S.A.M. Media Release: Legal Marijuana Having Deadly Impact in Colorado

For Immediate Release
September 1, 2016
Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister
jeff@learnaboutsam.org
(703) 665-1410
New Report: Legal Marijuana Having Deadly Impact in Colorado

Colorado HIDTA report highlights increases in marijuana-related traffic fatalities and marijuana use by kids

ALEXANDRIA, VA – A new report, released yesterday by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) office, shows a dramatic spike in traffic-related fatalities attributed to marijuana use in the almost four years since the state legalized the drug. Drivers testing positive for marijuana were a factor in 21 percent of all Colorado traffic deaths in 2015, up from only 10 percent in 2009.

At the same time, Colorado now ranks number one in past-month marijuana use among youths and college-age adults. Moreover, youth past-month use is now 74 percent higher than the national average, up from 39 percent higher than the national average in 2011-12.

“This information, compiled from publicly available statistics, is yet another example of hard data demonstrating what we have already suspected to be true: that legalized marijuana policies have a tremendously negative — and costly — impact on public health and safety, especially on our roads,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “Reports like this continue to prove that corporate, commercial interests are being prioritized over the well-being of our communities.”

According to the study, the increasing frequency of marijuana use correlates with a higher frequency of traffic deaths related to the drug. Marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado have increased 62 percent since 2013, immediately after marijuana was legalized. And despite medical and recreational marijuana businesses being banned in 68 percent of local jurisdictions, there are still a total of 940 retail marijuana stores and marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, more than all the 322 Starbucks locations and 202 McDonald’s in the state combined.

Jo McGuire, co-chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate and president & CEO of 5 Minutes of Courage, a Colorado advocacy group for drug-free communities, workplaces, and youth, commented, “These outcomes are certainly not what Colorado voters intended when they were promised ‘controls.’ It is time Colorado policy makers are held accountable to protect the citizens who were duped by the marijuana industry.”

“Colorado has become a corporate free-for-all for pot businesses,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM’s Executive Vice President. “As the report shows, the marijuana industry is rapidly becoming the next Big Tobacco, placing profits before public health and public safety.”

The full Rocky Mountain HIDTA report can be found here.

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

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About SAM
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

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California Voters Have Serious Concerns Over Proposition 64′s Marijuana TV Advertising Language

New Poll: California Voters Have Serious Concerns Over Proposition 64′s Marijuana TV Advertising Language

August 22, 2016

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

[Alexandria, VA] – A new poll on California’s Proposition 64 shows strong concerns from California voters once they understand that the measure could allow marijuana smoking and edible ads on prime-time television, including on programs with millions of underage viewers.

When informed of the advertising provisions, only 43% of California voters support Proposition 64, compared to 52% who oppose it.

“This survey reveals why Prop 64′s supporters fought tooth and nail to keep voters from hearing about their plans to advertise on TV and radio — including filing a lawsuit to prevent information about this provision from appearing on the ballot,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM Action. “Despite their rhetoric about wanting to ‘get it right,’ Prop 64′s backers want to turn back the clock to the early 1970s, before we banned smoking ads on TV. That’s regressive in the literal sense of the word. And when California voters hear about it, they don’t approve.”

This new survey was commissioned by the campaign and conducted by Val Smith Ph.D and SmithJohnson Research. The live interviews were completed via landline and cell phones. The sampling error for this sample size is +/-4.4%.

The No on 64 campaign’s press release can be found here.

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

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Big Win for “No on 64″ Campaign as California Court Rules Against Pro-Legalization Campaign Claims

SMART APPROACHES TO MARIJUANA
BREAKING: Big Win for “No on 64″ Campaign as California Court Rules Against Pro-Legalization Campaign Claims

Court says Proposition 64 could roll back ban on smoking ads on TV; forces pro-legalization campaign to change incorrect claim that pot use among minors had decreased in states that have legalized marijuana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 12, 2016
Contact:
Jeff Zinsmeister
jeff@samaction.net
+1 (703) 665-1410

[Alexandria, VA] – The campaign against Proposition 64 — the initiative on this November’s ballot that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in California — won a major victory in court today, when a California judge ruled that a litany of claims that legalization proponents had placed in its ballot argument and rebuttal were misleading and had to be changed. Principal among the court’s findings was that Proposition 64 could, contrary to legalization proponents’ claims, allow pot smoking ads on TV, rolling back the ban on TV advertising for smoking that has existed since the 1970s.

“Just as we predicted, the court’s decision shows how Proposition 64 will undo decades of progress in public health in one fell swoop, through the massive commercialization of pot,” said Kevin Sabet, SAM Action’s President. “The undoing of advertising restrictions is one of the principal reasons that public health luminaries like pioneering anti-Big Tobacco advocate Dr. Stan Glantz oppose Proposition 64.”

Moreover, the court ruled that a number of other claims made by legalization proponents were misleading and had to be changed, including a claim that pot use among minors had decreased in states that had legalized marijuana, and a statement that drugged driving had decreased in legalized states. It also forced the pro-legalization campaign to revise exaggerated estimates on cost savings sharply downwards.

“The court’s ruling demonstrates how Proposition 64 is regressive in the most literal sense of the word,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM Action’s Executive Vice President. “It would roll back the clock to 1971, when our country banned cigarette smoking ads on TV. It’s ironic that the same legalization lobby that claims to be fighting ‘Nixon-era’ drug policies is actually turning back the clock to the Nixon administration on smoking ads.”

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

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Federal Government Faciliates Legitimate Research on Marijuana, Keeps the Drug in Schedule I

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2016

Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister
jeff@learnaboutsam.org
(703) 665-1410

(Alexandria, VA) – In a widely anticipated move, today the Obama Administration, using a lengthy “eight-factor analysis” and a deep evaluation of the latest science, decided to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I substance while expanding research grow sites for the drug. This decision is consistent with a 2015 judicial opinion of a federal judge from the Eastern District of California, and various recently-introduced pieces federal legislation introduced to expand research and uphold the FDA approval process for medicines.
“We’re pleased to see that the Obama Administration — using the exhaustive “eight factor” scientific analysis required by law — understands the science the way we and almost every single major medical association in the country understand it,” said Kevin Sabet,” President of SAM. “Big Marijuana was counting on President Obama to reschedule or even deschedule marijuana, in order to circumvent the FDA process to turn a quick profit on unregulated products. But this decision means that medications based on marijuana will have to go through the same rigorous testing process as all of our other medications.”
Moreover, the new rules expand legitimate research opportunities, by expanding the number of legal grow sites for research-grade marijuana beyond the current facility in Mississippi. This will likely help in researching CBD and other components of marijuana, and should streamline the process for data collection.
In 2015, SAM recommended several steps for bolstering marijuana research without legalization, including an expansion of research sites. So far, three of SAM’s six recommendations have been adopted.

“The pot lobby has successfully fought off federal attempts to regulate advertising targeting children, rules restricting the use of pesticides, and rules to limit marijuana potency. This same lobby was ready to pounce on a rescheduling or descheduling determination to fill their pockets,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, Executive Vice President of SAM. “This assault on health and safety regulations is no less than a repeat of Big Tobacco’s tactics from last century — which if people recall once touted the health benefits of tobacco use. That is what makes today’s news so important.”

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

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About SAM
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), 400 N. Columbus St., Suite 202, Alexandria, VA 22314
SafeUnsubscribe™ education@dalgarnoinstitute.org.au

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Broad Coalition of Health Organizations Urges Democratic National Committee to Reject Marijuana Legalization

For Immediate Release
July 6, 2016
Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister
jeff@learnaboutsam.org
(703) 665-1410

Broad Coalition of Health Organizations Urges Democratic National Committee to Reject Marijuana Legalization

(Alexandria, VA) – A broad coalition of organizations working to prevent and treat substance abuse sent a letter today to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ahead of their decision on their party platform, including marijuana policy. These groups, which include Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR), the National Alliance of Alcohol and Drug Counselors (NAADAC), Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) , and Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) specifically urge the DNC “not to view legalization and commercialization of marijuana as a solution” to any current issues related to marijuana policy. The letter was also signed by Patrick Kennedy, Honorary Chair of SAM, who once chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“The DNC should resist any calls to legalize drugs,” said Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to the Obama Administration and current President of SAM, a bipartisan organization dedicated to implementing science-based marijuana-policies. “The legalization of marijuana is about one thing: the creation of the next Big Tobacco. Marketers cleverly package pot candies to make them attractive to kids, and pot shops do nothing to improve neighborhoods and communities. Moreover, there are other, more effective ways to address questions of racial justice and incarceration. So does the DNC want to be known for fostering the next tobacco industry, or will it stand with the scientific community, parents, and public health?”
Indeed, the letter also details how legalization has resulted in huge spikes in arrests of Colorado youth from communities of color-up 29 percent among Hispanics from 2012 (pre-legalization) to 2014 (post-legalization), and up 58 percent among Black youth in the same timeframe-while arrests of White children fell. Additionally, there has been a doubling of the percentage of marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Washington in just one year after legalization (2013 to 2014). Emergency poison control calls related to marijuana from 2013 to 2014 in both Colorado and Washington rose, by 72 percent and 56 percent, respectively, and there has been a 15 percent average annual increase in drug and narcotics crime in Denver since 2014, when retail sales of marijuana began.

“The pot lobby has successfully fought off Colorado’s attempts to regulate advertising targeting children, rules restricting the use of pesticides, and rules to limit marijuana potency. This same lobby is now exporting these tactics to other states in November,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, Executive Vice President of SAM. “This assault on health and safety regulations is no less than a repeat of Big Tobacco’s tactics from the 1960s and 1970s. Our broad coalition urges the DNC to resist these calls.”

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

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Misrepresenting Colorado Marijuana

Misrepresenting Colorado Marijuana
David W. Murray
There is no Colorado “survey;” and no capacity to “represent” Colorado youth.
• The sample represents no more than the kids who participated.
• Media reported youth use “flat,” but steep increases were nonetheless widespread.
• Colorado youth marijuana use cannot be “below the national average.” They have the highest rate of marijuana use in the nation.
• The survey response rate, only 46 percent, was inadequate; crucially, below the threshold set by the Centers for Disease Control.
• The only “lesson” about legalization is a warning sign.

What is wrong with the marijuana legalization debate, and who is responsible for its sorry state? No better example of misdirection can be offered than the results of a recent Colorado poll. Because of the public health stakes for the nation’s youth, getting this right is essential.
The 2015 version of the Healthy Kids Colorado (HKCS) school survey, which polled both middle school and high school students, garnered a tremendous amount of news. Since it is the first state level estimate to be taken after marijuana legalization (accelerated with retail sales in January 2014), there was reporting concerning possible impact, compared to the previous HKCS taken in 2013.
While not without flaws, the study is an interesting snap-shot of youth health concerns, and legitimately alerts us to some genuine problem areas for marijuana use. But the media reporting was appalling, and theHKCS did little to prevent misunderstanding.
Media Advocacy
Uniformly, media described good news for marijuana legalization advocates. Most coverage (in the Washington Post, Denver Post, Fox News) reported that, compared to two years prior, marijuana use was “flat,” because not “statistically significant.”
Yet even a flat outcome is surprising, not least because other national surveys in Colorado have disclosed alarming increases in use for adults and young adults, rates rising in ten years some 99 percent (7.5 percent to 14.93 percent).
Moreover, in the regional breakdown there were major increases since 2013 in past month use for some students who were juniors and seniors, the increase in some regional breakdowns rising between 50 and 90 percent.
But the survey combined those results with younger grades to produce an overall mean (an ill-advised methodology without weightings), so officials were reported to declare no statistically significant change in marijuana prevalence.
Predictably, the results were treated as a report card on legalization, and media seized on the purported lesson — no rising rates, hence, no worries.
There was even more confusion (or worse) by some media. Both Timemagazine and the Scientific American ran articles claiming that the survey had indeed found change, after all. But remarkably, they reported that the new results showed marijuana use had “dipped” from 2013. Of course, in the absence of significance, this claim would be simply wrong. If the non-significant outcome cannot be up, it certainly cannot be down.
There is worse in store. Media thought that calling the changes “not significant” meant that changes were not sufficiently large. But as we shall see, what happened is that the survey did not, methodologically, produce an outcome capable of being statistically significant, as a true weighted probability survey would be. That is a very different matter.
What they seem to have produced is a (partial) census of students, for whom marijuana is variously steeply up or on occasion down, depending on grade and geography. But this survey does not fulfill the necessary criteria for a probability sample.
What National Average?
A further question is, to what are the results being compared? Both theHKCS report itself, and the media, compared the outcome of HKCS 2015 not only to HKCS 2013, but to what they termed the “national average” of youth marijuana use.
According to the reports, 21.2% of Colorado teens were past month marijuana users in 2015. The “national rate” of pot use by youth was reported as higher, at 21.7%.
What is the possible source for deriving that “national average”? There is one genuinely national sample of youth drug use, that from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) that covers all states. But this cannot be the basis for the claim. In their latest 2014 estimates, NSDUHreported that 7.2 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 across the nation used marijuana in the past month – that figure, not 21.7 percent, would be the youth “national average.”
Moreover, the NSDUH specifically declared that Colorado had the nation’s highest rates. Adolescent marijuana use ranged from 4.98 percent in Alabama to 12.56 percent in Colorado.
Worse, the NSDUH showed for youth that from 2009, when medical marijuana took off in Colorado, there has been a stunning rise of 27 percent through 2014 (from 9.91 percent to 12.56 percent). So Colorado youth use rates in the NSDUH are not only higher than the national average, but, after freer access to marijuana, have been steeply climbing.
There is also Monitoring the Future (MTF), a school survey (8th, 10th, an 12th grades) produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2014 MTF showed 21.2 percent of students reporting past month marijuana use. But that rate applied only to seniors in their survey, while the HKCS results were supposed to represent all grades. (Rates for 8th graders in the MTF stood at only 6.5 percent.)
Apparently worried about such data contradictions, the Washington Postsought to mitigate concern by pointing out that the HKCS had a very large in-state sample, of 17,000 kids. Says the Post, “That much larger sample could produce a more accurate estimate than the smaller numbers in the federal drug survey.”
But the Post‘s maneuver only magnifies the problems. HKCS is modeled on the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS) conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control, and the YRBS (which covers most but not every state), also has a sample that estimates a national average.
Critically, however, the YRBS has nowhere near 17,000 youth in each state as their national sample. Their national estimate is based on a total 13,600 responses, for the entire nation; that would average just a few hundred kids per state if evenly distributed. Moreover, the YRBSsurveys youth in 9th through 12th grade. Hence, the YRBS is not really comparable to what happened in Colorado.
for complete article go to Misrepresenting Colorado Marijuana

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World Drug Day 2016

This #WorldDrugDay, 26 June, let’s all ensure that we #ListenFirst and help children and youth grow healthy and safe. Find out more about evidence-based prevention at https://www.unodc.org/listenfirst/.

Did you know that the earlier children start to experiment with drugs, the more likely they are to develop drug dependence later in life?
With 26 June marking #WorldDrugDay, let’s all #ListenFirst to take the first step in helping children and youth grow happy and resilient. Learn more at: https://www.unodc.org/listenfirst/.

For every amount we spend today on evidence-based drug prevention programmes, we can save up to 30 times as much in future health and social care cost?
On #WorldDrugDay 2016, #ListenFirst and support evidence-based prevention! Learn more at: https://www.unodc.org/listenfirst.

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Do we really want Portugal’s drug laws?

Do we really want Portugal’s drug laws?
Ross Clark

‘The war on drugs has failed,’ asserted Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public health in the latest propaganda coup for the pro-drug lobby. Her society, along with the Faculty of Public Health, have parroted the familiar call among metropolitan liberals for drugs to be decriminalised. Their argument is that we should drop our punitive approach to drugs and be more like Portugal, which decriminalised drugs in 2001 and now, it claims, has fewer deaths from drug use that.

There are a couple of problems with this. Firstly, drug decriminalisation in Portugal is only a success if you cherry-pick your statistics carefully. If you want to make the opposite argument you can pick a few which work in the other direction – such as pointing out that there has been 40 per cent increase in homicides related to drugs, and that HIV infection related to intravenous drug use were by 2005 the third highest in Europe.

Get hooked on opiates, and the British state will even fix you up with methadone for free. There are now 140,000 state-sponsored methadone users, each of them costing taxpayers £3,000 a year. Is that really a ‘punitive’ policy?

For complete article go to Do we really want Portugal\'s Drug Laws?

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WORLD DRUG DAY 26 JUNE

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Colorado Youth Marijuana Use on the Rise Since Legalization

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2016
Contact: Sabrina E. Williams
sabrina@learnaboutsam.org
(703) 828-5793
 

New Data Shows Colorado Youth Marijuana Use on the Rise Since Legalization

(Alexandria, VA) - A new state-funded report out of Colorado today found that marijuana use among high school students is on the rise in Colorado since legalization, while youth cigarette use has declined.  This rise is a result of particularly pronounced increases among juniors and seniors, whose last-month pot use rose from 22.1 to 26.3 percent (juniors) and from 24.3 to 27.8 percent (seniors).
The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS)  found that though marijuana use rose among high school students, cigarette use fell. Since 2013, monthly cigarette consumption among that demographic fell just over two percentage points, from 10.7 to 8.6 percent, while monthly pot use rose almost as many percentage points in the same timeframe — from 19.7 to 21.2 percent — reversing a four-year decline that ended after Colorado legalized the drug in late 2012.
While the HKCS also found Colorado high school youth rates were on par with national rates from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavioral Study (YRBS), a more comprehensive National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that Colorado ranks first in the nation for marijuana use by 12-17 year-olds, well above the national average:
“A powerful marijuana industry lobby has emerged that sued Colorado to stop restrictions on advertising to protect children, and is now pushing back against municipal regulations to keep pot stores away from schools and day care facilities in other states,”   said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “Now that Colorado has legalized and widely commercialized marijuana, unfortunately their children use marijuana more than children in any other state.”
Jo McGuire, co-chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate and president & CEO of 5 Minutes of Courage, a Colorado advocacy group for drug-free communities, workplaces, and youth, also commented, “It’s not surprising that youth use has increased in our state since legalization.  We have made pot use more socially acceptable for kids without setting up any serious, organized educational campaign on the harms of getting high.  This will really hurt our state in the long run.”
For more information about marijuana policy, please visithttp://www.learnaboutsam.org.
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About SAM
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at www.learnaboutsam.org

 

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