This Reporter Took a Deep Look Into the Science of Smoking Pot. What He Found Is Scary.

This Reporter Took a Deep Look Into the Science of Smoking Pot. What He Found Is Scary.

We look back and laugh at Reefer Madness, which was pretty over-the-top, after all, but Berenson found himself immersed in some pretty sobering evidence: Cannabis has been associated with legitimate reports of psychotic behavior and violence dating at least to the 19th century, when a Punjabi lawyer in India noted that 20 to 30 percent of patients in mental hospitals were committed for cannabis-related insanity.

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‘Getting Worse, Not Better’: Illegal Pot Market Booming in California Despite Legalization

‘Getting Worse, Not Better’: Illegal Pot Market Booming in California Despite Legalization

It’s been a little more than a year since California legalized marijuana — the largest such experiment in the United States — but law enforcement officials say the unlicensed, illegal market is still thriving and in some areas has even expanded.

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Why America will regret legalizing marijuana

Why America will regret legalizing marijuana

Chuck Schumer is trotting out old canards about how cannabis "doesn't hurt anybody else." Hearing him tout the virtues of legalization in Colorado and Washington ("lots of good and no harm!"), one is reminded of Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company that spent years (and millions) telling doctors that opioids weren't seriously addictive when prescribed to pain patients. It's stunning that educated people ever believed this, but many did. Today, many are equally anxious to believe that legal pot probably has little to do with Colorado's sharp increase in auto accidents. And there are homeless people everywhere, right? Correlation doesn't equal causation.

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In Colorado, It's Still The Wild West For Home-Grown Marijuana

In Colorado, It's Still The Wild West For Home-Grown Marijuana

Since 2014, when Colorado’s legal, recreational marijuana sales began, Rist Canyon residents say they’ve seen the arrival of a handful of new neighbors. These newcomers buy a plot of land, and rather than build a house and move in, they put up greenhouses or start planting marijuana right in the ground.  

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What the national drug crisis requires

What the national drug crisis requires

Extraordinary times we live in — not least because supposedly responsible people are promoting drug abuse, which everyone knows cascades into addiction, drug-crime, overdoses — that are killing us. So what gives? No one wants to stand up and take responsibility for saying — stop this madness, and fix the crisis. America’s greatness depends on a lot of things — and stopping the rolling, expansive, destructive drug crisis is one

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Proposition 64: New law should be cause for broad alarm

Proposition 64: New law should be cause for broad alarm

It is clear that California is no longer the Golden State. California does poorly in education and in measures of children’s well-being. With only 12 percent of the nation’s population, California has 33 percent of those on the nation’s welfare rolls. Homelessness and drug use are skyrocketing and the two are connected. None of these issues will be improved with more pot commercialization and use. Other problems of the state will be made worse as well.

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5 Former DEA Administrators urge Governor Brown to Oppose Prop 64

5 Former DEA Administrators urge Governor Brown to Oppose Prop 64

As former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration, we write to ask you, the State’s highest level and most visible political leader, to take a position on Proposition 64 before the election next Tuesday. For the reasons set out below, we urge you to oppose Prop 64. Your voice, Governor, is critical.

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Hiding in plain sight

Hiding in plain sight

Most of the commercial pot operations today are many times larger than the biggest pot smugglers/dealers that I prosecuted for 25 years as a federal drug prosecutor. All are committing serious federal felonies on a daily basis that require mandatory minimum sentences of 10-20 years (without parole). And many state and local governments are aiding and abetting these crimes - also in broad daylight - all while sharing drug proceeds re-branded as "tax revenues."  

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Marijuana is Devastating to Youth

Marijuana adversely affects memory, maturation, motivation and can cause irreversible impact on young brains that aren’t fully developed until roughly age 25. It is a contributing factor in California’s alarming high school drop-out rate which costs taxpayers $45.4 billion dollars each year ($492,000 per drop-out). 2009 UC Santa Barbara Study. Since marijuana has been promoted as a “medicine” it is perceived as harmless and use has gone up (NIDA 2009).

More young people ages 12-17 entered drug treament in 2003 for marijuana dependency than for alcohol and all other illegal drugs combined. (DEA 2003) States that have legalized the nation lead the nation in youth marijuana use.

Students who smoke marijuana have twice the odds of being a high school dropout. And have trouble finding jobs, get involved in gangs and crime, and end up on welfare. 80% of prisoners are high school dropouts. “Curbing the nation’s drop-out rate a pressing economic and social imperative. The stakes are too high for our children, for our economy and for our country.”
— President Barack Obama, March 7, 2010

Gambling with Pot

When Alaska legalized marijuana use for adults (’78-’94), teen use was twice that of any other state. Voters overturned the law. States that have legalized pot lead the nation in teen pot use, most notably Colorado.

“If a young person arrives at age 21 prior to smoking, drinking or using illicit drugs, he/she is virtually certain never to do so.”

Joseph Califano
Columbia University Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

Marijuana is a very pervasive addictive drug wreaking havoc in our teen population. For instance:

  • “The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana is a dangerous drug,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. “Parents should recognize–and help their children understand–that playing with marijuana is like playing with fire. More kids are in treatment for marijuana dependence and abuse than ever before, and marijuana is a culprit in an increasing proportion of emergency room visits. Moreover, CASA’s latest analysis provides increasing evidence that marijuana is a gateway to other drug use. The more researchers study the drug and the consequences of its use, the clearer it becomes that teens who smoke pot are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette, not engaging in a harmless rite of passage.” (CASA 2008)
  • From 1992 to 2006, rates of admission for children and teens under age 18 for marijuana as the primary substance of abuse increased by 188.1 percent from 22.7 percent to 65.4 percent, compared with a 54.4 percent decline in rates of admission for all other substances combined. (CASA 2006)

Marijuana is dangerous and it kills

Sure, marijuana may have never killed anyone as proponents often claim – just as a bottle of whiskey has never killed anyone.

What kills people is when someone smokes the marijuana, drinks that bottle, or both at the same time, putting their own and the lives of many innocent people in critical danger.

Here’s some examples of people killing and maiming others when under the influence of marijuana with or without combining with alcohol:

16 year old Teen Dies after Rolling Car off Cliff – Marijuana in System

Studies indicate that the level of marijuana found in Ruxana’s blood would impair her driving ability, decrease her reaction time and decrease her motor skills, said Iain McIntyre, the forensic toxicology laboratory manager for the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“These are all things that would and have contributed to motor vehicle accidents,” he said. Source

Woman Kills Self and 7 others While High on Marijuana

On August 29, 2009 Diane Schuler, while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana drove the wrong way on a freeway killing herself and 7 others including her 2 year old daughter, 3 nieces and 3 men in the SUV she hit head on. She smoked pot one hour before driving. Source

 

In the news

March 26, 2010 – Escondido CA: Man crashes into 13 different cars and possibly more – High on medical marijuana (story)

Man Attacks Flight Crew after Eating Marijuana Cookies

Man “screamed, dropped his pants and attacked crew members on a cross-country flight, forcing its diversion to Pittsburgh, the FBI said”. Kinman Chan later claimed he had eaten marijuana cookies before his flight. Source

‘Psychotic Pothead’ Shoots Pentagon Police

“…John Patrick Bedell liked it (marijuana) too; in fact, he was a marijuana addict. But he inflicted a lot of pain on other people, including the two guards he shot at the Pentagon.” Source

Young Man Kills 9 and injures 5 while another Kills 2 Wounds 13 – Both avid marijuana users

“…The pain has also been evident in other cases, such as admitted pot lover 16-year-old Jeff Weise, who murdered nine people and injured five others in Red Lake, Minnesota and Charles “Andy” Williams, a regular marijuana user who smoked the drug just before killing two schoolmates and wounding 13 others in a San Diego suburban school…” Source

Fire Caused by Marijuana Growers

The August 2009 La Brea raging fire in Santa Barbara County was touched off by a “cooking fire in a marijuana drug trafficking operation … believed to be run by a Mexican national drug organization.”

The fire burned over 130 square miles.

The fire burned over 130 square miles.

Man Kills 4 Children on Freeway – Nickname is “Smokey”
 

“…four children and the driver of a van died when the van hit a concrete bridge abutment after veering off the freeway. Investigators reported that the children nicknamed the driver “Smokey” because he regularly smoked marijuana. The driver was found at the crash scene with marijuana in his pocket. (COMMERCIAL)

 

Woman Hits Man, Leaves Lodged in Windshield in Her Garage Two Days Until He Dies


“…after a night of smoking marijuana, drinking and drugs, a former nurse’s aid hit a homeless man with her car. “Jurors saw pictures of the twisted, bruised and bloody body of a homeless man today as a former nurse’s aide went on trial on charges that she hit him with her car, drove home with his body lodged in the windshield and left him to die in her garage.” (NY TIMES)

Man Kills Two in Head-On Collision


George Lynard was convicted of driving with marijuana in his bloodstream, causing a head-on collision that killed a 73 year-old man and a 69 year-old woman. Lynard appealed this conviction because he allegedly had a “valid prescription” for marijuana. Lynard appealed this conviction because he allegedly had a “valid recommendation” for marijuana. A Nevada judge agreed with Lynard and granted him a new trial. The case has been appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court. (DEA)

Mother’s Day Bus Crash Kills 22 People


“Frank Bedell should never have been behind the wheel of a bus on Mother’s Day… He was high on marijuana and dizzy from Benadryl. The Mother’s Day bus crash near City Park that killed 22 passengers is being blamed on driver Frank Bedell, who police say was seriously ill and under the influence of drugs when he got behind the wheel of the motor coach that morning. Safety experts say stricter federal rules governing the inspection of buses and the screening of drivers might have prevented the accident.” (NOLA).

Teenagers Judge Calls “Hyenas” Murder Father of Three


They are not hard to find. Every few days brings a fresh tale of feral youths meting out random acts of violence with unfathomable intensity. Apart from the shocking brutality, the speed with which a seemingly trivial argument or confrontation can assume murderous proportions, the stories have a common theme: the perpetrators of the violence, often in their very young teens, were high on ’skunk’ at the time.

The teenagers who killed Garry Newlove, the 47-year-old father of three in Cheshire? The attack came after they had binged on alcohol and skunk. Three youths were found guilty of kicking to death Mark Witherall, 47, after he found them burgling his house in Whitstable, Kent. The three were intoxicated by a ferocious cocktail of alcopops and cannabis. The judge said the three had ‘acted as hyenas’. (UK GUARDIAN)

Man Paralyzes CHP Officer and Murders Another Driver


A man under the influence of marijuana drifted onto the shoulder of the road hitting a CHP officer and the driver he had stopped, killing the driver. The CHP officer remains paralyzed. “The investigation revealed a large amount of marijuana and marijuana edibles in White’s vehicle. According to search warrants filed in federal court, in his post-arrest statement, White acknowledged being under the influence of marijuana when the accident took place, saying he had purchased the marijuana from a “medical marijuana” dispensary in Compton.” (CHP)

Marijuana Growing Lab Fire Kills Two Firemen


A house blaze that killed two firefighters started in a tangle of wires and lamps that were installed to grow marijuana in a basement closet, authorities said. (AP)

Hunter Kills 14, Injures 104 Firefighters, Burns 422 Square Miles After Setting ‘Accidental’ Fire


The California Cedar fire was the second largest wildfire in the history of California. 14 people lost their lives in that fire. 104 firefighters were injured, one died. Countless wildlife were cremated; 90% of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park was incinerated; 280,278 acres; 422 square miles were ravaged; the fire took a month to put out and cost $27 million. The hunter “admitted that the night before his foray into the forest, he had smoked marijuana by himself and slipped the pipe and lighter in the pocket of his hunting vest. He said he had not smoked marijuana on the day of the trip. Investigators looking into the fire later found Martinez’s glass marijuana pipe about 30 feet from the spot where the fire had started.” (NC TIMES)

Young Man Mauled by Tiger


A 17- year old San Jose teen had recently smoked marijuana and drank alcohol was mauled to death by a San Francisco Zoo tiger on Christmas Day. His attorney “says it’s irrelevant whether the teen was drinking or smoking pot before he was mauled.” (AP)

DEA Agent Tortured and Murdered


DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was abducted outside the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara, horrifically tortured and murdered. His kidnapper was marijuana kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero, who was able to flee Mexico to Costa Rica with the help of officers in Mexico’s version of the FBI. (WSJ)