Community Impact

Marijuana guard dogs strain animal shelter as illegal pot grows rise in Sacramento

The canine soldiers in Sacramento’s booming marijuana wars snarl and yap inside their kennels at the Front Street Animal Shelter.

They are “guard dogs,” seized from illegal pot operations, and they are filling up the already overburdened shelter.

Within the past week, at least 10 dogs guarding properties that police have identified as marijuana “grow houses” have been transferred to Front Street. Eight are German shepherds or shepherd mixes, which authorities said seem to be a favored breed among illegal pot growers.

This year, the city began collecting data on dogs brought to the shelter from suspected unlicensed pot houses, said chief animal control officer Jace Huggins. During the first six months, animal control officers have picked up about 70 dogs that police said were tied to those operations, he said.


Illegal grow house operators use large, strong dogs to protect their wares, Huggins said. The animals are not treated as pets.

“Most of these houses are not lived in,” he said. “The product is grown in them, and the dogs are used as security. They live outside and get the bare minimum of food and water, and they usually are not socialized. They can be very aggressive.”

“Some of them are beautiful animals and good dogs,” she said. But because of their backgrounds and temperaments, they may never make it out of the shelter alive.


The Sacramento Bee. “Marijuana guard dogs strain animal shelter as illegal pot grows rise in Sacramento” 27 June 2018. Web. 10 July 2018.

Greenfield parents worry growing marijuana industry will impact kids

The smell is undeniable even here at Mary Chapa Academy a few blocks away from the marijuana cultivation facility. Parents are concerned about the effect it might have on their kids. Greenfield residents say the smell of marijuana is so strong, it gives them headaches and nausea. Some worry, having it grown so close to the school is not good for their kids. The new industry brought hundreds of jobs to the small town and promised an economic boost but the mayor says the revenue is falling short of what they expected.


KSBW 8. “Greenfield parents worry growing marijuana industry will impact kids” 30 May 2018. Web. 3 July 2018.

Smoking marijuana and driving: 33% of teens think it’s legal. Some think it isn’t dangerous

A third of teens think smoking marijuana and driving is legal, according to a new study.

Out of 2,800 teens surveyed, 33% said driving under the influence of marijuana is legal in states where it’s recreational. More than 20% of teens reported it’s common among their friends. Parent perceptions (1,000 were surveyed) were similar: 27% said it’s legal and 14% said it’s common among friends.

While survey data showed 88% of teens think driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, just 68% said driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous.


FDL Reporter. “Smoking marijuana and driving: 33% of teens think it’s legal. Some think it isn’t dangerous” 12 October 2017. Web. 28 June 2018.

Coalition Places Baby Bibs On Marijuana Dispensary Doors

Volunteers from the Marijuana Accountability Coalition (MAC) spent the day placing bibs on the doors of dispensaries across the Denver metro area.

Shelly Cross is a mother and volunteer for MAC. “I love children. They’re innocent, and I think it’s our job to protect them,” Cross said.

She was concerned when she heard the results of a Denver Health study published earlier this month. Nearly 70 percent of licensed Colorado dispensaries contacted as part of the study recommended marijuana to pregnant moms to help with morning sickness.

“When you’re pregnant, you also have to think of your baby, and it does harm children, no matter what the marijuana industry says,” Cross said.


CBS Denver 4. “Coalition Places Baby Bibs On Marijuana Dispensary Doors” 30 May 2018. Web. 26 June 2018.

Drugged Driving—What You Should Know

In 2016, 44 percent of drivers in fatal car crashes (with known results) tested positive for drugs, according to the recent report entitled “Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States” by the Governors Highway Safety Association. This is up from 28 percent in 2006. See a graphic from the link below for more information about drugged driving and marijuana and opioids.

What happens when you use drugs and drive? Marijuana can decrease a person’s ability to drive a car. It slows reaction time, impairs a driver’s concentration and attention, and reduces hand-eye coordination. It is dangerous to drive after mixing alcohol and marijuana. Driving after using prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, sleeping aids, and anti-anxiety medications may impair driving ability.


Get Smart About Drugs. “Drugged Driving—What You Should Know” 1 June 2018. Web. 19 June 2018.

In the new world of legal recreational marijuana, don’t flood teens with pot ads

Teens don’t get the risks of pot, and ads make them more likely to use it. We need guidelines and parental guidance in the recreational marijuana era.

The ads for recreational marijuana have gotten out ahead of regulations that could restrict where and how teens are exposed to advertising of the drug. Studies have already shown that the more teens are exposed to cigarette and alcohol ads, the greater the likelihood they will use those substances. That’s where advertising regulations come in.


USA Today. “In the new world of legal recreational marijuana, don’t flood teens with pot ads” 30 May 2018. Web. 12 June 2018.

More Parents Smoking Marijuana Around Children, Study Says

As regulations crack down on the dangers of cigarette smoke, a new study is warning that many parents are undoing all of this progress by exposing their children to secondhand marijuana smoke.

According to researchers from Columbia University, the number of cigarette-smoking parents who said they used marijuana increased from 11 percent in 2002 to over 17 percent in 2015. “Overall, cannabis use is much more common among cigarette-smoking parents versus nonsmokers, but it is increasing in both groups,” lead researcher Renee Goodwin said, via UPI.

The study adds that as tobacco laws increase, states have loosened the laws governing marijuana use. Dr. Karen Wilson says the ability for more parents to smoke pot legally could create a dangerous environment for children breathing in secondhand smoke. “We do suspect kids exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, their nicotine receptors are primed to make them more susceptible to cigarette smoking,” Wilson said. “It’s too early to say whether the same is true for marijuana smoke.”

Whether marijuana smoke is as addictive as tobacco smoke may be up for debate, but the damage from inhaling it has already been studied. A recent study by biologist Matthew Springer found that marijuana smoke is three times worse for the arterial walls than cigarette smoke.


CBS Denver. “More Parents Smoking Marijuana Around Children, Study Says” 16 May 2018. Web. 5 June 2018.

Marijuana use by teens is not a “rite of passage”. Parents are appalled when they are informed that under Illinois law their 14-year-old can possess up to 30 joints (10 grams) and receive a civil fine of $100. Nothing in the law requires the parent to be informed by law enforcement and the record is automatically expunged every 6 months. Nice to know their babysitting money is going for a good cause.

There is greater risk for people under the age of 25:
  • Brain development isn’t complete until age 25. For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth shouldn’t use marijuana.
  • Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have a hard time learning, problems remembering, and lower math and reading scores. These effects can last weeks after the last time they used marijuana.
  • Marijuana is addictive. It’s harder to stop using marijuana if started at a young age.
  • Youth who start using marijuana, alcohol or other drugs may be more likely to continue using later in life.
The current campaign, like previous efforts, downplays the well-documented harms of marijuana trafficking and use while promising benefits ranging from reduced crime to additional tax revenue. Legalize marijuana and the demand for marijuana goes up substantially as the deterrence effect of law enforcement disappears. Yet not many suppliers will operate legally, refusing to subject themselves to the established state regulatory scheme…not to mention taxation…while still risking federal prosecution, conviction and prison time. There is strong evidence to suggest that legalizing marijuana would serve little purpose other than to worsen the state’s drug problems.

Utah Launches Medical Cannabis Signature Drive

Advocates hoping to place an initiative on Utah’s midterm election ballot next year will officially launch their signature collection campaign on Thursday.

The Utah Patients Coalition, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, will kick off the signature collection campaign at a Thursday morning event at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City. MORE

The Daily Chronic. “Utah Launches Medical Cannabis Signature Drive.” 17 August 2017. Web. 21 August 2017. 

It’s summer, and Washington smells like weed. Everywhere, all the time.

Two years after legalization, the city’s sharp new fragrance remains a curiosity. MORE

Silber, Maia. “It’s summer, and Washington smells like weed. Everywhere, all the time.” 3 July 2017. Web. 17 August 2017.

D.C. arrests for public use of marijuana nearly tripled last year

Arrests for the public use of marijuana in the District nearly tripled in 2016 and are on track to remain high in 2017, public records show.

More than 400 people were arrested in 2016 for public consumption of marijuana, according to D.C. police arrest records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Records show 78 had been arrested as of April 5. MORE

Moyer, Justin Wm. “D.C. arrests for public use of marijuana nearly tripled last year.” 11 July 2017. Web. 17 August 2017.