USA: Permission – NOT prohibition is killing our citizens – Using Law to Reverse Drug Deaths

Department of Justice News

On May 10, 2017, Attorney General Sessions sent a memo to United States Attorneys directing them to follow all federal laws regarding charging and sentencing in federal investigations. This is a dramatic reversal from the position of former AG Eric Holder, and a return to rules and policies that reflect the law (including federal statutes and numerous Supreme Court decisions).

In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. According to a report by the New England Journal of Medicine, the price of heroin is down, the availability is up and the purity is up. We intend to reverse that trend. So we are returning to the enforcement of the law as passed by Congress – plain and simple. If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way. We will not be willfully blind to your conduct. We are talking about a kilogram of heroin – that is 10,000 doses, five kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. These are not low-level offenders. These are drug dealers. And you’re going to prison.

See https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-delivers-remarks-sergeants-benevolent-association-new-york

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pot Shops Linked to More Youth Use

Slew of New Research Mounts on Failures of Marijuana Legalization: Pot Shops Linked to More Youth Use, More Crime, No Reductions in Drinking
Over the past several years, states that have legalized marijuana have suffered from a wide array of unintended consequences. States with legal marijuana continue to see a thriving  black market, increases in  youth drug use, a rise in fatal  drugged driving crashes, and more.
As special interest groups march forward in their push to put profits ahead of health, the evidence regarding the harm caused by legalization continues to mount.  Just this week, three new key pieces of information have emerged that should give politicians and regulators pause as they consider how to move forward.
First,  a key study published in the Journal of Primary Prevention examined the association between medical marijuana patients and licensed growers in Oregon.  According to the study,  increases in youth marijuana use are associated with the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state:
“Results of multi-level analyses indicated significant positive associations between rates of marijuana patients and growers per 1000 population and the prevalence of past 30-day marijuana use, controlling for youth demographic characteristics. The marijuana patient and grower rates were also inversely associated with parental disapproval of marijuana use, which decreased from 2006 to 2015 and acted as a mediator. These findings suggest that  a greater number of registered marijuana patients and growers per 1000 population in Oregon counties was associated with a higher prevalence of marijuana use among youth from 2006 to 2015, and that this relationship was  partially attributable to perceived norms favorable towards marijuana use.”
Second, in a sign that does not bode well for the marijuana industry, an NIH-funded study out of Denver found that  legal pot shops are linked to higher rates of property crime in surrounding areas.  The study found that the density of marijuana businesses was positively related to property crime in nearby areas, as well as marijuana-specific crime.  According to the lead author of the study Bridget Freisthler:
“Over time, as marijuana grows in popularity, densities of marijuana outlets may increase, resulting in higher crime… There are definitely negative public health consequences [of legalization], including increased crime.”
Third, a new analysis out of Canada notes that marijuana legalization will have a negligible effect – if any – on alcohol consumption, despite promises made by advocates of marijuana legalization that users will switch.   According to the Globe and Mail, analysts project a less than 1 percent change in alcohol sales.  As we’ve warned for years, the story includes an admission by an industry analyst that the profitability of this addictive industry relies on hooking users early:
“Analyst Vivien Azer of U.S.-based research firm Cowen and Company is anticipating the alcohol industry could be under substantial pressure over the next decade if young people continue to take a pass on drinking.
In a report released last month, Azer said just under 82 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds in Ontario consumed alcohol in 2015, down 5.5 percentage points since 2008, while marijuana use has been steady at around 34 to 36 per cent.
‘Our focus on these younger consumers reflects our belief that the experimenter of today is the leading consumer of tomorrow,’ said the report by Azer who also covers Canopy Growth.”
Every week, more evidence comes out pointing to the serious health and safety harms that come with legalizing marijuana. Local pot shops are spurring more crime, marijuana industry special interests are openly targeting adolescents, and youth marijuana use is rising in areas with medical marijuana businesses as more kids perceive pot as safe. It’s time for our elected officials to stop and ask if we’re moving in the right direction on marijuana. We can be ‘smart on crime’ by reforming our nation’s criminal justice system without commercializing a drug we know to be harmful.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

S.A.M. Steps up Opposition to Legal Weed – Atlanta

ICYMI: SAM Summit in Atlanta a Huge Success!
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani anisha@learnaboutsam.org
[Alexandria , VA, May 3, 2017] –  Last week, more than 300 national drug policy leaders, elected officials, and public health experts convened in Atlanta to coordinate the opposition to marijuana legalization in the U.S. and advance evidence-based marijuana laws. Held in conjunction with the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, the 4th Annual Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Summit featured keynote speakers including Former Clinton Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. The day-long program highlighted concerns about the special interest marijuana lobby and empowered concerned citizens with grassroots advocacy strategies to protect public health and safety in their local communities.
The event garnered significant media coverage, including this feature in BuzzFeed, and these pieces in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and CBS News.
See pictures below.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Study Finds ER Visits for Kids More Than Quadrupled Since Colorado Legalized Marijuana

Breaking: New Study Finds ER Visits for Kids More Than Quadrupled Since Colorado Legalized Marijuana

Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
anisha@learnaboutsam.org
+1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria, VA, May 4, 2017] – Today, a new study was released showing that marijuana-related emergency visits by kids in Colorado more than quadrupled since the state legalized marijuana. In 2005, only 149 teens were admitted for marijuana-related visits. That number spiked to 639 by 2015, most of which were related to mental illness.
“This study highlights the negative consequences we’ve been seeing in Colorado since the state legalized marijuana, and now more teens are suffering from the harmful effects of highly potent pot products,” said  SAM President  Dr. Kevin Sabet. “The costs for Coloradans keep mounting while the marijuana industry keeps getting richer. We need to wake up to the fact that the commercialization of marijuana in Colorado has been a disaster for public health and safety.”

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.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big Cannabis and Big Tobacco together? Who knew? We did!

Smart Approaches to Marijuana Reacts to Marijuana Lobbying Group’s Admission to Soliciting Donations from Tobacco Industry

Challenges Top Marijuana Lobbyist to Answer Four Questions
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani anisha@learnaboutsam.org
[Alexandria , VA, May 2, 2017] -  Today, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a national organization committed to promoting evidence-based marijuana laws at the Federal, state, and local levels, released the following statement in reaction to the admission by Rob Kampia, the Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project , that the special interest group is actively soliciting financial contributions from the tobacco industry in exchange for shaping their marijuana legalization initiatives. MPP is the lead lobbying group responsible for funding and organizing every state-based marijuana commercialization campaign in the U.S.
“Rob Kampia’s shameless solicitation for contributions from the tobacco industry is quid pro quo special interest politics at its worst,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, President and CEO of SAM. “Marijuana laws in our country should be informed by science and evidence, not the financial interests of the tobacco industry or a growing for-profit marijuana industry.  When the head of the lobbying group responsible for every single marijuana legalization initiative in America asks tobacco companies, ‘what do you want?’ it should send chills down the spine of every public health and safety official in America. This is an outrage and we challenge the Marijuana Policy Project to immediately disclose any and all ties to the tobacco industry so that communities in Michigan and across the country considering changes to marijuana laws can see through the haze of what’s really driving pro-marijuana legalization campaigns in America.”
Kampia’s admission was published last week in the Marijuana Business Daily in a story entitled, “MPP Chief Ready to Barter For Marijuana Campaign Donations.” According to the Daily:
The executive director of Marijuana Policy Project, Kampia called Marijuana Business Daily on Thursday after reading an MJBizDaily story about negotiations in Michigan over a likely ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis in the state.
He solicited tobacco business interests in Michigan in search of campaign donations to run what will likely be a multimillion-dollar, 19-month endeavor, but he said he was largely unsuccessful.
“It’s the kind of thing where I actually go out and I try to court well-funded constituencies and philanthropists, and say, ‘What do you want, what do you hate, what’s going to turn you off so I can’t actually ask you for money later,’ and sometimes you get so far as to say … ‘Is there something that we put something in here that would cause you to immediately escalate your commitment?’” Kampia explained…
In response to Kampia’s latest comments, SAM also challenged MPP to answer four questions regarding MPP’s ties to the tobacco industry:

1. How much total money has MPP taken from the tobacco industry since the organization was established in 1995?

2. Which state-based marijuana ballot initiatives led by MPP have been influenced by input from the tobacco industry?

3. What specific changes to marijuana legislation or ballot initiatives has the tobacco industry proposed in exchange for financial contributions to MPP?

4. Has MPP disclosed its ties to the tobacco industry with Members of Congress it is currently lobbying in support of Federal legislation that would incentivize the commercialization of marijuana in the United States?

 

 

Evidence d emonstrates that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – 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.
News media requesting a one-one-one interview with SAM President Kevin Sabet can contact anisha@learnaboutsam.org.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Youth Marijuana Use Hasn’t Gone Up in States Like Colorado

According to official statistics, Colorado shows increase in teen use since before legalization; 18-25 year old rate and overall 12 and older rate also up
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Despite claims to the contrary by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, and other officials, the nation’s only representative sample of people in U.S households released special Colorado state data finding increases in marijuana use.
Colorado past-month marijuana use among 12-to-17 year-olds saw a significant increase, from 9.82% to 12.56%, according to the most recent year-by-year comparison looking at pre-legalization data.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health data also found that Colorado teens and adults use marijuana at a higher rate than the rest of the country. Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012 and implemented legal marijuana stores in 2014. At the same time, the sales of alcohol shows a slight increase.
Official SAMHSA Table on Youth Drug Use
———–
Last month, a group of scientists wrote to Governor Hickenlooper urging him to stop saying drug use has not gone up in the state. The Governor is apparently referring to the non-representative sample found in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), which excludes both the second most-populous and third-most populous counties altogether (Jefferson and Douglas Counties, respectively). Also, the survey designers decided, without explanation, to set the threshold for statistical significance far higher, meaning that differences that would usually be statistically significant would not appear to be so under the new standard.
Second, a deeper dig of the HKCS results reveals distressing news. Youth use has actually risen statewide since legalization according the survey, at about the same rate tobacco use has fallen in that same timeframe. Moreover, this increase since 2013 halted a four-year trend of declining marijuana use-the turning point occurred exactly when the state legalized pot. Nonetheless, most press coverage has glossed over this point. Additionally, swings in youth use per the HKCS are quite large in some counties where pot shops are prevalent. For instance, the Summit/Eagle/Vail area reported a 90% increase in use among high school seniors in the last two years, and NW Steamboat/Craig showed a 58% increase in the same timeframe. Not only does this suggest serious problems in those areas, such wild swings in short periods of time also call into question the robustness of the data set.
Meanwhile, the toll of legalized marijuana continues to climb in Colorado and Washington. For example, the AAA Foundation reported that the percentage of fatal crashes in the state of Washington linked to drivers who had recently used marijuana more than doubled the year marijuana retail sales were authorized . Similarly, cases of marijuana poisonings are up 108% in Colorado after legalization, and up 206% among children ages 0 to 8 years old . (More data on these trends is available in SAM’s recent report on legalization in both states .)
For more information about marijuana use and its effects, see http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drug Use Tops Booze for First Time in Fatal U.S. Crashes

Drug Use Tops Booze for First Time in Fatal U.S. Crashes: Study April 26, 2017

Drug Use Tops Booze for First Time in Fatal U.S. Crashes: StudyReuters

FILE PHOTO: Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy Kevin Schwindt tests a driver, whose face is illuminated by police car lights, to see if he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, at a mobile Driving Under the Influence (DUI) checkpoint in Golden, Colorado, U.S. on April 12, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo REUTERS   By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. data has shown for the first time that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk, with marijuana involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015, a study released on Wednesday showed.

Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes around the country in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, topping the 37 percent who showed alcohol levels above a legal limit, according to the report by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by distillers.

Among drivers killed in crashes who tested positive for drugs, 36.5 percent had used marijuana, followed by amphetamines at 9.3 percent, the study showed. It was based on the most recent available U.S. state data reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

For More… Drugs beats Booze in Road Fatalities

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ICE and Children Under Protection – Australia (It’s getting worse!)

‘Ice corridors’ mean one-third of Queensland children in protection have parent using meth

BY KATHY MCLEISH APR 27, 2017

One-third of children who came into the care of the Queensland’s Department of Child Safety in 2016 had parents who use or have used methamphetamines, most commonly ice, a new report has found.

About 60 per cent of those 749 children suffered neglect, about a third were subjected to emotional harm, 11 per cent experienced physical harm and 1 per cent were sexually abused.

Of the children with a parent who had used ice:

  • 59pc were neglected
  • 29pc experienced emotional harm
  • 11pc were physically harmed
  • 1 per cent had experienced sexual abuse

The study also found parents known to the child protection system used ice more regularly than alcohol. Of those who used the drug, more than two-thirds had a criminal history and about the same number had been diagnosed with a mental illness. About 68 per cent had experienced family and domestic violence in the past year. Most of the children affected were aged from newborn to five-year-olds.

For more http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-27/third-of-children-coming-into-qld-protection-have-ice-parents/8475420

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Medical Marijuana Legislation increases Addiction

New Study Finds More Marijuana Use, Higher Rates of Marijuana Addiction in States With Medical Marijuana Laws

Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
anisha@learnaboutsam.org +1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria , VA, April 26, 2017] –  A new study released today by JAMA Psychiatry found that rates of marijuana use and marijuana addiction increased significantly more in states that passed medical marijuana laws as compared to states that have not. Examining data from 1992 to 2013, researchers concluded that medical marijuana laws likely contributed to an increased prevalence of marijuana and marijuana-addicted users.
“Politicians and pro-pot special interests are quick to tout the benefits of medical marijuana legalization, but it’s time to see through the haze —     medical marijuana has gone completely unregulated,” said SAM President Kevin Sabet. “More people in these states are suffering from an addiction to marijuana that harms their lives and relationships, while simultaneously more have begun using marijuana. No one wants to see patients denied something that might help them, but this study underscores the fact that “medical” and “recreational” legalization are blurred lines. Smoked marijuana is not medicine, and has not been proven safe and effective as other FDA-approved medications have.”
The study’s researchers wrote that increases in marijuana use in states with medical marijuana laws “may have resulted from increasing availability, potency, perceived safety, [or] generally permissive attitudes.” They conclude that “changing state laws (medical or recreational) may also have adverse public health consequences.”
Evidence demonstrates that marijuana —     which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades —     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. S tates 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.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Leaders Gathering To Oppose Cannabis Leglalisation

National Leaders and Elected Officials Gather in Atlanta to Coordinate Opposition to Marijuana Legalization in America
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
anisha@learnaboutsam.org  +1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria , VA, April 20, 2017] –  Today, a group of national drug policy leaders, elected officials, and public health experts convened in Atlanta to coordinate the opposition to marijuana legalization in the U.S. and advance evidence-based marijuana laws. Held in conjunction with the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, the 4th Annual Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Summit featured keynote speakers including Former Clinton Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. The day-long program highlighted concerns about the special interest marijuana lobby and empowered concerned citizens with grassroots advocacy strategies to protect public health and safety in their local communities.
“So far, 2017 has been a bad year for the pro-marijuana special interests looking to profit off the next big addictive industry,” said SAM President and CEO Kevin A. Sabet. “More states are realizing that marijuana legalization produces more costs than benefits, so this momentum gives our summit new significance as we look to energize our base and move the needle toward evidence-based marijuana policy that puts people over profit.”
“Smart drug policy starts with science and research, not ideology or profit,” said SAM Honorary Advisor and Former Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey. “SAM embodies this belief by advocating for common-sense laws that protect American families and communities from the social and health consequences of marijuana legalization. I continue to be concerned about the serious problems around drug abuse and its effects on our country, so I’m proud to stand up for SAM’s health first agenda today.”
“Last year, Arizonans went to the ballot and soundly rejected the misguided and harmful proposal to legalize marijuana,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “This vote shows that Arizonans don’t want the harmful consequences of legalizing this drug that have been seen in other states, like drugged driving incidents and more kids using marijuana. I am honored to stand with SAM today in support of the message that the health and safety of our communities must come first.”
Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – 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.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment