Next week in Trenton: Marijuana and other shady stuff

Legalizing marijuana – including so-called “edibles” in the shapes of chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, cookies, and candies (in other words, attractive to young children) – is number one on the agenda of some Trenton Democrats.  The Senate Democrat leadership is pushing marijuana – in the midst of an opioid epidemic, no less – but an opposition of principled Democrats and Republicans, led by Senator Ron Rice (D-Newark) has formed and they are pushing back. 

Senator Rice, who was on the front lines defending America as a Marine in Vietnam and defending innocents as a police officer on the streets of Newark, now he has taken the point again and this victory, when it comes, will have been gained by his courage and leadership.  God bless Senator Ron Rice.

Now a new study supports Senator Rice and the bi-partisan coalition that has formed around him.  The study is by the leading psychiatric journal of the English-speaking world, The Lancet Psychiatry, a renowned peer-reviewed journal that is part of The Lancet, the world's most important medical journal.  You can access the study here:

Here's the takeaway…

Daily cannabis use was associated with increased odds of psychotic disorder compared with never users (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 3·2, 95% CI 2·2–4·1), increasing to nearly five-times increased odds for daily use of high-potency types of cannabis (4·8, 2·5–6·3).  

It's worth noting that what the authors call "high-potency cannabis" is flower marijuana (aka buds) with more than 10% THC. Most cannabis sold in legal U.S. dispensaries is about 20-25% THC. In other words, by American standards, the cutoff was actually quite low. Using that daily led to a fivefold increase in the risk of psychosis.

The other takeaway…

If high-potency cannabis were no longer available, 12% of cases of first-episode psychosis could be prevented... rising to 30% in London.

In other words, marijuana appears to be producing a measurable increase in the number of psychosis cases in Europe - 1/3 of all cases in London (where use patterns are most similar to the United States) are due to cannabis use. If that's correct, than legalization and the increased use it produces is even more of a public health disaster than we thought.

Maybe the most important comment on the study came from Dr. Adrian James, who is the Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British equivalent of the American Psychiatric Association:

“This is a good quality study and the results need to be taken seriously. Cannabis carries severe health risks and users have a higher chance of developing psychosis."

The Assembly will have a voting session on Monday, March 25, 2019.  Legalizing marijuana – including child-unfriendly “edibles” – is top on the agenda.  There will be individual Democrat and Republican caucus meetings at 11:00 AM.  The Assembly voting session will begin at 1:00 PM.  Citizens are urged to attend and observe this session.  The Senate is meeting the same day.  We will send out the Senate schedule over the weekend.  Here is the legislation up for consideration by the Assembly:

Despite the dangers, many NJ political leaders intend to cash in on Pot.

Former Governor Jim Florio is leading the charge on legalizing the sale of marijuana “edibles” – THC laced chocolate, peanut butter cups, and cookies – that could easily get into the hands of children and are impossible to monitor by police.  He is the lead partner of a politically-connected law firm whose reach extends throughout the state and as deep as local governments.  He also controls a powerful lobbying operation.  But Florio isn’t the only politician preparing to cash in on the next opioid epidemic.  Longtime politicos around the state – both Democrats and Republicans – are making arrangements to become pot barons and to use their political muscle to make it happen.

An enormous, money-infused public relations operation has convinced many average citizens that pot is safe.  But is it?

Before they take their next vote, we urge legislators and average voters alike to read an eye-opening report from an award-winning author and former New York Times reporter.  It reveals the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug—facts the media have ignored as the United States rushes to legalize pot.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states.  A majority of Americans believe the drug should be legal for medical use.  Venture capitalist, speculators, entrepreneurs, and investors argue that pot can help everyone from veterans to cancer sufferers.

But legalization has been built on myths– that marijuana arrests fill prisons; that most doctors want to use cannabis as medicine; that it can somehow stem the opiate epidemic; that it is not just harmless but beneficial for mental health. In this meticulously reported book, Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, explodes those myths:

• 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 (in 2014-15), there have been sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since legalization.  Combined, the four states saw a 35 percent increase in murders and a 25 percent increase in assaults – far outpacing national statistics when adjusted for changes in population.  In Uruguay, which allowed retail sales in July 2017, murders have soared.

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 America already gripped by one drug epidemic – the pharmaceutical industry induced opioid epidemic – this book should make legislators and average voters think and perhaps reconsider whether marijuana use is worth the risk.  But  money does talk…

Meanwhile, get a copy of the book.  Read it for yourself and start pushing back on the Madison Avenue deluge of b.s. from the pot barons and their lobbyists…