Tag Archives: Portland

Marijuana Legalization and Heightened Violence in Portland

The city of Portland has been plagued with nightly violence, arson and attacks on police for three months. Last month Portland experienced the highest homicide rate in one month in the last 30 years.  In fact, in each month except March, the number of shootings exceeded the previous year’s rate for that month.

How does one explain extreme changes in the city over 5 years?   How much does the explosion of new marijuana stores fuel the current violence in Portland?  Oregon opened commercial “recreational” marijuana stores in July 2015, and now Portland boasts 304 licensed marijuana shops.

Obviously there’s much going on that does not concern Black Lives Matter in this city that is 6 % African American and 77 % white.  While COVID-19 frustrations and concern over the treatment of African Americans may have started the protests, a different force fuels nightly crimes.  Anti-police sentiment runs strong, but the current violence has nothing to do with the right to protest and free speech. 

Could the anti-police protests be associated with cannabis use among young adults in that city? Negative effects of marijuana include irrational fears (paranoia), impaired judgement, delusional thinking, and aggressive or violent behavior. Remember how San Francisco’s Summer of Love came to a very bad end back in 1967?  History often repeats itself.

Defunding the police

In June, Portland’s mayor announced the city would stop using its marijuana tax revenue to fund police. The cannabis industry association requested the defunding, objecting that $2 million in the city’s marijuana tax goes to the police.

The first unit to go was the gun violence reduction unit.  Portland’s fiscal year began July 1, so it’s easy to measure the outcome of disbanding the gun violence reduction unit. There were 99 shootings in July, resulting in 15 deaths. August looks to be much the same, now that people 8 people were shot in the last week

The mayor and city council decided to reduce the police budget specifically by defunding three specific units.  As schools begin, Portland’s high schools will no longer use the police department’s school resource officers.   Then in January, the police department will no longer patrol the transit system.  As city officials give into demands of the rioters, the more the rioters mock and take advantage of them.

Portland police union president Darryl Turner called getting rid of the gun violence reduction team “a big mistake” that would threaten the safety of residents.  Last week, rioters set the police union building in North Portland on fire. 

Protestors burning a pig head, their symbol for police.

Portland residents Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein explain their views of what’s happening in a series of podcasts, the Dark Horse Podcast. Only a tiny proportion of Portlanders agree with the defunding policy, but the rioters win.  Seattle, another city full of pot shops, is also defunding its police, but a petition to refund the police gathered over 200,000 signatures

Marijuana stores busier and pot shop thefts explode

Cannabis sales have gone up 20% since March. Furthermore, 60 weed store thefts have occurred since May.  Really? Weed was supposed to make people mellow, or so they claim. 

From this article, Weed Robbery Spree Strikes Portland: Joe Russo, who co-owns a cannabis distribution company, says the sales increase makes sense. People are working less [coronavirus related job loss] and many are getting generous unemployment benefits.

“It makes sense that recreational vices are picking up,” Russo says.

Police officers speak up

Is it possible that Portland’s violent protestors deliberately loot the purveyors of their favorite drug? Are these nightly rages against the federal courthouse drug-fueled rampages? We submit the following evidence to the court of public opinion.

This below video is a press conference with some of the front lines police officers giving their perspective. The first to speak is Sargent Brent Maxey, who described a nightmarish attack on his Central Police Precinct building, and the civilian workers inside. Maxey says:

“It got to the point where they were throwing burning material into the lobby through the gaps in the windows, and blowing marijuana smoke, it was almost like a scene out of a horror movie. It was really unnerving…they had removed all the plywood, they had disabled all the exterior cameras, they started coming at the windows with hammers, they had removed some 2×4 lumber and were smashing at the windows of the precinct at what I believe was a sincere effort to get inside… by words and actions their intent was to harm us and essentially burn down the building…”.

–from Police on Portland Protests video, below
https://youtu.be/wMe2hou_sgE

Officer Rehanna Kerriage describes many of the calls received by the downtown Portland precinct:

“consist of livability issues: camping issues, mental health, drug issues, some shootings, stabbings, protest related issues and defending police property.”

–from Police on Portland Protests video, above

We know that many drug users end up homeless and living on the street (camping issues) with deteriorating mental health issues. 

Homelessness is up, too.

The homelessness population has completely changed since 2014.  Back then, it wasn’t even noticeable.  Are people moving to the city because of the weed and then becoming homeless?

A drug legalization lobby, spearheaded by Drug Policy Alliance, aggressively demonizes law enforcement with oft-used phrases such as, “war on drugs,” “mass incarceration,” “militarized police force,” “low level drug crimes.”  Their game is to make the public believe that possession of drugs, rather than crimes committed while on drugs, lands people in jail. This year, the Drug Policy Alliance donated nearly $ 2.5 million for a ballot to decriminalize all drugs in Oregon.  Drug Policy Alliance, a Soros-funded group, gave most of the $ 9.2 million used for Measure 91, the ballot to legalize pot, back in 2014.

Marijuana use is a frequent element of these mass protests the “Chaz/Chop zone” in Seattle, the Ferguson protests and the attack on the Central Portland Precinct.  While it may be scientifically difficult to associate marijuana use to the mob violence breaking out in several cities, it is still important to observe and pinpoint what role marijuana use plays as a root cause of the violence.

Cannabis’ negative effects can promote some of the behaviors we witness in the triggering incidents and the follow-on protests and riots. Among those are, resisting arrest, confusing fact with fiction, attractions to violent ideologies, mood disorders, paranoia and psychosis, violent outbursts.  Jeremy Christian, who committed the violent knife attack on a Portland train three years ago, was a cannabis fanatic.

For more information about cannabis related violence, see Think Ya Know? Is Marijuana a Risk Factor for Violence? Or, read Alex Berenson’s book, Tell Your Children the Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence.

Sargent Brent Maxey gave a longer interview to a local Portland reporter. Check it out, I Want People to Know the Truth – A Police Officer’s Perspective on the Portland Protests.

Libby Stuyt at Oregon Mental Health and Law Conference

(An advisor to Parents Opposed to Pot, Dr. Libby Stuyt, an addictions psychiatrist in Colorado, spoke at the Oregon Mental Health and the Law Conference in Portland.  The Mental Health Association of Portland published a blog about it on August 13.) Here it is:

Libby Stuyt, MD spoke at the Oregon Health Forum with Drs. Esther Choo of OHSU and Katrina Hedberg who is the State Epidemiologist and State Health Officer at the Oregon Public Health Division, and at the Oregon Law & Mental Health Conference in June 2017 on the unintended consequences of marijuana legalization. Continue reading Libby Stuyt at Oregon Mental Health and Law Conference

The Killing of the Portlandia Paradise

What Does it Take to Admit the Failures of Legalizing Pot?

The explosion began on North Kerby Avenue, Portland on Monday afternoon. Two men died. The Oregonian/Oregonlive published these photos which were courtesy of the public, Samantha Matsumoto and Olivia Dimmer.

This past week a butane explosion rocked a North Portland neighborhood killing two men, the home owner and a man working on the home. The force of the explosion was so great that it leveled the home, damaged the two adjacent homes and threw debris across the street into a park where children were playing.  When will Oregonians say “Enough is enough”? Legalization may not have caused this deadly incident, but it sure did contribute to it.

Oregon’s beautiful city, Portland, gained fame through the TV series Portlandia.  People are nice and the drivers are generally more polite there.  Although most major cities saw declines in real estate values during the recession, Portland’s real estate values rose very high.  With its food culture, microbreweries and movie theaters, Portland has become the place “young people go to retire.”   How long will the reputation last? 

Marijuana labs — sometimes called hash oil labs or BHO labs — were exploding before legalization, but the problem grew bigger after marijuana possession became legal in July 2015.  The number of burn victims rose from 7 to 30 within a year.  Today marijuana users can buy  “wax” or “dabs” from licensed dispensaries, but it is cheaper to make at home using butane.   Unlicensed chemists who run the marijuana labs may be trying to sell their own supply to undercut the legal market.   Or they be so addicted that risking death is not enough to stop them.

(Washington and Colorado outlawed the BHO labs after legalization; Oregon and California passed laws against the practice before legalizing weed.  Since those laws aren’t working, some places in California are banning the sale of butane.)

What about mental health care? 

The Vermont legislature failed to legalize pot this year.  Vermont’s savvy governor probably recognized the need for more mental health care before legalizing a substance that assaults the brain.  Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who makes mental health care his mission, had been warning of this problem.  Oregon illustrates the problem of not having a rock solid, foolproof mental health care system in place before legalizing marijuana.

 

This photo comes from an article in The Portland Mercury. 

Twice this year, psychotic stoners brought knives onto the public transportation in Portland and terrified the public.  On May 26, Jeremy Christian killed two men who were defending the Muslim women he was attacking.  He had declared his love for cannabis on Facebook.  Christian’s behavior was consistent with marijuana-induced psychosis.

On May 10, a 24-year-old in a mental health crisis terrified a group of people on the train, including a 17-year-old.   Unfortunately a policeman shot Terrell Johnson to death.  An investigation has cleared the officer of wrongdoing.  Johnson began smoking pot at age 12 or 13.  He was a healthy, “normal” young guy before THC assaulted his brain.   The police officer had no choice when the guy pursued him.  Anthony Bonofiglio, a man on a train the night before the final incident, described Johnson’s bizarre behavior in the police report.  Johnson was in full-blown psychosis!   His toxicology report revealed marijuana and a small amount of alcohol.

Psychosis is not a condition that the brain can just snap out of once it’s triggered.  A hospital in the state of Washington gets one or two new psychosis patients every day.  The medical staff at Providence St. Peter’s in Olympia stabilizes the patients with a drug Risperdal to stop the psychosis.  It’s a temporary treatment which doesn’t solve the problem.

Other Accidents and Lawsuits in Portlandia

Elizabeth Kemble was the first victim of a stoned driver after recreational pot shops opened in October, 2015. Photo: The Oregonian

A stoned driver killed pedestrian Elizabeth Kemble within a week of the opening of commercial pot stores.  Two months later, a driver high on pot killed bicyclist Martin Greenough in Portland.  His family is suing the city of Portland.   Furthermore, a construction worker who was burned in a hash oil explosion at a legal marijuana facility in Oregon is suing also.  The District Attorney of Clatsop County Oregon, Josh Marquis, warned ahead of time that only the lawyers would benefit from legalization.

Marijuana is already popular and adults have a right to do what they want with their bodies.  These popular arguments reveal how little our society cares about the young, mostly males, who go psychotic from marijuana.  If they die or lose their minds, it was their choice to use substances, the legalizers say.

On the other hand, how long can we persist in ignoring the rights of others who are affected by this failed experiment?  Marijuana labs do affect the neighbors, and they overwhelm our fire departments and burn centers.

Other marijuana-related emergency visits overwhelm the hospitals.  All of us must pay for it in some way.   We know marijuana legalization is not working in Washington, Colorado or California.

Recently a woman in Portland sparked outrage by posting on Facebook a photo of breastfeeding while smoking from a bong.   Maybe that image will wake people up to the fact that pot addiction really does affect others.   It is no paradise in Portlandia.

Oregon’s underground marijuana market is on fire.  Watch the video with this news clip.

Legalizing Marijuana: a Real World Perspective

NOTHING good comes from legalizing marijuana

Legalizing marijuana is the hot topic today. The money hungry pot lobby is on one side, small non-profit organizations on the other. One side is endangering our children the other seeks to educate and protect. Amidst all this controversy are ordinary citizens with a real world perspectives. The following is by Randy Philbrick, father of two and Director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana – Oregon. Continue reading Legalizing Marijuana: a Real World Perspective