Mobilizing Michigan: Protecting our Kids from Marijuana
by Tim Beck,
On April 29, (2013) I had the dubious pleasure of walking into an invitation only conference sponsored by the "Chippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and Families" (CVCYF) and the "Macomb County Office of Substance Abuse." Entitled "Mobilizing Michigan: Protecting our Kids from Marijuana," VIP program guests included Congressman Sander Levin, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Addictionologist Adam Shammai DO, and Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman-Oster from the University of Detroit Mercy. Approximately 100 persons were in attendence.
The CVCYF press release headline was "There's a lot of talk about marijuana these days, but there's little said about the dangers of marijuana use by youth. Lets start the conversation."
While the public face of the gathering seemed to be the laudable goal of discouraging teen marijuana use, in reality, it was the kick off of a statewide effort by federally funded anti drug groups to stop any changes for the better in state wide cannabis laws.
"Teens are confused by about whether marijuana is safe or even beneficial because Michigan voters legalized the drug for medical purposes and other states have legalized it for recreational use," proclaimed CVCYF Director Charlene McGunn, prior to the opening speech by Congressman Levin, a long time foe of efforts to change state and federal marijuana laws.
"The stakes are so high," Ms. McGunn continued. "We need to inject our message into the political dialogue, to the churches, letters to the editor and social media."
Later in the program, a map of Michigan was unveiled, segmenting the state into various regions, for organizing purposes, under the auspices of the "Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America" (CADCA). CADCA groups get federal grants to educate the public about the dangers of drug abuse. They are not supposed to be directly involved in politics. However, as long as they walk the fine line of "educating" the public on the dangers of drugs like marijuana, they got quite a bit of room to maneuver.
After words of encouragement to the audience to keep pressing the fight, Congressman Levin announced his bill to get more federal funding for the national CADCA program.
From that point on, various speakers denounced marijuana use, touting junk science studies proclaiming marijuana as a gateway drug, with linkages to schizophrenia, cancer, depression, suicide, addiction, lower IQ, traffic deaths, loss of impulse control, weight gain, paranoia, panic attacks, weakened immune systems...
"This is not political science, this is real science," asserted CADCA national director Arthur Dean in a video message to the audience.
What I found most interesting however, were the informal conversations going on during lulls in the program and over lunch.
Specifically, once I got in the door, I sat at an empty table not wishing to have any interaction with the other participants. That did not last long. I was soon joined by two Macomb County District Court judges, an "addiction specialist" from Beaumont Hospital and two political activist/social workers. I did very little talking but lots of listening. Bottom line, these folks are scared by how rapidly the local and national political picture is changing with regards to cannabis.
They lamented legalization in Colorado and Washington State and the passage of local decrim initiatives across Michigan. They were alarmed by Rep. Jeff Irwin's bill to decriminalize cannabis statewide, and the bi-partisan support it has gleaned.
"I heard there were over 2,000 people protesting in Lansing for legalized marijuana," said one of the judges. "Even top level elected officials are supporting it now," echoed the addiction specialist, "we have to do something, the Michigan Department of Education needs to get on board."
In the end game however, it may be too late for these folks.
When I used my real name in order register for the event and said my organization was the "Coalition for a Safer Detroit" there was no response. A few hours later I got a voice mail saying sorry, "we are all booked up." When I showed up anyway as a "parent" who needed to learn more, because my teenage daughter was "hanging out with a bad crowd and maybe using marijuana" I got VIP treatment. Sure enough there were at least two dozen empty places.
As far as the attendees were concerned, about twenty participants were drug free teens from local high schools. Another dozen or so were uniformed law enforcement personnel. The rest were an amalgamation of Macomb County politicians trolling for votes, social workers, confused parents, employees of drug treatment facilities and CADCA officials on tax payer provided salaries. Some seemed confused and concerned as to their mission in life.
About the Author: Tim Beck is Chairman of the Coalition for a Safer Michigan.
Related links -
STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN SAYS MARIJUANA DANGEROUS FOR KIDS
| Leaders of substance-abuse prevention groups launched a statewide campaign to warn young people about marijuana at a meeting Monday in Clinton Township kicked off by U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.
Teens are confused about whether marijuana is safe or even beneficial because Michigan voters legalized the drug for medical use in 2008 and other states have approved it for recreational use, said Charlene McGunn, executive director of the Chippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and Families.
As more youths use the drug, "we're going to have a generation of kids underperforming in school and underperforming in life," McGunn said.
Source, visit - STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN SAYS MARIJUANA DANGEROUS FOR KIDS
New effort targets marijuana abuse among youth -
by U.S. Rep. Sander Levin
Mobilizing Michigan is not about targeting medical marijuana, Levin says. (Noah Berger / Associated Press)
| We all know that a coalition of community leaders can have a vital impact when we get together, identify a problem and work together to solve it. This week, community anti-drug coalitions launched another important phase in their effort to do just that.
Since the start of the Drug Free Communities program in 1997 ó which I was proud to co-author with now-U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio ó more than 2,000 communities have received grants through the program and eight years of evaluation have demonstrated that youth substance abuse is down in those communities.
Read more >> from The Detroit News: here <<
More on the Drug War Cartel
| Save Our Society from Drugs, a Florida-based nonprofit founded by Mel and Betty Sembler, has given Smart Colorado contributions totaling $151,497 through September, according to *The Nation*'s review of state finance disclosures.
That's 95 percent of the money raised by the group so far.
The Semblers have been waging a war on marijuana for decades. And where do they get the money for this?
Before they led Save Our Society from Drugs, and its sister nonprofit, the Drug Free America Foundation, the Semblers were at the helm of STRAIGHT, Inc., which operated drug abuse treatment centers, mostly for teenagers, from 1976 through 1993. Former clients of the rehab center recount episodes of brutal beatings, rape and systematic psychological abuse.
Read more >> here <<
I might add, the Semblers were heavy duty financial backers of Mitt Romney.
They also owned a chain of "group homes" some years ago for young persons who went astray on "drugs" and other delinquent activities. The schools were located in places like Mexico and Costa Rica so they could "discipline" the young people in ways that are illegal in the USA.
Some of the shit they did at these institutions like sleep deprivation, various forms of corporal punishment etc. seemed like a prelude to Abu Gharib (sp)--- the infamous prison used by the US Army in Iraq after the second Iraq war began in 2003 to deal with enemies of the USA etc.
In a message dated 3/12/2013 9:01:33 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, "Christeen" writes:
They seem to be located in FL.
A COPY OF THE OFFICAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. REGISTRATION # CH12913 EXP: August 22, 2010. From their website.
From: Paul Armentano [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
To: NORML Affiliates
Subject: [affiliates] Re: Check out this propaganda by SOSFD
Itís Betty and Mel Sembler.
On 3/12/13 5:22 PM, "Carl" wrote:
Clearly the war is far from over. It would be very interesting to know who is the big money behind this organization.
From: Save Our Society From Drugs (SOSFD)
Subject: Urge Congress to Seek Answers from Attorney General Holder
Urge Congress to Seek Answers from Attorney General Holder
Enforce Federal Drug Laws! - Take Action!
On Election Day, voters in the states of Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives legalizing the possession, cultivation and retail sale of marijuana. Legalizing marijuana puts Colorado and Washington in direct conflict with federal law. Keeping marijuana illegal is a U.S. treaty obligation under the 1961 International Convention on Narcotic Drugs and supported by the two other Conventions: the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Drugs and the 1988 Anti-Trafficking Convention.
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