New Study Results on Impaired Driving

You may have seen the recent news that a new study from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) found that the estimated cost of marijuana-impaired driving injuries, collisions, and fatalities totaled more than $1 billion in that country.  This is really big news and something that should be shared through social media!

In response, SAM’s President and former senior White House drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet noted, “There will never be enough tax revenue to pay for the costs of pot legalization. A recent analysis of projected marijuana legalization costs in Rhode Island found that costs like increased enforcement, drugged driving, and workplace accidents would outweigh projected revenues by over 25 percent.”

Beyond projected costs surpassing revenues, legalization also has not proven the tax windfall marijuana special interests claimed. Colorado’s state deficit is currently growing, not shrinking. Alaska’s pot tax revenue will be less than one-fifth of original projections. And the Oregon entities that were supposed to receive funding from pot taxes – like the Common School Fund and drug treatment programs – haven’t seen a dime.

Tony Coder
Director, State and Local Affairs
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)

Advertisements

Marijuana Pizza Is Now a Thing in Massachusetts

A medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts is getting customers high and satisfying the munchies all at once with their new weed pizza.

Ermont Inc., which specializes in flavorful edibles like pub cheese and cold brew coffee, is now serving up a bar style frozen cheese pizza with 125 mg of THC. TIME reports that the pizza retails for $38 and has become popular at bars in Quincy, Mass, where the dispensary is located.

Men’s Health June 11, 2017

Seizing on Opioid Crisis, a Drug Maker Lobbies Hard for Its Product

The ads have been popping up on billboards, buses and subways and in glossy magazines, with portraits of attractive men and women and a simple question in bold letters: What is Vivitrol?

Five years ago, Vivitrol was a treatment for opioid addiction that was struggling to find a market. Now, its sales and profile are rising fast, thanks to its manufacturers’ shrewd use of political connections, and despite scant science to prove the drug’s efficacy.

New York Times June 11, 2017

Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical-marijuana providers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical-marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.

The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Departmentfrom using federal funds to prevent certain states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The Washington Post June 13, 2017

Teens Are Getting More Depressed But Using Fewer Drugs

The latest snapshot of mental health and substance abuse among teens and adults tells a mixed story of optimism and opportunities for improvement. While teens are using fewer substances now than in the past, the overall opioid epidemic shows no signs of slowing. The data, compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), comes from two large national surveys reported in 2015. Click here to read some of the key findings.  

Time Health June 12, 2017

Uber will try to change its ‘bro culture’ by cutting down on alcohol at work

Uber will now start cutting back on workplace partying in an effort to turn around its so-called “bro culture.”

As part of the 13-page report Uber commissioned from former US attorney general Eric Holder and his law firm that was released Tuesday, Uber laid out new guidelines for drinking at work and company events.

Uber will now prohibit drinking and using drugs “during core work hours, at work events, or at other work-sponsored events.”

Business Insider June 13, 2017

America’s new tobacco crisis: The rich stopped smoking, the poor didn’t

MARTINSVILLE, VA. — After decades of lawsuits, public campaigns and painful struggles, Americans have finally done what once seemed impossible: Most of the country has quit smoking, saving millions of lives and leading to massive reductions in cancer.

That is, unless those Americans are poor, uneducated or live in a rural area.

Hidden among the steady declines in recent years is the stark reality that cigarettes are becoming a habit of the poor. The national smoking rate has fallen to historic lows, with just 15 percent of adults still smoking. But the socioeconomic gap has never been bigger.

The Washington Post June 13, 2017

The Greater Good

While speaking to the Chief of Staff of a political party in another state, we were talking about how hard it was to get anything done through policy, especially if it was done through the party opposite of hers.  She said that she has been working on all sorts of legislative policy for over 40 years and she said it used to be much easier.  She said that, although there were philosophical differences, there was a sense of doing good for everyone involved, or as she called it, “the greater good.”  She said now it was different.  She said that it was almost impossible for one party to cross the aisle even if it meant for a change that would benefit the constituents that they serve.

There was another instance where there was a group plan on how to take on the marijuana industry but there was one person who wanted to take the plan in a different direction, much to the frustration of the others in the group.  After a discussion on why the plan was the best option, the single person decided to quit the group because they would not follow his idea.

As we think about the advocacy work that we do, we much think about partnering with those who have possibly been on another side in the past. I think of a lady that many of you might know, Karen Murray, who  once led a coalition in Butler County.  They were having some tough times with underage drinking in her college town and she had done many things to try to bring those rates down. Instead of giving up or doing things that had not worked in the past, she went to the bar owners and talked to them about being more diligent about checking ID’s and being a part of the solution.

I know that many of you have found yourselves in alliances with those who might have been considered your enemy in the past.  For the greater good, there are opportunities to work with those whom we would have never thought we would work with.  We must also make sure that, for public health, we are willing to think outside the box to make sure that our ultimate goal of protecting public health.  For the greater good, there are opportunities and, although they might not seem to be a partner now, there are times that we can all work together to protect our communities from those things that plague our citizens.

Tony Coder
Drug Free Action Alliance
June 9, 2017

Statement by President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana on Senators Booker and Gillibrand’s Marijuana Legislation to Bypass FDA

Today, Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a national group promoting evidence-based marijuana laws, issued the following statement regarding medical marijuana legislation introduced by Senators Booker (D-NJ) and Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN):

“No one wants to deprive chronically ill patients of medication that could be helpful for them, but that’s not what the legislation being introduced today is about. We wouldn’t allow Pfizer to bypass the FDA – why would we let the marijuana industry? This bill would completely undermine the FDA approval process, and encourage the use of marijuana and marijuana products that have not been proven either safe or effective. The FDA approval process should set the standard for smart, safe, and sound healthcare in our country, so we can be sure that patients are receiving the best treatments that do more help than harm,” said SAM President and former senior White House drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet.

“Raw marijuana is not medicine, so marijuana in crude form should not be legal, but the medicinal components properly researched, purified, and dosed should be made available through compassionate research programs, as outlined in SAM’s six-point plan entitled “Researching Marijuana’s Medical Potential Responsibly.” We understand the FDA process can seem cumbersome to those suffering from intractable diseases, but early access programs to drugs in development are already available.

“Also, while FDA approval is the long-term goal, seizure patients shouldn’t have to go to the unregulated market to get products full of contaminants. Responsible legislation that fast-tracks these medications for those truly in need should be supported, rather than diverting patients to an unregulated CBD market proven to be hawking contaminated or mislabeled products as medicine, as this bill would endorse. In 2015 and 2016 the FDA sent multiple warning letters to numerous CBD manufacturers, outlining these concerns. We support the development of FDA-approved CBD medications, like Epidolex, which is in the final stages of approval.”

News media requesting a one-one-one interview with a representative from SAM can contact anisha@learnaboutsam.org.

###

About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states. For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.