Study: No Increase In Problematic Cannabis Use By Young People Following Changes In Marijuana’s Legal Status

no_marijuanaYet another study has once again affirmed that the regulation of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is not associated with increases in problematic cannabis use by young people.

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, federal investigators from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration evaluated marijuana use rates among young people (ages 12 to 17) between the years 2002 and 2014.

Researchers reported that the prevalence of past-year cannabis use by youth fell 17 percent during this time period. The prevalence of problematic use by young people fell by 25 percent – with a downward trend starting in 2011.

“In the United States, compared to 2002, even after adjusting for covariates, cannabis use decreased among youth during 2005-2014, and cannabis use disorder declined among youth cannabis users during 2013-2014,” authors concluded.

The study’s findings are consistent with those of numerous other papers reporting no uptick in youth marijuana use or abuse following the enactment of marijuana regulation, including those here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

An abstract of the study, “Cannabis use and cannabis use disorders in the United States, 2002-2014,” appears online here.

Study: No Increase In Problematic Cannabis Use Following Passage Of Medical Marijuana Laws

no_marijuanaThe enactment of medical marijuana laws is not associated with increased rates of problematic cannabis use, according to data published online in the journal Addiction.

Columbia University investigators assessed cannabis use trends in states in the years following the passage of medicalization. They reported “no significant change in the prevalence of past-month marijuana use among adolescents or young adults (those ages 18 to 25)” following legalization. They also found no evidence of increased cannabis abuse or dependence by either young people or adults. States with largely unregulated medical programs were associated with increased self-reported use by adults age 26 and older, but states with stricter programs were not.

The study’s findings are consistent with those of numerous other papers reporting no uptick in youth marijuana use or abuse following medical marijuana regulation, including those here, here, here, here, here, and here. The findings contradict those of a recent, widely publicized paper in JAMA Psychiatry which speculated that medical marijuana laws may increase the prevalence of cannabis use disorder among adults.

An abstract of the study, “Loose regulation of medical marijuana programs associated with higher rates of adult marijuana use but not cannabis use disorder,” is online here.

Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced in Canada

legalizationToday, the federal Liberal government of Canada released a slate of proposed bills that would legalize and regulate the commercial sale and adult use of marijuana in the country. The legislation would establish 18 as the minimum legal age to purchase marijuana and would create a legal framework for production, sale, and distribution. The bills were introduced in the House of Commons by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freehand.

You can read more details on the proposed legislation HERE.

This sensible approach to marijuana stands in stark contrast to the direction and tone United States President Donald Trump and his administration have been taking on the issue. While the Canadian government is moving in the direction of legalization and regulation, the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seem more intent on reviving outdated and erroneous Drug War rhetoric than allowing science and facts to dictate public policy. The United States should follow Canada’s example and end our own costly and disastrous prohibition on marijuana.

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY AND URGE THEM TO END FEDERAL MARIJUANA PROHIBITION

George Rohrbacher: Trump Administration Plans To Ramp Up Government Regulation and Stifle New Marijuana Businesses

By George Rohrbacher,
Former Washington State Senator (R),
Former NORML board member

George Rohrbacher

George Rohrbacher

The Trump White House statement last week of plans for stricter enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states with newly voter-approved recreational marijuana laws signals Trump’s surprisingly pro-regulation, anti-business, anti-Liberty stance.

Cannabis prohibition is perhaps one of America’s most onerous forms of government regulation, regulation enforcement that comes with prison time and possible asset confiscation, regulation that has produced over 25,000,000 marijuana arrests. Think about that stunningly gigantic number for a moment. POT PROHIBITION IS GOVERNMENT REGULATION ON STEROIDS!

Marijuana legalization is the answer, and tens of millions of American voters have said so. They have repeatedly said, “YES”, to cannabis. This “culture war,” brewing for three or four generations, has finally been brought to a head by the voters themselves doing an end-run around the system. Even though we won 8 out of 9 cannabis legalization election efforts this past fall, the Trump Administration wants to turn back the clock.

As the American voter has taken their cannabis rights back state by state, a new, legal multi-billion dollar cannabis industry has sprung up- bigger, faster and more diversified than anyone expected. The Trump-Sessions Justice Department wants to kill it. Beyond just getting high, new unexpected markets are springing up everywhere, from upscale middle-aged women looking for a non-psychoactive sleep aid (CBD, etc.), to geriatric patients in nursing homes looking for a little more spring in their step, to a non-toxic substitute for prescription painkillers, drastically reducing opioid deaths and use. The markets this industry-in-the-making will service extend from getting-a-buzz-on, to optimum human health, and everything else in between. The Trump Administration has plans to stifle these burgeoning businesses!

The supposed lines of distinction between the categories of recreational and medical use of marijuana are not recognizable to this cannabis consumer with 48 years of experience. I’ve used pot daily for half-a-century because it makes me feel good. Farming for 40 of those years, my spine has received quite a beating and I’ve used cannabis for the pain of that too. The line between these two uses? Is there one? No, there are none.

Attorney General Sessions believes that while medical use might be okay sometimes, “recreational use is very, very different” (please cue up a showing of REEFER MADNESS). “Good people do not use marijuana,” Sessions believes. And those bad pot using people, like me, felons all by federal law, deserve to be arrested.

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is a Schedule I Drug. This gives our myopic, over-regulating federal government license to treat hemp like heroin. Schedule I Drugs, by their very definition, have no accepted medical use. While at this very same time, according to PubMed, the prohibited cannabis and its many surprisingly active cannabinoids show over 24,000 references in medical studies, half of them done within the last 10 years. This includes a VERY, VERY important clinical trial released just last month, done in England: a randomized, placebo-controlled study that showed cannabinoids effective in controlling blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics. Being that 1 out of 8 American adults suffers from diabetes, a disease with devastating health, societal, and economic costs, one would think that the discovery of an all-natural, non-toxic new treatment option for this horrible disease would be met with a standing ovation from the White House, instead of promises of increased Draconian Government Regulation.

If President Trump wants to live up to his pre-election rhetoric and take real action on those promises to cut government regulation…. Well, try this: Earth to Trump! Earth to Trump! De-Schedule Marijuana, for God’s sake.

To maintain their fantasy that marijuana is a dangerous drug and has no medical use while 29 states have legal medical marijuana, the people at the Justice Department who really truly believe that cannabis should be listed as a Schedule I Drug must be smoking something far, far stronger and much more dangerous than pot.

I’ve worn many hats in my life, the most important: dad, granddad, and husband. Also cattle rancher and farmer, small businessman, state senator and board member of NORML. I’m an active citizen married 47 years to a cannabis-using former school superintendent. I’ve been involved in local and regional land use planning, community development, wildlife and historical preservation. And all these many years those many hats have been sitting on a good-for-nothing, unrepentant pot-head.

As a farmer, I am by my very definition conservative. I served in the legislature as a Republican, from a party that believes in reducing government regulation and freeing up business to serve America…. And being able to make a profit while doing it!

Americans across the nation are clamoring: “Tax me, tax me, just please stop arresting me!” Hundreds of millions of new tax dollars to build schools and fix our roads have been generated by legal recreational marijuana sales. The Trump Administration wants to kill this new tax-generating business. Why??? Is it to protect Trump’s buddies at Big Pharma, Big Booze and Big Tobacco who worry about cannabis potentially cutting into their profits? Or is this Trump’s effort to harken back to the Greatness of the Ideas, Beliefs and Failed Policies of Richard Millhouse Nixon?

In attempting to answer this question: Why? Just run down the list of tried-and-true one-line answers to that question. My favorite is: “BUT, BUT… WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???”

Yes, a very good question, indeed. It is THE question. It is always, ultimately, about the children. Those 25,000,000 Americans arrested for pot that I mentioned earlier in this piece? Every single last one of them was someone’s child, someone’s grandchild. And many, many of them had children of their own. And the toll on children of color is many times that of whites. Millions of lives have been ruined, and countless families were destroyed by these arrests.

Yes. Absolutely. It is all about the children. Which is why it is time to end marijuana prohibition.

Click here to join me in calling upon our members of Congress to join the newly formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus and finally re-legalize marijuana.

Some State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

ballot_box_leafPolitical leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana.

In Massachusetts, where voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent on election day to legalize the cultivation, use, and retail sale of cannabis by adults, politicians have suggested amending the law and delaying its implementation. Specifically, lawmakers have called for pushing back the date when adults may legally begin growing cannabis from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified point in time. Legislators have also called for delaying retail sales of cannabis until late 2018, and have proposed increasing marijuana-specific sales taxes. “I believe that when voters vote on most ballot questions, they are voting in principle. They are not voting on the fine detail that is contained within the proposal,” Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg said in regard to the proposed changes.

In Maine, where voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law’s implementation. Governor LePage, who adamantly opposed the measure, said that he “will be talking to Donald Trump” about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and pronounced that he “will not put this (law) into play” unless the federal government signs off on it.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson made similar statements following voters’ decision to legalize the medical use of cannabis. “I don’t like the idea of implementing laws in Arkansas that violate federal law,” the Republican Governor and former head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration said. “This does not call for a state-by-state solution, it calls for … a national solution.”

During the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump voiced support for the authority of individual states to impose regulatory policies specific to the use and dispensing of medical cannabis, but was less clear with regard to whether he believed that state lawmakers ought to be able to regulate the adult use of cannabis absent federal interference. His nominee for US Attorney General, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, strongly opposes marijuana-zealot-tapped-for-attorney-general> any liberalization in cannabis policy, stating in April, “[M]arijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

In 2013, the Obama administration issued a memorandum directing US prosecutors not to interfere with statewide marijuana legalization efforts, provided those efforts did not undermine specific federal priorities – such as the diversion of cannabis to non-legal states. According to Gallup pollsters, nearly two-thirds of Americans support allowing states to decide their own cannabis policies.

Voters in eight statesArkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota – approved statewide ballot measures this November regulating marijuana for either medicinal or social use.

Federal Measure Introduced to Form National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy

Lets Be HonestRepresentative Steve Cohen (D-TN) has introduced federal legislation that would establish a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy. The proposed commission, inspired by the 1971 Shafer Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, would be tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of how federal policy should interact with state laws that make marijuana legal for medicinal and personal use, the cost of our current marijuana prohibition and potential revenue from marijuana regulation and taxation, the impact of federal banking and tax laws on marijuana related businesses, the health benefits of risk of marijuana use, the public safety and criminal justice implications of marijuana prohibition compared with regulation, and the effects of marijuana prohibition and potential regulation on our international relationships and treaties.

“Regardless of your views on marijuana, it’s important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana,” said Congressman Cohen. “This conflict is only going to continue to grow over the next few years and we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws. A national commission would provide us with the information we need to create sensible policy going forward.”

Representative Steve Cohen is joined by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR), Jim Moran (D-VA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).

During an interview with Barbara Walters in December of 2012, President Obama stated, “…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?”

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske stated in January of this year that, “Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.”

“The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that a national conversation is needed when it comes to our country’s marijuana policies, but so far that conversation has been largely one sided,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “It is time for federal lawmakers to listen to the voice of the majority of Americans who want to see change to our nation’s marijuana laws and for them to take part in that dialogue. NORML is pleased to have worked with Representative Cohen and his staff on this important legislation that would provide a public and professional venue for that conversation to take place. A majority of Americans agree that it is time for the United States to end it’s fruitless and expensive war on cannabis consumers and pursue policies of regulation and taxation. Enjoining this national commission would be a pragmatic and productive step towards assessing the true costs of our current prohibition and creating a framework for a functional federal policy on marijuana.”

Join NORML and federal legislators in calling for a “serious national conversation” on regulating marijuana.

Click here to quickly and easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this legislation.

Greenfaith Ministry Calls on Churches & Doctors, to Address all Cannabis Issues and Regulation


Nunn, CO (PRWEB) January 25, 2010

Greenfaith Ministry(FEIN #’s 84-1402*** & 80-0510***, CO Charity #20093014664) is calling on all Cannabis Churches and Medical Marijuana aka “MMJDoctors to come together. To get oversight of all Cannabis issues. “Shamans, Doctors, and Spiritual Leaders have been in charge of healing all the worlds ailing since the beginning of man, with Cannabis as a major part”, from Dr. Alberto Villoldo – The Religious and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis in China. “The Higher power’s healers and messengers, should have a say in the access to the Higher power’s holy healing Cannabis?, and Cannabis Churches need to be considered in all the oversights with all cannabis issues not just MMJ.”

Greenfaith Ministry wants all Cannabis Churches and MMJ Dr.s as a community in whole, to ask the people of their local areas and nations to support them in their compassionate spiritual/natural healing of all communities. It is the job, gift, and mission of greenfaith believers and/or health professionals. Cannabis was and still is one of the major part of the healing of all the stricken of this world? “Why should we change who teaches the Almighty’s, healing of the Nations in His books, we have not re-written these holy books.”, a minister of greenfaith ministry once said. “Cannabinoids function Naturally as a global, multi-scaled, homeostatic regulator of mass and energy flow”. “Cannabis in whole can address almost all fuel,food,fiber,and pollution issues.” .

The Government isn’t in charge of healing its people. The Government only represent us! Leave the healing to the religions and doctors. That is why All greenfaith supporters are saying, “Let the Cannabis accepting religions and doctors over-see All Cannabis issues. Through proposals like Rev. Loring’s, Temple Cannabis co-op.

Churches only address spiritual, religious, and healing issues. How-ever the Cannabis Churches do ask to be considered and contacted in all the processes. At least until the state and federal discrepancy are worked out. Thus making the holy healing mother plant Cannabis legal. This is why there are petitions at state and federal levels to have cannabis/marijuana removed from scheduling as it is there illegally do to many state/federal discrepancies and illegalities.

Please do not support the proposed THC/DUI Bill

Open Letter to Legislators on the THC/DUI bill:

I am a social scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I have been engaged in research on cannabis for several years. In 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 64 to “regulate marijuana like alcohol.” Since marijuana regulation is new, it makes sense to base regulations for cannabis on those for alcohol, but it is important to remember that this does not make marijuana actually “like” alcohol” in its scientific properties. Cannabis does not work like alcohol, and for this reason, the THC/DUI bill is misguided in trying to set laws as if they are the same.

To justify passing the THC/DUI bill, three solid pieces of evidence are required. First, we should know levels that indicate intoxication. Second, there should be an accepted and reliable way to accurately measure that level of intoxication. Third: there should be proof of sufficient need to encroach on individual rights based on danger to the public. Please allow me to address these in turn.

1. Knowing levels that indicate intoxication. Marijuana is not “like alcohol” in terms determining impairment. The science is simply not there. A nanogram limit cannot yet be clearly and unambiguously linked to impairment. Based on the best evidence currently available (Grotenhermen and colleagues review of the literature in 2005, the Medical Marijuana Industry Group report in 2011, which responded to the first proposal of this law, and William Logan’s 2012 chapter reviewing the literature on marijuana and driving in Mahmoud ElSohly’s book Marijuana and the Cannabinoids), it is clear that we simply don’t know the correct limit over which drivers are impaired. It turns out that inexperienced or occasional cannabis consumers may be subjectively impaired at a much lower nanogram level than medical or social cannabis consumers with years or decades of experience. Logan (2012) summarizes the evidence we have to-date and is clear on the point: it is not possible to use blood tests of THC to distinguish between recent impairment and “more distant higher-intensity marijuana use” (286). For medical consumers or other chronic consumers of marijuana, heightened THC in the blood may last long after the subjective experience of impairment. In fact, maintaining higher levels of cannabinoids in one’s system may be related to medical benefit for those treating severe pain and serious illness.

2. There should be an accepted and reliable form of measurement that indicates intoxication. On the second point, it is crucial to acknowledge that marijuana and alcohol are not the same when it comes to how the body processes them. These two substances are metabolized in completely different ways by the body. Alcohol is water soluble. It is rapidly and evenly distributed throughout the body, and for this reason, breath tests can be used to approximate blood alcohol level, and both tests can be reliably used to indicate impairment. There is no such proxy for cannabis. it’s distribution in the body is based on the unique pharmacokinetics of THC, its distribution in the body and the way it is metabolized. Marijuana is lipophilic, it dissolved in fat, not water, and is metabolized quite differently than alcohol. We do not have reliable estimates that are consistent across different individuals, allowing us to measure levels of impairment with the same assessments we use for alcohol. In fact, breath tests cannot be used to measure cannabis for this reason. Instead, blood samples, the most intrusive type of test, would be necessary. Because blood tests are highly intrusive, clear and unambiguous evidence for such an intrusion on individual rights is warranted.

3. Finally, we should be able to link the use of the substance to a clear public health danger on the roads. Cannabis has not proven to present a similar level of risk in traffic accidents. On this final point, we have to ask, is a separate law warranted when marijuana intoxication is already included under existing DUI-D laws? The answer: no. There simply is not data that suggests cannabis alone greatly increases accidents or risks on the road at a level that warrants a new, separate DUI law specific to cannabis. In the case of alcohol, there are clear and well established relationships showing increased risk of accidents linked with blood alcohol levels. Less data exists for cell phone use and prescription drug use, but those studies have consistently shown significant risk ratios that indicate significant crash risks. The data on marijuana shows lower risks than these other factors. The exception is when marijuana use and alcohol use are combined. Again, Logan’s review of the data on relative crash risk following marijuana use, “studies that made odds ratio assessments based on the presence of the inactive THC-COOH metabolite uniformly failed to show significant differences at the p=0.05 level in rate of accident involvement for the drug-positive drivers” (287). Recent evidence suggests that accident rates decrease in states with regulated medical marijuana. This has been attributed to the reduction of alcohol use in favor of marijuana, resulting in fewer alcohol-impaired drivers on the road, discussed by Time magazine in an article by Maia Szalaviz from December 2011.

For these reasons, those who have studied the issue and reviewed all available evidence do not recommend the use of per se limits without better science. To the degree that such policies are used, they urge great caution, and suggest that other methods for assessing impairment not be discarded or demoted given the lack of credibility on the currently available objective measures.

The current bill under consideration belongs to a dying breed. “Get Tough” policies have been popular among politicians because they have equated with success in the polls, but as more and more people acknowledge that the War on Drugs approach to drug control is a failure, these nonscientific approaches are bound to lose traction with the voting public.

Clearly no one wants impaired drivers on the road, and no one is arguing for that. This THC/DUI bill will do little to help prevent that, and it may end up punishing people who are not impaired. Until objective limits for cannabis intoxication can be clearly determined, measured, and linked to a genuine risk to public health on the roads, we should stick with our existing DUI-D law that already covers drug impairment.

Sincerely,

Shelli Newhart Walker

Hawaii Joins Four Other States Considering Marijuana Legalization Measures

Representative Joseph Souki, Chair of the Hawaiian House Committee on Transportation and House Speaker Emeritus, has introduced legislation that would make Hawaii the third state to legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana.

House Bill 150 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce or less of marijuana by adults over the age of 21, in addition to allowing for the licensing and regulation of marijuana retail stores, as well as cultivation and manufacturing centers.

Polling conducted this month by the ACLU of Hawaii found that 57% of Hawaiians support taxing and regulating marijuana and only 39% were opposed.

Hawaii now joins Maine, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont on the list of states with pending legislation to legalize the adult use of marijuana, with more expected to join them in the coming weeks. It is no longer a question of if these states will join Colorado and Washington in adopting new and sensible marijuana laws, but which one will do it first. Perhaps, in honor of the Choom Gang, President Obama’s birth state of Hawaii will lead the charge.

It is extremely important your elected officials hear from you in support of these measures. You can find out if your state is currently considering marijuana law reform legislation and easily send a pre-written letter of support to your elected officials by using NORML’s Take Action Center here. If you live in one of the five states (Hawaii, Maine, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) considering the legalization of marijuana for all adults, you can click on the appropriate link below and go directly to your state’s action alert.

Tell Your Elected Officials to Support Marijuana Legalization!

Hawaii
Maine
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Vermont

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Hawaii: 57% Want to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

New polling data, released this past week by the ACLU of Hawaii, shows strong support for marijuana law reform on the islands.

57% of respondents stated that they believed marijuana should be “taxed, regulated, and legalized for adults” – only 39% were opposed. This is up a whopping 20 percentage points in support since they last polled the question in 2005.

The survey also asked about the state’s medical marijuana program. An astounding 81% of respondents said they support the current law and 78% were in favor of passing regulations to allow dispensaries that would provide safe access to cannabis for Hawaii’s patients.

As recent polling has shown, support for marijuana law reform is at an all time high in many states across the nation, now including the original home of the “Choom Gang” and President Obama.

You can view the full survey here.

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.

 

 

 

President Jimmy Carter: I’m in Favor of Legalizing Marijuana

Today, speaking to a CNN panel, Former President Jimmy Carter stated that he is in favor of legalizing marijuana. On the topic of the recently passed initiatives in Washington and Colorado, President Carter said it was in the best interest of the country for those states to be allowed to proceed with the regulation of cannabis.

“I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK, I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet, but I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington, for instance around Seattle, and let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.

So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also just a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out. That’s the way our country has developed over the last 200 years. It’s about a few states being kind of experiment states. So on that basis I am in favor of it.” – Fmr. President Carter

The former president further stated that he did not think the ending of prohibition would lead to a dramatic increase in use rates. He pointed to Portugal as a model example:

“All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal a few years ago and the use of drugs has gone down dramatically and nobody has been put in prison.” – Fmr. President Carter

As President Obama and his Justice Department contemplate what, if any, action to take as a result of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, we can only hope he listens to the wisdom from those who came before him. Recently, President Bill Clinton expressed his own dissatisfaction with the war on drugs, saying the anti-drug effort “hasn’t worked” in a newly released documentary, Breaking the Taboo.

“Well obviously, if the expected results was that we would eliminate serious drug use in America and eliminate the narcotrafficking networks — it hasn’t worked.”
- Fmr. President Bill Clinton

President Obama, please take the advice from the two previous presidents from your own party. Unlike these two former presidents, you still have time to take action and end the suffering and damage caused by the war on cannabis consumers.

The Hill.com: “Voters Say ‘No’ To Pot Prohibition”

I have an op/ed today online at The Hill.com’s influential Congress blog (“Where lawmakers come to blog”).

Read an excerpt from it below:

Voters say ‘No’ to pot prohibition
via TheHill.com

Voters in Colorado and Washington made history on Election Day. For the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition.

… Predictably, the federal government – which continues to define cannabis as equally dangerous to heroin – is not amused. According to various media reports, the Justice Department is in the process of reviewing the nascent state laws. Meanwhile, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has already affirmed that the agency’s “enforcement of the [federal] Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.” That may be true. But in a matter of weeks, the local enforcement of marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington most definitely will change. And there is little that the federal government can do about it.

States are not mandated to criminalize marijuana or arrest adult cannabis consumers and now two states have elected not to. The federal government cannot compel them to do otherwise. State drug laws are not legally obligation to mirror the federal Controlled Substances Act and state law enforcement are not required to help the federal government enforce it. Yes, theoretically the Justice Department could choose to prosecute under federal law those individuals in Colorado and Washington who possess personal amounts of cannabis. But such a scenario is hardly plausible. Right now, the federal government lacks the manpower, political will, and public support to engage in such behavior. In fact, rather than triggering a federal backlash, it is far more likely that the passage of these two measures will be the impetus for the eventual dismantling of federal pot prohibition.

Like alcohol prohibition before it, the criminalization of cannabis is a failed federal policy that delegates the burden of enforcement to the state and local police. How did America’s ‘Nobel Experiment’ with alcohol prohibition come to an end? Simple. When a sufficient number of states – led by New York in 1923 – enacted legislation repealing the state’s alcohol prohibition laws. With state police and prosecutors no longer complying with the government’s wishes to enforce an unpopular law, federal politicians eventually had no choice but to abandon the policy altogether.

… On Election Day, voters in Colorado and Washington turned their backs on cannabis prohibition. They are the first to do so. But they will not be the last. Inevitably, when voters in the other 48 states see that the sky has not fallen, they too will demand their lawmakers follow suit. As more states lead the way, federal politicians will eventually have no choice but to follow.

You can read the entire op/ed here. You can also post your feedback and comments to The Hill by going here. Congress is listening; tell them what’s on your mind.

Women Needed to Legalize Pot

Colorado, and the multi-state effort to legalize marijuana in November needs you now more than ever.  In Colorado especially, polls are showing an encouraging growth in support for Amendment 64 among women (from 49% support in September, to 50% support in October), but female support still trails their male counterparts by 5% points.  Fact: this election will be decided by the female vote.  Marijuana can only be legalized if we have a majority of support among women.  It is crucial we do everything we can to support the work of Colorado’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and make history on November 6.

Our friends at Just Say Now have created an online phone bank you can use to make calls from anywhere in the country.  This tool includes its own woman-to-woman phone bank that we can use to reach out to women voters in Colorado and inspire them to support Amendment 64. The website makes it extremely easy to jump in, organize and get involved.

The NORML Women’s Alliance is calling on women nationwide, who believe in the controlled regulation of marijuana to host a phone banking party with your like-minded sisters and encourage women to vote “Yes” on CO’s Amendment 64.  Organizing a phone banking event to call women voters in CO is the most important contribution you can make in this election (and the cheapest).  We need to reach as many women as possible.

Links:
Phone Bank House Party – Sign Up
Phone Bank House Party – Host Packet
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NEW I-502 TV Ads: Former Federal Law Enforcement Officials Support Marijuana Legalization

New Approach Washington, the campaign behind Washington State’s marijuana legalization initiative (I-502), has just released two new television ads that began airing today. What makes these advertisements even more notable is that they both prominently feature former federal law enforcement officials. The importance of this is perfectly summed up by former NORML Board Member and writer for Washington’s “The Stranger,” Dominic Holden:

This is a big deal: The new ads for Initiative 502 that begin airing today, which encourage Washington to become the first state to legalize marijuana, star former federal law enforcement.

I know—if you watch politics around here, you know they’re on board and their endorsement seems… banal. Don’t be jaded. Former US Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer, along with the FBI’s Charlie Mandigo, make the most persuasive case for legalization: Pot laws result in using limited law enforcement resources that should instead be focused on violent crime.

Every time that pot legalization—even decriminalization—has gone to voters in other states, federal law enforcement have delivered the coup de grace, largely by virtue of their credibility. This time, it’s the opposite. These prosecutors and an agent get in the first word for legalization, and with $1 million in the bank and up to $2 million more on the way, the New Approach Washington campaign is going to hit this message hard. This is a coup.

SOURCE

You can view the new TV spots below. Please share as widely as possible with your friends and family. Together we can end marijuana prohibition, let’s Smoke the Vote in November. Previous polling for I-502 in September had support for the effort at 57%, help us keep up the momentum going into election day by educating everyone you know about the importance of cannabis reform in the 2012 election. You can learn more about these initiatives and the presidential candidates’ statements on marijuana by reading NORML’s voter guide available here.

YES ON I-502!

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You can visit the campaign’s website for more info here.

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