S.A.M. – Marijuana Use Among Young Stubbornly High

U.S. Student Drug Survey: Marijuana Use Remains Strong Despite Drops in Other Drug Use

States with Lax Marijuana Laws Also Show Higher Marijuana “Edible” Use than Other States
Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister
+1 (703) 665-1410
[WASHINGTON, DC] – The nation’s annual school survey of drug use, Monitoring the Future (MTF), shows marijuana use among adolescents, including heavy marijuana use, remaining stubbornly high and higher than ten years ago  – despite reductions across the board among other drugs. Past year and past month marijuana use among high school seniors is up versus last year, and marijuana use among almost all categories is higher than ten years ago. And students in states with lax marijuana laws are much more likely to use marijuana in candy or edible form than students in other states.
“Why would marijuana use not be falling like the use of other substances? The answer is likely marijuana commercialization and industrialization, spurred by legalization initiatives,” said Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor and President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “It also might explain why six percent of high school seniors use marijuana daily. Moreover, this study does not include kids who have dropped out of school — and are thus more likely to be using drugs than the study’s sample.”
Additionally, the MTF showed differences between students in states with loose marijuana laws and students in other states. Students in lax policy states were much more likely to use marijuana, and also more likely to use edibles. Among 12th graders reporting marijuana use in the past year, 40.2 percent consumed marijuana in food in states with medical marijuana laws compared to 28.1 percent in states without such laws.
“While drug, cigarette, and alcohol use are falling almost across the board, due to decades of work and millions of taxpayer dollars, kids are turning more and more to marijuana,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM’s Executive Vice President. “It’s unsurprising now that the marijuana industry — following in the footsteps of the tobacco industry — is pouring millions into marketing kid-friendly edible products like pot candy to maximize their profits.”
According to statements from the American Medical Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Psychiatric Association, marijuana use, especially among youth, should be avoided, and legalization efforts opposed.
“Medical research is very clear that marijuana is both addictive and harmful,” noted Dr. Stu Gitlow, immediate past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “One in six adolescents that use marijuana develop an addiction, and use is associated with lower IQ, lower grades, and higher dropout rates in that same population. It is therefore of significant concern that this year’s study may actually underreport marijuana use and downplay its impact.”
Meanwhile, the toll of legalized marijuana continues to climb in Colorado and Washington. For example, the AAA Foundation reported earlier this year that the percentage of fatal crashes in the state of Washington linked to drivers who had recently used marijuana more than doubled the year marijuana retail sales were authorized . Similarly, cases of marijuana poisonings are up 108% in Colorado after legalization, and up 206% among children ages 0 to 8 years old . (More data on these trends is available in SAM’s recent report on legalization in both states .)
For more information about marijuana use and its effects, see http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

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 31 states.


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Oregon Localities Overwhelmingly Reject Marijuana Industry at Ballot Box

Local bans on sales, production of marijuana pass; at odds with statewide legalization vote

November 10, 2016 Contact: SAM Public Affairs Email: info@learnaboutsam.org (ALEXANDRIA, VA) -

Official returns from the state of Oregon show that approximately two-thirds of localities rejected the marijuana industry at the ballot box, even if they voted for statewide legalization two years ago. “As in Colorado and other places, Oregon voters may have cast their ballot for statewide legalization, but they don’t want much to do with it on the local level,” said Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “This vote should send a strong message to state legislators and even members of Congress that people are not comfortable with pot shops in their neighborhoods or marijuana cultivation sites near their homes.” Relatively populous Marion County, for example, rejected non-medical marijuana businesses 53 to 47 percent. Residents there even rejected medical marijuana stores. Lake Oswego banned non-medical sales by twenty points. West Linn also rejected marijuana stores. Both areas are primarily Democratic voters. Marijuana Accountability Project (MAP) Since the election, SAM raised $1M in pledges for a new Marijuana Accountability Project (MAP) that promises to keep state officials and the industry accountable— by making sure data is collected, municipalities are empowered to ban stores in their neighborhoods, and the industry pays for their damage. SAM will also explore legal options against the industry and we will continue to engage in Oregon with stakeholders around this issue, as well as with the new US Congress and Presidential Administration.


SAM Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. Learn more about SAM Action and its work at visit www.samaction.net. PayPal – The safer, easier way to pay online! Donate to SAM Action’s general fund

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WALL STREE JOURNAL: A Brave New Weed-Editorial Board

Dear Friend,

We are so happy to announce that after meeting with SAM Honorary Advisor Patrick Kennedy and SAM President Kevin Sabet, the Wall Street Journal came out on the correct side of our issue and editorialized against legalization!

Please share far and wide!

SAM Team

A Brave New Weed

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Marijuana is now legal in 25 states for medicinal purposes and in four for recreational use. Voters in another five have a chance on Nov. 8 to legalize the retail consumption of pot, but the evidence rolling in from these real-time experiments should give voters pause to consider the consequences.

In 2012 Colorado and Washington voters legalized recreational pot, followed by Alaska and Oregon two years later. Initiatives this year in California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts would allow businesses to sell and market pot to adults age 21 and older.

Adults could possess up to one ounce (more in Maine) and grow six marijuana plants. Public consumption would remain prohibited, as would driving under the influence. Marijuana would be taxed at rates from 3.75% in Massachusetts to 15% in the western states, which would license and regulate retailers.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which prohibits states from regulating possession, use, distribution and sale of narcotics. However, the Justice Department in 2013 announced it wouldn’t enforce the law in states that legalize pot. Justice also promised to monitor and document the outcomes, which it hasn’t done. But someone should, because evidence from Colorado and Washington compiled by the nonprofit Smart Approaches to Marijuana suggests that legalization isn’t achieving what supporters promised.

One problem is that legalization and celebrity glamorization have removed any social stigma from pot and it is now ubiquitous. Minors can get pot as easily a six pack. Since 2011 marijuana consumption among youth rose by 9.5% in Colorado and 3.2% in Washington even as it dropped 2.2% nationwide. The Denver Post reports that a “disproportionate share” of marijuana businesses are in low-income and minority communities. Many resemble candy stores with lollipops, gummy bears and brownies loaded with marijuana’s active ingredient known as THC.

The science of how THC affects young minds is still evolving. However, studies have shown that pot use during adolescence can shave off several IQ points and increase the risk for schizophrenic breaks. One in six kids who try the drug will become addicted, a higher rate than for alcohol. Pot today is six times more potent than 30 years ago, so it’s easier to get hooked and high.

Employers have also reported having a harder time finding workers who pass drug tests. Positive workplace drug tests for marijuana have increased 178% nationwide since 2012. The construction company GE Johnson says it is recruiting construction workers from other states because it can’t find enough in Colorado to pass a drug test.

Honest legalizers admitted that these social costs might increase but said they’d be offset by fewer arrests and lower law enforcement costs. Yet arrests of black and Hispanic youth in Colorado for pot-related offenses have soared 58% and 29%, respectively, while falling 8% for whites.

The share of pot-related traffic deaths has roughly doubled in Washington and increased by a third in Colorado since legalization, and in the Centennial State pot is now involved in more than one of five traffic fatalities. Calls to poison control for overdoses have jumped 108% in Colorado and 68% in Washington since 2012.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has said that “criminals are still selling on the black market,” in part because state taxes make legal marijuana pricier than on the street. Drug cartels have moved to grow marijuana in the states or have switched to trafficking in more profitable drugs like heroin.

One irony is that a Big Pot industry is developing even as tobacco smokers are increasingly ostracized. The Arcview Group projects that the pot market could triple over four years to $22 billion. Pot retailers aren’t supposed to market specifically to kids, though they can still advertise on the radio or TV during, say, a college football game. Tobacco companies have been prohibited from advertising on TV since 1971.

The legalization movement is backed by the likes of George Soros and Napster co-founder Sean Parker, and this year they are vastly outspending opponents. No wonder U.S. support for legalizing marijuana has increased to 57% from 32% a decade ago, according to the Pew Research Center.

We realize it’s déclassé to resist this cultural imperative, and maybe voters think the right to get high when you want is worth the social and health costs of millions of more stoners. Then again, since four states have volunteered to be guinea pigs, maybe other states should wait and see if these negative trends continue.



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Almost half of projected Prop 64 tax revenue will go uncollected

CA Tax Official: Almost half of projected Prop 64 tax revenue will go uncollected

Data received by CA Board of Equalization also indicates Prop 64 will increase black market for marijuana, and that over 30% of Colorado pot businesses do not comply with state law

November 1, 2016
Contact: Austin Galovski Email: austin.galovski@curastrategies.com +1 (585) 305-4070

[LOS ANGELES, CA] – Jerome Horton, a member of the California Board of Equalization (which administers the state’s sales and use, fuel, alcohol, tobacco, and other taxes), issued a damming letter indicating that Proposition 64′s projected tax impacts are significantly exaggerated, and that the initiative would actually increase black market activity in the state.

The letter states that “40 percent of the projected tax revenue [of Proposition 64] will not be collected” based on data received by the Board of Equalization. This pattern of legal non-compliance follows that of Colorado, the letter continues, where “the rate of non-compliance has surged … [to] more than thirty percent.”

The letter concludes by stating that “the provisions in Proposition 64 are not sufficient to protect Californians from the negative criminal and financial impact of allowing over 23 million Californians to get high.”

“As in Colorado, legalization will expand the underground market and open the door to widespread corruption and tax evasion,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of SAM Action. “We commend Mr Horton for bravely speaking out on this important issue.”

“Legalization proponents continue to sell their initiatives by promising big returns for government but ignoring the massive costs associated with them, like increased drugged driving crashes,” added Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM Action’s Executive Vice President. “Now we know that they are also failing to inform the public about the predictable impact of tax evasion by the pot industry.”


SAM Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. Learn more about SAM Action and its work at visit www.samaction.net.

SAM Action, 400 N. Columbus St., Suite 202, Alexandria, VA 22314

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New Report on Impact of Cannabis Legalisation – Crisis?

New Report: Driving While High, Youth Use, Crime, Arrests Surge Since
Marijuana Legalization Began in
Colorado and Washington

The new data, reviewed by researchers at Harvard, University of Colorado, and other academic institutions, find major problems in first four years of legalization

For Immediate Release  October 26, 2016 Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister jeff@learnaboutsam.org (703) 665-1410

ALEXANDRIA, VA – A new report, released today by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and reviewed by senior researchers at Harvard, University of Colorado, Boston Children’s Hospital, and other public health research universities, examines the consequences of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State. The report finds surges in youth pot use, hospital visits among young children, increases in fatal car crashes related to recent marijuana uses, greater workplace issues, more arrests of Black and Latino youth, and other negative consequences.

One part reads: “Though it is still early-the full effects on mental health and educational outcomes, for example, will take many more years to fully develop-these ‘experiments’ in legalization and commercialization are not succeeding by any measure.”

The report also cites Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who recently said, “The criminals are still selling on the black market. … We have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.”

“Four years have passed since Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, and the only winner is the pot lobby that is lining its pockets,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM. “What happened to the new schools? What happened to getting rid of drug dealers? None of that has come to pass.”

The report documents how marijuana businesses are concentrated in poor communities, and how the marijuana lobby has blocked legislation to deter use of illegal pesticides, sued
over restrictions on marijuana advertising targeting children, made it more difficult for local initiatives restricting marijuana businesses, and sponsored efforts to allow pot smoking in restaurants.

Jo McGuire, chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate remarked, “This is not what we signed up for. Where is the control? This concept of ‘regulation’ is a farce. It is time to step up against the marijuana industry.”

For Full Report For Full Report

For more information about marijuana policy, please visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.


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 who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

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Nevada “No on 2″ Campaign Releases Spanish-Language TV Ad, with Funding from SAM Action

Latino communities’ concern about legalized marijuana evident in TV spot featuring marijuana edibles


Contact: Austin Galovski Email: austin.galovski@curastrategies.com +1 (585) 305-4070

[Las Vegas, NV] – The Nevada “No on 2″ campaign released a Spanish-language television ad yesterday that will air on social media and broadcast TV. The advertisement, made possible with funding from SAM Action, speaks out against marijuana edibles that Question 2 would allow to be sold and advertised.

“The last thing our neighborhoods and children need is Big Marijuana targeting them with ads for marijuana candy,” noted Rene Cantu, a spokesperson for the campaign and Las Vegas-area Latino leader.

The video (with English subtitles) can be viewed here:

SAM Action’s President, Kevin Sabet, noted, “In Denver, pot shops have concentrated in lower-income communities of color. Make no mistake, if Question 2 passes, Latino kids will be targeted by a powerful new industry.”

The No on 2 campaign has focused much of its resources in working with the Latino community, where opposition is well-organized on the grassroots level.


SAM Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. Learn more about SAM Action and its work at visit www.samaction.net.

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Now is the time to implement effective marijuana DUID laws.

Now is the time to implement effective marijuana DUID laws.
A new commentary from the Institute for Behavior and Health highlights the role of marijuana in the serious public safety problem of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). Important lessons can be learned from the inadequate laws implemented in Colorado and Washington, two that have legalized marijuana. With a growing trend to increase legal access to marijuana, policymakers must implement effective laws supported by practical enforcement measures to protect the public.

Setting a legal impairment limit for THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is impossible because there is no consistent relationship between the blood concentration of THC and driving impairment. Importantly, the problem of drugged driving is not limited to marijuana. As such, IBH reviews current DUI law enforcement procedures and makes recommendations for new DUID actions.

Accompanying this commentary is a model law developed by IBH with the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime.

Read the IBH commentary in full.http://www.ibhinc.org/
Copyright © 2016 Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., All rights reserved.
The Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH) shares its materials with colleagues who are leaders in the fields of drug policy, addiction treatment, research, medicine, among others. (used by permission)

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AAA Traffic Safety Leaders, Parents Rally to Oppose Prop 64 Across California

AAA Traffic Safety Leaders, Parents Rally to Oppose
Prop 64 Across California as Marijuana-Related Driving Fatalities Increase

Rise in California Drugged Driving Sparks Community Advocacy Against Marijuana Legalization; Events today in Sacramento, Tomorrow in Los Angeles

Contact: Austin Galovski Email: austin.galovski@curastrategies.com +1 (585) 305-4070

[Los Angeles, CA] – An October 4th rally, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Pacific and continuing through the afternoon on the Capitol steps in Sacramento, is being hosted by an organization of parents who have lost children due to marijuana use, Moms Strong. Subsequently, on October 5th, a Los Angeles summit hosted by the Automobile Club of Southern California will highlight the negative impacts of marijuana legalization, specifically discussing drugged driving in light of new data showing that nearly one in five California fatal automobile accidents involved marijuana use.

Since 2005, the percentage of California fatalities in which a driver tested positive for marijuana use has risen by 17%, and the rate of overall drivers who tested positive for marijuana increased 22%. The new data comes from a report conducted by the California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

“Prop 64 is a gamble on the public’s safety, which isn’t a risk worth taking, especially when drug-impaired driving is on the rise,” said Kathy Sieck, the Auto Club’s senior vice president for public affairs.

“It is worrisome that five states this year, including California, are considering a far-reaching policy change that could have unintended consequences for traffic safety, the emergency medical system, law enforcement and the courts,” said AAA Director Jack Nelson.

The rise in California’s drugged driving rates mirrors that in other states, such as Colorado and Washington.

“We’re seeing increases in stoned driving in Washington and Colorado,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “As of now, there is no field sobriety test for drugged driving, nor a legal standard to provide a baseline for enforcement. This is an undeniable public health issue, and I look forward to working with the Auto Club and AAA to facilitate constructive, public dialogue and inspire much-needed policy reform.”

The Auto Club Summit will include a press conference with Kevin Sabet, AAA and other leading professionals in law enforcement, public health and public policy. The press conference will take place during the Summit, with an 11 a.m. Pacific start time at the Peterson Automotive Museum entrance in Los Angeles.

The California community is beginning to recognize these potential drawbacks. Today, in addition to the Moms Strong rally, the Anaheim Police Department and Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action board member Ben Cort are hosting a panel to address issues with the existing legalization proposal.

On October 6th, Kevin Sabet will address the Red Ribbon Rally in San Diego.

“As it stands, Proposition 64 is a corporate free-for-all,” said Sabet. “We need to base our policy decisions on science and research, not addiction-for-profit.”

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New Poll: Nevada Hispanics Oppose Question 2

71% of likely Hispanic voters surveyed said they would vote “No” this November

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 2016

Contact: Austin Galovski Email: austin.galovski@curastrategies.com +1 (585) 305-4070

[Las Vegas, NV] – A poll of 400 Hispanic Nevada voters reveals significant concerns over Question 2, which would legalize the non-medical use of marijuana for anyone 21 years of age or older. All respondents were offered the choice between conducting the survey in Spanish or English.

Statewide, 71% indicated they would vote “No” on Question 2, while just 26% said they would vote “Yes,” and 3% were undecided.

Opposition to Question 2 was strong throughout the state. It was opposed by Hispanic voters in Clark County (72%), Washoe County (60%), and Rural Nevada (73%).

It was also opposed by Hispanic voters in almost all demographic sub-groups, including those registered as Democrats (72%), Republicans (81%), and Independents (59%). This also was the case among both Hispanic men (72%) and Hispanic women (69%).

Hispanic voters aged 18-34 were the only group with a majority saying they were voting “Yes” on Question 2 (57% “Yes” to 35% “No”). However, those over the age of 34 were overwhelmingly in the “No” column.

A majority of Hispanics backing both major political party presidential candidates stated they would vote “No,” with 74% of Hillary Clinton supporters and 71% of Donald Trump supporters opposed. That was also true of the Senate race, with 77% of Catherine Cortez Masto supporters and 69% of Joe Heck supporters saying they would vote against Question 2.
“Nevada Hispanics — more than one-quarter of the state’s population — do not like Question 2 since it hurts their communities,” said Kevin Sabet, SAM Action’s President. “They see that it is all about making a handful of out-of-state investors rich and selling pot candy to kids, instead of about civil rights or personal freedom. And they know that kid-friendly pot products are the last thing they and their families need.”

Pat Hickey, SAM Action’s Nevada Coordinator, added, “The Hispanic community may also be waking up to the fact that their neighborhoods will bear the lion’s share of the costs of legalized pot. In Denver, most pot businesses are concentrated in communities of color, one of which has a pot business for every 47 residents.”

More detailed results follow:

QUESTION: Amendment 2 on the November ballot would make marijuana legal for non-medical purposes in Nevada for anyone 21 years of age or older. If you were voting on this amendment today, would you vote “YES” in favor of the amendment, or “NO” against the amendment?

STATE 26% 71% 3%

Clark County 26% 72% 2%
Washoe County 35% 60% 5%
Rural Nevada 23% 73% 4%

Men 25% 72% 3%
Women 28% 69% 3%

18-34 57% 35% 8%
35-49 24% 72% 4%
50-64 20% 79% 1%
65+ 14% 86% –

Democrat 27% 72% 1%
Republican 12% 81% 7%
Independent 35% 59% 6%

Clinton voters 25% 74% 1%
Trump voters 22% 71% 7%
Undecided 30% 68% 2%

Masto voters 22% 77% 1%
Heck voters 23% 69% 8%
Undecided 42% 56% 2%


This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from September 12 through September 15, 2016. A total of 400 self-identified Hispanic registered voters in Nevada were interviewed statewide by telephone. All stated they were likely to vote in the November general election.

Those interviewed were selected randomly from a telephone-matched voter registration list that included both land line and cell phone numbers. All respondents were offered the choice between conducting the survey in Spanish or English.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ± 5 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or age grouping.


Democrat 229 57%
Republican 68 17%
Independent or Other 103 26%

18-34 63 16%
35-49 129 32%
50-64 132 33%
65+ 66 17%
Refused 10 2%

High School or less 185 46%
Some College/Tech School 99 25%
College Graduate 95 24%
Graduate Degree 12 3%
Refused 9 2%

Male 188 47%
Female 212 53%

Clark County 318 79%
Washoe County 52 13%
Rural Nevada 30 8%

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Missouri Medical Marijuana Measure Fails to Make the 2016 Ballot

September 22, 2016
Contact: Jeff Zinsmeister jeff@samaction.net +1 (703) 665-1410

[Alexandria, VA] – A medical marijuana initiative will not be on the ballot in Missouri this fall after proponents failed to collect enough valid signatures to certify the measure. A Missouri court affirmed the decision of the Missouri Secretary of State that, due to the invalid signatures, the initiative did not meet the legal requirements to appear on the ballot. The proponents have since informed the media that they will not appeal.

“Now that Americans are beginning to fully understand that corporate special interests are the ones pushing marijuana initiatives, the pot lobby is having a harder time promoting its addiction-for-profit agenda,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM Action. ” Proponents couldn’t collect enough valid signatures despite months of overconfident statements. This is just one more example of why permissive marijuana laws are not inevitable.”

A copy of the court’s order can be found here .

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