According to the pro-marijuana lobby the U.S. is on the fast track to legalization nationwide. A new study refutes this claim outright, citing evidence from African-American and Latino New York registered voters. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and their New York Affiliate, SAM-NY, today released the results of a Emerson College poll conducted to gauge the public opinion of marijuana policy. The results are telling and marijuana legalization is hitting a roadblock:
76 percent of respondents did not support marijuana advertising
73 percent did not support public use of marijuana
58 percent did not support marijuana stores in their neighborhoods
Minority communities overwhelmingly opposed the full-scale legalization. Only 22 percent of Latinos and 24 percent of African Americans support legalization
“New Yorkers do not support pot legalization. This poll shows us that elected officials need to slow down,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of SAM Action. “This poll shows similar results to our poll of New York voters in December — legalization is far from a slam dunk. One of the crucial takeaways from this is that minority communities are firmly opposed to legalization. And they should be — pot arrests for African American and Latino youth have gone up since legalization in Colorado. Pot shops are always predominately in lower income neighborhoods.”
To read the full poll — methodology, results, demographics, survey instrument — click here. And check out the full press release here: more-than-half…-college-poll
On the four year anniversary of the “Cole Memorandum” – the Obama-era guidelines allowing marijuana legalization in some U.S. states – Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing evidence-based marijuana laws and led by a former Obama-appointed official released a new report demonstrating that states with legal marijuana have failed to meet U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) rules designed to keep federal officials from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in states with legal marijuana. The report, entitled “The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later” is the first comprehensive census of open source information measuring state compliance of the eight rules designed to keep federal officials from interfering in state markets.
The United States has replaced drug prevention strategy with a “Harm Reduction” strategy. We need to look at the current heroin epidemic and acknowledge that the United States loses 129 people each day to drug overdose deaths, up from 78 a day a few years ago. We have less than 5% of the world’s population and nearly 60% of the world’s drug users. Let’s prevent initiation into drug use and bring down the desire to do drugs.
Speaking in Vienna last week, Carlsson said, “A successful drug policy makes clear that drug use is unacceptable. ” Carlsson described the false premises surrounding marijuana in his presentation. Here are excepts from his speech with very minor edits:
The first false premise is that The Criminalization of Drugs Fuels the HIV/AIDS Epidemic. It does not.
The prohibition of illegal drug use does not encourage the spread of HIV/AIDS. Rather it reduces illegal drug use among HIV/AIDS patients, as well as the non-infected population thereby reducing the population vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection by contaminated needles.
Illegal drug use exacerbates weaknesses of the immune system, making individuals with AIDS more susceptible to infection and death. Marijuana use causes impaired immunity and opens the door for the virus that causes Kaposi’s Sarcoma, life-threatening for individuals with HIV/AIDS. Marijuana also contains bacteria and fungi that put users at risk for infection.
Illegal drug use among AIDS patients is life threatening because these drugs lessen the effectiveness of anti-retroviral (ARV) medications.
Non-medical drug use is associated with increased risky sexual behaviors, which promote transmission of HIV/AIDS in a way that needle exchange cannot prevent.
The second false premise is that the Criminal Justice System and the Public Health System are Conflicting Approaches to Drug Policy. They are not.
The Criminal Justice System and the Public Health System Are Complementary and Not Conflicting Approaches to Drug Policy.
Prevention and treatment are programs that promote public safety and public health. “Harm reduction” tolerates, and thus perpetuates, non-medical drug use.
“Harm reduction” seeks to reduce the “harm” caused by non-medical drug use without stopping the use itself. Substance abuse prevention and treatment work to stop non-medical drug use. Making non-medical drug use as a crime is an important public health strategy that reduces many of the “harms” produced by illegal drug use.
The challenge of future drug policy is to find ways to encourage the legal and justice systems to work better together with prevention and treatment to achieve goals that neither can do alone.
Treatment systems can work together with the criminal justice system by incorporating new, effective and evidence-based strategies to reduce illegal drug use among criminal offenders. These approaches also reduce the commission of new crimes and associated incarceration.
The third false premise is that Major Costs of illegal Drug Use are generated by the criminal justice system itself. It is not.
The greatest costs of illegal drug use are not generated by criminal justice system but by the non-medical drug use itself.
The costs include not only sickness and death but also reduced productivity and the high healthcare costs generated by illegal drug use.
The future of an improved drug policy is not to legalize intoxicating drugs of abuse, including marijuana.
It is the development of a balanced, restrictive drug policy that prevents drug use and intervenes with drug users to provide them with a path to life-long recovery.
Instead of legalizing drugs, an enlightened drug policy can harness the criminal justice system to thwart drug markets, facilitate entry into treatment and restrict incarceration to egregious offenders.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.