Recent News

Cannabis Referendum: Bob McCoskrie v Helen Clark (ABC Sydney Radio)

10 September 2019
ABC Radio Sydney’s Breakfast programme featured an interview with Helen Clark who is promoting a Yes vote in the Cannabis legalisation referendum, and also with Bob McCoskrie from Family First (Say Nope To Dope campaign).

Hear the two interviews

Helen Clark

Bob McCoskrie

Bob McCoskrie: The case for no in the cannabis referendum

NZ Herald 11 September 2019
(In response to the promotion of cannabis legalisation by the Helen Clark Foundation)

The evidence is quickly building.

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, costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana, a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

Drug supporters argue that marijuana legalisation will increase social justice. But the District of Columbia, Colorado and Washington D.C. have seen disproportionately high  public consumption and distribution arrests amongst African-Americans and Hispanics.

This is because, in a similar trend to alcohol outlets and pokie machine venues here in New Zealand, communities of colour and high deprivation areas in Los Angeles, Denver and Oregon are being subjected to disproportionate targeting by marijuana facilities.

If you want to know how Big Marijuana will act, just look to the gambling, tobacco and alcohol industry’s behaviour.

Another argument for legalisation is that the ‘war on drugs’ has been lost.

The now-retired UK prison doctor and psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple says that the ‘war on drugs is lost’ mantra is an unimaginative and fundamentally stupid metaphor – “If the war against drugs is lost, then so are the wars against theft, speeding, incest, fraud, rape, murder, arson, and illegal parking.  Few, if any, such wars are winnable.”

This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – it is a defence of our brains. It is a fight for health and safety.

Drug advocates want you to believe that ‘everybody is doing it’. But Ministry of Health statistics show that just 3.7% use cannabis on a weekly basis, 11% have used it in the last 12 months, and 42% will have tried it once at some time in their life.

There is no adequate reason why governments can persistently and successfully target smoking and not do likewise with drugs. The end goal of the anti-smoking campaign has not been ‘slow down’ or ‘moderate’ but ‘quit’, with numerous strategies and support agencies assisting on the journey. The numbers overwhelmingly suggest that it is working.

What’s also amusing is attempts by cannabis advocates to find a country that has had good outcomes from the experiment of legalising.

In Colorado, marijuana-positive traffic fatalities, hospitalisations, marijuana use, and illegal market activity have all increased. Most disturbingly, Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana has increased.

Portugal is often referred to – but they didn’t legalise marijuana. They decriminalised all drugs. However, between 2012 and 2017, Lifetime Prevalence statistics for alcohol, tobacco and drugs have risen by 23%. Political parties in Portugal are now pushing for the legalisation of marijuana in their country because they wrongly believe it will combat current problems around organised crime, drug trafficking, increased consumption and the use of psychoactive substances.

Others are pointing to Uruguay which is attempting to regulate the marijuana market under state control, despite strong public opposition. The data so far indicates that frequency of consumption has significantly increased, especially in the 15-24 age group. The perception of risk with drug use is low, and risky behaviours have increased with the frequency of consumption, including the use of marijuana during pregnancy. The black market is alive and well. 

And the recent Canadian federal study found a 27% increase in marijuana use among people aged 15 to 24 over the last year. Another study found that the black market in Canada is absolutely thriving.

I visited Vancouver six weeks ago. Cannabis is easy to purchase – including the products like gummi bear edibles, which aren’t supposed to even be legal yet. You can see Big Marijuana already. You can smell it.

It’s important to note that the Global Commission on Drug Policy – of which Helen Clark is a member – wants to legalise all drug use, and wants policies based on ‘human rights’ which remove the ‘stigmatisation’ and ‘marginalisation’ of people who use drugs.

Drug users should receive all the help they can to overcome their addiction and to become drug-free, but the health, rights and protection of the general public should take precedence over the rights of individuals to live in a drug-friendly society. 

We were sucked in by Big Tobacco.

Let’s not be sucked in again.

9 Florida students hospitalised after eating THC-laced candy

CBS News 9 September 2019
Family First Comment: Ages 10-12!!
“A student “inadvertently” brought in THC-laced candy in a package similar to a popular sour candy and shared it with their friends.”

Authorities say nine students from a Florida charter school ate marijuana-infused candy and were hospitalized with stomach pains.

CBS Miami reports that seven boys and two girls between the ages of 10 and 12 from Renaissance Charter School at Cooper City were expected to be released Friday.

A statement from school spokesperson Colleen Reynolds says a student “inadvertently” brought in THC-laced candy in a package similar to a popular sour candy and shared it with their friends. Reynolds says EMS and law enforcement were immediately contacted.

Broward County Sheriff’s spokesman and Battalion Chief Michael Kane says the students had abdominal pain after consuming the candies. He said their injuries weren’t life-threatening.

Kane added that the THC-laced candy was packaged just like a commercially packaged candy.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Donald Prichard said no criminal charges were filed Friday, but the investigation is ongoing.
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Researchers working on a breathalyser for weed

NZ Herald 9 September 2019
Family First Comment: Good development..
“A prototype device can tell if someone’s high on marijuana and could soon be changing the way law enforcement officers deal with weed intoxication.”
We may need it even more in NZ 💨💨

A prototype device can tell if someone’s high on marijuana and could soon be changing the way law enforcement officers deal with weed intoxication.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the US have unveiled a device that looks much like the standard breathalyser but can measure levels of THC, which is the dominant psychoactive compound in weed.

Tests for levels of marijuana are currently done using either blood, urine or hair samples.

The new device uses carbon nanotubes to bind the THC molecules and detect the compound through a person’s breath.

“The semiconductor carbon nanotubes that we are using weren’t available even a few years ago,” says lead author Sean Hwang.

“We used machine learning to ‘teach’ the breathalyser to recognise the presence of THB based on the electrical currents’ recovery time, even when there are other substances, like alcohol, present in the breath.
READ MORE:  (behind paywall)


U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory: Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, 29 August 2019

I, Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our Nation from the health risks of marijuana use in adolescence and during pregnancy. Recent increases in access to marijuana and in its potency, along with misperceptions of safety of marijuana endanger our most precious resource, our nation’s youth.



Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It acts by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including euphoria, intoxication, and memory and motor impairments. These same cannabinoid receptors are also critical for brain development. They are part of the endocannabinoid system, which impacts the formation of brain circuits important for decision making, mood and responding to stress1.

Marijuana and its related products are widely available in multiple forms. These products can be eaten, drunk, smoked, and vaped2. Marijuana contains varying levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component responsible for euphoria and intoxication, and cannabidiol (CBD). While CBD is not intoxicating and does not lead to addiction, its long-term effects are largely unknown, and most CBD products are untested and of uncertain purity3.

Marijuana has changed over time. The marijuana available today is much stronger than previous versions. The THC concentration in commonly cultivated marijuana plants has increased three-fold between 1995 and 2014 (4% and 12% respectively)4. Marijuana available in dispensaries in some states has average concentrations of THC between 17.7% and 23.2%5. Concentrated products, commonly known as dabs or waxes, are far more widely available to recreational users today and may contain between 23.7% and 75.9% THC6.

The risks of physical dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC7 and the younger the age of initiation. Higher doses of THC are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia, and psychosis8. Edible marijuana takes time to absorb and to produce its effects, increasing the risk of unintentional overdose, as well as accidental ingestion by children9 and adolescents10. In addition, chronic users of marijuana with a high THC content are at risk for developing a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is marked by severe cycles of nausea and vomiting11.

This advisory is intended to raise awareness of the known and potential harms to developing brains, posed by the increasing availability of highly potent marijuana in multiple, concentrated forms. These harms are costly to individuals and to our society, impacting mental health and educational achievement and raising the risks of addiction and misuse of other substances.  Additionally, marijuana use remains illegal for youth under state law in all states; normalization of its use raises the potential for criminal consequences in this population. In addition to the health risks posed by marijuana use, sale or possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law notwithstanding some state laws to the contrary.

Marijuana Use during Pregnancy

Pregnant women use marijuana more than any other illicit drug. In a national survey, marijuana use in the past month among pregnant women doubled (3.4% to 7%) between 2002 and 201712. In a study conducted in a large health system, marijuana use rose by 69% (4.2% to 7.1%) between 2009 and 2016 among pregnant women13. Alarmingly, many retail dispensaries recommend marijuana to pregnant women for morning sickness14.

Marijuana use during pregnancy can affect the developing fetus. THC can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream and may disrupt the endocannabinoid system, which is important for a healthy pregnancy and fetal brain development1. Moreover, studies have shown that marijuana use in pregnancy is associated with adverse outcomes, including lower birth weight15. The Colorado Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System reported that maternal marijuana use was associated with a 50% increased risk of low birth weight regardless of maternal age, race, ethnicity, education, and tobacco use16.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists holds that “[w]omen who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use. Women reporting marijuana use should be counseled about concerns regarding potential adverse health consequences of continued use during pregnancy”17. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that “…it is important to advise all adolescents and young women that if they become pregnant, marijuana should not be used during pregnancy”18.

Maternal marijuana use may still be dangerous to the baby after birth. THC has been found in breast milk for up to six days after the last recorded use. It may affect the newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences192021. Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke22. No one should smoke marijuana or tobacco around a baby.

Marijuana Use during Adolescence

Marijuana is also commonly used by adolescents4, second only to alcohol. In 2017, approximately 9.2 million youth aged 12 to 25 reported marijuana use in the past month and 29% more young adults aged 18-25 started using marijuana23. In addition, high school students’ perception of the harm from regular marijuana use has been steadily declining over the last decade24. During this same period, a number of states have legalized adult use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, while it remains illegal under federal law. The legalization movement may be impacting youth perception of harm from marijuana.

The human brain continues to develop from before birth into the mid-20s and is vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances2526. Frequent marijuana use during adolescence is associated with changes in the areas of the brain involved in attention, memory, decision-making, and motivation. Deficits in attention and memory have been detected in marijuana-using teens even after a month of abstinence27. Marijuana can also impair learning in adolescents. Chronic use is linked to declines in IQ, school performance that jeopardizes professional and social achievements, and life satisfaction28. Regular use of marijuana in adolescence is linked to increased rates of school absence and drop-out, as well as suicide attempts29.

Marijuana use is also linked to risk for and early onset of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. The risk for psychotic disorders increases with frequency of use, potency of the marijuana product, and as the age at first use decreases30.  Adolescent marijuana use is often also associated with other substance use3132. In 2017, teens 12-17 reporting frequent use of marijuana showed a 130% greater likelihood of misusing opioids23. Marijuana’s increasingly widespread availability in multiple and highly potent forms, coupled with a false and dangerous perception of safety among youth, merits a nationwide call to action.

You Can Take Action

No amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is known to be safe. Until and unless more is known about the long-term impact, the safest choice for pregnant women and adolescents is not to use marijuana.  Pregnant women and youth–and those who love them–need the facts and resources to support healthy decisions. It is critical to educate women and youth, as well as family members, school officials, state and local leaders, and health professionals, about the risks of marijuana, particularly as more states contemplate legalization.

Science-based messaging campaigns and targeted prevention programming are urgently needed to ensure that risks are clearly communicated and amplified by local, state, and national organizations. Clinicians can help by asking about marijuana use, informing mothers-to-be, new mothers, young people, and those vulnerable to psychotic disorders, of the risks. Clinicians can also prescribe safe, effective, and FDA-approved treatments for nausea, depression, and pain during pregnancy. Further research is needed to understand all the impacts of THC on the developing brain, but we know enough now to warrant concern and action. Everyone has a role in protecting our young people from the risks of marijuana.

Information for Parents and Parents-to-be

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Information for Youth:

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Information for States, Communities, Tribes, and Territories:

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Information for Health Professionals:

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.


  • 1. a. b. Brents L. K. (2016). Marijuana, the Endocannabinoid System and the Female Reproductive System. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 89(2), 175–191.
  • 2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana and Public Health: How is marijuana used?
  • 3. Bonn-Miller M.O., Loflin M.J.E., Thomas B.F, et al. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909.
  • 4. Elsohly, M. A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S. (2016). Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States. Biological Psychiatry, 79(7), 613-619. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.01.004.
  • 5. Jikomes, N., & Zoorob, M. (2018). The Cannabinoid Content of Legal Cannabis in Washington State Varies Systematically Across Testing Facilities and Popular Consumer Products. Scientific reports, 8(1), 4519. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-22755-2
  • 6. Alzghari, S. K., Fung, V., Rickner, S. S., Chacko, L., & Fleming, S. W. (2017). To Dab or Not to Dab: Rising Concerns Regarding the Toxicity of Cannabis Concentrates. Cureus, 9(9), e1676. doi:10.7759/cureus.1676.
  • 7. Freeman, T. P., & Winstock, A. R. (2015). Examining the profile of high-potency cannabis and its association with severity of cannabis dependence. Psychological medicine, 45(15), 3181–3189. doi:10.1017/S0033291715001178
  • 8. Volkow N.D., Baler R.D., Compton W.M., Weiss S.R.B. Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use N Engl J Med. 2014 June 5; 370(23): 2219–2227. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1402309.
  • 9. Richards, J.R., Smith N.E., Moulin, A.K. Unintentional Cannabis Ingestion in Children: A Systematic Review. J Pediatr 2017; 190:142-52.
  • 10. Cao, D., Sahaphume, S., Bronstein, A.C., Hoyte, C.O., Characterization of edible marijuana product exposures reported to the United States poison centers. Clinical Toxicology, 54:9, 840-846, DOI: 10.1080/15563650.2016.1209761
  • 11. Galli, J.A., Sawaya, R.A., Friedenberg, F.K. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011 Dec; 4(4): 241–249.
  • 12. Volkow N.D., Han B., Compton W.M., McCance-Katz E.F. Self-reported Medical and Non-medical Cannabis Use Among Pregnant Women in the United States. JAMA. 2019 doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7982
  • 13. Young-Wolff KC, Tucker L, Alexeeff S, et al. Trends in Self-reported and Biochemically Tested Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Females in California From 2009-2016. JAMA. 2017;318(24):2490–2491. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17225.
  • 14. Dickson, B. (2018). Recommendations From Cannabis Dispensaries About First-Trimester Cannabis Use. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; 0029-7844. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002619.
  • 15. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  • 16. Crume et al: Cannabis use during the perinatal period in a state with legalized recreational and medical marijuana: the association between maternal characteristics, breastfeeding patterns, and neonatal outcomes. J Pediatr. 2018;197:90-96.
  • 17. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Marijuana use during pregnancy and lactation. Committee Opinion No. 722. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130(4):e205-e209.
  • 18. Ryan et al: Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding: implications for neonatal and childhood outcomes. Pediatrics. 2018; 142(3):,e20181889.
  • 19. Bertrand, K. A., Hanan, N. J., Honerkamp-Smith, G., Best, B. M., & Chambers, C. D. (2018). Marijuana Use by Breastfeeding Mothers and Cannabinoid Concentrations in Breast Milk. Pediatrics, 142(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2018-1076.
  • 20. Metz TD, Stickrath EH: Marijuana use in pregnancy and lactation: a review of the evidence. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015;213(6):761-778.
  • 21. Effects while pregnant or breastfeeding. (2017, March 02). Retrieved from
  • 22. Moir, D., et al., A comparison of mainstream and sidestream marijuana and tobacco cigarette smoke produced under two machine smoking conditions. Chem Res Toxicol 21: 494-502. (2008).
  • 23. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • 24. Johnston, L. D., Miech, R. A., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2019). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2018: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, 119 pp.
  • 25. Pujol, J., Vendrell, P., Junqué, C., Martí-Vilalta, J. L., & Capdevila, A. (1993). When does human brain development end? Evidence of corpus callosum growth up to adulthood. Annals of Neurology, 34(1), 71-75. doi:10.1002/ana.410340113.
  • 26. Levine, A., Clemenza, K., Rynn, M., & Lieberman, J. (2017). Evidence for the Risks and Consequences of Adolescent Cannabis Exposure. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 56(3), 214-225. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2016.12.014.
  • 27. Meruelo AD, Castro N, Cota CI, Tapert SF. Cannabis and alcohol use, and the developing brain. Behav Brain Res. 2017;325(Pt A):44–50. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.02.025.
  • 28. Meier M.H., Caspi A., Ambler A., et. al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA., 2012. Oct 2; 109(40) E2657-64 doi 10.1073/pnas. 1206820109. Epub 2012 Aug 27
  • 29. Silins, E., Horwood, L. J., & Patton, G. C. (2014). Young adult sequelae of adolescent cannabis use: An integrative analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(4), 286-293. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(14)70307-4.
  • 30. Di Forti, M., Quattrone, D., & Freeman, T. (2019). The contribution of cannabis use to variation in the incidence of psychotic disorder across Europe (EU-GEI): A multicenter case-control study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(5), 427-436. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30048-3.
  • 31. Lopez-Quintero C., Perez de los Cabos J., Hasin D.S. (2011). Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Drug Alcohol Dependence. 115(1-2):120-130.
  • 32. Jones, C. M., & McCance-Katz, E.F. (2019). Relationship Between Recency and Frequency of Youth Cannabis Use on Other Substance Use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64(3), 411-413. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.09.017.


Colorado Doctor Sounds Alarm on Marijuana Legalization

The Washington Free Beacon 6 September 2019
Family First Comment: The glittering image of post-legalization Colorado—with billions in tax revenue and a happy populace—runs up against the uncomfortable reality of poor regulation and patients dangerously misguided about the risks and benefits of marijuana use. “There are a whole host of us who are speaking out about it, and people need to start listening and looking to the future,” Randall said. “This is going to be a crisis with potential long-term consequences that will far outpace the opioid crisis, with lasting damages and lasting injuries, as well as a significant cost to the public.”

Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization has been an epic disaster, according to one doctor seeing its effects on the front lines.

Dr. Karen Randall, an emergency room physician certified in “cannabis science and medicine,” said the legalization of marijuana has damaged, rather than helped, her home state. Randall, who spoke alongside former White House drug czar John Walters at the right-leaning Hudson Institute on Friday, said the public is being misled about the effects of recreational marijuana.

“I think the public needs to know that we are not okay,” Randall said. “The grand experiment is not going so well. I don’t think the public is hearing about this as they should be.”

In 2012, Colorado and Washington become the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Centennial State is often pointed to as a success story with more than $1 billion in tax revenues generated since legalization. Eight more states followed in approving recreational use.

While the country has plowed ahead with marijuana legalization, less attention has been paid to potential downsides of the weed market. Randall said legalization has brought with it high-potency dope: The average joint in Colorado, she says, now contains 20 milligrams of THC, 10 times as much as the average joint at Woodstock. Concentrated products, sometimes called “shatter,” can be up to 99 percent THC.

“My fellow physicians don’t understand, they don’t understand the potency that we’re dealing with in Colorado at this point,” Randall said. “The potency has dramatically increased.”

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Helen Clark backs letting ex-criminals sell cannabis legally

NewsHub 7 September 2019
Family First Comment: “Helen Clark has no problem with gangs and others growing cannabis illegally getting licences, should it become legal. ‘They’ve got the experience of growing it.’”
They have other experience also. Intimidation. Laundering. Deferring funds to illegal activities. Violence….

Helen Clark has no problem with gangs and others growing cannabis illegally getting licences, should it become legal.

“They’ve got the experience of growing it,” the former Prime Minister told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

“If you’re moving to a legal market, why would you exclude the people who have traditionally been growing?”

Clark’s foundation earlier this week came out in support of legalising the popular drug, and treating it as a health issue rather than a criminal one. Next year Kiwis will be asked for their views in a referendum.

“The referendum is not about whether or not people should use it; it’s recognising the reality that it’s there now,” said Clark.

“We could put some rules around it or we continue to have it as a complete free-for-all with no rules at all. So that’s why I came down for rules.”

She says New Zealand’s well-placed to quickly and painlessly convert the black market thanks to existing rules around tobacco, which she helped write.
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Vaping should only be used for quitting nicotine – health expert

NewsHub 31 August 2019
Family First Comment: “Whilst there is absolutely a space for choice for our current cohort of people addicted to smoking, I don’t want there to then be a new generation of non-smokers that will become vapers.”

There are fears a so-called epidemic of young people vaping in schools is only going to get worse.

The principal of Auckland Grammar told Newshub earlier this week half of junior students either own a vape or have tried it.

“I’d describe it as an epidemic,” Tim O’Connor said.

Selah Hart, CEO of Māori public health researchers Hapai Te Hauora ,says regulations have taken too long to come in.

“If we’re really looking to protect future generations from picking up a new addiction, the regulations can’t come in any sooner.”

Hart wants there to be restrictions on the sale and advertising of vaping.

“There could potentially be a new cohort of people that pick up this device and like it, and want to use it in an everyday capacity. But we don’t want that.”

The Government is planning to change the Smokefree Environment Act next month. In particular, it’s looking at setting maximum levels of nicotine, improving labelling, prohibiting vaping ads and requiring products to be sold from behind the counter.


“Mounting Body of Evidence” of Sweeping Harms of Marijuana Normalisation on Pregnant Women & Youth

Media Release Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) 30 August 2019
HHS Secretary: “Some state’s laws on marijuana may have changed, but the science has not, and the federal law has not.”

(Alexandria, VA) – In the most significant event on marijuana policy during the Trump Administration, today the Department of Health and Human Services issued significant warnings regarding the physical and mental health implications of marijuana commercialization. During a press conference about marijuana broadly, government officials decried the normalization of marijuana and the harmful messages Americans are receiving on the drug.

Additionally, the US Surgeon General released an advisory to the public concerning the damaging effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and on young, developing brains. In response, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) president, Dr. Kevin Sabet, released the following statement:

“Just like the famous advisory on tobacco in 1964, the significance of today’s marijuana advisory cannot be overstated. As the Surgeon General stated, ‘no amount of marijuana is safe for pregnant women or our youth.’ Big Marijuana and its promoters have consistently pushed blatant falsehoods and misinformation to suggest marijuana is safe, despite the large and growing of evidence to the contrary. Administration officials should be applauded for finally shining a light on the harms of today’s high potent marijuana.

“We know marijuana use during pregnancy can lead to a wide range of harms including low birth weight and developmental problems. Even worse, marijuana use during pregnancy has been linked to a rare, fatal developmental disorder known as anencephaly. Marijuana can have incredibly deleterious effects on young minds and it is absolutely shameful, though not surprising, that the industry would push its wares and pseudo-science on young mothers.

“Last year, 70% of dispensaries in Colorado were recommending high potency THC products to expectant mothers to ‘treat’ symptoms of morning sickness. Given the fact that these dispensaries are not staffed with medical professionals, this is greatly concerning. A large study from Canada looking at marijuana and pregnancy found negative effects well after birth:

“Youth marijuana use is greatly concerning. A recent study found that one in five youth and one in 10 young adults who started using marijuana within the past 3 years have been diagnosed with a cannabis use disorder. Regular use of marijuana has been linked to IQ loss, psychosis, depression, and suicide.

“We look forward to working with HHS and other federal government officials to help raise awareness to the harmful health impacts of marijuana commercialization and use. The future of our country depends on it.”


School census: Teens’ parents firm against marijuana as cannabis referendum looms

NZ Herald 30 August 2019
Family First Comment: More good news….
“Parents of Kiwi teenagers are overwhelmingly against letting them smoke cannabis – or at least that’s what the teens themselves believe.” But also, more teens are against cannabis than for.
If the teens can figure it out, why can’t the Greens and the Drug Foundation.
#saynopetodope #VoteNO

Parents of Kiwi teenagers are overwhelmingly against letting them smoke cannabis – or at least that’s what the teens themselves believe.

Census At School, an online programme run by Auckland University, has also found that only 44 per cent of students in the last three years of high school believe it would be okay for someone of their age to use cannabis.

More than half of them (53 per cent), when asked to place their views on a scale from zero (“not at all wrong”) to 100 (“very wrong”), put themselves at 60 or more – leaning towards feeling it would be “very wrong” for someone of their age to use the drug.

And an overwhelming 76 per cent believe their parents would have a score of 60 or more, feeling it would be “very wrong” for teens of their age to use cannabis. Only 21 per cent think their parents would lean towards feeling it was “not at all wrong”.

The census , focusing attention on the potential impact of drugs on children, may help explain why opinion polls have shown a slide in support for legalising cannabis – down from 46 per cent last October to 39 per cent in June in Colmar Brunton polls , and from 60 per cent last November to 39 per cent this month in the Horizon poll .

Voters will decide in a referendum at next year’s election on a bill that would allow legal purchase of cannabis by anyone aged 20 or over.

The Year 11-13 students who were asked about alcohol and drugs are all under 20 and almost all are under 18, the legal purchase age for alcohol.
READ MORE:  (behind paywall)

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