UK – Cumbrian children as young as nine addicted to cannabis

Children as young as nine have turned to a north Cumbrian drug and alcohol charity as they battle to kick a cannabis habit.

There are fears that the scale of the drug’s damaging impact on young people across the county remains hidden, with many wrongly believing the class B drug poses no risk.

Experts say that potent modern strains of cannabis can have a devastating effect on youngsters, leaving them sleep-deprived, paranoid, and aggressive.

There is also evidence linking early cannabis use and poor mental health.

The courts in Carlisle and Workington have regularly dealt with young adults prosecuted after dabbling in the drug.

One schools boss described levels of cannabis use among youngsters in Carlisle as “alarming” while in west Cumbria a drug charity has worked with primary school children affected by the drug.

By Phil Coleman, May 31, 2017

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South Africa – National HIV plan scraps calls to decriminalise drug use – 2017

South Africa is expected to release its new national HIV strategy later this month. In a country that continues to battle the world’s largest HIV epidemic, the document will guide the next six years in the fight against new infections.

The South African National Aids Council (Sanac), civil society groups and key government departments met to finalise the strategy late last week. The plan not only outlines the country’s response to HIV but also guides its efforts against tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted infections.

The latest draft of the national strategic plan, released on 10 March, is unlikely to be drastically different from the final version, which is expected be launched on 31 March in Bloemfontein. For More


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Cannabis harm prevention message a must, says study

What do police in weed-friendly places say? Cannabis harm prevention messages are essential, according to police in places where the drug has been decriminalised. Government, police and health agencies need clear guidelines for public campaigns on preventing harm from cannabis use, according to new research from Massey University. Front line police officers she interviewed in the Netherlands and states of Colorado and Oregon in the United States, where recreational cannabis use is not an offence, provided insights on how their communities responded with cannabis legally available.

They said that contrary to expectations, legalising the drug did not eliminate crime related to selling it, or gangs from continuing to profit from its sale.

All of her interviewees had cannabis law reform presented as a positive change for police, yet – as one officer said, “we just have not seen all the wonderful promises that were made to us.”

Others observed cannabis was a gateway to harder drugs, and one officer expressed concern that the legal cannabis industry was attempting to target children to create a future market.

Front-line police officers she interviewed noted the following issues:

  • the enduring role organised crime plays in profiting from cannabis
  • inconsistent police policies are exploited, resulting in erosion of perceived police effectiveness
  • driving while cannabis-impaired is a largely unmitigated risk, which may be a significant factor in vehicle crashes
  • cannabis regularly misused by youth causes learning difficulties and leads to poor social outcomes
  • it is important, and sometimes difficult, to get harm-prevention messaging right

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Canada’s Continuing Cannabis Conundrum

Quebecers break ranks with Canada, and oppose legal weed: poll

The federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana has split the country, with most Quebecers opposed to the idea, a new survey suggests.

The CROP survey, conducted for Radio-Canada May 11-23, suggests that 54 per cent of the 2,536 respondents across Canada are in favour of legalizing marijuana. But in Quebec, 54 per cent of respondents were opposed to the idea, with one-third of respondents saying they are extremely opposed. Elsewhere in Canada, that extreme opposition drops to one respondent out of five.

Young Canadians are the most favourable to the legalization of marijuana, with two-thirds of respondents age 18-34 expressing support for the legislation. The biggest worry nationally over legalization was that accidents caused by those driving while impaired by the drug would increase, with 60 per cent of those surveyed expressing that concern. For More

Task-force leader on legalizing marijuana urges prohibition, for now

But the former minister of public safety, health and justice in the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin said other cities should not follow suit before the current laws change, echoing what the federal government has repeatedly said when asked about the rise of illegal dispensaries.

“Nobody would deny that there are some practical problems at street level, absolutely, nobody denies that,” said Ms. McLellan, who was in Vancouver speaking at Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus on the work the task force did last year.

“Cities should wait until the law changes instead of making their own rules now and hoping to adapt them to a federal framework later on,” she said. “I cannot advocate that anybody break existing laws. We are a nation of law-abiding citizens.” For more


Canadians worried Ottawa rushing into pot legalization: poll

Even attendees at Canada’s biggest cannabis trade show, Lift, on this weekend at Metro Convention Centre, had mixed feelings about legalization, with some worried government control and corporatization would crush the little guy. For More

Why legal marijuana will hurt kids By Dr. Brian Goldman

The ballot initiative would allows adults over the age of 21 to posses up to 56 grams of marijuana. ( Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The federal government’s tabled Bill C-45 would allow adults to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational marijuana. The bill would make it a criminal offence to sell pot to minors but it would not be crime for youth to possess small amounts of it. An editorial published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal calls on Parliament to reject the bill.  For more


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Smart Colorado is in the halls of the state capitol working to protect kids from marijuana.

When the Colorado Legislature is in session, Smart Colorado is in the halls of the state capitol working to protect kids from marijuana.

Smart Colorado is the only non-profit organization focused on protecting the health, safety and well-being of Colorado youth as marijuana becomes increasingly available and commercialized. That’s our exclusive focus at the Colorado Capitol.

2017 Legislative Update:

The end of this year’s session provides an opportunity to tally up some wins for Colorado kids.

The legislature:

  • Approved a state budget that included Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposal to use $9.7 million in marijuana tax revenue to fund an additional 150 health professionals in schools to address substance abuse and mental health issues. These health professionals responsibilities will include marijuana-specific education in the schools. Smart Colorado strongly supported this provision.

  • Enacted a measure that caps the number of marijuana plants that can be grown in a home. This will reduce the so-called “gray market” for marijuana that can be diverted to kids. This also was a priority for Smart Colorado.

  • Maintained support for the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, a biannual project that helps the state better understand what factors help youth make healthy choices. The most recent survey included the concerning finding that fewer students across the state now see regular marijuana use as risky behavior.

  • Defeated measures to allow so-called “marijuana consumption clubs” and define “open and public” pot consumption. As Smart Colorado Executive Director Henny Lasley told The Denver Post: “What we worry about the very most is the impact on our kids. The youth in Colorado that are growing up in a brand new landscape. Our big thing was to try to follow the will of the voter that this was just for private consumption, and it opens up a whole new realm when it becomes open and public.”

  • Amended legislation to block the delivery of marijuana.

  • Approved a bill directing the state to create and fund a resource bank of marijuana education materials for public schools.

We were also heartened to hear Gov. Hickenlooper highlight the danger to kids of Colorado’s ultra-potent marijuana.  He told a reporter for in April: “When you’re a teenager, your brain is growing very, very rapidly. The high-THC marijuana we have is so intense in the way it affects your synapses and those parts of your brain that literally every brain scientist I’ve talked to feels there’s a very high probability that, even if you only smoke once a week, this high-THC marijuana, if you’re a teenager, it will take a sliver of your long-term memory forever. That doesn’t come back in two weeks or three weeks. Your brain is growing so fast that the synapses don’t connect so you can’t retrieve information that you remembered.”

We’ll continue to focus on protecting Colorado youth from the health hazards of this ultra-potent pot.

Special thanks to legislators from both sides of the aisle who helped protect Colorado kids from marijuana this session, including:

·         Senator Randy Baumgardner
·         Senator Don Coram
·         Senator Bob Gardner
·         Senator Chris Holbert
·         Senator Cheri Jahn
·         Representative Jonathan Singer

We also applaud Governor Hickenlooper for his leadership to allocate tax revenue specific to marijuana education.

Support Smart Colorado

If you believe in Smart Colorado’s mission, please donate today to support our work.  Thank you for your support and look for more updates from Smart in the very near future. Thousands also have liked Smart Colorado on Facebook to get the latest news about our efforts to protect youth.  You can also engage with us on Twitter.

About Smart Colorado

Smart Colorado is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Colorado youth as marijuana becomes increasingly available and commercialized. Smart Colorado is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center. To learn more about Smart Colorado, please visit:


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UK Anti-drug campaigners slam plans to introduce drug testing tents at music festivals

David Raynes of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: “I do not think senior police officers have thought this through with the clarity that the public deserve.

“This will simply normalise drug taking amongst the young and will reinforce the attitude that taking drugs is an integral part of the festival experience, which it is not.

“Another problem is that drug testing services offer an illusion of safety. They tell drug users about purity, but purity is not a measure of safety, quite the opposite in some cases. Drugs are illegal because they are unsafe and that is the message that the police ought to be giving.

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ARE WE SURE? S.A.M Action Plan – Get on board – Today!

Are We Sure logo
A personal message from Kevin A. Sabet, President, SAM and SAM Action

Hi everyone,
First of all, by now you’ve all heard about Vermont! I’m incredibly proud of our team, SAM-VT, which led the fight along with our partners at the Vermont chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, working with professionals we brought on to help us with strategy, for all of their hard work! Our press statement is here, and a good NBC article can be found here.
But there’s much more going on than the excitement in Vermont, and I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what is happening around the country:
  • On August 16th, we will host a SAM Summer Summit, in conjunction with the National Conference on Addiction Disorders. This conference will feature our very own Ben Cort, along with Bari Platter, an RN in Denver who has seen the effects of marijuana addiction firsthand. We will also have professors from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere discussing the latest science on marijuana. Special VIP guests will be announced soon. 6 CEUs will be offered. I hope to see you there!
  • We are still working hard in Rhode Island, with our affiliates, the Ocean State Prevention Alliance and What’s the Rush, RI?, along with John Tassoni, SAM Action’s representative in the state. We hope to have some (good) news to report there soon!
  • We are now helping to form coalitions in Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey to fight Big Marijuana in 2017-2018. Tony Coder, our Director of State and Local Affairs, is leading the charge there.
  • If you haven’t downloaded the SAM Action app, please do. You can click here or text SAM to 797-979.
  • We have had a slew of op-eds out in the last few weeks that may be helpful to your work. Here’s mine in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a SAM-VT member’s op-ed in the VT Digger, and two SAM Rhode Island members’ op-eds in the Providence Journal here and here.
  • We are now offering SAM Marijuana Bootcamps. Email for more information.
  • Finally, we launched our new Are We Sure?™ awareness programThis professionally-designed messaging program – some folks who worked on Truth™ helped us – focuses on science-based marijuana policies will prove useful to your organization. It asks people to think twice and consider what marijuana legalization really means:
  • Big Marijuana, instead of Woodstock-style backyard home grows
  • Marijuana candies and edibles, instead of Woodstock-era joints
  • Wall Street & Silicon Valley billionaire investors, instead of Woodstock era “peace & love”
There are many ways to get the message out!
We are offering a wide variety of awareness products: from stickers to posters to T-shirts to billboards and bus ads. Some examples are below.
Thanks for everything everyone is doing to push back. Together, we win!

Are We Sure?™ 6-foot by 2.5 foot banners on display at a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island
Billboard designs based on the Are We Sure?™ theme
Billboards & other large advertisements:
Interested in really making a splash on the marijuana issue?  Use our artwork on a billboard, bus ad, building-sized poster, or other installation that is sure to draw public attention, and maybe even media coverage!  The billboard and bus sign campaign below received significant press in the Providence, Rhode Island area:
To arrange for your organization’s own billboard or large ad, your group arranges and pays separately for the ad placement, and we work with the ad company to supply the artwork that you pre-approve.  If you use an off-the-shelf Are We Sure?™ design requiring minimal editing or resizing, the price for the design for such an ad is generally around $1,250, which includes the time required to make the ad to the advertiser’s specifications.  More custom designs, such as unusual shapes, sizes, or messaging, may require additional fees.
Similarly, 6-foot by 2.5 foot banners and stands like the ones shown in the first photo of the press conference can be printed and shipped for $109 plus applicable shipping and tax.
11″x17″ Posters:
These smaller-style posters are perfect for office and school bulletin boards, or for displaying or handing out at meetings, seminars, and conferences.
Price: 100 posters for $299, plus applicable shipping and tax.  Discounts available for larger orders.
Mid-size posters (2 feet x 3 feet):
These posters are bigger and can really make an impact on a school hallway wall, classroom, or conference booth!
Price:  100 posters for $549, plus applicable shipping and tax. Discounts available for larger orders.
Wall-size poster (custom sizing):
Cover an entire wall with an Are We Sure?™ poster!  Costs for these vary depending on size, so please email us for a custom quote.
Make a statement about your opposition to the next Big Tobacco to everyone who passes by with these stylish Are We Sure?™ t-shirts.  Printed on high-quality cotton, these come in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL sizes.
Price:  10 T-shirts for $199, plus applicable shipping and tax.  Discounts available for larger orders.
Yard signs:
These 18″x24″ yard signs are perfect for:
  • Yards (obviously!)
  • Making yourself seen and heard at town hall meetings with elected officials
  • Public demonstrations
Price: Varies depending on quantity.  Each sign comes with a metal stake.  Please contact us for details and a quote.
Bumper stickers:
Show your support for our message on your car (or laptop case!) with an Are We Sure?™ bumper sticker!  Definitely a conversation starter!
Price: 100 bumper stickers for $400, plus applicable shipping and tax. Discounts available for larger orders.
Are We Sure?™ Awareness package:
Kick-start your awareness campaign with a full kit of Are We Sure?™ materials, and receive a discount of over 20 percent!  This kit includes:
  • 20 – T-shirts
  • 200 – 11″x17″ posters
  • 100 – 2 feet x 3 feet posters
  • 200 – bumper stickers
  • 2 – 6 foot x 2.5 foot banners
Price: $1,999 plus applicable shipping and tax.

Electronic ads (Facebook, etc.):
We have the capacity to design Facebook ad campaigns; please contact us for additional details and pricing options.


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President Trump’s First Budget Commits Significant Resources to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

President Trump’s First Budget Commits Significant Resources to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Washington, DC 20503

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ONDCP Public Affairs: 202-395-6618

FY 2018 budget request includes $27.8 billion in drug control efforts

Washington, D.C. – Today, Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, announced drug-related requests in the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.  The President’s Budget, submitted to the U.S. Congress today, supports $27.8 billion in drug control efforts including prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. Specifically, it supports $1.3 billion in investments for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act programs, 21st Century CURES Act programs, and other opioid-specific initiatives that seek to address the current epidemic.

“The President’s 2018 Budget calls for a larger investment in drug control policy than the annualized FY 17 continuing resolution level,” said Richard BaumActing Director of National Drug Control Policy. “By funding critical public health and public safety efforts, this budget demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to stopping drugs from entering the country and supporting treatment efforts to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic.”

For more information, visit


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CADCA Legislative Update May 2017

CADCA is proud to share that after herculean bipartisan and bicameral efforts by our champions on Capitol Hill, along with over 200 groups across our entire field, the President’s FY 2018 budget request to Congress does not include the recommendations reported earlier in May to eliminate the Drug Free Communities (DFC) program, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program and to dramatically cut the personnel in the Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).


Efforts include:

  • Senator Portman and Congressman Levin (the original sponsors of the DFC program) letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney
  • Senator Grassley and Senator Feinstein letter, along with 11 other Senators, to OMB Director Mulvaney in support of ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA
  • Congressmen Cummings, Johnson, Levin and Fitzpatrick letter, along with 70 other Representatives, in support of ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA
  • Senator Capito letter in support of ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA
  • Senators Nelson and Rubio letter in support of ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA
  • Letter to the White House signed by over 200 national groups in the prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement fields to inform them that ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA are critical

Although it is great news that we do not have to fight what were reported to be draconian cuts to the ONDCP and the total elimination of the DFC and HIDTA programs on Capitol Hill, the President’s budget does include reductions to both DFC and HIDTA as well as to the ONDCP staff. It is important to remember that the President’s budget request for all programs are only his recommendations to Congress – and that it is Congress that determines all the funding levels for every federal program.

CADCA will continue to work to ensure that the DFC program as well as HIDTA and ONDCP itself are all funded at the highest possible levels for FY 2018 by continuing to build on the strong support we have in Congress.

CADCA will keep you in the loop as the FY 2018 appropriations process continues and let you know how and when to get involved.


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Vermont Anti legalization Campaign May 2017


In 2012, Coloradans voted to pass Colorado Amendment 64 which led to the state-wide legalization of recreational marijuana beginning in January of 2014. Since then, the number of medical and recreational dispensaries in Colorado has grown to more than double the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. While individual counties could and did choose to abstain from allowing recreational marijuana sales, my county, Pueblo, was one of many that embraced Amendment 64 and the projected benefits of recreational legalization, even unofficially rebranding itself the “Napa Valley of Pot”.

A homeless camp along the river in Pueblo, one of many makeshift residences

This led to an influx of people looking to smoke without the risk of legal consequences and to cash in on the burgeoning “pot economy”. Unfortunately, many of these people arrived only to find that the supply of marijuana-related jobs was far outweighed by the demand, and few had backup plans. Since 2014, Pueblo’s homeless population has tripled, and our low-income housing have occupancy rates of 98% or more. We have seen a drastic increase in the number of homeless camps, and social services and outreach programs are buckling under the strain.

Our medical infrastructure is also reaching critical mass. Out of the 160,000 residents of our community, roughly 115,000 are on Medicaid. As a result, we have been losing primary care providers at an alarming and unsustainable rate.  The largest local clinic has been looking to hire 15 new doctors, but has only been able to hire 1 in the past two and a half years. My emergency medical group has been able to fill less than half of our open positions. The average wait time to see a new primary care provider is months with the wait for a specialist even longer, and many primary care physicians in the area are no longer taking new Medicaid patients.


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