Marijuana Driving Problems Escalating and More Bad News…

Marijuana DUI arrests in Oregon surged 163 percent in the first six months of recreational legalization, according to the Oregon State Police. DUI, driving under the influence of intoxicants, is the term Oregon uses to describe alcohol and drug impaired driving. Authorities say the lack of systematic data collection about marijuana-impaired driving is the biggest gap in the state’s preparation for recreational legalization. A report on the topic is due to the legislature next year. Read this story here.

An analysis of marijuana-related DUI arrests nationwide by a retired researcher for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concludes, “Anyone who says marijuana is a harmless drug is blowing smoke.”

California, where marijuana is legal for medical use, has documented 1,500 marijuana-related driver fatalities in the past five years. Nationwide, in the 23 states and DC where the drug is legal for medical use, more than 1,000 such fatalities occurred in the single year of 2014.

“Normally, any drug with so many deaths, injuries, and associated problems would be pulled from the market by FDA,” says Al Crancer, Jr, lead author of the analysis.

He predicts that marijuana legalization in more states will “cause a tidal wave of motor vehicle and other fatalities and soon rival alcohol as the No. 1 traffic safety problem.”
Read this report here.

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws has compiled a helpful list of drugged driving laws in all 50 states. Access this list here.


Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposures Among Colorado Children

Calls to Colorado poison control centers seeking help for unintentional marijuana exposures in children under age 10 jumped 150 percent since 2009, a new study inJAMA Pediatrics finds. That year, the state commercialized marijuana for medical use and the federal government issued a memo indicating it would rarely prosecute cases. Rates soared again in 2013 when the state legalized recreational pot.

Colorado’s 34 percent average annual increase of exposures is significantly greater than the rest of the states at 19 percent.

Emergency Department (ED) visits for marijuana exposures also escalated at one Colorado hospital, from 1 in 2009 to 16 in 2015. The mean age of these children was 2.4 years. One 11-month old died.

Marijuana products involved in the exposures included infused edible products, infused baked goods (cookies, brownies, and cake), infused candies, and infused popcorn products.

The researchers note that, compared with more plentiful unintentional pediatric exposures to items like pharmaceuticals and household products, “symptoms after marijuana exposure can be severe; 35% of patients presenting to the hospital required admission.”

Read abstract here.

16th Street Mall Conditions Deter Convention Business, Says Visit Denver Report

Denver’s “downtown environment” is the No. 1 complaint about the city among convention and meeting planners, according to a newly unearthed report prepared last winter by the city’s visitor and convention bureau for Denver’s city council.

As of 2014, nearly 50 percent of meeting planners commented negatively on “homeless, youth, panhandling, safety, cleanliness, and drugs including public marijuana consumption.”

Three-fourths of convention attendees and leisure visitors observed loitering and panhandling in the downtown area.

The report includes letters from planners who had booked meetings in Denver. Writes one, “The homeless situation is very sad, and public streets reek of weed. The Denver police should be more alert to large groups of minors congregating on city streets attacking tourists … I have felt much safer in downtown NYC, Philly, Seattle, and Chicago.”

Read story here. Read report here.

Take a Tour of a Colorado Marijuana Farm

ABC News filmed an indoor marijuana farm to show viewers how marijuana is grown and processed into oils, edibles, shatter, wax, and other products. Must viewing for those who think marijuana is just a weed that people roll in a joint and smoke.

See video here.


Syndros Approved for AIDS-Related Anorexia

Now there is a third FDA-approved marijuana drug available for doctors to prescribe and pharmacies to dispense. (The medical marijuana products states have legalized cannot be prescribed by doctors or sold in pharmacies.)

Insys Therapeutics, an American pharmaceutical company, has developed Syndros, an oral form of dronabinol, for treating anorexia in patients with HIV infection and chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients who do not respond to standard medications.

Dronabinol is the generic name for man-made, or synthesized, THC. A capsule form of the drug, Marinol, was approved by FDA in the 1980s for the same indications.

Cesamet, also in capsule form, is the third FDA-approved, man-made marijuana drug. Its generic name is nabilone, which is an analog of dronabinol. Cesamet treats the same conditions Marinol treats.

Other marijuana-based drugs, including marijuana extracts, are in various forms of development and are seeking FDA approval.

Read story here.


The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published 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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