Three members of Ohio NORML attended each of three Regional Marijuana Summits sponsored by Drug Free Action Alliance, the Butler County Coalition for Healthy, Safe and Drug-Free Communities, the Community Awareness and Prevention Association (CAPA), and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio (ADAPAO).
These regional summits featured a Keynote Presentation by Dr. Kevin Sabet, Director, Drug Policy Institute and Assistant Professor, University of Florida College of Medicine, Division of Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.
February 27, 2013 in Franklin County, Ohio (by invitation only for SPCA and ADAPAO members as part of Legislative Education Day - seating is limited)
February 28, 2013 in Butler County, Ohio – Rob Ryan
The sound bite I used at the meeting went something like this "Marijuana the Blunt truth? Are we are going to learn the truth why the government defines marijuana as a schedule 1 drug that is deadly, addictive, and with no medical use?" That caught people's attention.
It was interesting to have some members of the county's Alcohol/Drug board come over and welcome me. They said they were glad I was there. Last year I gave a presentation to the group and about 1/3 actually came out and said we should just legalize marijuana. There is quite a divide in that group
between the Prevention and Treatment members. I provided a couple copies of some of the Drug War Facts books that I brought with me to those board members. There were a few that was outright hostile to me after learning that I was their opposition. You can't win them all, but it is valuable to turn "Hell No" to a quiet "no".
There were no audience questions allowed during the presentation, just pre-selected questions submitted during the registration process. None of my questions were asked (not really a surprise). I did get to talk to the various panel members during the break, and Sabet at the end. He is slick, but not perfect. In his presentation he made a rather interesting omission about scheduling. He only covered two of the three elements of schedule one definition. I asked him about the third test (safe use) and he tried to say
only the addictive nature and no medical use are important, but I pressed back with the facts and stressed that safety of use was a factor and used my sound bite above. He wanted to change the subject. Eventually he was taken away by one of the organizers.
March 1, 2013 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio – Cher Neufer, John Wilbur
Cher – This Regional Summit had break-out sessions after the three main speakers, Kevin Sabet, Tony Coder (Assistant Director, Drug Free Action Alliance), and some lady whose name I did not get. Sabet spoke a lot about how medicine needs to go through the FDA testing process and that marijuana is not worth the cost of doing so, and that there are no sound scientific studies that support the medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States. He also spoke about how other states with medical marijuana have dispensaries that sell it to anyone, they are like head shops, and get robbed because they are cash only businesses. Since there were no questions allowed until the end of the break-out sessions, I could not bring up the problem of the banks not allowing medical marijuana businesses to have bank accounts. He also spoke of a British study showing that using cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, and that legalization would open the door to marketing to children like the tobacco industry did for years. And, of course, the study that found those who used cannabis heavily in their teens showed a permanent drop in IQ of 8 points. Of course, this is ignoring the fact that marijuana should be legalized for adult use to lessen the ability for teens to get it.
He then went on to tear apart the two initiatives that have been introduced in Ohio. I think one of his best quotes is, “Businesses that require pre-employment drug tests will find a smaller pool of potential hires.” More rhetoric was expounded upon regarding marijuana use costing tax payers more money in societal costs such as accidents and lost productivity, etc, etc.
I attended the “Law Enforcement & Medicinal Marijuana” breakout session. Speakers were John Wright, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Licensing & Regulation Division, State of Michigan and Commander John Burke, Warren County, Ohio Drug Task Force. I was able to ask about the FDA and re-scheduling and how testing in the United States is not allowed. The answers were always that the FDA has final determination on downscheduling and that it costs millions of dollars which the FDA does not think it is worth it. Also, they said that the NIH does testing from the government facility, the University of Mississippi, that grows cannabis for this purpose. I responded that no clinical trials of cannabis as a treatment for disease in the U.S. have been done. They responded that there are currently some clinical trials being done and admitted that getting approval is difficult.
John – It was painful to listen to this load of crap all the while having to bite your tongue. The third male speaker seemed to think that his futile attempt at using this venue for his comedy routine was actually funny.
On another note, since I was following the Michigan issue closely for the last few years I was one of the few that was actually prepared to challenge the ADA of Michigan handling the legal issues that were associated with his
department since the law passed. So after the break out session was over, I had a simple question. "You have received monies from permits, licenses among other revenues that were raised to support the legalization, you made 6 million dollars, what did you do with the money?" At first he stumbled and said that he personally did not have it, then the police Commander from Cincinnati chimed in after I indicated that the original presenter
said that these programs did not product revenue, so that fact is that it was simply not true. They DID NOT have an answer other than saying that the money is being used for the next round of permit expenses. What? With
all of these organization begging for money it just sits there? He said yes....Ask Cher about it, it good to make those ass clowns squirm.