Marijuana Vs. Alcohol

The marijuana lobbyists want to “mainstream” marijuana and call for its regulation to be like alcohol.  Let’s make it equal to alcohol, they say.   Why are they asking for addiction equality?

When they compare its illegal status to alcohol, they don’t mention that Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935, the year after a 13-year Prohibition era ended.  When the marijuana community decries the nationwide prohibition of marijuana in 1937, they forget to mention that it happened much earlier, state-by-state, 1911 in MA, 1913 in CA, 1914 in NY, etc.

These same marijuana lobbyists keep suggesting that people who drink too much booze or take pain pills should switch to marijuana.   As much as addiction is hard to overcome, the suggestion of substituting one addiction or bad habit for another can just get you back to square one.

Why are we making a second vice, pot, totally legit for those 21 and over while keeping it illegal for those under 21? The minimum age for alcohol purchase is 21, yet the US already has a problem with underage drinking. Why duplicate this problem with marijuana?

The only obvious reason is that there is a business and a marijuana industry that wants to make profits.  Like with alcohol and tobacco, 80% of those profits will come from those who are addicted or over-indulgent.  The growing industry wants and needs to get young users to keep a steady stream of buyers; the younger they start, the greater likelihood of getting hooked.

An experiment with lowering the beer and wine age to 18 in much of the US in the 1970s did not work.  The national law needed to be changed back to age 21.  Elsewhere teens do not go to the extremes that are common to American culture.  We simply are not a modest or temperate culture, like the Netherlands.

The sales pitch of the marijuana lobby:

“Wouldn’t you rather have your teenage son driving stoned, rather than drunk?”  Both practices are very dangerous, and even more dangerous when stoned and drunk at the same time.

“I support legalization so marijuana can be on equal footing with alcohol.”   Pot users don’t have addiction equality yet, but statistics and studies show that 9% of marijuana users will be come addicted (approximately same rate as drinkers) and that rate jumps to 17% if they begin before age 17.

“No one has ever died from marijuana.”  The advocates claimed in the campaign for legalization in Colorado and Washington.  There have since been 2 deaths in Colorado this year directly attributed edible marijuana and many child-abuse deaths caused by the parents’ usage of marijuana.

Simplistic soundbites don’t tell the whole story.   Marijuana is not safer than alcohol, but it is used less frequently by Americans than pot.   Leah Allen’s account of growing up with a marijuana-addicted father is similar to what it would be like having a chronic alcoholic dad: negligent, irresponsible, violent to the mom and prone to anger when he could not have it.

Pot users could be 7% of adult Americans, vs. at about 66% who drink.  They’re asking us to change a law for the 7%, and Parents Opposed to Pot disagrees.  More people die from alcohol because it is and has been a larger part in society.

We’re better at recognizing who might be  susceptible to alcoholism.  We have little idea who is most at risk for mental illness and other negative effects from marijuana.   Certain teens haven’t thought about it, either.  Tobacco cannot affect brain function, memory and mental health the same way marijuana can.

The risk for mental illness caused by marijuana alone is too great not to be noticed.

 

Marijuana Puts Education, Kids Futures at Risk

Heather Mizeur naively campaigned for the governorship of Maryland by supporting universal pre-Kindergarten and paying for it by legalizing marijuana.  Her support came from NORML and the marijuana industry.

What good does earlier education do for child welfare when you introduce a whole set of new problems?

Look at what is going on in Colorado and Washington, and the unusual types of child endangerment that have gone on with legalization.   Many very young children have gotten into marijuana edibles which look like cookies and candy.

“Encouraging marijuana commercialism and consumption to fund and support education are two inconsistent goals,” explained Diane Carlson, a co-founder of Bravetracks, a non-profit devoted to encouraging youth activity, employment and engagement in Colorado.  “Even before Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana, Denver, where marijuana was first commercialized, had some of the highest youth use rates in the nation,” she said.

“The THC content of marijuana is extremely potent with levels reaching 20% and above in Colorado, due to competition in the industry.  Highly potent pot has become incredibly commercialized here and yet our kids have been told it’s benign. Increased access and use is a huge issue for Colorado teens who have no idea how such highly potent products can impact their health and their futures,” according to Carlson.

Since legalization, the pot problem only seems to be getting worse. “Disturbingly, Colorado kids will suck on lollipops, chew on gummy bears, or munch on granola bars without anyone knowing highly potent marijuana is being consumed. They have ‘vaped’ on pens, asthma inhalers or highlighters loaded with a concentrated form of THC that can go undetected in class.”

One high-school teacher in Denver, who wishes to remain anonymous, exclaimed, “Our job is so difficult and there are so many challenges to educating kids well in the best circumstances.  She added, “So why did the state add this other layer of challenge to our jobs and make it harder for our students to achieve success?”

Marijuana Money

“Where Commerce Meets Revolution” is how the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) describes the Cannabis Business Summit held yesterday and today in Denver.  This title leaves no doubt that the MMP and other pot advocacy groups are about the money.

Amendment 64 passed in Colorado despite warnings of the teachers’ union and a persuasive letter from teacher Christina Blair to the Huffington Post.  It is probably because big money paid for the win in Colorado, with most of that money coming from the industry’s out-of-state lobbying groups.

One year later, by December 2013,  school administrators and law enforcement noticed the changes that came into the schools.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has warned the governors of other states not to follow Colorado’s example.

Revolutionary ideas grab attention, but Heather Mizeur didn’t win her primary.  She only promoted an idea which was heard all over the nation’s capital region.

Most likely the children who heard Mizeur’s TV commercials about marijuana will end up believing marijuana is completely harmless and could indeed be tied to education.

The pot industry regularly promotes it as a way to fund education.   It is an ironic that they would suggest a solution that only makes a problem worse.

Beware that many local candidates and representatives in Congress are taking money from the marijuana industry.   We need to watch out for the fallout from this “green rush.”  It could be worse than the mess left by the mortgage industry.

Marijuana and Teens

With the push to legalize and expansion of medical marijuana, children and teens have gained an erroneous perception that pot is harmless, studies show.  Surveys of teens indicate use would definitely go up, if marijuana is legalized.

According to David G. Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition,  “Studies indicate that usage will increase to levels near between those of tobacco and alcohol users.”   The annual survey show that all teen marijuana use, and daily marijuana use, have consistently gone up over the last five years.  As a nation and for our individual children, we need to be concerned.

There is a connection to regular marijuana usage, gaps in college education and dropping out of high school, which often hinders future success.  “Chronic/heavy marijuana users are twice as likely to experience gaps in college enrollment as minimal users, ” according to  Dr. Robert DuPont, Director of the Institute for Behavior and Health,  in Rockville, MD.

Marijuana use in the young often creates a-motivational syndrome and apathy, in addition to and apart from the affects of addiction.  It is not a way of saying “yes to life, yes to love, yes to opportunity and yes to education,” as recommended by the Pope Francis in a recent address at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

Dr. DuPont and Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, wrote an article to suggest that changing policy necessitates a large, multi-year study using technology that has developed over the past 2 decades.  The study would aim to understand more about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain.  Researchers at Northwestern University recently published their studies indicating the changes on specific parts of the brain, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written about some of those findings.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry gives  a warning about  marijuana and young minds:  “Marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent brain development, cognition, and social functioning may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.”

 

Pot Industry Uses Deceptive Ads Without Protecting Kids

The medical marijuana industry doesn’t assure that expansion into more states will not include marketing marijuana products to children.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment,  which passed in the House of Representatives last week, may be considered in the Senate.  The provision takes away the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute medical marijuana distributors who endanger others.  If a similar amendment passes in the Senate, it could cripple the government’s ability to investigate in states with thriving medical marijuana industries.

Abuses by the medical pot industry have been rampant, particularly in western states.  Potent edibles come without warnings; businesses have located close to schools and day care centers, and pot has been diverted to other states.

The use of seductive names has promoted the allure of pot – making it a symbol of wellness, rather than coming with the typical warnings needed for tobacco, alcohol, other drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, the marijuana industry and their public relations campaign have misled voters by suggesting that CBD, one treatment for children with epilepsy, is the same as the medical marijuana used for stimulating appetite in cancer or AIDs patients, or for generalized pain.
Let’s cast a healthy doubt on any products whose promoters believe it to be a “wonder drug” or “elixir of the gods.”   Medical marijuana has expanded exponentially since 2009.  It’s available in 22 states, up from 13 states at the end of 2009.   A current medical publication summarized the problems coming with rapid medical marijuana expansion.

Pharmaceutical products require rigorous testing and similar standards have not been in place for the marijuana drug industry.  Most people only want medical marijuana available in pharmacies rather than through upstart ganja-preneurs, or the tobacco industry, according to surveys.

Pressure from an industry group, Americans for Safe Access, has resulted in a deceptive campaign which suggests that innocent citizens go to jail and that opposition to medi-pot industry’s expansion represents a lack of compassion.

The Television Ads

The well-funded lobby effort, “Vote Medical Marijuana,” is running 30-second TV spots on MSNBC in Maryland and South Florida, the homes of two of the members who voted “no” to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment— Republican Andy Harris and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Over the past two years, the marijuana lobby has consistently threatened politicians who don’t vote with them.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who represents Miami, Florida, is keenly aware of the determination of the illegal drug traders in that region.  A 30-second ad against her alleges that Wasserman Schultz wants medical marijuana users to go to federal prison, while 88 percent of Floridians support legalizing access. The same man’s voice asks whether Wasserman Schultz is “out of touch” with Florida, and an image flashes across the screen of an elderly man and his wife, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a fatal neurological disease.

(A  personal injury lawyer in Orlando, John Morgan, is funding a medical marijuana ballot vote in Florida, using $4 million of his own money to finance the initiative in November, 2014.)
We need to be aware that Americans for Safe Access is manipulating us and our children with deceptive suggestions.  The ad in Maryland claims that Rep. Harris’ vote on May 30th will result in sending Maryland’s patients to prison.  A voice says,  “Congressman Andy Harris thinks it’s OK for medical marijuana patients to go to federal prison, even though Maryland passed a medical marijuana bill in April. ” and then shows the image of a 4-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy and his mother.

Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America explains the problem and suggests a solution to assure that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is not considered in the Senate.    There’s  a simple form to notify your Senator of opposition.

Edible Pot Tricks Children

In Colorado and California, marijuana entrepreneurs have used deceptive packaging which is enticing to youngsters.  Many candies look like children’s favorites, such Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Gummy Bears.  At least nine incidences of marijuana poisoning in children have occurred in Colorado this year.  The problem of pot candy is expanding to other states, as the word is out and a “ganja-preneurial” spirit spreads.

There’s a huge business behind pushing cookies, candies and edible forms of marijuana, considered to be safer than smoked or vaporized pot, but these products take longer to have an effect and often lead people to ingest larger amounts to get their “high.” Continue reading