Alcohol Lobby Teams with Law Enforcement to Fund Anti-Marijuana Campaign


On September 7, a major new front opened up in the campaign for Proposition 19, the ballot measure to tax and regulate marijuana in California. On that day, the California Beer and Beverage Distributors made a $10,000 contribution to a committee opposing Proposition 19.

In response, MPP issued the following statement by Steve Fox, director of government relations for the MPP and co-author of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?:

“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” Fox said. “Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol. So they don’t want adults to have the option of using marijuana legally instead of alcohol. Their mission is to drive people to drink.”

The alcohol industry is now working hand-in-hand with the law enforcement community to keep marijuana illegal. For example, the California Police Chiefs Association has given at least $30,000 to the “No on Proposition 19” campaign, while the California Narcotics Officers’ Association has chipped in $20,500 of its own. This partnership underscores the hypocrisy among law enforcement officials opposed to Prop. 19.

“Members of law enforcement have argued against Proposition 19 by asserting, ‘We have enough problems with alcohol, we don’t need to add another intoxicating substance to the mix,’ implying that marijuana is just as bad as alcohol,” Fox continued. “But the truth is that a legal marijuana market would not add another dangerous intoxicant to the mix; rather it would provide adults with a less harmful legal alternative to alcohol.”

“In their campaign to defeat Proposition 19, members of law enforcement and the alcohol industry have joined together under an umbrella group calling themselves ‘Public Safety First.’ Sadly, by fighting to keep marijuana illegal and steering adults toward alcohol instead, they are putting public safety last,” said Fox.

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In Historic Move, V.A. Eases Rules for Medical Marijuana Patients


Major news! The Department of Veterans Affairs has formally announced that patients being treated at V.A. facilities will be allowed to use medical marijuana if they live in one of the 14 states where it is legal.

This historic development was trumpeted over the weekend in a front-page New York Times story that quoted MPP’s Steve Fox. “We now have a branch of the federal government accepting marijuana as a legal medicine,” Steve told the Times, adding that the department needs to make its guidelines clear to patients and V.A. officials nationwide.

Under the policy, V.A. doctors still won’t be allowed to recommend marijuana to patients, but legal medical marijuana users will not be automatically precluded from pain management programs. Previously, many veterans believed they could lose access to prescription pain medications if they were found to be using medical marijuana, and some—including an Army veteran interviewed by The Times—were even told they needed to choose between medical marijuana and other pain medications. This latest policy clarification should prevent similar future incidents.

But there is still more that needs to be done. The new policy does not apply to patients or veterans in the 36 states where medical marijuana is still illegal. Many veterans rely on the V.A. for all their healthcare needs as well, and even if they live in a medical marijuana state, they may not be able to receive a recommendation from a non-V.A. doctor.

Regardless, this is a huge step forward – and one more crack in the federal government’s baseless opposition to sane medical marijuana policies.

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Free Downloads of ‘Marijuana is Safer’ to Be Offered on 4/20


For anyone who hasn’t yet read “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” tomorrow is your chance.

In recognition of 4/20, Chelsea Green Publishing will be offering free downloads of this important book, which examines the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol and asks why our nation’s laws seek to punish people who make the sensible choice to use the less harmful substance: marijuana. April also happens to be National Alcohol Awareness Month.

“Marijuana is Safer” is co-authored by MPP’s Steve Fox, Paul Armentano of NORML, and Mason Tvert of SAFER. The book will be available for free download on April 20 from 12 a.m. to April 21, 12 a.m. EST.

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MPP’s Steve Fox on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ (With Video)


For those of you who missed it last night, or haven’t seen it yet on MPP TV or MPP’s YouTube channel, here’s the clip of MPP director of campaigns Steve Fox that aired on Fox News last night. Enjoy!

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Study: Marijuana May Protect Against Brain Damage From Binge Drinking


A study just published online by the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology suggests that marijuana may protect the brain from some of the damage caused by binge drinking.

The study, by researchers at the University of California San Diego, used a type of high-tech scan called diffusion tensor imaging to compare microscopic changes in brain white matter. The subjects were students aged 16-to-19, divided into three groups: binge drinkers (defined as having five or more drinks at one sitting for boys or four or more for girls), binge drinkers who also smoked marijuana, and a control group who had very little or no experience with either alcohol or drugs.

As expected, the binge-drinking-only group showed evidence of white matter damage in eight regions examined, as demonstrated by lower fractional anisotropy (FA) scores. But in a finding the researchers described as “unexpected,” the binge-drinking/marijuana group had lower FA scores than the controls in only three of the eight regions, and in seven regions the binge-drinking/marijuana group had higher scores – indicating less damage – than the binge drinkers who didn’t use marijuana (unfortunately, not all of these stats are in the summary linked above; access to the full article requires payment). Read the rest of this entry »

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Join the Great Marijuana Book Bomb Aug. 20!


MPP’s director of state campaigns, Steve Fox, is the co-author of a new book entitled, Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? The purpose of this book is to educate Americans about the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol, and to force them to consider why we punish adults who use the less harmful substance.  The critically acclaimed book also provides supporters of marijuana policy reform with the information and talking points necessary to spread the “marijuana is safer” message to friends and family.

To raise awareness about the book, the authors are coordinating a “Book Bomb” that will take place tomorrow, August 20.  The goal is to have hundreds of people order the book from on the same day so that it reaches #1 on the online bookseller’s rankings.  As far as we know, no book advocating for marijuana policy reform has reached that milestone.  To learn more about the book and to sign up for the Book Bomb, visit If you sign up, you will get an email tomorrow reminding you about the Bomb.

Thanks in advance for participating!  And please share this blog post with any friends who might be interested.

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