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Tag: pot

Opinion Piece: DEA Has No Clue What It’s Talking About When it Comes to Pot and Opioids

Paul Armentano is the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? and the author of the book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws. This piece appears in The Hill.

By Paul Armentano
For The Hill

Is state-level medical cannabis access mitigating or fueling America’s opioid crisis? Testifying before Congress last week, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) acting administrator Robert Patterson claimed the latter. But when he prompted to provide evidence in support of the agency’s position, he acknowledged that he could not.

His failure to substantiate this claim is unsurprising. That is because numerous peer-reviewed studies show that increased cannabis access is associated with declining rates of opioid useabusehospitalizations, and mortality. Among patients enrolled in state-sanctioned medical marijuana access programs, participants’ use of not only opioids, but also their use of numerous other prescription medications — such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs — declines significantly.

To read the full piece click here.

How Former DEA Agents Turned From Drug Fighters to Pot Proponents

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Paul Schmidt spent most of his career hunting down drug dealers.

Now the retired DEA agent – the former top drug enforcer in Oregon – is holding seminars to advise medical marijuana dispensaries on the laws, CNBC reports.

DEA Agent Patrick Moen recently gave up his badge to work for a venture-based capital firm focused on the pot industry.

“Fifteen years in law enforcement, I came to realize that targeting marijuana offenders was not a good use of resources,” Moen said. “And so, I believe that prohibition needs to end. I believe the end of it is inevitable.”

DEA agents like Moen and Schmidt are in demand because of their expertise on marijuana, which is rapidly becoming legal in states for medicinal and recreational purposes.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Marijuana Use Among American Teens on the Rise

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The use of marijuana by American teens continues to increase. Unlike use of other drugs and alcohol, which are either decreasing or remaining stable, the use by 8th and 10th graders went up 1.3 and 1.8 % in 2013, according to the Monitoring the Future study conducted by the University of Michigan of 40,000 to 50,000 teen agers in 389 private and public secondary schools.

Even more important than this result is the sharp decline among teens in the perception that marijuana use is risky. During the preceding eight years the percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who see great risk from regular pot use has gone down from 74 to 61%, 66 to 47%, and 58 to 40%, respectively.

Another significant finding is that, during the years 2012 and 2013 in states where medical marijuana is legal, one-third of the 12th grade users say that one of their sources is another person’s medical marijuana prescription.

The most encouraging result of the study is that the use of “synthetic” marijuana is decreasing significantly, and the use of bath salts remains stable at a relatively low level. Moreover, teens increasingly report that the risk of these synthetics is great. This result seems to credit the work of DEA, local law enforcement and other sources to publicize the significant dangers of these drugs, as well as the speedy scheduling and aggressive enforcement activity.

Drug use in decline among teens include: narcotics (other than heroin), OxyContin, Vicodin, and most hallucinogens. Alcohol use is also down, the lowest in over two decades. Drugs that are essentially stable in use include: heroin, LSD, amphetamines, Adderall, methamphetamine, Ketamines and steroids.

The study was funded by research grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted by research professors at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. 2013 was the 39th year that the study has been conducted. The results will be published in a volume of Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use later this year.

 

Updated: War of Words Heats Up in Controversy Over DEA’s Leonhart’s Criticism of Obama’s Remarks

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The war on drugs has turned into a war of words.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FlEOA)is publicly defending DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who criticized President Obama’s remarks downplaying the dangers of pot. He said it was no more dangerous than alcohol.

The Marijuana Policy Project has called for her head and is petitioning the White House to fire her.

In a press release that mocks the marijuana organization, FLEOA stated: “The pot-loving MPP group concluded, perhaps while under the influence of a mind altering substance, that Administrator Leonhart should be replaced because she allegedly disagreed with comments made by President Obama.”

“Demonstrating an alarming form of hypocrisy, the MPP seeks to trample on the Administrator’s freedom of speech — a Constitutional right — while trumpeting their new-found Colorado freedom to get high in public and spread the stench of their smoke,” the press release said.

FLEOA National President Jon Adler said in a statement: “Administrator Leonhart is one of the best enforcement leaders in our country, and she continues to do a commendable job leading the premiere agency that enforces our nation’s drug laws.”

Updated Tuesday, 4:55 p.m.

RESPONSE:

Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Policy Projected responded with this statement:

Much like Ms. Leonhart, the FLEOA doesn’t have their facts straight. We’re not calling for her to be fired because she disagrees with President Obama. We’re calling for her to be fired because she either doesn’t understand or is intentionally ignoring basic scientific facts, and it’s her job to make decisions based on those facts. Marijuana is less addictive, less toxic, less harmful to the body, and unlike alcohol, doesn’t cause violent behavior. It is objectively less harmful than alcohol, yet Ms. Leonhart has obstructed efforts to remove marijuana from its current classification as a “Schedule I” drug alongside heroin and methamphetamine. In other words, she is disregarding the obligations of her job, and undermining her employer’s commitment to scientific integrity in policy-making.

We’re also not trying to trample her First Amendment freedom of speech rights. If Ms. Leonhart would like to proclaim the world is flat, that’s her right, but the American public shouldn’t be force to hand over $165,000 of their hard-earned tax dollars to pay her an exorbitant salary for doing so.

One thing the FLEOA is correct about is that under Ms. Leonhart’s leadership the DEA has amassed an “impressive record.” They have an impressive record of giving guns to Mexican drug cartels, using NSA data to illegally spy on Americans, concealing evidence from defendants, prosecutors and judges, and jailing someone without food or water for days costing taxpayers $4.1 million in a legal judgment.

Understandably, Americans aren’t very impressed with that record, which is perhaps why more than 18,000 people have signed our petition calling for her removal. I urge the FLEOA to join them.

 

 

Justice Department Considers Easing Restrictions on Loans for Investors in Marijuana Industry

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, investors want to open up businesses to sell pot.

Trouble is, they are reluctant to borrow money because of Justice Department regulations on such loans, the Motherboard reports.

The Justice Department, which until recently was still aggressively pursuing pot shops, is considering easing those regulations so banks can lend money to people involved in the marijuana industry.

Businesses now are barred from legally borrowing money to set up a marijuana business in most cases, the Motherboard reports.

DEA on High Alert After Colorado Law Allows Anyone 21 Years & Older to Smoke Marijuana

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Colorado residents are now allowed to light up marijuana – and the federal government is watching closely.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, people 21 and over were allowed to buy up to 1 ounce of pot, the Desert News reports.

Colorado became the first in the country to allow recreational pot sales.

The Obama administration has said it is not pursuing the sale of medicinal marijuana like it used to.

But whether the FBI tampers with legalization is another issue.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Survey: Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana for First Time

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A recent survey found for the first time that a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, Gallup reports.

Gallup found that 58% of Americans support making pot legal – a major increase since 2005, when only 35% of the population favored legalization.

The changing attitudes were seen over the past year in Washington and Colorado, where voters approved legalizing marijuana.

“Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States,” Gallup writer Art Swift wrote. “Advocates of legalizing marijuana say taxing and regulating the drug could be financially beneficial to states and municipalities nationwide. But detractors such as law enforcement and substance abuse professionals have cited health risks including an increased heart rate, and respiratory and memory problems.”

FBI Busts Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy for Selling Pot Out of Squad Car

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Georgia sheriff’s deputy is accused of peddling pot from his squad car.

The FBI said Darrell Mathis, 40, sold a pound of marijuana to an undercover agent and then coordinated a drug-selling scheme with another agent, the New York Daily News reports.

That scheme involved Mathis transporting pot to another state, according to the FBI.

“The FBI considers such allegations of criminal conduct by law enforcement officers to be a priority investigative matter,” said special agent Mark F. Giuliano of the FBI Atlanta Field Office.

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