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Bob McCoskrie

California wants to hire more cannabis cops to get a handle on black market marijuana

The Sacramento Bee 2 June 2020
Our additional comment: But weren’t we told that legalisation would free up police resources?
It’s a myth!

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control is looking to beef up its law enforcement presence.

The bureau in a new state budget request is asking lawmakers to let it build an 87-member police force that would enforce the 2016 law voters passed legalizing recreational cannabis. It’d create the law enforcement branch by absorbing 58 positions from another department, and hiring 29 more cannabis cops.

The department is trying to contain a black market that pervades the state three years after California’s first recreational marijuana stores opened.

In 2019, the bureau seized nearly 24 tons of illicit cannabis, while the California Highway Patrol in 2018 seized more than 80 tons.

Black market cannabis operators made an estimated $8.3 billion in sales in 2019, compared to the $3.1 billion the legal market made, according to projections from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research.

“Investigators have seized millions in untested products, including cannabis flower, edibles, tinctures, concentrates — all bypassing the state’s testing and labeling requirements,” said George Tiongson, president of the California Association of Criminal Investigators, an affiliate of the union that represents employees the bureau’s employees.

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Cannabis NO Campaign Announces Spokesperson

Media Release 3 June 2020
Aaron Ironside is the new spokesperson for the Say Nope To Dope campaign.

Aaron Ironside rose to prominence in the 1990’s as the anchor of Radio Hauraki’s popular Morning Pirates breakfast show. The young rock DJ fully embraced the Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll lifestyle that accompanied his new-found fame. Aaron quickly turned his occasional marijuana use into a daily habit that consumed his life. In time, he realised that his drug addiction was now affecting his mental health, exacerbating his symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In 1998, Aaron quit the high-profile job and decided to deal with his drug problem. Once clean he began working in the Not-For-Profit sector, putting his Masters Degree in Psychology to work. In 2012 he started A.I. Counselling and Coaching helping hundreds of clients find freedom from many different types of addiction and substance abuse.

Aside from his personal experience with cannabis, Aaron has witnessed the devastation the drug causes to vulnerable families during his work with a community group in Manurewa. The systemic damage that addiction creates was clearly seen in the poverty, crime and mental health outcomes for the Maori and Pasifika families who engaged with the organisation.

Although himself drug-free for over 20 years, some extended family members continue to struggle with the grip Cannabis has over their lives. Aaron is passionate about protecting them from further harm, and helping New Zealand pursue programs and legislation that will benefit all sectors of society.

The Say Nope to Dope campaign is a group of concerned organisations and individuals who oppose any attempt to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. The group will be officially launched in the coming weeks.

SAMOAN TRANSLATION – 20 Reasons to Vote No

E fa’atalofa atu i le tatou aiga Samoa potopoto.
A’o loma palota fa’alaua’itele o le Mariuana ua matou tapena ai ni tusitusiga e fa’amatala ma fa’amalamalama ia matāupu mo lou aiga, uō ma ē masani, fa’apea fo’i ma Fatafaitaulaga ‘ese’ese o le tatou nu’u.
O nei tusitusiga e lua, e leai se totogi mana’omia. E maua lau kopi i le ‘upega tafa’ilagi’ ua tusia i lalo.
20 filifiliga e tatau ai ona e palota ‘LEAI’ i le Mariuana!
Maua lau kopi mai le: WWW.SAYNOPETODOPE.ORG.NZ/translations/

To our Samoan supporters and friends:
Talofa. In preparation for the upcoming referendum on cannabis, we’ve prepared the perfect resource for your families, friends and church groups.
And they’re free! Download them today – and share.
“20 Reasons to Vote No to Cannabis” 


TONGAN TRANSLATION – 20 Reasons to Vote No

Ki he kau poupou, kaunga maheni mo e kainga Tonga kotoa pe:
Malo e lelei! Koe’uhi ko e teuteu fakaha loto mahu’inga (referendum) ‘a e fonua ‘i Sepitema ‘o e ta’u ni fekau’aki mo e maliuana, kuo mau teuteu’i ai ‘a e ngaahi tohi fakamatala mahino mo lelei ma’a hotau ngaahi famili, maheni mo e siasi fekau’aki mo e ongo kaveinga ni. Pea ‘oku ta’etotongi fokii!! ‘Oku ma’u atu ‘eni ‘i he WWW.SAYNOPETODOPE.ORG.NZ/translations/ ke mou lau mo vahevahe atu!
“‘Uhinga ‘e 20 ke tali NO ki he Maliuana”
Fakapapau’i ‘oku ke mahino’i ‘a e ongo kaveinga pea ke toki fili!
‘Ofa atu,


To our Tongan supporters and friends:
Malo e lelei. In preparation for the upcoming referendum on cannabis, we’ve prepared the perfect resource for your families, friends and church groups.
And they’re free! Download them today – and share.
“20 Reasons to Vote No to Cannabis”


Former PM, police investigator, among Kiwis backing cannabis legalisation campaign

Stuff 2 June 2020
A former police investigator is among a number of high-profile New Zealanders encouraging the country to vote Yes in the upcoming cannabis referendum.

The New Zealand Drug Foundation’s “Our Own Terms” campaign features Tim McKinnel, an investigator who helped prove Teina Pora’s innocence, alongside former Prime Minister Helen Clark, psychiatrist Hinemoa Elder and educator Richie Hardcore, among others.

“The system as it is now is a free-for-all, it’s unregulated and uncontrolled and forces people to dip their toes into the black market,” said McKinnel, who spent several years on the police drug squad.

“Police spend a great deal of time and money fighting cannabis, with helicopter recovery operations, or with uncovering underground growing operations. It’s a drain not only on policy but on our courts and prisons.”

He is supporting the Yes campaign because it will allow for stricter regulations.

“The Bill we are voting on is the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. People tend to forget about the control part.”

The campaign is pushing a number of different arguments aimed to persuade undecided voters.

The foundation sees arguments around freeing up police time, increasing tax revenues, and improving access for medicinal cannabis users as some of the stronger motivators for undecided voters.

“We’re taking a positive approach, not trying to stoke fear,” Drug Foundation chief executive Ross Bell said.

“We want to highlight that the Bill is designed for New Zealand, it’s different from what we’ve seen overseas, like in Colorado for example, and it takes a much stricter approach.

“Under this Bill, the Government takes control over the cannabis market, from seed to sale. We encourage all New Zealanders to read the Cannabis Control Bill and see for themselves. This is about putting sensible controls around an existing market, and it will mean a net gain for public health.”

Hinemoa Elder said she was supporting the campaign for moral reasons.

“As a doctor I cannot ethically support the status quo at this time. Frankly, it’s a mess, for all sorts of reasons,” she said.

She said arguments that cannabis users were more likely to develop mental illnesses were not accurate, and the greater impact on users came from legal repercussions.

“In my practice, what I see is when young people get cannabis convictions they tend to have further restrictions put on their education and their life in the long term.”

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A vape being touted as a vitamin inhaler is being targeted to young women on Instagram

NZ Herald 30 May 2020
Medsafe is looking into a new vape which promises to “support balance and mood” and help users “feel more alert,” which experts fear could be dangerous.

Inhale Vitamins herbal vapes are marketed via social media with experts saying the company appears to be actively targeting a younger demographic.

One Instagram post, changed after the Herald on Sunday made inquiries, said the Vita Babe inhaler “supports feminine energy, raises wellbeing, and helps with mood management”.

Malaghan Institute of Medical Research’s director of research Professor Graham Le Gros said they’d seen “herbal” vapes marketed overseas for the past few years and the product could “absolutely” be dangerous.

“There’s always the potential for allergies, fibrosis, COPD, all of those things we associate with smoking causes a certain amount of reaction and over a period of time you can really destroy your lung function.”

He said if someone started inhaling things, they could trigger a powerful immune response, which could cause all sorts of medical problems.


Support For Legalising Cannabis Continues To Drop – Poll

Media Release 29 May 2020
A new poll – the first to be taken after the proposed bill to regulate cannabis was published by the Government – reveals that support for legalising cannabis for recreational use continues to drop.

The survey by Curia Market Research shows that 50% of New Zealanders said they plan to vote against legalisation, and only 35% are planning to vote in favour. 15% are undecided or wouldn’t say. Ignoring the undecided voters, the potential result is 59% against and 41% in favour. Strongest opposition comes from men, older voters and National voters. Labour voters appear split on the issue.

This polling is consistent with previous polling on the issue. The Horizon Research poll shows support for legalising has plummeted from 60% late 2018 to just 39% in 2019. This is a similar trend to the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll (39% support, down from 43%), and the Newshub-Reid Research Poll (41.7% support).

“We’re stoked that our messaging and our SayNopeToDope campaign is getting through to families. It is clear that while Kiwis strongly support a compassionate response to those in real need with a cautious and researched approach around cannabis medicine, when they thoughtfully consider the real implications of legalising recreational use, they completely reject the proposal – and rightly so.”

Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashesyouth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”


Family First Comment: With a long weekend coming up, this could be THE most important video you watch.It’s one of the best summaries we’ve seen of where the legalisation of cannabis will lead to – (and all the clever marketing behind the push to liberalise drug laws).
Just 45 minutes.
But it will shock you.

Cannabis growing facilities up for sale across B.C.

Vancouver Sun 27 May 2020
Large cannabis growing facilities are up for sale in communities across the province as the industry comes to grips with slower-than-expected sales of government-sanctioned cannabis products.

An 18,000-sq.-ft. cannabis cultivation and processing facility is for sale in the Village of Lumby after its owner True Leaf Brands entered bankruptcy proceedings. The asking price for the warehouse-sized operation on 40 acres is $7.25 million.

“We are on a good piece of land in a town that is supportive of the business, so we’ve had quite a bit of interest,” said True Leaf CEO Darcy Bomford. “The deadline for bids is June 19.”

Zenabis is selling a 25,000-sq.-ft. licensed cannabis cultivation and processing facility on Annacis Island for $12.75 million.

An uncompleted cannabis production facility in Kelowna is listed at $13 million, but a potential buyer will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement before the agent will show it. The 25,000-sq.-ft. facility, owned by Doja Cannabis, is advertised as “80 per cent complete.”

At least a dozen mid-sized cannabis companies have recently filed for bankruptcy, and industry leaders say there are many more to come.

“Based on the calls that I’m getting, I’m expecting another dozen more as funding has dried out,” said Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy. Tilray, with production facilities in Nanaimo, cut its staff by 10 per cent earlier this year.

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Today’s high potency weed raises risk of anxiety and addiction, study says

CNN Health 27 May 2020
If you’re thinking of returning to the weed of your youth to ease the strain of the pandemic, you will soon discover a potent truth — today’s weed is nothing like yesterday’s.

Just 20 years ago levels of tetrahydracannabinol, the compound in cannabis known as THC that makes you high, was between 2% and 4% in most marijuana. By 2013, common strains contained 25% THC, with some testing as high as 37%.

Use of weed of any strength has been linked to mental health disorders, and lab experiments have shown that higher does of THC can cause greater memory impairment and temporary psychotic-like symptoms. But few studies have examined how potency levels may affect behavior in real-world populations.

A new study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, surveyed more than 1,000 UK residents who reported marijuana use in the past year. The study found high-potency weed users appear to have a significant increase in the likelihood of developing generalized anxiety disorder than those who smoke less robust strains of marijuana.

The study used data gathered by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which asked questions about cannabis use when participants were 24 years of age. Most of the participants said they smoked less potent strains of marijuana (87%), and those who did use more powerful strains were more likely to be male and to have grown up in a lower socioeconomic status. High potency users were also more likely to have used weed an at earlier age, and more likely to have experienced some psychotic events associated with their habit.

Prior studies have also seen associations between high-potency weed and mental health disorders.

study of first-episode psychosis in more than 400 patients in London found those who said they used higher-potency weed were twice as likely to have a psychotic disorder than those who didn’t use marijuana.

A study that looked at more than 900 patients with psychosis in 11 clinics in Brazil and across Europe found daily use of weed to be associated with increased odds of psychotic disorder.

However, there was more than four times the risk of psychotic disorder when high-potency weed was used daily. The study estimated that if high-potency cannabis were no longer available, between 12 and 50 cases of first-episode psychosis could have been prevented among the patients in the study.

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