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5 Steps to Marijuana Legalization

This week’s stories inadvertently illustrate the step-by-step process proponents employ to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use.
 

Step 1. Target states with ballot initiatives.
Tell voters patients need marijuana for medical use, despite a lack of supporting evidence. Deny evidence that the drug is addictive, harmful to the developing brain, and is associated with increased traffic fatalities, ER visits, hospitalizations, and mental illnesses. [Of 26 ballot initiative states, 19 have legalized marijuana for medical use since 1996, 4 more have initiatives pending this November, and two have legalized cannabidiol (CBD). Only one initiative state, Nebraska, remains free of “medical” or “recreational” pot.]
 
Tired of the legislature’s refusal to legalize marijuana for medical use, the Marijuana Policy Project from Washington DC, has brought 72 percent of the $267,000 raised to place a ballot initiative on the state’s November ballot, contributing 44 percent -- $118,000 – on its own. MPP, along with the Drug Policy Alliance and NORML, are the three organizations most responsible for the legalization of marijuana in the US.
 
Read The Salt Lake Tribune’s “From Legalizing Medical Marijuana to Raising Taxes for Schools, Utah Voters Will Have a Lot of Decisions to Make in November” here.

 
Step 2. Expand eligible conditions.
Once you’ve got marijuana legalized for medical use, expand the number of conditions that are eligible for its use.
 
Regulators in Michigan are thinking about adding 22 more conditions to the list of 14 that are currently eligible for “medical” marijuana use. (States have “approved” marijuana to treat more than 70 different conditions thus far.)
 
Read WXYZ.com “Michigan Considering Expanding Conditions Covered under Medical Marijuana Law” here.

 
Step 3. With a little help from the media . . .
Conduct research with pharmaceutical-grade marijuana components, but always illustrate news articles about the research with a marijuana plant.
 
Two new, privately funded studies were announced today. One, a $740,000 grant, is to the University of Utah to study how THC and CBD interact with the brain. The other, a $4.7 million grant, is to the University of San Diego School of Medicine’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to study childhood autism. The latter study (and presumably the former) will administer pharmaceutical-grade synthesized CBD manufactured by INSYS Therapeutics. Its CBD product is in Phase 2 clinical trials seeking FDA approval. It looks nothing like the picture above that accompanies The Salt Lake Tribune’s story or the picture below that accompanies the Newswise.com story.
 
One caveat: The gifts to the two universities come from the Rae and Tye Noorda Foundation of Utah in partnership with the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation of California. Andy Noorda, who serves as a board member of his deceased parents’ foundation, co-founded the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation along with Mana Artisan Botanics of Hawaii. The company makes CBD products from hemp grown in Colorado. We have learned from alcohol and tobacco that industry-funded research is not always trustworthy.
 
Read The Salt Lake Tribune’s “University of Utah Launches $740,000 Study on How Marijuana Interacts with the Human Brain” here and Newswise.com’s “Philanthropic Gift will Fund Multidisciplinary Investigation of Mechanisms and Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabidiol for Treating Neurodevelopmental Disorder” here.
Visit the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation here and Mana Artisan Botanics here.

Step 4. Join marijuana Industry to legalize recreational pot.
Link up with the marijuana industry that makes medicines, not one of which has been approved by FDA. Join forces to legalize marijuana for recreational use. (All 8 states that have done this legalized pot for medicine first.)
 
Proponents have succeeded in placing an initiative on Michigan’s November 2018 ballot that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. Among other provisions, the initiative calls for a 10 percent excise tax and a 6 percent sales tax. While allowing communities to ban marijuana businesses within their boundaries, 15 percent of those revenues would go to “communities that allow marijuana businesses within their borders and 15 percent would go to counties where marijuana business are located.”
 
Read the Detroit Free Press article, “Michigan Approves Marijuana Legalization Vote for November” here.

 
Step 5. Deny the consequences of legalization.
Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use in 2000, legalized cultivation and dispensaries in 2009, and legalized recreational use in 2012, effective 2014. Drug-related deaths have nearly tripled since legalization began.
 
Read KOAA’s “Overdose Fatalities Continue to Reach New Record Highs in Colorado” here.

 
See Step 5. 
More than 3,400 marijuana violations occurred in Colorado elementary, middle, and high schools last academic year, up more than 18 percent from two years before.
 
Read Fox 31’s “Marijuana Violations in Colorado K-12 Schools Up 18 Percent” here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action's website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

Subscribe to The Marijuana Report.

Our mission is to protect children from addictive drugs
by shining light on the science that underlies their effects.

 
Addictive drugs harm children, families, and communities.
Legalizing them creates commercial industries that make drugs more available,
increase use, and expand harms.

Science shows that addiction begins in childhood.
It is a pediatric disease that is preventable.
 
We work to prevent the emergence of commercial
addictive drug industries that will target children.

We support FDA approved medicines.

We support the assessment, treatment, and/or social and educational services
for users and low-level dealers as alternatives to incarceration.

 
About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
 
SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.  SAM has four main goals:
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.

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