Tag Archives: decriminalization

Poppot’s positions on Legalization/Decriminalization of Marijuana

Parents Opposed to Pot does not support the legalization of marijuana. Six years of marijuana commercialization in Colorado and Washington gives us informed perspective, and the policy of legalization failed at all levels. 

We believe that states that have legalized adult use of marijuana need to repeal it. The tax money does not make the social costs worth it. States with legalization break federal law, even if the federal government does not enforce the law.  Legalizing and commercializing marijuana should not be a states’ rights issue.

We do not take a position on decriminalization, but ask our supporters to explore the position statements of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and AALM (Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana) for education on this matter.

Is it ok to use pot?

We believe the message to youth must be that no amount of pot use is ok.  This message will save lives, preserve young brains, and lead to better short-term and long-term mental health. 

We strongly believe that use of marijuana is more dangerous than an arrest for marijuana. We acknowledge that damages from marijuana use on individuals are uneven and unpredictable.  Though the strength of the marijuana, the amount of use and starting age affect outcomes, no one can predict who will have a psychotic reaction from using it.  You do not need mental illness or addiction in the family to suffer extreme consequences from using marijuana.

We object to claims that marijuana is a “harmless herb,” “safer than alcohol,” or that it can be “regulated like alcohol.”  The industry targets youth through its advocacy in social media and advertising for marijuana.  The press fails at its duty to investigate false claims by the industry.  Drug education fails because it emphasizes harm reduction over primary prevention.

We don’t call people who use cannabis “criminals,” nor do we claim that people should go to jail if they use it.  There are all kinds of other variables that go into incarceration: plea bargaining down from other crimes; selling to youth; intent to sell, or if another person dies from drugs given or sold to them.  

 

Parents and children

We object strongly to any marijuana use by pregnant and lactating women. The medical evidence against its use, and potential for future damage to the children, are strong.

We strongly object to use of marijuana by parents who have children in the home, or by people in charge of minors.  Any marijuana use impairs judgement a great deal more than a glass of wine or beer, and the number of child abuse deaths related to marijuana use is staggering.

No age group is safe from the risks of this drug, which is not safer than alcohol or tobacco.  In fact, studies  show that: 1)the percentage of marijuana users who develop a cannabis use disorder is higher than the percentage of alcohol only users develop an alcohol use disorder.  2) Long-time heavy marijuana have more downward social mobility, job and relationship problems than long-time, heavy alcohol users. 

Social Justice Issues

Sometimes police have enforced laws against marijuana sporadically or arbitrarily, which leads to public confusion.

Legalizing drugs is the wrong way to address social justice problems. We acknowledge that arrests for this drug disproportionately affect black and brown youth.  In other words, blacks and Hispanics are arrested more frequently, relative to their rates of usage than whites. 

Inequities in our social justice system are not caused by drug laws and are not unique to drug laws.   

Problems of unequal justice should lead to criminal justice reform, not legalization of drugs.  Legalization enables more drugs, more drugs will cause more criminal behavior.  Other means of criminal justice reform are possible.

We don’t take a stand on expungement of records for marijuana, due to the great variation in states’ laws.

We need to rely on drug courts.  Until a different system is in place, drug courts can provide effective treatment for people with problematic drug use and no resources.  We concede that arresting people for possession of marijuana is not the best way to alert and educate the public about the true dangers of this drug.

Schedule I Designation

We believe marijuana must remain in a Schedule I classification, the same designation for heroin.  Schedule I is for drugs that have high potential for abuse. Several agencies of government reviewed the designation multiple times.  Scientists in these agencies keep coming to the same conclusion:  Marijuana is a Schedule I drug.

The schedule I category also stands for no acknowledged medical use.  For information, we recommend a recently-published medical book, Cannabis in Medicine, edited by Kenneth Finn, MD.  

Whole plant marijuana is not medicinal.  If components of the plant, or synthetic cannabinoids, are “medicinal,” the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) should make the determination. It must be regulated for purity, dosage and efficacy, and monitored by licensed medical doctors. For example, Epidiolex, a drug for seizures, went through FDA approval process and was approved to treat two types of childhood epilepsy.  

Because the industry avoids FDA approval, it’s harder to hold them accountable.  For example, many people who became sick or died from EVALI were using marijuana vapes for “medical” reasons.   We accuse many medical marijuana dispensaries of failing to warn their “patients” of the risks, such as driving under the influence of medical marijuana and causing traffic fatalities.

Contrary to popular belief, there are extensive studies on the medicinal properties of marijuana.

Normalization and promotion of drug use

Marijuana legalization contributes to the epidemic of addiction, because it normalizes the use of drugs.  Addiction today is mainly poly substance abuse.  We believe — in contrast to the Drug Policy Alliance — that it’s possible to have a rich and fulfilling life without drug use. Whether we’re children or adults, we’re better off if we negotiate the challenges of life without substance use.  Using the term “War on Drugs” is passe, since the government stopped using that term over a dozen years ago. 

(For more detail, please utilize the search function on this website, for example “drug policy,” “schedule I” “mental health,” etc.  We refer the public to a detailed article from USA Today for the problems presented by legalization. )

 

Pew Research Poll Reflects Views on Pot Decriminalization

Pew Research released a new poll from late August and early September that shows 57% of American voters favor marijuana legalization.  Based on the question and the article, the poll probably means that 57% of the voters favor marijuana decriminalization.   Next time the poll should be more specific in its meaning.  The same day this poll was released, a headline from the Cape Cod News in Massachusetts read: Support Scarce for Legal Pot.   There could not be a bigger difference in meaning  between these headlines.  Why the difference?

Despite this poll, all 5 states with ballots for marijuana legalization this November poll at less than 57% in favor of legalization.  There is a disparity between the survey question and legalization in practice. Legalization creates a new industry expected to make a lot of money for investors.   It is the reason that Weed Maps, ArcView group  and Soros-funded groups contribute to the ballots.  There’s a big difference between legalization and decriminalization.  Did those conducting the survey explain what legalization means?

prop-64s-money-trail
Since the Sacramento Bee made this chart, at least $10 million more has been raised by  California’s Yes on 64 campaign. With the business Weed Maps, MJ Freeway and George Soros funding so much, it’s obviously a good business venture.  George Soros gave at least $4 million.

 

Legalization creates commercial marijuana stores regulated by the state .   Administering and implementing it is very difficult to do.   Pot sales are taxed at various levels and earn some money.  But as Colorado marijuana director, Andrew Freedman said, it’s not worth legalizing for the benefit of tax revenues.

When presented with facts, voters are skeptical of commercialization and don’t want more impaired drivers.  The cost of regulation is  high.   On October 1 in Colorado, new rules began.  and the packaging must make it more difficult for children to access. Gummy candies in the shape of animals are now forbidden. The number of hospitalizations and overdose deaths from marijuana edibles which make up nearly 50% of the market necessitated these changes.

Opting out of commercial pot is very tough, too.  Dealing with inconsiderate neighbors who grow a lot of pot plants is difficult.  In Colorado, city governments are often greedy for tax money while residents say no to pot.  When voters want to ban dispensaries, other forces such as the marijuana industry fight them.    It’s one of the reasons Colorado now has buyer’s remorse. map-of-colorado

Why Marijuana Decriminalization ?

Decriminalization means that marijuana is not treated as a crime but as a mistake; offenders are charged with a small fine, like a speeding ticket.   In legal terms, it’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.  The marijuana lobbyists have successfully convinced Americans that large numbers of people go to jail for marijuana possession only.

The only people who go to jail for marijuana possession charges have committed other crimes and have plea bargained to get convicted of lesser charges.   Other crimes include drug dealing, transportation of drugs or possession of a large amount of drugs that indicates intent to sell.  Selling drugs is not a victimless crime.

Marijuana lobbyists omit information about drug courts which allows users an alternative and provides addiction treatment.

The reason that marijuana possession is a felony crime in some states is so that it can be used as evidence to convict when there are more serious crimes.  Drugs and drug paraphernalia become supporting evidence when other crimes may be harder to prove.

How are Minorities Really Affected by Drug Laws?

JudgeBurnett,Kathy,Ambrose2
Judge Arthur Burnett with other anti-marijuana activists who spoke out against legalization in Washington, DC,  in September, 2014

Minorities have the most to lose by using marijuana.  Daily or near daily use of marijuana by teens nearly doubles the risk of dropping out of high school.   Dropping out of high school makes future education and job prospects dim.  Furthermore, a study of long-term marijuana users in New Zealand over a 25-year period found an average 7-point drop in IQ by age 38.   People who complain that this study did not adjust for IQ differences as reflected by socio-economic class should realize that IQ differences resulting from socio-economic factors are in play seen before age 13, when participants first entered the study.

A recent study from UC Davis showed how chronic marijuana users faced more downward mobility than chronic alcohol users.  In the US, the disproportionate arrest of minorities may reflect concern about dropping out of school and what that means for the future. The higher conviction rate for minorities is probably a reflection of income disparity and poverty.  A disproportionate number of black and Hispanic drug dealers go to jail.   Minorities are less likely to be able to afford the legal fees that allow wealthy white drug dealers to get less time in jail or wiggle their way out of going to jail.  Justice reform should not be centered on legalizing drugs, but on giving minorities better legal representation.

Retired Judge Arthur Burnett, National Executive Director of the National African-American Drug Policy Coalition, says that  African-American communities already suffer from a liquor store on every corner. Black voters know commercial marijuana would prey on their communities at a much higher rate.  “Do we really want to substitute mass incapacitation for mass incarceration?” he asked.

There’s a strong misconception that people go to jail just for having a joint.   (The threat of jail is not the reason to tell kids not to use pot, but defense of your brain is!)   There’s also a misconception that inequities in the justice system would be solved by legalization.

Maybe next time Pew Research present the polls with a bunch of different options between decriminalization, allowing home grows only or commercialization.   Or Pew Research should a better job at explaining what they mean by legalization.

Marijuana, GMO Lobbyists Pour Money into Oregon

(Second in a series on Oregon) Measure 91 to tax and regulate marijuana is not so much a vote about legalizing marijuana as it is a vote to commercialize it.   Oregon decriminalized marijuana in 1973!

“Commercialization’s goal is to privatize profit and socialize the costs,” explained one of our members in Colorado.

“Marijuana legalization rakes in another $800,000 from big out-of-state donors” was the headline in today’s Oregonian.  The money will fund a $2.3 million advertising campaign.

As of October 17, the out-of-state PACs and donors have given over $4 million — 24 x the amount Vote No on 91 has raised.  Yes on 91 asks Oregonians to expand its pot industry and allow recreational pot shops. — quite a stretch for the only coastal state that doesn’t commercialize its beaches.  (Medical marijuana sellers who recruit so-called patients along Venice beach in California wouldn’t find it as easy in Oregon.)

No on 91 is led by conviction, not money.  As the Register-Guard reports, almost all of its money is from in-state, and there’s a large group of volunteers.  Oregon residents and voters tend to be independent and less corporate, so they may not follow the pack.

Moms Against 91 held a press conference in  on Friday, October 17, in Oswego Lake
Moms Against 91 held a press conference in on Friday, October 17, in Lake Oswego, OR

Big Money Pushes Legalization Ballot; Monsanto Gives to GMO Opposition

Vote No on 91 has received most of its $168,200 from in-state sources.  (Oregon has another ballot issue that is also being watched nationwide, Measure 92, which would require labels on genetically-modified (GMO) foods.  Wealthy donors and corporate interests from both sides of that issue have donated millions.   Most recently, Monsanto gave 2.5 million in opposition to Measure 92.   Oregon Right to Know, in favor of Measure 92, has raised over $5.4 million, while the opposition has raised $15 million.  Dr. Mercola, Ben & Gerry’s Ice Cream are amongst the supporters. )

Unlike the GMO issue, the forces against marijuana legalization have no corporate donors.   Marijuana legalization advocates often claim that pharmaceutical companies fuel the opposition to legalization.  It’s a false notion, because the opposition comes from the public, the prevention community and parents.

Most of the money to fund marijuana originates in the deep pockets of hedge fund billionaire George Soros, donor of Drug Policy Action, and the family of Progressive Insurance founder, Peter Lewis.  Mr. Lewis died in November, but his children have continued the donations. They aren’t Oregon residents.

From Ballotpedia the Top 5 contributors:

Donor Amount
Drug Policy Action $1,350,000
New Approach PAC $950,000
New Approach Oregon $700,000
Drug Policy Action Fund for Oregon $240,000
Philip Harvey $150,000

While Oregon’s 2 gubernatorial candidates, Gov. John Kitzenhaber and Dennis Richardson , support GMO labels, they adamantly oppose Measure 91.  Gov. Kitzenhaber is a physician.

Thinking people of Oregon, please think deeply about this issue.