Anti-Marijuana Legalization Advocates Clear Major Hurdle in Connecticut

Senate Marijuana Legalization Proposal Stalled
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani  - anisha@learnaboutsam.org
+1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria , VA, April 6, 2017] –  Yesterday, a broad coalition of public health experts, elected officials, educators, and concerned citizens made significant headway in the effort to stop marijuana legalization in Connecticut. Senate Bill 11 died without a vote in the House Judiciary Committee last night. The bill  would have legalized the commercialization of marijuana in Connecticut and permitted retail sales in marijuana stores throughout the state. SAM’s Connecticut affiliate was the primary coalition organizer and SB11 opponent.
“This is a major setback for marijuana legalization,” said SAM President and CEO Kevin A. Sabet. “This year, states are refusing to import the host of public health and safety consequences we’ve seen in places like Colorado: more kids getting high, more stoned drivers on the roads, and more people being driven into treatment for addiction. The Big Marijuana special interests are trying to sell Connecticut the lie that marijuana legalization can fix the state’s budget deficit – thankfully Connecticut is realizing that like the lottery, these funds are less than expected. All they have to do is look to Colorado, where the state deficit is growing, not shrinking. ”
“The first rule any doctor or public health official bears in mind is to do no harm,” said Dr. Yifrah Kaminer, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at University of Connecticut School of Medicine. “Legalizing marijuana would seriously harm public health and safety in our state. States like Colorado show us that more youth use marijuana and develop substance use disorders post-legalization. This experiment is rightly being rejected. I’m proud Connecticut took a crucial step toward protecting the physical and mental health of our children today.”
“Connecticut residents do not want pot shops in our state – or the accompanying Big Marijuana special interest lobby,” said Connecticut SAM member John Daviau. “In states that have legalized marijuana, we’ve seen the commercialization of a drug we know to be harmful. Marijuana legalization is ultimately about making a very small group of investors rich, but these special interest groups now need to start looking elsewhere.”
Evidence demonstrates that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is  addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in  drugged driving crashes,  youth marijuana use, and rising debt.  These states have seen a  black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and a consistent  rise in alcohol sales.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Playing Politics with US Opioid Crisis

Politicizing and Misunderstanding the Opioid Crisis

By Seth Leibsohn| April 5th, 2017|

The nation’s opioid crisis is real and it is serious. As Christopher Caldwell recently pointed out, “those who call the word ‘carnage’ an irresponsible exaggeration are wrong.” And so, too, are those playing politics with the crisis. Even beyond the politicization—or, perhaps, because of it—there is still a great deal of misunderstanding as to what is driving this crisis.

As for the first problem, the politics: Senator Claire McCaskill (D., MO) has announced that she is initiating an investigation of several opioid manufacturers, and is requesting “reams of information” from them. But note the one manufacturer she did not target and from which she did not request information—Mallinckrodt. Mallinckrodt, after all, is headquartered in Missouri, her own state. Odd, that. And it’s not as if Mallinckrodt is a bit player in the manufacture and sales of opioid drugs. Indeed, “it is one of the nation’s largest” producers, responsible for nearly 20 percent of the market share of opioid prescriptions. The companies McCaskill has targeted are responsible for a total market share of 5.25 percent combined. Odd, that. If she were serious about investigating pharmaceutical companies, she most certainly would be investigating the one based in her own home state which also happens to be the one responsible for most opioid sales in America.

But all of this is not even the beginning of the beginning in addressing America’s opioid crisis. For when political leaders like Senator McCaskill are not playing politics with the issue, they are too often misunderstanding it. Some of that is not their fault.

Part of the problem in addressing the opioid crisis is that the terminology can be confusing or misleading. People hear “opioid” or “prescription opioid” or “fentanyl” and begin to lump the problems all together as a crisis driven by legitimately prescribed drugs. No doubt, that is a part of the problem, but it is nowhere near the biggest part of it. Take a look at the best statistics available (taken from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the CDC):

  • In 2015, there were 33,091 opioid overdose deaths.
  • Heroin deaths constituted 12,990 of those deaths.
  • Synthetic opioids (mostly illegal fentanyl) constitute another 9,580 deaths.

Because opioid deaths usually involve the use of more than one drug, percentages and raw numbers will not neatly add up to 100% or the 33,091 deaths. As the White House Website puts it: “A portion of the overdose deaths involved both illicit opioids and prescription opioids.” But what we can see from the above is that over 68 percent of the problem is from the use of illegal drugs.  Or, as the CDC put it in December of 2016: “[T]he increase in opioid overdose death rates is driven in large part by illicit opioids, like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.”

As for the prescribed opioids, the majority of overdose deaths from those come from the diversion and illegal distribution of them. As the CDC notes: “Most people who abuse prescription opioids get them for free from a friend or relative.” The people “at highest risk of overdose” “get opioids using their own prescriptions (27 percent), from friends or relatives for free (26 percent), buying from friends or relatives (23 percent), or buying from a drug dealer (15 percent).” Thus, for the population that overdoses from opioid prescriptions, 64 percent abuse them from a diverted or illegal source. In other words, the abuse of opioid prescriptions that leads to overdose deaths involving a patient acquiring a legal prescription and misusing that prescription on himself is less than 30 percent of the prescription problem and constitutes about 15 percent of the overall opioid overdose problem.

For more https://amgreatness.com/2017/04/05/politicizing-misunderstanding-opioid-crisis/

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Psychiatrist Patrick McGorry Plans to Dope “Anxious” 12 Year Olds with “Medical” Cannabis

Citizens Commission on Human Rights International is opposing the world-first study that could lead to millions of Australian and American teens being doped with prescribed marijuana.By CCHR International The Mental Health Industry Watchdog March 15, 2017

Australian psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, renowned for his debunked and dangerous theory that pre-drugging adolescents with antipsychotics can prevent psychosis, now plans to prescribe medical cannabis to treat “anxious” 12 year olds. His Australian study will give the drug to 12 to 25 year olds to treat anxiety and other “mental health issues.” Mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, is opposing the world-first study being given final approval by the Australian federal ethics committee later this month.[1] Prof. McGorry’s study could lead to millions of Australian and also American teens being doped up with prescribed marijuana, although it is argued that it is without psychoactive properties.[2] McGorry has strong ties to leading American psychiatrists and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

For More https://www.cchrint.org/2017/03/15/patrick-mcgorry-plans-to-dope-12yearolds-with-cannabis/

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Denver Colorado Dope Dispensaries Ramp UP

Dear Smart Colorado Supporter:

On Monday, April 3rd at 3 p.m., the Denver City Council Marijuana Issues Committee will again consider extending marijuana dispensary hours from 7 p.m. until midnight. Denver, the epicenter of marijuana commercialization, should focus on reducing youth access rather than increasing exposure.

But we need your help! Please contact city council members listed below and ask that they DELAY the ordinance.  Currently, rules around the implementation of Initiated Ordinance 300 allowing for social consumption of marijuana are being determined.  These are 2 major changes in Denver marijuana policy.
Smart recommends that Denver evaluate the impacts of social consumption on youth for a period of 12-18 months before considering to further extend dispensary hours.

According to the latest state-sponsored Healthy Kids Colorado Survey:

  • Nearly half of Denver students reported that they had used marijuana,  compared to 38% statewide.
  • More than a quarter of Denver students said they had used marijuana in the past month, compared to 21% statewide.
  • 29.2% of Denver male high school students reported using marijuana in the past month, compared to 24.4% used alcohol.
  • 61% of Denver students reported it was sort of or very easy to get marijuana compared to 55.7% statewide.

https://www.facebook.com/smartcolorado/

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Acting Director at ONDCP

SAM Statement on the Appointment of Richard Baum as ONDCP Acting Director

anisha@learnaboutsam.org +1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria, VA, March 29, 2017] — Today, SAM President Kevin Sabet, a three-time drug policy staffer at the White House, commented on the selection of Richard Baum as Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP):
“Rich Baum is exceptionally qualified to steer such a critical office at a time when drugs from marijuana to heroin are threatening public health in the United States. He has been a critical voice advancing progress among several important areas – like criminal justice innovation and international partnerships – and he remains a trusted voice both here and abroad in advancing a balanced, evidence-based drug policy.
“We’re hopeful that with the imminent announcement of a new opioid task force that ONDCP will remain the central national voice for drug policy. The office is vital to the mission of so many groups working every day to reduce drug use, stem addiction, promote recovery, and protect public safety.
“At SAM, we are particularly concerned about marijuana policy developments being driven by profits and greed rather than public health. We do not want to see a new ‘War on Drugs’ centered on arrests for marijuana possession, but the Big Marijuana special interest lobby must be held accountable for endangering the health and safety of American communities. ONDCP is doing meaningful work to combat the opioid overdose epidemic, prevent drug use among youth, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.”
A February 17 New York Times story reported that ONDCP was on the White House’s list of programs that could be cut to rein in domestic spending. On February 23, a sign-on letter from more than 70 medical and drug policy organizations, including SAM, was sent to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The letter urged the Trump Administration to save ONDCP.
Evidence demonstrates that marijuana - which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is  addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in  drugged driving crashes and  youth marijuana use. These states have also seen a  black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and a consistent  rise in alcohol sales.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National wastewater drug monitoring program: report 1, 2017 – Australia

National wastewater drug monitoring program: report 1, 2017

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission 26 March 2017 Download file

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program will provide leading-edge, coordinated national research and intelligence on illicit drugs and licit drugs that can be abused, with a specific focus on methylamphetamine and 12 other substances.

For more http://apo.org.au/node/74833

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CANADA: Liberals to announce marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018

Raids raise questions

Trudeau referred again to that rough timetable a few weeks ago when he said the legislation would be introduced before the summer. But at the same time he also warned that it wasn’t yet open season for the legal sale of marijuana.

“Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply,” Trudeau said in Esquimalt, B.C. on March 1.

That warning became more concrete a week later, when police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities carried out raids on marijuana dispensaries and charged several people with possession and trafficking, including noted pot advocates Marc and Jodie Emery.

For more Maple Leaf to WEED

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

4th ANNUAL SAM SUMMIT – APRIL 20, 2017 – ATLANTA

4th ANNUAL SAM SUMMIT – APRIL 20, 2017 – ATLANTA

SAM is proud today to announce Former White House Drug Czar and SAM Honorary Advisor General Barry McCaffrey as our newest keynote speaker at the 4th Annual SAM Summit on April 20, 2017! You can register for the SAM Summit alone or as part of your National Rx Abuse and Heroin Summit registration.
General Barry McCaffrey

Arguably one of the most outspoken drug czars to date, General Barry McCaffrey served as President Clinton’s second Director of National Drug Control Policy from 1996-2000. When he retired from the Army to join the Administration, he was the most decorated General serving in the United States Army, having been awarded three Purple Heart Medals for wounds received in combat, two Distinguished Service Crosses (the nation’s second highest award for valor), and two Silver Stars for valor.
Upon leaving government service, he served as the Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies from 2001-2005, and an Adjunct Professor of International Security Studies from 2006-2010 at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
You can register for the SAM Summit only at the registration form here. Register soon to take advantage of our discount.
If your organization would like to  sponsor our Summit, we have special sponsorship benefits, too. Email  info@learnaboutsam.org .
We look forward to seeing you again in Atlanta! You will not want to miss this.
Sincerely yours,
Kevin
President, SAM

9:00 a.m.
President’s Address

Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida,
and President, SAM
9:30 a.m.
Featured Keynote

Gov. Doug Ducey (AZ)
10:15 a.m.
Featured Keynote
General Barry McCaffrey
11:15 a.m.
Linking the Recovery Movement With Marijuana Education Efforts
Justin Luke Riley, CEO, Young People in Recovery
11:45 a.m.
Science Keynote

The NAS Report for Dummies
12:45 p.m.
Skills Building
Engaging with Chambers of Commerce and Other Key Allies: The Ohio Speakers
Tony Coder, Director, State and Local Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana
1:45 p.m.
Skills Building
Communications Strategies for Success
Rafael Lemaitre, former White House official
2:30 p.m.
Skills Building
The Arizona Experience and Lessons Learned from Maine
Merilee Fowler and Scott Gagnon
3:15 p.m.
Skills Building
Engaging Low Income Communities
Jeff Zinsmeister, Executive Vice President, SAM
3:45 p.m.
Skills Building
An Update from the Trenches: Colorado and What You Should Know for Your State
Ben Cort, Board of Directors, SAM
4:30 p.m.
Closing Remarks
Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida, and Co-Founder & President, SAM

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Marijuana Legalization Bill Defeated in New Hampshire

Marijuana Legalization Bill Defeated in New Hampshire
Senate Marijuana Legalization Proposal Dies in 19-4 Vote
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
anisha@learnaboutsam.org
+1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria , VA, March 17, 2017] –  Yesterday, a coalition of public health experts, elected officials, educators, and concerned citizens soundly defeated Senate Bill 233 in a 19-4 vote in New Hampshire, which would have legalized the possession of up to 60 joints’ worth of marijuana as well as six marijuana plants. The bill also would have created a study committee comprised of nine pro-marijuana legislators who would devise commercial marijuana sale and taxation proposals. SAM’s New Hampshire affiliate New Futures was the primary coalition organizer and SB233 opponent.  Another bill removing criminal penalties is currently in the legislature.
“This is a big victory in the effort to put common sense and public health before industry profit,” said SAM President and CEO Kevin A. Sabet. “New Hampshire legislators were right to reject Big Marijuana, especially in light of the opioid epidemic. Since Colorado legalized marijuana, there have been more kids getting high, more stoned drivers on the roads, and costly headaches for employers. And the state is increasingly in debt. Today was a bad day for the marijuana special interests in New Hampshire.”
“New Futures applauds the NH Senate for listening to their constituents and voting down SB 233 yesterday, which would have legalized marijuana in New Hampshire. The Senate and their constituents have sent a clear message: Big Marijuana CEO’s and pot lobbyists are not welcome in our state. Legalizing a harmful substance in the midst of New Hampshire’s current public health crisis is irresponsible and lacks sound judgement,” said Kate Frey, VP of Advocacy at New Futures, a local SAM affiliate which is supporting a bill to remove criminal penalties but not legalize the drug. “Together, our coalition and grassroots advocate community will continue to stand up to Big Marijuana interests by focusing on reducing all drug problems associated with alcohol and other drugs through prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives for the sake of New Hampshire’s public health, quality of life, and overall economy.”
Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is  addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in  drugged driving crashes,  youth marijuana use, and rising debt. These states have seen a  black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and a consistent  rise in alcohol sales.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

O.N.D.C.P STILL IN PLAY!

President Trump’s New Budget Blueprint Retains White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
anisha@learnaboutsam.org
+1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria, VA, March 16, 2017] — Today, SAM President Kevin Sabet commented on President Trump’s 2018 Budget Blueprint that retains the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as a critical office overseeing strategies and programs aimed at reducing drug use and its consequences:
“The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is vital to the mission of so many groups working every day to reduce drug use, stem addiction, promote recovery, and protect public safety. We don’t want to see a new ‘War on Drugs’ centered on arrests for marijuana possession, but the Big Marijuana special interest lobby must be held accountable for endangering the health and safety of American communities. This office is doing meaningful work to combat the opioid overdose epidemic, prevent drug use among youth, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. We’re glad that the Administration is acknowledging the serious effects of drug use in our country by supporting an office that prioritizes public health and prevention. We’re hopeful that the release of a more detailed budget in the coming weeks will advance smart approaches to drug policy that will reduce drug use and its consequences.”
A February 17 New York Times story reported that ONDCP was on The White House’s list of programs that could be cut to rein in domestic spending. On February 23, a sign-on letter from more than 70 medical and drug policy organizations, including SAM, was sent to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The letter urged the Trump Administration to save ONDCP.
Evidence demonstrates that marijuana - which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is  addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in  drugged driving crashes and  youth marijuana use. These states have also seen a  black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and a consistent  rise in alcohol sales.
###

About SAM

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment