The Colorado Sun has conducted an investigation to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which killed 13 students. The Sun’s investigation discovered a stunning increase in the number of school district threat assessments since then. In some districts the number is ten times higher. Suicide threat assessments follow the same trend.
The public-school district in Jefferson County, one of Colorado’s most populous counties, established a threat assessment team in the 2007-08 school year when 43 cases were evaluated. Last year that number grew to 767 school-level threats, with more than 800 such threats so far this year.
A similar proliferation in suicide assessment threats has taken place over the same time in school districts across the state. Mesa County Valley School District 51, for example, has done 900 suicide threat assessments this school year, up from 210 in 2014.
Read the Colorado Sun article here.
Note: We notice that the rise in assessments for both threats and suicides parallels the marijuana legalization effort in Colorado. The state commercialized the drug for medical use in 2009 and for recreational use in 2012, effective January 1, 2014.
“I’m too high. Something’s wrong.” Teens caught vaping marijuana in a scary new trend.
A new trend among students has caught parents and teachers unawares—vaping marijuana. It is possible to vape pot without anyone knowing. There is no telltale odor, and vaping devices look like pens or flash drives, implements students routinely carry in their backpacks.
The problem with vaping marijuana is that THC is so much more potent and vaping it intensifies the high. One vaping cartridge confiscated by an Indiana school resource officer contained 83.6 percent THC. THC levels in the plant material that people smoke range from 15 percent to 24 percent.
The officer reports, “I’ve walked down the hallway, and you can visibly see kids who are so stoned that they don’t know where they are.”
A nurse in that school sent several students to the emergency room after they exhibited signs of being so high.
Experts say that parents, teachers, and students need to be aware of the dangers of vaping, and students should be encouraged not to vape marijuana or nicotine to protect their health.
Read USA Today story here.
Medical pot firms spent big to ease law
An exposé by the Atlanta Journal Constitution reveals the power Big Marijuana wielded over elected officials to get what it wanted: HB 324, which legalized marijuana cultivation, processing, and sales in Georgia.
Most Georgians see desperately sick kids and say if marijuana can help them, let it. But most medical societies say the science is lacking, and the drug can hurt people. For six legislative sessions public health proponents have watched Big Marijuana ruthlessly deny the science in order to make Big Money.
The AJC reports that three marijuana companies hired 20 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers to pass HB 324. Surterra Wellness employed 10 and contributed more than $100,000 to Georgia political candidates last year, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. Trulieve hired 5, including Michael Ralston, son of House Speaker David Ralston. Ralston appointed Surterra’s former president, Susan McWhorter Driscoll, to a marijuana study commission, enabling her to help draft HB 324.
There’s even more to the AJC story. Surterra is a $100 million company founded in Atlanta in 2014 that has done no business in Georgia. Yet.
The Senate wrote a substitute bill that made companies contributing to Georgia elected officials ineligible to apply for a marijuana license for five years. It also prohibited elected officials and their families from participating in the marijuana industry.
By the end of session, conferees could not resolve differences between the House and Senate bills. Gov. Kemp told the AJC that he, Lt. Gov. Duncan, and Speaker Ralston met with them to get the bill passed. The prohibitions forbidding political contributors from applying for a marijuana license and preventing elected officials from becoming part of Big Marijuana disappeared.
The final bill creates a 7-member commission to implement HB 324. Gov. Kemp will appoint 3 members and name the chair. The other 4 members will be appointed by Lt. Gov. Duncan and Speaker Ralston, who also will appoint two members each to a 4-member oversight committee that will award the marijuana growing and processing licenses.
We used to call this kind of pay-to-play behavior “corruption.” Today, apparently, some of our elected officials see it as the cost of doing business.
Read the Atlanta Journal Constitution story here.
Denver decriminalizes “magic mushrooms” in historic vote
Last week The Marijuana Report summarized a USA Today story that said Denver had defeated a ballot initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. It turns out that last-minute returns put the measure over the top, although absentee and military ballots had yet to be counted in the close race. Official are expected to certify the vote later this week.
Denver became the first city in the nation to de-prioritize enforcement of a hallucinogen. Not everyone is pleased.
The Daily Signal noted that the Denver action “marked a significant shift in the debate over legalizing illegal drugs—which up to this point revolved entirely around marijuana.”
Said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, “I’m not surprised to see efforts to decriminalized other drugs. Mushrooms are the next easiest argument. It’s low-hanging fruit. They’re not going to call for legalizing crack cocaine now. But they are not going to stop with mushrooms in Denver.”
In an editorial titled “The slippery slope of looser drug policy,” the Boston Herald states, “Liberal policy ideas have a way of migrating to the Bay State. This is one the state needs to be ready for, and ready to say no to. Voters have already just said no many times over, but like a weed, efforts to expand the availability to use potentially dangerous drugs keep coming back.”
Read The Daily Signal story here.
Hepatotoxicity of a cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract in the mouse model
A medically technical scientific study in mice finds that CBD can cause toxic damage to the liver and may interact negatively with medications. It notes that CBD has become nearly ubiquitous across the US, yet “there is a lack of comprehensive toxicological studies devoted to CBD safety that are critical for further marketing of CBD and CBD-containing products.”
The researchers conclude their results “demonstrate that, despite the beneficial effects of CBD [Epidiolex] in the treatment of certain therapy-resistant seizures, it poses a risk for liver injury. Furthermore, the probability of CBD-drug interactions appears quite high. Therefore, additional studies are needed to examine the toxicity of chronic low-dose CBD exposure as well as explore CBD’s potential to interact with other medications. Such studies will provide important information regarding the range of CBD doses that can be deemed safe for the purpose of regulatory decision-making.”
Read full text here.
Note: The executive editor holds stock in GW Pharmaceuticals, maker of Epidiolex.
Pot smuggling arrests at LAX have surged 166% since marijuana legalization
Last year, LAX had 503 reports of marijuana discovered in luggage compared to 400 reports in 2017 and 282 reports in 2016. The same phenomenon is occurring at other major California airports.
“We find it in about 50-pound quantities … the carry-on rate for luggage. I would imagine we’re only intercepting some of it, not all of it,” says Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Oakland International Airport.
Read LA Times story here.