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Director of Drug Abuse Institute Offers Words of Caution on Marijuana Legalization
 
While in Boston to address a symposium, Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, sat down with The Boston Globe to talk about marijuana legalization and the opioid crisis facing the country.
 
Her answer to the Globe’s first question should make us all stop and think:
 
Q. What are your thoughts on pot legalization?
 
A. The greatest mortality from drugs comes from legal drugs. The moment you make a drug legal, you’re going to increase the number of people who get exposed to it, and therefore you increase the negative consequences from its use. When you legalize, you create an industry whose purpose is to make money selling those drugs. And how do you sell it? Mostly by enticing people to take them and entice them to take high quantities.
 
Read Dr. Volkow’s interview in The Boston Globe here.

 
New Report Shows
Multiple Drug Use Responsible for
1 in 4 Washington Traffic Deaths in 2016
 
The state of Washington’s Traffic Safety Commission issued a new report that finds driver impairment was responsible for more than half of all traffic fatalities in 2016. Poly-drug use is the most common type of impairment, the report says. Poly-drug use is: 
  • double the number of alcohol-only drivers, and
  • 5-times higher than the number of marijuana-only drivers. 
“Poly-drug use means that a driver’s blood test was positive for alcohol and a drug or multiple drugs. Among drivers who tested positive, nearly 45 percent tested positive for more than a single substance. The most common combination found together was alcohol and marijuana.”
 
Read Washington Traffic Safety Commission Report summary here, which includes a link to the full report.

 
Weedmaps Wants to Drive the Conversation on Marijuana with Hundreds of Billboards.
 
Talk about non sequiturs! We are not sure where this information comes from, but the first question that leaps to mind is why is this a good thing?
 
Does Weedmaps think fewer DUI arrests equals fewer DUI incidents?
 
Given that poly-drug use is double the number of alcohol-only drivers and five times more than marijuana-only drivers, we need more DUI arrests to keep our roads and highways safe, not fewer.
 
Weedmaps is a platform that enables users to find the nearest marijuana dispensary anywhere in the US. Insert your zip code and presto – a pot shop near you!
 
Weedmaps makes so much money it has financed several legalization campaigns. In its best “96 doctors out of 100 smoke Camels” mode, we can trust Weedmaps to substitute real marijuana facts with spin to sell more pot.
 
Currently, the company has 221 billboards in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, and Oregon. It plans to introduce 10 to 15 more in states with ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana.
 
Read AdWeek article here. Note: the publication will let you read articles for free, but you must register first.

 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Misleads: No Evidence Marijuana Helps Curb Opioid Addiction
 
Colorado pain specialist Kenneth Finn, MD, has practiced pain medicine for 24 years. He writes that Dr. Sanjay Gupta supports the use of marijuana to curb the opioid crisis but has no training in
pain medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain management, or anesthesia [or addiction].
 
Dr. Finn notes that the current evidence on marijuana for pain involves only some 2,500 patients. “There is no available accepted medical literature showing any benefits with dispensary cannabis in common pain conditions.”
 
On the other hand, a single study involving more than 33,000 patients found that marijuana "appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder." 
 
Dr. Finn concludes, “There is no scientific evidence at all that marijuana use is helping the opioid epidemic, and quite a bit of evidence that it is actually contributing to the opioid epidemic. Gupta needs to be more careful about providing misleading information to the public.”
 
Our take? The man who fell in love with weed is still in love with weed.
 
Read Washington Examiner OpEd here. Read The Marijuana Report’s “The Man Who Fell in Love with Weed” here.

 
Hired Canvassers Seek to Persuade Voters
to Take Their Names Off Utah’s
Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative
 
A coalition has put together Drug Safe Utah to pay canvassers to ask voters to remove their names from a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for medical use. The effort is being led by the Medical Association of Utah.
 
The group says voters did not understand what they were signing when paid solicitors asked them to sign the initiative so citizens could choose whether to legalize the drug.
 
The effort was sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project from Washington DC, which spent thousands of dollars to collect signatures to place the measure on Utah’s ballot. The measure is 28 pages long and few if any voters have read it.
 
Read Salt Lake Tribune article here. Visit Drug Safe Utah website here.

 
In Newfoundland and Labrador, You May Be Able to Buy Your Recreational Pot from Loblaws
 
Marijuana-infused candies, cookies, “soft” drinks, and brownies have gotten into the food chain. Now the food chain, in the form of Canada’s largest grocer, has gotten into marijuana.
 
Canada’s Loblaws has obtained 10 licenses to open pot shops in its grocery stores where shoppers will be able to buy recreational marijuana.
 
To the surprise of most, the grocer’s motto, seen above, has become a double-entendre.
 
Read the Canadian Financial Post story here.

 
McConnell Plans to Attach
Hemp Legalization Measure to Farm Bill
 
Recently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced S. 2667: The Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Now, he will attach the language of the legislation to the Farm Bill to enhance chances that it will pass.
 
The board of the US Hemp Roundtable met with Senator McConnell last week to encourage this move. “Since (the Farm Bill) is must-pass legislation, it is likely the best bet,” says Jonathan Miller, executive director of the Roundtable.
 
Read Marijuana Business Daily story 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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