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News Roundup

August 2018
We hope you had an amazing Labor Day weekend!
Thank you all for the great work you are doing to defend public health and safety. Here is a brief rundown of what we have been up to over the last month.

New Report: Colorado Tests Thousands of Drivers for Pot, Two-Thirds are Positive Phillip Morris Execs Admit They Are “Looking Into” Expanding Into the Marijuana Industry
In one of the most concerning developments to date, a published report by the state of Colorado found that in 2016,  73% of some 4,000 drivers charged with driving under the influence tested positive for marijuana. The report, by the Division of Criminal Justice, also revealed that half of the drivers who tested positive were over the legal limit of THC in their blood. And  53 percent admit they smoked marijuana within two hours of getting behind the wheel .
“I have read thousands of research reports over the last 25 years – and this one is one of the most alarming.To make matters worse, marijuana impairment is most likely underrepresented in data due to the fact that it is so hard to gauge. Other states considering legalization must pump the breaks and take note of such damning reports.”
During an interview with Barclays Investments on September 5, 2018, tobacco industry executives from Altria (the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris) indicated their interest in taking advantage of marijuana as a new product line:
Q: ” Were it (marijuana) legalized, is there any reason to believe that you would have a competitive advantage in the cannabis business, say, relative to a booze company?”

Murray Garnick (Altria):
“Well, it’s a hypothetical and actually we’re exploring our options. There’s nothing more… I can’t really go beyond that. We’re exploring our options. We’re studying and evaluating market opportunities. And obviously, that question is one of the questions we’re looking at.”


September is  National Recovery Month. We at SAM celebrate this month with the whole country. It is a time to remind everyone that marijuana use disorder is real, and recovery happens.
In order to help you join in the discussion of the importance of recovery from drug addiction, SAM has put together a toolkit full of helpful links to studies highlighting marijuana addiction, inspirational stories and blog posts discussing recovery from addiction, examples of letters to the editors and opinion pieces, one-pages on drugged driving and the link between marijuana use and opioids, and even sample tweets and facebook posts.
For some inspiration, click here to view “On the Road to Recovery” by Ben Cort or here to view #MyTruth by Justin Luke Riley.
Click here to check out the comprehensive toolkit packed with material to keep you informed and active in the discussion all month long.  Please use this information to promote the message that marijuana use is on the rise, and recovery is possible with the right tools.

SAM Founder Sits Down With CBC in Canada

” When most people talk about Canada’s impending legalization of marijuana, they talk about the future. When Kevin Sabet talks about it, he worries about history repeating.
“There are huge misconceptions, I often feel like we’re living in 1918, not 2018,” he said.”When I say 1918, I mean 1918 for tobacco when everyone thought that smoking cigarettes was no problem and we had a new industry that was just starting.”
“We hadn’t had tobacco related deaths before the 20th century because we hadn’t had a lot of cigarettes, which actually gave us the most deadly form of tobacco we’ve ever seen. I feel like we’re like that with marijuana.”
To read the full story and watch the interview, please click here.

Op-ed in Washington Examiner: Beware of Increasingly Common Drugged Driving on Labor Day
A new report on marijuana production, distribution and consumption in Oregon is finding major problems since the legalization of the drug. The Idaho/Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) report finds there is so much pot in circulation, it’s being shipped to more than half the states in the nation. The study also discovered many illicit growth sites are in impoverished counties that could one day see their economy collapse due to falling pot prices.
“The effects of commercialization on Oregon are painfully clear: more use, more advertising, and more Big Tobacco playbook tactics. There is no potency limit on pot in Oregon, and Big Marijuana is already producing multiple times the demand for pot, which is fueling a massive black market. It’s time we held the industry accountable for its actions.”
SAM president and founder, Dr. Kevin Sabet recently penned an oped in the
Washington Examiner warning Americans to be alert and aware to the dangers of drugged driving over the Labor Day weekend.
Large increases in DUI cases often coincide with holiday weekends, and drugged driving is becoming more and more common — particularly in states that have legalized marijuana.
“In Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, the number of drivers under the influence of pot involved in fatal crashes increased 88 percent since legalization. Also, collision claims in Colorado are 14 percent higher than in nearby states that have not legalized pot.”

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Pregnant and Nursing Mothers to Avoid Marijuana Use
I n response to growing evidence that more pregnant and breastfeeding women are using marijuana and concerns about the potential risks to developing fetuses and infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) released a
recommendation recently that women avoid the drug altogether when they are pregnant or breast-feeding.
“We applaud the American Academy of Pediatrics’ decision to shed light on the dangerous implications of marijuana use during pregnancy. This sends a clear message to the Big Marijuana industry that the scientific community and others will not fall for the blatant falsehoods and misinformation used to suggest that marijuana is safe.
“As research grows and the painful lessons are being learned from states that have legalized marijuana, more and more are moving to reject pot. Lawmakers in Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have said no to legalization and commercialization bills so far this year…”

Oped in CalMatters: One Last Drink for the Road?
SAM’s Will Jones Debates Author of Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Illinois
“One last drink for the road,” once a widely-used phrase, is thankfully out of vogue now, as we have learned the painful lessons of drinking and driving.
And though science has shown that another intoxicant – marijuana – should be added to the list of no-nos while driving, not everyone has gotten the message.  State Controller Betty Yee and her husband were unfortunate victims of California’s lax attitude toward pot.
They were rear-ended on July 13 by a driver who allegedly was high on marijuana. Although everyone survived, this incident brings into focus the facts of marijuana-impaired driving.
A recent study out of Washington state found that almost 17 percent of marijuana users admit to using the substance every day. More than half of daily users aged 15 to 20 believe marijuana made them better drivers. Science says otherwise
At an event in Chicago, SAM’s Outreach Associate Will Jones debated Illinois State Senator Heather Steans on the merits of marijuana legalization. Senator Steans is the author of the bill to legalize the drug in the state.
Will raised serious concerns over the impact legalization would have on communities of color:
“The closest store to my house is a liquor store. The next closest stores are convenience stores so plastered over with signs for cigarettes and beer that you can’t see inside,” Jones said.
“Maybe you heard we should regulate marijuana like liquor. And perhaps if you live in another neighborhood that’s not mine, that might sound like a good idea.”

New Study on Marijuana Use by Children Uses Data From Before Legalization

The Healthy Kids California Survey purported to find that teen use of marijuana in California was down in recent years. Pro-marijuana talking heads were quick to pronounce that this supported their claims that legalization does not lead to increased youth use of the drug.
“The reality is the majority of the data presented in this study were collected at a time when recreational marijuana use was not legal, let alone retail sales (which did not begin in limited locations until the first of this year).
“The report itself states: ‘Data on important correlates of [substance] use, perceived harm, availability, and personal, peer, and parental disapproval of use, were mixed.’ This means the raw data doesn’t back up the spin from the pot industry.”

Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana :
New Book Co-Edited by Dr. Kevin Sabet Available Now

Hot off the presses of Oxford University, Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana  is now available for purchase.
This new book, co-edited by Drs. Kevin A. Sabet and Ken C. Winters, comprises chapters by other experts hailing from a wide range of fields including psychology, epidemiology, medicine, and criminal justice. It is a balanced, data-driven volume highlighting new theory and clinical evidence pertaining to marijuana.
The volume features a comprehensive review of research into marijuana’s impact on public health, including how it affects cognitive and neurological functioning, its medical effects, suggested treatment approaches for marijuana use disorders, marijuana smoking and lung function, and marijuana-impaired driving.
Supplies are limited, so place your order today!


Big Marijuana is borrowing the playbook of Big Tobacco in search of the same deep profits at the expense of addicted users. It is time to combat their game with the facts! To help you do so, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has partnered with Communities for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth (CADY) to offer a comprehensive media campaign prevention toolkit.

As always, thank you for being a SAM supporter. If you can, please chip-in with a small donation by clicking here.

If you can’t chip-in, then at the very least,  and help grow the SAM community.

In Health,

Colton Grace

Communications Associate

Smart Approaches to Marijuana

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