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The Marijuana Report: If we can see the difference, why can’t we speak the difference?

The green tubes in the picture above contain a cannabinoid, one of more than 100 components scientists have identified in the marijuana plant. This particular cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), or Epidiolex, which GW Pharmaceuticals extracts from the marijuana plant, purifies, and mixes in oil to treat children with rare forms of epilepsy. Some 98% of this medicine is CBD with trace amounts of other cannabinoids, including less than 0.2% of THC, the cannabinoid that produces a “high.” Epidiolex is in FDA clinical trials in the US and is expected to be approved soon. If it is, doctors will be able to prescribe it for children who suffer intractable seizures. No laws will need to be changed.

Pictured below Epidiolex is a marijuana plant. Add another 400 chemical components to the cannabinoids it contains. Few have been studied. Legalization advocates, and marijuana growers, processors, and distributors who stand to make fortunes, have convinced most Americans that this whole plant is medicine, or “medical marijuana.”

marijuana plant
But the promise for medicine lies in the plant’s cannabinoids, not the whole plant itself. That promise is being investigated by scientists who are studying cannabinoids in test tubes or in animals but, with rare exceptions, not yet in humans. That hasn’t stopped legalization advocates from claiming that the whole marijuana plant itself can produce a result in humans that a specific cannabinoid has produced in a test tube. But a test tube result is not a fact; it’s an indication that a scientist should take the next step in the research process. And a finding that a single cannabinoid has a specific effect in a test tube cannot be applied to the whole marijuana plant consumed by a human.
 
At the 2015 annual meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Science (NAAS) last Saturday, researchers conducted a symposium titled “Cannabis and Medicine: A New Frontier in Therapeutics.” According to materials promoting the symposium and press accounts of it, the researchers used the terms “medical marijuana” and cannabinoids interchangeably, an odd thing for scientists, for whom precision matters, to do.
 
One, Dr. Igor Grant of the University of California, San Diego, asserted, “‘There is no evidence for long-term damaging effects [of marijuana use] in adults,’” according to an account of the symposium written for Science Magazine, the publication of the NAAS. “Preliminary data linking marijuana use to an increased risk of schizophrenia have not been supported by further studies.”
 
That was Saturday. Yesterday, The Lancet published a study by 23 scientists who found that daily use of high-potency marijuana (about 16% THC and no CBD) quintupled the risk of developing a schizophrenic-like psychosis and weekend use tripled the risk among people ages 18 to 65. A major finding of the study is that potency and frequency of use are critical to determining the effect of marijuana on mental health, factors, according to one report, that are often overlooked by doctors.
 
Ironically underscoring the need to be precise in our language is a dispute reported today in Oregon where medical marijuana growers have asked a legislator for a bill that will ban the growing of hemp in counties with large medical-marijuana grows. They fear hemp will pollinate their high-THC marijuana and turn it into low-grade, 60s pot. “It basically makes the medicine worthless,” one grower said.
 
Click here to read an account of the NAAS marijuana symposium.
Click here to read an account of The Lancet study.
Click here to read The Lancet study itself.
Click here to read the Oregon story.

ABOUT THE MARIJUANA REPORT:

The Marijuana Report.Org is published by the Marijuana Studies Program, a project of National Families in Action and its partners. The report is a news aggregator website that links browsers to daily news coverage of the marijuana issue. A one-page e-newsletter highlights key issues for subscribers each week. We are grateful to Monte Stiles, Derek Franklin, the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, and others who contribute stories to this website.

Digital Advertising Had Significant Impact on Medical Marijuana Vote in Florida

WASHINGTONDec. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Online video and banner ads had a significant impact on theFlorida medical marijuana race, according to a post-election survey of 800 voters conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research on behalf of United for Care, which was advocating for Amendment 2.

The survey revealed that those who saw Internet advertisements voted for Florida’s Amendment 2 at a rate of 65%, while those that did not, voted only at a rate of 53%. The 12% difference was not simply a function of targeting – for example – people who reported seeing Internet ads voted for Democrat Charlie Crist at a rate of 42% while those that said they did not voted for Crist at a rate of 40%.

The majority of the online advertising was a combination of cookie-targeted banner and video ads provided by Audience Partners, matched to the National Online Voter File® along with a proprietary medical marijuana support model that incorporated data from petition signers. Impact Politics, a campaign media and marketing strategy firm in Weston, FL, managed the digital buy and creative production for United for Care.

Audience Partner’s medical marijuana probabilistic model, created through extensive surveying and data modeling, provided Impact Politics and the United for Care Campaign the means to target voters “most likely to be persuadable” as well as those “most likely supporters” with a history of voting.

“We were outspent 3 to 1 on media, but the data modeling and analytics provided by Audience Partners allowed us to layer our online efforts across the state with unprecedented efficiency,” said Brian Franklin, President of Impact Politics and a senior consultant for the United for Care Campaign. “Access to this data allowed us to triage our resources, tweak our creative with real-time data, and maximize the impact of our online spend.”

United for Care’s digital buy placed a heavy emphasis on seniors most likely to be persuadable. In fact, 33% of those who recalled seeing online ads were over the age of 65.

While 65% of those who saw online ads voted yes for Amendment 2, the survey showed that those who saw any ads (including television only) voted 56% yes, and those that saw no ads at all voted 50% yes. 88% of those who saw Internet ads thought they were helpful in making their decision. Heavy Internet users decided earlier than lighter users – 85% decided how they were going to vote a month or more before the election.

Amendment 2 reached 58% support – the second highest level of support for medical marijuana in any state, and won roughly 500,000 more votes than Governor Rick Scott. Unfortunately for supporters of the amendment, Florida is one of the few states that requires 60% to pass.

About Impact Politics
Impact Politics is an award-winning political consulting firm that specializes in writing, strategy and new media for national, state, and federal candidate campaigns, ballot initiatives, and advocacy organizations. Founded byBrian Franklin, a Board Member of the American Association of Political Consultants and co-chair of its Technology Committee, the firm has won numerous Pollie and Reed awards, from Best Overall Internet Campaign and Best Online Targeting to Best Online Advertisements and Best Use of Humor in Online Ads. The firm is based in Weston, FL. More information can be found at www.impactpolitics.com

About Audience Partners
Audience Partners is an Enterprise Advertising Management company that operates an addressable advertising platform leveraging data science, programmatic ad buying and unique first party data assets to target individuals across screens on PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and addressable TVs. Focused on politics/advocacy, higher education and healthcare, Audience Partners’ success has been its ability to accurately reach high value audiences on their digital devices at scale by connecting offline databases with online devices. The company’s philosophy has been to use “first party, mailing address data” as the linchpin of its online targeting. Founded in 2008, the firm has offices in Washington DCPennsylvania and Toronto. More information can be found at www.audiencepartners.com

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141217/165113-INFO

John Morgan — Wrong on Marijuana, Wrong on Charlie Crist: Can FL Dems trust his judgement?

As Florida Republicans bask in the sunshine of victory on November 5th there is one man who is not very happy. His name is John Morgan of the Orlando based firm of Morgan & Morgan. Morgan may be in hiding trying to avoid Florida’s Democrats. Why? Because Morgan sold the Florida Democratic party on putting marijuana and Charlie Crist on the November 4th ballot.

Ana Cruz, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, said, “I wish that it didn’t take medical marijuana on the ballot to motivate our young voters. But listen, we’ll take it any way we can get it.” Cruz didn’t get it.

Ben Pollara, a Democratic fundraiser and campaign manager for the United for Care group, stated, “We want to be able to have our stereotypical, lazy pothead voters to be able to vote from their couch.” Ben, it appears the lazy potheads stayed home to smoke a joint or two or three.

Hopes were high, no pun intended, that legalizing marijuana in Florida under Amendment 2 would bring out the millennials. It was Morgan’s long time ally and employee Charlie Crist who had the overwhelming support of the trial lawyers, of which Morgan is one. Both marijuana and Crist when down in smoke.

Can the Florida Democratic Party trust the judgement of John Morgan?

As Florida Democrats are licking their wounds, it is perhaps time for them to rethink the political savvy of John Morgan.

Morgan sold Florida Democrats on Amendment 2. Shame on him. Morgan sold Florida Democrats on Charlie Crist, shame on them.

RELATED VIDEO: John Morgan’s profanity laced interview about the defeat of Amendment 2. His diatribe is filled with hate for law enforcement, those who do not think like him and the older voters of Florida.

VIDEO: Vote No on 2 campaign releases new TV spot titled ‘It’s Nuts!’

Vote No on 2 Campaign today released its third TV spot, “It’s Nuts,” in the campaign to defeat Amendment 2, the so-called medical marijuana initiative.

The spot features Floridians, including Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, a family physician and president of the Brevard County Medical Society, detailing the frightening realities of Amendment 2, such as the fact that this Amendment won’t require a prescription to get pot, that it’s not just for serious diseases and that the pot Floridians will have access to won’t be FDA approved.

“The message of this ad is simple: Amendment 2 is a trick that isn’t about compassion, it’s about legalizing pot,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the Vote No on 2 Campaign.

“Floridians need to know the facts; and, this ad delivers them – it tells the truth about safety, teen access and the host of other problems this Amendment will bring to the Sunshine State.”

“Most importantly, this ad leaves Floridians with the message that the only way to stop the onslaught of problems this Amendment would bring to our state, is to vote no,” concluded Bascom.

View the TV spot:

The Vote No on 2 Campaign is a grassroots campaign, bringing the truth about Amendment 2 to the voters of Florida.  Its coalition includes members of law enforcement, business leaders, constitutional law attorneys, doctors and other medical professionals, parents and Floridians from all walks of life.  Amendment 2 is simply a guise to legalize pot smoking in Florida and the goal of this campaign is to point out the loopholes and explain why this amendment is bad for Florida.

For more information on the Vote No on 2 Campaign, please visit www.voteno2.org, follow @saynoamendment2 and like FB.com/noonamendment2.

Democrat Governor: Legalizing Pot Was ‘Reckless.’ A New Study Proves Him Right [+Video]

The top Democrat in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper, said Monday during a gubernatorial debate that legalizing marijuana in Colorado was “reckless.” His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, agreed.

According to The Huffington Post, Hickenlooper said, “I think for us to that that [legalize recreational use] without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless.”

Hickenlooper is right and wrong.

He is certainly correct, and gets credit for admitting that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado was reckless. As we have shown hereherehere and here, the negative social costs are proof positive that this radical experiment is not only reckless, but dangerous.

But Hickenlooper is wrong that there is “not enough data.”

As former Obama administration drug policy expert Kevin Sabet has said, the trope that marijuana is harmless and non-addictive is a myth. His book, “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana,” is a must-read for anyone who actually wants “the data.”

But now there’s even more “data.”

pot in bottles

Marijuana and cannabis-infused products are displayed for sale at a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. Source: AP.

A definitive study published this week by the Journal of Addiction by professor Wayne Hall of Kings College London shows that marijuana is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway drug to other illegal dangerous drugs.

Hall’s research, conducted over the past 20 years, confirms what other studies have shown:

  • Regular adolescent marijuana users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers;
  • Those users are more likely to use other illegal drugs;
  • Adolescent use produces intellectual impairment;
  • It doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia;
  • And, not surprisingly, increases the risk of heart attacks in middle-aged adults.

Hickenlooper’s warning to other states should be heeded. Legalizing marijuana is reckless, no matter what the pot pushers say to the contrary.

COMMENTARY BY CULLY STIMSON

Portrait of Cully Stimson

Cully Stimson@cullystimson

Charles “Cully” D. Stimson is a leading expert in criminal law, military law, military commissions and detention policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research.

RELATED VIDEO: What are the physical effects of smoking cannabus/marijuana?

RELATED ARTICLES: 

How Marijuana Legalization United Democrat, Republican Running for Governor

The terrible truth about cannabis: Expert’s devastating 20-year study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford on Amendment 2: ‘De Facto Legalization of Marijuana’

Tampa Bay Times recommends: Vote no on Amendment 2, medical marijuana

VIDEO: Florida Amendment 2 — The Drug Dealers Protection Act

Vote No On 2 has released its first television advertisement titled “Not What It Seems.” The following is the full text of the new advertisement:

Amendment 2 isn’t what it seems – it’s “caregiver” provision gives legal protection to marijuana dealers. Even felons and drug dealers could be “caregivers.” Amendment 2 “caregivers” don’t need background checks or medical training. So what looks like a safeguard, is really a loophole. Amendment 2 “caregivers” can’t be arrested or sued if their pot hurts someone. They don’t call it the drug dealer protection act – but they should.

Amendment 2 is NOT designed to help the sick – it’s designed to legalize pot smoking in Florida. WATCH to Learn the LOOPHOLES within the ballot language of this flawed constitutional amendment. Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is all in on Amendment 2. As a lawyer Crist knows about loopholes. Amendment 2 has many of them because the ballot language is so broad and open ended.

The below video titled “The Devil is in the Details” explains the key loopholes in Amendment 2:

Floridians must understand what Amendment 2 actually says, not proponents say about it. An informed voter is critical to the constitutional amendment process.

Florida Baptist Convention opposes Amendment 2

The Florida Baptist Convention has issued a resolution in opposition to the marijuana Amendment 2. John Sullivan in an email to all Pastors and Church leaders states, “The following resolution, which calls for the defeat of Amendment 2 – that seeks to legalize marijuana for “medicinal purposes” in Florida – was adopted by the State Board of Mission on September 19, 2014.”

Florida’s Baptist Pastors and Church leaders are now taking a political stand and asking all their member to vote no on Amendment 2.

The basis of the opposition is on the broad nature of the Amendment, which in effect legalizes marijuana for recreational purposes. For 23 years it has been legal to use of marijuana for medical purposes in Florida. The Florida legislature during the 2014 session, expanded use of non-addictive marijuana derivatives for medical purposes only.

The following is the full text of the resolution:

RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE LEGALIZATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA

WHEREAS, the November 4, 2014, General Election ballot will contain Amendment 2 – the so-called Florida Right to Medical Marijuana; and

WHEREAS, the ballot initiative seeks to permit persons with nine specific medical conditions to have unlimited access to medical marijuana; and

WHEREAS, the Amendment also provides that medical marijuana can be dispensed without a physician’s prescription for broad but undefined “other conditions” which can include anything from back pain to trouble sleeping; and

WHEREAS, so-called caregivers will be legally permitted to dispense the drug to up to five persons without legal regulation; and a caregiver can be anyone from a felon to a drug dealer; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Missions has individual and corporate empathy for those Floridians suffering from debilitating diseases, but the Board does not believe legalizing an addictive drug without strong regulatory oversight is an appropriate solution; and

WHEREAS, the effort to legalize marijuana is contrary to the interests of the public health, safety and welfare, and will adversely affect the rights of citizens to live and work in a community where drug abuse is not accepted and citizens are not subjected to the adverse effects of the drug abuse; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED that the State Board of Missions of the Florida Baptist State Convention, go on record to oppose Amendment 2 that will appear on the November 4, 2014, General Election ballot; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board call upon Florida Baptist pastors to diligently encourage their church members to promote and vote to defeat Amendment 2; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Board request the Executive Director-Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, to take all reasonable actions to notify and create awareness among Florida Baptists on the importance of voting against Amendment 2.

Florida will have 1,789 pot shops if Amendment 2 passes

The Florida Department of Health has estimated that Florida will have 1,789 pot shops if Amendment 2 passes. The five counties with the largest estimated number of pot shops are:

  1. Miami-Dade with 239
  2. Palm Beach County with 126
  3. Broward County with 168
  4. Hillsborough County with 118
  5. Orange County (Orlando) with 112

In states like Washington and Colorado pot shops out number Starbucks in some areas.

Pot shops are coming to Florida should Amendment 2 pass. It is a booming business in other states. Growth is exponential.

Does this sound like medical use only?

Pinellas County Sheriff Gualtieri: Why I am against Florida marijuana Amendment 2

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is helping lead an effort to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana. Both a lawman and an attorney, Gualtieri was appointed sheriff by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011. He was elected in his own right the following year.

Gualtieri started his career as a Pinellas deputy in 1982. Promoted to detective, he investigated international drug and money-laundering crimes and became an expert in electronic surveillance. In 1998, he left the sheriff’s office to study law, graduating from the Stetson University College of Law in 2002. After a stint at a private law firm, Gualtieri returned to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office as general counsel in 2006. He was appointed chief deputy by Sheriff Jim Coats in 2008 and performed both functions until Coats retired and Gualtieri became sheriff.

Gualtieri also is well versed in child welfare, since Pinellas is one of the six Florida counties where sheriff’s departments conduct their own child-protection investigations.

The News Service of Florida has five questions for Bob Gualtieri:

Q: Why have you joined the opposition to Amendment 2?

GUALTIERI: Well, I think at the end of the day, it’s bad for Florida because it’s going to create — this is not about medical marijuana. You know, first and foremost, that’s why I’m opposed to it. This is really about legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

What the proponents are really after — and people who need it for medical purposes – is the THC that is in marijuana. And THC is what gives people relief, pain relief, will enhance appetites for people that need their appetite enhanced. And for at least 15 years, there are synthetic forms of THC that are available in pill forms and by prescription from physicians that are FDA approved, in Marinol and these other pills that are out there, that give them that. And so this is not about providing pain relief or any other type of relief for people who are truly, acutely ill and who need this, because it’s available in pill form.

This is really about smoke-able form, recreational-use, social-purpose marijuana use, and legalizing it across the board. So I think this whole advocacy by the proponents is really subterfuge for general recreational legalization. This isn’t about medical purposes.

Q: Would you oppose any medical marijuana proposal on principle? Or is your opposition to Amendment 2 mostly driven by concerns that its wording leaves room for abuse?

GUALTIERI: It’s not on principle. When I talk about this, I say, “Let’s assume, one, that there is medical benefit to, quote, marijuana, to THC, and the other things that are in marijuana. As an example, Charlotte’s Web and the CBD (cannibinoid) to help alleviate or eliminate seizures, especially in kids — I have no problem with that whatsoever. And most especially with CBD or Charlotte’s Web — it’s being administered in oil forms, in non-smoke-able forms. That’s medicine. It has a benefit.

So I have no issue or debate or question about whether the contents can provide and has legitimate medicinal or medical purposes. So it’s not a philosophy, it’s not a categorical opposition to it. It’s … this amendment is not about medicine and being compassionate and recognizing that people have needs. This amendment is — the problem is the wording of the amendment, not just what’s in it but what’s not in it: The lack of regulation, the lack of control, the lack of a scheme that will prevent what we just went through with the prescription drug-abuse epidemic, and having these pot docs that show up next to these dispensaries, and you’ve got just, really, just wholesale abuse.

Which leads to the question that people often ask when I say that, “Okay, so why are you opposed to recreational use?” We as a country, we as a community, have a very serious addiction problem. We see this time and time again. Law enforcement cannot solve this drug-abuse problem across the board, because it’s an addiction problem. So if we tell our kids, “Don’t smoke, don’t engage in recreational use of drugs, why are we then, now, going to legalize just one more thing that — from a social standpoint — will say, “It’s OK, because we as a society have legalized it” — and give people one more thing to be addicted to, to abuse, to cause problems. So it’s not good.

Q: What do you think of the way the new Charlotte’s Web law is being implemented? Any improvements you could suggest?

GUALTIERI: I think that the Department of Health is doing a decent job in how they’re going about the hearings and the rule-making process. I know that we as sheriffs and the Florida Sheriffs Association have had an opportunity to have representatives at the hearings and provide input on the rule; in fact, we had a conference call on it yesterday.

And if there is going to have to be rule-making as a result of Amendment 2 passing, I’m encouraged by how the Department of Health is handling it. So I say, “So far, so good,” from what I see as to how it’s being handled.

Q: The six county sheriff’s departments that do their own child-abuse investigations finally got a boost in funding this year. How would you evaluate their status at this point — are they committed to continuing as child-protective investigators or is the jury still out? 

GUALTIERI: Well, what was done by the Legislature and by the governor this year to put in place a framework — other than a political framework of a money grab, so that we actually have measurements in place to determine the appropriate budgets for the sheriffs who are doing child protection — it’s fantastic. It’s a huge step in the right direction. We accomplished a lot by it. It’s going to help us to retain competent child protection investigators, recruit competent child protection investigators, and so I think it’s great. It’s fantastic. The key to it, though, is that it’s sustained and that it’s all sustainable.

I think that we’re — I know I am — again, very encouraged by it. I think it sends the right message to those of us who are providing the services for the protection of kids across Florida. But I think for everybody, since this is the first year of it under this new framework, I think we need to see a couple of years of using that same formula and making sure it is sustained under that formula before anybody is going to have a high level of confidence. Because there’s no assurance it doesn’t go back to some other way in future years.

I think we’ve made great progress with it, I’m very optimistic about, but I think we also need to ensure that it’s sustained.

Q: We’re seeing a lot of news lately about the militarization of local law-enforcement agencies. Is that something that concerns you, or do you think it’s being hyped up?

GUALTIERI: I think it’s a bunch of hype. We’ve had either the same or similar equipment for many, many years. It hasn’t been available in the volume or to the extent that it is (now), so you didn’t see as many agencies in the past having it, but we’ve had it for years.

It’s all about using it in the right way, using it responsibly. We picked up …on a 1033 program, we picked up this year six Humvees and two (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known as MRAPs). We’ve had similar-type vehicles in the past, we’ve had them for years. There’s been no problem, there’s been no controversy, there’s been certainly no misuse of them. But when the time comes, and you need the resources, you need the assets — you need them now. You don’t need them tomorrow, it isn’t going to do you any good to start thinking about it. And so law enforcement needs rescue vehicles. If you have an officer or a deputy that’s been pinned down by gunfire, or a citizen, you need to be able to go in and get them out without somebody getting hurt. If you’ve got a sheet of water, you need to be able to get through it somehow in a storm.

So I think it’s a bunch of hype. I don’t think that it’s anything to get concerned about, and those of us that have had this equipment for years. Here, in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, we purchased what’s called a GPV, or general purpose vehicle, which is similar to an MRAP. We purchased it back in, I think 2005, 2006 for $300,000. Served us well. We used it for SWAT situations and high-risk situations and rescues and all kinds of different things without any issues or controversy.

And we’ve got an MRAP — I think it’s a $900,000 vehicle — we paid, like, $2,000 for it. So it could be sitting on some lot out in Texas, collecting dust, or be put to use here and save us a considerable amount of money. We’ve had the equipment, we will have the equipment, regardless of whether it comes from military surplus or we get it straight from a vendor. …So I think this is just a bunch of hype based on recent events.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tallahassee Democrat Laura Yard: Medical groups oppose Amendment 2

Biotech Researcher Finds Medical Pot Laced With Feces & Vaginal Bacteria

One of the fallacies of “medical” marijuana is that it is safe, much like the aspirin or prescription drugs we take based on a doctor’s order. That is not the case according to Bloomberg’s Peter Robinson. Robinson reports:

SNC00119

Oaksterdam Uk Blue Cheese/Blueberry Kush. Photo courtesy of Mary Janebly.

Months after her biotechnology company sold for $40 million, Jessica Tonani is on Seattle’s Highway 99, where Kurt Cobain in his final days shot heroin in cheap motels. She’s scoring a gram of Blueberry Kush.

Tonani doesn’t plan to smoke the pot. Her typical procedure is to isolate some of its DNA and bank it, sequence its genetic profile, and test it for bacteria. After her stop at Choice Wellness, a medical marijuana store in one of the states where pot is newly legal, she buys the same strain in three more places (often collecting a “new-patient gift” of pot-infused gummi bears or goldfish). The goal for her new company, Verda Bio, is to build a database bringing order to billions of potential DNA combinations and, eventually, create stable strains that people can grow like a Red Delicious apple.

[ … ]

Tonani analyzed more than 20 samples of Harlequin along with Analytical 360, a Seattle testing lab, and found that 22 percent were high in the psychedelic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and had almost no CBD. Any kids taking it were likely just getting stoned.

Tonani is also looking at contaminants to determine where they’re introduced and how to control for them. The first two samples turned up a long list of nastiness, including the fecal bacteria Enterobacter asburiae and the vaginal bacteriaGardnerella vaginalis. What this means, politely, is that many people handling pot don’t wash their hands.

Read more.

Others have found pot samples collected contaminated with pot shops rarely testing to insure customers get a safe product. “The whole thing is just so loose and unregulated,” said Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, Director of the Marijuana Research Project at the University of Mississippi.

Green-Crack-Screen-Shot-8-6-14

Green Crack ads on The Denver Post’s Cannabist website. For a larger view click on the image.

Bob Doyle, Chairman of the Colorado Smart Approaches to Marijuana Coalition, Christian Thurstone, M.D., General, child and addiction psychiatrist and A. Eden Evins, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School Director, Center for Addiction Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital in a letter to Greg Moore, Editor of The Denver Post, and Ricardo Baca, Editor of The Cannabist, wrote:

We are writing to express serious concerns regarding The Denver Post’s The Cannabist website’s recommendations of various marijuana strains to “treat” mental illnesses, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  We are writing as concerned professionals with extensive experience in mental health treatment, medicine, and/or public health.

The Denver Post’s web site provides information from Leafly.com listing 92 Colorado specific strains of marijuana with 88 claimed to treat depression, 25 to treat PTSD, 23 for bipolar, and 40 for ADHD (see attached document assembled by Bob Doyle, Chair, Colorado SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) Coalition).  And a few strains are noted to treat cancer.  The improper treatment or delay in effective treatment of mental health issues and major psychiatric illnesses can exacerbate the problem and could lead to additional harm to the patient and/or those around them.

In light of the serious potential impact of your recommendations, including possible delay in medical treatment for serious and potentially life threatening mental illnesses, and the potential for worsening of those illnesses by the marijuana you recommend, we request that you release the data upon which these recommendations for dispensing the specific marijuana strains as a treatment for bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, and depression are based.  We are sending a copy of this letter to medical authorities with knowledge of science and regulatory policies and procedures.

The absence of critical information on the web site for those accepting your advice to use the various marijuana strains is alarming and demonstrates a failure to appreciate the potential implications of your protocol.  For each of the strains, we request to know the recommended dosage, duration, the THC and CBD content, whether you’re recommending they be used with or without FDA approved medication or behavioral treatment for the condition, what contraindications are known, and whether other physical or mental health issues should preclude certain people from using the strain.

We look forward to your prompt reply given the seriousness of the claims on your web site and their potential negative impact on serious psychiatric conditions your web site claims will be “treated” by particular strains of marijuana.

This is coming to Florida now and will get worse if the Marijuana Amendment 2 passes in November. Gird your loins.

RELATED ARTICLES:

What Marijuana Might Do to Your Brain: The latest research suggests a link between the drug and laziness
‘Pot Trucks’ On Tap In Florida?
Medical Marijuana: Down The Rabbit Hole
The Real Story Behind Marijuana Legalization and Traffic Fatalities

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Jessica Tonani, President of Verda Bio testing pot samples in Washington state.

Social Media used to promote pot to young boys and girls

“As most of you know, I do a lot of training regarding the influence of popular culture on drug use, especially as it relates to marijuana. Our children are surrounded by books, magazines, fashion, television, movies, music and the ever present celebrities [see Mia Farrow tweet above] who extol the virtues of pot. These factors, combined with the business of Big Marijuana, and pro-pot lobbying organizations that spend millions to sell the idea of surrendering to the drug culture, are undoing decades of drug education work in America – all while the federal government (and many states) turn a blind eye to the social, economic and legal chaos being inflicted upon us,” notes Jessica Spencer, Florida Statewide Coalition Director for VoteNo2.org.

In a new study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, new evidence has emerged regarding the prevalence of pro-pot messages through Twitter and other social media outlets.

pro pot tweetYouth Regularly receive Pro-marijuana Tweets

Hundreds of thousands of American youth are following marijuana-related Twitter accounts and getting pro-pot messages several times each day, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found.

The tweets are cause for concern, they said, because young people are thought to be especially responsive to social media influences. In addition, patterns of drug use tend to be established in a person’s late teens and early 20s.

In a study published online June 27 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the Washington University team analyzed messages tweeted from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2013, by a Twitter account called Weed Tweets@stillblazintho. Among pro-marijuana accounts, this one was selected because it has the most Twitter followers — about 1 million. During the eight-month study period, the account posted an average of 11 tweets per day.
“As people are becoming more accepting of marijuana use and two states have legalized the drug for recreational use, it is important to remember that it remains a dangerous drug of abuse,” said principal investigator Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, PhD. “I’ve been studying what is influencing attitudes to change dramatically and where people may be getting messages about marijuana that are leading them to believe the drug is not hazardous.”

Although 19 states now allow marijuana use for medical purposes, much of the evidence for its effectiveness remains anecdotal. Even as Americans are relaxing their attitudes about marijuana, in 2011 marijuana contributed to more than 455,000 emergency room visits in the United States, federal research shows. Some 13 percent of those patients were ages 12 to 17.

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For a larger view click on the image.

A majority of Americans favor legalizing recreational use of the drug, and 60 percent of high school seniors report they don’t believe regular marijuana use is harmful. A recent report from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said that more Americans are using cannabis as their perception of the health risk declines. The report stated that for youth and young adults, “more permissive cannabis regulations correlate with decreases in the perceived risk of use.”

Cavazos-Rehg said Twitter also is influencing young people’s attitudes about the drug. Studying Weed Tweets, the team counted 2,285 tweets during the eight-month study. Of those, 82 percent were positive about the drug, 18 percent were either neutral or did not focus on marijuana, and 0.3 percent expressed negative attitudes about it.

Many of the tweets were meant to be humorous. Others implied that marijuana helps a person feel good or relax, and some mentioned different ways to get high.

With the help of a data analysis firm, the investigators found that of those receiving the tweets, 73 percent were under 19. Fifty-four percent were 17 to 19 years old, and almost 20 percent were 16 or younger. About 22 percent were 20 to 24 years of age. Only 5 percent of the followers were 25 or older.

“These are risky ages when young people often begin experimentation with drugs,” explained Cavazos-Rehg, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “It’s an age when people are impressionable and when substance-use behaviors can transition into addiction. In other words, it’s a very risky time of life for people to be receiving messages like these.”

Cavazos-Rehg said it isn’t possible from this study to “connect the dots” between positive marijuana tweets and actual drug use, but she cites previous research linking substance use to messages from television and billboards. She suggested this also may apply to social media.

“Studies looking at media messages on traditional outlets like television, radio, billboards and magazines have shown that media messages can influence substance use and attitudes about substance use,” she said. “It’s likely a young person’s attitudes and behaviors may be influenced when he or she is receiving daily, ongoing messages of this sort.”

The researchers also learned that the Twitter account they tracked reached a high number of African-Americans and Hispanics compared with Caucasians. Almost 43 percent were African-American, and nearly 12 percent were Hispanic. In fact, among Hispanics, Weed Tweets ranked in the top 30 percent of all Twitter accounts followed.

“It was surprising to see that members of these minority groups were so much more likely than Caucasians to be receiving these messages,” Cavazos-Rehg said, adding that there is particular concern about African-Americans because their rates of marijuana abuse and dependence are about twice as high as the rate in Caucasians and Hispanics.

The findings point to the need for a discussion about the pro-drug messages young people receive, Cavazos-Rehg said.

“There are celebrities who tweet to hundreds of thousands of followers, and it turns out a Twitter handle that promotes substance use can be equally popular,” she said. “Because there’s not much regulation of social media platforms, that could lead to potentially harmful messages being distributed. Regulating this sort of thing is going to be challenging, but the more we can provide evidence that harmful messages are being received by vulnerable kids, the more likely it is we can have a discussion about the types of regulation that might be appropriate.”

This study was funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Amnesty, legalizing marijuana and gun control: Creating a “cartel of death” in America

There has been much discussion about amnesty for illegal aliens in Congress. Democrats, led by President Obama, want amnesty at all cost. I recently had a conversation with Kelly Kirshner, the former Mayor of Sarasota, FL. He is planning a demonstration to promote “immigration reform”, which is code for amnesty. Kirshner believes he is doing good, when in fact he is promoting policies that will bring violence to America.

Dr. Lawrence W. Reed from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, created the Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy. Reed’s third principle states: Sound [public] policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people.

Amnesty (immigration reform) is inextricably linked to efforts to legalize drugs and control gun ownership in America. These three movements are joined at the hip and will, in the long term, lead to a “cartel of death” in America. By not taking into account the long-run effects and all people these policies will wreak havoc on our society, especially our youngest and most vulnerable.

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The major Mexican drug cartels. For a larger view click on the map.

Many have documented how our borders are not secure. Dennis Michael Lynch in his documentary “They Come To America” focuses on the land border between the United States and Mexico. Many ignore the border states along the Gulf of Mexico. Drug cartels, like the Gulf Cartel, use these porous borders to come to America transporting not only illegal aliens but also drugs and the certain violence that is part and parcel of the drug business.

There is a push by Libertarians, Democrats and some Republicans to legalize medical marijuana. This effort is only the first step, like in Colorado, to the full legalization of marijuana, like in Florida. By legalizing marijuana you legalize the cartels and the culture of death that comes with them and their drugs. President Obama gave banks permission to do business with marijuana distributors.

Sheila Polk in her op-ed column “Legalized marijuana: Colorado kids are paying the price” writes:

On Jan. 1, Colorado opened its doors to this nation’s first legal sale of recreational marijuana. Lost in the buzz is the documented impact of legal marijuana on Colorado children.

The reality about today’s marijuana, an addictive substance whose average potency has dramatically increased from 3 percent THC in the 1990s to almost 15 percent, should change everything that people think they know about the drug.

[ … ]

Past 30-day use of marijuana by teens 12 to 17 is highest in medical-marijuana states. In Denver between 2004 and 2010, past 30-day users of marijuana ages 12 and up increased 4.3 percent, while the increase for the nation was 0.05 percent.

By 2010, past 30-day use for this age group was 12.2 percent, compared to 6.6 percent for the country. One in six kids who start using marijuana becomes addicted.

Read more.

The below video is by the National Rifle Association. It is a different approach for the NRA in that it links the violence and the effort to demonize guns by President Obama, Michael Bloomberg, candidate for Florida governor Charlie Crist and others. We now know due to the work of bloggers and authors like Katie Pavlich, that these guns were provided by our own government in an operation named “Fast and Furious.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCDEFGH[/youtube]

Polk concludes with:

What can Arizona learn from this?

Lesson Number 1: We should not rush to experiment with an entire generation of our young people by legalizing marijuana. Use of marijuana by Arizona’s 8th, 10th and 12th graders has already increased by 14.4 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Lesson Number 2: We must build an environment in which every child can learn and thrive. That must include funding public education to heighten awareness about the harms of marijuana. Every child can succeed when adults believe in them and create safe communities for them.

Marijuana is never part of that equation.

A wise warning indeed. Drugs, children, violence and guns make for a toxic combination.

EDITORS NOTE: Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney and co-chair of MATFORCE, the Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition. The featured image is courtesy of  activist Thomas Good, who is in costume – “recruiting” for the military as the Grim Reaper, October 2007. The photograph was taken by the subject’s 14-year-old son, Nathaniel Good. In March of 2007 the photo was reprinted as the cover shot on “Peacework” magazine, a publication of the American Friends Service Committee.

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Florida AG Pam Bondi Says “No” To Marijuana Measure

Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, continues to say no to pot, as she continues to press the left-leaning Florida Supreme court to scrap the legalization of medical marijuana measure that will be on the November ballot.

The initiative would allow marijuana to be used in several specified conditions. But it also includes a part that says it could be used for “any other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

Bondi, a Republican elected in 2010, said that language is too broad and will allow greater use of marijuana than the public has been told by supporters. She cited a scenario of a 15-year-old boy being able to get a marijuana prescription for a minor pain through a chiropractor as a possibility. She said voters are not getting a clear explanation of what they are being asked to approve.

“They need to know what they are voting for,” Bondi said during a joint meeting with the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Sarasota.

The Republican-led Florida legislature is open to the idea of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, and are trying to find a balance with the controversial issue.

Word to the legalizing marijuana lobby, quit smoking your own issue, and work with the legislature to find a solution that will benefit everyone.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Shark Tank.

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Justin Bieber: Poster Boy for anti-Marijuana legalization in Florida?

The Democrats, and some Republicans, are pushing to legalize marijuana for medical use in Florida. These politicians are seeing more revenue from taxing this noxious weed and could care less about the human costs or social consequences. For you see, legalization for medical use is not the end game. The end game is legalization of marijuana, period. Just look at Colorado. It is a government and corporate cash cow but at what cost?

Florida Representative Katie Edwards (D-FL District 98) sent out an email quoting an article by the Sun Sentinel’s Susannah Bryan. The article states, “Two Florida representatives, Katie Edwards and Matt Gaetz, are taking steps to help families statewide gain access to a strain of marijuana that’s shown promise in treating children who suffer from seizures.” Representative Matt Gaetz is a Republican representing District 4. Gaetz is Chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Floridians must realize that what Edwards and Gaetz are really pushing: Drug addiction in minors. Perhaps Floridians need to look at what happened in Miami with Justin Bieber to see what the outcome of legalization will lead to.

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Khalil Amir Sharieff

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Justin Bieber mugshot.

The Sun Sentinel‘s Linda Trischitta and Mike Clary reported, “During the investigation, Mr. Bieber made statements that he had consumed some alcohol, had been smoking marijuana and consumed some prescription medication,” Martinez said.”

Trischitta and Clary note, “Bieber, 19, was charged with driving under the influence, resisting arrest without violence and having an expired driver’s license from the state of Georgia, Miami Beach Police Detective Vivian Hernandez said. Bieber and a friend, singer Khalil Amir Sharieff, 19, of Calabasas, Cal., were in separate sports cars when they were stopped by police at 4:10 a.m. near Pine Tree Drive on Miami Beach. Sharieff was charged with DUI, police said.”

The Smoking Gun has more to the story. According to SMG, “Singer Justin Bieber–belligerent and apparently stoned on a mixture of beer, pot, and prescription drugs–cursed out a cop who had stopped his Lamborghini, demanding, ‘Why the fuck are you doing this?’ and ‘What the fuck did I do. Why did you stop me?’ according to a police arrest report.” Oh, by the way this is not Bieber’s first run in with using drugs and smoking weed. Here is another Bieber possession of weed story in California.

Marshall Frank, a retired South Florida police officer, writes in his column “Marijuana is a Dangerous Drug: Let Children Know the Truth“:

In a nutshell, here are the main reasons marijuana is harmful.

  • It impairs judgment for driving that cannot be detected like alcohol.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse cites long term use deters IQ, especially when adolescents begin using in the teen years.
  • Regular use causes lethargy, lack of ambition and memory problems.
  • Long term use is linked to mental problems, such as paranoia and schizophrenia.
  • Marijuana is addictive to people who have a predisposition to addictions

Casual marijuana is still illegal in 48 states, which results in the arrests of nearly one million people a year, giving them criminal records that affect their lives.

Gateway drug? Some say yes, some no. Here’s the truth: If you’re prone to enjoying drugs, marijuana will likely be your first, but not your last.

Perhaps Morgan & Morgan, the Tampa law firm pushing for the legalization of marijuana for medical use will hire Justin to be their spokesperson?

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FL Reps. Edwards (D) and Gaetz (R) pushers of Drug Addiction in Children?

Florida Representative Katie Edwards (D-FL District 98) sent out an email quoting an article by the Sun Sentinel’s Susannah Bryan. The article states, “Two Florida representatives, Katie Edwards and Matt Gaetz, are taking steps to help families statewide gain access to a strain of marijuana that’s shown promise in treating children who suffer from seizures.” Representative Matt Gaetz is a Republican representing District 4. Gaetz is Chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee.

Bryan notes, “Although 21 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana, the federal government still lists cannabis as a highly addictive and dangerous ‘Schedule 1’ drug, along with heroin and LSD.”

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Floridians must realize that what Edwards and Gaetz are really pushing: Drug addiction in minors.

gaetz mug shot

Matt Gaetz mug shot.

Gaetz was arrested for violating Statute 316.193-1DUI Alcohol or Drugs 1st offence, in Okaloosa County, FL in 2008. Gaetz was released after paying a $500 bond. So Gaetz has some personal experience with addiction? Not sure Floridians want this man telling us that children should be using marijuana. I guess being arrested qualifies you to be Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee.

Florida has a growing problem with drug abuse, especially among children. FL Attorney General Pam Bondi is concerned about drugs in general, including prescription and synthetic drugs sold in Florida. AG Bondi stated in an October press release, “I will remain vigilant in my efforts to keep these drugs off store shelves and will continue to outlaw emergent synthetic drug compounds. These drugs pose a serious threat to Floridians, particularly our youth. I thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their continued partnership in the fight against synthetic drugs.”

The Tampa law firm of Morgan & Morgan is pushing the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida. Morgan & Morgan partner Charlie Crist is also promoting a medical marijuana amendment to the Florida Constitution.

Canada has decided to end their Marihuana Medical Access Program effective March 31, 2014. According to CBC News in Canada, “The Canadian Medical Association is worried that as large medical marijuana grow facilities get federal licences, more patients will be clamouring for a drug many doctors are uncomfortable prescribing. Starting April 1, medical marijuana users in Canada will no longer be able to grow their own. Instead, they’ll have to get pot from producers licensed by Health Canada.”

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Katie Edwards

Dr. Louis Francescutti, president of the Canadian Medical Association, stated, “We’re asking them [Canadian doctors] to prescribe a product that really has not been tested as rigorously as any other product that’s out there and basically writing it with your eyes blindfolded and assuming all the risks that go with it.” Francescutti also has concerns about marijuana’s potential dangers, especially when there are other proven medications for controlling pain and nausea available.

The Providence Journal’s Ellen Jean Hurst writes, “Even though 20 states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana, swayed in part by thousands of personal testimonies, current research hasn’t nailed down exactly if, and how, marijuana alleviates all the specific diseases the drug is being legalized to treat, experts say.” Hayes titled her column “Health effects of medical marijuana still hazy.”

The legalization of medical marijuana is the first step to the full legalization of marijuana in Florida, as happened in Colorado.

BizPac Review reports, “Amid the universal celebration of the legalized sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado this week, a two-year-old there has tested positive for pot.” Jason Salzman from the Huffington Post reports, “Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) delivered a major buzz kill on the radio Wednesday, saying he’s worried that pot legalization might keep Fortune 500 companies out of Colorado and drive down the state economy.” Gee how with that fit in with Governor Rick Scott’s “Here’s What’s Working” campaign?

Are Edwards and Gaetz nothing but drug pushers of the worst kind? Time will tell as we observe the downsides of drug use in other states and the iffy nature of its medical uses.

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