Alleged cannabis links to psychosis busted

Neurologist Holly Elser, MD, PhD; and Keith Humphreys, PhD; Mathew V. Kiang, ScD; Swapnil Mehta, MD; Jong H. Yoon, MD; William O. Faustman, PhD; at the Department of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, have debunked prohibitionist propositions familiar to many readers here at Drug WarRant which implied that smoking marijuana leads to or causes schizophrenia:

Question: Is state cannabis legalization or commercialization associated with increased rates of psychosis-related health care claims?

Exposure: State cannabis legalization policies were measured for each state and month based on law type (medical or recreational) and degree of commercialization (presence or absence of retail outlets). […]

Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcomes were rates of psychosis-related diagnoses and prescribed antipsychotics. […]

Conclusions and Relevance: In this retrospective cohort study of commercial and Medicare Advantage claims data, state medical and recreational cannabis policies were not associated with a statistically significant increase in rates of psychosis-related health outcomes. […]

Findings: In this cohort study of claims data from 63,680,589 beneficiaries from 2003 to 2017, there was no statistically significant difference in the rates of psychosis-related diagnoses or prescribed antipsychotics in states with medical or recreational cannabis policies compared with states with no such policy. […]

Meaning: The findings of this study do not support an association between state policies legalizing cannabis and psychosis-related outcomes […]

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Rohnert Park cop charged in marijuana theft

A few California police officers are undergoing withdrawal-like symptoms from the drug war due to being denied any opportunity to enforce a failed crusade against cannabis:

…a grand jury added four new criminal counts against Joseph Huffaker, including impersonating a federal officer and falsifying records in a federal investigation.

Prosecutors say Huffaker and at least one other officer posed as ATF agents during traffic stops where they illegally seized weed from drivers on the side of the highway and later falsified records to cover up the corruption.

“It’s been a long time, five years ago this month,” said Zeke Flatten [a former Texas cop], who says Huffaker and a yet unidentified second individual robbed him of three pounds of marijuana in December 2017 while impersonating ATF agents during a traffic stop along Highway 101. “I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied that they’re being held accountable.” […]

Prior to legalization, the police could steal part or all of a suspect’s marijuana supply simply by seizing it and making certain it never reached an evidence storage locker. No complaints about lost or misplaced evidence were likely to emerge from the accused. Times change, and in this case, drug enforcement crooks need to accept that weed is legal in California.

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I really thought I was done hearing that name

Remember John Walters? Yeah. We talked about him a lot here back in the day when he was the drug czar.

Well, he resurfaced on my Twitter with this response to cannabis legalization in New York.

The excellent Steve Rolles hit back and drew out even more nonsense from the old czar.

Still the same old John Walters.

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No one deserves jail for having a psychedelic experience

The City of Berkeley wants to decriminalize tripping:

A project to decriminalize natural psychedelics that lingered for three years in the Berkeley City Council will come back to life in a few weeks. But unlike other jurisdictions that have taken steps to chip away at the national and state ban on psychedelics, Berkeley is about to consider an even broader proposal: one that could make it the first in the U.S. to decriminalize LSD.

Of the 15 U.S. cities that have softened restrictions on psychedelics, none has included this synthetic hallucinogen. Berkeley Community Health Commissioners Joseph Holcomb Adams and Karma Smart explained that the logic for decriminalizing LSD is that it meets the technical definition of psychedelics. And in their view, said Smart, “nobody deserves to go to jail for having a psychedelic experience.” […]

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Guy who wants to be in office has ideas about drugs

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Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

A new study coming out of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health confirms Pink Floyd’s iconic suggestion from Another Brick in the Wall that inflicting totalitarianism onto kids will have an equal and opposite social reaction:

In new research in the journal Addictive Behaviors, public health researchers find that the prevalence of school discipline and school policing—core elements of the school-to-prison pipeline—predict subsequent school-average levels of substance use and developmental risk.

First author Seth Prins, PhD, a researcher at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and co-authors analyzed 11 years of data from 4,800 schools and more than 4,950,000 students in California. They found that the prevalence of exclusionary school discipline (suspension and expulsion) and school-based police contact predicted higher school levels of binge drinking, drinking, smoking, using cannabis, using other drugs, and violence/harassment. They found also that the prevalence of school discipline also predicted lower levels of reported community support, feeling safe in school, and school support.

“Our findings are surprising to nobody who has been on the front lines of the fight against the mass criminalization of kids, especially in communities that have faced systematic disinvestment in social infrastructure and enormous investments in policing,” says Prins, an assistant professor of epidemiology and sociomedical sciences. […]

Did anyone else suspect kids would use drugs in rebellious retaliation to the repressive antics of crazed morality police? Many public school systems apparently didn’t.

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It’s about time…

The White House:

Today, President Biden pardoned all prior federal and D.C. offenses of simple marijuana possession.

@POTUS also called on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses.

Additionally, @POTUS asked @SecBecerra and the Attorney General to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Marijuana is currently classified at the same level as heroin – and above fentanyl.

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A new home for Radley Balko

It’s no secret that this site has been a big fan of the exceptionally important work done by investigative journalist Radley Balko.

It’s very sad to hear this:

So after nine years, I’m being let go by the Washington Post. This is disappointing but not surprising. In recent years, the Opinion leadership has made it increasingly difficult to do the reporting & in-depth analysis I was hired to do — in favor of short, hot takes.

Over the last year, it’s become clear that my short, hot takes aren’t particularly welcome either. My last day is Dec 1.

It’s a deflating way to end a dream job. But I’m proud of the journalism I’ve published in the last decade, including reporting that has brought real change.

So today, I’m launching my Substack, The Watch. For now, this will be my primary source of income and the primary way I fund my journalism.

If you support my work, I hope you’ll subscribe, and I hope you’ll spread the word. Thanks!

One more thing:

My first big story will post in a few days. It’s a two-year investigation into a horrific wrongful conviction in Arkansas.

Stay tuned.

The Watch, by Radley Balko

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Devastating raids

Over the years, I’ve seen some real atrocities in the news regarding the damage done by law enforcement in the course of a raid — a flashbang thrown into a crib with a baby in it, doors ripped off and furniture destroyed, dogs killed, and even entire houses burned down.

But none of that prepared me for this latest outrage…

They didn’t even remove their shoes!

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Governor DeSantis practices medicine without a license

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants his state to control the quantities of medicinal marijuana sold to individual consumers.

With the high cost of cannabis, patients usually titrate their dosages to adjust for the various potencies of the product and their own health requirements. However, a new emergency rule implements Florida’s statute section 381.986(4)(f) and sets a 35-day, 2.5-ounce possession limit on smokable marijuana, while a 70-day limit of 24,500 milligrams (0.864212 ounce) of THC was set on vapor or edible products. Patients must find a doctor to apply for an exemption if they need more than the legal maximums.

Delays in processing the applications are inevitable. The rule also poses many problems for elderly retirees who will not be covered for medicinal marijuana by Medicare or their health insurance and who might wish to save money on healthcare costs by growing their own. No actual, arbitrary or capricious explanation appears to have been offered for how or why the stipulated quantities of cannabis were chosen. Floridians should know by now that what’s easy for their state doesn’t always make it convenient for the individual. Why not just round up the 70-day limit on processed THC from 0.864212 ounce to 1.0 ounce to make it easier to remember?

Unfortunately, Governor DeSantis is known for treading heavily in medical fields where he doesn’t belong. Like in 2021 when he resisted imposing face mask mandates or vaccination requirements such as providing proof of vaccinations to businesses, restaurants, schools, colleges, cruise ships, government and healthcare facilities. His professional career began as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) in the Navy (2004 – 2010), where as a commissioned officer, he conducted prosecutions at Guantanamo. It will be interesting to see how Ron DeSantis’s Guantanamo-style doctoring plays out should he end up running for president in 2024 or beyond.

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