Community Impact

Children whose mothers use marijuana are more likely to try it at younger age

When mothers use marijuana during the first 12 years of their child’s life, their cannabis-using children are more likely to start at an earlier age than children of non-using mothers, according to a new study. This study is the first to establish a relationship between maternal cannabis use during a child’s lifetime and earlier initiation in a nationally-representative, longitudinal cohort.

ScienceDaily. “Children whose mothers use marijuana are more likely to try it at younger age” 24 Sept 2018 Web. 1 November 2018 

Commercialized Marijuana is a Bad Idea, Says Peoria Doctor

With the legalization of recreational marijuana practically a foregone conclusion in Illinois, a retired Peoria doctor is trying to put the brakes on the process.
Dr. Ray Bertino, a retired interventional radiologist who is on the board of the Illinois Society for Addiction Medicine, has been on a campaign since March to educate doctors, legislators and the public about the dangers cannabis presents to the developing brain. Legislation which would allow sellers to make the drug more attractive to consumers — even if adolescents are not the intended audience — is a bad idea, he says.
“They want to sell marijuana candy, and they want to advertise it, but at what risk to public health?” said Bertino.
Legalization is not as concerning to Bertino as the idea that legislators are crafting a bill which would allow commercialization of the drug. Commercialization creates an industry whose sole purpose is to sell more of the product, said Bertino. That industry would create attractive products and advertising to bring in more customers.

The Pantagraph. “Commercialized Marijuana is a Bad Idea, Says Peoria Doctor” 14 Oct 2018 Web. 25 October 2018

Neighbors file federal lawsuit to shut down Sonoma County cannabis grower

A group of Petaluma neighbors is suing a nearby cannabis grower in what may be the first case in California using a federal racketeering and corruption law to seek to bar cultivation of marijuana since it was legalized for recreational use.

They claim the growers, including Carlos Zambrano and his partners in Green Earth Coffee, are raising cannabis without local permits or state licenses and have prevented residents from enjoying their homes because of noxious odors and noise.


The Press Democrat. “Neighbors file federal lawsuit to shut down Sonoma County cannabis grower” 31 August 2018 Web. 18 October 2018

Horrible Child Abuse Death In Texas Highlights Links To Marijuana

A Texas man fatally stabbed his 16-month-old son, yelling “Jesus is coming,” in Lewisville, outside of Dallas, on August 19. Authorities say 27-year-old Blair Ness is charged in the death of his toddler son Ashton Ness.

Police say they found “fresh burnt marijuana as well as a haze of smoke in the apartment,” and blood in multiple areas of the apartment.  Ness started his attack inside and then continued outside in a courtyard.  A neighbor shot the father in his leg to stop the killing.


Parents Opposed to Pot. “Horrible Child Abuse Death In Texas Highlights Links To Marijuana” 29 August 2018 Web. 11 October 2018

The increasing popularity of vaping marijuana draws health concerns

A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about the new popularity of vaping among teens.

E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, but many of the battery-powered devices can vaporize other substances, including marijuana. Results published Monday mean 2.1 million middle and high school students have used them to get high.


NBC News. “The increasing popularity of vaping marijuana draws health concerns” 17 September 2018 Web. 2 October 2018

DFAF The Truth About Marijuana


Drug Free America Foundation 8. “DFAF The Truth About Marijuana – full version” 20 August 2018 Web. 25 September 2018

Teens who vape or use hookah are more likely to use marijuana later, study finds

Teens who used e-cigarettes and hookah were up to four times more likely to use marijuana later, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California surveyed 2,668 students at 10 public high schools in Los Angeles beginning in fall 2013, when they were 14 years old and in ninth grade.

The students answered a paper-and-pencil, phone or internet survey that asked whether they had ever used (or had used in the past 30 days) e-cigarettes, combustible cigarettes or a hookah water pipe. They were also asked whether they had used any type of marijuana product. The use of less popular tobacco products such as smokeless tobacco and cigars was not studied.

In a followup survey in fall 2015, when the students were 16 years old and in 11th grade, the survey asked whether they had used three types of marijuana products: combustible, vaped or edible.

The researchers found that the students who had tried e-cigarettes when they were freshmen had a more than three-fold greater likelihood of ever using marijuana and using marijuana in the past 30 days than students who hadn’t tried e-cigs.


WQAD 8. “Teens who vape or use hookah are more likely to use marijuana later, study finds” 6 August 2018 Web. 20 September 2018

Marijuana poisoning cases in dogs on the rise

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon brought a significant increase in pot poisoning in animals, a more serious problem than it sounds.

Dr. Adam Stone, a veterinarian at Bend Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center, was working at a Portland animal hospital when recreational marijuana retail sales became legal.

“We saw more cases of marijuana toxicity in the first couple months of 2016 than we had in the previous year,” Stone, 31, said. “There was a pretty severe increase once it was legalized recreationally.”


Corvallis Gazette-Times. “Marijuana poisoning cases in dogs on the rise” 19 August 2018 Web. 11 September 2018.

Marijuana fumes dispute drives Augusta condo neighbors to court

A judge has ordered the medical marijuana patient to stop smoking at home, at least temporarily. One homeowner says secondhand marijuana smoke sickens her; the smoker, a neighbor, says she needs medical marijuana for her own health.

Now their dispute is in Kennebec County Superior Court, where Philip and Jessica Manfre are suing Ashley Seile. Both parties are owners and occupants of adjacent condominiums at 136 Old Winthrop Road in Augusta. The Manfres live above Seile’s ground-floor unit in the secluded, two-story, eight-unit building near Interstate 95.

The case is pending, but the problem is likely to arise more in states such as Maine that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana.


Central Maine News. “Marijuana fumes dispute drives Augusta condo neighbors to court” 3 August 2018 Web. 4 September 2018.

Driving High Is Driving Impaired

Driving under the influence of marijuana is driving impaired

Driving while impaired by drugs is illegal and subject to the same penalties as driving while impaired by alcohol. Penalties for DUIs can include expensive fines, license revocation and jail time. Convictions must remain on your record for 75 years.

Drug-impaired driving is deadly

In 2016, drug-impaired drivers caused 934 crashes, killing 440 people, including themselves, their passengers, and others on the road. (DHSMV data)

The five signs of impairment

Drivers under the influence of marijuana can experience: 1. A slowed reaction time; 2. Limited short-term memory functions; 3. Decreased hand-eye coordination; 4. Weakened concentration; and 5. Difficulty perceiving time and distance.


Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Driving High Is Driving Impaired” Web. 28 August 2018.

More California kids are having pot-related health scares, poison control officials warn

State and local officials say they are alarmed by a spike in calls they have received to report children and teenagers ingesting marijuana products since California legalized cannabis for recreational use by adults in 2016.

The number of calls to poison control centers involving people 19 and younger who were exposed to marijuana has steadily risen from 347 three years ago to 588 last year. In the first six months of this year, there have been 386 calls to poison control centers involving marijuana exposure by underage people. If that trend continues, there could be more than double the reports in 2018 as there were 2015.


Los Angeles Times. “More California kids are having pot-related health scares, poison control officials warn” 13 July 2018. Web. 16 August 2018.

Big Marijuana Moves To Exploit The Opioid Epidemic

Marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of prescription opioid use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and found respondents who reported past-year marijuana use in their initial interview had 2.2 times higher odds than nonusers for having a prescription opioid use disorder and 2.6 times greater odds of abusing prescription opioids.


Parents Opposed to Pot. “Big Marijuana Moves To Exploit The Opioid Epidemic” 29 June 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.

Teen driver smoked marijuana prior to fatal crash near Two Rock

A Santa Rosa teen had smoked marijuana with friends at a Sonoma Coast beach prior to losing control of his car and crashing into an oncoming vehicle, killing one of his passengers and injuring three others, the CHP said.

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged the driver, Isidro Antonio Moya, 19, with felony vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of marijuana, as well as driving without a license, possession of concentrated cannabis and a vehicle infraction for allowing the car to cross the double yellow lines. He didn’t enter a plea.

Moya was driving with two friends in the car, including David Etling, 18, of Petaluma, who was killed in the May 4 crash on Valley Ford Road near the community of Two Rock.


The Press Democrat. “Teen driver smoked marijuana prior to fatal crash near Two Rock” 21 June 2018. Web. 26 July 2018.

Boy, 1, drowned while caretaker smoked pot

A Bay County man has been arrested after an infant he was supposed to be watching drowned in a pool while he was allegedly smoking marijuana with a minor, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

Charles Lee, 45, was charged Wednesday with manslaughter of a child in connection with the incident. BCSO reported that a 1-year-old drowned May 31 in a pool in the backyard of a home on Lakeshore Drive in Panama City Beach while Lee was in the front yard smoking marijuana with a 15-year-old. Lee, after fleeing, is now in custody awaiting first appearance in the case, BCSO reported.


Panama City News Herald. “Boy, 1, drowned while caretaker smoked pot” 20 June 2018. Web. 17 July 2018.

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.