study. Int J Drug Policy. 2015;26(2):135-142

2. Centers for Disease Control. Today’s heroin epidemic Infographics more people at risk, multiple drugs abused. CDC, 7 July 2015.

3. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health andPublic Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda (“2017 NAS Report”).

4. Ellgren, Maria et al. “Adolescent Cannabis Exposure Alters Opiate Intake and Opioid Limbic Neuronal Populations in Adult Rats.”Neuropsychopharmacology 32.3 (2006): 607–615.

5. Stropponi, Serena et al. Chronic THC during adolescence increases the vulnerability to stress-induced relapse to heroin seeking in adult rats. European Neuropsychopharmacology Volume 24 , Issue 7 (2014), 1037 – 1045.

6. “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Jan. 2017. See also Panlilio LV, Zanettini C, Barnes C, Solinas M, Goldberg SR. Prior exposure to THC increases the addictive effects of nicotine in rats. Neuropsychopharmacol Off Publ Am Coll Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013;38(7):1198-1208; Cadoni C, Pisanu A, Solinas M, Acquas E, Di Chiara G. Behavioural sensitization after repeated exposure to Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cross-sensitization with morphine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;158(3):259-266.

7.  2017 NAS report.

8.  Weinberger AH, Platt J, Goodwin RD. Is cannabis use associated with an increased risk of onset and persistence of alcohol use disorders? A three-year prospective study among adults in the United States. Drug Alcohol Depend. February 2016.

This is the second recent article on the gateway effects of marijuana use.   Since marijuana has already primed the brains of most people who get addicted to opioids, marijuana cannot replace pain pills.