Here is a list of organizations that can provide more information and/or educational resources.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services

The State of Colorado

  • Colorado’s marijuana homepage with information on several topics, including legal use, medical use, and health effects
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website for retail marijuana public health information on education and youth prevention
  • Colorado Department of Education’s website with information on marijuana’s effects on students and schools

SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

  • SAM is a bipartisan, non-profit “alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy.”  The link above, is to SAM’s website for factsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and other informational resources for the public regarding marijuana

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

  • This site provides resources on how to discuss drugs with kids; how to find treatment for people who are worried their kids may be using drugs; and educational materials for parents, teachers, and kids.

Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth (CADFY)

  • CADFY is “a non-profit organization working in collaboration with other agencies and organizations to bring parents, youth, schools, and communities together to reduce substance abuse through the application of successful prevention strategies and programs.” The link above is to CADFY’s website for prevention resources, which includes subcategories for teens, parents, teachers, law enforcement, and faith leaders.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI), University of Washington

Article Update Revises Previous Findings: Marijuana Not Harmless

SAM logo

The Psychology of Addictive Behaviors has published a new, contradictory update to a recent journal article that concluded marijuana was harmless. The newer article reports a review of the statistical methods used in the first piece and concludes that, in direct contradiction to the first study’s conclusion, there are 2.5 times as many incidences of psychotic disorders among marijuana users than among non-users.

For more detailed reading, see the full press release at the SAM website.

Who’s Really in Prison for Marijuana?

prison bars
Photo courtesy of PBS.

One of the common assertions about marijuana is that many of the people in jail or prison for drug related offenses were convicted, and are serving lengthy sentences, for “simple possession” of marijuana. This classification refers to offenses involving small amounts of marijuana (enough to classify as only being intended for the owner’s personal use), generally carried by non-violent, first-time offenders. While it is true that a conviction for simple possession can entail at least jail time, if not prison time, judges most often give first-time offenders more lenient punishments, which can include fines and community service. Many first-time marijuana offenders may not even be arrested, let alone punished.

Additionally, most people who are sent to prison for marijuana possession are also sent for at least one other, more serious or violent, crime. It is misleading to claim that people are serving years (or life) long sentences for simple possession, when most, if not all, of those people are serving those sentences for possession while also serving sentences for much more severe crimes. State and federal sentencing guidelines generally do not encourage incarceration for the possession of personal-use amounts of marijuana, let alone do they encourage (or even allow) sentences of more than a few months for it. Reports on the federal and state prison systems routinely show that of all the people imprisoned for simple possession, almost all of them are serving those short sentences while also serving harsher sentences for harsher crimes, such as drug trafficking, participation in drug trafficking organizations or other organized crime, or other violent crimes.

Listed below are links to several of these reports.

Owning or Investing in a Marijuana Business

small business owner
Photo from Hope for Women Magazine.

With the recent increase in legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana use, many people have become interested in starting or investing in marijuana businesses. Something to keep in mind, though, is that people who are interested generally need to reside in the states in which the businesses are owned and operated. In Colorado and Oregon, for example, this means that if you would like to start or invest in a marijuana business, you need to have lived there for at least two years before applying for the appropriate business licenses. You may not invest in (let alone start) the business while living in another state or country. In Washington, investors only need to have been residents for three months, but their companies all have to be formed in state as well.

Another major point: no one may buy marijuana in a state where it is legal and take it to another state, even another state where it is legal. This constitutes drug trafficking, a federal offense, which law enforcement officials are on greater alert for due to the increasing number of states that allow legal marijuana use.

These links provide information on individual states’ policies regarding founding or investing in marijuana businesses.!washington-legal-marijuana/c1vsw