Promising data on cannabis from Colorado. The number of citations issued for driving under the influence of marijuana have dropped more than 33 percent in the first quarter of this year (compared to last year).”Are the citations going down? Yeah,” said a spokesperson for the state patrol. “But is the number of people using marijuana and then driving going down? I don’t know how to quantify that.” The Denver Post Meanwhile, former teachers have developed a fact-based marijuana education curriculum. “We had no desire to adopt the antiquated ‘Just Say No’ approach. Instead, we worked with professionals in the fields of medicine, adolescent brain development, and the endocannabinoid system to create a multifaceted, researched-based, marijuana-specific curriculum.” The Denver Post
‘Let me be clear,’ marijuana is dangerous. Homeland Security secretary John Kelly downplayed marijuana’s significance in the war on drugs on Sunday. Today, he clarified those comments, saying “[marijuana] is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.” He also said that ICE agents will continue to use marijuana offenses to deport undocumented immigrants. NY Daily News
Pot and pregnancy. While the science behind using medical marijuana during pregnancy is still in its infancy, some women are opting to use cannabis over pharmaceuticals to treat morning sickness and other conditions. While cannabis may seem less risky than pharmaceuticals to some moms-to-be, it comes with an additional legal risk: “I was being threatened with social services because I had to take marijuana to get rid of my vomiting,” said one mother who used it to treat her morning sickness. Yahoo News
Coercing kids to narc on their parents. D.A.R.E., active in 75 percent of American school districts, has a long history of coercing and persuading kids to inform law enforcement of their parents’ drug use. While police say they don’t actively recruit student informants, the program encourages “spy-and-snitch” behavior that could have devastating consequences. Children who have called the cops on their parents report that they felt manipulated and misled by law enforcement. “I thought the police would come get the drugs and tell [my parents] that drugs are wrong. They never said they would arrest them… But in court, I heard them tell the judge that I wanted my mom and dad arrested. That is a lie. I did not tell them that,” said one 9-year-old. Reason
Brands stay coy about their 4/20 marketing. Big brands are increasingly alluding to the stoner holiday in their marketing campaigns. But “ask any one of these brands what it is, exactly, that people are celebrating on 4/20, and you’ll make tricky work for its spokespeople, who have to acknowledge the ‘holiday,’ but don’t want to cross a line for their corporation by actually, you know, acknowledging the holiday.” Some in the industry aren’t so pleased about the played-out cliches of big brands’ pot jokes. The Washington Post Data from a Denver-based seed-to-sale software company found that 4/20 cannabis sales are nearly double that of sales on a typical day. Marijuana Business Daily
Inside the Philippines’ war on drugs. Two senior officials challenged the government’s account of its anti-drug campaign, detailing cash payments for killings and planted evidence at crime scenes. They also said police have carried out most of the killings that the government blames vigilantes for. One intelligence officer’s report describes the drug war as “social cleansing.” Reuters A survey found that the number of Filipinos satisfied with Duterte’s anti-drug campaign has fallen by 11 points. inquirer.net
Tough anti-opioid laws are not the solution. Various states are considering tougher laws in an effort to address the opioid crisis. But in Florida, mandatory minimums to combat opioid abuse have “been an abject failure for 20 years and counting.” Instead of cracking down on high-level dealers, the laws put away non-violent, low-level users for most of their lives. “More often than not, Florida prosecutors used opioid trafficking laws to imprison the bottom rung of the drug trade.” Reason Why having law enforcement handle prescription drug abuse is a huge mistake: “More felons, more prisons and more lives ruined by incarceration. Addicts get treated as criminals, not as patients in need of treatment. And meanwhile, people living with chronic pain find it ever more difficult to get the medication they need.” The Washington Post
Lobbying firm parts ways with weed client. Gotham Government Relations & Communications, which has worked with the Trump campaign, had signed Todd Mitchem (of OpenVape, High There!) as a client. The goal: lobby the federal government to loosen restrictions on the cannabis industry. A partner of the firm said it couldn’t present Mitchem as a leader in the industry. But Mitchem says the split is due to a funder backing out. Politico
Continuing education steps up to educate doctors about cannabis. The vast majority of medical schools in the U.S. do not teach their students about the endocannabinoid system. But opportunities to study medical marijuana for Continuing Medical Education credits have sprung up to fill a need — in part driven by patients who found their doctors lack of knowledge concerning. Green State
Business opportunity: CBD. Marijuana businesses are increasingly turning to hemp-derived CBD products for their less restrictive legal status. “The diversification allows cannabis-infused product companies, in particular, to expand their geographic sales reach, bolster profits and boost brand recognition.” Marijuana Business Daily
Word on the States
- In Colorado, a drive-thru marijuana dispensary will open its doors this week. Lyft and Uber offer 4/20 promotions.
- In Iowa, the Senate approves a medical marijuana bill.
- In Oregon, the governor signed a bill to protect marijuana customer information.
- In California, Los Angeles county is struggling to shut down illegal cannabis dispensaries.
- In Nevada, Las Vegas considers changes to its medical marijuana regulations.
- In Florida, a Senate committee delays a decriminalization bill.
- In Wisconsin, the governor signed a CBD oil legalization bill.
- In Georgia, a proposal to lessen pot penalties in Atlanta gets sent back to committee.
- In Ohio, medical marijuana regulations are finalized.
- In Rhode Island, the governor’s administration opposes legalizing marijuana this session.
- In Oklahoma, the governor signed a bill that would allow FDA-approved CBD drugs.
Word for Word
“I proudly wore my Just Say No T-shirt to elementary school. I took part in D.A.R.E. activities… But years later, when The Denver Post named me its first marijuana editor in 2013, I knew I had to do my research. I studied the most respected activists on each side of the issue, and I fact-checked their messaging. I delved into the limited base of medical and social research and learned what we’d come to know via top-level scientific surveys. The experience was equally fascinating and devastating, because it only took me an hour to learn that nearly everything I’d been taught about weed was a lie.” – Ricardo Baca for The Cannabist
“It’s fitting that there are two days devoted to mind-opening substances this month — the 19th is Bicycle Day, celebrating the first purposeful ingestion of LSD in 1943. The 20th is 420, when anyone who enjoys getting extremely stoned on marijuana in a park setting takes extra special care to do so. Bicycle day is named after Albert Hoffman’s bicycle — Hoffman was the first person to synthesize LSD in a lab, and took the first dose, following which he had to go home and lie down. He traveled by bike. 420 is named after… I don’t really know. Does it matter? That number means weed for some reason. Anyway it’s weird that these days are side by side instead of being spread further apart in the year, but what’s even weirder is that neither is the most psychedelic day this week. That would be Saturday, which is Earth Day.” – Jacob Khepler for The Outline