USA: Just the Starting COST of Substance Use! Taxpayer Funded Benders!

24 million Americans using stimulus check to buy pot, alcohol or tobacco, survey finds

24 million Americans using stimulus check to buy pot, alcohol or tobacco, survey finds (KOMO)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KOMO) – As millions of Americas receive their economic stimulus checks from the government, many are turning around and deciding to use them on stimulating the alcohol or tobacco industry.

Some 24 million Americans have spent some of their stimulus money on alcohol, tobacco or drugs, according to a survey by WalletHub.

But on the other hand, about a third of Americans say they will donate some or all of their stimulus checks to charity.

You can see the juxtapose right here!  The Substance user expends a welfare gift on either an addiction or an unhealthy coping mechanism; either way dysfunction grows and in the majority of the cases only adds to the burden on charities, which the non-drug using demographic use their government gift to support! 

This is beyond ridiculous and the pro-drug lobby want to unleash this ‘wasting’ model even more! it is time to act in the best interest of all, not least the hapless drug user!

Source: WalletHub

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GLOBAL: How Do You Know if Your Child is Using Weed? The New Marijuana Modes are Malicious!


Today, PopPot is launching our new Think Ya Know? campaign with the question, is your child using marijuana? Below and on our blog, are videos, testimonies and a helpful list of ‘warning signs’ to look for if you suspect your child, teen or loved one may be using pot.

An Oregon mother describes the shock of realizing her son was using marijuana, and tells of some of the negative consequences.

A California mom lamented to that she was blind to her teen girl’s cannabis use. This is such a common problem. We know that early intervention to keep your child away from drugs is crucial. So here are the resources parents need now.

Learn the Warning Signs of Child Drug Use

Click Here for the Downloadable Handout:

PopPot Warning Signs of Child Drug Use

What Teens Think

Other Resources for Parents

The new Parent Movement 2.0 toolkit also offers helpful resources for parents grappling with a child’s drug use.

Parents who lost a child to Fentanyl started an opioid charity and share their story.

Hidden in Plain Sight (below) is a long video about the warning signs of teen drug use.

Join us October 1-3 in Washington DC for our Voices of Truth rally
in support of those harmed by marijuana.
For more information, please visit our sites, and

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USA: Action Needed – NOW!

Action Needed

May 2020
After taking in at least $120,000 in pot industry donations, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado introduced a bill that would give a taxpayer-funded bailout to pot businesses in the midst of a pandemic.
Click the link below to tell your Representatives in Congress to reject this outrageous proposal:


Latest Developments

Victory in New York As Lawmakers Advance Budget Bills With No Legalization Language
In a tremendous victory for the second year in a row, New York State legislative leaders advanced a budget containing only essential line items pertaining to the operations of the state in response the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, state lawmakers refrained from including marijuana legalization as a part of the budget.
“Lawmakers in Albany have responded swiftly to the ongoing issue related to the COVID-19 outbreak and have wisely chosen to focus on the betterment of New Yorkers and the protection of public health and safety. As we have said previously, the consideration of marijuana legalization and commercialization during this outbreak is unconscionable and extremely shortsighted. While at this time this may be the least of their concern, it is encouraging for all of us New Yorkers that there is one less threat to public health for the time being.”

ACLU Admits Marijuana Legalization Has Not Resulted in Social Justice
A  study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , a group that has endorsed marijuana legalization and commercialization, finds that liberalizing marijuana policies has not delivered on one of its key promises: social justice.
The study states that while marijuana decriminalization and legalization may reduce the overall amount of people arrested for possession of the drug, African Americans are still far more likely to be arrested than whites. Furthermore, the study found that arrest disparities increased in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon following legalization.

“We commend the ACLU for issuing this report. Ironically, this shows, on the so-called ‘marijuana holiday’ of 4/20, that legalization has failed to deliver on one of its key promises,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet . “This study confirms other previous reports and it should serve as a reference for those supporting legalization to look deeper into empty promises of this movement.”

SAM Launches New Resource Exposing Addiction Investments in Big Marijuana
A s a part of its ongoing effort to expose the Big Tobacco and other predatory industries rushing to take over the commercial marijuana industry,  SAM  released a new webpage focused on laying out the many investments made into Big Marijuana from addiction-for-profit conglomerates, as well as highlighting the former federal lawmakers who are now on the marijuana industry’s payroll.
“The corporate marijuana industry that is developing in our country and in Canada wants to paint an image of a small, mom and pop movement, but this is far from the truth,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. ” Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma are in the process of taking over marijuana. This resource is just one more part of our effort to expose the concerning truth to the public-do we really want another predatory industry?”

SAM Announces Local Control Resource Center to Aid Nationwide Opt-Out Movement

SAM announced the rollout its Local Control Resource Center, the second wave of its initiative aiding communities looking to exert local control by banning commercial marijuana operations.
“Our ‘ Towns and Cities Initiative‘ arms local communities with the resources they need to keep their neighborhoods free of marijuana shops and large scale growing operations that normalize this addiction-for-profit industry,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “People living in a state that has either ‘legalized’ pot or is considering it should know they have the power to organize against Big Pot. Our  Local Control Resource Center provides all the information needed to successfully accomplish this.”
Resources available on SAM’s Local Control Resource Center include:
  • SAM’s Local Control Toolkit: “Using Local Control to Push Back on the Marijuana Industry”
  • The comprehensive marijuana legalization impact report: “Lessons Learned from State Marijuana Legalization”
  • Five comprehensive and easy to digest one-pager factsheets covering the effects of legalization in Colorado, the failures of the grand promises of sky-high marijuana revenues, the intersection of marijuana use and opioid abuse, and marijuana legalization’s social justice failures.
  • Sample newspaper ads, mailers, and posters used from recent opt-out campaigns

FDA Takes Action on Marijuana Business COVID-19 Claims; SAM Urges Further Action Against Unsubstantiated Claims
Connecticut Legislature to Adjourn; Marijuana Legalization Likely Defeated in 2020
The FDA recently took enforcement action against several marijuana companies for making unsubstantiated claims, including that their products had the power to cure and prevent the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
“While this FDA action is most welcome, it only  scratches the surface when it comes to the marijuana industry making wildly unsubstantiated health claims. We can agree there are a handful of derivatives from the marijuana plant that hold medicinal value for specific disorders, but we have a process in this country for delivering safe, effective medicines to those who would benefit from it.
“By legitimizing the marijuana industry, select state governments have allowed this industry to run fast and loose with health claims. At one point, many of these same governments openly welcomed Big Tobacco. We must learn from the past and do everything in our power to curb Big Marijuana’s outsized influence.”
The Connecticut Legislature have agreed to adjourn the 2020 legislative session and will meet later in the year only to consider top legislative priorities. This means the effort to legalize marijuana in the state will not move forward in 2020.
“We are certainly in unprecedented times with statehouses nationwide being forced to prematurely end their sessions. We commend Connecticut’s legislative leaders for taking this action in the best interest of the health of its members. We were active over the last year in the state and made many in-roads with lawmakers who had many concerns with the prospect of marijuana legalization.
“Moving forward this year, it is our hope that when the legislature should choose to reconvene, the top priority of lawmakers will be focused on mitigating the impact from this pandemic, and not on opening the doors to a predatory, commercial marijuana industry.

SAM Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Marijuana State Laws Map
For too long, the lack of an objective, fact-based resource on state marijuana laws has been used by Big Marijuana to advance a narrative that allowing them to push their super potent marijuana products on our young people is inevitable.
We are dispensing of these myths by releasing the first-of-its-kind marijuana state laws map to show that the majority of America does not allow marijuana use.
Click the map above to check it out and let us know what you think.

Latest Studies Round-Up

Two New Studies Add to Body of Evidence of Marijuana Commercialization’s Harms
The first, a  review and meta-analysis with over 23,000 participants conducted by researchers from Queen’s University in Ontario and the University of Calgary and published in the   JAMA Network Open  , found that 47 percent of regular marijuana users experience symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome (CWS) when they cease use of the drug. The study’s authors posited that because “many CWS criteria are depression or anxiety symptoms, regular users may seek cannabis to obtain short-term symptom relief, unaware that this use could perpetuate a longer-term withdrawal problem.”
The second, a  review of recent research  published in the preeminent journal  JAMA Psychiatry , states that in the states that have “legalized” marijuana, prices for the drug have decreased while use and dependence has increased among adults. Furthermore, the review states that the risk of dependence has risen from around 9 percent in the early 1990s, to nearly 30 percent today.
Majority of “Medical” Marijuana Too Potent to Be Useful for Pain
A  new study  published in  PLOS One , a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, finds that THC concentrations in marijuana products sold in marijuana storefronts in the United States are not effective for neuropathic pain relief because they contain too much THC-two to three times higher than the amount shown in studies may provide neuropathic pain relief.
The study also showed there are no clinical differences between “medical” and recreational marijuana. The study concluded that these high levels of THC are counterproductive to treating neuropathic pain. Other studies have shown that THC has no efficacy in reducing other kinds of chronic pain.

Op-Ed Corner


Big Marijuana is borrowing the playbook of Big Tobacco in search of the same deep profits at the expense of addicted users. It is time to combat their game with the facts! To help you do so, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has partnered with Communities for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth (CADY) to offer a comprehensive media campaign prevention toolkit.

As always, thank you for being a SAM supporter. If you can, please chip-in with a small donation by clicking here.
If you can’t chip-in, then at the very least,  and help grow the SAM community.
All the best,
Colton Grace
Communications Associate
Smart Approaches to Marijuana
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USA: NO Government Bail Out for Pot Pushers

Dear People,

As you know, the pot industry is engaging in a full-court-press effort to get a taxpayer-funded bailout from Congress under the next round of COVID-19 stimulus aid.

It has mostly been industry organizations calling for this. But now, some of the industry’s biggest supporters in Congress have introduced a bill to make it happen.

Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Representative Ed Perlmutter of Colorado introduced HR. 6602, the so-called “Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act”, that would take the unprecedented step of subsidizing federally illegal pot businesses in the midst of a health crisis.

The bill would allow pot shops access to loans, incentives, and other taxpayer-funded benefits. All while the industry has been openly celebrating record profits as its lobbyists have strong-armed state leaders into declaring pot shops “essential.”

These two members of Congress have taken at least $118,000 from Big Pot, so it comes as no surprise that they are now blatantly doing the bidding of the industry.

It is absolutely galling that when so many businesses are sacrificing to protect the health and safety of the American public, pot shops would simultaneously demand to stay open and then request a federal bailout.

We cannot let this fly under the radar.

Click here to send your representatives in Congress an urgent message telling them to oppose this outrageous bill and any other similar language the pot industry tries to sneak into any stimulus bill.

Once you’ve sent your letter, please consider chipping in to help us continue this fight by clicking here.

As you know, Big Marijuana has practically unlimited resources as it is dead set to become the next Big Tobacco.

It is up to supporters such as yourself to help prevent this.

Dr Kevin Sabet

Co-Founder and President

Smart Approaches to Marijuana



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USA – Dual Epidemics

America Addresses Two Epidemics: Cannabis and Coronavirus and their Interactions: An Ecological Geospatial Study


Importance. Covid-19 infection has major international health and economic impacts and risk factors for infection are not completely understood. Cannabis smoking is linked with poor respiratory health, immunosuppression and multiple contaminants. Potential synergism between the two epidemics would represent a major public health convergence. Cigarettes were implicated with disease severity in Wuhan, China.

Objective. Is cannabis use epidemiologically associated with coronavirus incidence rate (CVIR)? Design. Cross-sectional state-based multivariable study. Setting. USA. Primary and Secondary Outcome Measures. CVIR. Multivariable-adjusted geospatially-weighted regression models. As the American cannabis epidemic is characterized by a recent doubling of daily cannabis use it was considered important to characterize the contribution of high intensity use.

Results. Significant associations of daily cannabis use quintile with CVIR were identified with the highest quintile having a prevalence ratio 5.11 (95%C.I. 4.90-5.33), an attributable fraction in the exposed (AFE) 80.45% (79.61-81.25%) and an attributable fraction in the population of 77.80% (76.88-78.68%) with Chi-squared-for-trend (14,782, df=4) significant at P<10-500. Similarly when cannabis legalization was considered decriminalization was associated with an elevated CVIR prevalence ratio 4.51 (95%C.I. 4.45-4.58), AFE 77.84% (77.50-78.17%) and Chi-squared-for-trend (56,679, df=2) significant at P<10-500. Monthly and daily use were linked with CVIR in bivariate geospatial regression models (P=0.0027, P=0.0059). In multivariable additive models number of flight origins and population density were significant. In interactive geospatial models adjusted for international travel, ethnicity, income, population, population density and drug use, terms including last month cannabis were significant from P=7.3×10-15, daily cannabis use from P=7.3×10-11 and last month cannabis was independently associated (P=0.0365).

Conclusions and Relevance. Data indicate CVIR demonstrates significant trends across cannabis use intensity quintiles and with relaxed cannabis legislation. Recent cannabis use is independently predictive of CVIR in bivariate and multivariable adjusted models and intensity of use is interactively significant. Cannabis thus joins tobacco as a SARS2-CoV-2 risk factor.

For complete research

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Global: Pot Perils – Perspectives from Two Moms #420


Today  is 420 and it’s a hard day for Sally Schindel.  Four years ago Sally explained in the following video.

Sally has written other testimonies for us,  An Open Letter to the Person who Called me a Failed Parent and Who Said No one Ever Died from Marijuana

I’m a mom. I’m sick of this in-your-face cannabis culture

By Robin Finn, published in the Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2020

Parent’s Perspective — A few weeks before COVID-19 became national news, I went to a cannabis dispensary for the first time with my friend Amy who lives in New York City. They don’t have cannabis dispensaries there. It amazed me that we had something in Los Angeles that New York City didn’t have.

The shop we visited looked like a cross between an Apple store and Dylan’s Candy Bar. It had edibles and topicals and tinctures, all colorfully packaged and labeled in bright colors. Little piles of marijuana leaves were laid out in glass cases and labeled with names like “Red Sundae,” “Lava Flower” and “Snow Dream.”

Amy bought $300 worth of cannabis souvenirs for her friends in New York City. “Don’t you love living in Los Angeles?” she asked me. “You can come here every week and pick out goodies.”

But I don’t. I don’t go to pot shops every week and I don’t appreciate the availability of all these “goodies.”

Before the coronavirus was attacking people’s lungs, we had another scourge attacking the lungs of young adults: the vaping epidemic. I thought about telling Amy about the vape pens and cartridges and devices I found in my oldest child’s room back when she was in high school.

I had to take pictures of the stuff and text them to a musician friend because I didn’t know what they were. I thought about explaining how we made her go to the police station and sit in a folding chair between her father and me while an officer explained what can happen to people under the influence — even if they are “faded” and even if they are 17. All of this felt extra to our kid but right to us.

To Amy, who lives in New York and doesn’t have pot shops on every corner, I get how it seems fun. But to me, who, for a year, felt like I was trapped in a bad “Afterschool Special” playing the Mom, it doesn’t seem so great.

We got lucky. Our daughter got into college on the East Coast and packed up her winter clothes and some hard-won life lessons and is thriving now. But her story could easily have gone in a different direction. I don’t know if pot is a “gateway drug,” but you don’t have to watch the film “Beautiful Boy” biting back tears to know that from a little problem can grow life-changing trouble before you, the parent, even know the seed has been planted.

A few months ago, our 16-year-old was found with a vape pen. I was furious. I was so furious I stayed quiet the entire 30-minute ride home from his high school. He sat next to me in the passenger seat. “Mom, I’m sorry,” he said. “It was a stupid thing to do.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t want to say anything I will regret, so I am not going to talk right now.” I had a pit in my stomach thinking, “Not this again.”

As we got into our neighborhood, we drove by a billboard that featured a woman with pink and yellow rainbow hair and silver eyebrows, with a large, bubble-lettered sign that read “Kushy Punch.”

Robin Finn is a Los Angeles based writer.

If I was 16 and everybody was vaping strawberry nicotine or Red Sundae cannabis or whatever Kushy Punch is, I’m sure I’d want to do it too. I grew up in the 1980s and we smoked pot in high school. I got it mostly from friends and my parents didn’t pay much attention — it was the ’80s. But the marijuana wasn’t particularly potent. We didn’t smoke it through USB ports. It wasn’t promoted on every corner or by every social media influencer (we didn’t have social media or influencers back then). It was a simpler time. But maybe every generation thinks that.

I didn’t want to ruin Amy’s cannabis shopping spree. And I don’t think dispensaries are the root of the teen weed issue. But once your kid has a problem with drugs, the ubiquity of pots shops and how cool they look and their pervasive promotion across the city can feel disturbing. It’s as if the schools and public health professionals and parents are giving kids one message and the billboards that litter the city are giving them another. Which seems cooler to a 16-year-old? Earnest mom talks or rainbow billboards? When I was a kid, I know which one I would have chosen.

Learn More About Robin Finn here.

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USA: Purveyors of Pot Play Crass Cash Grab Card with COVID Crisis!

Dear Community Carer,

There’s an old saying, “never let a crisis go to waste.” No one has taken this statement more to heart than the marijuana industry.

As you will remember, last summer the marijuana industry found itself at the center of a public health crisis as thousands of people fell seriously ill and 60 subsequently died as a result of marijuana vaping.

How did the industry react? By using the crisis as a call to action for full federal legalization and commercialization.

Now, the marijuana industry is quickly moving to profit off of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The industry is unleashing its army of lobbyists on state capitols, demanding governors designate pot shops as “essential” and suing those, such as Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who refuse to bend to their demands.

The result of this: record sales and massive profits.

And while the state-level lobbyists and lawyers are busy working on governors, the industry’s federal lobbyists are demanding Congress include the industry in the next round of federal aid.

To be frank, demanding a federal bailout while you strong arm governors and subsequently brag about your massive increases in sales is disgusting.

I lay all this out in a piece in today’s New York Post, you can read it here.

Friend, we cannot allow Big Marijuana to trick Congress into handing them a massive taxpayer-funded bailout.

Millions of Americans are staring down unemployment, lost wages, and uncertainty about their future. And a whole host of healthcare workers are daily fighting the fight against this virus.

If anyone is deserving of federal aid, it are those who most need it — not an industry openly bragging about profits.

Click here to send your representative in Congress a message urging them to see through Big Marijuana’s charade. Tell Congress: No Pot Money Bailout.  

Thank you for all that you do,

Dr. Kevin Sabet

President & Co-Founder

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)











Smart Approaches to Marijuana |










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USA: Marching for Health of Generation – Hope not Dope!


April 16th 2020

Parents Opposed to Pot enjoys a victory over the marijuana hype now that both major party candidates for the presidency oppose the legalization of marijuana.  Neither former Vice-President Joe Biden nor President Trump support nationwide legalization.

It‘s a triumph of sorts, since nearly all the presidential candidates who dropped out are on record for supporting nationwide legalization.  We’ll celebrate this fact and other triumphs at the Voices of Truth: A Rally for Victory over Marijuana on October 3.  As a result of the COVID 19, we rescheduled our events from May to October 1 – 3.  People from all over the country will attend the rally, culminating with a march to the Martin Luther King Memorial.

We’ll spend three days advocating for: safer highways; drug-free youth; safe and productive communities, and science-backed policy.   Even lots of youths are coming on board to support us, and other anti-legalization groups will participate.  Those who wish to attend will find more information at or by writing [email protected].

Although most Democratic candidates embraced marijuana legalization in the primaries, it didn’t help their campaigns.  A few years ago, Dan Riffle described  support for marijuana legalization as “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  Riffle is a former marijuana lobbyist and, more recently, a Congressional staffer.

Pollsters skew the polls in favor of legalization, because they don’t ask voters if they support decriminalization of marijuana, a policy quite different from legalization.  Politicians who support legalization think it’s good gimmick to get the youth vote.

Both the president and Joe Biden support states’ rights for marijuana, despite the widespread failure of this policy.   No politician wants to face the wrath of the marijuana industry, which is brutal.  Although Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports legalizing pot, she admits that it’s failed policy in terms of social justice.

Filmmaker Jane Wells, maker of Pot Luck: The Altered State of Colorado, believes Progressives should rethink the legalization of marijuana.

Perhaps, because of the coronavirus and concerns of death from vaping THC, the public will realize how foolish a policy of allowing some states to commercialize marijuana.  Those states break federal law, and lawsuits to change federal law fail again and again.

For more Reclaim The Health of A Generation

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ALASKA: Push for Pot Bars Poleaxed!


For Immediate Release: April 13, 2020

Voters in Anchorage, Alaska Overwhelmingly Defeat Marijuana Industry Push for “Pot Bars”

(Alexandria, Va) – In an election taking place last week, voters in Anchorage, Alaska overwhelmingly voted down a proposal that would have allowed for the on-site consumption of marijuana. The proposal failed by a margin of 64% to 35%.

Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, released the following statement praising the results:

“People don’t want to expand the marijuana industry. On-site marijuana consumption has one of the biggest impacts on public safety of any policy shift and has been repeatedly rejected in many jurisdictions that have commercialized marijuana. The impairing effects of marijuana last beyond the sensation of being high. This proposal would have allowed pot shops to double as marijuana ‘bars’ and greatly increase the risk of individuals consuming highly potent strains of marijuana and then getting behind the wheel while impaired. We have seen drastic increases in drugged driving and marijuana-related traffic fatalities in states that have legalized. More must be done to prevent this unfortunate trend, not encourage it.

“Furthermore, we cannot allow the marijuana industry to trample laws put in place to limit the harms of secondhand smoke. In 2007, voters in Anchorage overwhelmingly approved a law to protect employees and the public from secondhand smoke and this was strengthened in 2013 to treat marijuana smoke the same as tobacco smoke. This proposal would have reversed these protections to bring back indoor smoking sections.

“The vote in opposition to this measure is encouraging and is only the latest in a string of setbacks for Big Pot. Across the nation, towns and municipalities are voting in support of measures restricting marijuana industry operations. These local control measures include banning on-site consumption, banning sales, delivery, and even growing operations. We are happy to support these efforts and through our ‘Towns and Cities Initiative,’ we work to have staff and resources available to assist local communities protect their neighborhoods from Big Pot.”

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CANADA: The Utter Failure of Weed Legalisation and Ensuing Chaos Continues!

Stoners cheered when Canada legalised cannabis. How did it go so wrong?

The Observer Cannabis Growers have gone bust, and the black market is still thriving  Mike Power  Sun 5 Apr 2020

 The lights shone more brightly than anything I’d ever seen. One million blinding watts strafed across the leaves of countless cannabis plants that peeled off in neat rows in every direction. The warehouse was as pristine as a pharmaceutical facility, and as we strode around in crisp white nylon overalls and box-fresh wellies, the atmosphere was surreal – interstellar, almost: – it felt as if we were on a mission to Mars. It was definitely a glimpse of the future.

It was 2017 and I had been invited to visit this legal medical cannabis “grow” in the town of Gatineau, near Ottawa. I was in Canada after writing a paper for the drug-law reform thinktank Volteface, proposing an online-only, legal cannabis market in the UK as a way to break the logjam between the UK’s two million cannabis smokers and those who fear legalisation. I was meeting with Canadian police and politicians to hear more about that country’s plans to completely legalise cannabis the following year.

Back in the UK, a million-watt grow like Gatineau’s would put you in jail for a decade. Here, it was likely to make its owners a very cool, very legal few million in mere months. Added to that, the state would benefit, too, as taxes from sales of the crop would be collected for the common good rather than enriching criminals. It felt utopian.

Canada’s Cannabis Act of 2018 was a bold attempt to impose some order on this anarchic retail scene. It legalised the sale to adults of 30g of cannabis in austere packaging from government-licensed shops. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said: “The old approach to cannabis didn’t work. It was too easy for our kids to get it and gangs and drug dealers were reaping the profits. That changes from now on.”

Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief, became an unlikely cheerleader for legalisation, arguing that to do so would “keep cannabis out of the hands of youth, and profits out of the hands of criminals”. Two other key goals of regulation were the protection of public health and the reduction in criminality associated with the illegal market. After 50 years of the unending, senseless drug war, peace had broken out.

Or so it seemed. Because while Canada may have lit the fuse on an ambitious experiment, every high has a low. Within a year the industry was experiencing mass layoffs, multi-billion-dollar stock-market losses, executive firings and corporate scandals as the overhyped new sector experienced a dramatic and humbling public correction.

Hype talks, but money walks. The early euphoria in the cannabis stock market has been replaced by a major dose of paranoia. All cannabis stocks have tanked, with an average 50% wipeout in value right across Canada and the US in the last year. Major players such as Aurora Cannabis took the biggest hit, with its shares falling from US$12.83 in March 2019 to US$2 today. Another bud behemoth, Tilray, has also had its share price slashed by 80%, from over US$81 to US$16 within a year. Other cannabis giants including Aphria lost 60% of their paper value in 2019, while Canopy Growth sank by 54%. Financing has dried up for the new industry, and small-scale retail investors – often young professionals investing via smartphone apps – have lost large sums of money. None of this is to assert that Canada’s policy has been a failure. If we compare it to the UK cannabis industry, where illegally trafficked children have been found enslaved in abandoned buildings growing cannabis for gangsters, it is better by several orders of magnitude.

What happens if you just legalise this drug? It’s a question no one other than Canada has ever really asked. My view is that we have long known that all drug laws are unworkable, illogical, unjustifiable, unscientific, counterproductive and generate countless unintended consequences – in fact, drugs laws often create the exact opposite outcomes to those desired. But ironically, and with a beautifully stoned logic, it turns out that legalising cannabis in Canada has generated just as many challenges as it solved.

Also see And Then There Were Three – Cannabis Markets That Is?

For complete article


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