Your advocacy for marijuana legalization is insulting and offensive to the families of people who have lost children and relatives to this vicious drug. You need compassion for people and families who have been indelibly harmed by marijuana. Most of us like to think of ourselves as open-minded and compassionate, and certainly if you are, you will read this and answer to it:
A significant chunk of marijuana users experience psychotic symptoms. Psychotic killers with mental illness may appear different from political and religious killers, but they often share the trait of persistent, early marijuana use.
In 2014, Washington State high school student Jaylen Fryberg shot five friends whom he had invited to eat lunch with him. On Twitter he revealed the need to smoke a ton of pot because of a breakup. The girl who had broken up with him said on Twitter that smoking pot made him stupid. He was only 15 at the time, but Washington State started selling commercialized pot about four months earlier.
Another pair of high school shooters, the Columbine shooters, chose to do their rampage on 4/20, a symbolic date for junkies. Timothy McVeigh also chose this day for the Oklahoma City bombing.
Were the DC Snipers, John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo, pot users? They fit into a pattern of an older man using marijuana to control a teenager. Before ending up in the DC area, they moved between places known for marijuana: Jamaica, Antigua, Bellingham, Tacoma.
When Marijuana Psychosis Leads to Violence: Aurora, Arizona
Some the most notorious recent murderers who were marijuana users fell victim to psychosis and delusion: Aurora shooter Holmes, Tucson shooter Loughner, Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear and Eddie Routh. Routh shot “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield because of his paranoia. He smoked marijuana the day of the murders. Suffering from PTSD, he thought the other men would hurt him.
The 15% or so of marijuana users who experience psychotic symptoms from marijuana or go into permanent psychosis (schizophrenia) are 9x more likely to become violent than schizophrenics whose illness has nothing to do with drugs. *
Educating about the connection between drug use and violence with an eye on drug prevention could alleviate much violent crime.
Solution to Cutting Down Mass Violence
Americans argue over the most effective means to stop mass killers.
Discussions often leave out one of the most important components of violence……compulsive drug use, especially marijuana. Let’s consider that the root of violence goes much deeper than a person’s religion, gun laws or innate mental illness. Let’s stop legalizing drugs.
We acknowledge that not everyone who uses marijuana becomes mentally ill or psychotic. However, cannabis use, especially in young users can cause extraordinary changes to the brain. Read how Salman Abedi changed from a cannabis smoking teen to an Isis terrorist.
The New Director of White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) must deal with urgent problems. There’s a drug overdose epidemic from heroin, opioids and onslaught of synthetic drugs entering our country. Furthermore, 25-34-year-olds are dying from drugs at a rate 5 times what it was in 1999. (In 2000, NORML attacked ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey’s campaign against drug use in the television ads. McCaffrey, ONDCP Director from 1996-2001, is pictured above.)
For the next ONDCP Director, we need someone who acknowledges that marijuana causes psychosis, mental illness and addiction. We need someone who recognizes that allowing states to legalize marijuana contributed to the growth of heroin addiction and deaths. This person must be familiar with addiction to all classes of drugs, as multi-substance abuse is the trend today.
Independents, Democrats and Republicans support Parents Opposed to Pot, as well as a large number of parents in Mexico and Canada. What we do in the USA, helps other countries, or in the case of marijuana, harms them. We’re bi-partisan, like the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which created the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Parents Opposed to Pot has more advocates in Colorado than any other state. Colorado parents were blindsided with legalization and forced to address an aggressive marijuana industry. The next ONDCP leader will need to speak out about how decriminalization is different from legalization. Minorities are hurt by legalization more than others, because commercial marijuana preys on communities of color or impoverished places.
The next director will know that marijuana legalization did not replace cartels, but expanded the cartels’ US heroin sales. The heroin epidemic has many causes, but legalization of marijuana provided an opening and the cartels took advantage. As one former prosecutor said, “Legalization doesn’t discourage the drug dealers and cartels; it emboldens them.”
The next ONDCP director will know that marijuana use is directly connected to heroin abuse. (A video on the bottom of this article explains this concept well.) Currently, six percent of high school seniors are daily marijuana users. These heavy, early pot users are conditioning their brains for other addictive substances, too. Moreover, the studies of Yasmin Hurd find evidence that marijuana primes the brains of offspring for heroin addiction. (Professor Hurd is Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.)
The United States leads the world in drug use, with about 56% of the world’s drug users. Demand reduction and prevention education should be a priority of the new ONDCP director. Although there are useful aspects of “harm reduction,” it is far less effective in saving lives than “demand reduction.” The evidence is in the US death rate from drugs. We need renewed education efforts in elementary schools.
We’ve Screwed up Our Country, Now Let’s Get it Back
Since legalization means promotion, the ONDCP director will need to counter the fact that legalization equals commercialization. The marijuana industry is looking for more and future users and the youth of America fits the bill.
Colorado has gained the most notoriety of the legalization states. Much of the American public doesn’t understand the difference between decriminalization and legalization. Diane Carlson, co-founder of Smart Colorado explained: “Many people thought they were voting to decriminalize marijuana. Colorado already had decriminalized marijuana. To the surprise of many, legalization led to full-blown marijuana commercialization practically overnight.
It’s not a “state’s rights” issue because commercial pot from legal states gets into the other states. Interstate drug commerce is still illegal. The problem is so widespread that other states have sued Colorado.
The next director will need to understand why marijuana does not replace pain medications. Promoting non-medical ways to address pain, such as MBSR and EMDR, should become a priority with Americans. For those with addiction, substituting one addictive substance with another addictive substance only compounds their problems. The ONDCP Director should be someone who can be outspoken on this issue.
Bringing Back Cabinet Level Status to the Drug Czar Will Save Lives
Parents Opposed to Pot believes this position needs to be elevated to the cabinet level position it once was. If it is reinstated as the “Drug Czar” position, it will have some moral standing working against the scourge of drug deaths.
Attorney General Eric Holder made the bad decision to allow marijuana commercialization in Colorado and Washington in 2012. Holder acted as if it was state’s rights issue, a big mistake. His Justice Department issued eight guidelines that states had to follow to avoid federal prosecution if they legalized pot. Then the Justice Department did not follow its own guidelines.
President Obama’s first ONDCP Director, Gil Kerlikowske, had been the Police Chief of Seattle. Marijuana activists thought he would be sympathetic to their cause, but he recognized the relationship between marijuana and crime. Michael Botticelli followed Kerlikowske as ONCDP Director. He recognized the dangers of marijuana and did not support it.
President Obama’s downgraded the role of ONDCP Director which is no longer a cabinet level position. This re-assignment went along with a massive escalation of drug use and drug-induced deaths. President Obama may have responded to pressure by the drug lobbyists. Ironically, former Vice-President Joe Biden had coined the term “Drug Czar” in 1982.
Let’s put strength back into America’s resolve to end addiction and death by drugs!
During the Democratic debate on October 13, Bernie Sanders had a misunderstanding of the facts when he suggested people go to prison for smoking a joint. A few days ago, Dan Riffle, a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project, admitted on Twitter that people don’t go to jail just for that reason. However, over the last five years, the marijuana advocates have aggressively promoted the misconception that people are arrested and go to prison for pot possession alone.
If we want to prevent incarceration we need to prevent drug usage. Misconceptions, like the one Sanders was endorsing, has fed a movement to empty federal prisons, because people have been given the wrong impression that drug abuse is a victimless crime. The term “non-violent drug offenders” is an alternative way of referring to drug dealers, not a person caught with a joint. Continue reading Sanders Doesn’t Fully Understand Drug Use and Incarceration→