S.A.M Weed News Roundup! What’s REALLY Going On!

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SANews Roundup
July 2019
Here is a brief rundown of marijuana news as well as an update on what we have been up to over the last month.

Rejection of Commercial Weed Biggest Blow Yet to Big Marijuana

Despite massive spending and lobbying by Big Marijuana and its allies, the New York State Legislature rejected commercial marijuana. This is a massive victory for SAM as we spearheaded the opposition to the bill and led a massive grassroots coalition.
“New York legislators learned that commercializing marijuana brings along a host of significant health, safety and societal costs that result in no tax money and no social justice,” said SAM president Dr. Kevin Sabet. “The predatory pot industry wanted legislators to believe that this was simple. Like they did in New Jersey, they said it was inevitable. The industry told people it would rain money for a host of pet projects, that our young people wouldn’t be at risk and drugged driving concerns were overblown. Thankfully, New York’s parents, doctors, law enforcement, teachers and many lawmakers didn’t fall for the con.
“New Yorkers can be assured we will continue working to prevent the industry from making gains in further sessions, and we will redouble our efforts to protect young people and those in low income and minority communities who are subjected to relentless in targeting, exploitation and victimization by Big Marijuana. We will continue to work every day to put public health and safety over the profits of this addiction-for-profit industry.”
United Nations World Drug Report Castigates American Jurisdictions for Lax Marijuana Policies

SAM Chief of Staff joins C-SPAN’s Washington Journal

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the latest edition of the annual World Drug Report, specifically calling out the United States, and jurisdictions like Colorado, for their lax marijuana policies. The report found fewer young people view the drug as having harmful health impacts, average potency of products has risen, and large corporations are beginning to infiltrate the industry.
“This report is a global wake-up call,” said SAM president Dr. Kevin Sabet. “Effective drug policy is one that discourages use and creates means for people to get help with substance use disorders. As this survey indicates, drug policy in the United States has instead encouraged use.”
SAM Chief of Staff and Senior Policy AdvisorLuke Niforatos joined C-SPAN’s Washington Journal recently to discuss SAM’s recent accomplishments and why we are so passionate about fighting to defend public health and safety from Big Marijuana.
“I have spoken with a number of people who advocated on the anti-tobacco fight for many years, and they are saying with this push to legalize marijuana, all of the gains we got against tobacco are being rolled back. It was all for nothing. Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation being put out right now. People do not think secondhand marijuana smoke is the same thing as secondhand tobacco smoke, and it is. The American Lung Association tells us it is just as carcinogenic as tobacco smoke is. Science must prevail. We must listen to our public health professionals and our scientists. The thing with any public health issue, we have got to let science rule the day.”

SAM Marks International Day Against Drug Abuse With Special Consultative Status Granted By the United Nations

On the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) was notified by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that it received special consultative status to the United Nations. This status allows SAM to designate official representatives to the UN headquarters in New York, Geneva, and Vienna, and submit written and oral statements to the Council.

“We are immensely grateful for this honor,” said SAM president Dr. Kevin Sabet. “This decision speaks volumes to the drug policy work SAM’s volunteers and staff does at home and abroad. Though we don’t often tout our international work, we have been honored to be involved with several international organizations, including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and we look forward to further helping craft drug policy on the international level.”

House Adopts Amendment Blocking FDA from Protecting Children From Marijuana Industry

Congress Must Reject the Blumenauer/McClintock Amendment on Marijuana

The United States House of Representatives narrowly voted to approve the Blumenauer/McClintockamendment to the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill that will prohibit Department of Justice funding from being used to enforce federal law upon stores, facilities, and growers trafficking in so-called recreational marijuana. As a result of this amendment, the Food and Drug Administration – which uses the DOJ to take action against entities that fail to adhere to FDA guidelines – will be powerless to hold the industry accountable for marketing harmful, high potency marijuana products in kid-friendly forms.

“Though this vote has little chance of passing in the Senate and becoming law, it is unfortunate the members of the House who voted in support of this amendment have been duped by the pot industry into thinking this amendment is a good idea,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “This amendment, spearheaded by one of the largest recipients of marijuana industry donations in Congress, is a massive handout to Big Marijuana and effectively sends the message that no matter how many health and safety harms the industry causes, it is protected from federal oversight.”

Pot industry supporters in Congress snuck an amendment into a recent spending bill that would essentially prevent the FDA from taking enforcement action against bad actors in the marijuana industry that refuse to take heed of warnings from the public health watchdog. SAM president Dr. Kevin Sabet penned an oped outlining why this amendment must be defeated and its intentions exposed:
“The FDA relies on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take enforcement action when a company refuses to comply with warnings from the FDA. Should this amendment pass into law, the FDA would be hamstrung as they would not be able to use the DOJ to bring about enforcement action against those who are actively taking advantage of the cover given by this amendment.

“It is time our policy makers listened to the science and put public health and safety above the profits of addiction industries. The playbook of Big Tobacco is being replicated by Big Marijuana. Don’t be duped, Congress. Reject addiction-for-profit and reject the Blumenauer/McClintock amendment.”

New Study Finds Pot Revenue Could Be Largely Wiped Out By Increased Costs to Law Enforcement

new study shows that a huge percentage of New York’s estimated revenue from legal pot sales would need to be directed toward costs associated with law enforcement and protecting public safety. Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM NY), in cooperation with theNew York State Sheriffs’ Association, has released a first-of-its-kind study analyzing costs of marijuana legalization on the state’s law enforcement and emergency services agencies and local governments.

“Big Marijuana has told legislators money will basically be falling from the sky if they approve commercial pot,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “What this study shows is by conservative estimates, just the law enforcement costs of legal pot will require either using much of the state revenue for public safety or local municipalities and property taxpayers getting stuck with a big bill.”

New National Poll: 62% of Registered Voters Disapprove of Marijuana Commercialization
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law Putting Profits Above Health and Safety

According to a new national poll, 62% of registered voters do not support the legalization and commercialization of marijuana when given more options than prosecuting possession or full legalization. The false dichotomy of legalization versus incarceration is pervasive in national polling and is promoted by the marijuana industry and its supporters as it makes it seem more popular than it actually is.
“Big Marijuana pushes the false narrative that marijuana legalization is supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “The more people learn the truth of what commercial pot looks like, and the more they hear of the negative impacts it has on health and safety, the more they oppose allowing Big Marijuana from setting foot in their state.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill to legalize the use of marijuana and its commercial sale into law, over the advice of the overwhelming majority of medical associations, public safety organizations, and social justice advocates.
“With the stroke of his pen, Governor Pritzker has signed a check to his family – who are massively invested in Big Pot and laughing their way to their offshore tax shelters – and put the interests of Big Marijuana ahead of the health and safety of Illinois residents. While New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Connecticut, Vermont, Hawaii, Minnesota and Rhode Island all rejected the commercialization of highly potency pot this year, Illinois chose to bend to the demands of this addiction-for-profit industry.”

SAM Releases Comprehensive Lessons Learned From Legalization Report

SAM released its third annual  Lessons Learned Report , a comprehensive study of the data outcomes in ‘legalized’ marijuana states. This study, validated by researchers from institutions such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins University and used as primary source material by international, federal, state, and local officials, as well as countless community organizations, finds that states that have legalized marijuana are witnessing rising use rates, thriving black markets, and harms among disadvantaged communities.
“As a handful of states are considering relaxing their marijuana laws, this  report will continue to serve as an eye-opener for lawmakers and slow the rush to legalize,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM. “The commercialization of marijuana has been profitable for the industries such as Big Tobacco, yet tax revenues are falling short and serious, costly consequences abound. It is time to admit that marijuana legalization is a failed policy.”

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.

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