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Pontifical Academy of Sciences Issues Recommendations on Global Problem of Drugs

“Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue 
“On November 24 and 25, 2016, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) held a meeting at the Vatican with international experts, led and inspired by Pope Francis and Queen Silvia of Sweden, to develop a global view of the current drug epidemic and recommendations to reverse this trend, one that imperils the very elements of civil society: public health, safety and human progress. Millions of victims globally have succumbed to addiction. This is a contemporary version of slavery. It destroys autonomy and free will, a foreseeable outcome of using chemicals that artificially suppress and supplant natural brain reward systems in vulnerable people. Addiction especially threatens young people, as the vast majority of addictions can be traced to initiation during adolescence. This is a period of rapid brain development, with particular risk to the enduring harms of drug use. An essential priority is to protect the brains of children and youth, by discouraging use of all drugs. The international epidemic is led by a globalized network of criminals and legal business interests, with children and youth as their primary targets. They have driven exponential growth of potent forms of cannabis, developed unclean highly addictive cocaine preparations, and created unregulated new psychoactive substances. Prescription drug diversion for non-medical misuse is rooted in different origins, but the risks of medication misuse can be as great or greater than illegal drugs.
 
"We recommend the following actions to be taken:”
 
Read the statement's recommendations here.
 
T-Mobile Under Fire for
Trying to Make Pot a Laughing Matter

In December, a grandmother protested the marketing of leggings printed with marijuana leaves to young toddlers. Now a group of angry parents is taking aim at T-Mobile, a larger target they say is trying to normalize drug use by targeting the message to children.
 
During the broadcast of Super Bowl LI on February 5, T-Mobile aired an ad with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and rap artist Snoop Dogg (real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.) during which the two bantered, making several not-so-veiled humorous references to marijuana.
 
The ad is meant to play off Stewart and Broadus’ VH1 reality show, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” a show geared to millennials that some reviewers concede is nothing more than an effort to normalize the use of marijuana.
 
Parents are not having it.
 
"During the Super Bowl, a T-Mobile ad ran with such references as 'pot,' 'can-o-bisque,' 'greenery,' and 'purple cushions' [Purple Kush is a popular strain of marijuana]. How much more of an attempt to normalize this to youngsters can you get? The Super Bowl is something whole families watch. This was the worst place to air a commercial like this UNLESS the goal was to make drug use a joke and get kids to think marijuana is ‘no big deal,'" explained a Missouri mom who has had several friends lose children to drug abuse, including marijuana addiction.
 
She has organized a petition to boycott T-Mobile, understanding that she faces an uphill battle against a society that increasingly believes marijuana is not harmful.
 
However, she has the support of drug policy experts who have been warning of the same for years. As Kevin Sabet, co-founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), explained, "Ads like this show exactly what the marijuana legalization movement is about—addiction for profit. Last year, tens of millions of pot lobby dollars bankrolled an initiative in California that would allow pot smoking ads to run on television. Three months later, the same lobby promotes this ad during an event when millions of kids were watching. It’s Big Tobacco all over again."       
 
See T-Mobile ad here. Sign the petition here. Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party link here.
 
Marijuana Merits Warning Label
 
Editors of Washington State’s News Tribune support a new mandatory regulation issued by the State Liquor and Cannabis Board requiring child warning labels on all marijuana edible products like those pictured above. Manufacturers must place a sticker picturing a red hand, a universal sign for stop, and the phone number of the Washington Poison Center on all such products.
 
The editors point out that the Center received 290 calls for possible marijuana poisoning in 2016; 20 of those calls were about 2-year-olds. Health authorities fear that may be an undercount, because parents may be afraid of consequences if they call.
 
In Washington, packaged edibles contain 100 milligrams of THC or more, enough to knock out a 200-pound man for several hours. That amount of THC can cause clinical toxicity in a young child who can experience “nausea, disorientation, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and deep sedation.” A spokesman for the poison center says that amount can even cause a fatal overdose.
 
Read story here.
 
New Washington State Bill Would Repeal Marijuana Legalization, Bring Back Prohibition
 
Washington State Representative Brad Klippert (R-Kenniwick) has introduced a bill (HB 2096) that “repeals the statutes that legalize the use, possession, sale, or production of marijuana and marijuana-related products.”
 
Read story here. Read bill here


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