USA: Weed & Criminal Justice – Another Reason to ‘Legalize Weed’ Vanishes

TWO HUGE CHANGES ABOUT CANNABIS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE, IN THE US

The good news comes from a study finding that the inequality in sentencing between blacks and white drug offenders has gone down to zero.  That conclusion was published March 15, 2021, by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The study covers the years between 2009 and 2018, and it studied the federal court, rather than state court, system.

The bad news comes from the impacts of increased cannabis potency.  Support in Colorado and Washington for potency limits is growing.  Although previous attempts failed because of the pot industry’s power, this year the potency caps may pass.

The following information comes from a government report issued March 2021, by The United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, signed by Senators John Cornyn and Dianne Feinstein was sent to all senators. On page 17, the 58-page Senate publication reports on “THE IMPACTS OF INCREASED CANNABIS POTENCY:

“Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations, or cannabis potency, have increased dramatically over the past three decades. According to a peer-reviewed study, in the 1990s, the average THC concentration in illicit cannabis plant material was about four percent. By 2014, that figure had tripled to about 12 percent. Today, the average potency of THC in cannabis products sold in dispensaries in the United States is between 18 and 23 percent, and the price per serving for most product types has decreased in certain states, making it potentially more accessible

“According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), cannabis concentrates, a highly potent form of THC that often looks like honey or butter, can be up to four times stronger than the THC found in top quality cannabis flower, and ranges from 40 to 80 percent.  Such concentrates are typically used in cannabis infused foods, beverages, and e-cigarettes.

Addiction increases with potency increases

“At the same time that potency and availability are increasing, so too is daily or near daily cannabis use. Nationally, between 2009 and 2018, among those 12 and older who reported using cannabis in the past 30 days, the percentage who used daily or almost daily increased by 18 percent. By 2019, an estimated 13.8 million Americans were using cannabis daily.”  (To find the sources, we suggest you go to the original report and check the footnotes.)

Other topics in the report include concerns about vaping, driving and the increase in youth use of marijuana.

Discrepancies in drug sentencing gone

Although discrepancies in sentencing between blacks and whites can make for a skewed system of justice and bring shame to the US, no one can claim any longer that it happens because of drug laws. Eliminating mandatory minimums and closing the gap between crack and cocaine sentencing helped to bring about the change. Although the public cannot access the study, an Abstract explains the findings:

“Racial inequality in sentencing has decreased substantially over the last decade. In 2009, the average sentencing difference between black and white defendants in federal court was nearly 3 yrs. By 2018, this difference was less than 6 mos. Among drug offenders over this same period, the black–white gap went from 47 mos. down to zero. Yet, even though racial inequality in the legal system remains at the fore of sociological discourse, these developments remain conspicuously under-evaluated and the underlying processes driving these changes remain unknown. This article fills this gap by applying longitudinal decomposition methods to US District Court data between 2009 and 2018.

“Three notable findings emerge. First, the declining racial gap was driven, in equal parts, by decreasing black sentences and increasing white sentences. Second, black and white sentences became more equal almost entirely due to changes in observable case characteristics and not due to changes in the treatment of offenders. Third, shifts in the prosecutorial use of mandatory minimums played a critical role in decreasing black–white sentencing inequality.”

The author of this study, Michael T. Light, Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Wisconsin, has successfully studied other misunderstand claims about the criminal justice system.  He thanks Grace Li, Makena Meyers, and Samantha Zeid for their assistance with this article.

Conclusions, what next?

We should strive for a color-blind system of justice but stop claiming that drug crimes drive inequality of justice.

Mandatory minimums are going away and more white criminals are going into the game of drug crime. However, people still pretend that drug use is harmless and that governments use drug laws for the sole purpose of harassing people.

Drug use victimizes the users and the public, with horrendous results.  Legalization brings legitimacy and normalization of drug use. Those who want to legalize drugs offer no alternatives for ending the violence and crime triggered by drug use. They minimize or deny the brain damage caused by cannabis and other drugs.

Two huge changes about cannabis and criminal justice, in the US – Parents Opposed to Pot (poppot.org)

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USA: Marijuana – The Toxin that Just Keeps on Hurting!

NEW YORK DAD SAYS MARIJUANA COMPLICIT IN SON’S HEROIN OVERDOSE DEATH

With the recent passage of a COVID relief bill, New York just lost a major excuse for legalizing weed.

By Jeffrey Veatch, originally published October 2018

September marked the 10th anniversary of my son Justin’s death at age 17 from an accidental drug overdose. The medical examiner’s report months later said it was heroin that killed him. But I have to say for Justin it all began with marijuana, and I’m angrier at marijuana than I am at heroin. Here’s why.

Justin was a good student, an extremely talented musician and songwriter on the verge of completing the recording of his first original music album. On Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008, Justin spent the afternoon with people we didn’t know and came home later than expected as he readied for his first full week as a senior at Yorktown High School. He never woke up that Monday morning. Somewhere along the way that Sunday he had snorted heroin.

As a parent who was devastated about losing his son to drugs, I was determined to acquire the understanding about how this could have happened and to tell Justin’s story in schools and community events so other teens could be warned. We know heroin kills. It’s the direct cause of an epidemic ravaging our nation right now. But to ignore the role marijuana plays in overdose deaths is like ignoring the role tobacco plays in lung cancer.

Link to other drug use now known

Hidden in the statistics surrounding opioid deaths is the fact that many victims like Justin who were never pain patients started their drug experimentation with recreational marijuana. In 2005, the year Justin and some of his friends began to experiment with it, there was little concern about its dangers. When we confronted Justin after learning he was smoking marijuana at age 14 we had many battles with him and brought him to counseling sessions.

Justin’s counselor was not significantly concerned and we kind of let it go. During the next two years the marijuana seemed to go away. But something else was happening outside of our awareness. Justin was experiencing anxieties he wouldn’t talk about and was self medicating with pills. The pills turned out to be the opioids we now know have created so much carnage in our country. Justin apparently became dependent and when he could not obtain opioid painkillers he started to experiment with street heroin — never injecting but snorting the powder.

Drug use seldom begins with heroin. In fact, marijuana is the most common gateway drug.

This marijuana link to harder drugs among vulnerable teens is now being backed by studies. Research cited by the marijuana policy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, co-founded by Patrick Kennedy, shows teens who experiment with marijuana are twice as likely to abuse opioids, three times more likely to try heroin. Research cited by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows 22 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds use marijuana despite the proven fact that marijuana negatively affects the developing brain. A new survey released by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention shows that 2 million middle and high school students say they have used e-cigarettes to vape marijuana products.

My work today

In my experience traveling to schools in different towns and different states to speak with students the situation is always the same. There are handfuls of young people like Justin who have been impacted in a similar way by marijuana.  If you consider the number of cities and towns in the United States (The U.S. Census counts 19,354) and do the math, we have a huge population of teens who are falling prey to dangerous drugs because of their decision to experiment with marijuana and its derivatives like edibles and hash oil. What happened to Justin and so many others needs to be seriously considered as states ponder changes in marijuana policy.

Yes, marijuana isn’t the drug we find when a victim overdoses. But it often is the one responsible for bringing that person to that darker place.

Jeffrey Veatch tells his son’s story in the multimedia talk, A Message from Justin.  Read more about Justin Veatch on the MomsStrong.org website, But for marijuana, my son would still be here.  

Jeffrey is president of The Justin Veatch Fund.  We’ve previously published about him.

Legislative attempts to legalize marijuana began about three years ago. The New York legislature will discuss marijuana legalization again this year. Politicians express the misleading idea that revenue from marijuana may fill budget shortfalls.  

Source New York Dad says marijuana complicit in son’s heroin overdose death – Parents Opposed to Pot (poppot.org)

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EVERY BRAIN MATTERS – Website Launch

EVERY BRAIN MATTERS – Especially Your Childs!

Can we tell our youth that, once they’re an adult, it’s ok to have a joint once every week,  just as drinking a glass of wine or beer once a week can be done without lasting harm?

The answer is no, particularly in regards to psychotic outcomes. Every Brain Matters, our new website, addresses all aspects of the drug policy, with a special emphasis on saving brains. Some individuals experience acute psychosis after their first use.

A substantial percentage of the population cannot use marijuana without major adverse consequences.

The biggest risks from marijuana use are psychological risks, and these risks greatly increase if a person begins use when the brain is developing. Unfortunately, most North American youth have the wrong information and believe marijuana is relatively harmless.

The frequency of psychotic outcomes has increased exponentially during the 21st century. Stronger, more potent forms of marijuana have become the common forms sold in dispensaries and all efforts to cap the THC in commercial stores have failed in states with legal pot shops. The marijuana of the 1960s, 70s and 80s also triggered psychosis in some individuals, but less frequently. (For example, see two of our multi-part testimonies: A tale of two friends and Years of pot, drug addiction and homelessness.)

How the misconceptions affect drug policy

We shouldn’t make a policy based on the very few people who appear to use marijuana with impunity.  Family history and genetic testing cannot determine who will face adverse consequences.

We must reject all attempts to accept and normalize pot use, to open stores, and to legalize in the name of generating tax money, because every brain matters.

Most of us think we shouldn’t control what people do in the privacy of the home. That belief doesn’t square off with the fact that most people have no idea how dangerous marijuana is.  They have no idea of the risks they’re taking when they’re starting and continuing to smoke pot, and Every Brain Matters corrects the misconceptions.    Keeping drugs illegal is a “harm reduction” policy.

Groups like Parents Opposed to Pot, Parent Movement 2.0  and One Chance to Grow up (Smart Colorado) have reached out to youth, warning of the dangers of early pot use. Many teens have come to the new idea of not using before age 18. They get the notion that marijuana can wait and then wait until senior year or age 19 or 20. This delayed use also comes with great risk, and marijuana actually is not safe for any age.

The Mission of Every Brain Matters

Every Brain Matters is a community and a unifying alliance of organizations and individuals that educate about the dangers of marijuana and the drug culture expansion.

We work together to bring about a cultural movement through advocacy, support/recovery, science, visual public awareness by encouraging the use of the EBM merchandise, and by promoting optimal brain and environmental health.

Please check out the website, everybrainmatters.org, and help us spread the message. There are numerous ways you can donate.

Poppot.org launches new website: Every Brain Matters – Parents Opposed to Pot

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USA: Colorado Kids ‘Collateral Damage’ to Cannabis Chaos

 

The threat to kids is growing, but so is momentum for action

Courageous Colorado parents are speaking up too

  • “When young people with developing brains use high-concentrate THC products, it can seriously and irreparably harm their intellect, mental health, and physical well being. This is settled science,” wrote parent Robin Noble in The Colorado Sun.
  • “The idea that all marijuana products are harmless is naive. Research is catching up; parents need to know the truth and take a stand. Instead of protecting kids, we’ve made a challenging world harder to navigate,” wrote parent Jennifer Cunningham in the Boulder Daily Camera.

Donate Now to   One Chance to Grow UpDonate

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Global: Drug Use Terrorism, Violence & Radicalisation – And we want to legalize more???

Youth with drug addiction vulnerable to radicalization

(Like the Fire Triangle Model  – you take out one element of the three, and the fire goes out! Take the drug use element and you significantly reduce the other two)

Young people and teenagers are the most vulnerable group for radical influences due to the fact that they are the most energetic and dynamic social group prone to social protest and high-risk behaviors. Another risk factor for young people to become involved in extreme activities is drug addiction.

Extremism and drug addiction have common ground. Being global in nature, both phenomena have destructive character and serious consequences for humanity. Violent crimes are often carried out by aggressors being drunk or under the influence of psychoactive substances

Extremist organizations are often funded by financial resources obtained from drug trafficking. A 2016 report commissioned by the European Union associated Al-Shabaab with heroin trafficking, transporting it from ports in areas it controls to Europe and also cocaine trafficking into Kenya.

A report by the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) has shown that children as young as four are using alcohol and other substances. The report blames the exposure of children to drugs to poor parenting; saying children whose parents or guardians consume drugs or alcohol are more likely to become users themselves. For complete article go toYouth with drug addiction vulnerable to radicalization – Epuka Ugaidi

Also see ATTACKERS SMOKED WEED 

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USA: Hamilton Review – Where Kids & DRUGS Collide

A Conversation with Dr. Karen Randall & Dr. Brad Roberts: An In Depth Look at the Effects Of Cannabis in a Small Town (Part Two‪)‬

The Hamilton Review

In part two of this special series, Dr. Bob speaks again with Dr. Karen Randall and Dr. Brad Roberts, emergency room physicians in Pueblo, Colorado. Doctors Randall and Roberts share more details and statistics about how marijuana use can ruin a community. This is a must listen episode!

About Dr. Karen Randall: Residency trained in pediatrics, emergency medicine and family practice Academic teaching faculty at Henry Ford Department of Emergency medicine, former Teacher of the year – Henry Ford Hospital residency, Sinai Grace Hospital Member SAMHSA Marijuana Technical Expert Panel, 9/2019 Certified in Cannabis Science and Medicine, University of Vermont School of Medicine Co-President of Parents Opposed to Pot.

About Dr. Brad Roberts: Professional Experience: Southern Colorado Emergency Medical Associates, Parkview Medical Center – 2015-Present. Pueblo, CO. Level 2 Trauma Center. 85,000 annual visits. Emergency Medicine Physician Miners Colfax Medical Center. Raton, NM. Frontier, Critical Access Hospital – 2015-Present. Staff Emergency Medicine Physician. UNM Hospital. Albuquerque, NM. Level 1 Trauma Center. 93,000 annual visits – 2015-Present. 21,000 pediatric. Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine. Sandoval Regional Medical Center. Rio Rancho, NM. Level 3 Trauma Center – 2014-2015. 43,000 annual visits. Moonlighting Emergency Medicine Resident Presbyterian Hospital. Albuquerque, NM. Level 2 Trauma Center. 72,500 – 2014-2015. Annual visits. Moonlighting Staff Physician. UNM Hospital. Albuquerque, NM. Level 1 Trauma Center. 93,000 annual visits – 2012-2015. 21,000 pediatric. Emergency Medicine resident.

Education: University of New Mexico: Emergency Medicine Residency – 2012-2015. Medical College of Wisconsin: Doctor of Medicine – 2008-2012. Brigham Young University: BS Exercise Science, Cum Laude – 2002-2008.

Listen in ‎The Hamilton Review: A Conversation with Dr. Karen Randall & Dr. Brad Roberts: An In Depth Look at the Effects Of Cannabis in a Small Town (Part Two) on Apple Podcasts

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USA: Holes In Marijuana Laws? Noooo…. Really?

A DANGEROUS GAP IN OUR MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS

Published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, February 28, 2021. By Libby Stuyt, MD, a Professional Advisor to Parents Opposed to Pot

When Coloradans in 2000 voted to legalize marijuana for medical use, the highest concentration of THC, marijuana’s high-inducing chemical, was 5%, and concentrated products didn’t exist.

Over the last 20 years, the industry has dramatically increased the concentration of THC. The average in the plant is now 18.8%. The industry also created concentrates, including vape oil and resins known as wax and shatter, with average THC potency of 69.4% and up to 95% THC.

While there is evidence that components of marijuana can be beneficial for some medical conditions, research supporting this used THC concentrations less than 10% in the smoked plant. There is no validated research on 18-95% THC products to indicate they are medically helpful or safe.

After voters in 2012 legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado for adults 21 and over, medical marijuana applications for adults slowly declined.

Yet there has been a steady increase in medical marijuana cards for those 18-20 over the last three years.

Parents can get medical marijuana cards for their children under 18. In November, parents of 271 children had done so.

Loopholes allow medical marijuana cards for underaged users

Those 18-20 are too young to buy recreational marijuana but they can get their own medical marijuana cards. As of January, 3,935 had cards, with the primary indication being “severe pain.”

An 18-year-old whose brain is not yet fully developed and cannot purchase tobacco or alcohol legally can obtain a medical marijuana card without parental knowledge. The physician is not required to write a “prescription” for a type of product, route of administration, amount, frequency, and period of use. There is no requirement for follow-up appointments to determine whether the recommendation has been helpful or if there are side effects.

Even if the physician recommends something low in THC, the patient can take the card to the dispensary and get anything. Bud tenders give out advice but have no requirements for medical training.

Patients can purchase twice as much from a medical dispensary (two ounces per day) versus recreational dispensary and medical products are less expensive because of lower taxes. There is no tracking to see if someone is going from dispensary to dispensary and purchasing more product, a process known as looping.

Patients with severe psychiatric symptoms

As a psychiatrist, I have seen several patients in this age group, referred for problems with mood swings, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, and suicidal ideation.

They have a medical marijuana card but are usually unable to tell me the name of the doctor who gave it to them. I have looked at the cards and the recommending physicians name is not listed.

These young people are getting the cards for complaints of headache, sprained ankle, low back pain, or anxiety.

They are dabbing – using a blow torch to heat and inhale resin — or vaping 60-plus% THC multiple times daily.

Invariably, they do not schedule a follow-up appointment with the recommending physician until they need to renew the card in the next year.

“Medical” does not mean safe

Because the cannabis industry has been allowed to label these concentrated products “medical,” people believe they are safe.

Kids are increasingly using concentrates. The 2019 Health Kids Colorado Survey reported 10.2% of high school students are dabbing; of those who admit to using marijuana, 52% report dabbing, a nearly 70% increase in only two years.

Many teens with medical marijuana cards are still in high school and become the supplier of concentrates for even younger kids. I am aware of several 14-year-olds using concentrates obtained from an 18-year-old with a medical marijuana card.

A mother of a 14-year-old confiscated a bag of shatter that is clearly from a dispensary. The label indicates it is Scooby Snacks Shatter, 75.7% THC. The list of ingredients includes butane and propane and there is a “disclaimer” in the industry’s own words: “This product was produced without regulatory oversight for health, safety or efficacy.” If there is no regulatory oversight for health, safety, or efficacy – how can this be “medical”?

While there is no research indicating these high-potency THC products are safe or effective for any medical condition, we have multiple studies from around the world showing serious problems resulting from high-potency THC including addiction, psychosis, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, suicide, and violence. Dutch researchers stated anything higher than 15% THC should be considered a hard drug, comparable to cocaine and ecstasy and the Netherlands capped potency at 15% THC.

Colorado needs to close regulatory gaps that are endangering young people.

Libby Stuyt, M.D., is a Colorado addiction psychiatrist. 

For original post go to A Dangerous Gap in our medical marijuana laws – Parents Opposed to Pot (poppot.org)

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Global: Weed Warriors – Environmental Terrorists?

IS MARIJUANA ECO-FRIENDLY?

Marijuana is hazardous to your health and the earth.

The only thing green about marijuana is the color. Otherwise, it is an environmental disaster.

Whether grown outdoors or indoors, it is dirty agriculture and negatively impacts air & water quality, robs the electric grid and watersheds, and  produces greenhouse gases. The industry uses heavy pesticides which put wildlife at risk. It was never meant to be a large scale agricultural product. The end product contains mold and toxins that are harmful to humans.

https://youtu.be/iNdTscw7Bpg

Marijuana drains water supplies

Marijuana agriculture contributes greatly to California’s water shortage, with plants swallowing up more gallons of water than any other crop. One plant uses same water per day as one human should be consuming daily. For those concerned with water conservation, do we want to grow water-hogging weeds?

The above meme was published by Mother Jones Magazine in 2014. Since then, California public policy has resulted to more legal and illegal marijuana grows. Legalization is increasing the demand for marijuana. To improve the health of our environment, public policy ought to discourage use to decrease the demand for marijuana.  Both legal and illegal marijuana grows are taxing our precious water supplies.

Veteran newsman Dan Rather writes Gone to Pot in The Huffington Post that large-scale syndicate farming is not only using lots of water but repaying communities by dumping deadly pesticides into the water supply.

Environmental scientist Scott Bauer wrote to the Los Angeles Times in 2015, “The reality is that marijuana cultivation has significant negative effects on our watersheds and the fish and wildlife that depend on them.”  Given the money drug sales can bring in, it is doubtful that the “green rush” and all the environmental damage caused by the burgeoning pot industry will get better.  As a matter of fact, data is showing that since this article was written in 2015, it has gotten worse.

This article from 2015 points out the environmental hazards and strains of illegal grows in CA.  Corporate grows often use similar techniques and banned pesticides. Much is associated with watershed theft and poisonous chemicals, which are still a problem today since illegal grows are thriving after legalization, and corporate grows use same techniques. The author points out the regulatory steps needed to help with these environmental harms, but guess what?  That takes money, money, money, making it another way tax revenue is insufficient to regulate the industry.

Illegal grows that steal water, divert streams and pollute the water supply are an ongoing problem for California. According to a June 25, 2020 article, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s enforcement team raided two parcels in the Honeydew area, seizing 7,930 cannabis plants and firearms.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife fined the growers for 26 water diversion violations ($8,000 per day, per violation) and seven water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation). 2020 article.

Marijuana and the energy grid

As far back as 2014, indoor marijuana cultivation was 1% of U.S. energy consumption. In California, it accounted for 3% of the state’s energy usage.

In this report by the state of Massachusetts, the cannabis industry’s demand for energy will hinder the state from reaching it’s goal of conserving energy.

The Toronto Star reported in 2019 that energy demand by indoor marijuana cultivation will increase 1000% in the next 5 years.

Marijuana and Greenhouse Gases

The emissions from cannabis cultivation factories (CCFs) for recreational and medicinal use could strongly impact the regional air quality in Denver, Colorado, according to research from William Vizuete, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Denver is already experiencing air quality problems, and researchers are questioning the role of marijuana terpenes on Denver’s Air Quality problems: VOC’s, terpenes, and ozone air pollution.

The 2019 study published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows “(t)he legal commercialization of cannabis for recreational and medical use has effectively created a new and almost unregulated cultivation industry. In 2018, within the Denver County limits, there were more than 600 registered cannabis cultivation facilities (CCFs) for recreational and medical use, mostly housed in commercial warehouses. Measurements have found concentrations of highly reactive terpenes from the headspace above cannabis plants that, when released in the atmosphere, could impact air quality. Here we developed the first emission inventory for cannabis emissions of terpenes. The range of possible emissions from these facilities was 66-657 metric tons/year of terpenes across the state of Colorado; half of the emissions are from Denver County.

MARIJUANA: 1 OUNCE (INDOOR) =280 POUNDS OF CO2 EMISSIONS.

BEER: 12 PACK = 14 POUNDS OF CO2 EMISSIONS

Marijuana, deforestation and fires

At least 2 large wildfires in California and one of the largest fires in Colorado were started by marijuana users or growers. See PopPot’s story, Global Warming, Fires and Marijuana. The destructive Soberanes fire in 2016 in California – the “hikers” rescued from fire turned out to be illegal marijuana growers, who as squatters living in the forest, may have been responsible for the fire. It is suspected that illegal marijuana growers sometimes start the fires when they fear detection and wish to erase evidence of their illegal activities.

Read article about University of Michigan Medical School Survey.

Marijuana and effect on flora and fauna

California’s rogue cannabis farming is threatening magnificent redwood forests. Illegal grows, and the environmental destruction they cause, have increased in California since voters ushered in legal marijuana. National Geographic magazine feature story describes the magnitude of the problem, Illegal Marijuana Growing Threatens California’s National Forests.

Dr. Gabriel Mourad decries the landcape scarring, energy sucking, wildlife killing illegal grows in this expose video by Mother Jones Magazine. See the corresponding article, here.

https://youtu.be/YIBonwj9olM

The spotted owl is being harmed by exposure to rat poison from illegal grow sites in Northern California.

“…cannabis is not an environmentally friendly plant. Marijuana is no longer being primarily grown in small batches by hippie-farmers who love nature and mother earth. Today’s marijuana is grown by large commercial agri-corporations with chemists and accountants at their beck and call. Remember, we have not legalized marijuana; instead, we have capitalized, monetized, commercialized and marketed THC.”


–James Avery, M.D.
Marijuana: An Honest Look at the World’s Most Misunderstood Weed”, page 127

Latest 2020 state impact reports for CA, CO, and MI:
https://www.thenmi.org/category/impact-reports/

Take Action

“Despite bucolic images of the hippie farmer, today’s marijuana is being produced by a sophisticated industrial complex and comes with a significant environmental cost. Marijuana, compared to hemp and other crops, requires a comparatively larger amount of water, fertilizer and pesticide. Indoor cultivation consumes an inordinate amount of electricity and produces excessive greenhouse gases. As a society considering legalization, we need to be asking if the benefits are worth the negative impact on our environment.” (ibid, page 128)

Take action now and write your Senators and Congressman, as well as local authorities, about these environmental concerns.  Marijuana grow sites can pop up anywhere, and allowing legal grows often leads to large-scale corporate sites (think tobacco) or illegal sites, which deplete valuable resources and poison the water, wildlife and land.

Find your Congressman or Senator here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

Sample Letter:

Dear [Representative or Senator in Congress]:

For the last 25 years, marijuana agriculture has proven to be an environmental disaster on many levels. We cannot be environmentally responsible and support the marijuana industry. Mother Jones Magazine wrote articles warning of these problems back in 2014, but politicians and climate change activists either ignored the news or chose not to speak up.

When it comes to the droughts, blame marijuana — not almonds — for California’s water woes.

As the logging industry began to leave Northern California in the 1990s, marijuana growers moved in and cleared giant trees as quickly as loggers left.  Hiding between the giant trees, many of these illegal growers went unnoticed until recently.   Old trees are fire resistant, while marijuana is not.

Because the huge, ancient trees sequester carbon and trap water, those concerned about climate change were justified to worry about the destructive logging practices of Pacific Lumber.  Giant redwoods absorb water into their leaves directly from the fogs of California’s north coast.  On the other hand, 15-foot marijuana plants need at least five gallons of water every day.
For years, marijuana growers have been diverting streams for irrigation, killing what was once an abundant, natural fish supply. Northern California used to be home to tons of wild salmon, but it’s no longer the case. The marijuana industry essentially killed the state’s vital fishing industry.

Furthermore, growers use banned pesticides and rodenticides which flow into the watershed, killing the rich ecosystem.  The existing marijuana industry threatens the eradication of several species.

Indoor growing is no more advantageous for the environment, because growth of the plants requires special lights that are kept on overnight.   In fact, marijuana growers in Colorado are straining the electrical grid in the region around Denver.

The United States cannot combat global warming while allowing marijuana agriculture to expand, as current marijuana bills under consideration by Congress would do. It’s possible that the marijuana industry fuels global warming more than strip mining, fracking, or any other agricultural industry.

Legalizing marijuana in any form, including rescheduling it away from Schedule I drug status, would truly be a disaster!
For more Is Marijuana eco-friendly? – Parents Opposed to Pot (poppot.org)

 

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GLOBAL: THE LINK BETWEEN CANNABIS CONCENTRATES AND PSYCHOSIS

GUEST VIEW

By Lauren Davis, published in the Edmonds Beacon, February 18, 2021

In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502, legalizing cannabis. Back then, the black market was dominated by dried cannabis flower, with a potency of approximately 10%.

Dried cannabis flower is biologically limited to about 30% potency, and I-502 capped the potency of edibles at 10%.

But in an oversight of extraordinary proportions, there was no potency limit established for cannabis concentrates like THC-infused vape oils, shatter, and dab wax. Enter science, industry, business investors, and profit motivation and, today, concentrates with 99 percent potency are readily available at cannabis retailers.

According to researchers, these concentrates are “as close to the cannabis plant as strawberries are to Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts.” Cannabis concentrate sales have soared from 14% of the market share in 2015 to 37% in 2019.

I have devoted my professional and legislative career to mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Spurred by reports of youth with cannabis-induced psychosis filling emergency departments and psychiatric wards and high school students having psychotic episodes after dabbing (inhaling), I began to delve into the research on cannabis and psychosis.

The literature is both definitive and damning. Washington’s leading cannabis experts at the University of Washington and Washington State University recently released a consensus statement summarizing the science:

“High potency cannabis use can have lifelong mental health consequences, which often manifest in adolescence or early adulthood. Daily cannabis use, particularly of high potency products, increases the risk of developing a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia, and is related to an earlier onset of symptoms compared to people who do not use cannabis.”

During the 2020 legislative session, I introduced a bill to cap the potency of cannabis concentrates at 10%. This figure matched the limit for edibles and was a starting point for negotiation. The bill included an exemption for patients using high potency concentrates for medical purposes.

I had numerous meetings with cannabis industry representatives, and no one was aware of the psychosis link. Though they disagreed with my proposed solution, industry leaders were emphatic in their commitment to coming to the table as thoughtful partners to address this issue.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, instead of proposing more palatable policy solutions as promised, cannabis industry representatives testified before the House Commerce & Gaming committee that the research implicating cannabis in psychotic disorders is unfounded.

Borrowing from the well-worn playbooks of their forefathers, big tobacco and opioid manufacturers, cannabis business leaders attempted to poke holes in the science and offer alternative explanations.

In 1957, tobacco industry director Clarence Cook Little wrote: “No one has established that cigarette smoke, or any one of its known constituents, is cancer-causing to man.”

Sixty-three years later, cannabis industry leaders testified to our legislature that “cannabis use [is] not independently associated with psychosis.”

Modeling after Purdue Pharma, the opioid maker that wrote that addiction “is not caused by drugs … it is triggered in a susceptible individual by exposure to drugs,” the cannabis industry tried to offer a counter theory – that it is people who have a genetic predisposition for psychotic disorders who are developing them and then using cannabis to self-medicate.

That theory has been debunked by studies that account for family history and still show a significant increase in psychotic disorders from cannabis use.

I never anticipated the cannabis industry would enthusiastically agree to a low potency limit. I only expected them to make good on their word – to show up as earnest partners in addressing their product’s role in one of the largest emerging health crises of our time.

When the industry’s opening move is to spit on the consensus of the scientific community in the spirit of climate deniers, it’s difficult not to question the sincerity of their espoused commitment to public health.

I’ve introduced House Bill 1463, which caps the potency of cannabis concentrates at 30% and raises the age of purchase for concentrates from 21 to 25. Washington’s cannabis industry now has a second chance to act with integrity and come to the table as problem solvers.

It is only the fate of our children with which we are gambling.

Rep. Lauren Davis (D-Shoreline) serves northern King County and a portion of Edmonds in the 32nd Legislative District. She was the founding executive director of the Washington Recovery Alliance and taught UW’s graduate mental health policy course.

For more The link between cannabis concentrates and psychosis | Guest View – Parents Opposed to Pot (poppot.org)

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USA: Stop Drug Driving – National Virtual Event

The Problem of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs:

The Views of Four Former “Drug Czars”


Drug-impaired driving is a threat to public health and public safety on par with the better-known problem of alcohol-impaired driving. Reducing drugged driving is a critical nonpartisan issue facing the nation — one that remains a core priority for the Institute for Behavior and Health. IBH is pleased to co-host a virtual event with The Heritage Foundation to bring a renewed focus on this issue with the help of former White House Drug Czars.

Join us on February 24, 2021 from 12:00-1:00 PM ET.

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