Calaveras County made national news this week because its famed, 2,000 year old tree, which had been a tourist attraction since 1880, fell down. Fortunately, Calaveras County also took action this week to keep out an invasive tree, the giant cannabis plants that grow like weeds. Tourists won’t be going there for marijuana, and fortunately, many giant sequoias are still standing. (Photos from the Calaveras Big Trees Association webpage)
Calaveras County will see California’s first ever citizen-initiated ordinance banning commercial marijuana activities decided soon by its Board of Supervisors or in a spring special election. It’s one of the first big push-backs against Big Marijuana since the November 8 election in which the state legalized pot.
County Clerk and Registrar of Voters Rebecca Turner today certified the petition sections filed by proponents of the initiative to ban commercial marijuana cultivation included more than enough valid signatures to qualify it for a special election. Sampling 500 of the more than 5,200 signatures submitted, the Elections Department found a validity rate of 87% which, applied to the total, would produce approximately 4,532 valid signatures, where the number needed for certification was only 3,143. For More click here
Continual monitoring of new cannabis policies is recommended
Although it is still too early to evaluate the impact of new cannabis policies, the evidence collected to date in the United States points to an increase in cannabis use in states where referendums have led to the legalization of recreational marijuana use. New challenges have emerged in some states of the United States (notably Colorado), including the marketing of unregulated cannabis products (edibles) with a high content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Moreover, there is evidence of an increasing number of cannabis users driving under the influence, as well as an increase in cannabis-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations. However, cannabis-related arrests and court cases related to cannabis offences have decreased. All of these outcome measures would need to be rigorously monitored and evaluated over a period of time before a final assessment can be made.
No one wants to read about drug addiction, abuse, overdose numbers and young death. Why should they? Why should anyone who is steady, healthy and cogent enough to be combing a newspaper, or scanning news on their iPhone care much about someone who — all the world assumes — lost their own future, made avoidable mistakes? Not my lane. Not my worry. Not my world, right? Wrong.
When the tide comes in, it takes all. Especially when it comes by storm. And this storm, my fellow Americans, is upon us. If you’re not touched by addiction yourself, you soon will be. Society is being confronted by an unprecedented wave of events. Marijuana legalization, far from harmless as advertised, is producing a wave of new drug dependence. Nor is that black dog easy to shake. Then, add the related opiate epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control just reported 50,000 more dead Americans in 2016 (most young), on top of the 50,000 dead in 2015. Read more at When Drug Crisis Hits Home
Local bans on sales, production of marijuana pass; at odds with statewide legalization vote
November 10, 2016 Contact: SAM Public Affairs Email: firstname.lastname@example.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
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!
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.
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: email@example.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