Mexico – Change is Strategy in Drug War

Mexico to pursue new strategy in ‘war on drugs’

Mexico’s new president has declared war on the drug mafia – and is putting citizens at the heart of his approach. Drug use will also be regarded not so much as a security problem in future but as more of a health issue.

Peace instead of war, paying closer attention to the social causes of criminality, and a clear commitment from the security forces that they will respect human rights: these are the key points in the security strategy of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office as Mexico’s new president on December 1. Last week, in Mexico City, Lopez Obrador — who’s known by the sobriquet AMLO – presented his ideas for ending the bloodshed in his country, caused by a drugs war that has lasted more than a decade. Victims’ associations and civil society were the main focus of the event. They presented the findings of peace forums held at AMLO’s instigation all over the country in the past few months.

Change of policy on drugs

Also present at the event in Mexico City were key figures in AMLO’s future security cabinet, like Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero and Public Security Minister Alfonso Durazo. Falko Ernst from Crisis Group Mexico, who had expected to be presented with a detailed program, had criticisms: “The plan to demilitarize security policy is praiseworthy, but it doesn’t elaborate on how that would be implemented without falling back into old patterns.”

Not all of civil society’s demands will be met. The call for an official representative for the disappeared fell on sympathetic ears; but the only case for which a truth commission is likely to be established is that of the 43 disappeared student teachers of Ayotzinapa.

There will also be a change of policy on drug use. Bucking the regional trend toward increased repression and controls, Mexico’s new government will pin its hopes on legalization, and will no longer define drug use as a security issue but as a health problem. Sanchez Cordero, the future interior minister, left no doubt about that. Here too, however, the devil is in the as-yet-unspecified detail: It’s still not clear which model the government will use, and whether it will apply only to marijuana or also to other drugs like cocaine and opium.

Transparency and accountability

AMLO has clearly moved away from the idea of a general amnesty as announced during the election campaign. In the forums, victims decisively rejected this point; they demanded truth and justice before there could be any talk of forgiveness. Around 234,000 people have died in the Mexico’s drug wars since 2006; more than 30,000 have disappeared.

For complete story


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CANADA: Taking the Wrong Road (Senator Unger Responds)

Taking the Wrong Road: The Legalization of Marijuana

October 5, 2016

A response to the federal government’s discussion paper:
Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.”

Office of Senator Betty Unger | October 5, 2016


View in PDF format.

Earlier this summer, the federal government released a discussion paper entitled, “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana”.[1] Coinciding with the launch of the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation, the purpose of the discussion paper was to “support consultations led by the Task Force.”[2]

Regrettably, however, the Task Force will not be considering whether the government is moving in the right direction with the legalization of marijuana. In spite of the fact that “a federal bill to legalize marijuana would make Canada the first developed country to legalize marijuana in the world”[3] the government does not want to discuss whether they are taking the country down the right road. Rather, they are merely looking for advice on the best route to reach their intended destination.

This is unfortunate because there are many reasons to be concerned about legalizing recreational marijuana usage. In fact, as detailed in the following points, one needs to look no further than the government’s own discussion paper to see this.



1. Marijuana usage carries significant health risks

The discussion paper repeatedly acknowledges that the use of marijuana carries significant health risks. For example:

“In general, health risks associated with marijuana use can be acute (i.e., immediate and short-lived) or chronic (i.e., delayed and longer lasting).” [4]

“Marijuana is not a benign substance and the scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that young people are at a higher level of risk for experiencing negative impacts.” [5]

These concerns are shared by the Canadian Lung Association, which warns that,

“Despite what some people may say, marijuana is not harmless. Marijuana smoke contains over 400 chemicals; many of these are the same harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Using marijuana can harm your lungs. It can also increase your risk for these diseases: Chronic cough; recurring lung infections; cancer of the head and neck; heart disease; memory loss; learning problems; accidents; mental health problems.” [6]

Additionally, the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine notes the following:

“Probably most physicians are aware of the impairment of learning, memory, alertness, reaction speed and judgment that are characteristic of acute intoxication with cannabis, and that result in impairment of school and work performance and of operation of aircraft and motor vehicles. Less well known is the inhibitory effect of chronic cannabis exposure on the maturation of neuronal pathways in the fetus and in childhood and early adolescence, with resulting mild but long-lasting impairment of so-called executive functions such as problem solving, comparative evaluation of alternative options, and working memory.” [7]

The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that marijuana usage carries significant and proven negative health impacts.[8] It is difficult to comprehend why the Minister of Health would be overseeing a process to legalize a substance which she readily admits “is not a benign substance”[9].

2. Legalization of marijuana use will contribute to its normalization

The legalization of recreational marijuana will contribute to its normalization. Normalization occurs when ideas or actions gain social acceptance and are seen as “normal”. When an act which was previously illegal becomes legal, it moves towards becoming an accepted social action.  In other words, it is “normalized”.

The government’s discussion paper on marijuana suggests this is already happening, noting that young people underestimate the risk of harm associated with marijuana usage:

“Despite increased risks for adolescents who use marijuana, the 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey reported that, among adolescents, the perceived risk of harm associated with marijuana use is actually decreasing.” [10]

A 2013 study on the normalization of marijuana among Canadian university students came to the same conclusion, stating:

“Not only has the use of drugs in certain contexts increased, but socio-cultural attitudes regarding use, they argue, have shifted “from the margins toward the center of youth culture”. The use of marijuana in particular no longer can be described as marginal or deviant in the sense of denoting membership in a distinctive subculture.” [11]

This trend toward portraying marijuana as mainstream and harmless should alarm Canadians, considering the irreversible negative impact that marijuana consumption has on the brain development of adolescents. Yet even the Prime Minister has added his tacit endorsement of marijuana use when he admitted using it himself repeatedly and insisted it was not a mistake to do so. [12]

The misguided insistence that recreational use of this drug is harmless and should be legalized reinforces a grave misunderstanding. It will result in the normalization of marijuana usage for which our young people will pay dearly.

3. Normalization of marijuana usage will cause increased consumption

The inevitable outcome of normalization will be increased consumption; marijuana usage will increase. This fact has been confirmed in a study by the American Society of Addiction medicine which showed that consistently over decades, “when the perception of harm from marijuana use was high, marijuana use was low and when the perception of harm from marijuana use was low, the use was high.”[13]

The government’s discussion paper acknowledges this, noting that:

“…there is an inverse relationship between perception of risk and actual use (i.e., use of marijuana would go up as more people perceive it to be low risk).” [14]

In another place, the paper notes,

“Since marketing, advertising and promotion of marijuana would only serve to “normalize” it in society and encourage and increase usage, it has been proposed that these should be strictly limited so as to dampen widespread use and reduce associated harms.” [15]

Apparently the government is oblivious to the amount of “marketing, advertising and promotion of marijuana” that it is doing through advocating legalization. The government has effectively launched a national campaign which will result in the normalization of the recreational use of marijuana. This, by its own admission, will result in increased usage.  It will create the perception of decreased risk and contribute to increased societal acceptance which will result in increased consumption.

Marijuana use by adolescents in Canada is already the highest in the world, with “about one quarter of Canadian youth aged 15–24 reported using cannabis in 2013, making it the most commonly used illegal drug among this age group.” [16]  By legalizing marijuana, the government will foolishly contribute to this normalization causing consumption to increase even further amongst our youth.



4. Increased consumption will increase negative health impacts

Increased consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes will result in increased negative health impacts. While the government acknowledges this to be true for tobacco consumption, they appear to be ignoring this fact for marijuana consumption.

For decades, governments across Canada have been consistently sending a clear public message that reducing tobacco usage reduces health impacts. And yet even after admitting the health risks of recreational marijuana use, the discussion paper indicates that marijuana usage will be treated more lightly than tobacco use.

It notes that while the overall public policy objective concerning tobacco has been “to reduce or even eliminate use for all Canadians”, the public policy objectives regarding recreational marijuana usage would not be this strict. Instead, the government would incorporate the approach used in regulating alcohol consumption which is to, “promote responsible use amongst adults, and to prohibit use amongst youth”. [17]

The discussion paper notes that the Task Force will be trying to figure out how to “identify those system features that will best reduce the risks of health and social harms associated with use”. So while increasing access on one hand, they are – on the other hand – struggling to figure out how to contain the harm which will result.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has noted that “the anticipated public health costs of marijuana legalization are significant and are not sufficiently appreciated by the general public or by policy makers.” [18] The same is true in Canada: The fact that the legalization of marijuana will increase negative health impacts appears to have been lost on our federal government.

5. Increased marijuana usage will increase impaired driving incidents

The discussion paper notes that in 2013, 97% of police-reported driving incidents involved alcohol while only 3% involved drugs.

“Police and the court system must also deal with individuals who drive while impaired by marijuana. In 2013, 97% of police-reported impaired driving incidents involved alcohol and 3% involved drugs (including marijuana), an increase from the reported 2% in 2011.”[19]

There will be a number of reasons for the higher incidence of alcohol impairment versus drug impairment (including the fact that drug impairment is more difficult to prove than impairment due to alcohol). But one significant contributing factor is clear: Alcohol consumption is legal while drug use is not.  This makes alcohol more accessible and socially acceptable than drug use.

The legalization of marijuana will change this. Legalization will increase usage, which will increase DUI incidents.

In the US, studies have shown that marijuana-related DUI cases spiked in both Colorado and Washington state after marijuana was legalized.[20] After legalization in Washington, the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes who recently used marijuana more than doubled between 2013 and 2014.[21] Additionally, the AAA Foundation discovered that the level of impairment was unrelated to the amount of THC found in the driver’s blood,[22] suggesting that even minimal levels of marijuana consumption impaired driving.

The legalization of marijuana will make it more accessible and more socially acceptable, causing consumption to increase. This increased consumption will result in increased incidences of driving while impaired due to marijuana use.

6. Legalization will impact progress in the de-normalization of smoking

The proposed legalization of marijuana flies in the face of efforts to reduce or eliminate tobacco use amongst Canadians. The discussion paper notes that:

“[The] overall objective of the legal and regulatory framework for controlling tobacco use is to reduce or even eliminate use for all Canadians”. [23]

It goes on to say that:

“[A] key measure underpinning the success of Canada’s tobacco control efforts has been the way smoking has become socially unacceptable, or ‘denormalized’, particularly among youth.” [24]

The government’s insistence on legalizing marijuana undermines decades of public policy efforts aimed at reducing or eliminating smoking. Legalizing marijuana not only fails to heed the successful strategy utilized to de-normalize smoking, it erodes the impact of these efforts by sending contradictory and conflicting messages to Canadians.

Conclusion:  Legalizing marijuana takes Canada down the wrong road

There are many reasons to be concerned about the Liberal government’s determination to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  Among them are the facts that legalization will contribute to normalization, which will increase consumption, which will result in increased negative health impacts and increased impaired driving incidents. Furthermore, gains made by a generation of efforts to reduce tobacco use amongst Canadians will be diminished by the contradictory message suggesting tobacco smoking should be eliminated while marijuana use should not. We are clearly headed in the wrong direction.

Ironically, while the federal government appears to believe it is championing a novel idea, governments have headed this direction before, only to make an abrupt U-turn later. Consider the following:

“Marijuana prohibition was universal across the United States through the 1960s, and those convicted of growing, possessing, or selling marijuana could receive sentences of incarceration. Then, in the 1970s, 12 states removed or substantially reduced criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Many observers then believed that it was just a matter of time until the nation legalized the drug. Instead, the movement toward liberalization came to a sudden halt in 1978. One state (South Dakota) reversed its decriminalization, and no state initiated decriminalization in the subsequent 20 years. The end of the 1970s liberalization is often associated with the so-called parents’ movement, itself a response to the rapid rise in frequent marijuana use among junior and senior high school students and the associated harms; in 1979, about one out of every ten high school seniors reported daily use of marijuana.” [25]

Today, the number of adolescents using marijuana in Canada is about one out of every four[26] – more than twice the amount that caused a reconsideration of the trend toward legalization in 1978. According to a 2013 UNICEF report, Canada’s youth are now the top users of marijuana in the world and yet the federal government is plunging ahead with plans for legalization. [27]

In 2003, the UK began moving toward reducing the seriousness of marijuana offenses. It lessened the maximum penalties for possession and made it a non-arrestable offense. Then, in 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown suddenly reversed the decision after research findings demonstrated that marijuana usage contributed to mental health issues. [28]

These same findings are well known to our Prime Minister today. And yet despite the many and repeated warnings, he continues to march unflinchingly toward the goal of marijuana legalization under the mistaken belief that it will make it harder for young people to access marijuana and will remove the criminal element from the sale of marijuana.

These intentions are misguided and Canadians should be alarmed. While the polls indicate support for the legalization of marijuana, moving in this direction sends Canada down the wrong road. It is a course which needs to be carefully examined and reconsidered.

[1] Government of Canada. (2016) “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.”

[2] Ibid. Page 3.

[3] Hajizadeh, Mohammad. “Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana in Canada: Review of Potential Economic, Social, and Health Impacts.” International Journal of Health Policy and Management 5.8 (2016): 453–456. p.454. PMC.

[4] Ibid. Page 6.

[5] Ibid. Page 12.

[6] Canadian Lung Association. (2016) “Facts About Smoking: Marijuana Smoke”.

[7] Kalant H. “Marihuana: Medicine, addictive substance, or both? A common-sense approach to the place of cannabis in medicine”. Canadian Journal of Addiction Medicine 2013;4(3):p5. .

[8] For more information, see “What do the experts say about marijuana”.

[9] Government of Canada. (2016) “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.” Page 12.

[10] Ibid.  Page 7.

[11] Mostaghim, Amir, and Andrew D. Hathaway. “Identity Formation, Marijuana and ‘The Self’: A Study of Cannabis Normalization among University Students.” Frontiers in Psychiatry 4 (2013): 160. PMC. Page 1.

[12] Canadian Press. (2013) ”Justin Trudeau says he smoked marijuana, makes no apologies”. Global News website:

[13] American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). (2012). White Paper on State-Level Proposals to Legalize Marijuana. Retrieved from Page 10.

[14] Government of Canada. (2016) “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.”  [14]  Page 7.

[15] Ibid. Page 13.

[16] Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. (2015) The Effects of Cannabis Use During Adolescence.

[17] Government of Canada. (2016) “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.”  [17]  Page 11.

[18] American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). (2012). White Paper on State-Level Proposals to Legalize Marijuana. Retrieved from

[19] Government of Canada. (2016) “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.”  Page 6.

[20] SAM: Smart Approaches to Marijuana. (2016)

[21] AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Impaired Driving and Cannabis.”

[22] AAA Foundation for Driving Safety. (2016) “An Evaluation of Data from Drivers Arrested for Driving Under the Influence in Relation to Per se Limits for Cannabis.”

[23] Government of Canada. (2016) “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.”  Page 11.

[24] Ibid. Page 12.

[25] Caulkins, Jonathan P., Beau Kilmer, Mark A. R. Kleiman, Robert J. MacCoun, Gregory Midgette, Pat Oglesby, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and Peter H. Reuter. Options and Issues Regarding Marijuana Legalization. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015. Page 2.

[26]  Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. “Canadian Drug Summary”. April 2016. Page 3.

[27] UNICEF Office of Research (2013). ‘Child Well-being in Rich Countries: A comparative overview’, Innocenti Report Card 11, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.

[28] Reuter, Peter H.. Marijuana Legalization: What Can Be Learned from Other Countries?. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2010. Page 10.



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USA: Michigan & North Dakota – getting SMART ABOUT Marijuana!

Dear Friend,
Today, President Trump signed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act into law. This is an important step in curbing our Nation’s addiction epidemic, but we know addiction does not start with opioids. All too often, it starts with marijuana. So we’re not surprised by recent research finding, once again, a strong link between marijuana and opioids. (See SAM’s new marijuana and opioid one pager here.)
On this note, we are double downing on our support in the fight against marijuana commercialization in Michigan and North Dakota. Indeed, in just a couple of short weeks, voters will be heading to the ballot box.
We have seen polls turn to our favor in two battleground states: North Dakota and Michigan. There, our efforts have paid off thanks to our grassroots coalitions and partnerships on the ground.
In a historic move, the largest NAACP chapter in the world stood with us yesterday in support of our campaign, along with faith and other social justice leaders.
Kamilia K. Landrum, Deputy Director, Detroit Branch NAACP said:
“If passed, this ballot measure adds another layer of the systematic racism that has held our communities of color, particularly African-Americans, in bondage for hundreds of years.”
And in North Dakota today, after our mass communications and billboard campaign in the state was implemented, a new poll found that a whopping 65% of North Dakotans oppose Measure 3. The efforts of Healthy and Productive North Dakotain putting up billboards, hosting press conferences, sending out mailers, and blasting the airwaves have really begun to move the needle.
Check out the latest billboards that are popping up all over the state:
Back in Michigan, we have a team of dedicated volunteers hard at work making phone calls and knocking on doors getting the word out that legalization is the wrong move for the state.
Healthy and Productive Michigan’s Detroit volunteer canvassers
SAM Action President Dr. Kevin Sabet speaking with phone bankers in Detroit
On top of that, the president of the Detroit Branch NAACP, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony recorded a video urging Michigan voters to join him in voting NO on the ballot initiative.  Check out that  video  here:
Finally, SAM Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor Luke Niforatos joined Cheddar TV for a live interview on SAM’s efforts in the Midterm Elections, and beyond :

Read some highlights of the coverage of the inspiring Detroit press conference:
-The Detroit News
Friend, our message is being heard, despite the best efforts of Big Marijuana. Each time we have released a ground breaking  achievement  or inspiring endorsement, the marijuana industry puppets try desperately to bury it.
But they can’t stop the momentum we are creating across the country and they can’t stop us from changing hearts and minds every single day in these battleground states.
Thank you for all that you are doing to spread our message and expose the harms of this greedy industry. We absolutely could not do this without all of you. Could you click here to chip in with a donation to help push back against the greedy pot profiteers? Our future is counting on it!
Thank you for all you do,
Dr. Kevin Sabet
Founder and President
Smart Approaches to Marijuana

About SAM

SAM Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. SAM Action engages in high-impact political campaigns to oppose marijuana legalization and commercialization.


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Texas: THC Contributed to Killer Truck Wreck!


Thirteen Died Because of Young Drug Abuser

The driver who rammed into a Texas church tour bus last year had  marijuana and Clonazepam in his system. He drove his pickup truck erratically and killed 13 passengers in the bus. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) report said that both marijuana and the prescription medication are depressants, and could magnify the effects when taken together.

See NTSB Investigation: Pick up Driver was Drug Impaired Leading up to Fatal Church Bus Crash

Jack Young, the driver was only 20 years old when he took 13 lives of the members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels. He plead no contest last May and now awaits sentencing this November.

Marijuana triggers mental health issues, such as anxiety.  This is why it often leads to users being prescribed pharma drugs to combat anxiety.  PopPot has reported before on the widespread use of medications combined with marijuana. See Teens, College Students Add Xanax to Marijuana.

This story also points out the difficulty of beating marijuana addiction.  A year after the crash, Young was found to have THC in his system , a violation of his pre-trial release. Read: Pickup Truck Driver Violates Pre-Trial Release

Will Marijuana Be Found in Toxicology of the NY Limo Driver?

We are still awaiting the toxicology report on the limo driver who died along with his 17 passengers in upstate New York. Two bystanders also died.  While mechanical failure is suspected, the driver had a history of marijuana use.  If the driver was impaired by THC, cannabis will be implicated in the two largest auto fatality incidents in our nation’s history.

For More got to Legalizing Weed Increases Harms



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Canada: Weed and the Workplace – NO SAFE place??

In the workplace, treat cannabis like you would alcohol, employers say

Employers prefer workers to be straight-laced Published Friday, October 19, 2018

Even though cannabis is now legal, many companies are reminding employees they won’t tolerate pot-smoking on duty. Kate Walker reports.

Cannabis is now legal, but that doesn’t mean anything goes.

Many employers are making it plain that they won’t accept cannabis use by employees during the work day.

So, here’s some words of advice for those who might be tempted to try: treat cannabis the same as you would treat alcohol.

“We haven’t hit Shangri-la with the legalization of marijuana,” said lawyer Michael Murphy. “There are still responsibilities that you have that are no different than if you drink and drive or show up intoxicated by alcohol at work.”

“We haven’t hit Shangri-la with the legalization of marijuana,” said lawyer Michael Murphy. “There are still responsibilities that you have that are no different than if you drink and drive or show up intoxicated by alcohol at work.”

There’s a misconception among some that with the legalization comes a less harsh penalty.

But employers say an easy fix for that is, first and foremost, a policy in place.

“If an employee did receive the policy and notwithstanding that came to work high, breaking the trust relationship, the employer may have grounds to fire them,” said lawyer Jack Haller.

Murphy, who was once New Brunswick’s health minister, says it’s about understanding the difference between recreational and work time.

“Some people seem to think that the old rules don’t apply and that we’re in a new generation. If it feels good do it, and if you show up reeking of marijuana with red eyes, that it’s OK; it’s not,” Murphy said.

For complete article


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China: Not Crazy over Cannabis Culture

China warns its citizens against marijuana after Canada legalises it

  • Diplomats in Toronto warn students that drug could prove harmful to physical and mental health after law changes to allow recreational use
  • Warning does not go as far as South Korea, which threatened to prosecute people who consume the drug in Canada when they return home

Monday, 29 October, 2018,

Chinese diplomats in Canada have issued a public letter to Chinese citizens calling people, especially students, to avoid contact with marijuana, after Canada legalised the recreational use of the drug this month.

The legalisation has become a hot-button topic among the Chinese population, splitting it along generational lines.

The letter, published on the official website of the consulate-general in Toronto, includes explanations from legal experts on what Canada’s marijuana legalisation means.

Although the change in the law means the recreational use of marijuana is now legal: “The consulate would like to remind the Chinese citizens in the consular district, especially international students, in order to protect your own physical and mental health, please avoid contact or using marijuana.”

Last week South Korea went further than the Chinese authorities by threatening to prosecute any citizens that consumed the drug in Canada on their return.

The Chinese consulate’s letter did not go as far as that, but lists the specific terms under which it is legal to use marijuana Canada, and reminded people that selling or giving the drug to anyone under 18 years old or trying to carry it through customs remained illegal.

For complete article go to ChinaSmartOnCannabis


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USA: Drug Prevention is Best Practice: Reduce Demand – Save Lives



Drug Prevention Speaker Touching Hearts and Changing Lives

New York father, Jeffrey Veatch is taking the pain of loss from his son’s tragic drug overdose death, and turning it into a positive force for good.  His son Justin was a talented musician with big dreams. Dreams that his father refuses to let die.

After his son Justin’s sudden death from a heroin overdose, Jeffrey started The Justin Veatch Fund which offers scholarships to music students to give his son a lasting legacy.   In a recent op-ed column, he warned against marijuana’s legalization in New York.

“To ignore the role that marijuana plays in opiate overdose deaths is like ignoring the role of tobacco in lung cancer.”

Jeffrey speaks to thousands of students annually about the dangers of drug use, a talk which he calls “A Message from Justin.”

A drawing of Justin Veatch by Andrew Kaminski.

Turning Grief into Drug Prevention Education

He is available to give two other talks. The first, “From Marijuana to Heroin”  he presented last year to  drug prevention professionals at the SAM conference. The second is a new talk for teens focused on teen use of marijuana.

More information about Jeffrey’s educational campaign can be found on his website:

Jeffrey Veatch delivering his Message from Justin to a high school audience.

To book one of Jeffrey’s talks,  send a message to

Powerful Drug Prevention Film

An inspiring 27 minute film, which would be great to show your teens.

A short 27 minute  documentary is now available online which powerfully relates the story of how drugs led to  an early death for Justin.  And it tells the inspiring story of how this father is carrying his son’s dreams forward.

This short drug prevention film gives parents a wonderful opportunity to educate their child at home. It can also be shown in a school classroom.

Whispering Spirits tells the story of Justin Veatch, a talented musician who tragically died of a drug overdose at the age of seventeen. The film follows Jeffrey, Justin’s father, as his family grapples with their devastating loss while reconnecting with him through the music he left behind.

Watch the film here:

For complete story


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USA: Battle For Brains continues in Weed Commercialization

November 7, 2018
CONTACT:Pat Brogan

North Dakota Rejects Legalization; Michigan Passes It, But Opposition Vows Local and Legal Battles
(Alexandria, VA) – Today,  after a hotly contested year of campaigning, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) and its affiliates went one for one in ballot initiatives. In North Dakota, voters overwhelmingly defeated legalization, while in Michigan, a late surge of funds from Big Marijuana helped bring that state to vote in favor of marijuana commercialization. SAM Action vowed to take the Michigan race to the local level by supporting marijuana store bans and threatening legal action against the pot industry. Also, several key pro-pot house members lost, while some anti-legalization members won or retained their seat. Overall, three pro-marijuana initiatives passed and three failed.
“Legalization is far from inevitable. The results of the election in North Dakota are a huge win for public health, safety, and frankly, common sense,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM Action. “Measure 3 was an effort by Big Pot to pass one of the most wide-open legalization initiatives in history.  The defeat is an immense victory for us and our grassroots partner, Healthy and Productive North Dakota.”
“In Michigan, we will take the fight local and stand with citizens who don’t want to see pot shops in their neighborhoods. We are also talking to legal counsel about how to ensure the rights of non-users are upheld; we are looking at liability and other legal action right now,” said Sabet. “Finally, we will continue to work with federal lawmakers to ensure they understand the harm this marijuana industry brings.”
Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, a co-founder of SAM Action, said:
“We are proud of the work done by everyone who stood in opposition to the marijuana industry. North Dakota voters saw this for what it was – an attempt by Big Tobacco and Big Marijuana to threaten public health, and the voters slammed the door in their face.”
“This is a great day not only for North Dakota but also the rest of America. We have stopped Big Marijuana from using our state as it has others in its constant attempts to become the next Big Tobacco,” said Kristie Spooner, president of Healthy and Productive North Dakota. “We are indebted to our volunteers for showing voters why allowing marijuana in would have forever changed what we have built. We serve as a model for opponents in other states considering legalizing marijuana by showing how this grassroots effort revealed the true nature of the marijuana industry.”
Voters in Michigan sided with the empty promises of Big Marijuana and approved Proposal 18-1.
“While this is not the outcome we wanted, it is the beginning of our fight in Michigan, not the end. We are going to continue our campaign on the local level and stop pot shops, as we have in other legal states,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “Our  staff and volunteers in Michigan did an incredible job getting folks engaged on this issue. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to public health and safety.”
“A hearty thanks goes out to the many doctors, faith leaders, law enforcement groups, and social justice champions who publicly came out in opposition to legalization,” said Patrick Kennedy. “We’re not going away, though, and history will not look upon this vote kindly.”
“It is unfortunate that my fellow Michiganders have chosen to put the commercialization of potent pot candies and lollipops over the future of our young people, the safety of our roads, and the very real issues of mental health and addiction we are suffering from,” said Scott Greenlee, president of Healthy and Productive Michigan. “I am proud of the work done by our volunteers and staff to share with voters how unleashing this industry on our state will harm us. This is just the beginng of our effort.”

“Moving forward, SAM Action and our affiliates will identify communities and work with them to ‘opt-out’ of legalization by banning pot shops and growing facilities like we have done in Colorado, California, and Massachusetts, continued Sabet. “Moreover, we will continue to expose the harms this predatory industry will bring upon the people of Michigan in the form of targeting disadvantaged communities, exposure to minors, arrest disparities, increased drugged driving, and the black market.”



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USA: Weed and Road Toll

Legalized marijuana linked to a sharp rise in car crashes

About 14 percent of drivers under the influence of pot had a child in their vehicle.

by Paul A. Eisenstein / Oct. 18, 2018 / NBCNews

California Highway Patrol officers investigate the scene of a multi-car crash on Interstate 880 in Fremont, Calif. Several people were killed in a multi-car crash that closed several lanes of a major San Francisco Bay highway and officials say the driver suspected of causing it was under the influence of marijuana.

There has been an increase by up to 6 percent in the number of highway crashes in four of the states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, according to a pair of new studies.

“It’s certainly early in the game,” Harkey told NBC News. But, he warned, “We’re seeing a trend in the wrong direction.”

Since the legalization wave began, safety and health experts have been trying to measure the potential influence on highway safety, though the results so far have been inconsistent and, in some cases, contradictory.

But this is the second year in a row where the IIHS found a troubling trend. A year ago, the non-profit group looked at three states, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. This year, it added Nevada to the list. Harkey said the IIHS also looked at highway crash data in surrounding states to try to control for factors like weather and the economy.

The IIHS also conducted a street-side study of marijuana use and found something Harkey said he saw as particularly concerning. While those under the influence of alcohol tend to either be driving alone or with other adults, about 14 percent of those confirmed to be using pot had a child in their vehicle. That reflects the fact, he added, that marijuana use isn’t confined to evenings and other times when adults are more likely to drink — and abuse — alcohol.

What is unclear is whether that reflects the increasing use of recreational pot or the consumption of medical marijuana to deal with issues like pain or glaucoma, something a patient may time to need.

Police have a particularly difficult challenge because of the way marijuana works in the body. Blood alcohol levels provide a direct correlation showing how much a motorist has had to drink, with those levels dropping rapidly as someone sobers up. But while THC levels spike after smoking weed or eating a consumable, the psychoactive ingredient remains in the body for weeks, long after it has stopped having any impact.

With so many more states set to permit the use of the drug, Harkey said regulators, law enforcement, and medical authorities need to address “the challenge” and come up with better ways of determining when a driver might be operating under the influence of marijuana.


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USA: First REAL Medicine from Marijuana Approved by FDA in Decades – NOT Snake OIL!

First FDA-Approved Cannabis Drug Now Available in U.S.

Epidiolex is a twice-daily oral solution for use in patients with two types of epileptic syndromes

What is also very important to remember, if the product you are using is not Fully vetted, tested and trialled to FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and/or TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) and/or MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) standards and registered as a pharmaceutical, it is NOT medicine, it is Snake Oil!

The first cannabis-based medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now available by prescription nationwide.

THURSDAY, Nov. 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The first cannabis-based medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now available by prescription nationwide.

Epidiolex is a twice-daily oral solution approved for use in patients age 2 years and older with two types of epileptic syndromes, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, CNN reported. The FDA approved the drug, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, in June.

“Because these patients have historically not responded well to available seizure medications, there has been a dire need for new therapies that aim to reduce the frequency and impact of seizures,” company CEO Justin Gover said in a written statement, CNN reported.

“Adequate and well-controlled clinical studies supported Epidiolex’s approval, so prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a written statement.

For more FIRST FDA APPROVED Cannabis Medicine



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