Canada: Harm Reduction ONLY Failing Community – Recovery Focus Needed

Canada: Premier rejects harm reduction model during funding announcement for new addiction recovery centres

New recovery communities in southern Alberta will open early next year

Sarah Rieger · CBC News Jul 25, 2020

Premier Jason Kenney announces funding for two recovery communities, one on the Blood Reserve and one in Lethbridge County, on Saturday. (Jason Kenney/Twitter)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney challenged the harm reduction model of addiction treatment on Saturday, during a $10-million funding announcement for two new recovery centres in the southern part of the province.

The premier said the investment, which will bring 125 addiction treatment beds to Lethbridge County and the Blood Tribe First Nation, was part of a plan to build a province-wide continuum of care from addiction prevention, to treatment, to recovery.

The recovery communities are two of five being built across the province, as part of a long-term treatment model that “[encourages] participants to examine their personal behaviour to help them become more pro-social and positively engaged citizens … based on honesty, taking responsibility, hard work, and willingness to learn,” according to a government news release.

When asked by a reporter about the recent defunding of a supervised consumption site and the province’s controversial report that focused on negative community impacts of supervised consumption sites, rather than lives saved, the premier did not mince words.

“Handing somebody who’s deep in addiction a needle is not a continuum of care. I don’t even think it’s terribly compassionate simply to facilitate an addiction rather than to offer a full spectrum of services for recovery and lifetime treatment,” Kenney said.

“If you think the harm reduction obsession is really successful when it comes to preserving human lives, then I invite you to take a stroll down East Hastings on the downtown east side of Vancouver.”

Harm reduction is a method that aims to reduce fatality rates and the harm associated with drug use, while acknowledging that abstinence is not always a realistic goal. Alberta Health Services harm reduction programs include supervised consumption services and providing naloxone kits.

Last week, the province cut off funding to charitable organization ARCHES, which runs Lethbridge’s only supervised consumption site, one of the busiest sites in the country, after an audit found $1.6 million of unaccounted for public money.

A report last year found the province’s sites, including ARCHES, have a 100 per cent success rate at reversing overdoses. The sites also provide other services, like emergency medical care, education on the harms of drug use, and referrals to other social services like counselling.

Kenney described the findings of the ARCHES audit as “disgusting,” on Saturday, saying that the staff were “exploiting addicts.”

He said the new recovery community model will mean the province is no longer focused on what he described as a single-minded, harm reduction approach, which he said brings a negative impact to local neighbourhoods.

For complete story

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USA: Marketing WEED to Kids? No Sale in Arizona!

HUGE: Amendment Issued to Restrict Funding to States Allowing Kid-Friendly Marijuana Products

Today, Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko introduced two Smart Approaches to Marijuana-supported amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill.

The first amendment would restrict funding for states with legal marijuana markets that have no education campaigns on marijuana impaired driving. The second amendment would reduce federal funding in any state with a marijuana market that allows high potency THC products in the form of a candy, soda, chocolate bar, ice cream, or other kid friendly form, as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Though the House Rules committee voted down the amendments, they represent a new reality wherein lawmakers are wanting to reign in this industry. This is only the beginning and SAM’s govt affairs team looks forward to building support for these commons sense provisions.

Congresswoman Lesko made the following comment concerning the release of these amendments: “Earlier this year, House Democrats pushed a proposal to eliminate flavored tobacco products that were targeted at children. This amendment echoes that legislation by extending the ban on kid-friendly products to THC products,” said Congresswoman Lesko. “If we are going to ban one product because it is kid-friendly, we must also consider the risks of the other.”

Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, released the following statement in support of Rep. Lesko’s amendments:

“We are thrilled to see such commonsense amendments introduced to the CJS Appropriations bill, which has been previously used as a vehicle for pro-marijuana industry legislation. A host of data show how high potency marijuana products are harmful and how legalization is associated with more marijuana-impaired driving crashes and fatalities. It’s time to hold states accountable. This amendment is just the beginning of our efforts at the federal level to push for more action in promoting public health safety when it comes to the issue of marijuana impaired driving.

“Furthermore, Representative Lesko’s amendments could not be more timely. In the last month, a landmark study was released finding that marijuana legalization and commercialization in Washington State was potentially reversing a decades-long downward trend in teen marijuana use. This industry regularly produces and markets highly potent products featuring up to 99% THC in blatantly kid-friendly forms. As a country, we have cracked down on this practice when it comes to tobacco products, but have allowed Big Marijuana to do so with no oversight. Given the distinctly harmful potential consequences of adolescent marijuana use, the time has come to put an end to this practice.

“With amendments such as these being offered, it’s becoming clear that SAM supporter’s voices are being heard and lawmakers are recognizing the harms of marijuana commercialization.”

Media Contact: Colton Grace P: 864-492-6719 E: [email protected]


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Australia: The Judicial Educator At It’s Best – Law for Recovery + Drug Courts + Secure Welfare = Rehabilitation!

Records broken at Australian-first drug treatment prison

  • Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison for women celebrates second anniversary
  • Prison has nation’s lowest rate of return to prison of less than one per cent
  • Wandoo still remains drug-free, which is unprecedented across the world
  • More than 100 women have graduated from six-month program

Australia’s first Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Prison for women has celebrated two years of operation with a rate of return to prison of less than one per cent so far.

This is virtually unprecedented for any prison in Australia with a national average of 46 per cent.

Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison was introduced by the McGowan Government as part of its comprehensive Methamphetamine Action Plan to try to reduce addiction-driven offending.

More than 100 women have graduated from the six-month intensive therapeutic program with just one woman returning to jail.

Some other prisoners have breached parole conditions but overall the Wandoo program is making a significant change in the women’s lives.

The facility was recently praised by the independent Inspector of Custodial Services as being like no other prison in Western Australia, and the transformation of the facility into a treatment prison was ‘a remarkable achievement’.

Wandoo was a privately run facility before it was returned to public hands in May 2018.

To the credit of the Department of Justice and program provider Cyrenian House, the prison was transformed in just a few months and started accepting prisoners who wanted to transform their lives.

The prison has remained drug-free in the entire two years of its operation, which is unheard of for any prison.

Wandoo runs a six-month community-based, therapeutic program, which involves participants facing up to their own truths about their drug addiction and addressing psychological and emotional issues.

Prisoners also have access to further support programs on release.

It has been a leading light in drug-addiction rehabilitation not just around Australia but the world, with corrective services from international jurisdictions such as Singapore interested in visiting the facility post COVID-19 restrictions being lifted.

A new 128-bed drug treatment prison for men at Casuarina Prison is just months away from opening, and will benefit significantly from the lessons learned and the achievements from Wandoo.

At a glance:

  • 694 women have applied to the program since July 2018;
  • 222 have been admitted;
  • 109 women have graduated;
  • 67 currently completing the course;
  • 43 did not finish either because of early release or dropped out;
  • 27 have had parole suspended or cancelled; and
  • Five reoffended, four of whom were fined and one returned to jail and will recomplete the Wandoo program.

As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:

“When we started Wandoo as part of the McGowan Government’s Methamphetamine Action Plan, I had high hopes for what could be achieved.

“But the results after just two years are simply remarkable.

“Just one prisoner has returned to jail after completing the six-month program which means the prison has a rate of return to prison of less than one per cent so far. On average, WA’s rate of return is about 40 per cent.

“It is a very tough journey beating drug addiction and some people will stumble on release, but they are now equipped with the support on the outside they need and the internal strength to continue trying to improve their lives.

“At the recent two-year anniversary celebration we heard from former Wandoo prisoner Tory who said she had been in and out of jail since she was 19 and never expected it to change.

“But after completing the Wandoo program and facing some really tough truths, she has turned her life around and has been living a fully productive life on the outside for the last year.

“She has a job and savings, but just as importantly a fantastic sense of achievement and faith in herself to keep doing the right thing.

“I want to acknowledge the great work by the Department of Justice staff at the prison for making this ground-breaking facility a success in such a relatively short period of time.

“Congratulations as well to the program provider Cyrenian House for delivering what is not an easy program for the women to undertake, but one that is achieving remarkable results.

“Thank you also to the female prisoners who volunteered to take part in this program and for wanting to turn their lives around for themselves and for their place in our society.” 26th July 2020

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France: Weed & Violence, even the most progressive groups see it!

France drugs: PM Castex to impose on-the-spot fines nationwide

  • 25 July 2020

Image copyrightEPAImage captionJean Castex (C) with the mayor of Nice, which has seen drug-related violence for weeks

France will introduce on-the-spot fines nationwide for drug users, particularly targeting cannabis, from September.

The move comes amid concerns about drug-related violence and was announced by PM Jean Castex on a trip to Nice, which has seen weeks of unrest.

The roll-out of fines follows tests in cities such as Rennes and Marseilles.

The €200 ($233; £182) fixed fine will reduce to €150 if paid within 15 days. France is one of the leading consumers of cannabis in Europe.

Legislation on recreational cannabis use varies widely from country to country. Several nations, like Canada, have legalised it while others have policies of minor punishment. But many others impose severe jail terms.

How will the system work?

France does already have laws that allow for up to a year in prison and fines of up to €3,750 for the use of illicit drugs, without specifically distinguishing drug types.

But the laws, dating back to 1970, seldom lead to prison sentences, with magistrates preferring alternative punishments, often warnings.

Although there is the reduction for early fine payment in the new system, if an offender fails to pay up in time it increases to €450.

Mr Castex said the system would come in at the start of la rentrée, the beginning of the school year after the summer break.

The fines were initially proposed back in 2018 and were rolled out as tests in Rennes, Marseilles, Lille, Créteil and Boissy-Saint-Léger.

Why is the system being brought in now?

It’s part of the new prime minister’s plans to strengthen security. He said he wanted to “put an end to the violence of everyday life” .

He said the drugs measure would simplify police procedures by “inflicting punishment without delay”.

Image copyrightEPAImage captionA further 60 officers will be brought in to help Nice

Mr Castex added that it would target drug dealers at their points of sale, which were “eating away at neighbourhoods”.

He was speaking in the southern port city of Nice, which has witnessed growing drugs-related violence, including in its Moulins district, where shots were fired in broad daylight outside a supermarket this week.

As Mr Castex made his visit on Saturday, a young man was found dead from wounds in the city.

For complete article go to

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USA: Proper Clinical Guidelines to Curb the Cannabis Cowboys Addiction for Profit Chaos

The FDA believes the drug approval process represents the best way to ensure that safe and effective new medicines, including any drugs that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, are available to patients in need of appropriate medical therapy.

“A range of stakeholders have expressed interest in development of drugs that contain cannabis and compounds found in cannabis. Recent legislative changes have also opened new opportunities for cannabis clinical research. As that body of research progresses and grows, the FDA is working to support drug development in this area.

“The agency is committed to supporting the development of these new drugs through the investigational new drug, drug review and drug approval processes – and one key element of this support involves development of guidance, like this one.”

  • Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued “Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds: Quality Considerations for Clinical Research, Draft Guidance for Industry,” which describes the FDA’s current thinking on several topics relevant to clinical research related to the development of drugs containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.
  • The draft guidance covers sources of cannabis for clinical research, information on quality considerations and recommendations regarding calculating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.
  • The draft guidance also introduces key FDA regulatory concepts to stakeholders who may be less familiar with the FDA and the FDA’s authorities.

For complete data go to F.D.A Draft Guidance on Cannabis Related Clinical Trials


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USA: Permission Models Increase Pot Participation Amongst the Young

New Study: Marijuana Legalization and Normalization is Reversing Decades of Declines in Youth Marijuana Use

study recently released by the University of Washington finds that marijuana legalization and commercialization may have begun a reversal of previous downward trends in teen marijuana use. The study, which followed 230 teens and young adults, found that young people may be more likely to use marijuana after commercialization, due to normalization as a result of the over-saturation of stores, advertisements, and rapidly rising adult use of the drug.

“The findings of this study are the canary in the coal mine. These data, coupled with recent national survey data from the federal government, directly undercut Big Pot’s narrative that legalization has not resulted in a subsequent rise in youth use,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “We have long pointed out that valid and trustworthy benchmark surveys have shown increases in use among youth. Ask any school superintendent in Colorado and they’ll tell you they have been warning of this fact for years. Given the risks of serious mental health issues youth use can bring about, this is a concerning development.”

Notably, this study supports another study out of Washington that showed increases in marijuana use among 8th and 10th graders, using data from the benchmark survey, Monitoring the Future. The study also serves as an important check on claims made by the marijuana industry, which often cites faulty statistics backed by questionable data to allege that youth use has held steady.

“A teen usage rate that holds steady isn’t good enough if it would normally be going down,” said study author Jennifer Bailey in an interview with the University of Washington News. “We need to devote more attention to prevention of adolescent use in the context of legalization because we want to keep the decreases we’ve been seeing before legalization was implemented.”

Some facts on youth use and potential harms:

  • The most reliable survey on the prevalence of drug use among U.S. households is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). According to NSDUH data, in all jurisdictions with legalized recreational marijuana (Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, though only personal use and growing is legal there, and Washington), past-month drug use among youth aged 12- 17 continues to sit above the national average (NSDUH, 2016-2017).
  • Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012, has the highest rate of first-time marijuana use among youth (ages 12-17) and young adults (ages 18-25) (NSDUH State Estimates, 2016-2017). Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalization.
  • Past month marijuana use among 12 to 17 year-olds increased 4% in Colorado from 2016-2017 to 2017- 2018. In non-legal states, past year and past month use rates are significantly lower than in the state of Colorado (NSDUH State Comparisons, 2019).
  • In Colorado, only 15.9% of young people aged 12 to 17 years old perceive a great risk from using marijuana once a month, compared to a national rate of 23.6% (NSDUH State Comparisons, 2019).
  • Marijuana, which can cause depression and suicidal thoughts — particularly in young users, was found in the toxicology screens of 200 suicide victims in the state in 2017, up from 83 in 2012 (Colorado Violent Death Reporting System, 2019). In 2013, marijuana was present in 10.6% of suicide toxicology reports for young people aged 15 to 19 years; in 2017, marijuana was present in over 30%* of suicide toxicology reports for young victims between the ages of 15 and 19 years (CDPHE, 2019).

Media Release:  21st July 2020 Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)


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USA: Another Brilliant Life Dumbed Down and Snuffed Out by POT!


By Laura Stack, Founder, Johnny’s Ambassadors

Johnny Stack was born on February 7, 2000 and died by suicide on November 20, 2019 at the age of 19. He was an incredibly intelligent, funny, charming, handsome young man, which you can see in his tribute video. We are a normal suburban family and did normal family things. He had a happy life, a 4.0 GPA with a scholarship to college, and a family who loved him very much. Unfortunately, we live in Colorado, which was the first state to legalize marijuana in 2014, when Johnny was 14 years old.

Three days before he passed, he came over for dinner. He lived in our condo a couple miles down the street and would often pop in for a home-cooked meal. “I need to tell you that you were right,” he says me. “Right about what?” I ask. “Right about the marijuana. You told me weed would hurt my brain, and it’s ruined my mind and my life. You were right all along. I’m sorry, and I love you.” He died by suicide three days later.

Johnny dabbed for years, starting at age 14 or 15. When I said “dabbed” just now, did you know what I meant? Not everyone does. Do you understand the difference between smoking cannabis flower and dabbing high-THC concentrates, such as wax, oil, shatter, or budder (not a typo)? Most of my friends look at me blankly when I say these words and say, “I’ve never even heard about this” or “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” If you don’t know what cannabis concentrates are, and you have children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews between the ages of 14 and 24, you are in the right place.

Teens and Today’s Pot

I am NOT talking about those of you who are supporters of legal recreational marijuana for adults over 21 years old—it’s your life—do what you want. I know some people who take it successfully for specific medical purposes, so we aren’t against that. I’m specifically talking about illegal, recreational usage by adolescents under 21, whose brains are still forming.

You may be thinking, “C’mon, Laura, it’s no big deal – it’s just pot.” “Pot’s legal, so it must be safe.” Or “I did pot when I was a kid, too, and look, it didn’t hurt me.”

Well, have you recently studied TODAY’S pot, and have you personally seen its effects on your children like I have?

Why is it so different? First, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis that gives the “high,” is extracted out of the cannabis so that it’s nearly pure. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Then a butane torch is used to heat the crystals (similar to beeswax) or oil in a “rig” (just google it), or a vaping device with a heating element called a dab pen can be used. Forget the “grass” or “papers” that were rolled in the 70s and 80s. The pot we grew up with (10% or less THC content) is HUGELY different than today’s high-concentrate extracts (often 80% THC content or higher).

Brain development

The brain is still developing through a person’s 20s, and psychotic disorders typically develop in the late teenage years. During brain formation, heavy cannabis use has been shown to have a negative effect on the formation of neural pathways. It can also lead to heavier drug use. While the vast majority of marijuana smokers never experience permanent mental illness, researchers have found that the earlier and heavier someone starts dabbing, the more likely it is that they will develop a disorder at some point (often years later).

The harmful combination of a still-forming mind, high-potency THC products, and a high frequency of use = Cannabis-Induced Psychosis. Yes, that’s a real diagnosis (or High-THC Abuse – Severe). Repeated CIP incidents can trigger schizophrenia or other mental illness, and even when the cannabis is withdrawn, the psychosis doesn’t go away.

This is what happened to my beautiful boy. When he died, the toxicology report showed he had ZERO drugs in his system. His note said the mob was after him, the university was an FBI base, and the whole world knew everything about him. He wasn’t depressed, neglected, drugged, or unloved. He was psychotic, paranoid, and delusional, and he jumped from a 6-story building in his pain. He refused the anti-psychotic drugs that he now needed, because he thought he wasn’t sick (common to schizophrenia).

A formula for today

As parents, grandparents, friends, and counselors, we must first educate ourselves about the dangers of high-THC marijuana. Then we must warn our children when they are young (10-12 years old) and use hyper-vigilance in the early teen years. This is much easier to do before the age of 16 when they can drive, as you can’t lock them up or monitor them 24/7. They need to understand what this is, before “that friend” shows up at a party offering dabs.

Taken from

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GLOBAL: Weed & Social Justice Cant Mix – Judicial Educator Misused


Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana (AALM) have produced a White Paper accurately challenging the false narrative that legalization and commercialization of marijuana will bring social justice to minority communiaties.

Minority and poor communities have historically been disproportionately harmed by drug use, drug normalization, and drug addiction. Each of those and many other problems gets worse with pot legalization.

Marijuana legalization:

For complete paper AALM Announces the Publication of a Position Paper on Marijuana and Social Justice 


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USA: “Saint Covid, the California Cannabis Savior”

Californians had high expectations when they overwhelmingly voted in 2016 to legalize adult-use cannabis with Proposition 64: the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Over time, thousands of shops would generate millions of dollars in tax revenues. State government was committed to training and financial assistance for entrepreneurs, minorities, and marginalized people. Jobs would be created. Investors would be generous. What could possibly go wrong? 

Turns out quite a bit. High taxes and stringent regulations are squeezing nearly every sector, say frustrated cannabis entrepreneurs, who warn that the burden is making their businesses unsustainable. Despite wide support on the state-wide ballot, city and county-level NIMBYism (not in my backyard) has restricted licensing and hobbled retail sales—hollowing out the promise of tax revenue and jobs.

  • Competition from the new licit market has driven up prices and availability on the medical side.
  • Social equity programs are toothless or don’t exist.
  • And the illegal market thrives.

For complete article go to Four Years After Legalization, California Has Had Unexpected (and Often Disappointing) Results

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Global: Best Practice Justice + Health + Well-being DOES NOT = Weed!



It is popular to say that marijuana was made illegal because of racism. The truth is marijuana was first banned in a military hospital in Mexico City in 1882, where it was used to treat pain, in an effort to prevent violence and disorder. Mexico then banned all production, sales and recreational use in 1920, and export in 1927. This was a result of Egyptian officials asking the international community to join in a treaty to make it illegal around the globe in 1925. It wasn’t until 1985, some 60 years later, that a book by a U.S. author referred to marijuana laws as racist.

Any claims that marijuana is illegal in America because of racism are in conflict with history.

Will more pot shops in our neighborhoods and marijuana in our homes really reduce incarceration rates and improve the quality of life for minorities? We don’t think so. Every brain matters, and marijuana is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Tomorrow Wednesday July 15, industry-funded, pro-marijuana forces are putting on a virtual legalization event attempting to co-opt current social justice protests as a reason to commercialize marijuana. They have convinced groups such as the NAACP and others to join them for this “conversation.” Call the NAACP and ask them to withdraw from the Marijuana Policy Project event: (410) 580-5777. Tell NAACP:

  • Don’t legitimize an organization that is all about money – not justice.
  • Don’t speak at this event
  • Marijuana commercialization won’t solve social injustice.

Thought Provoking Facts

The facts show that even under legalized marijuana, the poor and minority communities suffer the worst outcomes. For instance, after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, minority teens were arrested in greater numbers for marijuanaviolations. Pot shops are disproportionately situated in impoverished communities, in Colorado, also. Clearly, making the residents more susceptible to high use rates and addiction. In Denver, as an example, pot shops are heavily concentrated in Hispanic communities. This sends the message to the youth that drugs are harmless, which we know is not the case. Combine struggling schools with drug abuse and student grades are sure to plummet. We know that amotivational syndrome, a harmful side effect of pot, will cause poor educational outcomes and lead to more school dropouts. More access to this psychoactive drug will increase violence, addiction and theft, all of which have high arrest rates.

The link between marijuana use and crime is also downplayed by those who promote legalization. Industry lobbyists also tell us the the black market will disappear when marijuana is legally available. However, in legalized states, we are seeing an increase in gang activity, crime and black market sales.

What Does the Evidence Show?

Contrary to the social justice claims of the legalization activists, prison populations are rising in states where marijuana is legal and sanctioned for recreational use. Project SAM depicts these trends very clearly in these illustrated graphs for Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia.

William Jones III fought against legalization in his hometown of Washington, D.C. He writes a compelling opinion piece to the Philadelphia Inquirer about why marijuana legalization will harm our inner city communities. Calling marijuana toxic and addictive, he makes a strong case that pot shops will destablize communities already suffering from education and health disparities.

Other Voices on Marijuana and Social Justice

Abu Edwards, Director of State Affairs for Project SAM says state legalization will be a disaster for black communities. He clearly lays out how minorities are being used to further profit motives of big business rather than social justice. Of particular concern is how the children in his community are going to be led into a drug lifestyle by the aggressive advertising of this industry.

So, is it as the marijuana activists say, a choice between legal weed and social injustice? Dr. Kevin Sabet discusses the false dichotomy of legalization and criminalization in his TEDx PrincetonU talk. It is not a black and white issue, he advises there are many dimensions to consider, as this is an important social and public health discussion.

Take Action

You can equip yourself to debate the finer points of marijuana and social justice. We recommend taking the time to downloand and read these excellent materials.

First, take a look at this easy to navigate fact sheet, a downloadable one pager on Social Justice by Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Read also this important PopPot perspective about the disingenuous social justice argument for pot, Social Justice, the Pretext Legalizers Use to Get Support.

Once again, we rely on the great work of Project SAM on this issue. Kevin Sabet and Will Jones, III co-authored this excellent article on Marijuana Legalization, The Social Injustice which debunks many of the racially based arguments for legalization.

Now that you know, take some time and help educate 5 people you think need to know.

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