All Posts By

Bob McCoskrie

Colorado still fighting cannabis black market six years after legalisation

NewsTalk ZB 17 May 2019
Family First Comment: She said legalisation is not the solution to drug reform. “We just had a study released which said that we are actually spending US$4.50 for every dollar that we bring in on taxes. We are seeing one in four employees self report that they go to work stoned.”

The US State of Colorado is continuing to fight the cannabis black market, six years after legalising the drug.

Seizures of marijuana in the U.S mail system have increased more than 1000 per cent since 2013, as Colorado becomes a major exporter of the drug.

National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association executive director, Jo McGuire, told Kate Hawkesby greater rules and regulations are needed.

“Not only do people completely bypass the regulatory system when they are a player, but people from other countries [are] flooding our state and setting up illegal grow operations in our national forest.”

She said legalisation is not the solution to drug reform.

“We just had a study released which said that we are actually spending US$4.50 for every dollar that we bring in on taxes. We are seeing one in four employees self report that they go to work stoned.”
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/early-edition/audio/colorado-still-fighting-cannabis-black-market-six-years-after-legalisation/
twitter follow us

‘I’m too high. Something’s wrong.’ Teens caught vaping marijuana in scary new trend

USA Today 3 May 2019
Family First Comment: Consequences of legalising cannabis – even with ‘regulation’…
“Just as with tobacco, students can vape right under a teacher’s nose and go undetected. There is no telltale odor, and the handheld devices used are small enough that a surreptitious student can indulge in class. Compounding the trouble, experts say, is the potency the devices can deliver, giving a student a much more intense high than expected.”

As more teens vape, schools have struggled to keep the practice in check. Now, some schools are seeing a worrisome twist — students vaping marijuana.

Just as with tobacco, students can vape right under a teacher’s nose and go undetected. There is no telltale odor, and the handheld devices used are small enough that a surreptitious student can indulge in class.

Compounding the trouble, experts say, is the potency the devices can deliver, giving a student a much more intense high than expected. Often adults don’t realize a student has indulged until the teen confesses.

School resource officers at one large Indiana high school has seen a surge this year in something they have never dealt with before.

Several students were sent to the emergency room by the school nurse after vaping THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces a high.

“I’ve walked down the hallway, and you can visibly see kids who are so stoned that they don’t know where they are,” school resource officer at Carmel High School in Carmel. Ind. Shane VanNatter said. “They’ll self-report. They’ll come to the nurse and say, ‘I’m too high. Something’s wrong.’”

Seventeen students, including those who were hospitalized, had been caught this school year either using, possessing or dealing THC vaping products, VanNatter said.

One vaping cartridge VanNatter confiscated was 83.6 percent THC.

THC levels in plant marijuana generally range from 15% to 24%.
READ MORE: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/allthemoms/2019/05/03/teens-caught-vaping-marijuana-their-e-cigarettes/3661177002/

facebook_icon

Marijuana users get high at work in states with legal weed – survey (US)

The Seattle Times 13 March 2019
Family First Comment: “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… The survey shows that after legalization, many cannabis consumers increased their usage.”
Read our Fact Sheet on this issue https://saynopetodope.org.nz/workplace/

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.

… While the survey shows that getting stoned at work is a fairly commonplace activity, so is drug testing. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they’ve been subjected to a drug test that checked for cannabis within the past year. And just about the same number said they stopped getting high for a while in order to pass the test.
READ MORE: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/1-in-4-marijuana-users-with-a-job-get-stoned-at-work-survey-says/
twitter follow us

Andrew Dickens: Legalising cannabis is unnecessary

NewsTalk ZB 14 May 2019
Family First Comment: Another prominent broadcaster joins the NO camp…
“Chlöe Swarbrick said the main reason was being able to regulate and control the supply and in doing, so keep the drug out of the hands of gangs and out of the hands of kids. This does not wash with me. Currently, the Government has regulation and control of supply, because the drug is illegal. Meanwhile, the law is a tool to crack down on the gangs whose criminality goes much further than just cannabis. When asked what the gangs would do in a legalised market Chlöe hoped they’d go legit. Dream on.”
www.VoteNO.nz

So last night I sat down with my son and watched Jack Tame interview Chlöe Swarbrick about the proposed legalisation of cannabis.

On a purely superficial basis, it was remarkable watching a baby faced 31-year-old interview and even more baby faced 24-year-old on nationwide TV.

The skin was so smooth and the eyes were so clear. The conversation was snappy and polite. Welcome to the new world of millennial politics.

It started with an easy definition of the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation, which is important because we, in essence, have had an unofficial decriminalised status for the personal use of the drug for quite a while.

There is also the proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act which gives police the discretion to sentence a person to rehabilitation rather than fines or imprisonment.

Slowly we are accepting that drugs are both a criminal and health problem.

So when asked why she wants cannabis legalised, Chlöe Swarbrick said the main reason was being able to regulate and control the supply and in doing, so keep the drug out of the hands of gangs and out of the hands of kids.

This does not wash with me. Currently, the Government has regulation and control of supply, because the drug is illegal.

Meanwhile, the law is a tool to crack down on the gangs whose criminality goes much further than just cannabis. When asked what the gangs would do in a legalised market Chlöe hoped they’d go legit. Dream on.

Saying that Governmental control of supply will keep the drug out of the hands of the kids is also fanciful. With the drug legal on the street, there will be a plentiful secondary market for the kids to tap into – older brothers, sisters, mates and budding entrepreneurs. Ms Swarbrick told us last night, that 80 per cent of New Zealanders have tried the drug under its illegal status. Let’s aim for 100 per cent shall we by making it legal.

The debate then wandered on to drug testing for drug driving and arcane driving statistics out of Colorado.

Which left my son and I asking each other who actually needs this bill? Who is crying out for legalised dope? What social issue is this measure trying to help? And for the life of us, we couldn’t see the reason.
READ MORE: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/andrew-dickens-afternoons/opinion/andrew-dickens-heres-why-legalising-cannabis-is-unnecessary/

facebook_icon

Random roadside drug testing must be urgently introduced

Stuff co.nz 14 May 2019
Family First Comment: Well said Mike Yardley… 
“The drug liberalisation lobby cannot ignore the inconvenient truth that drug impairment is now a bigger killer than alcohol-impairment on our roads. The latest available fatality data-set compiled by government agencies, and widely circulated by the Automobile Association, indicates that in 2017, drug-impaired driving cost 79 lives, compared to 70 deaths caused by drink-drivers… I remain firmly unconvinced that legalising cannabis for recreational use is in New Zealand’s interest. I have no problem with expanding drug addictions services, so long as the provider has a proven record in effectiveness, but legalisation will throw more fuel on the fire. More self-inflicted addiction, more wasted lives, when our mental health system is already bursting at the seams.”

OPINION: I received an email recently from a heartbroken North Canterbury couple, grieving the death of their son, who died at the hands of a cannabis-impaired driver.

Their family tragedy spurred them to sign the Matthew Dow petition, which his mother, Karen, presented to Parliament last week. The Dow petition calls for New Zealand to urgently introduce random roadside drug testing, replicating the saliva-based technology that has been widely deployed across the Western world.

Last week’s coronial inquiry into one of New Zealand’s worst mass-fatality road crashes has also highlighted the scourge of drug-impaired driving. It’s been revealed the driver responsible for the horror two-car crash that killed seven people in Waverly, Taranaki, had repeatedly consumed synthetic drugs before he got behind the wheel. Family victims from that catastrophe have also joined the crusade for drug testing.

The drug liberalisation lobby cannot ignore the inconvenient truth that drug impairment is now a bigger killer than alcohol-impairment on our roads. The latest available fatality data-set compiled by government agencies, and widely circulated by the Automobile Association, indicates that in 2017, drug-impaired driving cost 79 lives, compared to 70 deaths caused by drink-drivers.

The Dow petition is calling for the introduction of saliva tests on drugs to complement breath-testing for alcohol. It is conspicuous that in 2017 there were only 200 convictions for drug-impaired driving, compared with 16,000 for drink-driving.

The current cognitive impairment test, relied upon by police, is infrequently exercised and is best consigned to the 1950s. The current Police Minister, Stuart Nash, while in opposition, relentlessly hounded National about failing to introduce roadside driver drug-testing.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/112674482/random-roadside-drug-testing-must-be-urgently-introduced

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Tommy Wilson: Do we really need to get high at all?

NZ Herald 10 May 2019
Family First Comment: “We seem to be stuck with two opposing choices. If we legalise or at least decriminalise dope we stop the stigma of breaking the law. The other side of the cannabis coin is we open up the availability to the already vulnerable – especially our tamariki. The damage done by drink is heartbreaking when you see it every day, so for me adding another drug to the problem can only go one way with no exit…  Maybe we should be asking ourselves – and each other, why do we need to get high at all, be it by drinking or drugging… (David) Bowie said, “Drugs gave me nothing. In the end I regretted I ever took them. There so-called liberating qualities were illusory”.

For me the issue is bigger than a bong full of buds, a jar full of rasta-infused gummy bears or growing a couple of plants in your own back yard for personal consumption.

I am all good for growing anything that either feeds you or fixes you up.

However, we seem to be stuck with two opposing choices. If we legalise or at least decriminalise dope we stop the stigma of breaking the law. The other side of the cannabis coin is we open up the availability to the already vulnerable – especially our tamariki. The damage done by drink is heartbreaking when you see it every day, so for me adding another drug to the problem can only go one way with no exit.

Bit of a Mexican marijuana stand-off really.

Maybe there is a third option to entertain?

Maybe we should be asking ourselves – and each other, why do we need to get high at all, be it by drinking or drugging.

In a recent interview on the Jim Mora Sunday show, Jim interviewed Mike Garson, David Bowie’s life-long friend and pianist who never took anything to enhance his creative talents during his 47-year touring career with the Starman.

His quote from Bowie himself about drugs has held its higher ground in my mind ever since and that in itself proves I still have some memory left.

Bowie said, “Drugs gave me nothing. In the end I regretted I ever took them. There so-called liberating qualities were illusory”.

Tautoko Rawiri I have come to the same realisation myself.

For my two bobs’ worth of what we should do about cannabis reform, all I can add to the pot pot is what I know from personal experience, and if we do decriminalise it – and we should, then let’s also sow the seed of sobriety.

Staying straight and getting high on love, life and learning is also equally as cool as cannabis.

So, this leads me back down the long and winding road to loss of memory and its possible connection to lazy thinking brought about by smoking too much of the “holy herb” back in the day.

If we legalise cannabis and it becomes available everywhere, what effect will it have on those who are already logged into lazy thinking? How will the instant everything generation react when Uncle Google is already dumbing them down by doing their thinking for them?

Lazy thinking induces a lazy lifestyle and limits the potential of our people, Māori and non-Māori.

We need to understand where the referendum will take us and prepare for the good, the bad and the ugly of decriminalising cannabis.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/premium/news/article.cfm?c_id=1504669&objectid=12229174

twitter follow us

Petition Calls For Inquiry Into Cannabis & Violence

Media Release 13 May 2019 
A petition has been launched which is calling for an urgent Inquiry into the possible link between cannabis and violence. As calls for the legalisation of cannabis grow ever louder, and with the upcoming referendum on legalisation in 2020, the petition asks the government to first investigate the possible link between cannabis and violence.

“Over the past couple of decades, studies around the globe have found that THC – the active compound in cannabis – is strongly linked to psychosis, schizophrenia, and violence. A certain percentage of people who use marijuana can become psychotic and violent. It raises an important question – is our relatively higher use of cannabis compared to other countries related to our horrific record when it comes to child abuse and family violence?” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Researchers have studied alcohol and violence for generations, proving that alcohol is a risk factor for domestic abuse, assault and even murder. Far less work has been done on cannabis.”

The petition has already gained almost 1,400 signatures since launching over the weekend.

In 2018, researchers at Ohio and Tennessee Universities found that marijuana use was positively and significantly associated with psychological, physical, and sexual intimate partner violence, after controlling for alcohol use and problems, antisocial personality symptoms, and relationship satisfaction. The researchers say that treatment of men arrested for domestic violence should consider reducing their marijuana use.

A 2017 paper in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, examining drivers of violence among 6,000 British and Chinese men, found that drug use was linked to a fivefold increase in violence, and the drug used was nearly always cannabis.

Research published in 2016 in the journal Psychological Medicine concluded that continued use of cannabis causes violent behaviour as a direct result of changes in brain function that are caused by smoking weed over many years. The results showed that continued cannabis use is associated with 7-fold greater odds for subsequent commission of violent crimes.

A University of Florida study published in The Journal of Interpersonal Violence in 2011 found that frequent marijuana users in adolescence are twice as likely to engage in domestic violence as young adults.  The same study showed this group were more than twice as likely to become a victim of domestic violence. The researchers said “These findings have implications for intimate partner violence prevention efforts, as marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.”

A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at 88 defendants who had committed homicide during psychotic episodes. It found that most of the killers believed they were in danger from the victim, and almost two-thirds reported misusing cannabis – more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.

A 2002 study in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) found that people who used cannabis by age 15 were four times as likely to develop schizophrenia or a related syndrome as those who’d never used. Even when the researchers excluded children who had shown signs of psychosis by age 11, they found that the adolescent users had a threefold higher risk of demonstrating symptoms of schizophrenia later on. The study was based on the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study.

“Some evidence is already appearing in New Zealand. Last year (2018), a man who stalked several women during a 24-hour drug-induced psychosis has left one of his victims with “a lasting fear”. He lost his job after failing a drug test and then embarked on a four-day cannabis binge. The judge said that resulted in a psychosis. In 2017, a man repaid a family who had taken him in by stabbing the mother, a babysitter and their pet dog in a drug-induced rage. The judge said that his consumption of cannabis, which may have been laced unknowingly with methamphetamine, had caused him to attack.”

“Paranoia and psychosis can make some people dangerous, so a rising use of a drug that causes both would be expected to increase violent crime, rather than reduce it as drug advocates might claim.”

Of the four US states that legalised marijuana in 2014 and 2015 – Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Colorado – there was a combined 35% increase in murders in those states from 2013 to 2017, compared with a 20% rise nationally. Washington became the first U.S. jurisdiction to legalise recreational marijuana in 2014. Between 2013 and 2017, the state’s aggravated-assault rate rose 17%, which was nearly twice the increase seen nationwide, and the murder rate rose 44%, which was more than twice the increase nationwide.

“Here in New Zealand, we know from a number of governmental reports (UNICEF reports in 2003 and 2007, a CYF report in 2006, and a Children’s Commissioner report in 2009) that one of the factors most commonly associated with the maltreatment of children is drug abuse.”

In March, Texas released its report on child abuse deaths, finding half the 172 child abuse deaths in 2017 coupled with substance abuse.  Marijuana was the most-used substance connected to child abuse and neglect deaths, followed by alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine. In one terrible case last year, Cynthia Randolph left her 1-year old and 2-year-old in the car while she smoked pot. Both children died.

In 2017, Arizona also published a report showing that marijuana was the substance most often linked to child abuse deaths in 2016.

People can sign the petition at www.CannabisInquiry.nz
ENDS

 

 

Denver votes to decriminalise magic mushrooms by razor-thin margin

BBC News 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: This is how wacky things are going to get…
“The UK’s National Health Service describes them as a hallucinogenic “making people see, hear and experience the world in a different, ‘trippy’ way”.”
Understatement of the year!

Denver has voted to decriminalise the use of magic mushrooms – the first US city to do so.

The motion was put to a public vote on Tuesday, and passed with a slim majority of 50.6%.

Although the mushrooms will technically still be illegal, restrictions on personal use and possession by adults will be drastically loosened.

Police officers will now be instructed to treat magic mushroom users as their lowest priority.

Denver decriminalised cannabis in 2005 ahead of the rest of the state of Colorado. Tuesday’s referendum was the first US public vote on magic mushrooms.

What are magic mushrooms?
They are a form of fungus found across the world which contains a psychedelic chemical called psilocybin.

The UK’s National Health Service describes them as a hallucinogenic “making people see, hear and experience the world in a different, ‘trippy’ way”.
READ MORE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48185366

facebook_icon

Suspended Nick Smith says Drug Driving Bill an urgent priority

Stuff co.nz 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: Dealing with the actual outcomes of drug liberalisation….
“In 2017, drivers under the influence of drugs were proven to have been involved in 79 fatal crashes on New Zealand roads, compared to 70 for those driving under the influence of alcohol.”

National MP Nick Smith says his party will continue to put pressure on the government to introduce random roadside drug testing.

The Nelson MP was suspended from the House yesterday when he made critical comments towards Speaker Trevor Mallard, after he sought leave to introduce a drug driving bill first put forward by MP Alastair Scott in September last year.

During question time in Parliament on Wednesday Smith had asked for the bill to be set down as the first members’ order of the day on May 22, but that was rejected by Mallard.

Smith said there was an urgent need to get the bill before a select committee, with drug-impaired road fatalities escalating in recent years.

“In the past five years that number has gone from 15 per year to 79, and last year for the first time it exceeded the number of deaths on the road from drunk driving.”

In 2017, drivers under the influence of drugs were proven to have been involved in 79 fatal crashes on New Zealand roads, compared to 70 for those driving under the influence of alcohol.

The bill proposed by Scott would allow police officers to undertake random roadside testing for THC, MDMA, and methamphetamine, similar to current legislation in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/112595240/suspended-nick-smith-says-drug-driving-bill-an-urgent-priority

twitter follow us

Where’s the pot? California tracking system unlikely to know

Radio NZ News 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: “As of last month, just nine retail outlets were entering data into the network established under an estimated $US60 million state contract, even though 627 shops are licensed to sell pot in California.”
So called ‘regulation’ fails! And not just in California.

When California voters broadly legalised marijuana, they were promised that a vast computer platform would closely monitor products moving through the new market. But 16 months after sales kicked in, the system known as track-and-trace isn’t doing much of either.

As of last month, just nine retail outlets were entering data into the network established under an estimated $US60 million state contract, even though 627 shops are licensed to sell pot in California.

The rate of participation is similarly slim for other sectors in the emerging industry.

Only 93 of more than 1000 licensed manufacturing companies producing extracts, oils and other products were documenting their activities in the network in April. And of the nearly 4000 licensed growers, only about 7 percent, or 254, are using the high-tech system, according to a review of state data.

How are state officials watching over the nation’s largest legal pot market ? For now, it’s essentially a paper trail.

Most California companies are required to document their business on paper sales invoices and shipping manifests. But experts say that can be a doorway for criminal traffic.

With paper records, regulators are relying on an honor system, said Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC, which provides seed-to-sale cannabis tracking in eight states, including New York and Illinois.

Without a digital crumb trail in place, “there are so many areas where things can go wrong,” Mr Vo said. “Things can be intentionally altered.”
READ MORE: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/388855/where-s-the-pot-california-tracking-system-unlikely-to-know

facebook_icon