California Props passed and not passed with short commentary on why some passages are bad. Here is a quick reference of my recommends (left column) and what passed (right column):
Proposition 51: NO
Proposition 51: YES
MAROON Yeses or Noes indicate opposite of my voting guide, GREEN matches up with it. (I will included the original recommendations by the three people in my post):
PROP 51 – YES
This will be more money borrowed (with interest) even though our state is dead broke. Spending money on schools does not fix any problems, in fact, the schools districts that spend the most money per pupil in the nation get the lowest returns in education being passed on to them.
- (J&K) Let’s stop spending money we don’t have huh? How about we try that for once? NO
- (GOP) $9 Billion general obligation bond to fund school construction projects. The Measure is sponsored by the Building Industry Association and supported by the California Republican Party. This will not result in a tax increase. YES
- (Prager) Schools Bonds – NO. More money (borrowed, with interest) won’t fix the problem.
PROP 52 – YES
- (J&K) It looks like a tax money shell game involving Medi-Cal, but there are federal matching funds involved so let’s keep it. YES
- (GOP) Uses existing hospital fees paid to the state to fund Medi-Cal, uninsured patients and children health care. Saves State from spending for this purpose. YES
- (Prager) Medi-Cal Fee Program – YES. Very complicated, but yes vote will ensure Feds continue to share in cost of medical care for illegal immigrants (which they allow in) and other non-payers who overtax our health care facilities.
PROP 53 – NO
This was a simple reroute to the California legislature spending tax-payer monies on useless projects. It returned some control to the voters when our state legislature wanted to spend 2-billion in bonds.
- (J&K) This gives back the power to the people to approve state-revenue bond measures. California voters would get to vote on any large scale project that costed more than $2 billion (High Speed Fail anyone?) YES
- (GOP) Requires statewide voter approval on any state revenue bond projects exceeding $2 Billion. Only involves State bond issues, not local governments. YES
- (Prager) Voter approval for large bond offerings – YES. Sacramento needs as much supervision as possible.
PROP 54 – YES
- (J&K) Again, time to keep the crooks in Sacramento responsible! Vote yes to make any bill that the legislature wants to pass, available online for the public to review for at least 72 hours before the Legislature can pass it. The Legislature would also be required to ensure that its public meetings are recorded and make those videos available on the internet. YES
- (GOP) Requires any bill to be printed and published online for 72 hours before the legislature can vote on it. Requires legislature to record and post video of all legislative proceedings other than closed session proceedings. YES
- (Prager) Legislation Transparency – YES. Contrary to Nancy Pelosi’s recommendation on ObamaCare, give the people a chance to find out what is in bills the legislature wants to pass before our lawmakers vote.
PROP 55 – YES
Simply put, a temporary tax should be just that… temporary. You give money to politicians and they hate-hate-hate having their source of laissez faire incomes taken away.
- (J&K) A no vote on this would allow the ‘temporary’ income tax increase passed in 2012 to expire in 2018 as it was designed to. Let’s make sure that ‘temporary’ still means something in Sacramento. NO, NO, NO!
- (GOP) Extends the temporary personal income tax imposed by Proposition 30 in 2012 by an additional 12 years. Money to be used for K-12 schools and for healthcare programs. NO
- (Prager) Tax Extension – NO. More money for politicians to waste.
PROP 56 – YES
This will bring the total state tax on cigarettes to $2.87 per pack of cigarettes. Federal income tax is $1.01, bringing per pack total taxes to 3.88 per pack. This will increase the black market sales from other states. Remember, Eric Garner was choked to death for selling loosies, single cigerettes, that were sold at a lower cost to the consumer brought in from New Jersey which had lower tax rates. (Actually, Garner suffered a heart-attack… but assuming the liberal narrative, you are increasing the chances of more “Eric Garner’s” in California.)
- (J&K) A no vote on this would allow the ‘temporary’ income tax increase passed in 2012 to expire in 2018 as it was designed to. Let’s make sure that ‘temporary’ still means something in Sacramento. NO, NO, NO!
- (GOP) Would increase the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack. Funding goes to healthcare and tobacco use prevention programs. Supported by Tom Steyer. Benefits insurance companies and special interests. NO
- (Prager) Tax Extension – NO. More money for politicians to waste.
PROP 57 – YES
This is a horrible, horrible proposition for the voters of California to pass. In reality, the policies that catch and release person’s onto our streets led directly to the deaths of Placer County Deputy Michael David Davis Jr. and Sacramento County Deputy Danny Oliver – died at the hands of President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown. And a local Sheriff was shot and killed due to Gov. Brown’s first realignment bill 47, which this double downs on:
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris was interviewed by Los Angeles radio station KNX-AM before a memorial service for his friend, Sgt. Steven Owen, who was shot while answering a burglary call on Oct. 5. Trenton Trevon Lovell, on parole for an armed robbery conviction, has been charged with murder.
Brown signed the realignment bill in 2011 in response to federal judges’ orders to thin overcrowded state prisons. It was aimed at reducing the number of lower-level offenders and parole violators who cycled through state prisons by instead having county officials handle their punishment.
Westrup noted Lovell’s armed robbery conviction in 2009 came before Brown signed the bill, which stipulated no inmates currently in state prison would be released early, and all felons convicted of serious or violent offenses would continue going to state prison.
Lovell has been on parole since 2014, when he was freed from prison after serving roughly five years of a six-year sentence for robbing a university community safety officer at gunpoint.
Prior to realignment, Lovell could have gone back to prison as a parole violator after pleading no contest to driving under the influence earlier this year. Instead he served 13 days in jail and was placed on three years’ probation….
Californians are idiots!
- (J&K) We’ve already seen the fallout from prison realignment and proposition 47, this is just Jerry Brown doubling down on that. 57 would allow early release for violent criminals, including those who rape unconscious victims. NO, NO, NO!
- (GOP) Gives prisoners convicted of nonviolent felonies to be given early release. Sponsored by Gov. Brown. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Criminal Sentences and Parole – NO. Not interested in coddling criminals or releasing them from prison early.
PROP 58 – YES
Really? Progressive Democrats are all about “E Pluribus Pluribus,” not “E Pluribus Unum.” English is an important step for other cultures to assimilate. But by creating two languages and all the vitriol of American ideals taught in tax payer funded education, we will become less-and-less a melting pot. The conservative ideal. The liberal ideal is segregation. But this makes people “feel good” deep down.
- (J&K) Prop 58 wouldn’t do much to modernize how we teach English to students. It would be pointless to try and change it. Immigrant kids are learning English faster than ever and record numbers of immigrant students are being admitted to California universities. NO
- (GOP) In 1998 California voters approved an initiative requiring that children be taught English in our schools unless parents disagreed. This measure would modify that initiative and allow children to be taught in other languages. This measure from 1998 has resulted in children learning English at a much faster rate than in a bilingual environment. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Multilingual Education – NO. Terrible idea. We voted this failed practice out in the ‘90s with Prop. 227. This would put it back in place.
PROP 59 – YES
Citizens United was about freedom of speech. Californians, as we see, hate this concept. The concept is simple, and these four short videos by Libertarians and Conservatives explain well the issue. And it makes clear that Californian’s want to band books and movies:
- (J&K) They’re trying to overturn Citizen’s United at the state level, the problem is, they can’t! The proposition even says this for Yes voters. All the measure says is that voters are asking elected officials to seek increased regulation of campaign spending and contributions. No specifics are offered. No suggestions on how they could effectively limit spending. It does nothing at all. NO
- (GOP) Asks voters to decide if there should be a federal Constitutional Amendment to overturn the ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC. This Proposition has no real effect other than sending a message to Congress. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Political Spending – NO. It’s called free speech.
PROP 60 – NO
- (J&K) Do you want to see the adult film industry chased out of California? Do you really care if there are condoms in adult films? NO
- (GOP) Requires the use of condoms for adult films. This proposition is opposed by both the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. It is proposed by a special interest group. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Condoms for Adult Movie “Actors” – NO. They’re adults, and they have chosen to work in an adult industry where they know their risks. Let them make their own decisions.
PROP 61 – NO
Just a “quick” note on this even though my guide agreed with the outcome. In all areas where price controls are injected, whether in minimum wage, medicines, rent, or the like…. costs go up and services diminish. Here is Thomas Sowell explaining the situation:
…The same misconception of costs runs through the much more serious issue of the prices of medicine and government regulation of those prices. When a pill whose ingredients cost a quarter is sold for two dollars, that is an open invitation to demagogues to begin loudly denouncing the pharmaceutical drug company’s “obscene” and “unconscionable” profits at the expense of the sick. But the people who are doing this are counting only the five minutes and ignoring the 20 years.
The physical ingredients of the medicine are its cheapest ingredients. The ingredient that costs millions of dollars — sometimes hundreds of millions — is the knowledge gained from years of research, and trial and error, which finally results in the creation of a new medicine. That is what the price of the pills has to cover, if we expect investors to continue to pour vast sums of money into drug companies that are trying to discover new cures for such diseases as cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s.
Other companies, manufacturing generic equivalents, pay only the costs of the physical ingredients, having copied the enormously expensive formula free of charge — legitimately after the patent has expired and not so legitimately in other countries, where patent laws are not taken as seriously as in the United States. The company that simply uses someone else’s formula free of charge can sell the same pill for 35 cents and still make a profit.
Somebody has to pay the high costs of discovery or the development of new drugs will be slower and therefore more people will needlessly suffer and die. While allowing patent laws to be over-ridden by politicians allows some people to buy the drug at low prices, based on the low current costs of manufacturing the medicine, that just leaves the far greater overhead costs of creating these medicines to be paid by others.
Worst of all, it leaves the even higher costs of needless pain, suffering and premature death to be paid by those whose relief is delayed by policies like these, which slow down the development of new medicines to cure their afflictions.
The United States has been one of the few countries resisting political pressures to impose price controls on pharmaceutical drugs, or to water down the patent laws which allow the original discoverer of new drugs to have a monopoly for a fixed number of years, so as to recover the costs of discovery before other companies get to use their formula free of charge.
The United States also produces a wholly disproportionate share of all the new life-saving drugs in the world. But politicians ignore this connection. Other countries have scientists capable of developing new medicines, but the economics and politics of the situation discourage companies in those countries from making the huge investments made by American pharmaceutical companies under American patent law….
Here is an excerpt as well from a post of mine geared at FOOD INC:
R & D Costs for “Big Pharma”
This comes via ChEMBL-og:
Came across a link on Google+ to a post to a Forbes article (via Greg Landrum) and thought I would post a link here. It’s a simple economic analysis of the costs of Large Pharma drug discovery. Very simple, money in vs. drugs out. There is however a lot of complexity behind the numbers, for example – quite a few of the drugs will have been licensed in, the transaction costs for these in-licensing events have probably been factored in, but what about all the other burnt capital in the biotech companies that supplied the in-licensed compounds – this will inflate the numbers further. Of course the majority of these costs are incurred on the failed projects, the wrong targets, the wrong compounds, or the wrong trials.
To put the AstraZeneca number of $11.8 billion per drug in some national context (equivalent to £7.5 billion) – this is almost 17 years of the entire BBRSC budget (£445 million in 2011), or only two drugs from the entire investment portfolio of the mighty assets of the Wellcome Trust (~£14 billion in 2011) – that’s right, not two drugs from their annual research budget, but two drugs by shutting down the investment fund and putting it all into drug discovery and development (at Astra Zeneca ROI levels).
(An updated Forbes article is HERE)
- (J&K) It’s a limited price control attempt on some drug purchases. It could lead many other drug costs to increase. NO
- (GOP) Establishes pricing standards for state prescription drug purchases. The proposition would increase drug costs to veterans, would result in a new bureaucracy costing taxpayers millions. Was written by an individual who stands to benefit financially if it passes. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Pricing on Prescription Drugs – NO. More government meddling will only raise costs.
Proposition 62 – NO
- (J&K) This gets a bit confusing as there are two death penalty initiatives on the ballot this year. This one wants to repeal the the death penalty entirely. The Death Penalty might not be used that often in California, but we shouldn’t get rid of it. Repealing the Death Penalty means allowing brutal killers to live the rest of their lives on the taxpayer’s dime. NO, NO, NO!
- (GOP) Repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to prisoners already sentenced to the death penalty. Opposed by most law enforcement agencies. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Repeal Death Penalty – NO. We should strengthen the death penalty.
Proposition 63 – YES
- (J&K) A Gavin Newsom special. If we can’t stop the guns, let’s stop the bullets. Crazy. NO
- (GOP) Requires a background check to purchase ammunition and bans large-capacity ammunition magazines. Requires ammunition purchases be reported to the Department of Justice. This proposition is opposed by the law enforcement community. Sponsored by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Register and Undergo a Background Check to Buy Ammo – NO. We don’t need more gun control. All this measure will do is make ammunition sales/purchases hard and more costly for lawful dealers/gun owners while creating a black market in ammo for those who can’t pass a background check. It won’t stop a single criminal from getting bullets.
PROP 64 – YES
Here are some reasons why this is bad. Remember, the governor of Colorado recommended California wait a bit to do this right. Of course the children in our state that wants gratification NOW could not.
This is an excerpt from the article Prager was reading from, entitled, “THE BRAVE NEW WEED.”
…One problem is that legalization and celebrity glamorization have removed any social stigma from pot and it is now ubiquitous. Minors can get pot as easily a six pack. Since 2011 marijuana consumption among youth rose by 9.5% in Colorado and 3.2% in Washington even as it dropped 2.2% nationwide. The Denver Post reports that a “disproportionate share” of marijuana businesses are in low-income and minority communities. Many resemble candy stores with lollipops, gummy bears and brownies loaded with marijuana’s active ingredient known as THC.
The science of how THC affects young minds is still evolving. However, studies have shown that pot use during adolescence can shave off several IQ points and increase the risk for schizophrenic breaks. One in six kids who try the drug will become addicted, a higher rate than for alcohol. Pot today is six times more potent than 30 years ago, so it’s easier to get hooked and high.
Employers have also reported having a harder time finding workers who pass drug tests. Positive workplace drug tests for marijuana have increased 178% nationwide since 2012. The construction company GE Johnson says it is recruiting construction workers from other states because it can’t find enough in Colorado to pass a drug test.
Honest legalizers admitted that these social costs might increase but said they’d be offset by fewer arrests and lower law enforcement costs. Yet arrests of black and Hispanic youth in Colorado for pot-related offenses have soared 58% and 29%, respectively, while falling 8% for whites.
The share of pot-related traffic deaths has roughly doubled in Washington and increased by a third in Colorado since legalization, and in the Centennial State pot is now involved in more than one of five traffic fatalities. Calls to poison control for overdoses have jumped 108% in Colorado and 68% in Washington since 2012.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has said that “criminals are still selling on the black market,” in part because state taxes make legal marijuana pricier than on the street. Drug cartels have moved to grow marijuana in the states or have switched to trafficking in more profitable drugs like heroin.
One irony is that a Big Pot industry is developing even as tobacco smokers are increasingly ostracized. The Arcview Group projects that the pot market could triple over four years to $22 billion. Pot retailers aren’t supposed to market specifically to kids, though they can still advertise on the radio or TV during, say, a college football game. Tobacco companies have been prohibited from advertising on TV since 1971.
The legalization movement is backed by the likes of George Soros and Napster co-founder Sean Parker, and this year they are vastly outspending opponents. No wonder U.S. support for legalizing marijuana has increased to 57% from 32% a decade ago, according to the Pew Research Center….
Here is some more information from a post of mine detailing the changes to the brain marijuana has even within moderate use. Mind you, this next section is long, but if one takes their time… you will see that the typical arguments that it is safer than alcohol fall to the wayside of the evidence:
LOTS OF INFO!
- (Above) Michael Medved touched on Lady Gaga’s (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) astute and candid admissions about her addiction to marijuana. In this revealing discussion, she weaves a tale that has led her to a sober (more sober?) life. I give her props and pray she is not part of “Club Twenty-Seven.” More importantly, I hope she finds the Life Medved mentions (as I wish for Michael as well).
…Both subtle and acute changes in emotional and intellectual development occur in young marijuana users because the arc of their brain’s structural development becomes recalibrated by marijuana use. Brain researchers documented in 2008 how chronic marijuana use starting in adolescence significantly decreases the size of two brain areas thick in cannabinoid receptors—the amygdala by 7 percent and the hippocampus by 12 percent….
….The study found that using marijuana regularly before age eighteen resulted in an average IQ of six to eight fewer points at age thirty-eight relative to those who did not use marijuana before age eighteen. This astounding finding was still true for those teens who used marijuana regularly but stopped using the drug after the age of eighteen…..
For example, a 2007 review in Lancet compared results from thirty-five studies evaluating the impact of marijuana use on the later development of psychosis, which was defined as delusions, hallucinations, or thought disorders….
(Kevin Sabet — see below)
See my previous large post in which this accentuates: “Even Casual Marijuana Use Shows Significant Brain Change“
In “Reefer Sanity“, Dr. Kevin Sabet considers the consequences of marijuana legalization. He uses a plethora of research — drawn from his almost two decades of work and policymaking in this area — to argue that the United States should not legalize marijuana with all of its attendant social costs, nor damage the future of marijuana smokers by prosecuting and jailing them. Rather, he contends we should shift our emphasis to education about the newly revealed health dangers of marijuana use, as well as focus on intervention and treatment. In short, he argues for trying these evidence-based reforms first.
(Via The Foundry) Marijuana legalization poses a significant health risk to America’s youth—and many parents have no clue about the consequences, says a former Obama administration drug policy adviser.
“Today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of the ‘60s, ‘70s or ‘80s. It’s five to 15 times stronger,” Kevin Sabet said in an exclusive interview with The Foundry. “I think a lot of Baby Boomers’ experience with pot—a couple of times in the dorm room—they don’t correspond to what kids are experiencing today.”
Sabet, a former senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, wrote the book “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana” to shed light on the marijuana legalization movement.
He pointed to Colorado, which has operated with de-facto legalization for five years, as a case study. By 2011, Denver had more medical marijuana shops than Starbucks or McDonalds.
The state has more kids using marijuana, he said, resulting in more kids in treatment and higher rate of car crashes. There have even been two deaths tied to marijuana use, including one involving domestic violence.
“Legalization in practice is a lot scarier than legalization in theory,” Sabet said. “It means a pot shop in your backyard, mass advertising and commercialization and greater health harms.”
In the book, Sabet takes on the myth that marijuana isn’t addictive. He said one in six kids who try marijuana will become addicted—the same as alcohol. That’s because young people are vulnerable than adults.
“There are more kids in treatment for marijuana today than all other drugs, including alcohol, combined,” Sabet said.
This is an excerpt from Kevin Sabat’s book, Reefer Sanity — I excluded his references to the studies, I suggest purchasing the book as it is very readable (especially if you are parents):
THE “DUMBING DOWN” DRUG GROWS STRONGER
How marijuana became such a public health concern starts with the economic pressures felt by the drug’s growers to increase the potency of marijuana in order to raise prices—and therefore prof-its—from its sale. By constantly experimenting with breeding practices and cultivation techniques over several decades, producers and growers steadily made progress in greatly elevating the levels of THC (the psychoactive ingredient) found in the oily resin of the marijuana plant’s leaves and flowers.
At the University of Mississippi, a potency-monitoring project has been under way for the past few decades, measuring the concentration of THC in thousands of marijuana samples randomly selected from law-enforcement seizures. Since 1983, when THC concentrations averaged below 4 percent, potency has intensified until it now exceeds an average of 10 percent. Many marijuana samples are in the 10-20 percent range. Some marijuana samples show THC concentrations exceeding 30 percent. If we were talking about alcohol, this increase in intoxication potential would be like going from drinking a “lite” beer a day to consuming a dozen shots of vodka.
One obvious direct result of this intensified marijuana potency has been an even greater corresponding escalation in emergency room admissions for marijuana-related reactions. The nationwide total went from an estimated 16,251 emergency room visits in the United States related to marijuana use in 1991, to exceeding 374,000 emergency room admissions in 2008—a nearly twenty-five-fold increase in just seventeen years.
Interestingly, the number of users of marijuana stayed about the same during this period—suggesting that the increase in ER visits did not have to do simply with increased numbers of users. These reactions ranged from anxiety and panic attacks, paranoia, and psychotic symptoms, to respiratory and cardiovascular distress. An analysis of two large national surveys of marijuana addiction found that “more adults in the United States had a marijuana use disorder in 2001-2002 than in 1991-1992,” with the highest rates among young black men and women, and young Hispanic men, even though use rates were the same for the two ranges of years studied.
Today’s typical marijuana sample contains up to five-hundred chemical constituents. About seventy of these chemicals are known as cannabinoids, and one of them—THC—is psychoactive.
Human brains contain a system of cannabinoid receptors, sort of like a bleacher full of open baseball mitts available to receive pitched baseballs in the form of cannabinoid molecules. The highest concentration of these receptors is in those parts of the brain that affect thinking, memory, concentration, sensory and time perception, and the coordination of body movements.
Once these brain receptors have been triggered by marijuana’s cannabinoids, which effectively begin to mimic and then hijack some brain neurotransmitters, the resulting intoxication distorts the brain’s natural chemical balance and produces distortions in thinking, problem-solving, memory, and learning, along with impaired coordination and perceptual abilities.
MORE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR KIDS
As children’s brain development is disrupted by chronic marijuana use, their risk for dependency accelerates. And given the ever-increasing potency, marijuana becomes an expensive public health hazard with long-lasting effects.
We can measure the impact on life development from marijuana use and its alterations of brain function in several different ways. Research shows that adolescents who smoke marijuana every weekend over a two-year period are nearly six times more likely to drop out of school than nonsmokers, more than three times less likely to enter college than nonsmokers, and more than four times less likely to earn a college degree. We don’t know whether marijuana causes adolescents to drop out of school or not, but given marijuana’s effect on learning and motivation, it is safe to say that marijuana use very likely has something to do with it.
Stunted emotional development is also strongly associated with adolescent marijuana use. Females show a greater vulnerability than males to this heightened risk of anxiety attacks and depression.
A 2002 study in the British Medical Journal, for instance, described how researchers in Australia studied 1,601 students aged fourteen to fifteen over a seven-year period; 60 percent had used marijuana by twenty years of age. The conclusions reached by the authors should give all parents cause for concern. They wrote: “Daily use in young women was associated with an over fivefold increase in the odds of reporting a state of depression and anxiety…weekly or more frequent cannabis use in teenagers predicted an approximately twofold increase in risk for later depression and anxiety.”
In order to assess a young person’s ability to perceive, understand, and manage their emotions while under the influence of marijuana, a team of researchers in 2006 used a sophisticated mood-testing scale to measure emotional responses in 133 college students (114 women and 19 men) with an average age of twenty-one years. Those who had started consuming marijuana at earlier ages were found to have an impaired ability to experience normal emotional responses.
Both subtle and acute changes in emotional and intellectual development occur in young marijuana users because the arc of their brain’s structural development becomes recalibrated by marijuana use. Brain researchers documented in 2008 how chronic marijuana use starting in adolescence significantly decreases the size of two brain areas thick in cannabinoid receptors—the amygdala by 7 percent and the hippocampus by 12 percent. One result was that young chronic marijuana users performed much worse than nonusers on verbal learning tests. Heavy marijuana use “exerts harmful effects on brain tissue and mental health,” the authors concluded in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2008.
Memory impairment poses a serious consequence of chronic or long-term use of marijuana, and these effects can be experienced long after marijuana use is suspended. Three studies in particular make a compelling case that the “dumbing down” effect of marijuana use extends to memory skills.
Difficulties in verbal story memory, along with impairments in learning and working memory for up to six weeks after cessation of marijuana use, were found in a review of studies published in Current Drug Abuse Reviews in 2008. These studies were of both adolescent humans and animals. Though adolescents were more adversely affected by heavy use than adults, adults who began using marijuana in adolescence “showed greater [memory] dysfunction than those who began use later.”
Another 2008 review of the medical literature determined that the evidence points overwhelmingly to “impaired encoding, storage, manipulation, and retrieval mechanisms [in the brains] of longterm or heavy cannabis users.”
One of the pioneering studies on marijuana use and memory appeared in a 2002 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association and helped to set in motion a series of subsequent studies. Nine Australian researchers compared the attention, memory, problem-solving, and verbal-reasoning skills among four groups of individuals: 102 near-daily marijuana users, 51 long-term marijuana users, 51 short-term users, and 33 nonusers who made up the control group. The conclusion: “Long-term heavy cannabis users show impairments in memory and attention that endure beyond the period of intoxication and worsen with increasing years of regular cannabis use.”
But the granddaddy of marijuana and learning studies came out in 2012. and astounded even the most cautious researchers. Scientists, controlling for factors like years of education, schizophrenia, and the use of alcohol or other drugs, followed a cohort of over one thousand people for more than twenty-five years to investigate the effect of cannabis use on IQ. The study found that using marijuana regularly before age eighteen resulted in an average IQ of six to eight fewer points at age thirty-eight relative to those who did not use marijuana before age eighteen. This astounding finding was still true for those teens who used marijuana regularly but stopped using the drug after the age of eighteen. “Our hypothesis is that we see this IQ decline in adolescence because the adolescent brain is still developing, and if you introduce cannabis, it might interrupt these critical developmental processes,” said lead author Madeline Meier, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University.
“I think this is the cleanest study I’ve ever read” exploring the long-term effects of marijuana use, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an arm of the National Institutes of Health, told the Associated Press.
The study was criticized in a paper by economist Dr. Ole Rogeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research. Dr. Rogeberg criticized Meier and her team for failing to control for socio-economic status (SES). The paper received wide media coverage. Policy analyst Wayne Hall said that the “Rogeberg study has been presented as though it was a fairly definitive refutation of the Dunedin study [but] his hypothesis has not been confirmed and that’s been lost in the media coverage.”
When Meier and her colleagues had a chance to reexamine their results, their original conclusion was unchanged. They noted that:
“Dr. Rogeberg’s ideas are interesting, but his challenge is based on simulations. We used actual data on 1,037 people to carry out the analyses he suggested. His ideas are not supported by our data….By restricting our analysis to only include children from middle-class homes, our findings of IQ decline in adolescent-onset cannabis users remain unaltered, thereby suggesting that the decline in IQ cannot be attributed to socioeconomic factors alone….Moreover, we note that our results suggesting that adolescent-onset but not adult-onset cannabis users showing IQ decline is consistent with findings in rats, and rats have no schooling or SES.”
A MENTAL ILLNESS LINK
About fifteen years ago, the floodgates started to open on medical research establishing a connection between marijuana use and mental illness. A lot of this research comes from countries outside the United States, such as Sweden, Britain, and New Zealand.
The first strong suggestion that marijuana use can trigger mental problems came in a 1987 study from Sweden published in the British medical journal. Lancet. Researchers did a fifteen-year examination of 45,570 military conscripts and found that those who had used marijuana on more than fifty occasions had a much higher risk—six times higher—of developing schizophrenia relative to nonusers. “Persistence of the association after allowance for other psychiatric illness and social background indicated that cannabis is an independent risk factor for schizophrenia,” concluded the four medical researchers.
Subsequently, evidence from a wide array of studies began to pile up, showing that the more chronic the marijuana use and the earlier in life that marijuana use begins, the greater one’s chances are of developing psychosis typified by delusional thinking and of experiencing the onset of schizophrenia, characterized by a breakdown in thought processes.
To assess the overall findings of these mental health studies from around the world, several systematic reviews of this literature have been performed to weigh the sum total of evidence. For example, a 2007 review in Lancet compared results from thirty-five studies evaluating the impact of marijuana use on the later development of psychosis, which was defined as delusions, hallucinations, or thought disorders. They concluded that marijuana use significantly increased the likelihood of developing psychotic symptoms. There was also a dose-response effect, meaning that the more frequently marijuana was consumed, the more dramatically the risk of developing psychotic symptoms escalated (up to 200 percent for the most frequent users relative to nonusers). The survey authors concluded: “The evidence is consistent with the view that cannabis increases [the] risk of psychotic outcomes.”
An even larger systematic review of studies—called a meta-analysis—was conducted by Australian researchers in 2011, for the Archives of General Psychiatry, using eighty-three studies to assess the impact of marijuana use on the early onset of psychotic illness. The findings were clear and consistent: “The results of meta-analysis provide evidence for a relationship between cannabis use and earlier onset of psychotic illness…. [The] results suggest the need for renewed warnings about the potentially harmful effects of cannabis.”
Another link between marijuana and psychotic symptoms surfaced in research published by a team of eight psychiatrists and researchers in Psychological Medicine in 2010. They discovered that “childhood trauma is associated with both substance [cannabis] misuse and risk for psychosis.” These early childhood traumatizing events can range from physical abuse and sexual molestation, to neglect and abandonment. Psychiatric interviews were initiated with 211 adolescents between the ages of twelve and fifteen to identify both their levels of pot use and any early traumatic events in their lives. The researchers concluded that “the presence of both childhood trauma and early cannabis use significantly increased the risk for psychotic symptoms beyond the risk posed by either risk factor alone, indicating that there was a greater than additive interaction between childhood trauma and cannabis use.”
Still another factor potentially impacting the marijuana and psychosis link is genetic. Several Canadian physicians writing in a 2012 article for Psychiatric Times analyzed the role of certain genes, such as the COMT (Catechol-O-methyltransferase) gene, which have been the subject of numerous studies of psychosis. This particular gene is involved with the metabolism of dopamine in the brain. A variant of this gene slows the breakdown of dopamine which may increase the risk of developing psychosis. Add to this gene variant the use of marijuana, and an even greater risk of psychotic symptoms is observed.
Even if adolescents or teenagers using marijuana don’t become dependent—and the majority don’t—their brains are still modified by the use of marijuana. It’s this modification of brain structure and function that is at the root of mental health problems later in life. As the California Society of Addiction Medicine aptly puts it on their website: “The overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence provides adequate rationale for public policies that deter, delay and detect child and adolescent marijuana use.”
Kevin A. Sabet, Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana (New York, NY: Beaufort Books, 2013), 34-36, 39-46.
Here is an older update to the post dated 11-11-2014 ~ via The Blaze ~ (I know, ironic):
…The study compared 48 people who used marijuana an average of three times a day and 62 non-users. The researchers found a lower IQ in those who smoked the drug as well as a smaller orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain associated with addiction and decision making.
They did see more brain connectivity in those who smoked weed, but it wasn’t necessarily a positive thing.
“The results suggest increases in connectivity, both structural and functional that may be compensating for gray matter losses. Eventually, however, the structural connectivity or ‘wiring’ of the brain starts degrading with prolonged marijuana use,” Dr. Sina Aslan, founder and president of the company Advance MRI and a professor at the university, said.
This increased connectivity for a short period of time might be why smokers “seem to be doing fine,” while another part of their brain was reduced, Filbey said.
Filbey acknowledged that this study doesn’t “conclusively address whether any or all of the brain changes are a direct consequence of marijuana use,” but she said “these effects do suggest that these changes are related to age of onset and duration of use.”
Watch this report about the study:
…Since 1996, 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved “medical marijuana” laws, whereby people who obtain a prescription from a doctor can legally use or purchase marijuana. As in Colorado, many of these supposed medical regimes are degenerating into legalization by another name. Oregon, for example: At the end of 2012, it was home to 56,531 medical-marijuana patients. The majority of these 56,000-plus permissions were approved by only nine doctors. One doctor—an 80-year-old retired heart surgeon in Yakima—approved 4,180 medical-marijuana applications in a span of 12 months. Only 4 percent of Oregon’s medical-marijuana patients, as of the end of 2012, suffered from cancer. Only 1 percent were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The large majority, 57 percent, cited unspecified “pain” as the ailment for which treatment was sought. Yet none of the nine doctors who wrote the majority of the marijuana prescriptions was a pain specialist.
Fewer than 2 percent of California card holders have HIV, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, or cancer: One survey found that the typical California medical-marijuana patient was a healthy 32-year-old man with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Here, too, some doctors are signing thousands of recommendations after only the scantiest examination—or none at all. An NBC news investigator in Los Angeles visited one dispensary, was examined by a man who later proved to be an acupuncturist and massage therapist, and then received a prescription signed by a doctor who lived 67 miles away….
UPDATE via The Daily Mail:
The terrible truth about cannabis: British expert’s devastating 20-year study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless
- One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent
- It doubles risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
- Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
- Driving after smoking cannabis doubles risk of having a car crash
- Study’s author said: ‘If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin’
- Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
- One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs
- Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby’s birth weight.
A definitive 20-year study into the effects of long-term cannabis use has demolished the argument that the drug is safe.
Cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found.
Last night Professor Hall, a professor of addiction policy at King’s College London, dismissed the views of those who say that cannabis is harmless.
‘If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol,’ he said.
‘It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through withdrawal than for heroin – we just don’t know how to do it.’
Those who try to stop taking cannabis often suffer anxiety, insomnia, appetite disturbance and depression, he found. Even after treatment, less than half can stay off the drug for six months.
The paper states that teenagers and young adults are now as likely to take cannabis as they are to smoke cigarettes.
Professor Hall writes that it is impossible to take a fatal overdose of cannabis, making it less dangerous at first glance than heroin or cocaine. He also states that taking the drug while pregnant can reduce the weight of a baby, and long-term use raises the risk of cancer, bronchitis and heart attack.
But his main finding is that regular use, especially among teenagers, leads to long-term mental health problems and addiction.
‘The important point I am trying to make is that people can get into difficulties with cannabis use, particularly if they get into daily use over a longer period,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that heavy users experience a withdrawal syndrome as with alcohol and heroin.
‘Rates of recovery from cannabis dependence among those seeking treatment are similar to those for alcohol.’
Mark Winstanley, of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: ‘Too often cannabis is wrongly seen as a safe drug, but as this review shows, there is a clear link with psychosis and schizophrenia, especially for teenagers.
‘The common view that smoking cannabis is nothing to get worked up about needs to be challenged more effectively. Instead of classifying and re-classifying, government time and money would be much better spent on educating young people about how smoking cannabis is essentially playing a very real game of Russian roulette with your mental health.’
For a 150+ studies showing brain damage and other serious health links caused by marijuana use, see Popular Technology Net
Just some more of my posts on or related to the matter — for the curious:
- (J&K) It’s inevitable. People want to smoke weed legally? Fine. Whatever. Don’t bother us with the smoke and we’re all good. It’s about time to legalize it anyway, and California may as well get all that sweet sweet revenue from taxing the devil’s lettuce. So vote yes and toke up Cheech! YES
- (GOP) Legalizes marijuana. Imposes a 15% excise tax on retail sales of marijuana. A marijuana legalization initiative was on the ballot in 2010 but was defeated by voters. Would allow marijuana ads on TV. This proposition is designed to benefit special interests in the marijuana business. NO
- (Dennis Prager) Legalize Marijuana – NO. Dangerous in every respect. States like Colorado and Oregon where recreational use has been made legal are seeing big problems.
PROP 65 – NO
- (J&K) So the money either goes to the grocery companies or to the state for vague environmental projects. Just vote NO on Prop 67 and kill the whole thing. NO
- (GOP) Redirects money collected by grocery and other retail stores for carry-out bags to a special fund managed by the Wildlife Conservation Board to support environmental projects. NO
- (Dennis Prager) 65 — Proceeds from Grocery Bag Sales – This is very confusing, but here’s how it seems to work out best: NO on 65 65 hands those fees over to environmental groups. We don’t want that. We want to keep the money out of the hands of leftist environmentalists.
PROP 66 – YES
- (J&K) The second of two initiatives on the death penalty, A Yes vote on this measure would reform the death penalty appeal system. Nowadays, an inmate sentenced to death could spend years wading through appeals. Proposition 66 would speed this up, and help bring closure to victims’ families and justice to brutal murderers. No brainer here. YES, YES, YES!
- (GOP) Shortens the time for legal appeals to a death penalty conviction. Requires habeas corpus petitions be held in trial courts instead of the State Supreme Court. YES
- (Dennis Prager) Shorten time for Death Penalty Appeals Process – YES. Long overdue.
PROP 67 – YES
(From REASON FOUNDATION) Opponents of Prop 67 argue that it is a $300 million per year hidden tax increase on California consumers. They will be forced to pay at least 10 cents for every single use bag they get at checkout at stores, and none of that money goes to the state or the environment. Instead Prop 67 allows the stores to keep that money in their profits. A plastic bag ban should not be used as an excuse to profit from charging consumers for bags they used to get without charge.
- (J&K) Bag litter is minimal, kill the bag ban! NO, NO, NO!
- (GOP) A referendum to overturn the plastic bag ban passed by the Legislature. The language here is tricky. If you want to overturn the ban on plastic bags, vote No. A yes vote retains the ban on plastic bags. A No vote would allow stores to once again provide single-purpose plastic carry-out bags. NO
- (Dennis Prager) YES on 67. 67 leaves paper bag fees with retailers who are forced to buy them.