Setting the Record Straight

HumboldtOne of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by debunking marijuana myths and half-truths via the publication of timely op-eds in online and print media. Since the mainstream media seldom casts a critical eye toward many of the more over-the-top claims about cannabis, we take it upon ourselves to set the record straight.

The majority of NORML’s rebuttals are penned by Deputy Director Paul Armentano. In the past few weeks, he has published numerous op-eds rebuking a litany of popular, but altogether specious claims about the cannabis plant – including the contentions that cannabis consumption is linked to heart attacks, psychosis, violence, and a rise in emergency room visits and traffic fatalities, among other allegations.

Below are links to a sampling of his recent columns.:

Blowing up the big marijuana IQ myth — The science points to zero effect on your smarts

Blowing the lid off the ‘marijuana treatment’ racket

The five biggest marijuana myths and how to debunk them

It took just one distorted study for the media to freak out over health risks marijuana

Cannabis mitigates opioid abuse — the science says so

Three new marijuana myth-busting studies that the mainstream media isn’t picking up on

For a broader sampling of NORML-centric columns and media hits, please visit NORML’s ‘In the Media’ archive here.

If you see the importance of NORML’s educational and media outreach efforts, please feel free to show your support by making a contribution here.

Closing medical marijuana dispensaries increases crime, according to new study

Contrary to popular belief, medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs) reduce crime in their immediate areas, suggests a new report.

Study: Crimes Spike Following Closing of Dispensaries

3410000930_95fc2866fa_zThe closure of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with an increase in larceny, property crimes, and other criminal activities, according to data published in the Journal of Urban Economics.

Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Irvine assessed the impact of dispensary closures on neighborhood crimes rates in the city of Los Angeles. Investigators analyzed crime data in the days immediately prior to and then immediately after the city ordered several hundred operators to be closed. Authors reported an immediate increase in criminal activity – particularly property crime, larceny, and auto break ins – in the areas where dispensary operations were forced to close as compared to those neighborhoods were dispensaries remained open.

“[W]e find no evidence that closures decreased crime,” authors wrote. “Instead, we find a significant relative increase in crime around closed dispensaries.” Specifically, researchers estimated that “an open dispensary provides over $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented.”

They concluded, “Contrary to popular wisdom, we find an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open. The increase is specific to the type of crime most plausibly deterred by bystanders, and is correlated with neighborhood walkability. … A likely … mechanism is that ‘eyes upon the street’ deter some types of crime.”

The findings are consistent with those of prior studies determining that dispensary operations are not associated with ‘spillover effects’ in local communities, such as increased teen use or increased criminality.

An abstract of the study, “Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime,” appears online here.

Setting The Record Straight

ReThink the LeafOne of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by debunking marijuana myths and half-truths via the publication of timely op-eds in online and print media. Since the mainstream media seldom casts a critical eye toward many of the more over-the-top claims about cannabis, we take it upon ourselves to set the record straight.

The majority of NORML’s rebuttals are penned by Deputy Director Paul Armentano. In the past few weeks, he has published numerous op-eds rebuking a litany of popular, but altogether specious claims about the cannabis plant.

Below are links to a sampling of his recent columns.:

“Cannabis mitigates opioid abuse — the science says so”
in Santa Fe New Mexican

“Is big alcohol taking a hit from legal weed?”
in Salon

“Can marijuana help mitigate America’s opioid crisis?”
in The Hill

“The Deputy Attorney General is ignorant to the science of medical marijuana”
in The Daily Caller

“The DEA says ‘marijuana is not medicine’ — reality says otherwise”
in The Hill

For a broader sampling of NORML-centric columns and media hits, please visit NORML’s ‘In the Media’ archive here.

If you see the importance of NORML’s educational and media outreach efforts, please feel free to show your support by making a contribution here.

Setting The Record Straight

 

One of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by debunking marijuana myths and half-truths via the publication of timely op-eds in online and print media. Since the mainstream media seldom casts a critical eye toward many of the more over-the-top claims about cannabis, we take it upon ourselves to set the record straight.

The majority of NORML’s rebuttals are penned by Deputy Director Paul Armentano. In the past few weeks, he has published numerous op-eds rebuking a litany of popular, but altogether specious claims about the cannabis plant – including the contentions that cannabis consumption is linked to heart attacks, psychosis, violence, and a rise in emergency room visits and traffic fatalities, among other allegations.

Below are links to a sampling of his recent columns.:

Major ‘drugged driving’ report’s findings prove overblown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions thinks legalizing pot increases violent crime – he’s wrong

The evidence is overwhelming; cannabis is an exit drug fro major addictions, not a gateway to new ones

Pot, heart attacks, and the media hype cycle

The five biggest lies about pot – and how to rebut them

Trump administration’s dubious claims about pot and opioids are dead wrong

Debunking the latest viral pot paranoid theory

Three new scientific studies that debunk conventional marijuana myths

You’d be crazy to believe the ‘reefer madness’ study

For a broader sampling of NORML-centric columns and media hits, please visit NORML’s ‘In the Media’ archive here.

If you see the importance of NORML’s educational and media outreach efforts, please feel free to show your support by making a contribution here.

Study: Frequent Marijuana Consumers Not More Likely To Access Health Care Services

pain_reliefMarijuana consumers do not access health care services at rates that are higher than non-users, according to data published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin assessed the relationship between marijuana use and health care utilization in a nationally representative sample of 174,159,864 US adults aged 18 to 59 years old.

Authors reported “no significant increase in outpatient health care visits and overnight hospital admissions in marijuana users compared to non-users.” They also reported that those who consumed cannabis multiple times per day were no more likely to seek health care patient services as compared to those who used the substance less frequently.

They concluded, “[C]ontrary to popular belief, … marijuana use is not associated with increased healthcare utilization, [and] there [is] also no association between health care utilization and frequency of marijuana use.”

A previous assessment, published in 2014 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, similarly reported that the use of marijuana within the past three months was not associated with adverse effects on health, comorbidity, ER visits, or hospitalization.

An abstract of the study, “Marijuana users do not have increased healthcare utilization: A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study,” appears here.

No easy answers in study of legal marijuana’s impact on alcohol use

Does legalization of marijuana lead pot users to drink more, or are they likely to substitute alcohol for weed? A new paper seeks to discover how changing marijuana laws affect the use of alcohol, the nation’s most popular drug.

Cannabis Cures Asthma

Smoking cannabis heals my asthma. High THC cannabis works best. The last inhaler I used induced an asthma attack on me, 5 minutes later after smoking cannabis the asthma attack ceased and I had my breathing back. I abandoned the use of inhalers 3-close to 4 years ago and I have not had an asthma attack since I have been smoking cannabis regularly. Pollution is a major source of sickness and disease. We need repeal of an unconstitutional law that has filled our prisons with nonviolent cannabis users. The prohibition against marijuana was unconstitutional from its inception. Why is legalizing and limiting our ability to grow Hemp more popular than repealing the law to make it null and void so we are free to grow as many plants as we want? The medical benefits of cannabis hemp medicine are more potent eaten in an oil form like Rick Simpson’s Cancer Cure Hemp Oil with high THC. Hemp medicine used to be sold to the public. The last thing this corrupt system wants is a healthy, well educated and informed public. mylesohowe.wordpress.com mylesohowe.wordpress.com www.antiquecannabisbook.com

How California?s 420 College Medical Marijuana Industry Training is Helping the Helpers.


Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 13, 2010

420 College (http://www.420college.org), the premier medical marijuana school in California, offers an all encompassing educational program for people who are interested in becoming a part of the thriving medical marijuana industry.

After their first year in business, 420 College has had over four-hundred students pass through their program, and acquire the training it takes to become a medical marijuana professional. The school?s success is dependent on what makes them different from other institutions of this nature.

Not only does 420 College provide an extensive education through all the in and outs of the business, but they also give their students other essential resources. The school helps both their students and the medical marijuana industry itself. In that, they make it possible for people in the program to connect with and gain knowledge from industry professionals of all types, including lawyers and licensed medical marijuana doctors, and provides the industry with individuals who want to be involved.

The students of 420 College have been applying their skills through entrepreneurial efforts. Business ownership is one of the most popular topics for the school, and they also offer resources for individuals to get into business for themselves.

These include a wide range of business start-up options, including:

-Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

-Medical Marijuana Delivery Services

-Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Collectives

-Medical Marijuana Co-operatives

-Medical Marijuana Cultivation Centers

There are other business models to follow, and new fields, such as producing increasingly popular edible marijuana products, are quickly cropping up. Students have also started or have become associates of non-profit and collective based organizations, whose activities range beyond cultivating and dispensing, to advocacy and addressing issues specific to the medical marijuana community. The focal point for the school is to help people join in what is being seen as the new industry that could help revitalize the economy.

Through connecting their students with experienced industry professionals, 420 College is helping build a supportive structure within the medical marijuana community, which reinforces it?s ability to give back on the local level. Many of these entities provide great services to the local community in the area of jobs, local revenue, and by providing care to medical marijuana patients in the immediate area.

420 College offers an array of class subjects that are customizable upon the needs and interests of the individual. They provide a series of educational seminars, as well as one-on-one and online sessions, which approach all subjects under the medical marijuana umbrella.

The people who attend the 420 College program are putting their skills to use in many areas of the trade. The program not only teaches skills, but helps each student pick the correct path for their interests, and puts various tools for success at their disposal.

For more information on 420 College, click here. Or visit http://www.420college.org

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How 420 College is Extending Extra Steps Towards Aiding in Legal Compliance.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) August 22, 2010

420 College (http://www.420college.org), a relatively new, premier medical marijuana school in California, has seen over four-hundred students pass through their program in their first year alone. Many of these individuals are now starting their own cannabis businesses. The success rate of these new businesses is high, thanks in great part to how the role of 420 College has evolved to constitute more than the standard education equals diploma methodology.

According to the graduates who have recently started businesses, this would not possible, or at least not easy for them, if not for the reliable legal resources that have been extended to their post-graduation interests, thus, their new established entrepreneurial efforts.

As many are aware, the American Medical Marijuana Industry rests various pieces of legislation, which are often in motion. Aside from the laws, which regulate all businesses, those involved in these cannabis related fields also have to deal with a compounded set of rules, in order to stay in accordance with the law.

420 College has offered a very encompassing education on the history, cultivation, and how-to of marijuana since it?s doors opened. But to further their efforts for the success of their student body, program participants also receive a full document preparation package for starting a variety of medical marijuana businesses. This provides all the tools, forms, and information needed to startup a legitimate medical marijuana business.

With legitimate being the key word here, the school has recently redirected a great flow of energy towards guidance through the maze of paperwork and legalese, from its experienced and knowledgeable staff. These experts include established medical marijuana doctors, marijuana professionals who actually work in the industry, and notable marijuana lawyers, such as William R. McPike, Attorney at Law.

McPike has specialized in medical marijuana law from its onset, is an active member of the NORML Legal Committee, and is a published author on the subject. With over 30 years of legal experience, he has successfully defended many related cases in California, and his methods and papers are part of the state Bar Association?s Continuing Legal Education protocol for practicing attorneys.

Business ownership is one of the most popular topics for the school, and experienced individuals, such as McPike, have become more active in 420 College?s role to ensure legitimacy for students who chose to start any type of medical marijuana business. From licenses to zoning, and everything in between, the school now helps, more than ever, to extend legal understanding and help beyond the filing process.

The school has recently received many calls from former students thanking them for their assistance in this area. These students, who have incurred inquiries into the legalities of their newly established operations, have since concluded in their feedback, that due to 420 College?s help on this level, all the appropriate paperwork proven itself to adequately protect them and their businesses.

Actions such as this are a testament to the school?s continued desire to help the community as a whole. 420 College counselors have since been called in to investigate several Californian cannabis farms in with questions and concerns about their legal status, and to determine what steps needed to be taken. After the consult, these farms have been acknowledged as completely state compliant.

The school helps both their students and the medical marijuana industry itself through this new, more participatory practice. They now make it possible for people in the program to connect with and gain knowledge from industry professionals of all types, including lawyers and licensed medical marijuana doctors, and provides the industry with individuals who want to be involved. 420 College is taking the doubt out of how to ensure compliance, and ultimately aiding their fellow farmers.

Visit 420 College home, click here.

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Related Medical Marijuana Doctors Press Releases

Pot Parody Video Blows Up On YouTube

Pot Parody VideoNORML supporter and groundbreaking video creator Steve Berke has just launched his most intense, humorous and well produced viral video indictment against marijuana prohibition to date. A graduate of Yale, former two time All-American tennis player, comedian and Miami-based politician, Steve Berke’s cutting video parodies of popular songs re-purposed into pro-cannabis reform videos are becoming legendary in the cannabis law reform community and well beyond.

Steve’s previous pro-pot videos have garnered over a million views, and with this new and outrageous take on rapper Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’, after less then 72 hours, Steve’s ‘Pot Shop’ is well past 300,000 views!

When will Saturday Night Live producers be contacting Steve Berke to replace the now departed and popular viral video producer/comedian Andy Samberg?

Check out the fun and in-your-face public advocacy for cannabis law reform as envisaged and performed like no other cannabis law advocate in the world today.*

*Video contains vulgarity, but nothing compared to the vulgarity of a free market oriented democracy like America arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating millions of cannabis consumers, cultivators and sellers under an eight decade-old failed public policy of prohibition.

Check out a previous Steve Berke video in support of cannabis that has attracted a million views across YouTube.

White House: “We’re in the Midst of a Serious National Conversation on Marijuana”

We the PeopleIn October of 2011, the White House issued an official response to a petition NORML submitted via their We the People outreach program on the topic of marijuana legalization. Despite being one of the most popular petitions at the site’s launch, the answer we received was far from satisfactory. Penned by Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, the response featured most of the typical government talking points. He stated that marijuana is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment and that its use is a concern to public health. “We also recognize,” Gil wrote, “that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.”

Well, just over a year later, the White House has responded again to a petition to deschedule marijuana and legalize it. The tone this time is markedly different, despite being penned by the same man.

Addressing the Legalization of Marijuana
By Gil Kerlikowske

Thank you for participating in We the People and speaking out on the legalization of marijuana. Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.

At President Obama’s request, the Justice Department is reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington, given differences between state and federal law. In the meantime, please see a recent interview with Barbara Walters in which President Obama addressed the legalization of marijuana.

Barbara Walters:

Do you think that marijuana should be legalized?

President Obama:

Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you’ve seen the voters speak on this issue. And as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions. It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that’s legal.

…this is a tough problem because Congress has not yet changed the law. I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal.

When you’re talking about drug kingpins, folks involved with violence, people are who are peddling hard drugs to our kids in our neighborhoods that are devastated, there is no doubt that we need to go after those folks hard… it makes sense for us to look at how we can make sure that our kids are discouraged from using drugs and engaging in substance abuse generally. There is more work we can do on the public health side and the treatment side.

Gil Kerlikowske is Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

No tirade about protecting our children. No alarmist claims about sky rocketing marijuana potency and devastating addiction potential. Just a few short paragraphs stating we are “in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana” and deferring to an interview with the President where he stated arresting marijuana users wasn’t a priority and that the laws were still being reviewed. While far from embracing an end to marijuana prohibition, the simple fact that America’s Drug Czar had the opportunity to spout more anti-marijuana rhetoric and instead declined (while giving credence to the issue by stating it is a serious national conversation) it’s at the very least incredibly refreshing, if not a bit aberrational. We can only hope that when the administration finishes “reviewing” the laws just approved by resounding margins in Washington and Colorado, they choose to stand with the American people and place themselves on the right side of history.

“We the People” are already there.

Teen Pot Use Stalls as States Continue to Regulate Use

Despite several attempts by the media and policy makers to associate the rising number of state regulated medical marijuana programs (and popular legalization efforts) with a rise in use and a drop in associated risk, the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey reports that there was no rise in daily or annual marijuana use among teens.  According to the report, “annual marijuana use [among 8th, 10th and 12th graders] showed no further increase in any of the three grades surveyed in 2012… [And the] daily use of marijuana…remained essentially flat.”  Also of note, despite the sharp decline in perceived risk of marijuana use across all three grades, there was a statistically significant decline of use among 8th graders.   These numbers are consistent with other recent studies showing that states with regulated marijuana programs have not seen an increase in teen use. Some have even seen a decrease in pot use among their youth population.

“This study suggests that exposure among teens to the concept of marijuana regulation policies (one third of whom live in such states) does not cause an increase in use. It is also important to consider that a drop in perceived risk is likely associated with their rejection of the overzealous scare tactics used in most schools’ drug education programs” said Sabrina Fendrick of the NORML Women’s Alliance.

It is important to note, however, that marijuana use rates and availability nationwide remain at relatively high levels, while alcohol use rates remain historically low.  This is most likely due to the fact that the former is illegal and thereby not subject to government controls, while the latter substance is legally restricted to adults only. The same goes for tobacco. We did not have to outlaw cigarettes to reduce the use among minors. A policy of education and regulation (not prohibition) has created an environment in which cigarette usage has fallen to an all time low.  According to the principal investigator of the study, Lloyd Johnston, “[A] lowering teen smoking rates…likely…depend[s] on…changes such as raising cigarette taxes, further limiting where smoking is permitted, bringing back broad-based anti-smoking ad campaigns, and making quit-smoking programs more available.”  It has been proven that age restrictions, coupled with the imposition of government regulation and education are the most effective at reducing youth access to adult-only recreational substances.  According to the 2011 MFS report, the drop in alcohol use can be attributed to a strict regulation scheme that include educational campaigns focusing on responsible use and age restrictions which, in turn, lowers availability.

The report concluded; “In the 1980’s a number of states raised their minimum drinking age to twenty-one, which these researches were able to demonstrate reduced drinking.”  It goes on to say “the proportion of 8th and 10th graders who say they could get alcohol ‘fairly easily’ or ‘very easily’ had been declining since 1996 and continued to drop in all three grades in 2011.  Various other factors of likely importance include…higher beer taxes and restrictions on alcohol promotion to youth.”  The 2012 survey reported that again, “there was no increase in perceived availability of alcohol.”

One can therefore conclude that the only sensible answer to restricting marijuana access to [as well as use among] minors is through state and local government regulation and a message of moderation.

 

 

 

Keeping the Surf Drug Free

(PRWEB) December 11, 2004

Australia is a place of fantastic beaches and we all love our fun in the sand and surf. But often we see it sadly married with drugs. There is a misnamed ?soft? drug called Marijuana that has given Australia the unfortunate position of one of the top users of this drug in the world. Recent NSW government surveys show over a quarter of 14-19 year olds have tried it. And why? The youth are drawn in by the apparent social veneer that it “helps one to have a good time or be cool.”

To counteract this, the Drug-Free Ambassadors have done a series of anti-drug education events including Maroubra Fun Run and Coogee Family Fun Day, just Saturday 4 December and the Ambassadors distributed the booklet, “The Truth about Joints? for this area.

Spokesperson Cyrus Brooks said about the release: ?It gives you the hard-hitting facts including solutions to unravel the tangling web of drug addiction. The response was enthusiastic, with youth and adults alike taking the pledge to lead drug free lives and carry the torch to the future generation. In fact, young Maria took down the Ambassador details to get the group to come to her school and promote the program.?

The Drug-Free Ambassadors, an anti-drug initiative of the Church of Scientology, formed about seven years ago to speak to kids directly at fairs, festivals, schools and community organizations, to let them know that it is not hopeless and something can be done about the drug problem. With it’s easy to follow concepts it has attracted thousands of youth to be part of it. They all swear-in on a pledge to be drug free and in turn help others.

?Coogee was great with 265 youth and adults signing the drug free pledge,? Mr. Brooks continued. From the beginning their were positive responses including a lady who had been through it herself and profusely thanked the team for doing the work. There were also a fair few adults who expressed they were pro-drug and it hammered home the fact that it was important to be in the area as drugs can grow insidiously almost into part of the beach culture and one has to eradicate it through education and knowledge.?

And the new booklet is very popular. People will find out the truth; such as the fact that Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Australia. Around 44% of the male population have used marijuana. Daily users tend to be males. Australia consequently has one of the highest rates of male suicide in the world, with a direct link between marijuana use, depression and suicide.

The drug effects of Marijuana include depression and drug induced psychosis – leading to more drugs to handle the “mental” problems, which really are caused from the drugs. If you decriminalise marijuana as was done in South Australia, the statistics of the dope user moving onto amphetamines, LSD and heroin are far, far greater. This doesn’t even address the whole array of cheap designer drugs, mixed in chemical labs and also the use of psychiatric drugs on the party and club-scene. Marijuana is a “gateway” drug, leading onto the harder substance use and abuse. Hence reducing teenage use of marijuana will in fact decrease the amount of heroin users.

This is a vital activity. Author and Humanitarian, L. Ron Hubbard said, “when children become unimportant to a society, that society has forfeited its future.”

Call for more details: Cyrus Brooks, 9692 7308 or 0428 755 244.

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POLL: Americans Evenly Split on Marijuana Legalization, But Overwhelmingly View It As State Issue

Polling data released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports shows the American public is now evenly split on the issue of marijuana legalization, with 45% in support, 45% opposed, and 10% undecided. This is up 5 points from the previous time Rasmussen polled this language in 2009, when the issue received just 40% support to 46% opposition.

However, an overwhelming amount believe the issue or marijuana legalization should be left to state governments. 60% of respondents replied that it was best left to the states, while only 27% thought it was an issue for the federal government.

Rasmussen also found that a minuscule 7% of Americans think the United States is winning the war on drugs, 82% stated the country is not winning, and 12% are not sure.

This poll was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from November 9th-10th and surveyed 1,000 Adults nationwide.

Also released this week was a new ABC/Post poll that had support for legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana at 48% support to 50% opposition amongst all adults.

Both of these polls show similar trends in support for marijuana legalization. Support for these policies is clearly still being held down by the 65+ demographic, who, in each survey, were the only age group to not have plurality support for legalization. In the Rasmussen poll, 49% of those ages 18-39 supported legalization, along with 48% of those 40-64. Support plummets amongst the 65+ crowd, who only support legalization by 26%. Similar trends were seen in the Post/ABC poll, where the 65+ age group were the only group to fall below 50% support for marijuana legalization, they instead opposed it by 67%.

These surveys also highlight the still present gender gap in legalization support. In both surveys women’s support trailed behind men, by 12 points in the Rasmussen poll and by 9 points in the Post/ABC poll.

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