Ads aim to dispel myth that driving on cannabis is acceptable

Young Canadians targeted in new Liberal ads warning of the risks of cannabis behind the wheel

By Dean Beeby, CBC News Posted: July 06, 2017

The Liberal government is planning a $2-million ad campaign targeting Canadians ages 16 to 24, to dispel the myth that cannabis does not impair driving.The Liberal government is planning a $2-million ad campaign targeting Canadians ages 16 to 24, to dispel the myth that cannabis does not impair driving. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Dean Beeby
Senior reporter, Parliamentary Bureau

Dean Beeby is a CBC journalist, author and specialist in freedom-of-information laws. Follow him on Twitter: @DeanBeeby

The Liberal government is preparing an ad campaign especially targeting young Canadians who think that driving under the influence of marijuana is acceptable.

Public Safety Canada is looking for a creative agency to produce spots for the $1.9-million campaign, to be rolled out before recreational cannabis becomes legal next summer.

The ads also aim to “reduce [the] percentage of Canadians that say they would be likely to accept a ride from someone under the influence of marijuana.” For more


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In Uruguay’s marijuana experiment, the government is your pot dealer

Marijuana club operator Marco Algorta is seen growing a strain known as “Colombian Red” in a rooftop greenhouse on June 22 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the world’s first nation to fully legalize cannabis. (Nick Miroff/The Washington Post)
By Nick Miroff July 7 

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — In coming weeks, cannabis-seeking citizens in this small South American nation will be able to walk into a pharmacy and buy government-approved marijuana for the state-mandated price of $1.30 a gram. No questions asked. No doctor’s note required.

If that sounds like an attempt to create a stoner republic on the South Atlantic, would-be tourists should know a few things.

Uruguay is the world’s first country to fully legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. But under its strict rules, there will be no Amsterdam-style smoking cafes, and foreigners won’t have access to the national stash.

Nor will there be shops selling ganja candies, psychedelic pastries or any of the other edible derivatives offered in pot-permissive U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington, where entrepreneurial capitalism fertilizes the United States’ incipient marijuana industry.

For more


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Residents March Against Pot Dispensary – San Francisco

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S.A.M. News Roundup – June 2017

News Roundup

June 2017
SAM has been working hard to get out the news on our website and in news outlets throughout the country, so we wanted to give you an update on some of our recent work:

This August 16, SAM will host its Summer Summit on marijuana policy at Baltimore’s Marriott Waterfront hotel, in conjunction with the National Conference on Addiction Disorders.  Speakers will include  

NIDA Director Nora Volkow.   Register now!

The Hill reports on SAM’s win in Vermont -

SAM’s latest win (and winning strategy) in Vermont is featured in The Hill – follow the link below to learn more!  This win also accompanies success in the Rhode Island state legislature, where a SAM-led coalition prevented a legalization bill from passing.

SAM pushes back in New Jersey –
Compton petitions against pot shops –
In New Jersey, a state currently considering  legalization, SAM President Kevin  Sabet goes head-to-head with the executive  director of NORML in an  extended  commentary for Asbury Park Press
SAM was featured in a CBS-LA news story about Compton, California residents protesting pot shops in their community and petitioning Attorney General Sessions to enforce federal marijuana laws

SAM is part of the “Keep Delaware Healthy and Safe Coalition,” and the coalition recently put out a piece in Delaware State News separating myth from fact on marijuana legalization. This coalition successfully pushed back against a marijuana legalization bill this session.

We push back against sham science in a piece in the Miami Herald on attempts to force the Florida government to allow the sale of smoked marijuana:  remember, smoked marijuana is not medicine.

Read about how the marijuana industry has been actively soliciting money from tobacco executives in SAM President Kevin Sabet’s latest piece for The Huffington Post

SAM supporter John Kroneck was published in USA Today with an op-ed denouncing marijuana legalization efforts in his state

SAM released a statement on the recent news that PNC Bank is closing the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)’s bank accounts
amidst mounting speculation of a crackdown on marijuana  businesses
Kevin Sabet on NPR Chicago

SAM President Kevin Sabet recently went live with NPR Chicago to present the case against marijuana legalization in Illinois, including why legalizing pot won’t make the state richer. Listen here.

Kevin also talked to NPR Boston about buyer’s remorse in Massachusetts, and the path forward on regulations. Listen here.


was published

we highlighted a news story

As always, thank you for being a SAM supporter – and please don’t hesitate to share this recent news far & wide!

Have a great week,

Anisha Gianchandani

SAM Communications Associate


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I.N.C.B. Annual Report 2016


INCB notes that, in the outcome document, Member States underscored the role of the three international drug control treaties as the basis for international cooperation, ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, preventing illicit drug crop cultivation and production and addressing drug trafficking and abuse. Governments have demonstrated that they intend to fulfil their joint commitments to cooperate on demand and supply reduction as well as on preventing diversion. At the special session of the General Assembly, the international community reaffirmed the pivotal role of the conventions and reiterated its commitment to their implementation. However, some actors will continue to talk about a need to “modernize” the treaties and their provisions; INCB is of the view that the international drug control system continues to provide a modern and flexible structure that can meet the world’s drug control needs of today and tomorrow.

In that context, INCB calls upon all stakeholders to place science and evidence-based approaches at the centre of drug control discussions. INCB sees its treaty-mandated role in determining the extent to which implementation at the national level is within the flexibility allowed for by the conventions. As we have often pointed out, the conventions provide for a certain flexibility at the national level, particularly with respect to determining appropriate sanctions, including non- punitive or non-custodial measures, for minor offences, for example for possession of drugs for personal use. However, flexibility has limits; it does not extend to regulating the use of drugs for non- medical purposes. States parties are now challenged to examine how to respond to the developments in some countries that are in contravention of the treaties by permitting and regulating the nonmedical use of drugs. A special topic in chapter II of the present report explores the possible effects of legislation in several jurisdictions that permits the non-medical use of cannabis.

The success of future international cooperation on drug control will depend on the ability of States parties to recognize that the treaties emphasize, first and foremost, the health needs and human rights of individuals. As a treaty-monitoring body, INCB assumes that the States parties themselves understand that it is their treaty obligation to prevent and treat drug abuse and reduce its negative consequences, based on the principles and provisions of the conventions and political declarations. Protecting the health and welfare of humankind remains the ultimate goal of the international drug control system; all drug-related policies and programmes that address current challenges in a balanced manner, in conformity with the treaties and with respect for human rights, will continue to be acknowledged and supported by INCB.

For complete Document

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PERMISSION – NOT Prohibition is ‘Doping’ and Destroying our kids!

Pamela McColl, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia.  This letter, “Prohibition Works,” was first published in The Province, June 28, 2017.

In 1978, 10.7 per cent of U.S. high school students smoked cannabis every day. Survey data shows that marijuana use peaked in 1979 and was followed by a period of dramatic decline until 1992, when the rate of high school students who smoked pot daily dropped below two per cent.

Between 1979 and 1991, a huge prevention campaign in North America coincided with the dramatic decrease in drug use. Parents, teachers, police, youth leaders, social workers, churches and the children themselves all got involved. It worked. Users fell from 23 million to 14 million, cannabis and cocaine use halved and daily pot use dropped by 75 per cent.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that prohibition works either doesn’t know, or doesn’t remember, the rise and fall of drug use in the 1980s, and what it took to turn kids off the use of drugs.

Editor’s Note: Another success story was getting rid of Quaaludes, a scourge on American youth at the same time. By 1984, the DEA successfully stopped the worldwide production of Quaaludes.


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Twin Plagues: Meth Rises in Shadow of Opioids


America can’t quit its meth habit.

After a brief lull caused by a crackdown on domestic manufacturing techniques, the highly addictive stimulant is blooming across the country again, this time in the shadows of the opioid epidemic.

Because meth kills slowly, and at lower rates, it isn’t getting the attention that many researchers, law enforcement officials and health workers say it deserves. They worry it will eventually overwhelm the country as heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers have.

Some states are fighting both epidemics at once.

“All of a sudden, it’s everywhere again,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said.

Schimel commissioned a study of meth in his state, which estimated that its use had jumped by at least 250 percent since 2011, a pace that could overtake heroin. “We are entering another full-blown epidemic with meth,” he said.

Ohio, a focal point of the opioid epidemic, is also battling a meth resurgence, particularly in rural areas, authorities have said. Reports indicate the same happening in Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota

Meth Cases in Wisconsin More than Tripled in 10 Years

Researchers point out that meth addiction has always been a big problem in America. For more


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The Dutch & The Dope!

June 2017 – Big Dutch banks, brewers and housing corporations have cannabis cafe interests, Society June 28, 2017

The four biggest Dutch banks – Rabobank, ING, ABN Amro and the Volksbank (formerly SNS) – have lent cannabis cafe owners some €1.1bn using 170 coffee shops as security, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

The figures come from a major research project carried out by the FD and investigative journalism website Investico which looked at the connections between Dutch firms, entrepreneurs and the public sector, and the cannabis industry.

The research also shows that brewers such as Heineken and AB InBev have also lent money to people active in the sector while 46 of the country’s 570 coffee shops are located in property run by a housing cooperation.

The findings are particularly significant given that earlier research suggests around 25% of coffee shops have links to organised crime, the paper said. No risk Criminologist Vyrille Fijnaut told the paper that the findings are not a great surprise. ‘In terms of paying off a loan or paying rent, coffee shops are not a financial risk,’ Fijnaut said. Twelve people on the Quote 500 rich list have investments in 19 coffee shops and even the tax office has accepted two coffee shops as security for a loan, the paper said.

‘This shows the duplicity of Dutch drugs policy and Dutch society,’ Professor Pieter Tops told the paper. Market ‘People will say the market is without morals and coffee shops are legal,’ he said. ‘But a lot of money is being invested in a world where it is known that there are connections with criminal organisations. People are investing – legally – in a world that is illegal and earning money.’

Although coffee shops are licensed and the police turn a blind eye to the possession of small amounts of cannabis, how the drug gets to the coffee shop remains a controversial subject and growing the plant is still illegal. The FD estimates coffee shop turnover to total some €1bn a year.

Licences In 2010, the government and Dutch banking association VNG was forced to intervene after coffee shop owners – who run local authority licenced businesses – complained they were finding it hard to get a bank.

Nevertheless, the big banks told the FD that they are less willing or not at all willing to lend money to coffee shops. Housing corporations including Ymrere and De Key also told the paper they no longer rent property to be used as a cannabis cafe. Most – 86%- of the loans in the FD research come from prior to 2010, the paper said.

Read more at Big Dutch banks, brewers and housing corporations have cannabis cafe interests


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S.A.M. – Legislative Protections being withdrawn??

Dear Friend,

There was big news in Congress today that I wanted you to know about. A proposed government spending bill released today eliminated a provision that has protected the marijuana industry from federal prosecution for violating the Controlled Substances Act.

The Rohrabacher-Farr language was eliminated from the Commerce, Justice, Science bill that funds the Department of Justice, even though the language had previously been included in the 2017 base text. In addition, the Financial Services bill retained language preventing Washington, DC from implementing full retail sales and commercialization of recreational marijuana.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) submitted testimony to the Appropriations Committee to push back against this provision, which has allowed unsafe and untested products to masquerade as medicine. Rather than submit their products to the FDA for approval as safe and effective medicines, the marijuana industry has instead been using medical marijuana laws as a guise to increase demand for marijuana consumption and service the black market with large amounts of high-potency marijuana.

“If I were an investor, I would sell my marijuana stocks short,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM. “The marijuana industry has lost in every state in which they were pushing legislation in 2017, the industry’s largest lobbying group is losing its bank account , and now they are losing protection that has helped them thrive despite marijuana’s illegal status. Although the debate over Rohrbacher-Farr is far from over, the bad news just keeps coming for the pot industry. But it’s great news for parents, prevention groups, law enforcement, medical professionals, victims’ rights advocates and everyone who cares about putting public health before profits.”

Evidence demonstrates that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decade – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. Moreover, in states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes and youth marijuana use. States that have legalized marijuana have also failed to shore up state budget shortfalls with marijuana taxes, continue to see a thriving black market, and are experiencing a continued rise in alcohol sales.

Thank you for the work that you are doing to help with these big wins for public health and safety!

Tony Coder – Director, State and Local Affairs



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Legal Marijuana Laws Impact Youth

Researchers from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, whose crest is pictured above, and other academic medical institutions, surveyed 2630 14- to 18-year-olds via Facebook who live in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use (MMJ states), recreational use (RMJ states), and not legalized the drug (NMJ states).

MMJ and RMJ states vary in what they allow, and the researchers wanted to learn if different provisions influence when adolescents begin marijuana use and which provisions may result in increasing use among young people.

The researchers say it is crucial to understand how marijuana legalization laws affect youth because they are more vulnerable to the drug’s harmful effects. Chronic use during adolescence has been associated with impaired brain development, educational achievement, and psychosocial functioning, as well as an increased risk of developing addiction.

Legalization has spurred the development of new marijuana products with higher potencies, such as marijuana-infused foods called edibles and electronic vaping devices that enable a user to inhale the psychoactive ingredients of tobacco and marijuana without the smoke.

Edibles sold in most legal states lack safety standards or products regulations and are marketed in ways that are attractive to youth, the researchers note. These factors are contributing to the sharp increase in marijuana overdoses among young people. Vaping devices are becoming increasingly popular among middle school and high school children who use them to vape marijuana more often than adults. Moreover, data show adolescents are vaping high-potency marijuana products whose impact on neurodevelopment is unknown but concerning because they may place youth at higher risk for psychosis.

The researchers find that youth in legalization states are twice as likely as those in nonlegalization states to have tried vaping. Moreover, youth in legalization states with high dispensary density are twice as likely to have tried vaping and three times more likely to have tried edibles than youth in nonlegalization states.

The kind and duration of marijuana legalization laws also impact youth. Youth in MMJ states are significantly more likely to have tried vaping and edibles than youth in nonlegalization states, and youth in RMJ states are significantly more likely to have tried both than youth in MMJ states. Youth in legal states that allow home cultivation are twice as likely to have tried edibles (but not vaping) as their peers in legal states that prohibit home grows. States with the oldest legalization laws also see increases in youth lifetime vaping and edible use.

Read Science Daily summary here. Read Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal abstract here.

Pay to Play: Congressional Cannabis Caucus and Colleagues—More Tracking the Money

Three months ago, National Families in Action published a report, Tracking the Money that is Legalizing Marijuana and Why It Matters, that details where the money comes from to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. Most of it was raised by three billionaires and two organizations they fund, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to do the work of legalization. The first decade of legalization was accomplished via ballot measures which DPA and/or MPP wrote, paid for collecting voters’ signatures, and paid heavily for advertising with less than accurate information to convince voters to pass them. This effort created a medical marijuana industry that made so much money it began contributing to the legalization effort as well.

In February 2017, five US Representatives formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to issue a spate of bills that would set the stage and then ultimately legalize marijuana at the federal level. It turns out that DPA and MPP donations to Congressional campaigns are over-represented among Caucus members and other legislators who are partnering with them to reach this goal. Together, Caucus members, pictured above, and colleagues have introduced more than 20 bills since February.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who received $3,000 from MPP, has introduced three of those bills and is co-sponsoring seven more.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) received $2,000 from MPP, has introduced one bill, and co-sponsored four more.

Rep. Ed Polis (D-CO), the only Caucus member who has not received donations from either group, has introduced one bill and co-sponsored six more.

Rep. Young (R-AK) received $1,000 from MPP, introduced one bill, and co-sponsored five more.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) received $7,000 from MPP and $4,700 from DPA, introduced one bill, and co-sponsored five more bills.

Here are the representatives and senators who signed on as co-sponsors of the 20-plus bills who also received donations from DPA and/or MPP as of June 28:

  • Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) — $5,000/MPP – co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) – $1,000/MPP – co-sponsoring 2 bills.
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) — $8,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) — $3,000/MPP – co-sponsoring 2 bills.
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) — $1,000/MPP – co-sponsoring 3 bills.
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) — $4,500/MPP/$500/DPA – sponsoring 1 bill, co-sponsoring 5 bills.
  • Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) — $1,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) — $1,000/MPP — sponsoring 1 bill, co-sponsoring 3 bills.
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) — $1,000/DPA – sponsoring 1 bill, co-sponsoring 2 bills.
  • Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) — $2,600/MPP – co-sponsoring 2 bills.
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) — $1,000/MPP – co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) – $1,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) — $1,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) — $3,500/MPP – co-sponsoring 3 bills.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) — $5,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 2 bills.
  • Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) — $5,750/MPP/$1,000/DPA — co-sponsoring 3 bills.
  • Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) — $2,500/DPA – co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) — $1,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) – $1,00/MPP – co-sponsoring 2 bills.
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) — $1,000/DPA — sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) — $5,500/MPP — sponsoring 1 bill, co-sponsoring 7 bills.
  • Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) — $1,000/MPP – co-sponsoring 1 bill.
  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) — $6,000/MPP/$4,500/DPA — co-sponsoring 5 bills.
  • Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) — $4,000/MPP — co-sponsoring 3 bills.
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) — $1,500/MPP — co-sponsoring 1 bill.

People who don’t want to see Congress legalize marijuana nationwide can pay to play too. With few exceptions, these are not large amounts of money. They could be matched to replace MPP’s and DPA’s donations so legislators can work for healthy families and healthy communities instead of the marijuana industry.

The Cannabist, the Denver Post’s marijuana website, published a list of bills these folks have introduced in Congress since the Caucus was formed in February. You can read it here. Note: a few bills in the list do not deal with legalization.


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