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STEVE ELLIOTT

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The National District Attorneys Association has released a statement advocating “consistent enforcement” of federal marijuana law in all states. Even worse, the document, based on “alternative facts” from anti-cannabis websites, appears to be preparing the ground for an already threatened nationwide crackdown on marijuana by the Trump Administration.

Back in January, the formation of a team that will advise Trump on marijuana policy was announced by the NDAA, as reported by Mitchell Byars at the Daily Camera. The group features 14 DAs to “advise” the White House on “possible law or policy changes regarding marijuana.”

Marijuana Policy: The State and Local Prosecutors’ Perspective,” therefore, conveniently provides some cover for Trump and his anti-marijuana Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to stage a nationwide cannabis crackdown.

Prosecutors from across the U.S. have officially backed the position statement. It claims marijuana legalization has “increased access by children.” This is, incidentally, completely false, as seen in a 2014 article from Forbes, and in a 2017 release from the Washington State Department of Health.

Even the latest data in the “Monitoring the Future” survey, overseen by the notoriously anti-marijuana National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), shows that high school kids are using less marijuana then they have in two decades. “I don’t have an explanation. This is somewhat surprising,” said pot-hating Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the NIDA. “We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up. But it hasn’t gone up.”

Indeed, US NewsSteven Nelson has reported that “as home-growing spreads and retail stores open, younger teens are reporting the scarcest availability in at least 24 years.”

So, then, why is the National District Attorneys Association lying about weed? And why does their statement back federal enforcement, even in states where voters have chosen to legalize cannabis for medical and/or recreational uses?

The prosecutors’ document was, ironically, released on April 20 by the NDAA, reports Peter Marcus at ColoradoPolitics.comBut what is distinctly un-funny is that it could help guide near-future policies of the Trump Administration.

“Legalization of marijuana for purported medicinal and recreational purposes has increased access by children. For all of these reasons, it is vitally important to do all we can to prevent access to marijuana by youth in America. Their health, safety and welfare demand no less.”

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The new statement from district attorneys claims, incredibly, that alcohol doesn’t cause the kind of damage to teens that marijuana does.
[Alcoholism in Teens]

The statement suggests that “marijuana for medical use and recreational use clearly sends a message to youth that marijuana is not dangerous and increases youth access to marijuana.” The opinion goes on to say that alcohol is different and better, because, supposedly, “alcohol use does not cause the same type of permanent changes to teens’ ability to concentrate and learn that marijuana does.”

Once again, this is not only an outright falsehood; it’s also a dangerous thing to be telling young people when 245 young people under 21 die each year from alcohol poisoning in the United States. This isn’t counting 1,580 deaths under 21 from alcohol-related car crashes, 1,269 alconol-related homicides under 21, or 492 alcohol-related suicides each year of people under 21. In 2011 alone, about 188,000 youth under 21 visited hospital emergency rooms for alcohol-related injuries, according to the NIDA itself.

The number of deaths from cannabis overdose, of course, remains an an all-time total of ZERO IN HISTORY.

The new statement from the district attorneys’ association cites “scientific studies” that supposedly show cannabis can be addictive, especially for children (not true), and initial evidence of child hospitalizations due to “unintended exposure to marijuana” (none, of course, which resulted in fatalities, and none of which resulted even in any lasting damage).

The statement over and over uses information provided by the shrill, unscientific, rabidly anti-pot group “Smart Approaches to Marijuana” (SAM).

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper:
“We didn’t see a spike in teenage use; if anything it’s come down in the last year”
[Gov. John Hickenlooper]

The NDAA statement maintains that federal law should be consistently applied across the nation, even in green states, to, get this, “maintain respect for the rule of law.” Yeah, that’s gonna work. Marijuana laws certainly have skyrocketed public respect for the law and for law enforcement officers, don’t ya think? (Of course I’m being sarcastic.)

Colorado district attorneys were split on the unscientific new statement, especially on the issue of impacts upon children. The latest Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, from 2015, found that teen cannabis use has NOT increased since legalization.

“We didn’t see a spike in teenage use; if anything it’s come down in the last year, and we’re getting anecdotal reports of less drug dealers,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said on Meet the Press.

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Boulder DA Stan Garnett:
“They don’t tend to be people on the cutting edge of criminal justice reform”
[Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera]

Why on earth would such an idiotic statement — one so at variance with the actual facts — be released by the the National District Attorneys Association? Because the group of prosecutors is “dominated” by conservative prosecutors from the rural South, according to Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, who sat on the NDAA panel.

“They don’t tend to be people on the cutting edge of criminal justice reform,” Garnett said of the NDAA. He added that his participation on the working group which produced the statement was “pretty painful.”

The prosecutors had initially wanted to send Gov. Hickenlooper a letter “demanding” that he close down all legal cannabis businesses in Colorado. The governor, of course, doesn’t even have the authority to make such a move, even if he wanted to (which he doesn’t).

“If anything, use is going down by children,” Garnett said, adding that NDAA is a conservative group without a lot of experience in the regulated legalized marijuana industry.

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Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project:
“The report looks suspiciously like the facts section of an anti-marijuana advocacy site”
[Boston Globe]

“There’s a lot of urban myths out there about what’s going on in Colorado from people who don’t really know, and some of that is promulgated by the DEA and the prohibition groups who are funded pretty heavily to continue marijuana prohibition,” Garnett said. “They tend, on occasion, to distort the reality of what’s going on in Colorado.”

“The report looks suspiciously like the facts section of an anti-marijuana advocacy site,” said Mason Tvert, Colorado-based spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “These district attorneys are clearly out of step with most voters in this country, and they’re struggling to keep up with the changing times.

“This group did not even consider the actual evidence of what’s happening in states like Colorado where marijuana is successfully being regulated,” Tvert said.

 

 

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