Category Archives: Child Endangerment

Marijuana and Deadly Car Crashes

Marijuana use confessed by driver in Times Square incident

A man in Times Square drove his car for three blocks on the sidewalk killing one young adult and injuring 22 others. The driver was Richard Rojas, a Navy veteran who lived in the Bronx. Rojas confessed to smoking marijuana laced with PCP just prior to the incident.

Richard Rojas-Times Square- Marijuana

When he was arrested there was suspicion of either DUI or DWI given his arrest history which is rather extensive. He was arrested just over a week ago for a menacing charge as well as criminal possession of a weapon which consisted of him pulling a holding a knife to the throat of a 45 year old man on May 11.

He was also arrested on 4/23/15 for DWI to which he pleaded guilty to “Operating Motor Vehicle While Impaired by Alcohol.” In 2012 he was arrested for suspicion of battery after he attacked a cab driver, refusing to pay the $44 fare. Rojas was also arrested 8/26/08 for another DWI in Queens.

In 2014 he was, “Other than honorably discharged” from the navy due to his actions.After the crash yesterday he was taken to check for drugs and alcohol in his system and it was reported that PCP, K2 (synthetic marijuana), and marijuana were all found in his system.

Out of the 22 people who were injured, four of those were labeled as “critical” one of those being the deceased’s younger sister.  Rojas has been charged with murder, 20 additional counts of attempted murder, along with aggravated vehicular homicide. See CNN article, New York Times Square Driver Charged.

Woman drives car into Las Vegas Strip

Unfortunately this scene is all too familiar as last year in Nevada a homeless woman drove her car into countless people on the strip while her three year old daughter was in the back seat. The suspect, Lakeisha Holloway, “went up and off these streets, two or possibly three times.

Lakeisha Holloway- Las Vegas Strip- Marijuana intoxication

The subject then allegedly drove off before being apprehended outside the Tuscany Casino. She left her child in the car, approached a valet and told him, ‘she ran over some individuals on Las Vegas Boulevard’.” She is accused of killing one person, 32 year old Jessica Valenzuela, and injuring an additional 37 people.

She picked up 71 different charges, most of them being for attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon.  After a toxicology report was performed, it was determined that marijuana was in her system but prosecutors said it was unlikely that she would be charged with driving under the influence.

According to Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo, “The amount of marijuana and marijuana metabolite does not appear to be enough to affect her mental state at the time of the crime, she intentionally drove into the crowd.”  The 3.5 nanogram per milliliter of marijuana in her blood were above the 2-nanogram limit in Nevada and the 23.6 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolites in her system were above the 5-nanogram state limit.

Needless to say it is rather clear that this woman was seriously impaired and she should not have been driving. During an examination after her arrest it was also reported that, “she appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant.”

Driving stoned is never a good idea as these two stories suggest. It does not matter if you think you are able to drive, the drugs can always have a weird effect on your impulse control and decision making.

Neither of the two drivers were injured in the crashes which just reinforces that regardless of whether you are behind the wheel or not you should always be careful when you are out and about. Marijuana should not be used at all, especially now that we are seeing that its use can cause death. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

Marijuana Drivers Deliberately Aim to Kill?

Above are just a couple of examples that have happened recently.

Another eerily similar incident in Oregon is featured in a recent blog on Poppot.org.  A man in Salem Oregon smoked pot and then deliberately mowed down a man in his car, killing him.  See the Poppot.org article, Legalization Prioritizes Profits Over Human Life.

Here is a story on Momsstrong.org which describes a marijuana impaired driver deliberately trying to run over a squirrel. Instead, he lost control of the car and killed his best friend. Read The Deadly Consequences of Marijuana Use.

 

The Emerald Triangle, America’s Top Pot-Growing Region

Emerald-TriangleThe Emerald Triangle…A Devastating Scene

People who smoke pot may envy the power of the marijuana growers in the Emerald Triangle. Marijuana controls the economy in Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino Counties of Northern California. Shasta County also has a huge marijuana industry, often hidden in its dense forests. Sometimes the police forces and local governments buy into the trade. But for residents who don’t use pot or drink or use other drugs, the growers and dealers are a major threat to safety and security.

Child abuse and neglect problems are rampant in this area which boasts that it supplies 60% of our nation’s marijuana supply. Many children grow up knowing that no one really cares about them. The violent child murders by marijuana grower Shane Miller is not so surprising in this area.  Last July Marijuana-wax user Matthew Graham, also from Shasta County died in a shootout with police, but he is suspected of killing his baby. It seems like each new case of child abuse is worse than the last, such as the recent discovery in Eureka of two children who died in a storage unit.

The state legislature is afraid to put teeth in any legislation to control the marijuana growers, and right now the Federal Government is providing no funds to go after medical marijuana providers, although so many of these providers cross the line into drug dealing (most of the medical marijuana industry in California).

People who grow marijuana or who have lots of marijuana can make the most money, so the fight for control of this money drives the crime. Here’s news from the Humboldt County Sheriff Department’s about a recent hash oil explosion in Eureka and how it effects other people.

In addition to hash oil explosions, there are many home invasions such as the one that happened on the night of February 28, 2016 in Weitchpec. Welcome to the world of marijuana.

“Victims told deputies at about 9:30 p.m. three males, one armed with a pistol and two with shotguns, entered their residence. The suspects were wearing jackets with Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office emblems. The suspects tied up the victims with zip ties and the suspects demanded marijuana, cash, and guns. The three suspects stole cash and a 2014 white Toyota Tundra pick-up truck prior to leaving the scene.”

Here’s some charts to show a comparison of the crime rate in Humboldt County compared to the rest of the country.

Recently, Time Magazine listed Redding (population about 90,000) in Shasta County as one of the worst places in the country for its growing crime rate:

“There were 1,298 violent crimes in the Redding metro area in 2012, up from 851 violent crimes in 2007. On a standardized, per 100,000 resident basis, violent crime rose more than 53% in that time. Additionally, property crimes rose by more than 50%, the most of any metro area reviewed, despite a nationwide 12.7% decline in such crimes during that time. According to the Redding Record Searchlight, some area residents believe that the area’s high crime rates may be related to marijuana cultivation. Officials in Shasta County — which makes up the Redding metro area — recently elected to ban outdoor growing, although the city of Redding is not included in the ban.”

The Emerald Triangle provides insight into what will happen if the marijuana groups get to control of California and the rest of the United States and Canada.

Marijuana and the Vulnerable Street Kids

By Roger Morgan, Take Back America Campaign, #StopPot on social media

People that grow and sell marijuana and other drugs aren’t the world’s finest to begin with, so it isn’t a surprise that they prey on street kids from California to London and beyond. They’re easy targets for sexual abuse and slavery; a real human tragedy.

In Lake County, California, police arrested 30-year-old Ryan Balletto and 25-year-old Patrick Pearmain, initially for a massive marijuana grow on 680 acres, only to discover that they held a 15-year-old runaway as a sex slave, and forced her to help with the cultivation.  She was even held captive in a metal box 4’ x 2’ x 2’ twice for up to 30 hours.   The girl was from southern California, but ended up at a northern California grow site.

street-kids
Ryan Balletto and Bruce Pearmain shown the Lake County Grow.  The girl kept for work and sex with these growers is just of many street kids.

A child sex-ring in Denver, Colorado, used marijuana and other drugs to lure children into their sex trade. Brock Franklin and six others have been indicted on 59 counts.  Officials say that Denver has evolved into a breeding ground for sex-traffickers who lure young runaways, often in exchange for drugs.  In June 2014, when FBI announced it had rescued 168 child victims nationwide, 18 were in Colorado. Tom Ravenelle of the FBI said he’s seen print and online advertisements with keywords like “4-20 friendly.” 

Last month in Portland, Oregon, a man was arrested for pimping a 15-year-old runaway girl he had lured through online ads. He traded sex for food, drugs and cash and pimped her out to others, claiming he thought she was 18.

Recently forty-four year old Timothy Burns of Arlington, Texas was arrested for having sex with 14-16 year-old girls — soliciting them on the sugar daddy website. He gave the girls marijuana and alcohol to prime them for having sex and exchanged large amounts of cash.

Homeless Children in Mendocino County

A friend and colleague reports there are 700 homeless kids in Mendocino County.  Many of these street kids find work during marijuana harvest season, then they languish under bridges or wherever they can find shelter with no means of support. With none of life’s essentials, they have to turn to crime or prostitution for survival. In a county which bases its economy on cultivation this illicit crop, growers are making millions of dollars while creating a public welfare problem for the most vulnerable among us.

My friend says that many of the kids in Juvenile Hall, 13-and 14-year-olds, can’t read or write.  Many have never known the joy of having a birthday or Christmas present. Just forgotten souls, victims of our failure as a society to utilize all resources to keep them away from drugs and provide safe passage to adulthood.

The many adults who wish to use drugs to lure children is a threat to society.  Combined with the deterioration of the family and widespread loss of faith and community, many children and teens are attracted to the alternative, drug-loving lifestyle.

street-kids
Guns in the collection of the pot growers who kept girl in a box. Photo: Lake County Sheriff

From personal experience, I can attest to the nightmare of trying to cope with a drug-addicted child. Once their brain is altered by drugs, they are incapable of rational conversation. After multiple failed attempts at treatment and rehab, sometimes its tough love and children are forced out of the home. Parents who take this approach need to know the terrible violence they’re exposed to after they become street kids. With no money, job skills, food and shelter these children are perfect prey for anyone who offers a helping hand.

Streets Kids and Youth in Denver and Seattle

Many are attracted to places like Colorado and Washington where they can smoke pot with no possibility of arrest, or get a job working in the marijuana industry. Since Colorado legalized marijuana, their shelters have seen a 40 to 50% increase in homelessness.  Homelessness has also spiked in Seattle.

In Seattle, 50 acres of land owned by the Washington state Department of Transportation houses 400 people in tents. After 5 people were shot in a drug deal gone bad in January, the city is struggling with what to do. The site is rampant with problems of rape, assault and drugs run rampant. It is filed with stolen articles including brief cases, computers, luggage, bicycles and used needles. The human waste leaches into the nearby river, and there is superficial damage on the bridge overpasses. It is considered so dangerous that addiction and homeless outreach services won’t even go there.

Given the many challenges confronting child-rearing today, one thing is clear. Preventing or deferring the onset of alcohol, tobacco and drug use, starting with marijuana, is a big part of the solution. Young people who have moved to states like Colorado for the freedom to use pot are oblivious to the harms that marijuana inflicts on the brains of anyone under age 25. They’re also unaware of those who will exploit them for personal gain with no concern for their well being.

2016 Marijuana Legalization Initiative Comparison

SAFE AND DRUG FREE COMMUNITY ACT COMPARED TO NEWSOM’S MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION INITIATIVE

Since Prop 215 (The Compassionate Use Act) was enacted in 1996, California has devolved into de facto legalization.  Over 50,000 cultivation sites grow marijuana under the guise of medicine, then illegally sell it to 60% of the United States market for recreational use.  In the meantime, massive quantities of our precious water is being used for marijuana cultivation, resulting in destruction of our natural resources and ruining the quality of life in once fine communities.

Currently, a whopping 19.5% of the California budget is directed towards dealing with issues related to substance abuse. However, surprisingly only 1% of this 19.5% is spent on prevention. Most of it is used for shoveling up the damage and treating the wounded, horrible economic policy. Furthermore, out of the 129 Americans who die every day of drug overdose, almost all started their drug journey with marijuana, and 59% of people arrested (Sacramento) test positive for marijuana.

Against this background, two contrasting ballot initiatives will be introduced to the California voters in the 2016 elections: The Safe and Drug-Free Community Act and Newsom’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The former seeks to prevent our California communities from transforming into drug production and consumption havens, and preserve our natural resources for our future generations; the latter seeks to make marijuana, universally known as the “gateway drug”  widely available, without considering the social, economic and environmental cost of the drug.

SAFE AND DRUG-FREE COMMUNITY ACT

The Safe and Drug-Free Community Act which which seeks to prevent marijuana use will save lives, cut crime, improve academic achievement, save taxpayers billions of dollars and help regain and retain all that made California and this nation great.

The Safe and Drug-Free Community Act addresses the marijuana related issues faced by California communities as follows:

  • Keeps marijuana illegal. Today’s high potency marijuana is known to cause brain damage, mental illness, psychotic breaks, suicidal depression, harms to a fetus, and increased traffic deaths.
  • Would prevent privately owned cultivation sites which are destroying our natural resources, sucking up mass quantities of water (6 gallons/day/plan) and causing irreparable ecological damage.  One cultivation site will remain, owned and controlled by the government to fulfill the intent of Prop 215.
  • Privately owned dispensaries will be banned to stop the enormous abuse that has and continues to take place.   State owned dispensaries will be allowed where local communities choose to allow them and “medical marijuana” will be more tightly controlled with lab testing, packaging, potency and consists. 
  • The legal age of “medical marijuana” will be raised from 18 to 21. The American Society of Addictive Medicine recommends no one under age 25 use marijuana based on scientific evidence that the human brain isn’t fully developed until then.  Ages 18, 19 and 20 are critical years for brain development, and at least closer to brain maturity, where the vulnerability to harm is far less. 
  • Imposes strict standards on doctors who recommend marijuana, something currently lacking. 
  • Requires dispensaries to report marijuana as part of CURES Act so pharmacists can safe guard against adverse interactions with conflicting medicines that could cause harm. 
  • Sets a standard for marijuana impaired driving.  Currently 12.6% of drivers (one-in-eight) are driving impaired to some degree by marijuana.  Traffic deaths owing to marijuana have doubled in California.  Stoned drivers are even killing people on sidewalks. 
  • Mandates a statewide educational program for parents, teachers, students and the general public so people can make an informed decision about using marijuana, allowing their children to use it, or what and whom to vote for.

NEWSOM’S ADULT USE OF MARIJUANA ACT THREATENS OUR FUTURE

As with Prop 215, this ballot initiative is once again financed by drug money that flows from and through out-of-state billionaires who are putting millions into their campaign to persuade California citizens to overlook the harmful effects of the drug. New York billionaire Sean Parker has been recruited to augment money that will flow from George Soros and the DPA. Despite openly stating that he doesn’t want marijuana near his own children, Lt Governor Gavin Newsom, is leading the legalization effort full force. Their stated benefits of legalization and arguments for it are frankly an affront to one’s intellect:

  1. They Say It Will Protect Our Kids – They want to tax and regulate marijuana so we have money to teach our kids not to use it.  Brilliant!  Expanding the availability and access will increase adolescent use as it has in Colorado, Washington and all places in the world where it has been decriminalized.
  2. They Say It Is For Adult Use Only – Today’s highly potent pot can cause permanent physical and chemical changes in the brains of anyone under 25 years old.  Marijuana use peaks at age 20 and tapers off rather rapidly after age 25, so the focus from a marketing standpoint is on young people, just like Big Tobacco.   Governor Brown has stated, “…How many people can be stoned and still enable us to have a great state and nation?”  Actually it’s worse than just getting stoned. Diminished intellect, mental illness, psychotic breaks, depression, suicidal tendencies and addiction are life-long chronic conditions.   You can’t just sleep it off. 
  3. They Say It Can Be Regulated – If the government was capable of, or cared about regulation, God knows they would have demonstrated it by now. California has over 50,000 mostly illegal cultivation sites producing pot under the guise of medicine, then illegally selling to 60% of the US market.  In the meantime, the pot plantations are inflicting irreparable harm on our precious ecosystems.
  4. They Say It Will Benefit The State Economically – The social costs of marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, are 10 times greater than tax revenues.  Expanding the use of marijuana for the sake of the 8% who want to get high, or make money on those who do, will cost the other 92% more. Nor will the black market go away.  Cartels don’t pay taxes so they have a price advantage.  
  5. They Say They Want Local Government Control – Over 83% of California communities currently have bans or moratoriums on marijuana because they don’t want this junk in their communities.  Under the Newsom initiative local communities would lose that control unless the people, through a ballot initiative, decide they don’t want it.  How’s that for “slipping it to you?”
  6. It Would Retain “Medical Marijuana– The existing program which allows anyone over 18, for any purported illness, to access all of the pot they want for personal consumption or to sell, doesn’t go away.  We already have de facto legalization, producing more pot than Californians can consume. 

Marijuana is a dangerous drug, with proven ability to destroy the brains of our youth, inflict irreparable harm on our natural resources and pose a public health and safety problem for everyone.  Anyone that aspires to be Governor of this fine state needs to demonstrate that protecting people, the planet and our tax dollars are of higher priority than pandering for drug money for his or her personal campaign.

In the interest of public safety and environmental protection, just defeating full legalization isn’t adequate.  We need to roll back what exists.

TELL THE OUT-OF-STATE BILLIONAIRES TO GO PACKING!