Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mother Nature Trumps "ImPOTsters!"

For those familiar with Facebook you'll know that on the right hand side of the home page is space allotted for advertisements.  Last week one promoting the Facebook page for "The IZMS" caught my attention so I did what any well informed mama would do and used that ad (under Fair Use, of course) to warn others: "Don't take this fake shit!  It is synthetic, a dangerous man-made abomination not meant for human consumption!"

Today I was not surprised when a Canadian news station ran this "Parents Beware!" story with accompanying video about a youth taken to the hospital from "Synthetic Marijuana": Drug alert: THC-laced lollipop lands teen in hospital The story was also posted on their Facebook Page here.

While I was very disappointed at the "scary THC!" headline and the fact that nowhere in this video did the reporter, doctor, or police officer inform people that this chemical shitstorm stuffed into a lollipop is very different from real cannabis, I was at least thankful for a spotlight being shone on these dangerous "Legals", as some people call them.  These products with names like K2, Spice and the above mentioned "IZMS" are man-made, sprayed and laced with who knows what additives and other than the fact that they're smoked the similarities pretty much end there. 

Now I'm not saying that cannabis is 100% completely harmless for every single person but from the reactions reported from the "fake weed" it is safe to say that all natural Mother Nature made cannabis is exponentially safer by leaps and bounds.  Cannabis' safety record is one of the reasons it has been utilized by humans for thousands upon thousands of years. 

Regardless of their different monikers, man-made synthetic (JWH-018) "herbal blends" are NOT natural cannabis/marijuana/hemp and should not be compared to the real, non-toxic plant. There has never been one recorded death from Cannabis. In fact, according to the LD-50 rating system in order to induce a toxic response from Cannabis use only, a person would have to ingest approximately 1500 pounds of it within 15 minutes.

Admittedly cannabis is not for everyone - just like peanuts, lactose or gluten.  But don't you think we need to educate people about the verified possible side effects instead of letting rhetoric and propaganda muddy the waters so much that kids don't know what to believe?
  When real facts about nicotine cigarettes were given smoking rates went down, all without a prohibition or arresting a single person.  Also, pot dealers don't ask teens for ID like the LCBO does which translates into restricting access to minors.

I am a parent myself and do not want my kids to ever touch this fake stuff because through my research I have come to the conclusion that it is very dangerous. This currently legal stuff is being mass produced and people are using this instead of natural cannabis because
it is legal. (While banned in a few places, makers just tweak the chemical compositions and BAM! - they now have a new drug to sell which hasn't been prohibited.)

I had first researched "synthetic weed" when I discovered people were using it to avoid arrest and beat employee drug tests. (Thanks, Prohibition!)  As someone who writes about drug policy I believe it is imperative to be truthful and not misinform.  Having said that I have provided some info and links from many different websites not to scare you, but so more people can read about synthetic herbal blends and become more knowledgeable regarding this "ImPOTster".  I hope this information helps, I would honestly hate to hear of anyone else being harmed by one of these brands. 

In my honest opinion the best thing we can do to address this problem is to re-legalize Cannabis, once people can freely and responsibly use the real thing without fear then products like IZMS will fall out of favour and become obsolete. 

Ain't nothing like the real thing!


There’s a New Brand of Synthetic Pot on the Market:
Fake Pot Cited as Cause in 16 Cases of Kidney Damage

Graphic via To The The Maximus Foundation
("Click" to enlarge)
What Is Synthetic Pot, and Why's It Causing Heart Attacks in Teenagers?

Synthetic Cannabinoid Exposures Reported to Texas Poison Centers

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 6,959 calls nationwide related to adverse effects associated with "fake pot" compounds in 2011, nearly 2.4 times the amount of calls in 2010.

Health effects from the drug can be life-threatening and can include:

-Severe agitation and anxiety.
-Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure.
-Nausea and vomiting.
-Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors.
-Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
-Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions.

Update 10/30/2013: Izms Boss Gets Busted

'Fake weed' CEO Adam Wookey charged in $2M drug bust

via CBC News - "The head of a synthetic marijuana company whose product was being sold in Hamilton is in trouble with the law again after a $2-million drug bust.

Toronto police arrested Adam Wookey, 29, of Toronto, on Monday along with four others. The CEO of the Izms and PurePillz companies is now facing a host of drug-related charges."

Here is the comment I left where the story was cross-posted at the Huffington Post:

As an advocate for the legalization and regulation of Cannabis for adults I am thankful for this development. I'd like to state that we must stop calling products like The Izms "fake pot", "fake marijuana", "synthetic marijuana" etc. These man-made concoctions are nothing like natural cannabis and should be avoided at all costs.

The popularity of these licit "ImPOTsters" is a direct result of our innate utilization of the now prohibited cannabis plant. Humans have used cannabis for thousands upon thousands of years, just because it is deemed illegal does not remove our affinity for it, hence our continued growth and use of it for medicine and recreation/relaxation regardless of its legal status.

Once re-legalized, quality tested and regulated for sale; all-natural weed will obliterate this fake crap out of existence. Until then I support leo's shutting down its production.  I know Mr. Wookey hasn't been charged for selling the Izms but I admit I am thankful that his arrest may lead to his product being shelved for good.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Go Home, Drug War, You're Drunk!

Read the story: NYPD Spent 1 Million Hours Making 440,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests Over Last Decade
"We cannot afford to continue arresting tens of thousands of youth every year for low-level marijuana possession,” Alfredo Carrasquillo, a civil rights organizer with the activist group VOCAL-NY, said in a release. “We can't afford it in terms of the negative effect it has on the future prospects of our youth and we can't afford in terms of police hours."
It's bad enough that the United States alone has already squandered over a TRILLION dollars fighting The War on Drugs; now we get a glimpse of all of the time that is wasted on it as well.

Just think of all of the other things that could have been properly addressed with this kind of precious time and tax-payer money!
  • Schools
  • Health Care
  • Elder Care
  • Veteran Support
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Mental Illness Support
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation
  • The Environment & Green Jobs
  • Homelessness and Affordable Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Fraud
Law Enforcement Officers could be solving exponentially more homicides, assaults and cases of child abuse and paedophilia.  Instead of building and staffing more jails we could be funding laboratories and skilled workers that process crime scene evidence and expedite the processing of sexual assault forensic exam kits. (Something that is obviously lost on the likes of Ol' Sheriff Joe!*)

We must evaluate where our priorities lie as citizens of our communities and as members of the Human Race.  Ask yourself where *you* want your hard earned taxes to go.  Where do *you* want police to focus their attention?  "Herbal" offenses?  Or on actual crimes that really do hurt us all?

Visit the updated website for the NORML Women's Alliance of Canada and get involved!

Along with the NORML Women's Alliance of Canada, there are many, many organizations working to reform and change our drug policy laws.  Check them out today!

Marijuana Majority

*Sheriff Joe! ~ Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office spent so much time and money seeking out non-violent people that he prompted an internal investigation which discovered at least 32 reported child molestations in which the sheriff's office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases.  El Mirage, a community near Phoenix, alleged there were many cases in which sheriff's investigators wrote no follow-up reports, collected no additional forensic evidence and made no effort after the initial crime report was taken.  Arpaio's office eventually reopened more than 400 of its sex-crime cases countywide after finding they were inadequately investigated or not examined at all. Read about this tragedy here at THINKPROGRESS: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Failed To Investigate Over 400 Sex Crimes, Including Molestations Of Undocumented Children

Additional Info

Count the Costs - 50 Years of the War on Drugs

Unless present policy is redirected, we will perpetuate the same problems, tolerate the same social costs, and find ourselves as we do now, no further along the road to a more rational legal and social approach than we were in 1914. - "Drug Use in America: Problem in Perspective", issued 40 years ago today. (March 22 1973 - March 22, 2013) From "Shafer Commission Report on Marijuana and Drugs, Issued 40 Years Ago Today, Was Ahead of its Time"
by Eric E. Sterling.  Please read this, it is an amazing article! 

"Ironically, these policy failures are often cited by law enforcement as a justification for continuing current policies. Just as the costs of enforcing marijuana laws are cited as a cost of drug abuse rather than public policy, these social problems are misrepresented to the public as evidence that marijuana use requires criminal sanctions rather than regulation. Policy failures brought about by this lack of effective controls is not a valid justification of current policies. The statistical data cited in this report on the supply, availability, use, price, and value of marijuana demonstrate that the amount of lost taxes and other fiscal costs of current policy are increasing and proliferating over time."
From Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws by Jon Gettman - Read the full report of the tremendous annual cost of marijuana prohibition in the October 2007 issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

14 Reasons Why Marijuana is Good for the Economy (HuffPo Slideshow, scroll down the page)