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As Juul deals with teen vaping ‘epidemic,’ CEO tells parents I’m sorry

CNBC News 13 July 2019
Kevin Burns, CEO of Juul Labs ⁠— the maker of the bestselling e-cigarette in the U.S. and center of federal regulators’ crackdown into what they’re calling a teen vaping “epidemic” ⁠— has a message for parents whose children are addicted to his company’s products: “I’m sorry.”

Since launching in 2015, Juul has quickly come to dominate the e-cigarette industry with roughly 40% of the market, becoming such a dominant player that Altria, the top U.S. cigarette company, invested $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in the San Francisco-based start-up. But the company has a problem: Its vapes are incredibly popular with teenagers.

The Food and Drug Administration has declared teen vaping an “epidemic,” citing federal survey data that showed nearly 21% of high school students vaped last year. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and health care advocates blame the surge in teen vaping on Juul.

CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla interviewed Burns for a documentary, “Vaporized: America’s E-cigarette Addiction,” which premiers Monday at 10 p.m. ET. Quintanilla, who toured one of Juul’s manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin with Burns, asked him what he would say to a parent with a child who was addicted to Juul.

“First of all, I’d tell them that I’m sorry that their child’s using the product,” said Burns, who joined Juul in late 2017. “It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them. As a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them, and I have empathy for them, in terms of what the challenges they’re going through.”

The company has tried to combat youth use by shutting down its social media accounts and pulling fruity flavors like creme and mango from retailers. So far, that hasn’t stopped criticism. The company’s hometown of San Francisco banned sales of e-cigarettes last month.

E-cigarettes are being marketed to adults to help them quit smoking while still getting their nicotine fix. But they’ve come under fire in recent months for their growing popularity among teens. Federal data shows about 3 million U.S. high school students vaped last year. That is prompting fears e-cigarettes are addicting a new generation of nicotine after decades of cigarette smoking rates plummeting.
READ MORE: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/13/as-juul-deals-with-teen-vaping-epidemic-ceo-tells-parents-im-sorry.html
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Medicinal cannabis ‘false hope’ for chronic pain sufferers – pain doctors

Radio NZ News 12 July 2019
Family First Comment: “…the largest review on the effects of chronic non-cancer pain showed medicinal cannabis did not work for most patients. You have to treat 24 patients to find one patient who has a 30 percent or more reduction in their pain, 23 out of 24 patients won’t even get a 30 percent reduction in their pain,”

Pain management doctors are worried the hype of medicinal cannabis is giving chronic pain patients false hope.

The Ministry of Health has released proposed regulations on how GPs and specialists could prescribe medicinal cannabis products.

The regulations are now open for public feedback.

Christchurch-based pain medicine specialist John Alchin said the largest review on the effects of chronic non-cancer pain showed medicinal cannabis did not work for most patients.

“You have to treat 24 patients to find one patient who has a 30 percent or more reduction in their pain, 23 out of 24 patients won’t even get a 30 percent reduction in their pain,” he said.

Dr Alchin said other medications for chronic pain had been proven to be much better than cannabinoids.

However, he said scientific reviews had also showed it could be very effective for paediatric epilepsy, pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis, or for those with nausea from chemotherapy.

“It’s not a blanket solution for everything but that’s the way it’s being presented – it’s the new ‘miracle drug’ – but that’s not what the data shows,” he said.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/394227/medicinal-cannabis-false-hope-for-chronic-pain-sufferers-pain-doctors

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Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says

CBC News 10 July 2019
Family First Comment: “..there will likely always be a gap between legal and illegal drugs, mainly because the legal stuff has a host of added expenses that increases the cost of doing business. There’s an excise tax built in. Then, depending on the province, there’s GST and HST on top of that. There’s compliance costs that legal cannabis producers have that the illicit market doesn’t have to worry about. Add it all up and there’s quite a cost disadvantage.”

Statistics Canada’s quarterly report on cannabis prices suggests the cost chasm between legal and illegal versions of the drug is wide, and getting wider.

The data agency reported Wednesday that the price gap between the two types of cannabis is as wide as $4.72 a gram, on average.

Canada legalized recreational cannabis last October, but the rollout across the country has been plagued by delays, limited supply, and other logistical issues.

StatsCan has been asking Canadian cannabis users to tell them about how often they use the drug, and what they pay for it when they do, and the data paints an illuminating picture of a part Canadian society that used to operate solely in shadows.

Based on 572 voluntary responses the data agency deemed credible in the second quarter, StatsCan said the illegal version of the price fell from $6.23 per gram on average, at the start of the year, to $5.93 a gram in the three months up to the end of June.

Legal cannabis, meanwhile, went from $10.21 per gram to $10.65. That means the gap between the two is now as wide as $4.72 a gram.
READ MORE: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cannabis-prices-1.5206554

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Ben Cort: “What NZ Needs To Understand About The Marijuana Debate”

Ben Cort is from Colorado and is the author of “Weed, Inc.: The Truth About the Pot Lobby, THC, and the Commercial Marijuana Industry“, released in September 2017. His passion for recovery, prevention and harm reduction comes from his own struggle with substance abuse. Sober since June 15, 1996, Ben has been a part of the recovery community in almost every way imaginable – from a recipient to a provider to a spokesperson. Ben has a deep understanding of the issues and a personal motivation to see the harmful effects of drug and alcohol abuse minimised.

Ben’s Ted-X talk in 2017, What commercialisation is doing to cannabis, has had more than 1.6 million views!

Ben recently visited New Zealand, speaking to community leaders, politicians and media. ‘ Ben is interviewed by Family First National Director Bob McCoskrie as part of the Forum on the Family 2019

Does legalization increase teen marijuana use? A case of dueling studies

A study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics contradicts one published last month in the American Journal of Public Health. Both studies used data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted every other year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The newer study analyzed YRBS data from 1993 to 2017. It finds that the eleven states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use are associated with an 8 percent decreasein the odds of past-month adolescent marijuana use and a 9 percent decrease in the odds of frequent marijuana use (10 or more times in the past month).

These findings directly contradict last month’s study which finds a 10-fold increase in past-month adolescent marijuana use over roughly the same time. This researcher analyzed YRBS data from 1991 to 2017.

What are we to make of such a jarring contradiction?

Following the old adage “when in doubt, ask,” we’ve decided to write the authors of both studies and ask them to explain how their analyses of the same survey over nearly the same time could result in such different outcomes. We will publish their explanations in a future issue of The Marijuana Report as soon as we hear from them. Stay tuned.

Read JAMA Pediatrics article here. Read American Journal of Public Health abstract here.

The Marijuana Report
https://themarijuanareport.org/

JAMA Pediatrics study doesn’t provide enough data to support its findings
Last week, The Marijuana Report covered two studies: “Association of Marijuana Laws with Teen Marijuana Use” published last week in JAMA Pediatrics and “Trends in Single, Dual, and Poly Use of Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Marijuana Among US High-School Students: 1991-2017” published last month in the American Journal of Public Health.

The JAMA study found no evidence that medical marijuana laws increased adolescent marijuana use but did find evidence that legalizing the drug for recreational use may decrease past-month and more frequent adolescent marijuana use by 8% and 9%, respectively. The public health study found a 10-fold increase in teen marijuana use, using data from the same survey – the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) – over nearly the same period (JAMA: 1993-2017; Public Health: 1991-2017). The YRBS Survey collects data in the spring every other year.

The studies seemed contradictory to us. We wrote to their authors asking for clarification. Here’s what they said:

Author of the American Journal of Public Health study, Hongying (Daisy) Dai, PhD: “Our study focused on marijuana use patterns. We provided discussions in the article. Hope this helps.”

Lead author of the JAMA Pediatrics study, Mark Anderson, PhD: “Our study is interested in estimating the effects of policies, while the other is interested in documenting trends. I do not see how the two are comparable. They ask fundamentally different questions, using entirely different methods.”

In their study, Dr. Anderson and his colleagues say without identifying them that “7 states contributed data to the YRBS before and after RML [recreational marijuana law] adoption.” They later note the odds of recreational legalization decreasing adolescent marijuana use is consistent “with the argument that it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.”

But if licensed dispensary sales, rather than the year states legalized marijuana for recreational use, are the criteria used in this study, only four states fall within its time frame.

Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational marijuana November 2012. Licensed retail sales began in the former January 2014, the latter July 2014.

Alaska and Oregon legalized recreational marijuana November 2014. Licensed recreational sales began in Alaska February 2016 and in Oregon via medical marijuana dispensaries October 2015 until January 2017, when licensed recreational sales began.

These are the only states that licensed recreational marijuana sales before the YRBS study ended in 2017.

Although the District of Columbia and Maine legalized recreational marijuana in November 2014 and 2016 respectively, and Vermont did so in 2018, none allow licensed recreational sales. (Maine’s governor just signed a new bill that will allow licensed sales as of March 2020.)

California, Massachusetts, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana in 2016 but licensed retail sales began after 2017, the end point of the YRBS study.

Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in 2018 as did Illinois in 2019.

Dr. Anderson told CNN, “Because many recreational marijuana laws have been passed so recently, we do observe limited post-treatment data for some of these states. In a few years, it would make sense to update our estimates as more data become available.”

With only four states inaugurating recreational marijuana sales before the YRBS study closed, we agree.

Read Dr. Anderson and colleagues’ study here. Read abstract of Dr. Dai’s study here.
https://themarijuanareport.org/

 

Government warned against commercial sale of cannabis-infused products like gummy bears, brownies

NewsHub 9 July 2019
Family First Comment: “cannabis-infused brownies, lotions and gummy bears should be okay for people to make at home.” – Ministry of Justice.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Think of the kids. Think of the families.

The Ministry of Justice warned the Government that cannabis-infused edibles should not be sold commercially if New Zealand votes to legalise cannabis.

But despite the advice, the Government is pushing ahead, with New Zealanders set to vote on legislation on legalising recreational cannabis in 2020.

The same Ministry of Justice officials talked up the benefits of legalising cannabis – especially for Māori.

A December 2018, document obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act shows the Ministry of Justice told the Government that cannabis-infused brownies, lotions and gummy bears should be okay for people to make at home.

But while officials were fine with home baking, they recommended cannabis-infused products should not be manufactured commercially.

“We do not recommend that these products are manufactured commercially, given how appealing they are to new users,” the document reads.

“These products are often much more appealing to new and young users and could, therefore, increase cannabis use. This would be contrary to our objective of improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders,” it adds.
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/07/government-warned-against-commercial-sale-of-cannabis-infused-products-like-gummy-bears-brownies.html

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Study claims legalising cannabis doesn’t make teens want to smoke it (Altho that’s not what the study says!)

Legalising cannabis doesn’t make teens want to smoke it – study
NewsHub 9 July 2019
Family First Comment: “It simply confirms that New Zealand would do well to wait and watch. At the end of the day, it’s a society-wide policy that will affect all age groups.”

New research finding legalising cannabis doesn’t result in more teens taking up toking has been dismissed by opponents of the widely-used drug.

Researchers in the US looked at 25 years of survey data in 33 states, including 27 which have legalised medicinal use and seven where it’s legal to smoke for fun. All-up 1.4 million high school students’ responses were looked at.

According to the findings, published Tuesday (NZ time) in journal JAMA Pediatrics, there was no link between legalisation for medicinal or recreational purposes and increased rates of teenage cannabis use. In fact, they found the opposite.

“Recreational marijuana laws appear to be associated with a decrease in the odds of both measures of marijuana use, which may be because it is more difficult for teenagers to get marijuana if drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age,” the Montana State University researchers said in a statement.

Skepticism from opponents
But conservative lobby group Family First says the study has flaws – the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YBRS), from which the researchers pulled their data, only covers teenagers who go to school.

“All YRBS data is also self-reported, and underreporting or overreporting of behaviours cannot be determined,” said national director Bob McCoskrie, who also took aim at one of the groups which funded the study.

“The Koch Foundation is pro-cannabis law reform.”

He said the latest study “goes against other governmental evidence showing higher usage rates in legalised states”, citing data collected by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) – an annual survey run by the US government.

“Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012, has the highest rate of first-time marijuana use among youth,” said McCoskrie.

The NSDUH data shows use in states where it’s legal is generally higher than where it isn’t across all age groups, including youth. But states where cannabis was popular when illegal were arguably the most likely to vote for legalisation in the first place.

The NSDUH data also shows that in Colorado – the first state to legalise cannabis – first-time use rates amongst 12- to 17-year-olds are in fact the highest in the country, as McCoskrie says.

But past data collected by the NSDUH also shows since 2012, usage rates amongst 12- to 17-year-olds in Colorado has fallen. In 2012 17.6 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds reported using cannabis in the previous year, and 10.47 percent in the previous month.

By 2017, those rates had fallen to 16.97 and 9.02 respectively – backing up what the latest study has found. Across the US, the data shows past-month use for teenagers falling from 9.82 percent to 6.46 percent, and past-year from 13.86 to 12.19.

“Yes – overall use around the US is reducing in parts of that specific age group – but legalised states continue to buck the speed of that trend,” McCoskrie replied.

“It simply confirms that New Zealand would do well to wait and watch. At the end of the day, it’s a society-wide policy that will affect all age groups.”

National drug reform spokesperson Paula Bennett echoed McCoskrie, saying flatlining use was not an argument in favour of legalisation.

“This doesn’t align with the Government’s intention of minimising harm, as drug use hasn’t decreased but instead stayed the same,” she told Newshub.

“There is also mixed evidence on how prevalent the black market still is. There are some places where the use of the black market has increased, especially when people can obtain a cheaper product with a higher potency.”

She said more time was needed to evaluate the effects of legalisation in Colorado and Canada “so we can make the best-informed decision before we go ahead with legalising recreational marijuana”.

Bennett in May declined invitations to debate Swarbrick on cannabis legislation, saying a “‘for and against’ argument at this time is not the best way for the public to get the best information”.
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/07/legalising-cannabis-doesn-t-make-teens-want-to-smoke-it-study.html
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New Data By Koch-Funded Researchers Claiming Legalization Discourages Teen Use Is Deeply Flawed

Smart Approaches to Marijuana SAM 8 July 2019
Family First Comment: “If you truly think that the legalization, commercialization, and normalization of marijuana has led to less young people using it, I have a bridge to sell you.”
– Kevin Sabet, SAM

Today, a study published in JAMA Pediatrics purports to show the legalization of marijuana leads to a reduction in teen use of the substance. This study, funded in part by the pro-drug legalization Charles Koch Foundation, is flawed for several reasons:

  • It is based on the CDC YRBS, which completely omits Oregon and Washington – two large legal states – in 2017
  • It also excludes young people who are not in school, such as dropouts
  • According to the most comprehensive survey on drug use, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health — which includes all young people in households, not just those who gave permission to take a school survey — youth use of the drug is on the rise in legal states while declining in states that have not legalized the substance
  • The study was partially funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, which is partially dedicated to legalizing marijuana (like Koch Industries)

“To put it simply, this study is awash with problems,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “The data here runs counter to what we see from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: youth use is on the rise in ‘legal’ states while declining elsewhere. If you truly think that the legalization, commercialization, and normalization of marijuana has led to less young people using it, I have a bridge to sell you.”

According to NSDUH data, the percentage of youth aged 12-17 using marijuana is declining faster in states where marijuana is not “legal,” and overall use is high in legal states while declining in non-legal states. Further, the percentage of youth in this age range using the drug in “legal” states was 7.7% versus 6.2% in non-legal states.

“More research will be needed on this front,” continued Sabet. “A perfect example of the need for additional research comes from this very same publication. In 2014, JAMA  published an article purporting that states that have legalized marijuana saw a reduction in opioid overdoses over states that did not. In the years since, this study has been among the key talking points of the marijuana industry and its supporters. Then just last month, a study using the same methods and published in the same journal showed the completely opposite result. When it comes to drug policy, we simply cannot put all of our eggs in one basket.”

To note, the same researchers authoring this study have also previously claimed marijuana legalization reduces traffic fatalities (although the overwhelming majority of state data shows otherwise) and reduces suicide (although numerous studies show use of high potency marijuana is linked with suicide ideation).

 

Whanganui man claims he smoked cannabis to help with emphysema, sentenced in Whanganui District Court

NZ Herald 3 July 2019
Family First Comment: “I use cannabis for my emphysema. It helps me breath better.” 😊
Yeah right.

“I use cannabis for my emphysema. It helps me breath better.”

That was Eric John Bariball’s explanation to police after showing them where he was stashing two small containers holding cannabis leaf in his house.

Police officers visited his Whanganui East property at 9.17am on Tuesday, June 11 with a search warrant.

Bariball did not lead them on a wild goose chase, immediately showing the officers where his cannabis was, as well as several utensils used to consume it.

These included a glass bong, wooden pipe and butter knives used for spotting.

Bariball appeared in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday charged with procuring or possessing cannabis and possessing a pipe or utensils for cannabis.

Lawyer Anna Brosnahan said her client entered immediate guilty pleas.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=12245827 (behind paywall)

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