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SAMHSA administrator
takes on marijuana industry health claims
Celebrating its 15th Annual Prevention Day, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, who leads the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), lamented the lack of government pushback on the marijuana industry.
She said the industry “markets heavily health claims that have little basis in reality, and it has virtually had no counter arguments put forward to the present time.”
She notes that marijuana potency has increased dramatically. She said there are risks to marijuana use which are “downplayed by the marijuana industry and ignored by the states.”
She compares rates of marijuana use in states that have not legalized marijuana to those that have legalized the drug for medical use and for recreational use and notes that use goes up with each escalation. A stunning 25 percent – one fourth – of the population in some fully legal states now use the drug.
“And that’s because when states legalize marijuana, they’re basically endorsing it as a substance that has no significant risks and adverse effects,” she said. “Why would a state legalize something if it were otherwise”?
She explains what the data tell us about ongoing risks and asks the prevention community to help get the word out about marijuana’s harms.

You can view her powerful speech about marijuana, other drugs, and adolescent e-cigarette use here

Marijuana can be delivered to your door,
but some services aren’t following the rules
California allows home delivery of marijuana products under strict rules to prevent access by anyone under age 21. But the rules are not being enforced, at least in Los Angeles.
NBC4’s I-Team investigated, ordering marijuana from several L.A. delivery services found on the website, Weedmaps. Time and time again, the I-Team showed delivery drivers failed to follow the rules. The drivers did not ask for ID from the person who gave them cash and to whom they delivered the marijuana.
The I-Team used its young intern to receive each delivery, but no one asked to see her ID. In one case, a driver pushed marijuana through a mail slot without ever seeing the person who received it.

The team pointed out many of the harms marijuana use poses, especially to adolescents and young adults whose brains are still developing.
It interviewed emergency-room physician Roneet Lev, who said when young people expose their developing brains to marijuana, “we see agitated delirium, we see psychosis” in patients who arrive for help. Dr. Lev is now Chief Medical Officer at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Perhaps the I-Team’s investigation will lead to better enforcement of the regulation designed to protect young people.
View story here.

New report:
Colorado youth at risk from marijuana exposure
The Marijuana Accountability Coalition and Smart Approaches to Marijuana issued a press release yesterday calling attention to a new report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Here is an excerpt from the MAC/SAM release:
(Denver, CO) - A new state-funded report out of Colorado found that the state continues to hold the top ranking when it comes to past month use of marijuana, more young children are being exposed to highly potent pot products, use of edibles and vaping/dabbing is way up among high school students, and emergency department visits have increased. 
"The data in this report show that Colorado's marijuana industry is threatening public health," said Luke Niforatos, Senior Policy Advisor to Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), and longtime Colorado resident. "Just last year, the industry was caught recommending pot to pregnant mothers. It's time to start holding the industry accountable."
According to the report, past month use has increased 14 percent over the last year and adult use in the state of Colorado continues to be significantly higher than the national average. Young adults aged 18-25 reported the greatest instance of past month use at 29.2 percent. This is concerning as this age group is still in a crucial period of brain development and heavy use at this age can lead to the development of serious mental health issues. 

Download the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment report here.
Visit Marijuana Accountability Coalition here.
Visit SAM website here.

Tobacco use by youth is rising,
and e-cigarettes are the main reason
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new report on youth tobacco use this week, and the news is not good.
E-cigarette use among high school students nearly doubled in just one year, jumping from 11.7 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent in 2018. E-cigarette use among middle school students also increased, from 3.3 percent to 4.9 percent that same year.
In terms of numbers, 2018 saw 1.5 million more youth using e-cigarettes than the year before.
This issue of the CDC publication Vital Signs, devoted to youth tobacco product use, contains a wonderful infographic for parents, educators, and others to prevent tobacco product use among young people.
Read Vital Signs article here. Download Vital Signs infographic here.

Study ties heart disease, diabetes
to cannabis exposure in utero
Researchers at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Canada’s Western Ontario University, pictured above, have conducted one of the first preclinical studies looking at metabolic effects of marijuana on the fetus if a mother uses the drug during pregnancy.
Canada legalized marijuana nationwide last year, another case of policy getting out ahead of research. Led by Daniel Hardy, the researchers gave a low dose of THC to pregnant rats throughout the course of their pregnancies. Because the receptors to which THC binds occur throughout the body, the researchers wanted to see if THC could affect the development during gestation of key organs and their long-term metabolic function.
Offspring exposed to THC were 8 to 10 percent smaller than those not so exposed. The THC-exposed pups also had “a 30 percent smaller heart-to-body weight ratio, a 40 percent lower liver-to-body weight ratio; a 20 percent smaller brain-to-body weight ratio, and a smaller pancreas.
The researchers followed the offspring for six months and found long-term problems resulting from these changes in utero, including an elevated risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Read study 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 e-newsletter.

The Marijuana Report Staff
Executive Editor
Sue Rusche
Nicole Carter
IT Consultant
Lee Clontz
Social Media Coordinator
Margarita Eberline
We are grateful to our Board of Directors and Senior Adviser for their support of National Families in Action, which produces The Marijuana Report website and e-newsletter.
National Families in Action
Board of Directors

William F. Carter, Chairman of the Board
Realtor Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Georgia Properties, Atlanta.

Sue Rusche, President and CEO, Atlanta.

Richard L. Brown, Secretary
Attorney (Ret.), Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Founder & Chairman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association 

Jeannine F. Adams, Director
President and CEO, J. Addams & Partners, Atlanta.

Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD, Director
Thomas J. Lawley Professor of Dermatology
Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta

William H. Avery, Director
Partner (Ret.), Alston & Bird, LLP, Atlanta.

Margarita Eberline, Director
Strategy Director, 360 Marketing Plus, Atlanta.

Robert Margolis, PhD, Director
Founder, Caron Solutions Intensive Outpatient Program, Roswell, Georgia.

Shannon Murphy, MD FAAP, Director
Birmingham, Alabama 
Senior Adviser
Kent “Oz” Nelson, Chairman and CEO (Ret.)
United Parcel Service, Atlanta.
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