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Lung Injury Associated with E-cigarette or Vaping Products

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multi-state outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping.

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Benchmark Youth Drug Use Survey Finds Marijuana Vaping Has Doubled, Daily Use Significantly Increased

By January 30, 2020      Uncategorized

Daily marijuana use and marijuana vaping has significantly increased in the last year according to new data from the largest, most comprehensive drug use survey of students in the United States. The 2019 Monitoring the Future survey, compiled by researchers at the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institutes of Health, is the benchmark for student drug use in the country.

According to the survey, marijuana vaping among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders has more than doubled since 2017 and daily marijuana use among 8th and 10th graders has seen a significant increase since 2018. More than one fifth of 12th and 10th graders reported using marijuana in the past year and the doubling of past month use in high school seniors constitutes the second largest one-year increase in drug use recorded by the Monitoring the Future survey.

While marijuana use rates remain stubbornly high, use rates of other drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes have experienced consistent declines.

“This survey is an astonishing reflection of the failure of marijuana normalization and commercialization to keep our kids safe,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former three-time White House Drug Policy Advisor. “These are some of the largest increases ever recorded, and it is clear marijuana promotion driven by today’s for profit pot industry is to blame.”

Today’s marijuana is especially harmful to adolescents and is known to have a whole host of damaging effects on developing brains. Adolescent marijuana use severely impacts the ability of our youth to learn, greatly increases the risk of serious mental illness, impairs memory, and can even result in a loss of up to eight IQ points.

What’s more, an epidemic of a potentially fatal lung illness known as EVALI is overwhelmingly being caused by marijuana vaping products, including ones purchased from “legal” sources. Despite this, fewer young people perceive harm from using marijuana.

“We are no longer looking at the weak weed of Woodstock. Today’s super strength pot is highly addictive and the latest Big Pot innovation – marijuana vaping products – are causing fatal harm,” continued Dr. Sabet. “We call on lawmakers, the media, and the general public to heed the science and put the wellbeing of our young people first by rejecting the promotion and expansion of marijuana commercialization.”


New DEA Report: Marijuana Legalization Benefits Criminal Drug Traffickers

By January 31, 2020   Uncategorized

comprehensive report released by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) finds that the illicit marijuana market is increasing in states that have “legalized” the substance; growing operations—that often occur on public lands—present a significant draw on resources and a dramatic threat to local environments; and criminal organizations are using revenue from marijuana production to fund further criminal activity in the country.

“While the proponents of marijuana legalization claim in every state capitol that marijuana commercialization will eradicate the underground market, wresting the profits from the drug out of the hands of criminals and into state coffers, reality has proven this to be categorically false,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “As this report shows, not only has legalization failed to do away with the underground market, it has only served to make it stronger and more profitable for criminal organizations.”

According to the report:

-Owners of dispensaries have been arrested trafficking large amounts of marijuana to states where the drug has not been “legalized” and have knowingly allowed traffickers to purchase the full legal amount of marijuana numerous times in one day as part of a scheme known as “looping.”

-In the past five years, average THC potency of marijuana flower has increased 35 percent and THC concentrate potency has increased 22 percent.

-Criminal trafficking organizations with “substantial experience, equipment, and resources are able to produce up to 1,800 pounds of marijuana per year for every 100 plants cultivated, earning as much as $5.4 million in that time.”

-Trafficking groups regularly steal electricity from the power grid, driving up rates for legitimate customers and creating fire hazards.

-Large outdoor growing operations present significant negative environmental impacts as millions of acres of public land are at risk of devastation from illegal grows. These operations produce large amounts of waste that endanger natural resources and wildlife.

-In 2018, almost 70 percent of bulk processed marijuana seized during the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program came from California, Alaska, and Oregon.

-Many of the drug trafficking organizations involved in large scale marijuana grows were also found to be involved in other criminal activity including financial fraud, international money laundering, and the trafficking of other illicit drugs, such as opioids. This would have implications for the integrity of our financial system as marijuana enterprises are seeking access to the federal banking system through federal legislation like the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595/S. 1200).

In its conclusion, the report states that “Domestic production and trafficking of marijuana will likely increase as more states adopt or change current marijuana laws to establish medical or recreational marijuana markets, allowing criminals to exploit state legality.”

“It is time to put to rest the claims that legalization is the cure to the underground market,” continued Dr. Sabet. “Legalization has resulted in almost none of the promises of its proponents and instead has delivered a host of harms upon communities, the general public, and the environment that we will be unfortunately dealing with for years to come.”