GLOBAL: Help fight Big Tobacco 2.0

Dear friend,
We all remember how Big Tobacco pulled the wool over the eyes of policy makers and the public for decades, peddling fake science that nicotine was not addictive, adding chemicals to cigarettes, and advertising to kids.
As fewer people smoke today, Phillip Morris and the rest of Big Tobacco have turned to new strategies: vapes, foreign markets, and non-combustible nicotine products.
But there’s a new market they’re eyeing: marijuana.
Last month, a subsidiary of Imperial Brands, the tobacco company behind cigarette brands like Winston and Kool, joined with investment firm Casa Verde (the same firm backed by rapper Snoop Dogg) to invest millions of dollars in a marijuana company in England.
Big Tobacco is looking to capitalize on the lax regulations being placed on the marijuana industry. While Imperial Brands is the first tobacco company to invest in the marijuana industry, others will surely follow.
More recently, a major marijuana grower, Tilray, conducted an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
And we just learned this week that Canada’s legacy Big Beer manufacturer, Molson (of Molson Coors), is creating a marijuana-infused beer.
Friend, you and I both know that the marijuana industry only cares about making huge profits, and the fact that Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol are now dumping millions of dollars into pot companies and products could not make that fact any clearer.
Marijuana legalization is paving the way to the creation of the next big industry and there is no greater time than now to join with me in standing against the normalization of another addiction-for-profit industry.
Let me be clear. My staff and I can’t do this without your help. Can you lend a hand today with a donation of $500, $250, $100, $50, or even $10?
Your  donation, no matter the size , will go far in helping us organize and push back.
Thank you again for everything you do,
Dr. Kevin Sabet
Founder and President
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action

About SAM Action

SAM Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. SAM Action engages in high-impact political campaigns to oppose marijuana legalization and commercialization. Under the IRS code, political activity cannot be deducted for tax purposes. Your contribution will be used for maximum impact, but is not tax-deductible as a charitable contribution (IRC § 170) or business expense (IRC § 162(e)(1)).


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USA: Weed Tax Unreliable

Taxes on cannabis, gambling are unreliable, study says

by DALE DENWALT: July 22, 2018

As Oklahoma prepares to collect taxes on marijuana, a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts urges caution when relying too much on that money.

The report released Thursday highlights the history of “sin taxes,” or revenue collected from things like marijuana, gambling, tobacco and alcohol.

“Sin taxes can provide short-term revenue boosts, but because of a combination of factors, they may also drive budget challenges in the long term,” said Mary Murphy, project director for Pew’s state fiscal policy division. “And relied on for ongoing commitments, (they) can create structural budget challenges.”

State Question 788 set the tax on medical marijuana at 7 percent, which will be collected at the retail level based on the amount of money a customer spends. Other states tax product at the warehouse, and others set levies based on potency or the quantity of marijuana sold.

Tax revenue will first be used to regulate the industry. If there is a surplus of funds, 75 percent of it would be earmarked for public education and 25 percent will go to Oklahoma State Department of Health for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

“Earmarking some of this revenue for specific purposes can prevent some of these volatile revenues from being baked into general fund spending. On the other hand, earmarks have their own challenges associated with them,” Murphy said.

For complete article


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USA: Abstinence NOT a dirty word, no matter how Pro-drug Sectors Spin it!

U.S Study: More teens saying no to substances

Melissa Jenco, News Content Editor

The rate of teens abstaining from alcohol, cigarettes and other substances is five times higher than it was four decades ago, according to a new study.

However, researchers fear those trends could change as more states legalize marijuana.

The team set out to explore nonuse among teens by analyzing nationally representative data from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey. They detailed their findings in the report

“Trends in Abstaining from Substance Use in Adolescents: 1975-2014” (Levy S, et al. Pediatrics. July 19, 2018,

In 2014, 26% of high school seniors said they had never used alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other substances, up from 5% in 1976, according to the study. During that time, abstinence from current use increased from 23% to 52%. Lifetime and current abstinence also grew among eighth- and 10th-graders.

Alcohol was the most common substance high school seniors tried throughout the years. In 1976, only 8% had abstained compared to 34% in 2014. The increase may be due in part to the national drinking age being raised to 21 in the mid-1980s, according to the study.

More teens are abstaining from cigarette smoking as well. In 2014, about 66% said they had never smoked compared to 25% in 1976, the study found.

“The Truth Campaign was remarkably successful in shifting public perception of tobacco from glamorous to repulsive,” authors wrote.

The data showed teens who were male, black, religious or came from a two-parent household were more likely to abstain from substance use in 2014. Teens also were more likely to abstain if they did well in school, worked fewer hours at a job or spent fewer nights going out.

“Strategies that engage young people in positive activities that have successfully reduced alcohol and tobacco use may be similarly used to support campaigns promoting abstinence from all substances,” authors said.

Abstinence from marijuana has been relatively steady in recent years and only slightly higher than in 1976. Researchers expressed concern that increasing legalization could lead to increased use and said teens need more education on the dangers to their developing brains.

“Pediatricians have the opportunity and the credibility to deliver a generalized proactive prevention message that nonuse is best for adolescent health — a message that is simple to deliver and backed by our burgeoning knowledge of neuroscience and the special developmental vulnerability of adolescents to both acute and long-term morbidity and mortality associated with substance use,” authors wrote. (cited 1/8/18)


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July 2018 By Dr. Christine Miller, Ph.D, 

Myth #1. It is rare for marijuana users to experience psychotic symptoms like paranoia.
In fact, about 15% of all users and a much higher percentage of heavy users will experience psychotic symptoms.1 Half of those individuals will become chronically schizophrenic if they don’t stop using.2 Fortunately, some do stop using because psychosis is not pleasant and they wisely recognize that pot caused their problems.
Myth #2. Marijuana-induced psychosis must be due to other contaminating drugs.
Clinical studies under controlled laboratory conditions have shown that administering the pure, active ingredient of pot, ∆9-THC, elicits psychotic symptoms in normal volunteers.3 In addition, epidemiological research of nearly 19,000 drug abusing Finnish subjects showed that it was not LSD, amphetamine, cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP or opiates that most consistently led to a diagnosis of long term schizophrenia, it was marijuana.4 Thus, if you lace your LSD with marijuana, you are more likely to go psychotic.
Myth #3.  If marijuana is associated with the development of chronic psychosis (schizophrenia), it is only because the patients are self-medicating. Correlation does not equal causation.
Actually, four studies have been carried out in Europe to ask the question which comes first, the marijuana use or the schizophrenia. The research was designed to follow thousands of young teen subjects through a course of several years of their lives, and to ask if those who were showing symptoms of psychosis at study onset were more likely to begin smoking pot, or were those who were normal but began smoking pot during the course of the study more likely to become psychotic. Three of the studies5convincingly showed that the evidence for marijuana triggering schizophrenia was strong, whereas the evidence for self-medication was weak. The fourth concluded that both were happening — marijuana was triggering psychosis and psychotic individuals were self-medicating.6

Myth #4. Those who become schizophrenic from marijuana use were destined to become so anyway because of their genes.
The truth of the matter is that no one is destined to become schizophrenic. Even in the case where one member of an identical pair of twins has schizophrenia, only about half the time does the other twin become schizophrenic as well.7 Thus, there is ample room for environmental factors like marijuana to make a difference between leading a normal life and not.

Myth #5. Studies showing links between marijuana and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are “cherry picked” to exclude negative studies.
A very large review of all relevant published papers was conducted by a group of researchers from around the world and published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. No attempt was made to exclude results that were negative. The results they obtained by merging all the studies was that marijuana use approximately doubles the risk for schizophrenia.8 Later research has shown that the risk goes up to 6-fold if the use is heavy or if the pot is strong 9 (similar to the strength of marijuana that is coming out of Colorado now).

Myth #6. Marijuana makes you mellow and less aggressive.
This is certainly not the case for the 15% who experience psychotic symptoms and the subgroup who then go on to develop a chronic psychosis. These individuals are up to 9-times more likely to commit serious acts of violence than people whose schizophrenia has nothing to do with drug use.10 Just a few of the very recent high profile cases here on the East Coast include January’s Columbia Mall shooter Darion Aguilar and “multiverse”-ranting Vladimir Baptiste, who drove a truck through a Towson, MD TV station in May. Somewhat less violent cases include White House episodes: Oscar Ortega, charged with shooting at the White House, ex-Navy Seal employee David Gil Wilkerson charged with threatening the life of the President and most recently, fence jumper Dominic Adesanya who is charged with attacking the White House guard dogs this October. In the Rocky Mountain region, soccer dad Richard Kirk became psychotic after his first use of marijuana edibles for his back pain, and while hallucinating that the world was going to end, shot his wife to death as his children listened through a closed door.On the West Coast, the mentally ill marijuana user Aaron Ybarra shot one student dead and wounded two others on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. In Ottawa this past week, rifleman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was originally thought to have terrorist ties after he killed a young guard at the Capitol, but instead his friends paint a picture of psychosis and law enforcement records reveal more than one arrest for marijuana possession. All of these individuals exhibited psychotic symptoms prior to their acts and their mental illness could be traced to their marijuana habit in my opinion.

Myth #7. Marijuana is good for the symptoms of PTSD and by keeping this drug from our veterans, we are depriving them of an important alternative treatment.
Veterans Affairs Administration studies have shown that those with PTSD who smoke marijuana make significantly less progress in overcoming their condition.11 PTSD victims are already more vulnerable to psychosis and it comes as no surprise that clinicians have witnessed psychotic breaks in PTSD patients who begin marijuana12 because of the abundant literature showing an association between marijuana use and the subsequent development of psychosis. While the symptoms that afflict PTSD patients (anxiety, depression, panic) may be temporarily relieved while the subjects are “high”, these very same symptoms are exacerbated in the long run.13 Even in the context of polydrug use, it is the degree of marijuana use that correlates most significantly with anxiety and depression.14

Myth #8. Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and will reduce alcohol consumption, so we’ll end up with safer roadways.
In terms of mental health, marijuana is more dangerous on all counts (depression, anxiety, panic, psychosis, mania). As far as our roadways go, marijuana all by itself impairs driving. Whether it is better or the same as alcohol in that regard is still a matter of debate. What is known is that users all too frequently do both, and this combination is particularly hazardous. The interaction between the two drugs is synergistic,15 not additive.  So you end up with someone who is wildly impaired.
Emanuel Lopes’s Instagram account shows a bag of weed, and a very strong concentrate of THC in paper. The youth allegedly killed two in Massachusetts on July 15, 2018.

Myth #9. Laws don’t make a difference to rates of marijuana use
Some of the best data available on youth use in regards to laws comes from Europe, where they have a wide range of marijuana laws between the countries. The European organization ESPAD has studied youth use (15 to 16 year olds) across different countries every four years. The two most recent ESPAD reports (2007 and 2011) show that countries with legalization or defacto legalization (The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain) have on average a 3-fold higher rate of youth use than countries in which it has remained illegal. In our country, differences in decriminalization laws have existed between states for several years. If you break out the states with lenient decriminalization laws that also submit data to the CDC to track youth use (CO, AK, MA, ME), their rate of youth use (9-12th grade) is significantly higher (~25% higher) than states that have strict decriminalization codes and report to the CDC. Lenient codes include a low civil fine with no increase in penalties for repeat offenders, no requirement for drug education, no requirement for drug treatment, and no community service. Outright legalization and dedicated recreational pot shops in this country has not been around long enough for the effect on youth use to be determined.

Myth #10. The Drug War on marijuana is too expensive.
It is hard to put a price on the damage done to someone’s life if they develop a chronic psychosis like schizophrenia or psychotic bipolar disorder. But if economics must be considered, the cost of just schizophrenia alone to our country is approximately $64 billion per year, accounting for treatment, housing and lost productivity.16 If all adults were exchange their glass of wine or two over the weekend for a joint or two, our rate of schizophrenia would be expected to double. That $64 billion per year would pay for the drug war on marijuana and much more.

Brief Bio for the author:   Dr. Christine L. Miller obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. For over twenty years she has researched the molecular neuroscience of schizophrenia, ten of those years at Johns Hopkins University.  She is semi-retired, conducting occasional biomedical consulting on medical cases and an active volunteer for SAM-Maryland (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).  She is a professional advisor for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, MomsStrong and PopPot.
For complete article and references 10 Myths of Marijuana
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    GLOBAL: ‘Chasing the Dragon’ can bite harder than shooting it!

    More People Are Inhaling Heroin, And It’s Destroying Brain Tissue

    Ed Cara Jul 2018,

    People living with opioid addiction are increasingly using the inhalation method to get high, warns a new review published Monday in JAMA Neurology. The technique known as “chasing the dragon”, which involves heating up heroin and inhaling its fumes through a pipe, may be safer in some ways than injection, but it comes with its own set of devastating side effects, including irreversible brain damage and dementia.

    The doctors behind the study, led by neurologist Ciro Ramos-Estebanez of the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio, were inspired to study the topic after coming across a strange case in 2015.

    A young woman suffering from opioid intoxication had fallen into a coma. The coma was caused by a build up of spinal fluid in her brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus. The woman’s spinal fluid had become trapped by chronic inflammation in the brain caused by inhaling heroin.

    She ultimately recovered from her coma, though with lasting cognitive impairment, after doctors performed emergency surgery that drained the lodged spinal fluid.

    It was the first case of hydrocephalus linked to inhaled heroin ever reported, and it made Ramos-Estebanez and his team eager to understand the phenomenon better

    Looking at more than 30 studies and case reports, which included the cases of two other patients at their hospital, the team settled on some basic observations.

    For one, while there’s sparse information on how often addicts are inhaling heroin, the little data that does exist suggests it’s the fastest growing method of use, the team found.

    In countries such as Sri Lanka, Norway and India, over two-thirds of heroin users admit inhaling it regularly. In the US, injection is still the most common method, but inhalation is increasing, especially in cities and areas east of the Mississippi.

    It’s also becoming more popular among teens. In 2014, the team found, 21 per cent of all inpatient hospital visits due to heroin abuse among 12- to 19-year-olds involved inhalation.

    The extent of damage caused by inhaling heroin also runs along a spectrum. At its mildest, it can cause memory loss and mild but long-lasting cognitive impairment; at its worst, it can kill off and create sponge-like holes in the brain’s white matter, the bundles of connective fibre that allow brain cells to talk to one another. That can lead to seizures, problems speaking, progressively worse dementia, coma and death.

    Ramos-Estebanez and his team also developed a theory as how and why this damage happens. The high temperatures used to vaporise heroin, they speculate, metabolise it into a chemical that can cross the blood-brain barrier with greater ease. And because how fast it gets to the brain, these chemicals aren’t metabolised by the body into a relatively less toxic substance. The end result is a potent high that is more directly dangerous to the brain.

    “Most people who take heroin intravenously don’t develop this condition,” Ramos-Estebanez said. “You’re actually washing out the dose a bit before it gets to the brain.”

    Ultimately, Ramos-Estebanez wants doctors and the public to treat inhaled heroin as an emerging public health problem. Being able to recognise its signs in opioid users earlier might just be life-saving, too: Some small studies have identified a few drugs that seem capable of preventing further brain damage if administered quickly enough.

    Outside of these sites, Ramos-Estebanez wants to dispel the notion that inhaling heroin is necessarily safer than other routes, such as injection. Many people, for instance, may inhale to avoid the risk of catching bloodborne diseases through contaminated needles.

    “‘Chasing the dragon’ is not as safe as portrayed. And this isn’t something some doctor is saying to scare people away, it’s reality,” Ramos-Estebanez said. “It’s a heavy cost for patients, their families and society itself.”

    In addition to creating accurate criteria that doctors can use to diagnose people who have brain damage caused by inhaled heroin, Ramos-Estebanez and his team are also currently trying to establish a registry so cases can be better tracked and studied.

    For more



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    USA: ‘Recovering addict’ secretly treats a table of EMTs to breakfast, bringing them to tears

    By Maya Eliahou and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN July 24, 2018

    A recovering addict secretly paid for several EMTs’ breakfasts at an IHOP in Toms River, New Jersey.

    • “Paid, thank you for all you do! Have a great day!” said a note on the receipt
    • “It was the nicest thing anyone could have ever done for us,” EMT says

    As they ate breakfast after a long night shift, a group of EMTs was brought to tears by a heartwarming surprise: Their meal had been paid for.

    Complete article



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    Holland: Amsterdam, we have a problem? Who knew right?

    Amsterdam ‘turns into a ‘lawless jungle’ at night’ and police are ‘powerless to stop crime and violence’, authorities warn

    • Amsterdam is a ‘lawless jungle’ at night according to official city ombudsman
    • Arre Zuurmond blames tourists from UK and other parts of the Netherlands
    • Street racing, drug dealing and illegal taxis are all said to be rife in the city
    • Mr Zuurmond said police were powerless and ‘cannot handle the situation’

    Official ombudsman Arre Zuurmond told Dutch paper Trouw problems have increased including illegal car and bike racing and open drug trading.

    Mr Zuurmond said authorities set up three cameras in the busy Leidseplein square ringed by bars and clubs to monitor problems and were shocked at the results.

    He said: ‘One night we counted 900 offences, mainly between the hours of 2am and 4am. The atmosphere is grim, and there is an air of lawlessness.

    For complete story

    REALLY – AND THIS IS A SHOCK??? Whe you license and liberate every vice and expect people to behave with even a modicum of rectitude, you are delusional… by the way, was is rectitude again? I think that word slid from the cultural landscape?



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    UK: Babies Pay Price for Parent Drug Problem

    Three new born babies A DAY are treated for drug addiction in shocking NHS figures

    EXCLUSIVE: NAS – neonatal abstinence syndrome – affects babies whose mothers have abused drugs during pregnancy, leaving their babies to go cold turkey after birth. 22:26, 28 JUL 2018

    Three babies a day are having treatment for drug addiction ­after being born hooked on ­heroin or cocaine.

    Shock figures from NHS Digital show hospitals dealt with 5,000 cases of ­addicted tots over the last four years.

    NAS – neonatal abstinence syndrome – affects babies whose mums have abused drugs during pregnancy.

    When the umbilical cord is cut, the supply of drugs suddenly stops, so the addicted infant goes cold turkey.

    Typical symptoms include high-pitched or incessant crying, tremors, vomiting and sweating.

    But babies can also suffer dehydration, diarrhoea, fevers and even seizures.

    Some may need medication to treat severe withdrawal symptoms, usually from the same family of drugs as the substance that the baby is ­addicted to.

    Once the signs of withdrawal are controlled, the dosage is gradually decreased to help wean the baby off the drug.

    Figures from the NHS show the problem is countrywide.

    “Yet none of the women we support wanted to end up in this position. Most are victims of childhood sexual trauma and domestic violence.

    “The shame and guilt they feel is huge. But all they need is help and support to break the cycle.

    “A mum might come to us on baby four or five. Her previous children have all been taken into care.

    “By getting her through treatment, addressing her underlying issues and enabling her to keep her child, we break that cycle of repeat removal.”


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    Global: S.A.M. New Book Release on Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana


    Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana:
    New Book Co-Edited by Dr. Kevin Sabet Available Now

    Hot off the presses of Oxford University, Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana is now available for purchase by clicking here.
    This new book, co-edited by Drs. Kevin A. Sabet and Ken C. Winters, comprises chapters by other experts hailing from a wide range of fields including psychology, epidemiology, medicine, and criminal justice. It is a balanced, data-driven volume highlighting new theory and clinical evidence pertaining to marijuana.
    The volume features a comprehensive review of research into marijuana’s impact on public health, including how it affects cognitive and neurological functioning, its medical effects, suggested treatment approaches for marijuana use disorders, marijuana smoking and lung function, and marijuana-impaired driving.
    Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana is a must-have resource for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.
    Click here to order your copy today while supplies last!
    Trainings and Speaking Engagements
    SAM Trainings and speaking engagements are now available to organizations and corporations around the country who want to educate their communities and employees on all issues surrounding marijuana. For more information please email us at

    About SAM

    Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states. For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit

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    USA: Actual FDA Approved Cannabis Based Drug at $32K

    Cannabis-Based Drug is Priced at $32,500

    GW Pharmaceuticals PLC said  it plans to charge about $32,500 per patient annually in the U. S.

    for its new treatment for rare forms of epilepsy, the first prescription drug derived from the marijuana plant.

    The U. S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, also known as cannabidiol, in June to

    reduce seizures associated with forms of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Davet syndrome, in patients 2 years of age and older.

    GW Pharmaceuticals, based in the UK, makes cannabidiol from a proprietary strain of cannabis designed to maximize a therapeutic component while minimizing components that produce euphoria or a high.

    Chief Executive Justin Gover said in an interview Wednesday that the company set the price to be in line with other brand-name epilepsy drugs, such as Lundbeck AS’s Onfi.  He noted that the FDA designated the product as “orphan drug”, meaning it treats rare conditions, and that some other orphan drugs carry higher prices. . . .

    Out of pocket costs for patients taking Epidiolex could range from $5 to $10 a month for those in state Medicaid programs to as high as $200 a month for some private insurance plans. . . . Uninsured patients may qualify for receiving the drug free.

    Jacqueline French, chief scientific officer of the Epilepsy Foundation, said there are low-cost generic epilepsy drugs on the market, but many patients with rare forms of the disease have tried them and the drugs didn’t help much.

    Dr. French said Epidiolex improved symptoms for many children in clinical trials, and she is happy the price isn’t significantly higher.

    The company expects to make the drug available after the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency assigns it a controlled substance classification, a decision expected by late September.  GW Pharmaceuticals will distribute the drug through specialty pharmacies that ship directly to patients and caregivers.

    Wall Street Journal, Aug. 9, 2018 – Business & Finance



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