INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I: Recreational Marijuana | Program

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I: Recreational Marijuana | Program


POT, DOPE, WEED. PAKALŌLŌ. ALL WORDS THAT DESCRIBE
MARIJUANA. MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS ALREADY
LEGAL IN HAWAIʻI. IS IT TIME TO LEGALIZE
MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE? TEN OTHER STATES HAVE ALREADY
SAID YES. SUPPORTERS POINT TO TAX
WINDFALLS FROM RETAIL SALES. OPPONENTS CITE POTENTIAL
HEALTH PROBLEMS AND FEDERAL LAWS AGAINST MARIJUANA. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THIS
ISSUE? TONIGHT’S LIVE BROADCAST AN
LIVESTREAM OF INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAIʻI START NOW. [INTRO MUSIC] ALOHA AND WELCOME TO INSIGHTS
ON. PBS HAWAIʻI…I’M LARA
YAMADA. AT LEAST A HALF-DOZEN BILLS
HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED IN THE HAWAIʻI LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR
TO EITHER DECRIMINALIZE OR LEGALIZE POSSESSION AND
PERSONAL USE OF MARIJUANA, OR CANNABIS, BY PEOPLE 21 AND
OLDER. A FEW STATES HAVE LEGALIZED
MARIJUANA WHILE OTHERS HAVE LOWERED THE PENALTIES TO
FINES LIKE A PARKING TICKET. ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL
MARIJUANA REMAINS ILLEGAL AND THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON
DRUG ABUSE CALLS IT THE MOST COMMONLY USED ILLICIT DRUG. TONIGHT WE HAVE WITH US A
STATE LAWMAKER WHO SUPPORTS DECRIMINALIZATION OF
MARIJUANA, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM AN ORGANIZATION THAT
SAYS IT IS TIME TO DISCUSS LEGALIZING THE DRUG, A MEMBER
OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT FOCUSES ON PREVENTING
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND A MEDICAL EXPERT ON ADDICTION. WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR
PARTICIPATION IN TONIGHT’S SHOW. YOU CAN EMAIL, CALL OR
TWEET YOUR QUESTIONS. AND
YOU’LL FIND A LIVE STREAM OF THIS PROGRAM AT PBSHAWAII.ORG
AND THE PBS HAWAIʻI FACEBOOK PAGE. NOW TO OUR GUESTS. NIKOS LEVERENZ IS A BOARD
MEMBER OF THE DRUG POLICY FORUM OF HAWAIʻI. THE FORUM
SUPPORTS THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF
CANNABIS. GREG TJAPKES IS THE EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF COALITION FOR A DRUG-FREE HAWAIʻI, A LEADING
ORGANIZATION IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION. STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOY SAN
BUENAVENTURA IS A SPONSOR OF HOUSE BILL 708, TO
DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA USE. SHE REPRESENTS HOUSE DISTRICT
4, PUNA ON HAWAI’I ISLAND. DR. WILLIAM HANING IS A
PHYSICIAN AND EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AT
THE UH JOHN A. BURNS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE. AMONG OTHER THINGS
HE IS CERTIFIED IN ADDICTION MEDICINE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US. REALLY INTERESTING TOPIC. VERY TALKED ABOUT TOPIC NOW. ALSO, FOR MANY DECADES I
SHOULD SAY. LET’S SET THE STAGE A LITTLE
BIT WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING NATIONALLY. SORT OF WALK US THROUGH THE
STATES THAT HAVE LEGALIZED PERSONAL USE OF MARIJUANA. WE’RE KIND OF SEEING LITTLE
BIT OF A RANGE AS TO HOW THAT IS BEING HANDLED. WHY DON’T YOU GIVE US AN
EXAMPLE.>>WHAT WE SEE THERE ARE TEN
STATES THAT HAVE CURRENTLY LICENSED PLACES, TAX AND
REGULATED. TEN STATES NOW.
AND DC, ALTHOUGH DISTRIBUTION IS NOT OF DC AT THIS TIME. ONE OF THE STRENGTHS OF EVERY
CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE AND
WE’RE SEEING THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE FAILED
EXPERIMENT OF CANNABIS PROHIBITION. HUMANITY HAS A RELATIONSHIP
FOR 10,000 YEARS. IT’S OPEN IN THE PAST 80 YEARS
THAT GOVERNMENTAL POWER HAS BEEN USED TO INTERCEDE
BETWEEN THAT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMANS.>>Lara: GIVE US OTHER
EXAMPLES WITHIN THE DIFFERENT STATE LAWS THAT HAVE BEEN SET
UP IN THOSE TEN STATES. SOME VARIATIONS. WHAT ARE THE VARIATIONS THAT
YOU’VE SEEN AS FAR AS HOW THEY’VE HANDLED IT?>>YOU HAVE TAX AND REGULATE
REGIMES EXTENT EXTENSIVE LIKE CALIFORNIA. ONE END. THEN VERMONT, EFFECTIVELY
LEGALIZED PEOPLE TO GROW THEIR OWN. NO RETAIL SALES. NO STORES. AND DC IS STILL UP IN THE AIR
RIGHT NOW. EACH STATE DEVELOPS ITS OWN
SYSTEM TAXATION AND REGULATION. HAVE TO FACE DIFFICULTIES ARE
IMPLEMENTATION. CALIFORNIA, TAXATION MIGHT BE
TOO HIGH. SO THERE’S STILL A THRIVING
BLACK MARKETS THERE. LOCALITY, KIND OF OPT OUT OF
WHETHER OR NOT THEY’LL ALLOW CANNABIS SALES. I DON’T THINK THAT’S THE WAY
WE WANT TO GO OR ANY STATE WANTS TO GO. BUT THAT’S THAT WAS THE
REALITY IN CALIFORNIA. HAWAI’I IS A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENT.>>Lara: YOU’VE BEEN VERY MUCH
PART OF THE DISCUSSION. AS FAR AS HOW IT’S GOING TO BE
HANDLED HERE IN THE STATE. WHAT ARE YOU SEEING, KNOWING
WHAT YOU’VE SEEN HAPPEN IN OTHER STATES, HOW HAS THE
DISCUSSION MOVED FORWARD IN HAWAIʻI AND WHERE ARE WE NOW?>>HAWAIʻI, YOU HAVE TO
REALIZE FIRST STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO LEGALIZE CANNABIS
FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES. IT REALLY SHOULD BE TOWARDS
LEGALIZATION. HOWEVER, WE ARE LOOKING AT A
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHO HAS REFUSED TO DESCHEDULE THE
DRUG AND SO I UNDERSTAND WHY THE ADMINISTRATION OR CURRENT
ADMINISTRATION MAY BE RELUCTANT TO GO INTO ACTUAL
LEGALIZATION. I’M PUSHING FOR
DECRIMINALIZATION AT THIS TIME BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW
WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE THE VOTES IN THE LEGISLATURE TO
OVERRIDE ANY KIND OF VETO FROM THE ADMINISTRATION SHOULD
THEY EVEN IF THE LEGISLATURE DOES PASS.>>Lara: GOVERNOR IGE HAS SAID
UP TO THIS POINT, HE IS NOT GOING TO ALLOW THAT.>>THAT’S MY UNDERSTANDING. I HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING TO BE
CONTRARY TO THAT. SO YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE BILLS
I’VE ALSO INTRODUCED, HOUSE VERSION, IS TO ALLOW EACH
COUNTY TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THEY COULD REGULATE
THEIR OWN MARIJUANA LAWS BECAUSE THE BIG ISLAND
BASICALLY PASSED OPEN SKY RESOLUTION TO MAKE CANNABIS
POSSESSION THE LOWEST ENFORCEMENT. SO AT LEAST ON THE BIG ISLAND,
WE ARE OPEN TO THE DISCUSSION AND WE HAVE A LOT OF NEW
FRESHMEN LEGISLATORS NOW, YOUNG, PROGRESSIVE. AND IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME
TOWARDS LEGALIZATION.>>Lara: OTHER SIDE OF THE
TABLE HERE. BOTH OF YOU HAVE BEEN VERY
MUCH ENGAGED IN THIS CONVERSATION FOR A LONG TIME. AS WELL. SEEING HOW THINGS HAVE
DEVELOPED, COALITION FOR DRUG-FREE HAWAI’I.
1987, ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN AROUND. 32 YEARS OLD. CURBING DRUG USE. INTERESTING TRENDS HAPPENING
AS THE DIFFERENT STATES START TO DECRIMINALIZE OR LEGALIZE
MARIJUANA. SORT OF CREATED THIS NEW SURGE
ENS OF CONVERSATION AS TO HOW THEN DO WE LOOK AT THIS. AND WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE
EITHER ON THE FLIP SIDE OR SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO MAKE
SURE WE INCLUDE IN THE CONVERSATION AS WE MOVE
FORWARD.>>A LOT OF THE CONVERSATION,
I GET THE CONVERSATION. A LOT OF IT SEEMS TO BE ABOUT
THE BUSINESS OR THE STATE’S RIGHTS OR THE DOLLARS. POTENTIAL TAX REVENUES. I DON’T HEAR A WHOLE LOT OF
CONVERSATION ABOUT FAMILIES, KIDS HEALTH, THAT SORT OF
THING. SO BASICS OF PREVENTION, WE DO
PREVENTION. SO PREVENTION IS REDUCING
RISK FACTORS AND RAISING UP PROTECTIVE FACTORS. WHEN YOU HAVE 63% OF
ADOLESCENTS IN STATE-FUNDED TREATMENT RIGHT NOW WITH
PRIMARY DIAGNOSIS OF MARIJUANA OR CANNABIS
DEPENDENCE, WE KIND OF THINK, WELL, IS LEGALIZING MARIJUANA
GOING TO CREATE A GREATER RISK FACTOR OR NOT? I THINK IT’S NOT AT ALL. WE’RE ONLY TREATING ABOUT A
THIRD OF THE KIDS THAT REALLY COULD, THE STATE ESTIMATES
NEED TO BE TREATED, 2100 KIDS A YEAR GET TREATED. I THINK THE STATE ESTIMATES
OVER 6,000 MEET CRITERIA FOR DEPENDENCECY. ONE OF THE ISSUES. FAMILY HEALTH, KIDS HEALTH. WHAT IS GOING TO HELP THEM
GRADUATE AND BE GOOD WORKERS OR COLLEGE STUDENTS OR
WHATEVER.>>Lara: COMING OUT THAT
POPULATION THAT IS USING MARIJUANA, THAT’S GROWING THE
FASTEST, IS THE YOUNG ADULTS. TEEN AGERS. SO I THINK THERE’S DEFINITELY
A IMPORTANT DISCUSSION THERE AS TO THE PARTICULAR AGE GROUP
THAT AS WELL AS HAPPENING WITH MARIJUANA. HOW THAT DISCUSSION MIGHT BE
DIFFERENT THAN POSSIBLY A LARGER, OR OLDER AGE GROUP.>>Lara: WHAT ARE YOU SEEING? THERE’S QUITE THE RANGE OF
RESEARCH AS TO THE ADDICTION LEVELS OF MARIJUANA TO WHAT
EXTENT, SOME PEOPLE, ENTIRE SPECTRUM, IT IS ADDICTIVE. WHAT ARE YOU SEEING HAPPEN AS
THIS ATTENTION GROWS ON MARIJUANA?>>IF I CAN GIVE FREE REIGN TO
THIS THING ON TOP OF MY NECK, GOING TO START BABBLING ON FOR
THE NEXT 45 MINUTES.>>Lara: I’LL GIVE YOU 35. LESS THAN THAT.>>I THAT’S SWEET. I APPRECIATE IT. FIRST CLUE TO MY RESPONSE
SHOULD BE THIS DISTINCTION BETWEEN ALCOHOL AT 21 AND
CANNABIS AT 25. THAT SHOULD RAISE PEOPLE’S
EYEBROWS AS TO WHY ARE WE MAKING THIS DISTINCTION? IT’S NOT AN ARBITRARY
DISTINCTION. THE REASON OF COURSE PEOPLE
LOOK AT 25 IS BECAUSE THAT TENDS TO BE THE CONCLUSION OF
THE NEUROADAPTATION OR CONCLUSION OF BRAIN GROWTH IN
PEOPLE TO THE EXTENT THAT IT MAY BE INFLUENCEABLE BY
TAKING CANNABIS. I’M GOING TO SAY CANNABIS
INSTEAD OF MARIJUANA AS WE GO FORWARD.>>THANK YOU.>>THE PROBLEM FROM MY
STANDPOINT, SO THAT I MAKE IT CLEAR THAT I’M NOT
NECESSARILY STRONGLY INVESTED IN THE CRIMINAL
STATUS OF CANNABIS, IS WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING FOR MED IT
MEDICAL STANDPOINT OR PSYCHIATRIC STANDPOINT TO THE
FOLKS USING IT. IT’S PRETTY HARD TO CONTROL
THAT OR IN A SENSE, TO CONSTRAIN FOLKS FROM USING
THIS WHO HAPPEN TO HAVE SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS
ALREADY. IN FACT, YOU IMPOSE THIS UPON
US SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER, TENDS TO MAKE THE SURVIVAL A
LOT MORE DIFFICULT, A LOT LESS PREDICTABLE. WHAT MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES
WOULD AGREE ON IS YOU DON’T WANT FOLKS WHO ARE UNDER A
CERTAIN AGE, WHETHER THAT’S 25 OR WHETHER IT’S 18, JUST
YET, HAVEN’T BEEN DETERMINED BY HUMAN STUDY, 25 SEEMS TO BE
THE SAFER RANGE. YOU DON’T WANT THEM USING
CANNABIS IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF THE IMPACT ON
NEURAL DEVELOPMENT. I DON’T HEAR A LOT OF
COUNTER-ARGUMENT ON THAT. I’M HAPPY WITH THAT FACT. ANY MORE THAN NECESSARILY
WANT FOLKS TO BELOW A CERTAIN AGE TO BE DRINKING ALCOHOL. AS I SAID THIS, THING WILL
JUST GO ON AND ON.>>Lara: KIND OF COUCHING AS TO
THE CLASSIFY IT AS ADDICTIVE OR NOT. DO YOU THINK THAT REALLY, IT’S
JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE OF AN ANSWER?>>IT GETS WORSE BECAUSE, CAME
OUT WHEN I MENTIONED CANNABIS, EVERYBODY AT THIS
TABLE UNDERSTANDS THAT CANNABIS IS NOT A SUBSTANCE.>>CANNABIS IS AT LEAST 70,
PROBABLY CLOSER TO 100 CANNABINOIDS CAUGHT UP INSIDE
A VEGETABLE PRODUCT THAT HAS VARYING CONCENTRATIONS OF
THOSE RESPECTIVE CANNABINOIDS. CANNABINOIDS HAVE A VARIETY
OF IMPACTS MOST OF WHICH WE DON’T EVEN KNOW YET. KANABIDIOL MAY HAVE
THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS. MANAGING PSYCHOSIS AND CAN
NEUROPROTECTIVE FOLKS USING RAW CANNABIS AS OPPOSED TO
SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS. CONVERSELY, WE DON’T KNOW
WHICH OF THOSE OTHER CANNABINOIDS TENDING TO
CREATE PSYCHOSIS IN YOUNG PEOPLE. YOU DO NOT WANT YOUNG PEOPLE
DEVELOPING PSYCHOSIS BECAUSE THEY COMMONLY DON’T COME BACK
FROM THAT.>>Lara: WHAT ARE YOUR
THOUGHTS WHEN YOU HEAR THE DISCUSSION ABOUT WHERE WE ARE
AS FAR AS CLARITY ON THE RESEARCH AND HOW WE
CATEGORIZE THE IMPACTS IN A WAY THAT WE CAN START TO
CREATE LAWS OR REGULATIONS IN CONCRETE AROUND THAT? NEED BE TO BE TAKEN OFF THE
SUBSTANCE CONTROL ACT. PRECLUDES A LOT OF GOOD
RESEARCH BE DONG. DRUG FORUM FOLLOWCY OF
HAWAI’I, SUPPORT MORE RESEARCH. EVIDENCE BASED PREVENTION AND
EDUCATION. FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. SUPPORT EVIDENCE-BASED, LOW
BARRIER, LOW THRESHOLD TREATMENT FOR THOSE WHO
EXPERIENCE CANNABIS USE DISORDER. WHICH IS 9% OF ALL HEAVY
USERS. CANNABIS USE DISORDER DOES
EXIST. WE NEED TO TAKE HEALTH BASED
APPROACH TO IT. TREATMENT. WE BELIEVE THAT ALSO
TREATMENT ON DEMAND FOR A WHOLE HOST OF OR SUBSTANCES
NEEDS TO BE GIVEN MORE SUPPORT BY THE STATE LEGISLATURE AND
THE GOVERNOR AS WELL. THERE ARE BILL DOES THAT
EFFECT AS WELL. REALLY, NO ONE
IS ARGUING THAT CANNABIS SHOULD BE, SHOULD NOT BE USED
BY MINORS. WE ALL AGREE THAT MINORS
SHOULD NOT USE CANNABIS. THE QUESTION IS WOULD
LEGALIZATION, DECRIMINALIZATION, WHETHER
OR NOT OUR PENAL SYSTEM SHOULD BE USED AS A HAMMER TO PREVENT
USAGE BY ADULTS RECREATIONAL USAGE. WE ARE PAYING IN THE STATE OF
HAWAI’I, THE HIGHEST COST OF $151 PER PERSON, PER DAY, TO
HOUSE SOMEBODY IN JAIL. SO WHY ARE WE USING OUR PENAL,
BASICALLY WHAT LEGALIZATION IS. WHY DON’T WE JUST CONTROL AND
REGULATE? AND EDUCATE AS WELL AS
RESEARCH THE POSITIVE USES AND THE MORE WE
DECRIMINALIZE, THE MORE WE TALK ABOUT MEDICINAL USES OF
CANNABIS, WE FIND MORE AND MORE THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS AND
REMEDIAL EFFECTS OF CANNABIS. WE NEED TO HAVE THAT KIND OF
RESEARCH AND WE NEED TO PREVENT THIS PENAL TYPE OF
ATTITUDE TOWARDS USAGE VERSUS THERAPEUTIC USE.>>NEAR MY WORKPLACE A LOT OF
PUBLIC DEFENDERS. HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE YOU
DEFENDING FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION? IT’S BEEN VERY SMALL. STATISTIC IN FRONT OF ME,
2017, U.S. SENTENCING COMMISSION, ONLY 92 PEOPLE
SENTENCED FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION. IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM. NEARLY 20,000. I UNDERSTAND JAIL IS
EXPENSIVE. PRISON IS EXPENSIVE. DO WE HAVE THAT MANY DAILY
BACKYARD POT SMOKING USERS IN PRISON COSTING US THAT MUCH
MONEY?>>FRANKLY, YOU CANNOT
COMPARE FED VERSUS STATE.>>I UNDERSTAND THAT.>>OKAY, BECAUSE CANNABIS
POSSESSION, MARIJUANA POSSESSION, IS PROSECUTED BY
THE STATE. AND NOT FEDERALLY, UNLESS
IT’S LARGE POSSESSION, UNLESS IT AFFECTS INTERSTATE
COMMERCE. WHAT PERCENT IS IT DO YOU
THINK?>>WHAT WE’VE SEEN AT THE
STALE LEVEL IS SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE INCLUDING
NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND FILIPINOS ARRESTED FOR SIMPLE
CANNABIS POSSESSION. CRIMINALIZATION IS INJURIOUS
TO FAMILIAL HEALTH, BRINGS PEOPLE INTO THE CRIMINAL JUST
SYSTEM. NOT GOOD FOR ANYBODY EXCEPT
MAYBE THE MOST PEOPLE SUFFERING A LOT.>>Lara: WE CAN KIND OF GO BACK
AND FORTH ON THIS. I WANT TO
GET TO A GRAPHIC THAT WE HAVE HERE. TALKING ABOUT SOME OF THE
POTENTIAL POLICY AND LAW CHANGES. COMING FROM BILL 708. MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF CLARITY
ON THIS. THIS IS QUOTE FROM THE BILL. THE LEGISLATURE FINDS THAT’S
LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS FOR PERSONAL OR RECREATIONAL USE
IS A NATURAL, LOGICAL AND REASONABLE OUTGROWTH OF THE
CURRENT SCIENCE OF CANNABIS AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS
CANNABIS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT
MORE WHAT YOU MEAN BY THAT? I THINK THAT COULD BE
INTERPRETED IN DIFFERENT WAYS.>>BASICALLY, THAT I HAD SAID
BEFORE, THE MORE WE RESEARCH THE USE OF CANNABIS, WE FIND
MORE THERAPEUTIC AND MORE REMEDIAL EFFECTS OF IT. SO PEOPLE ARE GOING TO START
SELF-MEDICATING. WHEN THEY FIND THAT THEY, LIKE
FOR INSTANCE, LIKE EPILEPSY OR WHETHER THEY FIND THAT
REGULAR WESTERN MEDICINE IS INEFFECTIVE. THEY’RE GOING TO START
SELF-MEDICATING AND WHY SHOULD WE — WE SHOULD
INSTEAD SHOW THEM THE DOSAGES THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR THE KIND
OF REMEDIES TO WHATEVER ILLNESSES THEY HAVE. WE SHOULD NOT PROSECUTOR
INCARCERATE MERE POSSESSION. WE SHOULD USE — WHEN IT’S
THAT EXPENSIVE, $151 PER DAY PER PERSON IN THE STATE OF
HAWAI’I, USE OUR LIMITED INCARCERATION CELLS FOR
VIOLENT CRIMINALS INSTEAD OF SIMPLE POSSESSION. THAT’S WHAT MY
DECRIMINALIZATION BILL IS.>>Lara: THAT’S THE
DISTINCTION YOU HAVE AS FAR AS PUSHING FOR
DECRIMINALIZATION RIGHT NOW. AS FAR AS LEGALIZATION. MORE OF JUDICIAL AND WITHIN
THE CRIMINAL SYSTEM, THRUST. FOCUSING ON
DECRIMINALIZATION.>>NO, I AGREE THAT WE ARE
GOING TO GO TOWARDS PROBABLY LEGALIZATION. I DON’T SEE IT NOW. I’M A VERY PRAGMATIC PERSON. WHEN THE GOVERNOR IS SAYING
THAT HE IS NOT GOING TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA THIS TIME,
WHY NOT DECRIMINALIZE IT? WHY DON’T WE USE WHATEVER
RESOURCES WE HAVE TO INCARCERATE VIOLENT
CRIMINALS RATHER THAN SIMPLE POSSESSION? I WANT TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS
HERE ON THIS SIDE OF THE TABLE. I’M HOPING THAT, WELL, FIRST,
CLARITY. WHEN YOU SAY DECRIMINALIZE AS
OPPOSED TO LEGALIZE. I DON’T KNOW IF THE AUDIENCE
OUT THERE UNDERSTANDS DISTINCTION. TALKING ABOUT RESTRICTING
CONSEQUENCES TO FINES IN THE CASE OF DECRIMINALIZATION.>>RIGHT. MINOR POSSESSION. YES.>>FAIR ENOUGH. I DON’T KNOW A SINGLE ONE OF
THE MEDICATIONS IN MY ARMAMENTARIUM THAT ISN’T AS
SOME LEVEL LETHAL OR RISKY. ISN’T A ONE. DOESN’T MEAN WE DISPENSE WITH
THEM. SIMPLY BECAUSE IF I TAKE
EXCESS OF MORPHINE AND KILL MYSELF, THAT IS THE BAD
OUTCOME. AT THE SAME TIME, REALLY DO
WANT MORPHINE TO BE AVAILABLE FOR WHEN I FINALLY DO HAVE MY
HEART ATTACK OR FRACTURE MY THIGH OR WHATEVER HAPPENS TO
BE. IF IT SEEMS LIKE I’M GOING OFF
TRACK HERE, BEAR WITH ME FOR A MOMENT BECAUSE SORT OF
THINGS THAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IS BENEFICIAL WITH
CANNABIS ALSO HAVE ANOTHER SIDE, ANOTHER EDGE TO THEM. I’M NOT SURE IT’S BEEN
PROPERLY EXPLORED. ALCOHOL IS VERY LEGAL IN THIS
COUNTRY. IN CERTAIN CONTEXTS. NOT LEGAL IN THE CASE OF
DRIVING A CAR ABOVE CERTAIN LEVELS. WE WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO
DETERMINE WHAT THAT IS, BUT INFORTUNATELY, I THINK WHAT
WE’RE GOING TO FIND OUT ON THE BASIS OF ANIMAL RESEARCH YOU
CAN’T QUANTIFY A LEVEL OF INTOXICATION IN CANNABIS
USAGE, SAME WAY YOU CAN WITH ALCOHOL. WON’T BE THE SAME PREDICTABLE
DOSE RELATIONSHIP TO IMPAIRMENT WITH CANNABIS THAT
THERE IS WITH ALCOHOL. THAT’S GOING TO POSE SOME
SIGNIFICANT DIFFICULTIES FOR YOUR SIDE ON THE LEGISLATIVE
SIDE IN DETERMINING WHAT THE RESTRICTIONS ARE GOING TO BE
ON PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY USE MARIJUANA.>>Lara: QUICK JUMP IN. QUESTION FROM ALLEN IN NUUANU
RELATED TO THIS. WHAT IF ANY IS THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MARIJUANA AND OPIOIDS? YOU WANT TO REFER DIRECTLY TO
OPIOIDS OR OTHER TYPES OF DRUGS. DO YOU WANT TO WEIGH IN ON
THAT?>>WELL, YEAH. DIRECT RELATIONSHIP IN THE
SENSE THAT ONE TIES STRAIGHT INTO THE USE OF THE OTHER. THERE HAVE BEEN EFFORTS ON
MULTIPLE STATES TO TRY AND USE CANNABIS AS ALTERNATIVE TO
OPIOIDS, IN PARTICULARLY IN THE TREATMENT OF OPIOID USE
DISORDER. SOME MISUNDERSTANDINGS, BUT
ALL OF THE EXISTING EVIDENCE SO FAR UNFORTUNATELY ARGUES
AGAINST IT HAVING ANY REAL UTILITY IN THAT RELATIONSHIP. WHAT WE SEE INSTEAD IS PEOPLE
WHO WILL USE CANNABIS IN THE CONTEXT OF ALSO USING OPIOIDS
FOR THAT MATTER, MAY ACTUALLY USE IT IN LIU OF, THAT’S NOT
THE SAME AS TREATING AN OPIOID USE DISORDER. THAT’S SIMILE, THE WORDS OF
THE SONG THAT COMES FROM MY GENERATION, IF YOU CAN’T BE
WITH THE ONE YOU LOVE, YOU LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH. OPIOIDS DON’T WORK FOR
EVERYBODY. OPIOIDS MAKE ME JITTERY AND
ANXIOUS. WHEN I HAD SIGNIFICANT BACK
PAIN IN CALIFORNIA, I TOOK ADVANTAGE OF ITS MEDICAL
CANNABIS LAW. IT WAS HELPFUL. IT DIDN’T CURE SORT OF THE
UNDERLYING CAUSE, BUT PROVIDED PAIN RELIEF IN
ADDITION TO OTHER FORMS OF THERAPY. MUSCULOSKELETAL. DIET CHANGE, ET CETERA.>>Lara: WHY DON’T YOU JUMP ON
THIS ONE. DEFINITELY A BIG PART OF THE
DISCUSSION FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. THE THOUGHT THAT THIS IS OR
COULD BE A GATEWAY DRUG OR SOME RELATIONSHIP THAT NEEDS
TO BE FURTHER EXPLORED BEFORE WE GO DOWN CERTAIN ARENAS OF
DECRIMINALIZATION, LEGALIZATION. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?>>YEAH, THAT’S THE
MILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION RIGHT THERE. SOME PEOPLE SAY, OBVIOUSLY
IT’S NOT A GATEWAY DRUGS BECAUSE KIDS WHO SMOKE
MARIJUANA FIRST, SMOKED CIGARETTINGS THEN DRANK
ALCOHOL, THEN SMOKED MARIJUANA, THEN DID
EVERYTHING ELSE. THE ORIGINAL GATEWAY WAS
MAYBE TOBACCO. OTHERS WILL SAY, MAYBE IT’S
THE FIRST. ILLICIT DRUG THEY TOOK AND
FOUND OUT, HEY, THAT’S NOT SO BAD. TRY SOMETHING ELSE TOO. I DON’T HAVE A GOOD SCIENTIFIC
ANSWER ON THAT ONE. YOU’RE GOING TO FIND OPINIONS
ON BOTH SIDES OF THAT ARGUMENT. ORIGINAL GATEWAY DRUG IS
TESTOSTERONE.>>WHAT WE END UP SEEING. IT’S NOT COINCIDENTAL I THINK
AROUND 13, 14, 15 COMES THE INCLINATION TO START USING
NICOTINE, CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL ALL AT ONCE.>>Lara: INTERESTING
QUESTION. I WISH THEY PUT THEIR NAME ON
HERE. BEEN NEARLY 100 YEARS SINCE
U.S. LEGALIZED ALCOHOL, BAN ON PROHIBITION. HAS THE PANEL LOOKED AT THE
PROS AND CONS WHAT LEADERS DECIDED BACK THEN IF IT WOULD
HELP THEIR DECISION-MAKING TODAY. THINK ABOUT IT. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT SORT OF
WHERE YOU ARE SOCIALLY, WHERE THE CULTURE AND THE COMMUNITY
IS FROM THE SOCIAL STANDPOINT FROM MENTAL STANDPOINT,
EDUCATION STANDPOINT, LET ALONE THE ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC
AND PHYSICAL EFFECTS THAT YOU WOULD DISCUSS. WHAT HAPPENED THIS THE 30’S,
WHEN CANNABIS WAS EFFECTIVELY CRIMINALIZED BY THE FEDERAL
BUREAU OF NARCOTICS, YOU HAD THE FIRST HEAD OF THAT
ORGANIZATION HARRY ANSLINGER. SOLD A PLATFORM OF RACISM. HE SAID REFER MAKES DARKIES
THINK THEY’RE AS GOOD AS THE WHITE MAN SPECIFICALLY
TARGETED AFRICAN-AMERICANS. MEXICAN, AND FILIPINOS AS
HEAVY USERS OF THE DRUG POSE THE A THREAT TO WHITE WOMEN. HE EXPLOITED THE MORES OF THAT
TIME, JIM CROW ERA. SEEN THE VESTIGE OF JIM CROW
ERA AROUND CANNABIS TODAY. WE BELIEVE CANNABIS USE,
POSSESSION, DISTRIBUTION SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO
REGULATION AND TREATMENT FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT SHOULD BE
MADE ACCESSIBLE.>>Lara: I HAVE TO SHOW YOU A
LITTLE BIT OF VIDEO THAT WE HAVE HERE. IN KIND OF LENDS IT SELF TO THE
ARGUMENT OR DISCUSSION I SHOULD SAY, THAT POSSIBLY
PART OF THE INTEREST FOR SOME IN CANNABIS, MARIJUANA, IS
THE INTRIGUE OF IT. OR SORT OF THE PERCEPTION OF
IT. AND THINGS HAVE CHANGED
TODAY, I THINK WE HAVE SOME VIDEO FROM A DISPENSARY I
BELIEVE IN LAS VEGAS. HERE WE GO. THIS KIND OF SHOWS YOU, VIDEO
MONITOR, HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED AND WHAT IS HAPPENING
WITH THAT MARKET TODAY. IF THAT IS GOING TO THEN, HOW
TATS GOING TO IMPACT SOCIETY, WHERE THEY PLACE THAT IN THEIR
PERCEPTION OF MARIJUANA CANNABIS.>>AND WHETHER IT’S, WOULD
THAT POSSIBLY DETRACT FROM PEOPLE WHO SEE IT AS SORT OF
THAT.>>TRYING TO RESTRICT MYSELF
TO A MEDICAL VIEW. AT THE SAME TIME, THERE’S A
LITTLE VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD THAT’S SAYING, THIS IS ALL
PART OF MAN’S INEXORABLE NEED TO GO GET LOADED.>>YEAH.>>WHETHER IT IS NICOTINE,
CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL OR CANNABIS, AT SOME POINT ALONG
THE LINE, FOR MY STANDPOINT, THE ISSUE BECOMES ONE OF, IS
THIS A SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER LEADING TO A COMPLETE
ORGANIZATION OF SOMEBODY’S LIFE AROUND ACQUIRING AND
USING AND RECOVERING FROM THE EFFECTS OF THE DRUG? SO FOR A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF THE
POPULATION, IT VERY MUCH IS. THIS IS A CONVERSATION WHICH
YOU BRING UP 36 ALSO, TALK ABOUT 1918, 1932, THAT WHOLE
INTERVAL THERE, INTERESTINGLY, FAMILIES
SUSTAINED SOME SIGNIFICANT REORGANIZATION AS A RESULT OF
UNAVAILABILITY OF ALCOHOL. ACTUALLY IMPROVEMENT IN
NATIONAL HEALTH IF YOU WEREN’T IN ANY SENSE CAUGHT UP
IN THE ALCOHOL PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION INDUSTRY. THERE WAS A LOT OF CRIMINAL
ANALOGY GOING ON. GREATER MINDS THAN OURS HAVE
TRIED COLLABORATIVELY AND SOMETIMES IN OPPOSITION TO
ONE ANOTHER TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF WHAT CONSTITUTES
SAFE USAGE OF THE SUBSTANCES.>>THE BASELINE IS THAT THE
ILLICIT SUBSTANCES OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO PRODUCE A LEVEL OF
INJURY, ILLNESS AND DEATH THAT WOULD NOT BE EVEN
REMOTELY ON THE LEVEL OF WHAT CANNABIS CAN DO.>>Lara: COUPLE OF YOU’RE
QUESTIONS HERE. MAKE IT THROUGH SOME OF THIS. DEFINITELY COME UP. AS FAR AS TAXES ON THIS. WHAT IT COULD BE USED FOR AND
HOW WE SHOULD PUT THAT WITHIN THIS DISCUSSION. IF TAXES FROM RECREATIONAL
MARIJUANA SALES COULD GO TOWARDS SCHOOLS OR SOCIAL
SERVICES LIKE HOMELESSNESS, ANONYMOUS ONE. CALLER FOR LEGALIZATION AND
WANTS TAX ON IT TO BE USED FOR EDUCATION OR LOW INCOME
HOUSING. AND BELIEVES THAT LIQUOR IS
WORSE THAN POT. HIS WORDS. SO I THINK THIS IS KIND OF WHAT
WE’RE PART OF THE COMPLEXITIES OF THIS
DISCUSSION IS THAT ENTICING POTENTIAL TO BE ABLE TO FUND
THESE SERVICES THAT WE WANT FUNDED. IN SOME SHAPE OR FORM, AND HOW
SHOULD WE THEN THINK ABOUT THAT KNOWING THAT THAT’S
ENTICING. FUND OUR SCHOOLS WITH DRUG
MONEY. IS THIS WHAT IS COME TO? BACK TO FAMILIES AND STUFF
LIKE THAT. ONE PERCENT, 2017, I THINK IT
WAS LESS THAN 1% OF COLORADO’S BUDGET, REVENUES FROM
MARIJUANA WENT TO THAT. IT’S NOT A LOT.
AND I THINK THAT I DON’T KNOW IF THE JURY IS IN SOCIAL COST,
PUBLIC SAFETY COST, INCREASED BLACK MARKET ACTIVITY, TRYING
TO, POLICE DEPARTMENT, WE’RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TO MANAGE
BLACK MARK E. BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO BE LEGAL, TAX AND
REGULATE IT. INCREASE IN BLACK MARKET
ACTIVITY. CALIFORNIA, SURPLUS OF
MARIJUANA. BILL TO REDUCE THE TAX SO
LEGAL MARIJUANA CAN BE MORE COMPETITIVE WITH BLACK MARKET
MARIJUANA.>>FACT OF MATTER IS SOCIETY,
MILLENIALS ARE MORE ACCEPTING OF MARIJUANA. WHY NOT TAX IT? THE FACT OF MATTER IS THERE
ARE GOING TO BE PEOPLE, LIKE THE DOCTOR SAID, THAT ARE
GOING TO USE IT RECREATIONALLY. SO WHY NOT TAX IT? WE’VE SEEN COLORADO IS A PRIME
EXAMPLE. LEGISLATURE IN COLORADO WAS
AGAINST LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA. IT WAS THE VOTERS WHO WENT IN
AND WENT FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT FOR REFERENDUM. SO THE VOTERS THEMSELVES,
THAT IS THE POPULATION ITSELF, CHOSE TO LEGALIZE A
SUBSTANCE WHICH THEY KNEW THAT PEOPLE WERE GOING TO USE
RECREATIONALLY, TAX IT, REGULATE IT AND USE IT.
AND I DON’T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. BY BEING ABLE TO REGULATE, YOU
COULD KEEP IT AWAY FROM, WELL, DO YOUR BEST, TO KEEP IT AWAY
FROM MINORS, TO BE ABLE TO REDUCE THE BLACK MARKET. WE NEED TO REDUCE OUR
INCARCERATION RATE AWAY FROM MARIJUANA POSSESSION.>>I AGREE. I’M GOING TO CROSS OVER INTO
YOUR KULEANA ON THIS TAX THING. I WITNESSED WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
INDIVIDUALS USE SUBSTANCE THAT’S REINFORCING AND CAUSES
EUPHORIA. I CAN’T HELP BUT THINK THAT
THERE’S AN ILLOGICAL SITUATION WITH REGARD TO
GOVERNMENTS WHO RECEIVE TAX MONEY FROM ALCOHOL FROM
NICOTINE OTHER SUBSTANCES. PROGRESSIVELY DEPENDENT ON
THAT TAX MONEY. WHEN THE TAX MONEY BEGINS TO
GET PULLED AWAY, THEN ACTION GETS TAKEN TO —
>>TOBACCO — MY OWN MEDICAL SCHOOL. ESPECIALLY IN STATES THAT DO
NOT FUND THEIR EDUCATION SYSTEM WITH POVERTY TAXES. LIKE OURS. LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT THE
UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES OF BECOMING RELIANT ON THAT
SORT TAXATION BASE.>>IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THE
GOLDEN EGG FROM THE GOOSE, BUT IT’S GOING TO BE OF USE. I DON’T NECESSARILY THINK
THAT WHATEVER TAX REVENUE MIGHT COME FROM THE SALE OF
ADULT USE CANNABIS SHOULD BE EARMARKED FOR A SPECIAL
PURPOSE. THAT’S REALLY UP TO THE
LEGISLATURE ON A YEAR TO YEAR BASIS.>>Lara: LITTLE CHALLENGE FOR
YOU. FROM A VIEWER. CALLER SAYING, 8 YEARS AGO,
HAWAI’I COUNTY PASSED BALLOT MEASURE MAKING CRIMINALIZING
MARIJUANA A LOW PRIORITY. PUNA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST
CRIME RATES IN THE STATE. CONNECTIONS.>>THAT’S NOT — IN TERMS OF
YOU’RE QUESTIONS.>>WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT? PUNA IS LIKE THE MOST
AFFORDABLE DISTRICT IN THE STATE. FOR A REASON. SO WE HAVE ONE OF THE LOWEST
MEDIAN INCOME IN THE STATE. WE HAVE HIGHEST POVERTY LEVEL
IN THE STATE. WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT
CRIME, YOU’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT VIOLENT CRIME. YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT PROPERTY
CRIME. YES, WE DO HAVE ICE PROBLEM IN
PUNA. WE DO HAVE A POVERTY PROBLEM
IN PUNA. BUT YOU’RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT
AREAS OTHER DISTRICTS LIKE WAIANAE, WITH A POVERTY
PROBLEM. WHICH USUALLY I HATE TO SAY,
ALSO HAS A CRIME PROBLEM. BUT REALITY IS, IN THE LAST
FEW YEARS, IF YOU TALK TO HPD, OUR CRIME STATISTICS HAVE
ACTUALLY GONE DOWN. SO IS THAT, IS THERE A
CORRELATION? I DON’T THINK SO.>>Lara: I THINK THIS GOES BACK
TO THE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH AND CHALLENGES IN DEFINING THE
IMPACT OR NOT IMPACT OF CANNABIS, MARIJUANA USE, AND
THE VERY GOOD POINT THAT YOU MADE. WHEN PEOPLE SAY, WELL, YOU CAN
TEST AND PUT BENCHMARKS FOR ALCOHOL. WHY NOT FOR MARIJUANA? LITTLE BIT APPLES AND ORANGES
HERE TRYING TO MAKE THOSE TYPE OF MEDICAL DISTINCTIONS AND
LINES IN THE SAND, I GUESS.>>THIS IS REALLY COMPLEX, THE
FACT THAT WE CAN’T ALL SOLVE IT HERE TONIGHT IS NOT THE
SIGN OF OUR — SO SORRY. BUT EXAMPLE. WHOLE BUSINESS AS A
CORRELATION BETWEEN CANNABIS, ELEVATING CANNABIS
USE AND WATCHING IT DECREASE IN OPIOID USE, DOES THAT MEAN
SOMEHOW OR ANOTHER, THE ONE TREATS THE OTHER. NOT NECESSARILY. ANY MORE THAN THERE’S
NECESSARILY A CORRELATION BETWEEN THE POVERTY LEVEL AND
THE USAGE OF CANNABIS IN PUNA. THIS IS, GOOD MANY YEARS AGO,
REMARKABLE MAN CHAIR OF PSYCHIATRY HERE USED TO
ASSIGN A REGULAR EXERCISE TO THE PSYCHIATRY RESIDENTS. OF LOOKING AT ONE OF SEVERAL
STATISTICAL ISSUES AND ONE WAS TO CORRELATE THE BIRTH
RATE IN GERMANY WITH THE POPULATION OF STORKS THERE. ONE TO ONE CORRELATION
PERSISTENT THROUGH TWO DECADES POPULATION OF STORKS
OR BIRTH RATE IN GERMANY. WHAT THE HECK IS HE TALKING
ABOUT? I THINK WE CAN BELIEVE 2019
THAT THE STORKS ARE NOT DIRECTLY IDEOLOGIC IN THE
CREATION OF BABIES IN GERMANY OR ANYTHING ELSE. INTERESTINGLY, A STRAIGHT
LINE CORRELATION THAT DOESN’T DEVIATE OVER MANY, MANY
YEARS. CAN CREATE A FALSE IMPRESSION
THAT THERE’S A CAUSATION BETWEEN THE TWO. THAT’S ALL I’M REALLY SAYING
YOU WANT TO BE CAREFUL BECAUSE SOMEBODY SEES NUMBERS GO UP IN
ONE CASE, DOWN IN ANOTHER. REFLECTION OF WATER BALLOON
PHENOMENON.>>I THINK — WITH KIND OF YOUR
LEADING QUESTION ABOUT HOW DETECT LEVEL IMPAIRMENT,
REALLY DIFFICULT. EVERYONE KNOWS IT. SO FOR THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY
TRANSPORTATION ADMINISTRATION, HAS
STATISTICS, HOW, WHEN THE COCKTAIL .15, MOMS GOT MAD. DOWN TO .12 AND .08. SEE IMPAIRED DRIVING LEVELS
DROP. COLORADO, MEDICAL MARIJUANA,
STARTED COMING UP. BEFORE LEGALIZATION COME ON,
WESTON UP A WHOLE LOT MORE. MAYBE IT’S JUST STORKS AND
BABIES WE DON’T KNOW. WE CAN’T HAVE OUR FINGERS
WHAT’S CAUSING IT. CORRELATION? CAUSATION? I THINK IF WE LEGALIZE IT,
BEFORE WE UNDERSTAND THAT, WE’RE GOING TO SEE MORE DEATHS
AND NATIONAL COMMISSION ON GOVERNORS, SAID 16% MORE
PEDESTRIAN DEATHS IN THE STATES THAT HAVE
LEGALIZATION. WHAT REALLY LENDS ITSELF TO
THOSE FIGURES IS THAT CANNABIS IS THAT SOLUBLE AND
STAYS IN YOUR SYSTEM FOR 28 DAYS. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT DRUNK
DRIVING, THERE ARE ROADSIDE IMPAIRMENT TESTS THAT CAN BE
EMPLOYED WITHOUT REFERENCE TO BIOLOGY.>>Lara: WHAT YOU’RE SAYING
ABOUT THAT, EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY NOT BE — ARGUMENT.>>EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE NOT
IMPAIRED, TRACES THAT YOU USE.>>Lara: — EXIT YOUR BODY A
LOT FASTER.>>CORRECT. WITH RESPECT TO LINKAGES
BETWEEN CANNABIS AND CRIME, YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE
IMPACTED BY MANY SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH,
INCLUDING SOCIOECONOMIC CHALLENGES, COMMUNITIES THAT
MAY BE POLICED A LOT. DIFFERENTLY THAN, SAY, PEOPLE
LIVING IN EAST HONOLULU. YOU HAVE, WHAT YOU HAVE RIGHT
NOW IS STILL THE SITUATION WHERE YOU HAVE THE
CRIMINALIZATION OF BEHAVIOR HEALTH ISSUES. LIKE MENTAL HEALTH, SUBSTANCE
USE. AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO ON BOTH
OF THOSE FRONTS IS MOVE AWAY FROM A CRIMINALIZATION MODEL
AND MOVE TOWARDS THERAPEUTIC MODEL OUTSIDE OF THE CRIMINAL
JUSTICE CONTEXT.>>Lara: I THINK THIS LEADS TO
THIS QUESTION MUCH YOUR QUESTION FROM WALTER. ONE USES RECREATIONAL
MARIJUANA AT NIGHT. HOW WILL COWORKERS KNOW IF
THAT PERSON IS STILL IMPAIRED WHEN THEY SHOW UP FOR WORK? KIND OF PART OF THE DISCUSSION
AS FAR AS SORT OF TRYING TO UNDERSTAND IMPAIRMENT FOR
LACK OF A BETTER WAY OF PUTTING IT. WITH MARIJUANA OR CANNABIS
USE. I STRUGGLE WITH THAT. IN WHERE, HOW TO GAUGE THAT. I WOULD THINK EMPLOYERS DO
TOO. ARGUMENTS FOR THE CANNABIS
INDUSTRY, IS, HEY, TAX US. BRING US. TAX US. WE’RE HAPPY TO SET UP SHOP. I JUST THINK IT’S KIND OF A
WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. HOW MANY BUSINESSES COME INTO
HAWAI’I AND SAY, LET ME SET UP SHOP. TAX ME. BUSINESSES THAT ARE COMING
INTO HAWAI’I OR ANY STATE ARE LOOKING FOR TAX CREDITS. LOOKING FOR TAX BREAKS. I JUST THINK THEY KNOW, IF
THEY HAVE A THE LOT MORE TO GAIN THAN LOSE IN THIS
PROPOSITION. IT’S A MONEY THING AGAIN. IF WE REMOVED MONEY FROM THE
LEGISLATURE, AND MAYBE MONEY FROM THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY,
WE WOULD MAYBE HAVE A DIFFERENT KIND OF
CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS. BUT IT’S SO TEMPTING ON BOTH
SIDES.>>WE HAVE A ECONOMIC SYSTEM
HERE THAT WOULD BENEFIT FROM INCREASED BUSINESSES,
BENEFIT FROM THE INCREASED JOBS FOR OUR KAMA’AINA,
BENEFIT FROM CAPITAL INVESTMENT THAT WOULD BE
FORTHCOMING, UNDER A SENSIBLE TAX AND REGULATE REGIME. RIGHT NOW, YOU HAVE —
>>Lara: THROW THIS UP, GRAPHIC, HAVING DO WITH MONEY
MADE IN COLORADO. BASED ON RECREATIONAL
MARIJUANA. COLLECTING $67 MILLION FROM
MEDICAL RETAIL CANNABIS. TAXES. AND FEES. FIRST YEAR. FIRST YEAR. 2014. AS YOU SEE ON THE GRAPHIC
THERE. AS OF LAST YEAR,
905 MILLION IN REVENUES AS OF 2018. THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE TO PUT
THE MONEY RIGHT NOW. LEND DOES THAT. WHEN YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT
WHAT THAT KIND OF MONEY CAN FUND. THAT’S TOUGH TO DISMISS THAT. WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEED,
OUT THERE FOR SO MANY THINGS. WE GET BACK TO THE ETHICAL
QUESTION OF HOW WE SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT THAT. I BELIEVE IN THE SOCIAL
JUSTICE AND REDUCING THE CRIMINALITY OF IT AND ALL OF
THAT. DO WE DO IT JUST BECAUSE
THERE’S MONEY IN IT? THERE IS MONEY IN COCAINE. WE COULD BE GROUND BREAKER. WE COULD SELL COCAINE AND HAVE
ALL KINDS OF MONEY. HOW FAR ARE WE GOING GO? IT’S ADDICTIVE. AND IT’S INTOXICATING AND
HURTS OUR KIDS. LOOKING AT, THERE’S A VAPING
BILL. RIGHT? FLAVORED VAPING BILL. WE HAVE SO MANY KIDS VAPING. CDC CALLS IT EPIDEMIC. AND 9% OF KIDS VAPING
MARIJUANA DERIVATIVES TOO. SENATE BILL, HAS VAPING
PRODUCTS IN IT AND EDIBLES IN IT ALSO. I CAN’T IMAGINE THAT WE’RE
THINKING ABOUT INTRODUCING VAPING MARIJUANA PRODUCTS
WHEN ANOTHER BILL SAYING, LET’S REDUCE THE FLAVORED
VAPING BECAUSE WE GOT TOO MANY KID VAPING IN OUR SCHOOLS CAN. ANY SYSTEM THAT COMES OUT OF
THE LEGISLATURE WILL NOT MAKE THOSE PRODUCTS AVAILABLE TO
CHILDREN. TO PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 21. ONE OF THE ADVANTAGES.>>OR 25.>>OR 25. WE’LL SEE WHERE THAT GOES. ONE OF ADVANTAGES OF THE LEGAL
MARKET IS THAT IT WILL SUPPLANT THE BLACK MARKET IF
IT IS NOT TAXED TOO MUCH, AND IF IT’S NOT REGULATED TOO
MUCH. THERE’S A BALANCING ACT HERE
THAT JOY AND HER COLLEAGUES IN THE LEGISLATURE REALLY NEED
TO PLAY AND WERE THAT MONEY IS SPENT FOR EDUCATION, OR
INCREASED TREATMENT, OR WHOLE VARIETY OF BUDGETARY
PRIORITIES, UP FOR JOY AND HER COLLEAGUES TO DECIDE.>>IT’S NOT JUST THE RAISING
OF THE MONEY. THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL
CONSIDERING MULTIPLE DISASTERS WE HAD IN 2018. AND BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS. BY THE COUNCIL OF REVENUES OF
THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE AS MUCH TAXES
AS WE WANT. IT’S NOT JUST THAT. IT’S ALSO HOPEFULLY WE ARE
SPENDING WHATEVER TAX MONIES WE HAVE SMARTLY. HOW WE ARE INCARCERATING
THOSE WHO ARE ACTUALLY VIOLENT AND NOT SHIPPING THEM
OFF TO ARIZONA.>>Lara: LET ME ASK YOU. WITHIN THAT BILL, IS THERE
MONEY FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH RELATED TO CANNABIS
USE?>>DECRIM BILL IS JUST
DECRIMINALIZATION.>>Lara: ANYTHING ELSE? FINISHER MY MEMORY.>>IDEA IS BY DECRIMINALIZING
THAT THE MARKET THEN WILL BE ABLE TO DO THE RESEARCH
NECESSARY. IN FACT, A LOT OF DISPENSARIES
ARE ACTUALLY DOING THEIR OWN RESEARCH TO BE ABLE TO MAKE
THE PRODUCTS SELLABLE AND BE ABLE TO TELL THEIR CLIENTS AND
THE CUSTOMERS WHAT KINDS OF CANNABIS AND —
>>Lara: WHAT DO YOU BY MAKING IT SELLABLE?>>NOT NECESSARILY SELLABLE,
EDUCATE THE KLEINS THAT COME IN, WHAT TYPE OF DERIVATIVES
AND TYPES OF CANNABIS THAT WILL BE GOOD FOR THEM. AND WHAT THEY ACCEPT. THAT’S WHERE THE RESEARCH
COME IN. IF WE’RE ABLE TO ACTUALLY
DESCHEDULE IT FEDERALLY, WE COULD HAVE THE UNIVERSITIES
BE ABLE TO DO THE RESEARCH. RIGHT NOW, THEY’RE NOT DOING
IT BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANTED FEDERAL — NOT ENTIRELY TRUE. I’M SORRY. I AGREE WITH YOU THAT IT’S
MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO DO RESEARCH WITH SCHEDULE 1
SUBSTANCES. BUT UNLIKE WHEN I FIRST
STARTED OUT, MEDICINE, IT WAS NEXT TO IP POSSIBLE TO GET A
DEA WAIVER IN ORDER TO PURSUE THAT LINE OF INQUIRY. ALMOST EVERYBODY IS ON THIS
NOW. PARTICULARLY THE TOBACCO
INDUSTRY WHICH SEES GREAT VALUE IN TURNING THEIR
PREVIOUS CROP SPACE OVER TO THE GROWING OF MARIJUANA. THERE’S A LOT OF INDUSTRY
MONEY BEHIND COMMERCIAL RESEARCH RIGHT NOW. IT MIGHT IMPROVE CLIEVMENT. THAT MUCH I MIGHT CONCEDE IN
TERMS OF RESEARCH.>>Lara: QUICK GRAPHICS WE
HAVE. REMINDING PEOPLE WHAT
MARIJUANA IS LUMPED INTO WITH THE GRAPHIC THERE BEHIND YOU. HEROIN, LSD, ECSTACY,
QUAALUDES AND MARIJUANA CONSIDERED SCHEDULE 1. ALL OF THESE.>>CAN WE DEFINE WHAT SCHEDULE
1 AND SCHEDULE 2. REST OF THE SCHEDULE IS.>>RIGHT. SCHEDULE 1 BASICALLY SAYS
THAT THERE IS NO CURRENTLY ACCEPTED MEDICAL USE FOR
SUBSTANCE AND THERE’S THERE’S A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE. ON BOTH OF THOSE PRONG,
CANNABIS CERTAINLY DOES NOT FIT IN. SO BY ITS OWN INTERNAL LOGIC,
IT DOES NOT BELONG IN THAT, DOESN’T BELONG IN THAT AT ALL. ALCOHOL. TOBACCO.>>WHAT IS SCHEDULE 2.>>GRADEATION.>>USEFULNESS. QUALITY.>>RIGHT. DESCRIPTION. COCAINE IS SCHEDULED 2.>>FENTANYL MIGHT BE SCHEDULE
2 OR 3. USE COCAINE FOR NASAL AND ORAL
ANESTHESIA.>>NOTICE THAT OF THAT LIST OF
DRUGS, CANNABIS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT’S ACTUALLY NOT A
SINGLE CHEMICAL. AGAIN WE GET BACK TO THE
VEGETABLE SUBSTANCE.>>Lara: I NEED TO GET TO THE
QUESTIONS. MIGHT FLOAT AROUND. MARIJUANA PALES IN PAIR SON TO
OPIOIDS. SHOULD LEGALIZE POT. COMMENT, JUMP IN. MARIJUANA IS A GATEKEEPER
DRUG. NOT A GATEWAY DRUG. BY THIS, I MEAN THE PLENTY OF
PEOPLE DON’T TRY OTHER SUBSTANCES BECAUSE OF IT. KIND OF LEADS TOWARDS YOU
LITTLE BIT HERE WITH ONE MOVER MORE QUESTION. FROM JOAN. OR COMMENT. IT WAS MENTIONED THAT
MARIJUANA CAN CAUSE PSYCHOSIS IN YOUTH. CAN IT HAVE OTHER EFFECTS ON
YOUTH. A LOT OF PEOPLE STRUGGLING
WITH THE MEDICAL IMPACTS OF THIS STILL. TO THIS DAY.>>I DON’T KNOW THAT I CAN
OFFER MORE OF A COMMENT THAN TO SAY ONE-PUKA-PUKA THIS
PARTICULAR SUBSTANCE IS OPPORTUNITY FOR BOTH
THERAPEUTIC ADVANTAGE AND THERAPEUTIC UNFORTUNATELY
UNDER SICKNESS. THERE ISN’T A SINGLE ONE OF
THE ME EDUCATIONS IN PSYCHOACTIVE ARMAMENT ARIAN
DOESN’T CARRY CERTAIN AMOUNT OF RISK IF IT’S GIVEN IN
EXCESS OR WRONG TIME. NOT TRYING TO WEASEL OUT FROM
RESPONSIBILITY SAYING WHETHER OR NOT — THE
QUESTION YOU WANT ANSWERED REALLY IS HOW DO YOU ASSURE
SAFE BEHAVIOR OR SAFE LIFESTYLE FOR THE POPULATION? WHAT WILL MOST CONTRIBUTE TO
THAT? THERE IS ACTUALLY A VERY
EXTENSIVE, IT’S 11 PAGE POLICY FROM THE AMERICAN
SOCIETY OF ADDICTION MEDICINE. DESCRIBES WHAT 6100
PHYSICIANS AND ADDICTION MEDICINE HAVE SIGNED ON FOR. BEHIND ASAM IN TERMS OF WHAT
IS ACCEPTABLE USE FOR WHAT THE ACCEPTABLE LIMITS ARE FOR
RESEARCH. MANAGEMENT OF CANNABIS.>>Lara: WHAT ARE COUPLE OF
NUGGETS THAT JUMP OUT.>>ONE IS SURPRISING LACK OF
ANTIPATHY TOWARDS THE DRUG ITSELF. NONE OF THIS PARTICULARLY
WOUND UP AROUND A GIVEN SUBSTANCE. IT’S NOT THE SUBSTANCE THAT IS
THE ILLNESS. ADDICTION IS AN ORGANIZATION
AS I SAY, ORDINANCE CERTAIN MEASURED CRITERIA. CAN OCCUR WITH A WHOLE VARIETY
OF SUBSTANCES. IN ESSENCE, THE DOCUMENT
SAYS, BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT NOT THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE
BATH WATER. AT THE SAME TIME, IT SAYS THAT
THE USAGE OF CANNABIS DERIVATIVES NEED SUBJECT FOR
METHODICAL RESEARCH, APPLICATION BY AND
ADMINISTRATION BY HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE BEEN
SPECIFICALLY TRAINED AND WHAT, I’M GOING TO BABBLE ON
HERE. WHAT THE RISKS ARE AND
APPROPRIATE DOSES ARE. LIKE ANY OTHER MEDICINAL.>>Lara: WHAT ARE YOUR
THOUGHTS AS FAR AS HOWEVER WE MOVE FORWARD WITH POSSIBLY
DECRIMINALIZING AND/OR AT SOME POINT POSSIBLY
LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, AS FAR AS THE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH
THAT SHOULD GO ALONG WITH THAT, WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN SO
FAR? DO YOU THINK IT’S ADEQUATE? DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE
MORE AS WE MOVE FORWARD? POSSIBLY IN THIS PARTICULAR
PATH? I MEAN, THERE ARE A COUPLE OF
QUESTIONS THAT I HAVE HERE THAT SORE OF I THINK
REFLECTION OF THIS. PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT,
NOT UNDERSTANDING HOW THIS MAY OR MAY NOT IMPAIR
INDIVIDUAL, WHETHER THERE’S A HEALTH JUSTIFIABLE HEALTH
BENEFIT OR NOT. YOU WERE SAYING IN LIGHT OF
INCREASED PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES IN HAWAI’I, DO WE
REALLY THINK LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA WILL
MAKE US SAFER. CAN’T SEE THE CONNECTION IN
THEIR MINDS BETWEEN MARIJUANA AND HIT AND RUN. LEGALIZED LIKELY TO SEE
INCREASE IN HIT AND RUN? TRANSGENDER IN KAKAAKO WAS
RESULT OF VODKA. FOUND VODKA IN THE CAR. AGAIN, COMPARED TO ALCOHOL
AND TOBACCO, CANNABIS JUST DOES NOT HAVE THE RISK PROFILE
PRESENTED BY THEM IN TERMS OF ILLNESS INJURY AND DEATH. BUT YEAH, MORE RESEARCH IS
ALWAYS NEEDED. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH. NOT RESEARCH FUNDED BY THE
INDUSTRY. NOT RESEARCH FUNDED
NECESSARILY BY GOVERNMENT THAT HAS HISTORICAL ANTIPATHY
TO IT. I’M SURE THERE’S FOUNDATION
AND GRANT MONEY OUT THERE THAT RESEARCHERS CAN USE IN THE
FUTURE.>>Lara: WHAT ARE YOUR
THOUGHTS?>>YOU WANT TO INVEST YOUR
MONEY TOWARDS A LONGTERM RETIREMENT, THE THING YOU
NEED TO BE LOOKING AT IS A PORTABLE DEVICE FOR
MEASUREMENTS OF SOMEBODY’S COMPETENCE IN TERMS REEF
RESPONDING TO AN URGENT SITUATION. THAT IS, WHAT YOUR REFLECTION
FUNCTION IT. REFLEX FUNCTION IS. A STRAIGHT LINE, IN ESSENCE,
BLACK BOX. SOMETHING IN ESSENCE MEASURES
QUICKLY YOUR PSYCHOMOTOR COMPETENCE FOR DRIVING, FOR
PERFORMING THE JOB, FOR RESPONDING TO THE EMPLOYER’S
ANXIETY ABOUT WHETHER YOU’RE GOING TO BE OPERATING A DRILL
PRESS WHILE YOU’RE DRUNK. ACTUALLY NOT THAT IMPORTANT
WHAT THE SUBSTANCE IS. WHAT’S IMPORTANT IS THE
OUTCOME. SOMEBODY BEHAVIORALLY AN
PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED? ONLY GOT A FEW MINUTES LEFT. MAKE SURE YOU ALL JUMP IN. I WANT TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT. AS FAR AS SOME POSSIBLE
SOLUTIONS GETTING CLOSER TO SOME SORT OF WAY TO MEASURE,
POTENTIAL IMPAIRMENT, THAT PEOPLE FEEL IS NOT ACCEPTABLE
IN SOME SHAPE OR FORM, ARE YOU SEEING SOME EXAMPLES IN OTHER
STATES WHERE THAT REALLY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED HERE OR
SOME, WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN OUT THERE? HAVE YOU SEEN SOME
POSSIBILITIES?>>NOBODY WANTS IMPAIRED
DRIVING. NOBODY WANTS IMPAIRED
DRIVING. WE HAVE, I HAVE LOOKED AT
COLORADO. I LOOKED AT CALIFORNIA TO FIND
WHETHER OR NOT THERE ARE THE KIND OF TESTS LIKE THEY HAVE
FOR ALCOHOL. BLOOD ALCOHOL TYPE OF TESTS. BUT BECAUSE CANNABIS IS FAT
SOLUBLE VERSUS WATER SOLUBLE, IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT TEST. ALL WE HAVE RIGHT NOW THAT IS
IN THE BOOKS IS BASICALLY THE KIND OF FIELD SOBRIETY TYPE
TESTS THAT PREVENTS IMPAIRED DRIVING. THE LAW IN THE BOOKS IS
ACTUALLY IMPAIRED DRIVING. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHETHER OR
NOT IT’S ALCOHOL OR DRUGS OR MEDICATION. THAT IS IMPAIRING YOUR
DRIVING.>>Lara: TALKING ABOUT
TRAINING HERE. AS FAR AS ANY TYPE OF
IMPAIRMENT, AND BEING ABLE TO HAVE SORT OF A BETTER GRASP ON
WHAT THAT IS. ALCOHOL OR SOMETHING ELSE.>>THERE ARE DRUG RECOGNITION
EXPERTS. THEY GO FOR THAT. IT IS CONCERNING I THINK, ON
THE FLIP SIDE. FOR THE POT SMOKERS. I’M THINKING, I KNOW READ OF
ONE IN MICHIGAN WHERE, COULD BE CANNABIS SMOKING I THINK
SHE WAS SMOKING POT. SHE GOT BUSTED AND I THINK SHE
HIT SOMEONE. MAYBE KILLED THEM. 24 HOURS AFTER SHE HAD SMOKED. HAD IT IN HER SYSTEM AND WAS
CONVICTED. IT WOULD BE REALLY CONCERNING
FOR ME IF I WAS A CANNABIS SMOKER TO THINK, I JUST GOT BE
CAREFUL BECAUSE EVEN IF I’M NOT HIGH ANY MORE. GOT IT IN MY SYSTEM. YOU WANT A GOOD SYSTEM FOR
RECOGNITION OF IMPAIRMENT. IF WE DON’T HAVE ONE, THERE’S
GOING TO BE INJUSTICES ON THAT SIDE TOO.>>Lara: WE HAVE JUST ABOUT A
COUPLE MINUTES LEFT. I WANT EACH OF YOU TO JUMP IN.
30 SECONDS OR SO. YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW YOU FEEL
WE SHOULD MOVE FORWARD. WHAT DO YOU FEEL, WITH
OFFENSIVELY THE DISCUSSIONS CIRCLING AROUND, SHOULD BE
THE WAY WE THAT WE MOVE FORWARD. MY ORGANIZATION AND I,
CLEARLY IN A POSITION THAT IT’S TIME TO DECRIMINALIZE OR
ALL AND INCLUDE SYSTEM OF TAXATION AND REGULATION FOR
ADULT USE CANNABIS. PROVIDE TREATMENT,
REGULATION. AND PROVIDE EVIDENCE BASED
DRUG PREVENTION AND EDUCATION FOR ALL AND PEOPLE OF ALL
AGES.>>Lara: LEGISLATIVE SESSION
KICKING IN.>>THAT’S CORRECT. WE HAVE THOSE TYPES OF BILLS
BECAUSE WE DO HAVE THIS NEW INFLUX OF FRESHMAN
LEGISLATORS AND TO TRY TO REGULATE TAX AND
DECRIMINALIZE AND IF IT DOESN’T PASS THIS SESSION. I EXPECT IT TO PASS SOME TIME
SOON.>>I EXPECT APPROACH TO BEING
PRAGMATIC. I THINK GOOD SOCIAL JUSTICE
ISSUES ABOUT THIS. DON’T WANT TO THROW PRISON IN
PRISON WHO SHOULDN’T BE IN PRISON. AT THE SAME TIME, UNLESS WE
HAVE THE PUBLIC SAFETY THING FIGURED OUT, OUR KIDS AND
HEALTH OF OUR FAMILIES PART FIGURED OUT, NO MATTER HOW
MUCH I KNOW, GO TO WEIGH OUT WHAT THE LIVES ARE VERSUS THE
MONEY THAT COMES IN. I THINK WE HAVE TO REALLY
FOCUS ON THE FAMILIES.>>Lara: SUCH A BIG DISCUSSION
SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL COMMUNITY.>>EARLIER, PART OF MY CAREER,
NOT PARTICULARLY WANTED, I WAS A MEDICAL DIRECTOR AT OCCC
BEFORE I EVER BECAME A SHRINK. STARTED SAYING PSYCHIATRIC
REASONS LIKE AMBIGUITY.>>Lara: 20 SECONDS.>>20 SECONDS? SO I ACTUALLY AM SYMPATHETIC
ABOUT THE MOTION OF NOT PUT PEOPLE IN PRISON. GREATER INTEREST IN PEOPLE IN
PRISON GETTING TREATED FOR RESPECTIVE ADDICTIONS. 40% OF THAT POPULATION.>>Lara: COMPLICATED
DISCUSSION. PLOOL FOR JOINING US TONIGHT. AND WE THANK OUR GUESTS –
NIKOS LEVERENZ – BOARD MEMBER OF THE DRUG POLICY FORUM OF
HAWAIʻI. STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOY SAN
BUENAVENTURA – SPONSOR OF ONE OF THE BILLS TO DECRIMINALIZE
MARIJUANA. GREG TJAPKES – EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF COALITION FOR A DRUG-FREE HAWAIʻI
AND DR. WILLIAM
HANING – PHYSICIAN AND EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF
PSYCHIATRY AT THE UH JOHN A. BURNS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE. NEXT WEEK ON
INSIGHTS — SHOULD DOGS BE ALLOWED IN RESTAURANTS? I’M LARA YAMADA FOR INSIGHTS
ON PBS HAWAIʻI – A HUI HOU!

4 thoughts on “INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I: Recreational Marijuana | Program”

  • There are only two kinds of people that oppose the legalization of cannabis the ones that are ignorant on the subject and the ones that make money off of it being illegal.

  • What it comes down to is the alcohol and big pharma industry is going to lose too much money if people can grow their own cannabis…. It is used for medicine and for recreation and large corporations don’t want to lose that money, they have the lobbyists in their pockets and so it is law. Pretty unreal that you can die for your country at 17 with parental consent but you can’t grow a flower in your garden, dry it, and put it in cookies or smoke/vape it without being told it’s ok by our government. It’s time for a change in our country, time do get these huge companies/governments out of our daily lives! It’s none of their damn business! It has been proven in legal markets that legal cannabis doesn’t increase risk to youth, but that the number actually has fallen… Look at how easy it is for kids to get alcohol and tobacco, which is far worse for them and addictive as u can get but companies only see green$$$ plain and simple, IT IS ABOUT LOST PROFITS!

  • psychosis

    POSTED MARCH 07, 2011, 11:03 AM , UPDATED NOVEMBER 30, 2011, 2:28 PM

    Ann MacDonald
    Contributor, Harvard Health

    Teenagers and young adults who use marijuana may be messing with their heads in ways they don’t intend.
    Evidence is mounting that regular marijuana use increases the chance that a teenager will develop psychosis, a pattern of unusual thoughts or perceptions, such as believing the television is transmitting secret messages. It also increases the risk of developing schizophrenia, a disabling brain disorder that not only causes psychosis, but also problems concentrating and loss of emotional expression.
    In one recent study that followed nearly 2,000 teenagers as they became young adults, young people who smoked marijuana at least five times were twice as likely to have developed psychosis over the next 10 years as those who didn’t smoke pot.
    Another new paper concluded that early marijuana use could actually hasten the onset of psychosis by three years. Those most at risk are youths who already have a mother, father, or sibling with schizophrenia or some other psychotic disorder.
    Young people with a parent or sibling affected by psychosis have a roughly one in 10 chance of developing the condition themselves—even if they never smoke pot. Regular marijuana use, however, doubles their risk—to a one in five chance of becoming psychotic.
    In comparison, youths in families unaffected by psychosis have a 7 in 1,000 chance of developing it. If they smoke pot regularly, the risk doubles, to 14 in 1,000.
    For years, now, experts have been sounding the alarm about a possible link between marijuana use and psychosis. One of the best-known studies followed nearly 50,000 young Swedish soldiers for 15 years. Those who had smoked marijuana at least once were more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those who had never smoked pot. The heaviest users (who said they used marijuana more than 50 times) were six times as likely to develop schizophrenia as the nonsmokers.
    So far, this research shows only an association between smoking pot and developing psychosis or schizophrenia later on. That’s not the same thing as saying that marijuana causes psychosis.
    This is how research works. Years ago, scientists first noted an association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Only later were they able to figure out exactly how cigarette smoke damaged the lungs and other parts of the body, causing cancer and other diseases.
    The research on marijuana and the brain is at a much earlier stage. We do know that THC, one of the active compounds in marijuana, stimulates the brain and triggers other chemical reactions that contribute to the drug’s psychological and physical effects.
    But it’s not clear how marijuana use might lead to psychosis. One theory is that marijuana may interfere with normal brain development during the teenage years and young adulthood.
    The teenage brain is still a work in progress. Between the teen years and the mid-20s, areas of the brain responsible for judgment and problem solving are still making connections with the emotional centers of the brain. Smoking marijuana may derail this process and so increase a young person’s vulnerability to psychotic thinking. (You can read more about how the adolescent brain develops in this article from the Harvard Mental Health Letter.)
    While the research on marijuana and the mind has not yet connected all the dots, these new studies provide one more reason to caution young people against using marijuana—especially if they have a family member affected by schizophrenia or some other psychotic disorder. Although it may be a tough concept to explain to a teenager, the reward of a short-time high isn’t worth the long-term risk of psychosis or a disabling disorder like schizophrenia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *