Minnesota became the 22nd medical marijuana state this year, but not soon enough for two families, one who left Minnesota for Oregon and another who stayed and faces prison. Angela Brown began giving cannabis oil after she took a vacation to Colorado and discovered that it helped her 15-year-old son’s seizures. She now faces two gross misdemeanor charges, including child endangerment, which could mean one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. Angela Brown told Fox 9 News, “I mean, you finally find something that works for your child, that takes the pain away, and I had to give it up because I had a fear of going to jail — because how am I supposed to take care of my child?” Meanwhile, Jessica and Jeremy Hauser are separated by 1,800 miles as she cares for their 2-year-old son Wyatt in Eugene, Oregon. Wyatt’s seizures have been cut in half thanks to cannabis oil. Jessica Hauser said, “He discovered himself in the mirror for the first time. We’ve been waiting for him to do that since he was 8 months old.” Wyatt is no longer taking the many prescriptions that cost thousands of dollars each month and instead is living better with $50 worth of cannabis per month.
Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program that coordinates state and federal drug police, predicts “within 4 to 6 years there will be a ballot initiative to overturn [marijuana legalization]” in Colorado. Gorman bases his prediction on the new release of data from his agency showing an alleged 100-percent increase in “people killed in marijuana related accidents” over the last five data years. The data show that in 2007, 39 drivers, passengers, bicyclists, or pedestrians killed in accidents tested positive for marijuana, while in 2012, there were 78 such fatalities. Gorman failed to mention that during that five year span, fatalities overall dropped 15 percent. Furthermore, marijuana is detectable for weeks, and what difference does the pot found in the system of a passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian killed by a driver make, anyway?
The fight to legalize in Alaska is on the ropes in the polls. The latest Public Policy Poll released this month shows legalization trailing 44% to 49%. Support has fallen four points over the summer, as the poll in May showed legalization leading 48% – 45%. The state’s constitution already protects the personal possession of a quarter pound and 25 plants in the home and legal markets may be too much for the state’s conservatives, who made up 43% of those polled. Only a third of conservatives and a sixth of strong conservatives support Alaska legalization. Shockingly, even among voters aged 18-29, support is only 48%.
A new study in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence claims those who use pot heavily as teens are more likely to end up on disability. The study followed 50,000 men drafted into military service in Sweden in 1969 and 1970. The men were grouped into never-used, light-use, moderate-use, and heavy-use groups. About 9 percent of them men used moderately, eleven to fifty times by age 18, and 1.5 percent used heavily, or over fifty times by age 18. For the heavy users, there was a 30 percent greater chance of going on disability, even after accounting for confounding factors such as class, drug use, and mental and physical health. However, of the 654 heavy users, 4 out of 5 also used other drugs, leaving just over 130 who were marijuana-users only. Nearly half were problem drinkers and over half had psychiatric diagnoses.
A 72-year-old California woman is suing a hair salon she claims left marijuana-infused cookies out for customers to eat. The woman ate a cookie placed on a tray as she exited the salon following beauty services. An hour later, her lawsuit contends, she had “a severe reaction, including hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, confusion, disorientation, light-headedness, dizziness, blurred vision, tingling, a headache and nausea. She found herself unable to speak or had delayed speech and was completely incapacitated.” Fearing a heart attack, she went to the hospital where lab tests showed she had active THC in her blood. The woman claims never to have used marijuana in her life.
Big Island residents will now be able to voice their opinions on medical marijuana dispensaries. The state task force that is examining recommendations in forming a dispensary system had only scheduled six public meetings on Oahu, which holds just over 2,700 patients, while Hawaii Island has almost twice that many patients. The public hearing will be held September 10 in Hilo.