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Surgeon General to Issue First-Ever Report
on Substance Use, Addiction, and Health

The Federal Register announced last week that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of the Surgeon General are commissioning a first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Drug Use, Addiction, and Health.

Of Americans age 12 and older, 27 million used an illicit drug, 16.3 million were heavy drinkers (five or more drinks on five or more days), and 6.5 million used psychotherapeutics, all in the past 30 days.

In the past year, 14.4 million Americans had dependence or abuse (as defined by DSM-IV criteria) of alcohol, 4.5 million had dependence or abuse of illicit drugs, and 2.6 million had dependence or abuse on both.

Of these 21.5 million Americans, only 2.3 million, or 1 in 9, received substance abuse treatment in the past year, even though they needed it.

Drug poisoning (overdose) caused some 47,000 deaths in 2014. Substance use, excessive alcohol use, and abuse of prescription drugs contribute to a myriad of other health and safety problems as well.

Read full Federal Register Announcement here.
 
Denver’s Pot Businesses Mostly in
Low-Income, Minority Neighborhoods

The Denver Post continues to track the impact of legal marijuana on people and communities. After an exhaustive review of marijuana licenses in the city/county of Denver, it finds that most marijuana growers, infused-food manufacturers, medical dispensaries, and retail outlets are located in low-income and minority communities, much to the consternation of residents who live there. (See map above; click to obtain interactive map.)

Odors from the pot grows and fears of rising crime and rising youth marijuana use worry residents, who predicted this would happen and are understandably upset that it has.

There is one marijuana business for every 91 residents in three neighborhoods (Elyria Swansea, Globeville, and west Northeast Park Hill) and one for every 47 residents in the Overland neighborhood.

“We have to stop this undue concentration, especially in communities that haven’t seen a grocery store or a business that supports the community health in years,” said Denver Councilman Paul Lopez.

The City Council announced a four-month moratorium on issuing any new marijuana licenses in November and may extend the ban for two or even four years.

Read story and view map here.
 
Fake Nuns Make Faux Marijuana Medicines;
Sell Them on Etsy

Two women in Merced, California, grow pot in their garage and make marijuana “medicines” which they sell worldwide on the website Etsy. The women are not associated with any religious order, nor are they trained in pharmacology or medicine.

Nonetheless, they say they are on a “spiritual quest to heal the sick with their cannabis cures.” Their CBD oil “takes away seizures and a million other things,” says one, while a multi-purpose salve “cures migraines, hangovers, earaches, diaper rash, and toothaches,” says another.

They claim to produce a variety of THC-free products made from “cannabinoids or CBDs,” a flummoxing statement if ever there were one. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of more than 105 pharmacologically different cannabinoids in marijuana. THC is another. Marijuana does not contain multiple CBDs, only one.

California is the first state to have legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996. Some 20 years later, authorities are finally establishing rules to regulate the industry.

Cities like Merced have the next few months to draw up their own rules. If they don’t, they will have to live with the state’s more lenient ones. The Merced City Council may ban all marijuana growing within its city boundaries.

Given this flimflam, let’s hope it does.

Read story here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

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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