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Washington Cracks Down on Billboards Advertising Pot

Marijuana Dispensaries have been open for three years in Washington and it’s taken legislators this long to crack down on billboards.  Last week that passed a bill aimed at making the the signs less appealing to children.

Legislators passed SB 3151 which will try to limit how marijuana companies can advertise on billboards  The sign for Green Lady Buds in Olympia uses sex appeal to portray a certain image (pictured above).   Another sign that some people found inappropriate to young audiences had a large cat saying, “I’m so high right meow.”

Rep. Joyce McDonald Introduced Bill

State lawmakers don’t think the billboards should appeal to children in any way.  The new signs should use words, not pictures.  The bill has gone to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

State Rep. Joyce McDonald of Puyallup,  introduced the bill.  She said, “The people who have called me from my district are very concerned because every time they drive past, the billboards are in their face”   Concerned about impressionable children learning to read,  McDonald wanted to ban all the marijuana advertising on the billboards.  She doesn’t understand why the state prohibits such advertisements for cigarettes, but allows them for weed. Under a 1998 settlement agreement reached with 46 states, including Washington, tobacco companies agreed to stop using billboards to advertise their products.

420 Event in Vancouver Disastrous

Pot Rally Organizers Should Pay

The annual marijuana protest at Sunset Beach this year left an adjacent field in ruins. It will be fenced off and closed to the public for up to a month while park board staff restore it. Park board officials said much of the damage could have been prevented if organizers had installed a turf protector as they had promised.

Patients Go to Hospital, 66 Emergencies

The event also led to 66 visits to St. Paul’s emergency department. Of these patients, 10 were under the age of 20. The youngest was 14.  Patients mostly had consumed edibles that brought on complaints of nausea, vomiting and dizziness.  An additional 25 people were seen at satellite first aid stations set up to ease the burden on St. Paul’s, while 62 people were seen at a first aid station that 4/20 organizers set up.
There were eight driving suspensions issued for the consumption of drugs, and two drivers were criminally charged with impaired driving.   The event, which drew an estimated 40,000, disrupted traffic, while the smoke, noise and crowds made life unpleasant for residents.
The cost of police, paramedics and park board staff assigned to the event, along with the cost of cleanup and field restoration will amount to thousands of dollars, with the financial burden falling largely on Vancouver taxpayers.
Yet Vancouver’s mayor and council ignore these negative effects, police refuse to enforce the law — selling and consuming cannabis without a medical prescription is still illegal — and pot proponents vow their protest will continue in defiance of city bylaws or any other restrictions, even after the recreational use of marijuana is likely to be legalized in July 2018. That’s because cannabis advocates say they didn’t get everything they wanted — they object, for example, to restrictions on selling drugs to minors.

End of Festival, Coming Soon, Hopefully

Fortunately, the end is nigh for this kind of anarchic drug fest. Cannabis has become big business. Among the larger players in the Canadian industry, Canopy Growth of Smiths Falls, Ont., trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization in excess of $1.5 billion. Vancouver’s Aurora Cannabis is not far behind with a market cap of $841 million. It’s only a matter of time before big tobacco companies and major retailers squeeze out the illegal pop-up dispensaries and turn cannabis into a properly regulated industry.
In the meantime, the city should impose a financial penalty on 4/20 organizers and recoup as much of the cost of the event as possible.

Pamela McColl, SAM Canada

Neighbors generally object to this event held in Sunset Park.

Sunset field ‘trashed’: Will be closed for weeks following 4/20 event

psychosis-glass-eating

I Was Biting Glass and Biting My Way out of Delirium

I am not a long-time user.  I used casually for about six months, but then suddenly had a terrible experience with marijuana-induced psychosis.   I had moved from a state where is was illegal, to Washington.  A dispensary sold me something incredibly strong just recently, in March.   It was a joint mixed with a marijuana wax- I didn’t even know what that was.  I was SO naive, but there is literally NOTHING out there that lets consumers know that ANYthing even remotely bad can happen.

As long as I didn’t drive under the influence, what could go wrong?   I thought all pot was “safe.”    The irony is that I am nearly 40, a stay-at-home mom with honor roll kids, no history, ZERO history with drug usage, or ANY depression, mental illness etc etc.. NONE.  I never used marijuana before I moved to Washington. I literally just set out to listen to music and unwind while I got the house clean….awaiting the arrival of my husband who was gone on a business trip.   My kids were on Spring break, at a friend’s house.

About halfway through I felt very dizzy and unbalanced… So I thought I just needed to sit down, or maybe eat.. I looked at the glass of wine I had poured… and dumped it in the drain…. Then I had a sudden disturbing image of myself biting THROUGH the wine glass… It came over and over.  Bite the glass….. the words wouldn’t leave my head…. I’m biting glass.  My heart began to race, my hands began to shake. I felt freezing cold, yet was sweating. Then I was feeling a sudden surge of Adrenalin and was panic stricken.  I began having suicidal ideations, in MINUTES…

Shooting Myself and Biting Glass

Over and over and over… shoot yourself… bite through the glass… shoot yourself…and much worse.. it was as if a tape of my worst nightmares were playing over and over and over again in my head…and it was just as physical as it was psychological….. With absolute sincerity, I tell you that I barely made it through that night alive, and even the subsequent days and weeks… I still suffered terrible suicidal ideation……….

NEVER, ever did I have suicidal thoughts or feelings in my life. I am happy, well-adjusted, and a warm, outgoing person with lots of friends and a solid marriage.

Within days I began researching, because I KNEW what I had experienced was from smoking…again, I reiterate, I had nothing else in my system or history to indicate otherwise….and there it was.. All the research indicating that it WAS the pot.. Marijuana-induced psychosis is a proven thing and all too common. There is ZERO safety put in place in these recreational pot stores.  They don’t warn a consumer about strength, concentration or side effects.  It as if you are buying a glass of milk to them!! I later found out that marijuana wax is known as a “dab” and I am still unsure of what they really are…

No Warnings Against Psychosis!

The ER in Olympia Washington sees on average TWO cases of marijuana-induced psychosis a DAY!! Yet we don’t hear of this!? Why not? I would have NEVER tried any medicine or drink that could even remotely do this to me, but thought I was using something as harmless as a glass of wine because they say it is.   I can’t even fully describe the horror of that night as it’s very, very hard to revisit. Thank you for warning people.  I am glad I was able to use some of the resources and information you have shared to help recover…….People need to know.  Marijuana can be deadly.   I almost lost everything to very casual use.

I am lucky to have health insurance and lucky that my husband could be with me.  My husband had to take an entire week off to stay home with me! Again how fortunate I am and I’m in the position to have someone that could do that.

I am lucky in that I am NOT an addict or addicted to it. So not using isn’t an issue….. I would never smoke pot again, but the suicidal ideation was so intense and such a terrible and traumatic experience…. It is hard to describe how horrific it is was and I’d rather be tortured than ever experience that again…. I just never thought that was even possible….    From BK, Washington

Marijuana Can’t Treat the Opiate, Heroin Epidemic

Any marijuana use leads to less intelligence potential, less empathy for life, less motivation and poorer decision making.  A war on drugs is a protection and defense of our brains.   Governor Susana Martinez probably recognizes how Colorado’s marijuana problem leads to the drug epidemic and filters into New Mexico’s substance abuse issues.   Read about her veto in Part 1.

One young man who gave us a testimony explained how his marijuana use led directly to heroin addiction.

In Colorado, Dr. Libby Stuyt, addictions psychiatrist, traces a direct line from marijuana legalization to the heroin epidemic.    Colorado’s recent report on heroin has shown that the number of deaths from heroin overdose have doubled between 2011 and 2015.

In fact, Pueblo County, has suffered from heroin use and addiction more than any other Colorado county.  Pueblo, Denver and Boulder have the highest rates of youth marijuana use.   Southern Colorado is suffering the most from the heroin epidemic. Counties that have banned marijuana dispensaries have been affected the least by the heroin.

Misunderstanding of the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

Since the government has clamped down on opiate prescriptions, more users have replaced the pain drugs with heroin.  Since the legalization of marijuana, Mexican cartels have replaced much of their marijuana with heroin.  Heroin is now cheaper and addicts find it easier to get heroin than prescription pills.

Politically there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the opioid epidemic. If it was initially caused by over prescribing of medications, that’s no longer primarily the case.   Seth Leibsohn wrote an insightful article on the subject last week. The abuse of opioid prescriptions acquired legitimately constitutes a small portion of the overdose problem, he said. *

A simple crackdown on prescriptions will not solve the problem, according to Maia Szalavitz.  Although Szalavitz misunderstands the  inherent danger in using marijuana,* she explains the underlying causes of substance abuse quite well.  Impulsive children are at high risk of becoming drug users, but so are some highly cautious and anxious young people.   Two thirds of people with opioid addictions have had severely traumatic childhoods, and the more exposure to trauma, the higher the risk.  We need to help abused, neglected, fragile and otherwise traumatized children before they turn to self-medication as teens.  On the other hand, we should also provide tools and teach coping skills to children who are impulsive, ADHD or anxious.   (Overmedicating children doesn’t allow them to develop the skills needed to transition into adulthood.)

Let’s Help People Get off ALL Drugs

Effective treatment for addictions is getting off all drugs, not going to other harmful, brain-altering substances.   “The goal in helping a loved one with a substance use problem is not to reduce their use. It is to stop drug use,” according to Sven-Olov Carlsson of Drug Policy Futures.  He gave the opening address at the World Federation of Drugs Conference in Vienna last year.  As Carlsson said, the current heroin epidemic proves that “harm reduction” is not saving lives.

No one sets out to become an addict.   Fortunately, more people and states are realizing the foolishness of allowing “medical” marijuana for intractable pain.  It opens up a Pandora’s Box of problems, as in California and elsewhere.

Addiction specialists estimate that one in five American adults is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  With such large numbers, there should be no “stigma” attached to addiction or treatment.  A new or revised health care act should maintain the provision to treat addiction.

Those who are addicted have a strong need to protect a secret.  Their brains have been hijacked and there isn’t a straight path back to previous functioning.

Optimum treatment requires a period of time when the person is not using any substance of addiction in order for the brain to heal.  During that time, the person needs to be able to learn new things. The lack of treatment resources which allows this to happen is a big barrier to recovery.   Marijuana cannot be used to treat this current drug epidemic.

___________________________________________________________________________*  Another recent article explains how doctors began to take pain seriously, treating it as a fifth vital sign.  Szalavitz based her 10% addiction rate for marijuana on the weaker pot of the ’70s and ’80s, not the pot of today.  She also disregarded teen users of pot.