Can our experience with tobacco and alcoholteach us how to protect children if marijuana is legalized? Sue Rusche, President and CEO National Families in ActionBut What about the Children? Campaign
Begin with a small gift• For all who have fought the first wave of legalization – Medical marijuana• This ad from the 1880s
Status of marijuana research• Any addictive drug is terrible for adolescents whose developing brains make them vulnerable to addiction, other brain disorders, and damage• New studies add to our knowledge – Persistent marijuana use before age 18 that continues results in 8-point IQ drop by midlife – Link to development of testicular cancer, especially if use begins in adolescence – Link to severe brain damage to fetus in first two weeks of pregnancy
Status of marijuana legalization• Medical marijuana legal in 17 states and D.C. – Early states via ballot initiatives beginning in 1996 – Later states via legislative action• Full legalization initiatives on 2012 ballot in – Colorado (Amendment 64) – Oregon (Cannabis Tax Act) – Washington State (Measure 502)• HR 2306—Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act
More than 50% support legalization• Gallup – 50 percent nationwide up from 12 percent in 1969• Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll – 52 percent nationwide• Colorado – 51 percent for, 40 percent opposed• Oregon – 43 percent for, 46 percent opposed• Washington – 50 percent for, 38 percent opposed
All 3 will regulate pot like alcohol: Younger Teens70 Alcohol Marijuana60504030 20%20 18% 14% 10% 9%10 8%0 Colorado Ages 12-17 Oregon Ages 12-17 Washington Ages 12 to 17 Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2008-2009 State Data
All 3 will regulate pot like alcohol Older Teens and Young Adults70 70% 67% Alcohol 61% Marijuana60504030 24% 24%20 17%100 Colorado Ages 18 to 25 Oregon Ages 18 to 25 Washington Ages 18 to 25 Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2008-2009 State Data
Who will write the regulations?• Department of Revenue (CO)• Liquor Control Board (WA)• Cannabis Commission (OR) – Governor appoints all 7 members in Year 1 – 5 of 7 members elected annually thereafter by licensed marijuana growers and processors
All 3 prohibit• State and local law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal law – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration doesn’t have enough personnel to do it alone• The President would have to federalize the National Guard to enforce federal law – With 50 percent of Americans supporting legalization, that’s not likely to happen
Policy researchers predict• If one state legalizes marijuana, price is likely to drop 80 percent to 90 percent – People from other 49 states will go there to buy pot (including dealers)• The legalization state will likely experience a flood of marijuana taxes, creating a domino effect – Other states will feel pressure to legalize pot to gain their fair share of taxes Source: An Analysis of How Current Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Stack Against the 12 Provisions
A commercial marijuana industry• Will market its products to children like the tobacco and alcohol companies doSource: What 6-year-old wouldn’t want to eat one of these chocolate chip cookies?
Here’s what tobacco execs said:Liggett Group• "If you are really and truly not going to sell [cigarettes] to children, you are going to be out of business in 30 years."
R. J. Reynolds• "Realistically, if our company is to survive and prosper, over the long term we must get our share of the youth market."
Lorillard• "The base of our business is the high school student."
Philip Morris• “Todays teenager is tomorrows potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens. ... [S]moking patterns of teenagers are particularly important to Philip Morris. ... Because of our high share of the market among the youngest smokers, Philip Morris will suffer more than the other companies from the decline in the number of teenage smokers. “
Former model for Winstons• “Of course, children arent the only targets of the tobacco industry. Once, when I asked an R.J. Reynolds executive why he and his colleagues didnt smoke, he responded point-blank that “We dont smoke the sh-- , we just sell it... We reserve that right for the young, the poor, the black, and the stupid.”
A minimum purchase age is not enough• It does nothing to prevent an addictive drug industry from marketingto underage children. – It took specific litigation/laws, to force tobacco producers to stop marketing to kids• It does nothing to prevent an addictive drug industry from selling to underage children – It took a specific law to force tobacco retailers to stop selling to kids
Constraints brought against Big Tobacco• 1964 and subsequent Surgeon General’s Reports – Smoking kills 443,000 people a year – Second-hand smoke causes 50,000 of these deaths – Smoking causes cancers, heart disease, lung disease, other illnesses in 8.6 million Americans a year• Results – Impetus for evolution of local and state smoke-free laws
Constraints, continued• 1992 Synar Amendment – Requires states to conduct annual, random, unannounced inspections of over- the-counter tobacco outlets and vending machines – States not in compliance lose 40 percent of their substance abuse block grant funds• Results – Violation rate dropped from 40 percent in 1997 to 8.5 percent in 2011 – Adolescent over-the-counter cigarette purchases dropped from 39 percent in 1995 to 14 percent in 2009
Constraints, continued• 1998 Master Settlement Agreement – States sued tobacco industry which agreed to reimburse them in perpetuity ($246 billion over the first 25 years) for their costs of treating tobacco- related diseases in Medicaid patients – Agreed to reduce marketing to youth – Established independent prevention fund and the Legacy Foundation to conduct a national prevention/cessation campaign• Results – Adolescent smoking at lowest levels in history
Constraints, continued• 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act – Makes Food and Drug Administration responsible for regulating tobacco – Act became effective one year later – FDA putting regulations in place now
Definition of “contingency”• An event that is of possible but uncertain occurrence• What is contingency planning? – Trying to plan for a contingency• Contingency planning helps people see things that are not on their radar
In this case• Contingency (possible but uncertain) – Full marijuana legalization• Question 1 – How can we protect children if it happens?• Question 2 – When should we do it?
The time to contingency plan is now before commerce takes over• In early 2010, National Families in Action assembled some of the nation’s most effective leaders who work to prevent underage drinking and smoking. We asked: – “If you could have written the law that repealed Prohibition in the 1930s, or the Tobacco Control Law 150 years ago (instead of 2009), knowing what you know now, what kinds of provisions would you have placed in those laws to prevent these industries from targeting kids?”
Our provisions grew out of their answers1. No advertising2. A penalty fee3. Automatic repeal4. No product placements5. An industry-financed fund6. A state agency to regulate and tax7. Licensed growers, distributors, retail sales8. No drugged driving
Provisions, continued9. No drugged employees or students10. Smoke-free laws apply11. Marijuana controlled by FDA12. A Surgeon General’s Report on marijuana www.butwhataboutthechildren.org
Conclusion• Federal, state, and local leaders must act now to develop a contingency plan to protect children if marijuana is legalized. – If they wait until legalization (maybe) happens, concern for childrens health and well- being will be overwhelmed by concern for profits – A third industry will market addiction and death to generations of children before anyone can bring it under control.