The Marijuana Report


Colorado SAM Chronicles Increasing 
Pushback to State’s Marijuana Legalization
In its latest newsletter, Colorado SAM, the state affiliate of national SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), reports on citizens’ increasing dissatisfaction with the negative impact of legalization on local communities. In addition, there is substantial pushback to the marijuana industry’s deceptive behavior. The folks who wrote Amendment 64 that legalized the drug in 2012 promised voters many things that have not come to pass. One promise was no marijuana smoking in public.

Now they’re back with a new ballot initiative in Denver to ditch that promise, using the same deceptive “gotcha” tactics they used with Amendment 64. The Campaign for Limited Social Use collected enough signatures this week to place the initiative on the city’s ballot this November. The initiative would allow establishments whose patrons are age 21 or older, namely bars and restaurants, to permit marijuana use.

But restaurants and bars don’t think this is a good idea. Quoting from a Denver news story, Colorado SAM writes that the CEO of the Restaurant Association says, “Local restaurants are concerned about potential liability of allowing marijuana consumption…especially when combined with alcohol. Numerous studies (and even some marijuana advocates) have indicated that combining alcohol and marijuana intensifies the effects of THC and can be dangerous.”

The Devil Is Always in the Details

Mason Tvert, the man who wrote Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana for recreational use, is also the man behind The Campaign for Limited Social Use. After promising voters in 2012 that if they passed Amendment 64 no pot would be smoked in public, Tvert now says, “People really just don’t seem to recognize that this makes sense, that if marijuana is legal for adults, then private establishments should be able to allow adults to use it.”

The initiative would allow any venue or business with an alcohol license to permit the consumption of marijuana. One of the selling points Tvert emphasizes is that establishments allowing marijuana use must comply with Colorado’s Clean Air Act, leading people to believe there will be no pot smoking anywhere. But there will not only be vaping with clouds of condensation inside, but also pot smoking in outdoor patio areas. That’s because establishments allowing marijuana use are required to have a non-visible barrier of only 25 feet—the width of a city street. Public space starts at 26 feet according to initiative details.

“It is interesting that this is being called a ‘limited use campaign’ when the advocates are pushing for use in many public spaces,” says Restaurant Association CEO Sonia Riggs. “They are working to redefine the word ‘public’ to exempt restaurants, bars, patios, and parking lots from being considered public spaces.”e212087d-a0c3-410b-a115-db1ab6bbd275

20 Flaws in Study
Finding No Health Problems in Adult Males 

Who Were “Chronic” Marijuana Users
as Teens, Young Adults

 By Bertha K. Madras, PhD

In last week’s (August 12, 201) issue of The Marijuana Report, we asked neuroscientist Bertha K. Madras of Harvard Medical School to look briefly at a new study that has caused quite a stir among would-be marijuana cognoscenti, which contradicts major research about the impact of marijuana on physical and mental health. In that issue, we published just the bullet points of her review.


Washington Marijuana Driving Crashes Increase Dramatically Since Legalization

The state toxicologist of the Washington State Patrol released data this week showing that the percentage of driving cases testing positive for THC through blood tests jumped dramatically in the first four months of 2015 over previous years. Here are the data:

2009—18.2 percent
2010—19.4 percent
2011—20.2 percent
2012—18.6 percent
2013—24.9 percent
2014—28.0 percent
2015—33.0 percent (January through April)

Notes Robert DuPont, MD, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “This is important new data about one of the most worrisome consequences of marijuana legalization: the major role of marijuana in highway safety. The significant up-tick in positives after Washington State legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 is unmistakable. Legalization of marijuana increases marijuana use. Increased use increases problems caused by that use. This is not rocket science.”


The Marijuana Report

FIRST LOOK: National Survey Shows Soaring Marijuana Use Among All Americans 12 and Older;
Heavy Use Also on the Rise

National survey highlights jump in pot use among young adults in era of marijuana legalization;
Almost twice as many adolescents regularly use marijuana than cigarettes

(Alexandria, Va., September 7, 2017) – Every day, 7,000 new people try marijuana for the first time — a figure far greater than trends seen in the early 2000s, according to the most comprehensive survey on drug use released today by the federal government.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also found the number of daily or near-daily users of marijuana in 2016 doubled compared to the number of heavy users about a decade ago. Use rose significantly among age groups 12 and up, 18 and up, and 26 and up. Almost twice as many 12-17-year-olds are using pot as compared to cigarettes on a past-month basis. And among those 18 and over, there has been a significant jump in the percent of marijuana users who are unemployed as compared to 2015.

“Big Marijuana – just like Big Tobacco years ago – continues to glorify marijuana as a cure-all that can do little or no harm,” said Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former White House drug policy adviser. “If it wasn’t for marijuana, overall drug use in this country would be going down. Rising mental health issues, drugged driving crashes, and an increasingly stoned workforce won’t help us get ahead. We should put the brakes on marijuana legalization and start a national science-based marijuana awareness campaign similar to successful anti-tobacco campaigns.”

White House Office of National Drug Policy Acting Director Baum announced that NSDUH state-level data, which shows the gulf between use in states with legalized pot versus those with no legalization laws, is expected later this year and not included in this report. The last state estimate report showed Colorado is the #1 state in the country for youth marijuana use.

According to a recent report by SAM, the three states with the most established retail marijuana markets – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – have seen negative public health and safety consequences, including increased marijuana use and car crashes related to marijuana.

“We shouldn’t incarcerate people for marijuana use, but legalization is promoting a commercial industry driving heavy pot use among young people. We need a smarter approach that focuses on prevention, awareness, and recovery,” said Sabet.

NSDUH also reported a non-significant reduction in marijuana use among 12-17 year-olds versus 2015 and a non-significant increase among 18-25 year-olds versus 2015. However, use is up significantly among young adults 18-25 compared with earlier years. Research has found that marijuana affects the developing brain negatively, and that most people’s brains develop well into their 20s.

SAM will be updating info about NSDUH as we receive the full report.

For more information, please visit

The Marijuana Report

Legal Marijuana Laws Impact Youth

Researchers from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, whose crest is pictured above, and other academic medical institutions, surveyed 2630 14- to 18-year-olds via Facebook who live in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use (MMJ states), recreational use (RMJ states), and not legalized the drug (NMJ states).

MMJ and RMJ states vary in what they allow, and the researchers wanted to learn if different provisions influence when adolescents begin marijuana use and which provisions may result in increasing use among young people.

The researchers say it is crucial to understand how marijuana legalization laws affect youth because they are more vulnerable to the drug’s harmful effects. Chronic use during adolescence has been associated with impaired brain development, educational achievement, and psychosocial functioning, as well as an increased risk of developing addiction.

Legalization has spurred the development of new marijuana products with higher potencies, such as marijuana-infused foods called edibles and electronic vaping devices that enable a user to inhale the psychoactive ingredients of tobacco and marijuana without the smoke.

Edibles sold in most legal states lack safety standards or products regulations and are marketed in ways that are attractive to youth, the researchers note. These factors are contributing to the sharp increase in marijuana overdoses among young people. Vaping devices are becoming increasingly popular among middle school and high school children who use them to vape marijuana more often than adults. Moreover, data show adolescents are vaping high-potency marijuana products whose impact on neurodevelopment is unknown but concerning because they may place youth at higher risk for psychosis.

The researchers find that youth in legalization states are twice as likely as those in nonlegalization states to have tried vaping. Moreover, youth in legalization states with high dispensary density are twice as likely to have tried vaping and three times more likely to have tried edibles than youth in nonlegalization states.

The kind and duration of marijuana legalization laws also impact youth. Youth in MMJ states are significantly more likely to have tried vaping and edibles than youth in nonlegalization states, and youth in RMJ states are significantly more likely to have tried both than youth in MMJ states. Youth in legal states that allow home cultivation are twice as likely to have tried edibles (but not vaping) as their peers in legal states that prohibit home grows. States with the oldest legalization laws also see increases in youth lifetime vaping and edible use.

Read Science Daily summary here. Read Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal abstract here.

Response to ICSDP Report on Cannabis: UF Drug Policy Institute


 University of Florida Drug Policy Institute Joins Senior Researchers at Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital, University of Texas, and Others in Responding to Latest Claims by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy

A team of researchers from the UF Drug Policy Institute, Harvard University, and other institutions authored a lengthy response to a recent monograph written by the George Soros-funded ICSDP claiming that cannabis health claims have been overblown.

The team, led by former American Society of Addiction Medicine President Stu Gitlow, and other researchers with leadership ties to groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, and other institutions found that the ICSDP report is an example of deceptive and biased research and that it contains abundant factual errors and logical flaws.

The report’s introduction reads: “The ICSDP conveniently cites evidence that supports its own predetermined narrative, concluding that only the pro-marijuana lobby has any substantive evidence in its favor-and ignores evidence to the contrary. Its main strategy is to attribute overblown “straw man” arguments to established marijuana researchers, misstating their positions and then claiming to “rebut” these positions with research.

“This response/critique reveals the lack of objectivity present in the report and, point-by-point, shows how the interests of the nascent Big Marijuana industry, private equity firms, and lobbyists lining up to capitalize on a new marijuana industry, are served.”

About the UF Drug Policy Institute

The UF Drug Policy Institute (DPI) serves the state of Florida, the Nation, and the global community in delivering evidence-based, policy-relevant, information to policymakers, practitioners, scholars, and the community to make educated decisions about issues of policy significance in the field of substance use, abuse, and addiction.

Can THC help PTSD? Read more and see why it can’t.

The Gazette Op/Ed — Sunday, July 12, 2015

For every military veteran appearing in a Colorado public meeting to advocate for the right to use marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health professionals throughout Colorado estimate they’ve worked with thousands whose pot use made their PTSD — and their lives in general — much worse.

“I have seen marijuana use create so many more problems than it solves,” said Brian Lanier, a licensed clinical social worker and Army reservist in Colorado Springs who has worked more than 15 years with veterans and active-duty service members. “If nothing else, these people are just numbing themselves, which is definitely not appropriate treatment for PTSD. Telling someone to use marijuana for PTSD or any mental health problem is like telling them to go get drunk.”

Read more:

EDITORIAL: A bust for medical marijuana

In this Friday, June 26, 2015 photo, different varieties of marijuana flowers are displayed at medical marijuana dispensary Kaya Shack in Portland, Ore. On July 1, recreational marijuana in Oregon is legal, but it's likely customers won't be able to buy the pot at medical dispensaries until October 1. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)
In this Friday, June 26, 2015 photo, different varieties of marijuana flowers are displayed at medical marijuana dispensary Kaya Shack in Portland, Ore. On July 1, recreational marijuana in Oregon is legal, but it’s likely customers won’t be able to buy the pot at medical dispensaries until October 1. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka) 
– – Sunday, July 12, 2015

Celebrating the medical benefits, if any, of marijuana has been an effective ruse to win social acceptance for getting high. This was thoroughly predictable, and now it’s clear that the organized pot heads have been blowing smoke at us.

This is the preliminary conclusion of a new wide-ranging study of the effects of medical pot. The rush toward legalization, like most whoring after new things, is likely doing considerably more harm than minuscule good.

Read more:
Follow them: @washtimes on Twitter

Listen to Dr. McMasters Presentation on Addiction!




JULY 31, 2015 9:00 TO 11:00


Learning objectives of this FREE presentation include:

  • What recent brain research can teach us
  • Continuum of substance use disorders
  • Role of Medication Assisted Treatment including Methadone and Suboxone.

Dr. McMasters practices Addiction Medicine in Fishersville, VA. She is member of Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin. She is a Fellow in Addiction Medicine, has contributed to medical texts, and is Co-Medical Director for project REMOTE, addressing the high rate of opioid deaths in far Southwest Virginia.

The presentation is FREE but preregistration is required by emailing before Friday, July 24.


Marijuana Summit: A Conversation in the Commonwealth

 summit image

CLOSED: Registration is still open for our second Marijuana Summit in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please join us for an informative day about the reality of marijuana legalization.

For more information on the conference and lodging and to register visit: