Tag Archives: The Nation

Massachusetts Group Donates Against Legal Pot, Promotes Healthy Drug Policy

Massachusetts Can Lead Nation in Healthy Drug Policy

A foundation dedicated to the health and well-being of people in central Massachusetts donated $100,000 to defeat commercial marijuana in Massachusetts this year.  The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts is the official opposition effort against Question 4, which would legalize recreational pot.

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts,  Worcester, formally voted to oppose Question 4 and to make a large contribution in opposition to the ballot.  Marijuana proponents  outspend anti-legalization campaigns by millions of dollars, so donations to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts would be greatly appreciated. (Donate here)

The Health Foundation is concerned that allowing the billion-dollar commercial marijuana industry to promote and sell its products would negatively impact public health. Pot edibles which include highly potent products like candy, chocolates, cookies, and sodas would be allowed. These products are particularly attractive to kids and look like popular sweets.  They account for 50% of the sales in Colorado.

Question 4 sets no limits on the number of pot shops statewide. In Colorado, that has resulted in more pot shops than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.

“The leadership of the Health Foundation of Central MA is exemplary of what all organizations, groups, associations and residents need to do in order to keep the Commonwealth from being snowed by the marijuana industry who wrote the law that completely protects their big profit interests,” said Heidi Heilman of Massachusetts Prevention Alliance. “The law was written by the industry for the industry. If it passes it’ll be the tax-payers who’ll be burdened with the shovel-up costs from all the negative outcomes,” she concluded.

Most Massachusetts Politicians Join Forces to Oppose Question 4

gov-baker
Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts.  Photo: The Boston Globe

The Commonwealth could lead the country into smart drug policy.  A strong bipartisan team of leaders is working to shut the door on promoting drug dependency and addiction for profit.

The Foundation joins a bi-partisan coalition of elected leaders as well as health care, public safety, business, anti-addiction, and child protection advocates who are opposing Question 4. Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Sheriff Steve Tompkins, 120 legislators and many other elected leaders have come out in opposition to Question 4.

In fact, Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, Mayor Walsh and Speaker DeLeo have been exemplary leaders in their ability to study all aspects of the issue, educate the voters and work across the aisle.  A group of legislators went to Colorado to study legalization and see if it legal pot could be implemented safely.

An interviewer recently asked Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts if she supports marijuana legalization.  Senator Warren did not give a “yes” or “no” answer.  She replied that marijuana is decriminalized in Massachusetts, putting the state in a difficult position.  She did not endorse Question 4, and probably knows that enacting it would be bad for the Commonwealth.  It’s clear from the video that Senator Warren does not think there’s enough regulation now.  She’s smarter than the legalizers who would love to trap her into supporting Question 4.  (Decriminalization of pot in 2008 resulted in a great increase of marijuana use, followed by a opiate and heroin crisis.)

A citizens group of 20 claimed that Question 4 doesn’t have a definitive standard for testing drivers and that it lacks transparency while leaving policy specifics unsettled until after the vote.

One of the state’s Congressional representatives, Rep. Stephen Lynch, just announced that he is against Question 4.    Lynch said that he has worked with recovering addicts, noting that “I haven’t met an addict who didn’t start with marijuana.”

Investigative Journalism Misses the Mark — for the Most Part

Lee Fang’s “investigative” article published in The Nation two years ago suggested that only those who lose profits are against legalizing marijuana. His predictions have turned out to be largely incorrect. The pharmaceutical industry–like the marijuana industry — spends money on lobbying and donating to politicians, but is not politically involved in the marijuana issue.  According to the Brookings Institution, “pharmaceutical companies have kept an arm’s-length distance from marijuana ballot initiatives.”

Fang’s investigation provides excellent insight into the marijuana industry — which suspects that everyone must have a profit motive.  Much of the giving to marijuana ballots comes directly from the pot industry.  Three of the largest donations to marijuana legalization in Massachusetts come from marijuana businesses, including one in Colorado looking to expand.

In Massachusetts, some of the groups that oppose Question 4 include:
· Massachusetts Hospital Association
· Massachusetts Medical Society
· Massachusetts Municipal Association                                                                               -Massachusetts School Nurses Association
· Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals
· Associated Industries of Massachusetts
· Retailers Association of Massachusetts
· Association of School Superintendents
· Construction Industries of Massachusetts
· Action for Boston Community Development
· Association for Behavioral Healthcare
· National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) – Massachusetts
· Massachusetts Chiefs of Police
· Massachusetts Sheriffs Association
· all Massachusetts District Attorneys

The NAMI chapter in Maine will also be coming out against legalization in that state, a clear indication that marijuana is toxic for those diagnosed with mental illnesses.

Only in the instance of law enforcement have investigative journalists been correct in predicting opposition to legalization. Police unions oppose legalization, but The Nation article doesn’t probe the deeper reason for their opposition.

Looking for Evidence-Based Solutions

In explaining the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts,  President Jan Yost, Ed.D., said:  “The Foundation maintains that Massachusetts would be wise to wait for further evidence from research and other states’ experiences regarding the impact of the use of marijuana on health status, employee performance and public safety, before voting to allow recreational use. This position is consistent with the Foundation’s practice of advocating for public policy that is based on evidence.”

“In addition, the Foundation is concerned that sanctioning marijuana as a legal substance will likely normalize its use and create a commercial industry intent on spreading the use, like the tobacco industry.”   The Nation‘s 2014 article could have looked into why health organizations, hospitals, educators and doctors’ groups oppose marijuana legalization instead of promoting a preordained agenda set by financiers.

Health organizations have insights that a biased media does not have. Evidence-based solutions don’t support pot legalization.

Massachusetts is leading the country in wise drug polices. New England may be ahead of the rest of the country.  Vermont and Maine rejected legalization through their state legislators. These states realize that marijuana is not a solution to the opioid abuse that is rampant today.  Replacing one addiction with another addiction is a bad idea, and actually encourages multi-addiction, making recovery more difficult.   Please donate and vote against the addiction-for-profit industry in Massachusetts or in your state.

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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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