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Bob McCoskrie

BREAKING: New Study Confirms Link Between Daily, High Potency Marijuana Use and Psychosis

“SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)” 19 March 2019
Family First Comment: “As the legal status of cannabis changes in many countries and states, and as we consider the medicinal properties of some types of cannabis, it is of vital public health importance that we also consider the potential adverse effects that are associated with daily cannabis use, especially high potency varieties.”

Today, a landmark study published in the prestigious Lancet Psychiatry Journal finds that daily use of high potency marijuana is linked to greater rates of psychosis in Europe. According to the study, an estimated five in ten new cases of psychosis in Amsterdam and three in ten new cases in London are linked with high potency marijuana use.

“This study is groundbreaking,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former Obama Administration drug policy advisor. “It is the first to show how marijuana impacts population rates of psychosis – and it’s results are chilling. For years we have known that low potency marijuana was damaging to mental health. Now the scientific literature is catching up with the rapidly increasing THC potency we are seeing on the market today.”

Numerous studies have shown a causal link between marijuana use and onset of severe mental health issues, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, but this is the first study to showcase the link at a population level. The study finds that daily, average potency marijuana users were three times more likely to be diagnosed with first episode psychosis compared to non-users. With daily use of high potency marijuana, this number increased to five times more likely.

“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing that the use of cannabis with a high concentration of THC has more harmful effects on mental health than the use of weaker forms. They also indicate for the first time how cannabis use affects the incidence of psychotic disorder at a population level,” said Dr Marta Di Forti, lead author from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London, UK. “As the legal status of cannabis changes in many countries and states, and as we consider the medicinal properties of some types of cannabis, it is of vital public health importance that we also consider the potential adverse effects that are associated with daily cannabis use, especially high potency varieties.”

Moreover, the study found that instances of first time psychosis in London would be cut by a third if high potency marijuana products were no longer available.

Sabet continued, “Lawmakers considering marijuana legalization are not learning about studies such as this from the well-heeled marijuana industry lobbyists. We will get this study, and others like it, in front of lawmakers at all levels of government to educate them on the real impact of allowing the commercialization of high potency marijuana to spread.”
https://learnaboutsam.org/groundbreaking-new-uk-study-confirms-link-between-daily-high-potency-marijuana-use-and-psychosis/

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1 in 4 marijuana users get high at work in states with legal weed, survey says

The Seattle Times 13 March 2019
Family First Comment: Disturbing!
“One in four marijuana users who are employed admit to doing this within the past year, according to a new survey of cannabis consumers in Washington, Oregon and Colorado, three states where recreational weed is legal. One in four also said they’ve gotten high before work.”

One in four marijuana users who are employed admit to doing this within the past year, according to a new survey of cannabis consumers in Washington, Oregon and Colorado, three states where recreational weed is legal.

One in four also said they’ve gotten high before work — I’m guessing it’s the same one in four, but the survey doesn’t specify.

The marketing communications firm Quinn Thomas, which has offices in Seattle and Portland, funded the survey, which was conducted by polling-and-opinion outfit DHM Research. A representative sample of 900 cannabis consumers were interviewed — 300 in each of the three states — from Jan. 8 to 14. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.

“There is a lot of information out there about the cannabis industry and its regulatory structure, but not much is known about consumers,” said Zach Knowling, vice president at Quinn Thomas, in an email. “We felt our experience researching and reaching unique audiences could build greater understanding of who they are.”

Washington and Colorado both legalized recreational use of marijuana through voter initiatives in 2012, becoming the first states to do so. Oregon followed in 2014.

The survey shows that after legalization, many cannabis consumers increased their usage. In Washington 44 percent of respondents said they are now regular consumers of pot (daily or a few times per week), compared with 36 percent who said they consumed that much prelegalization.
READ MORE: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/1-in-4-marijuana-users-with-a-job-get-stoned-at-work-survey-says/
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Home truths on marijuana – a caregiver’s perspective

Stuff co.nz 15 March 2019
Family First Comment: Great commentary from Family First’s Mel Taylor 🙂
“The many youths we have journeyed alongside who have made a positive life for themselves will tell you that these drug advocates are wrong, and removed from reality. I find it both sad and ironic that these young people cannot understand why any government that cares about the people would even think to do something like legalising marijuana. Many of these youth would not have struggled with drug addictions at such a young age had their parents not taken drugs. Many would not have been in trouble with the law if drugs had not been part of their upbringing. Children reflect their environment. Their parents are the first role models and their first influencers, and as a result can make or break a child’s future.”
#SayNopeToDope

OPINION: At the 2020  general election, we are set to have a binding referendum on whether we should legalise marijuana.

The upcoming debate  on this topic is set to be fierce, as this is a subject many people are passionate about.

Legalising marijuana is both stupid and dangerous. What really frightens me is just how many people may vote for it in an uninformed way. Far too few people will actually research all the facts regarding marijuana and make an educated decision

I am a Specialist Caregiver who has had more than 400 teenage boys live with us in our family home over the past 18 years. I work on the frontline with Youth Justice youth, behavioural youth, Care and Protection youth and high at-risk youth.

I have seen and heard it all. I have seen first-hand the massive negative effects marijuana has had on not only youth, but on their families and communities.

The most gut-wrenching is seeing so many youths, who had so much potential, come to us with drug-induced psychosis. For some of them it took years for them to reach that point. For others, only a very small amount of time.

In most cases, the drug addictions these youth have can be attributed to their past environment and upbringing. Drugs for them are the norm.

So many people will refer to the fact that there are next to no marijuana-related deaths. Actually, the alternative reality is worse. Rather than death, we have both youth and adults with brain damage that will affect them for the rest of their life. They need constant mental health assistance, require lifelong financial support from the government, and will never have the opportunity to live a normal life.

Marijuana is killing New Zealanders, maybe not physically, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Many drug advocates will say that there will be age restrictions on the legalisation of marijuana, that safeguards will be put in place, and that parents will not be giving it to their children.

 The many youths we have journeyed alongside who have made a positive life for themselves will tell you that these drug advocates are wrong, and removed from reality.

I find it both sad and ironic that these young people cannot understand why any government that cares about the people would even think to do something like legalising marijuana.

Many of these youth would not have struggled with drug addictions at such a young age  had their parents not taken drugs. Many would not have been in trouble with the law if drugs had not been part of their upbringing.

Children reflect their environment. Their parents are the first role models and their first influencers, and as a result can make or break a child’s future.

I personally believe marijuana would not be legalised if the decision was to be made by those working on the frontline, such as doctors, nurses, mental health workers, social workers, police, caregivers, teachers, counsellors and many others.

Why? Because these people deal first-hand with the damages and long-term side effects caused from marijuana, and because they have taken the time to research the facts. They have seen the consequences.

I implore New Zealanders to do their research. Talk with people who work on the frontline, and make sure that they have all the unbiased facts before the vote. Legalising marijuana would be the start of a very scary and slippery slope.

Finally, I would like to challenge any politician who supports the legalisation of marijuana to come to our home and spend time with our youth in care. You are welcome to come and hear their stories about how marijuana has affected both them and their families, and learn some home truths from their life experiences.

* Mel Taylor is a specialist caregiver, and spokeswoman on youth issues for Family First NZ.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/110545233/home-truths-on-marijuana–a-caregivers-perspective

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Is drug legalisation worse than the status quo?

Stuff co.nz 15 March 2019
Family First Comment:  Excellent article. A reality check! 
“Gangs will continue to supply 24/7 home delivery tax-free with free samples of harder drugs. But it will be worse than that. Replacing the war on drugs with a war on marijuana tax cheats will mean gangs will continue to supply most of the market tax-free, including to teenagers with offers of harder drugs but the police will have less incentive to chase down what is now a grey market rather than a black market. Do not underestimate the entrepreneurial ingenuity of criminals.”
#PeopleBeforeProfits

OPINION: Never let a bunch of anti-capitalists design a legal market for cannabis.

Their consuming hatred of Big Marijuana and the profit motive would create such an ineffectual legal market that the gangs will still supply most of the marijuana along with offers of free samples of harder drugs that even voters will work out how awful the legal model is and vote it down at the coming referendum.

The Greens and the Drug Foundation not only want to decriminalise marijuana, they want to legalise it with government controls on who can supply,  and checks on quality. They seem to want to limit access to social supply and consumer co-ops so that Big Marijuana is kept out of the market. No for-profit supply seems to be their ideal.

The Greens seem to want to imitate the monumental screwup in Canada. Not only did Canada forget to legalise production before supply, so they ran out of inventory within a week, but each province decided for itself how marijuana was to be legally sold.

One province chose a government monopoly. Others allowed private retailers but they had to have a clean record and pay tens of thousands of dollars in annual registration fees.

Most of the current marijuana dealers in Canada did not qualify and already had an established network of customers so they stayed in business offering tax-free marijuana. American states also continue to have black markets in marijuana.

What the Greens will set up is a legal supply that is hopeless at competing with existing gang suppliers. The legal shops will be so far away from schools and other sensitive locations, open 9-to-5 in a remote warehouse district, paying a living wage that they will end up asking for a bailout from Shane Jones’ Regional Growth Fund because they attracted so few customers.

Gangs will continue to supply 24/7 home delivery tax-free with free samples of harder drugs. But it will be worse than that.

Replacing the war on drugs with a war on marijuana tax cheats will mean gangs will continue to supply most of the market tax-free, including to teenagers with offers of harder drugs but the police will have less incentive to chase down what is now a grey market rather than a black market.

Do not underestimate the entrepreneurial ingenuity of criminals. Some UN bureaucrats had a cunning plan; occasionally hold a lawful sale of previously confiscated ivory to collapse the price of poached ivory and drive the poachers out of business.

Elephant poaching soared because criminals worked out that they could pass off their illegal ivory as legally acquired and sell it to people who otherwise would not buy it, much less show it off to their friends because it was illegally obtained. A large market in counterfeit legal ivory developed in China and other places off the back of an earnest attempt to collapse the price of illegal ivory.

I’m a recovering libertarian. I support decriminalisation because if adults want to get high, more fool them as long as they do not harm others. But I know that argument will never sell at a referendum.

The reason dope-smoking-on-Saturday-night successful middle-class parents oppose decriminalisation is that when they are feuding with their kids over bad grades, they still want to tell them that marijuana is illegal. They want that argument in their back pocket because they know that, unlike themselves, more than a few mates drifted off into a cloud of dope at university and failed.

They want every possible persuasive tactic available to them to stop their kids going the same way.

The best argument for decriminalisation that will work at a referendum is that it pushes gangs out of the supply chain so kids will not be offered samples of harder drugs. That pragmatic argument and better-quality control could win a majority.

Right now, the maximum penalty is three months for possession of marijuana. Three were sent to prison last year for possession of marijuana as their lead offence for their sentencing. Another 15 were sent to prison for possession of harder drugs, which carries a maximum of six months. A good guess is most were gang members on the receiving end of well-deserved police harassment.

As the illegal trade is offering samples of harder drugs and supplying teenagers, the rationale for suppressing the illegal trade is stronger. Penalties for illegal supply and even marijuana possession through an illegal supplier might have to increase after legalisation.

Colorado quickly found it had to regulate marijuana packaging strictly because little kids thought edible marijuana was a lolly and ended up at the emergency department.

If advocates of legalisation want a legal market that drives the gangs out of marijuana supply, the Greens and others on the Left will have to swallow a big dead rat and embrace capitalism.

Big Marijuana might end up developing an app that ensures that adults and only adults buy marijuana delivered by Uber Eats. Marijuana legalisation will be full of the unexpected.
* Jim Rose blogs at Utopiayouarestandinginit.com
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/111279052/is-drug-legalisation-worse-than-the-status-quo

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Kate Hawkesby: Does NZ want corporates producing potent cannabis here?

NewsTalk ZB 13 March 2019
Family First Comment: Well said, Kate! 👍 As a media person AND as a parent, you’ve understood the real issues behind this referendum – and the reason to vote NO.

As we edge ever closer to our referendum next year on cannabis, the debate’s heating up.

That’s a good thing. We need to be as well informed as we possibly can before we vote.
It’s easy to come at these issues from whatever your personal experiences or interests are.

But part of living in a democratic society is being able to look at debate from all sides. At the moment with the legalise cannabis debate, I tend to come at it from my standpoint as a parent.

But one angle which pricked my interest this week was that of its move into the hands of big corporates – and with that, it’s increased potency.

If we look to overseas examples, which we should, a Colorado native and author of the book “Weed, Inc”, Ben Cort has been shedding some light on what’s happened in his hometown.

Colorado legalised cannabis in 2012. Since then, commercial interests have taken over sales and they’re making millions.

Not only that, the product’s been hijacked. The ‘natural plant’ as cannabis enthusiasts from the 1970s may’ve called it, is no longer just a plant. It’s concentrated and distilled into edibles, eye drops, gum, lollies, nasal sprays, ice cream – whatever you can think of now contains THC – which is the active ingredient in marijuana. The part that gets you high.

Cort says it’s so dramatically more potent now than it was back then. Where plants of the 70s may’ve contained about 4 per cent THC, the levels now are more like 42 per cent.

Why? Because it’s now being grown in glasshouses and commercial production facilities, with pesticides, fertilisers and metals added to it.

In his TED talk, Cort cites a mate of his who quit working in one of the cannabis growing facilities due to his fears about the amount of chemicals he was around. Their employers were asking them to wear Hazmat suits – that’s how much chemical spraying was going onto these plants.

The arguments against – that it’s a health issue and not a criminal one – I hear that.
But don’t we create a bigger health issue for ourselves than we already have with those other legalised corporatised addictive drugs such as tobacco and alcohol?
They’re legal: look how that turned out.

Is this what we really want for our country?

A more potent drug than ever before, and in the hands of corporate giants milking it for every cent?

I wouldn’t have thought so.
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/early-edition/opinion/kate-hawkesby-does-nz-want-corporates-producing-potent-cannabis-here/

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ASA says anti-cannabis billboard ‘socially responsible’

Media Release 13 March 2019
Family First NZ is welcoming a decision by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) not to uphold any of the complaints made against its ‘marijuana has a kids menu’ billboard.

There were seven complaints about the advertisement, with complainants arguing that the ad was misleading, made unsubstantiated claims and played on fear. But the Complaints Board has rejected those complaints, saying “the advertisement draws the public’s attention to some of the different types of cannabis products that might be available for sale in New Zealand, if recreational cannabis is made legal.” They said the advertisement “did not contain anything indecent, exploitative or degrading, did not cause fear or distress and was socially responsible.”

A separate complaint about the inappropriate use of the word ‘marijuana’ was also thrown out.

“We believe it is time to end the practice of illustrating all marijuana-related news stories and educational materials with the same overused photos of a marijuana plant and a joint being smoked. The public deserves to be informed about the wide variety of products and THC potencies sold in legal marijuana markets around the world. What is most concerning is that the marijuana industry is targeting young people with child-attractive child-friendly products,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“When people think about ‘cannabis’, they probably immediately think about a joint. But legalising marijuana will be far more than that. People will be popping it between classes, sucking on it while driving, drinking it before work, chewing on it while they talk to others, and eating it as a dessert. THC concentrate is mixed into almost any type of food or drink. The potency of edibles (several times that of an average joint) and their attractiveness to kids have led to serious problems in legalised states like Colorado. THC-infused products include: coffee, ice-cream, baked goods, lolly-pops, fizzy drinks, water bottles, tea, hot cocoa, breath mints & spray, intimate oils, pills, lollies, chewing gum, marinara sauce, baklava, and many more. These new products can be delivered rectally, nasally, vaginally or squirted into the eye to reach the bloodstream faster and deliver a quicker high.”

“The public of New Zealand are not getting this information. Our billboard is designed to raise this inconvenient truth – and to provoke debate and discussion,” says Mr McCoskrie

Family First has other billboards in its campaign including “The new face of Big Tobacco”, “The Referendum is about legalising recreational cannabis. Medicinal is already legal” and “You can’t legalise cannabis and promote mental health”.
ENDS

‘It’s changed my home’ – US anti-cannabis lobbyist’s warning to NZ

NewsHub 11 March 2019
Family First Comment: Ben Cort – “People don’t understand that we’re not talking about a joint. People are smoking vapourisers that come in the form of functional pens that you can write and then hit… it’s not weed, it’s a concentrate. An 80 percent THC concentrate.”
www.SayNopeToDope.org.nz

A US anti-cannabis campaigner has warned New Zealand against legalising recreational cannabis after seeing the effects of the drug in his home state of Colorado.

Marijuana was legalised for recreational use in Colorado in 2012, meaning anyone 21 years or older can use, carry and grow the drug there.

Ben Cort joined The AM Show today to tell his story of addiction to marijuana and how legalisation in some US states has led to increases in addiction and mental health issues.

“I spent five years at the University of Colorado hospital when we legalised and we went from seeing paranoia associated with it every now and again to multiple times in a day.”

He said legalisation brings with it forms of the drug that have much higher THC levels.

“People don’t understand that we’re not talking about a joint.

“People are smoking vapourisers that come in the form of functional pens that you can write and then hit… it’s not weed, it’s a concentrate. An 80 percent THC concentrate.”
LISTEN & READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/03/it-s-changed-my-home-us-anti-cannabis-lobbyist-s-warning-to-nz.html

Ben Cort warns against legal cannabis in New Zealand
Radio NZ News 11 March 2019
A man who helped lead an unsuccessful campaign to stop a commercial cannabis industry being set up in Colorado is visiting the country to warn New Zealanders not to repeat what he calls a big mistake. A referendum on whether to change the law to allow personal use of cannabis will be held during the general elections next year. Ben Cort has been brought to New Zealand by the Family First organisation, is in our Auckland studio.

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018685971/ben-cort-warns-against-legal-cannabis-in-new-zealand

Ben Court on Magic Talk
Magic Talk 11 March 2019
Ben Court, author of Weed, Inc.: The Truth About the Pot Lobby, THC, and the Commercial Marijuana Industry with Sean Plunket on Magic Talk.

https://omny.fm/shows/magic/ben-court-on-magic-talk 

Marijuana debate
Rhema 11 March 2019
Ben Cort is an expert in marijuana with a passion for recovery, prevention and harm reduction that comes from his own struggle with substance abuse.  With the debate around the legalisation of marijuana happening in New Zealand Ben joined Andrew in studio to talk about his own journey and the impacts of the commercialisation of the drug. Andrew kicked off the interview with asking Ben about his own struggles wih drug addiction.
https://www.rhema.co.nz/shows-djs/days/item/10959-marijuana-debate

Larry Williams Newstalk ZB interviews Ben Cort

Starts at 9’17”

continued….

Leighton Smith Podcast
13 March 2019
This week Leighton speaks to Addiction Treatment Specialist Ben Cort. Leighton learns much more of Ben’s past and his concerns re legalising marijuana. It is really quite chilling. Don’t miss it.
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/podcasts/the-leighton-smith-podcast/leighton-smith-podcast-episode-7-13-march-2019/

 

Recreational marijuana: What schools fear most about the legalization in New York

Lohud 7 March 2019
Family First Comment: “As a society, we’ve been unable to stop the things we seem to think are legally allowable for adults from filtering down to children. And yet somehow we seem to be marching ahead with the legalization of marijuana without factoring in the societal effects it will have when kids start using it and the implication that it’s legal so it must be OK.”
Exactly! 

In the debate over whether New York should legalize marijuana, a potent force is becoming more vocally opposed: schools.

At least one district has already issued a resolution in opposition and statewide school organizations are increasingly raising concerns over New York’s move toward recreational marijuana.

Educators’ criticisms focus largely on the potential impact on students already enticed by vaping, cigarettes and opioids.

“As a child welfare issue, we are gravely concerned that the legalization of recreational marijuana is going to be really harmful to our children,” said Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the state Parent Teacher Association.

The state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are negotiating whether to include the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state budget for the fiscal year that starts April 1.

If a deal can’t be reached, lawmakers would have until the end of the legislative session in mid-June to strike an agreement. Otherwise, it would likely languish until 2020.

So with the short window, some school groups are boosting their efforts to beat back the measure.

“As a society, we’ve been unable to stop the things we seem to think are legally allowable for adults from filtering down to children,” said David Little, executive director
of the state Rural Schools Association.
READ MORE: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/investigations/2019/03/07/recreational-marijuana-what-schools-fear-most-legalization-new-york/2981695002/

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Pot legalization: Link to marijuana and more car crashes, suicide

Car crashes, psychosis, suicide: Is the drive to legalize marijuana ignoring major risks?
USA Today 7 March 2019
Family First Comment: Finally… some mainstream media outlets are asking the questions that need to be asked.
“These critics – doctors, police and auto safety officials, parents – point to stories and studies that link the drug to suicide, schizophrenia and car crashes. Marijuana might be safer than alcohol or tobacco, they say. But that doesn’t make marijuana safe.”

In less than 25 years, marijuana has gone from illegal everywhere in the United States to legal for at least some uses in all but four states.

Advocates say the drug can help patients who are suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis-triggered muscle spasms and the grueling side effects of chemotherapy. Some states are exploring whether cannabis could help wean people from addiction to opioids.

Beyond the medical claims, 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and more are considering it. The advocates’ long-repeated argument: It’s safer than alcohol or tobacco.

But as cultural acceptance of cannabis grows, opponents are warning of potential downsides.

These critics – doctors, police and auto safety officials, parents – point to stories and studies that link the drug to suicide, schizophrenia and car crashes.

Marijuana might be safer than alcohol or tobacco, they say. But that doesn’t make marijuana safe.

An increase in impaired driving by people under the influence of drugs including marijuana, for example, is threatening the huge progress made in recent decades to reduce drunk driving crashes.
EAD MORE: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/03/06/marijuana-legalization-risks-critics-downsides-car-crashes-psychosis-schizophrenia-suicide/2915860002/

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