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The Marijuana Report Now Available in Spanish!
National Families in Action (NFIA) is delighted to announce that we are now publishing The Marijuana Report in Spanish as well as English. The English version will continue to be sent on Wednesdays. The Spanish version will be sent on Fridays.
NFIA publishes The Marijuana Report in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). We hope readers find our new Spanish version useful. Subscribe here.
52% Oppose CA Marijuana Legalization
If Pot Smoking Advertised on TV
A new poll finds that support for Proposition 64, the initiative on California’s November ballot that would legalize marijuana for recreational use, falls to 43% as soon as voters realize pot smoking and edibles could be advertised on prime-time TV where millions of children will see them. The poll, commissioned by the California Public Safety Institute, shows 52% oppose the measure.
Proponents sued to have language describing the advertising provision removed from the ballot description, but a court allowed it to remain.
"This survey reveals why Prop 64's supporters fought tooth and nail to keep voters from hearing about their plans to advertise on TV and radio -- including filing a lawsuit to prevent information about this provision from appearing on the ballot," said Kevin Sabet, president of SAM Action.
The No on 64 campaign’s press release can be read here.
Why Marijuana Legalization Campaigns
Could Fail in 2016

Vice takes a hard look at the unexpected resistance and less-than-expected funding for initiatives on November’s ballot to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada and for medical use in four other states.
Campaigns that legalized pot for recreational use in Colorado, Washington State, Alaska, and Oregon were funded primarily by wealthy philanthropists, “including George Soros, Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, Men’s Warehouse magnate George Zimmer, and John Sperling, the founder of Phoenix University,” notes the article.
But in recent years, Lewis and Sperling have died, Soros has pulled back on funding ballot initiatives, and Zimmer’s fortune has diminished since he was fired from the company he founded.
Legalization organizations such as the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance (still funded by Soros) say they expect the nine ballot initiatives will cost between $40-$50 million. Nearly all of that money would be spent on TV advertising to persuade voters to adopt the measures.
These groups are counting on the emerging marijuana industry to pony up, but so far that hasn’t happened. The industry, which bragged that it has raised more than $70 million for marijuana start-ups, has contributed less than $1 million for legalization efforts.
Opponents of these measures traditionally have been unable to raise similar amounts of money to get their side of the story out to voters. Despite proponents’ complaints about being “underfunded,” in California, for example, they have raised 60 times more cash than opponents have raised.
Despite such riches, Ethan Nadelmann, who heads the Drug Policy Alliance and is disgusted with the marijuana industry’s lack of support for legalization, scolded entrepreneurs at a recent industry conference, “If California goes down, it sets us back a decade.”
Read Vice article here.
Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a clinical report that reviews the consequences parental drug and alcohol use can have on children and families and suggests ways pediatricians can intervene to get help for them.
“In the course of providing health care services to children, pediatricians often encounter families affected by substance use, distribution, manufacturing, or cultivation that ultimately places parents and their children at risk,” the report begins.
It lists the devastating consequences maternal substance use disorders (SUDs) can have on the fetus as well as the medical, psychiatric, and behavioral symptoms of children and adolescents in families affected by parental substance use.
Most illicit and some legal drugs can cross the placental barrier and damage unborn babies. THC, methamphetamine, and buprenorphine, for example, can hurt the structure of the developing brain during the first trimester and brain function during the second and third trimesters.
“Children and adolescents of parents with SUDs are at greater risk of having problems ranging from serious medical conditions to psychobehavioral difficulties. Compared with their peers whose parents do not have SUDs, they are twice as likely to sustain serious injuries, increasing the risks of missed time from school, hospitalization, or surgical treatment,” notes the report.
Policy-makers should read this report to gain an understanding of how drug and alcohol use disorders drive healthcare costs up as well as how investments in prevention and intervention can hold them down.
Read the American Academy of Pediatrics clinical report here.
Why Pot Taxes Can’t Solve
Colorado’s Budget Problems
All legal pot in Colorado is subject to a 2.9% sales tax. Recreational pot is also taxed with a 15% excise tax and an additional 10% sales tax. Coloradans believe these marijuana taxes are paying for everything. They have a hard time believing the state has a budget problem.
The Colorado Fiscal Institute, a nonprofit that educates citizens about Colorado’s unique fiscal challenges, says since Colorado legalized pot in 2012 there is “a seemingly unstoppable urban myth going around that the state is positively swimming in tax revenue from pot sales.”
Total taxes collected on Colorado recreational marijuana in 2014-2015 were $77.9 million. That sounds like a lot of money until you realize it is less than 1% of the state’s general fund of $9.7 billion. It becomes even smaller when looking at the total state budget of some $26 billion, which includes federal funds and cash funds.
And the pot money is designated by law. The first $40 million in annual tax revenues goes to school construction, not school operational costs. “Put simply, reefer hires roofers, not teachers,” says the author. The remaining pot taxes finance marijuana education, treatment, regulations, and enforcement programs.
Read The Denver Post story here.

Legal Pot Making America’s Poor Poorer  

A new study by Steven Davenport of RAND and Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon shows that people with a household income of less than $20,000 a year make up 19% of the population but 28% of marijuana users. In contrast, those who earn more than $70,000 annually make up one-third of the population, but only 25% of them use the drug.
Middle and upper income groups are the ones pushing for legalization, but the poor, who can least afford it behaviorally as well as financially, are the ones using the drug the most.
Worse, the amount of use has shifted dramatically. Daily or near daily use went from 1 in 9 Americans in 1992 to 1 in 3 in 2013. This dispels the idea that the typical user is a casual, weekend user, says Davenport.
In fact, the typical user is much more likely to be someone at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Nearly one-third of users spend one-tenth of their income on pot; 15% spend nearly a quarter of their income on the drug.
Read New York Post article here. Read abstract of research study here.
The First Players in Maryland’s Medical Marijuana Industry Have Political Ties
The Washington Post has analyzed all 150 applicants seeking one of 15 licenses to grow marijuana for medical use in Maryland and 124 applicants seeking 15 licenses to process the drug into pills, oils, and other forms. Background checks and facility inspections must be performed before the state issues final licenses to the 30 winners.
The newspaper has found a shocking number of applicants who have ties to political and law enforcement leaders, including Delegate Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), the legislator  who championed the marijuana legislation. A company called Doctors Orders hired Del. Morhaim to serve as clinical director of an affiliated dispensary, a fact the legislator did not disclose during the legislative session.
The state has received more than 800 applications for 94 licenses for dispensaries to sell the drug.
Read the Washington Post article here
See the Washington Post analysis of applicants’ political, law enforcement, and out-of-state ties 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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