Category Archives: Other States

Arizona Catholic Bishops Issue Statement Against Legalization

The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference oppose the campaign to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona because it is harmful to both children and families in Arizona.  (Editor’s Note: It would be helpful if the California Bishops also came out and made a statement as these Arizona Bishops recently did.)

Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana sends a message to children and young people that drug use is socially and morally acceptable. As people of faith, we must speak out against this effort and the damaging effects its passage would have on the children and families of Arizona.

Studies have shown that adolescents who use marijuana have significant differences in brain structure and cognitive functioning compared to those who do not use marijuana and experience up to an eight-point drop in IQ. Furthermore, based on what happened in just two years after Colorado legalized marijuana, it is estimated that if Arizona passes this measure, tens of thousands of additional 8th graders here will smoke marijuana for the first time. Marijuana-related traffic accidents and other problems are also likely to dramatically increase if recreational marijuana use is legalized.

In Colorado for example, marijuana-related traffic deaths dramatically increased after recreational marijuana was legalized. Additionally, Colorado witnessed similar dramatic increases in hospitalizations and emergency room visits related to marijuana usage after recreational use was legalized. In states that have legalized marijuana, there has also been an increase in the use of harder drugs like cocaine and heroin since marijuana was legalized, which only further increased societal costs.

For the reasons mentioned above, and others, it is anticipated that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona will lead to more abuse by teens, more emergency room visits, more traffic deaths, and more societal costs. Accordingly, due to the detrimental effect it would have on children, families, and all of society, we strongly oppose this dangerous proposal. Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix Bishop of Phoenix Most Rev. James S. Wall Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas Bishop of Gallup Bishop of Tucson

Case to Challenge Pot Legalization Ballot goes to Highest Court

Marijuana Industry To Come Clean About Reliance on Highly Potent Products In Massachusetts

Tomorrow the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts will hear a case to dismiss the petition to legalize commercial marijuana. Hensley vs. Attorney General was filed about five weeks ago.  The suit  alleges voters have not been told that high concentrations of THC could be added to food or beverages, such as candy, cookies or soda, under this proposal. Nor were voters told that the question would allow for the sale of genetically modified forms of marijuana with THC concentrations of 60 percent or higher.  The Bellotti Law Group filed the suit on behalf of 59 voters.l

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts is not a party to the suit, but the campaign believes that legal challenge raises important issues, especially the high THC levels of today’s marijuana products.  The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts reiterated its call on the marijuana industry to discuss the fact that it will rely on highly potent products in Massachusetts.

One Marijuana Industry representative in Colorado admitted that efforts to cap THC levels at a rate above what the Dutch government has moved to classify as a prohibited hard drug would “gut the industry” in that state.

Statement from Nick Bayer, campaign manager for a Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts:

“As this case is heard before the SJC, we believe the Marijuana Industry should acknowledge what we all know, that it will need to rely on highly potent products in Massachusetts to make a profit. This ballot question would open the door to the selling of a drug that is 400% more potent than the marijuana of even a generation ago, and edible products that have no restrictions placed on THC levels. People deserve to know what they are voting on, and this more powerful drug will have a great impact on families and young people.”

Some additional facts include:

Today’s commercial marijuana industry is producing and pushing products with average THC (the psychoactive element which creates the high) levels multiple times higher than found in the 1970s—frequently at or above the 15% THC level that the Dutch government has moved to classify as a prohibited “hard drug.”

Edible products, which the ballot measure specifically authorizes, make up about half the marijuana market in Colorado and would likely do the same here. Edibles use extracts with THC content that can rise as high as 90%.

In a recent interview, the head of Colorado’s marijuana trade association told a news outlet that an effort in his state to cap THC levels at 16% “literally would gut” his industry. Marijuana Business Daily quoted Mike Elliot, executive director of The Marijuana Industry Group, as saying the proposed THC cap would “would probably ban all the concentrates and most of the edibles and most of the flowers that people grow, too. Most of the flower that our industry is growing is above 16% THC.”

A bi-partisan group of politicians is leading the charge against legalization in Massachusetts, including Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.   An impressive group of school superintendents and other civic organizations have already spoken out against legalization.  It’s time that similar leadership form in California.

Montana, Other States Beat Marijuana Madness

In Montana, a Supreme Court ruling clamped down on commercial marijuana sales by limiting the number of patients for individual medical marijuana providers.  To avoid large-scale commercial distribution, the judges agreed that providers can have a maximum of three medical marijuana clients, and that they may be compensated. The ruling also upheld important provisions of a law passed in 2011, including the ban on medical marijuana advertising and the automatic review for doctors who recommend medical marijuana.

Safe Montana Launches

Safe Montana has launched a petition drive to protect the citizens of that state from drugs and to put Montana in alignment with federal law.  Stephen Zabawa has launched the petition and is currently working to get 25,000 signatures for a ballot initiative in November.  It is called, “No to Illegal Drugs” – I-176

A year ago it seemed that marijuana legalization was inevitable.  Then voters in Ohio rejected marijuana legalization by 2 to 1 in November, 2015.  This defeat seems to have ended the marijuana industry’s winning streak.

Marijuana lobbyists are losing many battles in state governmental bodies.  The New Mexico legislature killed a marijuana legalization measure in February.

In New Hampshire, also in February, legislators voted against a House bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.  Opponents questioned the wisdom of making another addictive drug legal during a time of drug overdoses and death.

A marijuana decriminalization bill failed in Wyoming.  It was the third year in a row that marijuana advocates tried to pass a bill which would have reduced the fine for pot possession, from $500 to $100.  Marijuana lobbyists also failed to get a legalization of recreational use of marijuana on the ballot for November, falling  short of the 25,600 signatures from registered voters that was needed.

The Wyoming Senate Judiciary panel issued a favorable recommendation for a bill to make marijuana edibles illegal.

Vermont is the only state where marijuana has a chance of passing soon.  The Senate advanced a marijuana legalization bill last week by a vote of 17-12. Governor Peter Shumlin has made it his goal to legalize marijuana.  However, the chambers of commerce, police and six Vermont physician groups came out in Opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreation use.  The state’s health department wrote a scathing attack on legalization.  Smart Approaches to Marijuana – Vermont urges lawmakers to take a more thoughtful, cautious approach.

New Report on CO’s Marijuana Experiment

Project SAM published an infographic report about the lessons learned after 3 years of the marijuana experiment in Colorado. Marijuana use is rising in all age groups, as are traffic fatalities, poisonings and teen arrests. Teen admissions to addiction treatment programs are up 66%. Interdictions of the drug being transported to other states is up 521%.

Colorado’s marijuana experiment is a cautionary tale for other states. After three years it’s clear that CO’s marijuana experiment is putting the public’s health and safety in danger.

See the sobering report on the Project SAM website: Lessons After 3 Years of Marijuana Legalization.