Current Issues - Marijuana

This page is designed to provide information and links to articles that speak to current moral issues facing our society. Please reference the original article (if available) when using quotes from these resources.
ALCAP does not necessarily agree with opinions or "conclusions" that are reached in the following articles, but offers these articles as resource material for research purposes.


Think ya know, is marijuana safer than alcohol?

Is marijuana really safer than alcohol? Parents Opposed to Pot tackles this common misconception with provoking facts.

With the proliferation of ads for CBD products across the U.S., it is important to know what a Colorado psychiatrist has to say about such products.  Joseph C. Godfrey, Executive Director, ALCAP


Drug legalization 'all about money'

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Chris Woodward (


Dr. Joe Godfrey, president of the American Council on Addiction and Alcohol Problems (ACAAP)), says the House bill is all about money.

"It's being pushed by the marijuana industry, people who stand to make billions of dollars from people that get addicted to their drug," Dr. Godfrey continues.

He further acknowledges the argument that marijuana is not addictive as "bogus."

"State governments and the federal government see it as a tax revenue source, but they're all ignoring the social costs," Dr. Godfrey submits. "They don't count the cost of broken homes and families and destroyed lives [or] lost time at work. The marijuana industry is ignoring all of that."

He believes the same could be said for the expansion of alcohol sales.

"With marijuana, if you're under the influence, you're not going to be very productive at work, and so that is a cost to society when employees are going to be less efficient and less cognizant of what they're doing," the ACAAP president explains.

But members of the Democrat-controlled House, including a few Republicans, see things differently. They voted last Friday to pass HR 3884, which aims to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level. Supporters of the measure say it also takes steps to address racial disparities in enforcement of federal drug laws.

Therein lies another problem, says Dr. Godfrey.

"They're making it a civil rights issue, [saying] that this is hurting minorities and so forth, but they're ignoring that minorities will be hurt the most by legalizations," he asserts.""You won't find pot shops in upscale neighborhoods. You're going to find the pot shops opened in low-income neighborhoods, and they're going to be targeting minorities and low-income people of all races."

Dr. Godfrey adds that there have been dramatic increases of young people using high-potency marijuana products at the same time as rising rates of marijuana-impaired driving in states where marijuana is now legal.

"That kind of leads to my last point," Dr. Godfrey tells One News Now. "What they're doing is setting the table for legalizing all drugs."

He uses Oregon as one example, where voters have approved a ballot measure that decriminalizes possession of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs.

HR 3884, the bill approved last week in the U.S. House, is now at the Senate.


My Child Tried Drugs. What Should I Do?

Partnership to End Addiction

If you’ve just discovered or have reason to believe your child is using substances, the first thing to do is sit down and take a deep breath. We know this is scary, but you’re in the right place. Take a beat and prepare yourself for the important conversations ahead. Some brief preparation now can lay a foundation for more positive outcomes ahead.

Click here for resources available through Partnership to End Addiction.

Unapproved CBD products may not be as safe as they seem

Kenneth Finn, MD / Meds / May 26, 2019

In recent years, a flood of cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD have entered the market – often claiming to cure or treat an array of health issues and ailments.

These products are everywhere, but there is little scientific evidence to support the hype that surrounds them. 

As a doctor, I’m deeply concerned at where this industry is heading – and the potential risks to patients and consumers.

I urge my peers to take this issue seriously and stand with me in addressing these growing concerns.

As doctors, we strive to alleviate suffering

Most people are unfamiliar with my chosen specialty, known as physical medicine and rehabilitation medicine. My peers and I are called physiatrists.

Together, we seek to restore the functional abilities and enhance the quality of life of people that face a wide range of physical, psychological or emotional disabilities.

Doctors refer their patients to me after other treatments have proven unsuccessful. By the time patients arrive at my office, they’re often at their wit’s end, suffering from the physical and psychological toll of chronic pain.

In recent years, many have asked me whether cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD would help them.

These patients rightfully turn to me and ask, “Doctor, what should I do?”

Silence is no way to help patients

The reality is that patients are being misled. As of yet, there is no clear and convincing evidence about the safety and efficacy of most cannabis products – and it’s up to doctors to let our patients know.

Last year Epidiolex, a drug used to treat a narrow spectrum of seizures, became the only pharmaceutical formulation of purified, highly concentrated CBD to be approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As with all prescription drugs, there are serious potential side effects, including liver toxicity, significant drug interactions, behavioral side effects such as suicidal behavior and ideation, as well as somnolence and sedation.

These risks can be managed if the person is under a doctor’s supervision.

But the risks cannot be properly monitored if no doctor is involved – which is typically the case when a person purchases an over-the-counter CBD product.

A local budtender might recommend these CBD products enthusiastically, but does the budtender realize that the product might be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, fungicides, rodenticides, insecticides, molds, E. coli, or fungus, just to name a few?

Labels can be misleading

In 2015 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a research paper demonstrating that in 23 percent of samples tested, THC levels were higher than indicated on the product label, which could put people at risk of experiencing other adverse events.

Sixty percent contained THC below the level claimed on the product label, which could leave the patient unable to achieve the desired medical benefit.

41 percent had no detectable levels of CBD.

Upon evaluating more than ten thousand cannabis products, the State of California discovered that 18 percent failed tests for potency and purity.

And Oregon released a report earlier this year that noted the state has failed to keep up with mandatory inspections, reaching only three percent of its dispensaries, and admitting that its poor testing potentially exposes consumers to multiple contaminants from cannabis products.

Bogus medical claims

Many producers of products containing CBD are making unfounded medical claims regarding their products’ ability to cure or alleviate many diseases and conditions.

The FDA has very strict regulations on such activity and has issued warnings to some organizations that are selling CBD products. Unfortunately, enforcement is rare. And products with very high CBD concentrations are widely available.

Some of these businesses continue to operate illegally and perpetuate their false claims in plain sight – so consumers have little to no protection.

To my physician peers: It’s time we speak up!

Words shared by a friend have long stuck with me: “What made the most noise was when the doctors said nothing.”

If the medical community is not speaking up about the significant risks associated with unregulated and untested CBD products, it’s not surprising that consumers feel that these products must be safe.

Fellow physicians and allied health care professionals, we can’t wait any longer. We must speak up, loudly and often, and warn the public about the potential risks they face.

I propose we place a “hold” on the sale and marketing of over-the-counter and internet-based  CBD products.

Let’s be willing to stand up to our patients’ pressure for us to “endorse” CBD products until after robust clinical trials are completed.

Let’s put public health and safety ahead of commercial interests.

Let’s put our patients first.

Kenneth Finn is a physiatrist. 

Click here for a printable copy of this article.

Colorado Court Complicates Life For Drug-Sniffing Dogs

National Public Radio
May 26, 2019

The role of police dogs in Colorado to find drugs is changing. The state's Supreme Court ruled last week that a dog trained to alert to marijuana cannot be used before an officer establishes probable cause. The ruling was over a 2015 arrest where a police dog alerted officers that drugs were inside a suspicious truck. Officers found drugs, a meth pipe and some residue. And the driver was convicted on two drug possession charges.

Click here to read the article.

While Pro-Marijuana Forces in NC Prepare to Push for Legalization, State Lawmakers Should Look at Colorado’s Huge Costs

By L.A. Williams, Christian Action League

Even as pro-marijuana forces in North Carolina are preparing to push for local-option legalization, officials in Colorado are being forced to face the high cost of their state’s embrace of cannabis.

Colorado approved medical marijuana in 2000. The substance became legal for recreational use in 2014 with, pardon the pun, high hopes for big revenues.

While the money has come in — $247 million in tax revenue for 2017 — it has gone out even more quickly.

According to a Centennial Institute report issued late last year, for every dollar gained in tax revenue, Coloradans spent approximately $4.50 to mitigate the effects of legalization, with healthcare costs and those related to high school drop-outs among the largest price tags.

Car accidents involving impaired drivers cost the state nearly $84 million, the report shows. Driving Under the Influence court costs for those who tested positive for marijuana approached $19 million, and treatment for cannabis use disorder set the state back another $31 million. Even more importantly, 139 people lost their lives on Colorado highways as a result of accidents caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-using drivers. Another 180 residents had THC in their systems when they committed suicide.

“If there were ever a time to heed the Biblical admonition to ‘count the cost,’ this is it,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Certainly, legalizing marijuana is not paying off in Colorado, nor would it benefit us in North Carolina.”

Nonetheless, he expects pro-pot proposals to come before lawmakers this session. The Legislature is set to convene Wednesday.

“Every year for the last ten years, legislation was introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly to make pot legal in some manner,” Dr. Creech said. “This past year there were three measures, HB 185 – Legalize Medical Marijuana, SB 648 – Legalize Medical Marijuana, and SB 579 – the Catherine A. Zanga Medical Marijuana Bill. Although the three bills filed in 2018 didn’t receive a hearing in committee, others in previous years were heard but failed.”

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) has been floating the idea of creating a local-option framework for marijuana sales similar to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control system.

“The statute is going to be patterned after the way North Carolina legalized liquor after Prohibition,” Alexander told the Daily Tar Heel last month. “And if we’re able to get it through, what you would have is a situation where, let’s say Orange County decided that it wanted to liberalize. Well, you could do it either by a vote of the town council, or the county commission, or a petition from the citizens that would create a referendum.”

Abner Brown, executive director of North Carolina NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has vowed to hold public meetings from Wilmington to Asheville to drum up support for legalization. The NORML website lists chapters of the group in Raleigh, Charlotte, the Triad, and the Catawba Valley, and supporters are being urged to contact their lawmakers with a pro-pot message.

While many cite a 2017 Elon University poll showing 80 percent of North Carolinians support legalizing marijuana for medical use and 45 percent are OK with recreational use, the Rev. Creech points out that the poll involved only about 500 respondents.

“Census estimates for 2016 show that there are over 10 million people in North Carolina. The Elon Poll barely represents .05% of the population. It would be reckless to believe its conclusions are characteristic of North Carolina sentiment,” he said, adding that the poll’s broad questions also failed to drill down on the issue.

On the contrary, the statistics from the Colorado study are based, not on opinion or conjecture, but on findings following three years of experience with legalized pot.

“The bad news is that the costs associated with commercial marijuana are only going to go up as the long-term health consequences have not been fully determined,” wrote Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute, in the report summary. “Like tobacco, commercial marijuana is likely to have health consequences that we won’t be able to determine for decades. Those costs are not configured in this report.”

Even so, Creech said there is plenty of evidence showing marijuana’s ill effects and the dangers it poses. “The interesting thing to me is that while there has been a momentum nationally to legalize, the science is progressively showing us that marijuana is indeed hazardous. It’s becoming more obvious with each passing year that states which have legalized were premature in their judgment,” he said.

To read and download the full report, click here.

It’s high time we took a breath from marijuana commercialization

The Denver Post
By BOB TROYER | Guest Commentary
September 28, 2018 at 4:51 pm

In 2012 we were told Colorado would lead the nation on a grand experiment in commercialized marijuana. Six years later — with two major industry reports just released and the state legislature and Denver City Council about to consider more expansion measures — it’s a perfect time to pause and assess some results of that experiment.

Where has our breathless sprint into full-scale marijuana commercialization led Colorado?

Well, recent reports from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, from Denver Health, from Energy Associates, from the Colorado Department of Revenue and from the City of Denver should be enough to give everyone in this race pause.

Now Colorado’s youth use marijuana at a rate 85 percent higher than the national average. Now marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151 percent. Now 70 percent of 400 licensed pot shops surveyed recommend that pregnant women use marijuana to treat morning sickness. Now an indoor marijuana grow consumes 17 times more power per square foot than an average residence. Now each of the approximately one million adult marijuana plants grown by licensed growers in Colorado consumes over 2.2 liters of water — per day. Now Colorado has issued over 40 little-publicized recalls of retail marijuana laced with pesticides and mold.

And now Colorado has a booming black market exploiting our permissive regulatory system — including Mexican cartel growers for that black market who use nerve-agent pesticides that are contaminating Colorado’s soil, waters, and wildlife.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Parents Opposed to Pot
A former New York Times reporter and now a best-selling author, Alex Berenson has an important new book, Tell Your Children: The truth about marijuana, violence and mental health. Simon & Schuster will publish and release it on January 8, 2019.

Indeed Berenson’s book promises to confirm the facts that we’ve been warning about: the marijuana-psychosis links; that pot use often makes people violent; that it leads to more crime, more overall drug abuse and more fatalities.  As we try to “tell our children,” NO amount of marijuana use is worth the risks.

The Inconvenient Truth
  • Almost no one is in prison for marijuana;
  •  A tiny fraction of doctors write most authorizations for medical marijuana, mostly for people who have already used;
  • Marijuana use is linked to opiate and cocaine use. Since 2008, the US and Canada have seen soaring marijuana use and an opiate epidemic. Britain has falling marijuana use and no epidemic;
  • Most of all, THC—the chemical in marijuana responsible for the drug’s high—can cause psychotic episodes. After decades of studies, scientists no longer seriously debate if marijuana causes psychosis.

Psychosis brings violence, and cannabis-linked violence is spreading. In the four states that first legalized, murders have risen 25 percent since legalization, even more than the recent national increase.

According to the overview on Barnes & Noble and a description on Amazon, “Berenson’s reporting ranges from the London institute that is home to the scientists who helped prove the cannabis-psychosis link to the Colorado prison where a man now serves a thirty-year sentence after eating a THC-laced candy bar and killing his wife. He sticks to the facts, and they are devastating.”

“With the US already gripped by one drug epidemic, this book will make readers reconsider if marijuana use is worth the risk.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact


the 2018 Rocky Mountain HIDTA report contains the most up-to-date facts on the impact of legal marijuana in Colorado.  RMHIDTA has published annual reports every year since 2013 tracking the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. The purpose is to provide data and information so that policy makers and citizens can make informed decisions on the issue of marijuana legalization. This year (2018) RMHIDTA elected to provide an update to the 2017 Volume 5 report rather than another detailed report.

Executive Summary

Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving
  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana related traffic deaths increased 151 percent while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 35 percent.
  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people killed in 2017. This equates to one person killed every 2 ½ days compared to one person killed every 6 ½ days.
  • The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related increased from 11.43 percent in 2013 to 21.3 percent in 2017.
Section II: Marijuana Use
  • Colorado past month marijuana use shows a 45 percent increase in comparing the three-year average prior to recreational marijuana being legalized to the three years after legalization.
  • Colorado past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is ranked 3rd in the nation and is 85 percent higher than the national average.
Section III: Public Health
  • The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 52 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
  • The yearly rate of marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 148 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
  • Marijuana only exposures more than tripled in the five-year average (2013-2017) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the five-year average (2008-2012) prior to legalization.
Section IV: Black Market
  • RMHIDTA Colorado Task Forces (10) conducted 144 investigations of black market marijuana in Colorado resulting in: 239 felony arrests; 7.3 tons of marijuana seized; 43,949 marijuana plants seized; 24 different states the marijuana was destined
  • The number of highway seizures of Colorado marijuana increased 39 percent from an average of 242 seizures (2009-2012) to an average of 336 seizures (2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
  • Seizures of Colorado marijuana in the U.S. mail system has increased 1,042 percent from an average of 52 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 594 parcels (2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
Section V: Societal Impact
  • Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately nine tenths of one percent of Colorado’s FY 2017 budget.
  • Violent crime increased 18.6 percent and property crime increased 8.3 percent in Colorado since 2013.
  • 65 percent of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses.
Section IV: Marijuana Industry
According to the Marijuana Policy Group, Market Size and Demand for Marijuana in Colorado 2017 Market Update:
  • “From 2014 through 2017, average annual adult use flower prices fell 62.0 percent, from $14.05 to $5.34 per gram weighted average.”
  • “Adult use concentrate prices fell 47.9 percent, from $41.43 to $21.57 per gram.”
  • “The average THC content of all tested flower in 2017 was 19.6 percent statewide compared to 17.4 percent in 2016, 16.6 percent in 2015 and 16.4 percent in 2014.”
  • “The average potency of concentrated extract products increased steadily from 56.6 percent THC content by weight in 2014 to 68.6 percent at the end of 2017.”
As of June 2017, there were 491 retail marijuana stores in the state of Colorado compared to 392 Starbucks and McDonald's.

Click here for a copy of the full report.

How to Know if Your Kid is Vaping Marijuana — and What to Do About It


Hardly a week goes by without another news article about vaping. In 2014, vaping was selected as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, beating out other candidates like “Bae” and “Budtender”. If they were picking a word today, it would more likely be JUUL or Juuling, the wildly popular “stealth vape” of adolescents.

Juuling kids are vaporizing flavored e-juices with nicotine, but what about vaping marijuana? According to Monitoring the Future, an annual survey of nearly 50,000 adolescents, 3 percent, 8 percent and 10 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders respectively had vaped marijuana in 2017.

According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, e-cigarettes use may lead to marijuana initiation. The authors hypothesize that e-cigarette use may be a marker of risk-taking behaviors, and that e-cigarette users are more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, which are associated with marijuana use. There is also the concern that vaping nicotine, which is in Juuls and many other vaping devices, may pave the way to other substance use problems in the developing adolescent brain. Aggressive marketing in states where marijuana has been legalized may also contribute to increased curiosity about marijuana while at the same time reducing its perceived harm.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Marijuana and Opioid

The United States is currently experiencing what has commonly been referred to as the “worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.” As it stands today, the abuse of opioids, such as prescription opiates, heroin, and illegally manufactured fentanyl, is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 in the country. There are an estimated 115 deaths per day caused by opioid overdose with 16,000 deaths a year from prescription opioids alone.

In light of this, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the relationship with marijuana and opioids. The only firmly established relationship in the literature is one showing that marijuana use can often be a precursor to opioid use. It’s true that most people who use marijuana don’t go on to misusing opiates, but it’s also true that most people who misused opiates used marijuana first. But the for-profit pot industry wants to say something else. The pot industry is attempting to tout the legalization of marijuana as a solution for the opioid crisis, citing various medical studies. A new article published in the Journal of Addiction says that this conclusion is weak and premature.”

Click here to visit the SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) website.


Marijuana and Pregnancy


Pueblo Physician Dr. Karen Randall's presentation on the strain of marijuana legalization on Colorado cities resources.


The website has been created as a public service to help address the problem of the use of marijuana and other mood- and mind-altering substances in the United States and around the world. A purpose is help inform the public, the media, and those in positions of public responsibility of the challenges facing the nation as a result of the widespread use of psychoactive and mood-altering substances, particularly marijuana and designer drugs.

Click here for lists of references and resources on Marijuana, key legal developments, presentations, testimony, articles, reports, and open letters.

Smoking cannabis ALTERS your DNA 'causing mutations that can trigger serious illness, including cancer' 

  • Smoking cannabis alters a person's DNA, causing mutations, experts say
  • These mutations can trigger serious illness, including cancer
  • Mutations passed to children and future generations, raising their risk too
By Lizzie Parry For
24 May 2016 

Smoking cannabis can alter a person's DNA, causing mutations that expose a user to serious illnesses, experts have warned.

Furthermore, the heightened risk is not exclusive to the marijuana user, a study has shown.

The disease-causing mutations are passed on to their children, and several future generations, it has emerged.

Though the link between cannabis and severe illnesses, such as cancer, has previously been documented, how this occurs and the implications for future generations was not well understood.

Dr Stuart Reece, and Professor Gary Hulse from the University of Western Australia's School of Psychiatry, analyzed literary and research material to understand the likely causes.

Dr Reece said: 'Through our research we found that cancers and illnesses were likely caused by cell mutations resulting from cannabis properties having a chemical interaction with a person's DNA.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Secondhand marijuana smoke damages blood vessels more than tobacco smoke


Secondhand marijuana smoke may damage your blood vessels even more than tobacco smoke.

In a new study, arteries in rats that inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke for one minute carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes. Similar exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke caused blood vessel impairment for 30 minutes.

“While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said Matthew Springer, Ph.D., study senior author and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Click here for the supplement to the following report, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado The Impact, Volume 3."

Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) report shows significant increases in traffic fatalities, child poison control exposures, hospitalizations, youth use, amongst other alarming data, detailing how Colorado’s experiment with retail marijuana regulation is a public health and safety failure.

DENVER, CO – The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) has released its updated report, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado The Impact, Volume 3,” which outlines the most alarming data to date, demonstrating how Colorado marijuana legalization policies have harmed public safety and health.  Click here for a pdf copy of this report.

Highlights from the report show serious changes since 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating in Colorado, including:
  • Traffic deaths:  A 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013
  • Driving under the influence:  Toxicology reports with positive marijuana results of active THC for primarily driving under the influence have increased 45 percent
  • Marijuana use by children: Colorado youth usage (ages 12 to 17) ranks 56 percent higher than the national average
  • ER visits:A 29 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits
  • Hospitalizations: A 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations
  • Poison control:Marijuana-only related exposures increased 72 percent in only one year
  • More marijuana trafficking:The yearly average interdiction seizures of Colorado marijuana increased another 34 percent


The Colorado Springs, Colorado newspaper The Gazette kicks off a four-day perspective series, "Clearing the Haze," that examines health, social, regulatory and financial issues associated with the world's boldest experiment with legal marijuana.

Click here to start with Day 1: Regulation

"... The ugly truth is that Colorado was suckered. It was promised regulation and has been met by an industry that fights tooth and nail any restrictions that limit its profitability. ”
- Ben Cort, Director of Professional Relations for the Center for Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital


AAA research suggests legalizing marijuana for recreational use poses risks to traffic safety

This election year, voters in five states will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use. Among them are California with Proposition 64 and Maine with Question 1. Any states that do will join the four others where the drug is already legal for recreational use. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed cannabis use by drivers in one of those states, Washington, and found that the proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had recently used marijuana more than doubled after Washington legalized the drug for recreational use. In addition, there’s currently no easy way to test whether a driver is impaired by marijuana: Unlike alcohol, it can’t be determined by breath or blood tests.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Dark Side of Medical Marijuana's Miracle Elixir

by Amanda Chicago Lewis


Now that 38 states have legalized some form of cannabis, many people assume the plant’s therapeutic uses are being carefully regulated, dosed, and studied. This is not the case. Marijuana is still illegal everywhere under federal law, which prevents the agencies that would traditionally provide oversight from getting involved. Consumers have no way to know for sure what they are actually buying.

Click here to read the article.

The Hidden Costs of Marijuana Use in Colorado: One Emergency Department’s Experience 

Kenneth Finn, MD, President Springs Rehab, PC
Rochelle Salmore, MSN, RN, NE-B, Nurse Scientist, Penrose St. Francis Health Services (retired) 


Purpose: This study aims to assess potential health care costs and adverse health effects related to cannabis use in an acute care community hospital in Colorado, comparing study findings to those medical diagnoses noted in the literature. Little information is available about specific hospital health care costs, thus this study will add to the knowledge gap and describe charges and collections from visits of these patients in one hospital’s Emergency Department (ED). 

Objective: Review diagnoses of cannabis users visiting a local ED and outline the potential financial and health effects of these patients on the health care system. 

Design: An Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved retrospective observational study of patients seen in the ED from 2009 to 2014 with cannabis diagnoses and positive urine drug analyses (UDA) matched with hospital billing records. Randomized patient records were reviewed to determine completeness of documentation and coding related to cannabis use.

Setting: An acute care hospital in one city in Colorado. The city has nearly 100 medical marijuana dispensaries, but has not legalized recreational cannabis use. The city decided to not allow recreational stores in city limits as they were allowed to make that determination as a result of Amendment 64, which allowed municipalities to determine if they wanted recreational marijuana in their town. As of this publication, more than 70% of Colorado’s municipalities have opted out of recreation marijuana sales. 
Participants: Subjects seen through the ED who had both a diagnosis code listing cannabis and a positive UDA for cannabis. Exclusions were subjects with UDA for cannabis but also tested positive for other substances, subjects who had cannabis diagnosis but no UDA result or those who had no UDA but did have a cannabis diagnosis. 

Conclusion: Subjects seen in the ED had similar diagnoses as those reviewed in the literature, confirming the serious side effects of marijuana use. During the study period, the study hospital incurred a true loss of twenty million dollars in uncollected charges after allowing for contractual obligations. While adverse health effects have been described in the literature, there is little data on the financial impact of marijuana use on the health care system. This study demonstrated an increasing number of patients who are seen in the ED also have used cannabis. These patients are not always able to pay their bills, resulting in a financial loss to the hospital. The authors encourage the collection of hospital financial data for analysis in the states where medicinal (MMJ) and/or recreational marijuana is legal. 

Click here for a copy of the article on The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice website.

Can we please stop pretending marijuana is harmless?

The truth is it can indeed mean trouble, especially for young people.
By Dr. Sushrut Jangi
The Boston Globe OCTOBER 08, 2015

These days, it’s become fairly square to criticize marijuana and its rush toward legalization. Twenty-three states have condoned the drug in some form, with four permitting recreational use, and Massachusetts is set to vote on permitting it next year. The proposed federal CARERS Act of 2015 would let states legalize medical marijuana without federal interference and demote pot from a Schedule I drug — one with high abuse potential — to Schedule II. The path toward nationwide decriminalization is looking unobstructed.
But underscoring the incredible momentum to legalize marijuana is the misconception that the drug can’t hurt anybody. It can, especially young people.
The myth that marijuana is not habit-forming is constantly challenged by physicians. “There’s no question at all that marijuana is addictive,” Dr. Sharon Levy tells me. She is the director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, one of a few programs designed to preemptively identify substance use problems in teens. At least 1 in 11 young adults who begin smoking will develop an addiction to marijuana, even more among those who use the more potent products that are entering the market.
Click here to read the article:


September 15, 2015 

Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) report shows significant increases in traffic fatalities, child poison control exposures, hospitalizations, youth use, amongst other alarming data, detailing how Colorado’s experiment with retail marijuana regulation is a public health and safety failure.

DENVER, CO – The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) has released its updated report, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado The Impact, Volume 3,” which outlines the most alarming data to date, demonstrating how Colorado marijuana legalization policies have harmed public safety and health.  Click here for a pdf copy of this report.

Highlights from the report show serious changes since 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating in Colorado, including:
  • Traffic deaths:  A 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013
  • Driving under the influence:  Toxicology reports with positive marijuana results of active THC for primarily driving under the influence have increased 45 percent
  • Marijuana use by children: Colorado youth usage (ages 12 to 17) ranks 56 percent higher than the national average
  • ER visits:A 29 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits
  • Hospitalizations: A 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations
  • Poison control:Marijuana-only related exposures increased 72 percent in only one year
  • More marijuana trafficking:The yearly average interdiction seizures of Colorado marijuana increased another 34 percent
“This report serves as a wake-up call for all Coloradans,” said Bob Doyle, chair of Colorado SAM. “It is time to stop yielding to Big Marijuana special interests and put health and safety ahead of marijuana commercialization.”

“For too long, the marijuana industry has been telling Americans that ‘everything’s fine’ in Colorado. This data-driven report tells a very different story,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM and an assistant professor at the University of Florida.

Jo McGuire, co-chair of Colorado SAM added, “We are prepared to engage Colorado community members in conversations that will send strong messages to our state leaders that these outcomes are unacceptable and legalization clearly does not work.”

In August 2015, poll results showed that popularity for marijuana legalization amongst Coloradans is losing support over concerns of traffic problems, youth usage, child exposures and the proliferation of edible products.


About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of “incarceration versus legalization” when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.

Colorado Adult Marijuana Use Now Almost Double the National Average

Denver is home to the most number of marijuana stores - and leads the state with 18.5% of adults as current users

(DENVER, CO) - A new statewide study funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found that 13.6% of Colorado adults are regular users of marijuana - almost double the rate (7.4%) of the entire country, according to recent Health and Human Services studies. 1 in 5 marijuana users in the state also reported driving after using marijuana.

Details of the survey included:

  • 1 in 3 users are daily users
  • Black adults in Colorado are using at almost 50% higher than the state average for adults; Hispanics have the lowest use rates
  • Low income Colorado adults are using at higher rates than the state average
  • Almost a third of 18-24 year olds are using marijuana
  • Almost a third of gay and lesbian adults are using marijuana - more than twice the state average for adults
  • Almost 1 in five reported driving after using marijuana
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Alabama

National study finds rising rate of marijuana exposure among children 5 years old, younger

Researchers urge states to put child safety requirements in place when considering marijuana legalization


Debates about legalizing marijuana have focused on crime rates, economic benefits, and health effects among adults. But a study published today from researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital shows that the risk to young children of swallowing, breathing in or otherwise being exposed to marijuana also needs to be considered.

The study, published online today in Clinical Pediatrics, found that the rate of marijuana exposure among children 5 years of age and younger rose 147.5 percent from 2006 through 2013 across the United States. The rate increased almost 610 percent during the same period in states that legalized marijuana for medical use before 2000.

In states that legalized marijuana from 2000 through 2013, the rate increased almost 16 percent per year after legalization, with a particular jump in the year that marijuana was legalized. Even states that had not legalized marijuana by 2013 saw a rise of 63 percent in the rate of marijuana exposures among young children from 2000 through 2013.

More than 75 percent of the children who were exposed were younger than 3 years of age, and most children were exposed when they swallowed marijuana.

"The high percentage of ingestions may be related to the popularity of marijuana brownies, cookies and other foods," said Henry Spiller, D.ABAT, a co-author of the study, toxicologist, and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's. "Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive."

The study findings showed that most exposures resulted in only minor clinical effects, but some children experienced coma, decreased breathing, or seizures. The main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, THC, can be especially high in marijuana food products, and that may have contributed to some of the observed severe effects. More than 18 percent of children who were exposed were hospitalized. These hospital admissions were likely due not only to the clinical effects, but also the need to investigate the circumstances that lead to the exposure in the home.

Overall, there were 1,969 young children reported to Poison Control Centers in the United States because of marijuana exposure from 2000 through 2013. While that is a relatively small number of total cases, the steep rate of increase in states that have legalized marijuana is reason for concern, said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's.

"Any state considering marijuana legalization needs to include child protections in its laws from the very beginning," Dr. Smith said. "Child safety must be part of the discussion when a state is considering legalization of marijuana."

Researchers recommend the same measures for commercially-available marijuana products that are now used to protect children from medicines and dangerous household chemicals, including requirements for child-resistant packaging and packaging that is not see-through. These same precautions need to be used for homemade marijuana products. If any marijuana products are in a household, they need to be kept up, away and out of sight of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Data for this study came from the National Poison Database System, the most comprehensive and accurate database available for investigation of poisonings in the United States. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center, both at Nationwide Children's.


The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research at its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy, and advances in clinical care. To learn more about CIRP, visit

The Central Ohio Poison Center provides state-of-the-art poison prevention, assessment and treatment to residents in 64 of Ohio's 88 counties. The center services are available to the public, medical professionals, industry, and human service agencies. The Poison Center handles more than 42,000 poison exposure calls annually, and confidential, free emergency poisoning treatment advice is available 24/7. To learn more about the Poison Center, visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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

PUBLISHED: 18:02 EST, 6 October 2014
  • One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent
  • It doubles risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia 
  • Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
  • Driving after smoking cannabis doubles risk of having a car crash 
  • Study's author said: 'If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin' 
A definitive 20-year study into the effects of long-term cannabis use has demolished the argument that the drug is safe.

Cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found.

The paper by Professor Wayne Hall, a drugs advisor to the World Health Organisation, builds a compelling case against those who deny the devastation cannabis wreaks on the brain. Professor Hall found:
  • One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development.
  • One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it,
  • Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia,
  • Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
  • One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs,
  • Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink,
  • Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby’s birth weight.
Last night Professor Hall, a professor of addiction policy at King’s College London, dismissed the views of those who say that cannabis is harmless.

‘If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol,’ he said.

‘It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through withdrawal than for heroin – we just don’t know how to do it.’ 

Those who try to stop taking cannabis often suffer anxiety, insomnia, appetite disturbance and depression, he found. Even after treatment, less than half can stay off the drug for six months.

The paper states that teenagers and young adults are now as likely to take cannabis as they are to smoke cigarettes.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


By samadmin 08/02/2014

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), co-founded by fmr. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, organizes broad coalition and responds to recent legalization editorial

WASHINGTON– Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens, chaired by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and directed by former White House adviser Kevin A. Sabet, was joined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and dozens of other groups in launching a new, full-page ad in the New York Times today in response to the recent pro-marijuana editorial.
The ad – “Perception/Reality” – depicts a young laid-back man’s face (“perception”) juxtaposed over the body of high-powered business executive’s body (“reality”) implying that if America is not careful, we will soon have a very large, powerful marijuana industry on our hands. Below the image, the copy reads:
“The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product. Sounds a lot like another industry we just put in its place. Many facts are being ignored by this and other news organizations. Go to to see why so many major medical associations oppose marijuana legalization.”

The ad will also be used by local community groups, including SAM’s 27 state affiliates, in order to educate the public on the reality of the marijuana industry. The ad links to a new online resource of information – — which lists medical and other organizational opposition to legalization. The website also contains scientific papers and facts about marijuana, and will remain a resource for information on the emerging marijuana industry.

Click here to read the rest of the article.
Click here for a copy of the ad.

Why Marijuana Should Remain Illegal

by David Brumbelow
(David is a pastor and author of “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”

Washington State has become the second state to legalize marijuana. Christians need to be prepared to speak to this issue.


  1. Marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol, and alcohol is legal.  Alcohol is America’s number one drug problem.  Why should we now unleash another harmful drug on America? When marijuana has been legalized, it has led to an increase in crime and societal problems.  Alcohol and marijuana have been classified as “gateway drugs,” drugs that often lead to harder drugs.  Isn’t one legal gateway drug enough?
  2. We have not won the war against drugs, including marijuana.  So why not legalize it?  We haven’t won the war against murder either.  Should we therefore legalize murder?  Should we just tax murder?  Of course not. Passing a law against a harmful practice does not eliminate the practice.  But it does limit it, stigmatize it, and punish the abusers.
  3. Medical marijuana should be legalized.  The argument for medical marijuana usually is just a way of opening the door to the recreational use of marijuana.  When a state legalizes smoking marijuana for pain, you can expect the next push to be for legalizing recreational marijuana.  Christian abstainers, however, do accept the use of drugs for medicinal necessity, rather than recreational purposes.  For some the pain-relieving aspects of marijuana loses appeal when you take away the idea of smoking a joint and getting high.  Marijuana is already available in drug form that does not get you high, yet can be used for pain or other medical conditions.  Barrett Duke of the ERLC explains, “Marijuana’s pain-relieving ingredient has been available by prescription for years. A person can purchase Marinol – right now – with a doctor’s prescription. The plain fact of the matter is that there are better and safer drugs [for pain]” (; 8-6-2012).
  4. People have a right to smoke marijuana if they choose.  Our rights must sometimes end when a practice or substance becomes too harmful to ourselves and others.  I know there is a fine line that sometimes has to be drawn, but dangerous drugs that harm the user and innocent others should be severely limited. Isn’t it strange that just as society is turning against smoking tobacco, it is now moving toward sanctioning smoking marijuana?
  5. We can get taxes from the legal sales of marijuana.  We could also get taxes from legalizing other harmful practices. Invariably, when we allow and tax a practice that is harmful to society, we end up paying more to control it and deal with its consequences, than we receive in taxes.  Government would do better to get their taxes up front and honestly, not by legalizing destructive behavior.
  6. You can’t legislate morality.  Yes you can.  Our laws against murder and theft legislate morality.  The question is where you draw the line.  Some things need to be criminalized, limited, and stigmatized.
  7. Penalties for marijuana should change.  Perhaps this is true.  Barrett Duke has suggested, “A system of increasing fines, penalties and requirements, like substance-abuse counseling, can be developed. Penalties even could include the loss of one’s driver’s license. Jail could be a last resort for habitual offenders”  (-BP).
  8. Marijuana is not that bad.  Rather, when marijuana has been legalized, it has magnified an existing problem.  Marijuana has multiple toxic chemicals and gives a higher risk for cancer, psychosis, strokes, respiratory damage and heart attack.  It causes impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, impairs driving and reaction time.  It lowers the I.Q. of teenage smokers.  Acceptance of another mind-altering recreational drug always changes things for the worse.


Every biblical injunction against alcohol is also a condemnation of marijuana and other recreational drugs.
  1. Scripture describes in detail the dangerous effects of alcoholic wine and says not to even look at it (Proverbs 23:29-35).  It’s not much of a leap to take the same low view of other dangerous drugs.
  2. Scripture directly says wine is a mocker (Proverbs 20:1).
  3. Scripture commands us to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-81 Peter 5:8; etc.).
  4. Kings are commanded not to drink wine lest they pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-5).  Believers are called kings and priests (Revelation 1:65:10) and neither should we take drugs that would cause us to do things we’d never do in our right minds.
  5. A Christian is to honor God with his mind and body (Matthew 22:371 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Both are adversely affected by alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs.
  6. Drinking hurts your Christian influence and leads others astray (1 Corinthians 8:910:23).
One very big problem Christian social drinkers have is if they are justified in taking one mind-altering recreational drug (alcohol), then they have no legitimate argument against another legal mind-altering recreational drug (marijuana).  The wise thing for Christians is to have nothing to do with either drug.

It should also be remembered that legal and moral are not synonymous. Whether alcohol, marijuana, or other harmful drugs are legal, a Christian answers to a higher standard.

Let’s not legalize another destructive drug.

More People Using E-Cigarettes to Smoke Marijuana

By Join Together Staff | October 11, 2013

A growing number of people are smoking marijuana out of e-cigarettes, NBC New York reports. Marijuana in liquid and wax forms used in e-cigarettes and vapor pens does not create an odor. Because the devices don’t produce a flame, a person smoking marijuana in an e-cigarette can take a puff and then quickly put it in a pocket.

Local law enforcement officials and drug counselors are concerned about the trend, particularly in minors. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a survey that showed use of e-cigarettes among middle and high schools students doubled from 2011 to 2012. The CDC found 10 percent of high school students had tried an e-cigarette last year, compared with 5 percent the previous year. According to the survey, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they tried e-cigarettes last year.

Detective Lt. Kevin Smith, who heads the Narcotics Unit for the Nassau County Police Department in New York, said an officer arresting someone on a drug charge who has an e-cigarette is now directed to test the device for illegal drugs.

New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a bill last year which made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors. New York Governor Cuomo signed the bill in September 2012. “Once you try electronic cigarettes, you can become hooked to them, move on to cigarettes and then move on to other drugs,” Rosenthal said.

Legalized Pot Would Mean More Addiction
By Kevin A. Sabet, Special to CNN
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
(CNN)-- "The war on drugs has failed" is a mantra often heard in policy and media circles these days. But not only is the phrase outdated (the 1980s called -- they want their slogan back), it is far too simplistic to describe both current drug policy and its outcomes.
The latest incarnation of this ill-advised saying can be found in a report arguing that since cannabis and heroin prices have fallen while their purity has increased, efforts to curb drug use and its supply are doomed to failure. This leads some to highlight the possibility of alternatives in the form of "regulation" (e.g., legalization) of drugs.
But a closer look at the data -- and the implications for a policy change to legalization -- should give us pause if we care about the dire consequences drug addiction has on society.
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