GLOBAL: True Cost of Cannabis Deliberately Hidden – Who is Paying the Price?

The true cost of cannabis: Why don’t its illnesses, deaths command media headlines?

In August, I started covering vaping lung injuries from high-potency THC. Next, I added the link between cannabis and mental illness, but it’s lonely.

Jayne O’Donnell  USA TODAY

I’ve covered things that injure, sicken and kill kids and adults for more than 30 years. From auto safety to medical errors, I’ve competed to break stories on the latest deadly defect or health policy change, most recently on electronic cigarettes.

In late August, I added vaping-related lung illnesses to the beat.  Last month, I added marijuana, psychosis and other mental illness. 

It’s a pretty solitary place to be.

We reporters covered the heck out of vaping lung illnesses starting in August. Once it became clear the culprit was THC and not nicotine, however, the news media seemed to lose interest, said former Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb at a breakfast event I attended in early November.

The spike of mysterious vaping-related deaths could have been a moment for the media to warn the public about black-market marijuana oils. But that message clearly didn’t get through all the noise on the topic. Here’s proof: …

The deaths and injuries from lung illnesses are declining, but they’ve hardly abated and are clearly a sign of a much larger problem with excessive marijuana use among young people. Yet families from the D’Ambrosios in California to the Donats in Connecticut were caught unaware.

Families caught by the consequences

Ricky D’Ambrosio, 21, was in a medically induced coma for four of the 10 days he was hospitalized in late August after vaping THC he bought from a dispensary. He had a medical marijuana card.

D’Ambrosio’s recovering well now, but my Connecticut high school friend Billy Donat’s family wasn’t so lucky.

On Dec. 29, Donat emailed me for the first time ever. It read:

“Sometimes we reach out to old friends at the worst of times, this is one of those times. On Christmas Day, my son of 22 years put an electric cord around his neck and hung himself one day after his release from Yale Psychiatric Hospital. On the table in the living room was a copy (of) USA Today dated 12/16/2019. I told my son that you had written an article about his condition linking pot to psychosis. SCHIZOPHRENIA. I had read the front page at the news stand. I wish I had turned to page 6 and finished the article.”

If he had, he would have seen that the federal “mental health czar” and psychiatrist, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, lamenting how little attention the “settled science” on pot and psychosis gets and the huge increase in suicides among young people with marijuana in their systems in Colorado.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 2,561 people have been hospitalized with vaping-related lung illness and 55 have died. That’s one more death and over 50 more hospitalizations from two weeks earlier.

CDC says 80% of hospitalized patients who had complete information about their products reported vaping THC; 13% said they vaped just nicotine.

Most everyone I talk to — even some doctors — say nicotine vaping and Juul, especially, is what’s clogging kids’ lungs. If it is, it hasn’t been identified by any of the many state or federal scientists who have reported on their findings. They have only been able to find vitamin E acetate from THC oil in patients’ lungs.

There has been an outcry to ban flavored electronic cigarettes — or all of them, as in San Francisco — and Congress voted to raise the age for all e-cigarette tobacco products to 21 last month. The Trump administration announced plans Thursday to restrict most flavors of the one-time-use pods in e-cigarettes

But what about when the industry isn’t an easily identified and demonized monolith like Big Tobacco or … Juul? What if the purported problem is something advocates have been trying to get mandated or legalized for years?

That sounds a lot like air bags to me — and the kind of resistance my former colleague Jim Healey and I faced in 1996 when we wrote that air bags had killed about two dozen kids and that regulators weren’t telling the public. Our stories led to the warning labels and smart air bags now in every new car.

Press lets pot’s bad news slip by

Former New York Times business reporter Alex Berenson says that the human cost of cannabis is too high — and that the press is too pro-pot. When his latest book, “Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence,” came out early last year, Berenson knew marijuana proponents wouldn’t like it. He just didn’t think there would be what he calls a “media brownout.” No major publications reviewed it.

Reporters from major U.S. newspaper companies never contacted him for stories, although those in eight other countries — including Japan, Italy and Australia — did. (USA TODAY interviewed him for a March article.) Public radio and a suburban New York school system canceled appearances.

Berenson, a registered independent who didn’t have strong feelings about marijuana legalization until he researched his book, has become an unlikely favorite of the conservative media and think tanks. He blames what he says is “a genuine misunderstanding of the strength of the science supporting the cannabis-psychosis link,” which is worsened by “the endless industry/advocacy yelling about ‘Reefer Madness.’ ”

Reefer Madness” was a 1936 movie that used crazed marijuana users to show the purported risks of the drug.

“The cannabis lobby … will personally attack anyone who tries to raise the issue,” Berenson says.

His “not so secret weapon,” however, is that “I no longer care what anyone says about me,” he says. “I know what the facts are, and I’m going to repeat them until someone pays attention.”

Last month, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported new data showing marijuana use by students from eighth to 12th grade was way up — with 1 in 5 high school seniors vaping it in the past year.

The recent story I wrote with colleagues on marijuana’s link to mental health ran on the front page and was one of the top stories on our website for days. More than 250 people with children or personal experience with mental illness linked to marijuana joined our Facebook support group — I Survived It.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me pay attention.

Jayne O’Donnell covers health policy for USA TODAY. 

For complete article

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Endless Victims of the… ‘it’s my right to use drugs if I wanna’ Culture!

Boy born with brain damage after addict mum’s heroin abuse in pregnancy

Aaron’s grandmother Rita, or ‘nanmum’ as she calls herself, cares for him full-time

By George Morgan 22 DEC 2019

A Wirral boy born with a brain disease is one of over 2,000 children in the borough at risk from their parents’ drug and alcohol abuse.

Aaron was born with cerebral atrophy, a disease which causes brain cells to waste away, thought to be caused by his mother’s drug use during pregnancy.

Now nine-years-old, Aaron still needs to be peg fed due to the condition.

Both Aaron’s parents still have drug issues and are largely absent from his life, something which has a huge affect on his emotional well-being.

Both his parents were addicted to heroin, with his dad taking methadone and other recreational drugs as well.

Given this absence, Aaron’s grandmother Rita, or ‘nanmum’ as she calls herself, cares for him full-time.

As Aaron is peg fed, Rita needs to make sure the apparatus for feeding him is clean and hygienic before he is fed. This process happens three times a day.

Rita also has to work with Aaron’s school to get educational support for him.

He has sight problems which means he needs help accessing materials, his homework books need to be made bigger for instance.

Rita also takes Aaron to children’s groups, allowing him to make new friends who he can talk to about his feelings.

Aaron is one of many whose life has been severely affected by his parents’ drug abuse.

In 2014/15, 1,391 children in Wirral were at risk from their parents drug or alcohol abuse. In the most recent figures, that number had increased to 2,138, a rise of more than 50%.

Indeed this figure is higher than Liverpool’s 2,108, despite the difference in population, though the figure for Liverpool has grown at a faster rate over the last four years.

A spokesperson for children’s charity the NSPCC , said: “These rising numbers are gravely worrying because we know parental substance misuse can have long lasting impacts on a young person.

“Children whose parents have a substance problem might suffer from emotional or physical neglect, have difficulties in forming relationships later on in life, blame themselves, or feel they have to take on the role of a carer for their mum or dad.”

One service helping children in this terrible situation is Person Shaped Support (PSS).

PSS, a national charity based in Merseyside, which offers social support services and help to asylum seekers, is supporting Rita and Aaron through its family impact service.

The service is honed to support families who are affected by drugs and alcohol addiction.

It offers grandparents’ groups and children’s groups, which help people like Rita and Aaron talk to others who have to deal with a similar situation.

One-to-one support is also offered.

For complete story

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USA: Commercially Sourced VAPES Creating Sickness

For Immediate Release:
January 14th, 2020

CDC DATA: Over 130 Cases of Vaping Illness Victims Purchased Products Exclusively From “Commercial Sources”

(Alexandria, VA) – Today, in a massive release of data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it has been confirmed that out of 809 patients reporting data on the source of the marijuana products use prior to becoming sick, 131 reported purchasing products exclusively from commercial sources.

What’s more, 627 reported products from “informal sources” such as friends, family, in-person, or online dealers. Given that it is a common issue for “legal” products to be purchased at dispensaries and redirected to the illicit market, the number of illnesses linked to ‘legal’ products could be much higher.

“The data are clear on two fronts: ‘legal,’ licensed products cannot be conclusively stated as safe – as Big Marijuana’s lobbyists have so desperately tried to do – and legalization has only served to make the underground market more dangerous,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “The significance of this data release cannot be understated.”


About SAM – Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is the nation’s leading nonpartisan, non-profit public health alliance of concerned citizens and professionals who oppose marijuana legalization and support science-backed marijuana policies. SAM and its 30+ state affiliates have successfully prevented marijuana legalization in dozens of state legislatures and at the ballot box.

Guided by a Scientific Advisory Board of scientists from Harvard, Princeton, and University of Colorado, SAM educates the public on cutting edge science: marijuana is harmful, addictive, and legalization creates social injustice and expands illicit market activity.
For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit
Media Contact:
Colton Grace
(864) 492-6719
[email protected]


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USA: Legalize Pot and People Hear Public Permission and Start to Play – Then they PAY!


December 19th, 2019

CONTACT: Colton Grace  [email protected]

State-Based Drug Use Survey Finds Marijuana Use Skyrocketing in “Legal” States

 Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and  Massachusetts Post Increases in Youth Use Over Previous Year

(Alexandria, VA) – Today, state-level data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most authoritative study on drug use conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), finds that marijuana use in “legal” states among youth, young adults, and the general population continued its multi-year upward trend in several categories.

Additionally, use rates in “legal” states continue to drastically outstrip the use in states that have not legalized the drug. Highlights include:

  • Past-month marijuana use among young people aged 18-25 in “legal” states has increased 8 percent in the last year (30.94% versus 28.62%). Use in this age group is 50 percent higher in “legal” states than in non-legal states (30.94% versus 20.66%).
  • Past-month youth use (aged 12-17) in states with commercial sales continued its recent upward trend. Since last year, “legal” Washington experienced the largest surge in past month youth use with an 11 percent increase (9.94% versus 8.96%). Colorado experienced a four percent increase (9.39% versus 9.02%).
  • Massachusetts overtook Colorado as the top-ranking state for overall first-time use, which is now number two.
  • Past-month youth use in “legal” states is 40% higher than in non-legal states (8.92% versus 6.26%). Past-year youth use in “legal” states is roughly 30% higher than in non-legal states (15.82% versus 12.10%).
  • First-time youth use in “legal” states is 30% higher than non-legal states (6.96% versus 5.38%)

“This data show the marijuana industry is achieving its goal of hooking our kids on today’s highly potent marijuana,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “As we learned just this week from the Monitoring the Future survey, the number of young people who perceive marijuana as being harmful is at a historic low. Given the recent data linking high potency marijuana with serious mental health issues, addiction, and future substance abuse, this is extremely concerning. We call on Congress and the President now to stop helping the pot industry and commence a science based information campaign about the dangers of today’s marijuana products.”

Research has shown that the adolescent brain – particularly the part of the brain that regulates planning for complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and social behavior – is not fully developed until the early to mid-20s. Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of marijuana and other drug use. Given the drastic increase in marijuana use we are witnessing in this age group in “legalized” states, there should be great cause for concern.

“This data, combined with yesterday’s Monitoring the Future study, and the statements from the overwhelming majority of doctors, educators, substance abuse professionals and parents, must be our guide to changing the current discourse,” continued Dr. Sabet. “We cannot allow Big Marijuana to continue to deceive the American people for their bottom line.”


About SAM:Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is the nation’s leading nonpartisan, non-profit public health alliance of concerned citizens and professionals who oppose marijuana legalization and support science-backed marijuana policies. SAM and its 30+ state affiliates have successfully prevented marijuana legalization in dozens of state legislatures and at the ballot box.

Guided by a Scientific Advisory Board of scientists from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale, University of Colorado, and other esteemed institutions, SAM educates the public on cutting edge science: marijuana is harmful, addictive, and legalization creates social injustice and expands illicit market activity.

For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit

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USA: Cannabis Cup Cake Culpability – Along with Cannabis Industry!

Denefield school pupils fall ill after eating cannabis cakes

December 2019

The pupils ate cakes, not the one pictured, which contained “cannabis or a cannabis-related product”

Six children were taken to hospital and others had to be treated by paramedics after eating cakes laced with cannabis at a school.

The pupils, all aged 14, were taken ill at Denefield School in Tilehurst, near Reading, on Friday.

A student had taken the cakes onto the school premises and handed them to a “small number of friends”, West Berkshire Council said.

It added a pupil had been permanently excluded as a result of the incident.

The local authority said the students were treated at the school’s first aid facility and then by paramedics before six of them were “admitted to hospital as a precaution”.

It said the “adulterated” baked goods had contained “cannabis or a cannabis-related product” and the incident had left the secondary school’s staff “deeply concerned by this isolated and unprecedented incident”.

‘Committed to student welfare’

For more go to

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USA: Big Marijuana Making Money from Addiction & Misery!

We are grateful for your continued support in the fight against Big Marijuana. Today, and every day, we are thankful for the dozens of states where families sleep at ease knowing their state rejected commercialized marijuana and its consequences thanks in large part to your support!

My Son Was Addicted to Pot Vaping. Now, Congress Wants to Aid the Industry.

please click here to read

this timely op-ed by Tiffany Davidson, founder of Moms Against Marijuana Addiction, on how the “VAPE” Banking Act will drastically impact marijuana addiction.

This needs to be shared far and wide.

Following up on her testimony about the consequences of marijuana addiction in her own family, Davidson blasts the industry for its attempts to push marijuana commercialization through Congress.

Be sure to share to your social media pages to spread the word about marijuana addiction.

S.A.M – Team

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GLOBAL: CBD Quackery Continues to Conflagrate Cannabis Crisis!

Pharmacists warning over safety of cannabis oil products, amid concern some contain illegal high inducing chemical


Pharmacists have been told to check the safety of their cannabis oil products, amid concerns that some may contain illegal high-inducing chemicals.
As the market for cannabis derived products has grown rapidly in recent years, fears have been raised that some are being mislabelled and that users may unknowingly be ingesting illegal drugs.
Non-medicinal legal CBD products are available at many high street retailers but are classed as food supplements, rather than medicinal products because they should not contain the illegal psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
Despite current restrictions on marketing, the range of medicinal benefits claimed for CBD includes pain relief, overcoming insomnia and managing anxiety and stress.
Research carried out earlier this year analysed 30 products on sale in the UK in an attempt to verify their contents, and almost two thirds contained less than 90 per cent of the declared CBD ingredient. Some products contained more.
Worryingly, some 45 per cent had measurable levels of THC, making them technically illegal in the UK.
For more go to  UK Telegraph

If that’s not enough?

The Online CBD Industry Unmasked
Hard Truths About Today’s CBD Products, Websites, and Financial Activity Potency Gaps, Carcinogens, High Heavy Metal Levels — LegitScript Study Reveals Even More

LegitScript reviewed hundreds of CBD websites for regulatory compliance, tested dozens of products for potency and safety, and investigated financial activity behind the transactions.
A peek at just some of the findings revealed:
• 67% of tested CBD products had massive potency deviations
• 7% of tested CBD products contained harmful heavy metals or solvents
• 98% of surveyed CBD merchants were operating out of compliance
Download the full 40-page report today to get all the details, including types of noncompliance, actual potency amounts, and high-risk financial activity happening behind-the-scenes. Check it all out here

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USA: Pothead Pinocchio’s Pushing Pernicious Policy with Perfidious Propaganda!




These claims aren’t based on fact, but they’re propaganda points commonly used to get public support for legalization.

  • Marijuana needs to be rescheduled in order to explore its medical properties. (The National Academy of Medicine Report of 2017 considered at 10,000 scientific abstracts to reach 100 conclusions.  There’s no shortage of research studies on marijuana.)
  • Marijuana is safer than alcohol. (The risks of marijuana use are somewhat different from those of alcohol. Seth Leibsohn’s article, When a Lie Travels, demonstrates why it’s inappropriate to compare these two substances.  Both are dangerous, but marijuana is far more toxic to the brain than alcohol. Keeping marijuana illegal keeps usage down which is a form of “harm reduction.”)

Strangely, pot advocates often talk about the dangers of alcohol as a reason to legalize marijuana.

  • Millions of people are in jail for possessing small amounts of marijuana. (The number of people in federal and state prisons for minor marijuana infractions is less than 1%. There is truth to the claim that blacks and Hispanics are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. True before and after legalization, this issue cannot be resolved by legalization and it isn’t limited to drug policy.)

Not good substitute for opioids

  • Legalizing marijuana frees police to concentrate on more serious crimes. (FBI data from the first four states to legalize, Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, shows that crime increases significantly after legalization. Those four states had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults in 2013. In 2018, they had almost 620 murders and 38,000 aggravated assaults—an increase of 37 percent for murders and 25 percent for aggravated assaults, far greater than the national increase.
  • Regulation works. (Despite the fact that states have costly regulatory bodies, much dispensary marijuana is tainted with mold, fungus and pesticides.  Some of the vaping illnesses and deaths can be traced to legal, regulated marijuana stores. In other words, it’s not only bootleg marijuana vapes that are causing deaths.)

Not a tax windfall

  • Legalized marijuana brings billions of tax dollars into the states that have legalized. (In all the states that have legalized, marijuana tax money represents less than 1% of state revenue.  We don’t have detailed analysis of the social costs: crashes, traffic deaths, butane hash oil explosions, mental health and emergency room costs related to cannabis.)  States that have legalized faced a huge increase in homelessness.
  • People do not drive better under the influence of marijuana, as pot advocates claim(Traffic deaths rose in the first states to legalize marijuana. Although data is preliminary, insurance company statistics suggest this outcome, too.  Mixing marijuana and alcohol, and multi-drug impairment is a rising problem that coincides with marijuana legalization. Drugged driving surpassed drunk driving as a cause of traffic deaths a few years ago. Marijuana is the number one drug associated with drugged driving.)
  • Marijuana isn’t addictive. (Roughly 30% of regular marijuana users in the US are classified as having a cannabis use disorder, versus 10-20% of alcohol users.  A study from UC Davis found that adults dependent on cannabis had more financial and social problems than those dependent on alcohol. Addiction studies show that 9% of adult users and 17% of those who begin pot use as adolescents become addicted. These statistics come from the last century and don’t account for today’s high potency cannabis.)

The most devious lie

  • Marijuana never killed anyone.  The most pernicious lie is that marijuana never killed anyone, which advocates repeat because marijuana doesn’t cause overdose deaths by crossing the blood-brain barrier.  (In addition to those killed by marijuana-impaired drivers, we have a long list of those whose marijuana use caused mental illness and led to other drugs or suicide.  Young people have also died from cannabis hyperemesis syndromeheart arrhythmia and from vaping marijuana. Not to mention when people do foolish and stupid things when under the influence, causing accidental death.)

When asked in polls, about 65% of the people claim to favor legalization, but these polls don’t ask about decriminalization.   When polls ask about decriminalization, the answers change.

The Drug Policy Alliance, an organization at the forefront of drug policy reform, pushes for the legalization of all drugs.

For complete story to Proactive and Protective Parents Opposed to Pot

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Global: Harm Reduction ONLY Filters are Not Effective Drug Policy!

Toward Healthy Drug Policy in the United States — The Case of Safehouse

In finding an overdose-prevention site to be a legitimate public health measure, he relied on the consistent scientific evidence that such facilities have both therapeutic value for participants and public health benefits. This respect for international evidence was striking, given how great a barrier the CSA has been to applying health services innovations and research findings from peer countries in the United States.

The judge’s next step was to reject the U.S. attorney’s restrictive interpretation of the law. McHugh started by observing that “no credible argument can be made that facilities such as safe injection sites were within the contemplation of Congress either when it adopted § 856(a) in 1986, or when it amended the statute in 2003.” Adopting a conservative approach to statutory interpretation, McHugh was disinclined to stretch the law to prohibit an activity that Congress had not considered. He used the rest of his opinion to consider whether the statute’s language was even applicable to Safehouse.

Dalgarno Institute Comment:

Safe and Drug Use Consumption – The misappropriated nomenclature

The lens for both investigation and interpretation for drug use ‘management’, must have demand, supply and harm reduction filters, not simply the latter.

The continuing growth in the misuse of harm reduction only vehicles that end up endorsing, empowering, equipping or enabling ongoing drug use (thus both undermining the two other vital pillars of harm minimization – being Supply and Demand Reduction) is not simply an emerging phenomena, but a now entrenched one.

All harm reduction vehicles, whether pharmacotherapy or consumption mechanisms such as injecting rooms and needle/syringe programs, MUST have a sunset clause on them to be an effective drug policy tool. The exiting of the harm causing enterprise of drug use IS supposed to be the goal of harm reduction, not the continuation of it, and particularly at the expense of the non-drug using public.

There is no argument that more needs to be done, but it is the effective and uncompromising collaboration of all three pillars of Harm Minimization that will see the change needed. However, as long as harm reduction ONLY mechanisms are used to ‘re-interpret’ drug policy and implementation, then cessation of drug use is perpetually sabotaged, and harms grow!

For complete article

See also

Needle & Syringe Program – An Australian Overview

Dealing With Addiction – Research Repor


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FRANCE: Paris Pot Perpetrator Gets Pass on Perncious Crime! #Insane

Charges against man who killed Jewish kindergarten teacher while chanting verses from the Koran are DROPPED after it is ruled he suffered a psychotic episode by smoking cannabis

  • Kobili Traore, 29, believed to have tortured Sarah Halimi in her Paris flat in 2017
  • Mali immigrant shoved the 65-year-old mother from eleventh arrondissement
  • He has admitted killing her but claimed he was not aware of his actions at time
  • And the senior procureur général said that the killer should be sent to hospital

Traore confessed to the murder of Halimi at her Paris apartment (stock image). Psychiatric examinations of the defendant, who claims to smoke up to 15 joints per day, found his mental functioning was impaired due to his cannabis intake

The Mali immigrant then shoved the 65-year-old mother-of-three from the eleventh arrondissement building before reportedly yelling: ‘I’ve killed the Shaitan (devil)!’

Psychiatric examinations of the defendant, who claims to smoke up to 15 joints per day, found his mental functioning was impaired due to his cannabis intake.

Although three assessments determined Traore’s long-term drug habit had not inflicted him with mental illness, their verdicts differed insofar as his mental capacity during the killing.

(These continuing and growing behaviours are what generate stigma for the drug user, and rightly so! The pro-drug lobby continue to ignore or playdown these shocking and disturbing behaviours as they promote the ‘don’t label me, I have sickness that I will continue to grow by failing to be accountable for my actions or stopping drug use!’)

For complete article

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