Enforcement- Never-Drive-Impaired

Posted on December 23, 2021 View all news

**DISCLAIMER**  These statements are my own.

by Deputy John Howard

Last month, I was pleased to be a guest Every Brain Matters (c/o Parents Opposed to Pot) podcast, all of which is made possible, in part, by Patreon. Corinne LaMarca, Director of Jennifer’s Messengers interviewed me for the series, “It’s Just Pot – What’s The Problem?” – Corinne’s story about her daughter’s murder caused by a marijuana-impaired driver is heartbreaking, see Jennifer’s Story.  Her passion for this topic is admirable.

In that podcast, we discussed the marijuana laws in Florida and how those laws are affecting public safety, noting specific challenges that have arisen from the state’s development of medical marijuana (and then vastly expanding it).

We covered specifics about Florida DUID and the background behind my passion to aggressively investigate and pursue impaired drivers. I presented my personal opinions about what the state should change, in order to prevent marijuana-drug- and alcohol-impaired drivers from killing our family and friends.

During each stage of the research I gathered in advance, during the podcast itself and our discussions thereafter, it has become painfully clear that the answers to all the negative impacts of Florida’s medical marijuana system and laws and reduced drug possession enforcement are simply “Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement.”

The key take-away from that podcast should be the knowledge that marijuana users, with medical approval or not, who drive, are drugged drivers. Just like drivers impaired by alcohol, drivers impaired by marijuana kill children, parents and grandparents, every day.  Period. 

Preventing DUI and drugged driving crashes will require substantially increased levels of enforcement of every piece of the medical marijuana puzzle, consistent and aggressive enforcement of existing DUI / Drugged driving laws, and reinvigorated efforts of cities and counties to call themselves “Zero Tolerance Sanctuaries,” while simultaneously unleashing their law enforcement professionals to enforce existing drug and drug paraphernalia possession laws.

ENFORCEMENT – Florida’s “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act”

Most of you reading this, are aware of Florida’s “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 CS for SB 1030 2014”. Most of you likely also know that after five years of intense television campaigning and lobbying, Amendment 2 was passed into law on March 18, 2019, officially legalizing smokable marijuana.

While Gov. DeSantis knew that Amendment 2, also known as SB-182, [the] Medical Use of Marijuana Act, redefines the term “medical use” to include the possession, use and administration of marijuana in a form for smoking, it’s unlikely that he knew that Florida marijuana laws and enforcement would devolve quickly, down to a point that Florida is now, by default, a recreational marijuana state. It happened almost immediately after his signature.

He would have been aware that several criminal statutes, covering marijuana and other drugs were not being watered down, including the following, all of which are still Florida State Law:

FSS:  893.13(6)(b) Prohibited acts…..”If the offense is the possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis, as defined in this chapter, the person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree…

FSS: 381.986(1)(j)   Growing: A person or entity that cultivates, processes, distributes, sells, or dispenses marijuana and is not licensed as a medical marijuana treatment center violates s. 893.13….

FSS: 893.147 Use, possession, etc…It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia:

FSS: 893.145 “Drug paraphernalia” defined.—The term “drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating…. or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance…..

Lastly, while Gov. DeSantis knew that medical marijuana was going to become easier to obtain in Florida, he knew that marijuana possession would still be illegal under Federal law.

I would bet Gov. DeSantis initially had issues signing this bill, but believed that the latest Amendment would only enable some Floridians to have better access to legal marijuana, while still prohibiting illegal drug and drug paraphernalia possession / growth / sales / distribution, for the vast majority of citizens, in the State.

Unfortunately, lack of enforcement of nearly every requirement of the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014” has had a trickle-down effect on other Florida drug possession and impaired-driving statutes, with substantial negative results.  Traffic crashes and fatalities have increased across Florida.  There’s been an explosion of illegal marijuana and drug paraphernalia in Florida. High-potency marijuana, sometimes with THC levels above 90%, has become most of the marijuana in the state.

The total numbers of Floridians with medical marijuana cards are skyrocketing.  If you check in with the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana, they will tell you that they are vastly understaffed and have insufficient funds to police the more than “….2800 doctors in Florida who are certified to recommend [marijuana]…” nor the “….[large] number of open cannabis dispensaries [which] has crossed 385..” nor the “….646k+ Floridians (3.75%+ of all adult residents) with active medical marijuana cards…”  The doctors prescribe medical marijuana with little concern about the three steps it takes to get to smokeable marijuana. The quality control is near zero on the doctors, the producers, and the processors of marijuana.

Ask them why it’s as easy to get a medical marijuana card as it is to buy a pack of gum and they will not have an answer.

Accordingly, on top of all the marijuana-drugged drivers who purchased their drugs illegally, there are now more than 646,000 “legal” operators of mobile missile launchers out there, on our roadways, just seconds away killing you or someone you love.   

ENFORCEMENT – DUI / Drugged Driving / Aggressive Driving / Traffic Crashes

In 2018, the State of Florida started specifically tracking drug-related crash data. It’s already abundantly clear that marijuana is the number one most prevalent drug found in drugged drivers that caused a crash in Florida.

From 01/01/18 to 12/31/20, nearly 3000 crashes were caused by drug- and alcohol-impaired drivers. More than 1800 fatalities resulted and more than 2400 people were maimed by drugged and drunk drivers.

In 2020 alone, there were 746 fatalities from crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, in Florida. “The tragedies caused by impaired drivers on our roadways haunt the families who will never have the chance to hug their loved ones again,” per Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. His team of consummate professionals have a saying: “If you are impaired in any capacity, don’t drive – no excuses.”

FHP, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), recently produced an excellent PSA: Never Drive Impaired – FHP PSA.

I could not agree, more.

Similar to the Statewide statistics, in St. Johns County alone, not including statistics captured by FHP State Troopers, our traffic crash numbers have doubled in 10 years (more than 5900 a year) and our DUI rates are up from 164 in 2012 to over 985 in 2021 (in a County with a population of only 275,000 residents). See the below chart that I assembled from several public sources.

As mentioned before, during the Every Brain Matters Podcast, current DUI / DUID laws regarding marijuana have made things more difficult to get marijuana-impaired drivers off the roads.

Most everyone is familiar with the DUI laws in their State, but in the State of Florida, knowing full well that most impaired drivers are drinking and taking drugs [also known as poly-drug users], has a consolidated DUI Statute:

FSS:  316.193(1) prohibits driving or being in physical control of a vehicle in Florida while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical or controlled substances to the extent that his or her faculties were impaired…”

Marijuana falls into both the chemical and controlled substance categories, depending on the driver’s medical marijuana cardholder status.

Medical marijuana cards gets impaired drivers out of charges

One key problem that I’ve witnessed more than once is that a law enforcement officer will stop a likely DUI driver, and as soon as the driver whips out their medical marijuana card, the deputy will stop in his or her tracks, concerned that any additional DUI investigation might result in an arrest that could be argued as an improper one.

Another problem that has resulted from “medical marijuana” laws, is that it has tied law enforcement’s hands from arresting criminals who violate drug (marijuana) possession laws, whose only crime is “simple possession of small amounts of marijuana.”

I have two issues with that. First, Drug and Drug Paraphernalia possession is still illegal, by Statute. Secondarily, there is no immediate way to distinguish “high-THC cannabis from low-THC cannabis” in the field. I believe most of the medical marijuana cardholders we contact are holding marijuana containing extremely high levels of THC, even though we know that there is nothing “medical” or even “palliative” about high-THC cannabis. 

There are also extensive accounts of marijuana being laced with other drugs, like Fentanyl. See https://www.wmur.com/article/marijuana-fentanyl-arrests-vermont/38422594 and https://wtvbam.com/2021/12/06/mdhhs-warns-marijuana-users-of-possible-issue-with-fentanyl-laced-product/ and https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/3-arrested-in-connection-with-fentanyl-laced-16668835.php, all of which were just posted this month.

To be clear, I strongly encourage all our deputies to treat traffic stops of suspected DUI / marijuana-impaired drivers just like any other DUI stop. Medical marijuana patients are not permitted to operate any vehicle while under the influence of medical marijuana. The fact that the driver is a “patient” that has a marijuana registry ID card, does not exempt them from arrest, prosecution or excuse them from any requirement under Florida law to submit to a breath, urine, or blood tests. 381.986(14)(f), F.S.).

If we adequately enforced immigration law, we’d also have fewer traffic deaths. Florida Statutes require every driver of a motor vehicle to have a valid driver’s license, from one of 50 US states or from their home country. I believe it’s critical to get these illegal criminals into the Florida criminal justice system as soon as possible, in hopes that they don’t go on to commit worse crimes, such as the following DUI fatalities. Here’s one that happened this past month: https://www.foxnews.com/us/guatemalan-illegally-kills-florida-collision

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2021/11/30/brother-says-man-killed-in-wrong-way-crash-was-on-way-to-work/.

With all the above in mind, it seems clear that the patriots that originally objected to the new “compassion” marijuana statute were exactly right – our new medical marijuana became a direct gateway to the legalization of cannabis!

In closing, I believe the only way we can fix this massive problem is enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.  I encourage every legislative body to double funding for every law enforcement traffic unit with a specific focus on fielding unmarked, slick top, “ghost cars”, which are awarded to those ARIDE- or DRE-certified Officers / Deputies / Trooper who are committed to finding and arresting DUI and DUID violators.

I also call on the Florida legislature to completely retract all medical marijuana laws and enhance DUI and cannabis possession charges to the felony level. The flooding of Florida with tens of thousands more marijuana-impaired drivers must be stopped.

Charging DUI / DUID drivers with a felony might finally be enough incentive for people to stop smoking marijuana, stop drinking alcohol, and stop driving while impaired by drugs or other chemicals.

Perhaps they might also consider adding a provision to Florida statutes to immediately suspend the driving privileges of anyone who “qualifies” for a medical marijuana card.  That seems to be the only way to ensure those that need to smoke marijuana stay off the roads of our Great State.

**DISCLAIMER**  These statements are my own.

Deputy John G. Howard

St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office, St. Augustine, FL.

0 thoughts on "Enforcement- Never-Drive-Impaired"

  1. Regina, I am so proud if you. You are keeping lil Briabs memory alive by saving others. Love you, stay strong

  2. Thank you for sharing your Brian with all.
    I hope you find grief healing fir yourself through what you are doing to help others. Wishing you peace.

  3. I am not sure how to say what is in my heart after reading this.
    I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your precious son.
    I am scared for my son who was recently diagnosed.
    I am scared for all the moms out there who are or will deal with CHS.
    Please keep raising awareness.
    You are amazing and are making a difference.
    xo

  4. You are an example to all of us, Regina. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your son with us.

  5. I dont want medical marijuana to be legal anywhere but now more than ever, especially in my city (Pittsburgh, PA)

  6. As the mother of a forever 18 year old because of my child’s marijuana addiction (severe cannabis use disorder was the psychiatrist’s diagnosis), I absolutely believe in the facts and recommendations in this article. This is NOT the same pot I knew of.

  7. I used to think marijuana/cannabis was harmless. I started smoking it in the 1970’s.
    I was wrong. Using the “soft drug” in my 20’s reduced my ambition and created other negative consequences. When I became a parent of a teenager, I knew pot was not healthy but didn’t think it was very serious. My wife and I had a zero tolerance stance, however, I wish we had read the above article back then, to know how to proceed. Most of today’s high THC pot is a “hard drug.” My family’s very sad story is proof of that.

    Thank you, Dr Collier!

  8. Dear Sonia,
    Thank you for sharing your dear son’s story. What a heartwrenching journey for your whole family. What a beautiful son. Such a terrible loss.
    It must not have been easy describing what his last days were like but it’s important for others because most people don’t understand what psychosis is. Your descriptions vividly describe what its like. Hopefully your words can help others to recognize the signs.
    Bless you. So sorry for your loss.

  9. Thank you for sharing this story. I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. I went through my first episode of psychosis. It scared me so much. Your story will help others as they struggle with this. Thank you for sharing. God bless you!🙏

  10. I will pray for you, Sonia, and I hope you find comfort and peace in our Lord.

  11. Sonia I am so sorry for your loss. I know you have had other losses and I am truly sorry

  12. I am deeply sorry for your loss. such an unfortunate loss, Much more research and further investigation and this topic are extremely necessary with a claim that the cannabis itself was the cause of his death. Was he already suffering from some sort of mental disorder? even something as simple as depression? I have so many questions about this topic of “CIP”. Its causing a stir in the cannabis industry with these claims need to be backed up by some sort of research. They don’t give out warning fliers out when you buy a bottle of 99 bananas but now, because of storys like this the industry is forced to now hand out fliers. Just really makes me wonder about this world like are we really analyzing everything rationally. Cannabis is medicine for many people and for most they absolutely could not do without it and when used properly is extremely safe and actuaclly beneficial for the body; but just like prescription drugs and even alcohol are bad for you if abused. I hope we can all look forward and not be so close minded to facts rather then speculation. education is key. God bless.

  13. Dear Rita,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your dear Brian. Thank you for speaking out about this. Too few understand there are any risks to these products. There should be warning labels–both on the products and on billboards. Everyone has a right to know.
    You are helping so many today. A heartfelt thank you to you.
    I send you light as you journey through your grief.

  14. Rita….
    Too many people… it never happened in the 70s from low dose marijuana. Now families are left with a lifetime of pain when today’s cannabis dosages approach 100 times the therapeutic recommendation of marinol
    There are no roadblocks, no guardrails.
    Lets work together on stopping this drug from continuing its march through our young people at the hands of a few evil people.. and make no mistake they are evil.
    I am so so sorry… we all grieve at the loss of every person.

  15. Dear Sonia, I’m sooo sorry for the loss of your beautiful boy💔 All 3 of my daughters went through CIP-each time was worse than the sister before…my last adult daughter is 28, she went through it with mania for 8 very long months..and just like all of the CIP individuals, was able to fool everyone, doctors, nurses, law enforcement etc. She is home, safe, and out of the psychosis state, we’re beyond Thankful to God for bringing her home to us..We have a road ahead of us, she’s very depressed and anxiety ridden due to the destruction she caused over that time period, she also wishes she wasn’t here😭 My Prayer is that one day soon she will realize just how fortunate she is to have made it out alive🙏🏻🙏🏻 My heart hurts for you and all the other parents whose babies can’t come home anymore and my continued Prayers for all is that God Took Your Babies home with him where they’re now safe and away from the enemy🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 Thank You for sharing your beautiful boys story and May God Be With You and Yours Always🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻

  16. Thank you for sharing your story. All the hype before the legalization of marijuana at the states level that marijuana is safe as being “plant-based” and now every dispensary has billboard signs everywhere has done irreparable damage, especially to the young people so much so that changing the users’ mindset is almost impossible.

  17. Thank you for sharing your story. All the hype before the legalization of marijuana at the states level that marijuana is safe as being “plant-based” and now every dispensary has billboard signs everywhere has done irreparable damage, especially to the young people so much so that changing the users’ mindset is almost impossible. Sorry for your loss.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have just begun this journey with my son AND husband. I’m trying to learn everything I can and help educate them as well as others. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

  19. I’m sorry for your loss. I have been suffering from the same symptoms and going to all possible doctors until one of them asked me if I smoked cannabis and told me about the symptoms of CHS. I was very surprised because cannabis helps me a lot with my psychological disorders of depression and anxiety. I know what to do now

  20. Excellent advice – I wish I had read this article when my sons were in high school. But I’m linking to it on the website of my non-profit, Be the Influence (www.betheinfluence.us) and including it in my “420” newsletter going out today on 4/20/22! Thank you for this resource.

  21. Jesus Christ can rescue you and heal you. He can make you a new person. My husband and I spent 14 years in the New Age psychedelic counterculture in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s. And later, after we became Christians, Richard worked for 30 years in locked psychiatric wards. Some of those voices you’ve heard are undoubtedly demons. Christ is the answer you need. Turn to him. Check out our booklets, “The Cross & the Marijuana Leaf” and “Psychedelic Seduction” at lighthousetrails.com.

  22. Please continue to raise awareness. As I struggle and I know firsthand. We should choose to acknowledge facts and not just pop culture .

  23. This is so heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing Randy’s story. He has so many similarities to others I’ve heard about who suffered with CIP: paranoia with roommates, being asked to leave, convinced MJ was saving him, etc. We are so grateful you are speaking out. Peace and comfort to you and your family.

  24. We have a similar story. We are witnesses to the deterioration of the mind that THC causes. Tragically, our 27 year old son was successful in his suicide atempt in 2013. We believe he had been using marijuana since age 13, as that is when we began noticing negative changes in his personality at that age.
    When he was 17, we put him into residential treatment; however, within 3 weeks of his return home, he began using it again.
    I agree 100% that a big lie about marijuana is being promoted throughout our country. Those states who have legaized its use, will pay a huge price as rhey will lose generations of youth who had once had great potential and thrir mental health cases will soar. I imagine that they already are, but that the staristics are being hidden from the public.

  25. He kept his story real, very helpful to me as a grandmother of two grandchildren addicted to marijuana and suboxone. This story gives me hope! I hope there’s a group in Florida close by.🙏

  26. We are going through the same thing. Our 18 year old is having a psychotic break due to cannabis. It is horrifying. He has had horrible depression for years and every SSRI and SNRI that he has tried, has not worked so when he got his medical marijuana card, we did not push back. Big mistake. This is a horrible drug that many kids cannot handle. Beware and educate your kids as to the dangers of marijuana.

  27. My son also killed himself on 8/13/22. Within a week before he completely changed. We found vaping product partly used that included THC 0, Delta 8 and Delta 10. I completely believe this product caused Psychosis in my son which caused him to kill himself.

  28. Dear God, he was just a baby. I’m so just distraught that Alex paid for his mistakes with his life. This is so incredibly unfair. Thirteen year olds simply do not have — cannot have — the emotional maturity to grasp the potential consequences of using illicit substances. My own son is paying a heavy price for his foray into Delta 8 and God only knows what other substances along the way. He is suffering from psychosis that is not getting better; we fear it has become a chronic condition, schizophrenia. He was a brilliant, talented, happy kid. We as a society cannot afford to lose our kids like this.

  29. Oh Sue I had no idea all of this was happening. . I can’t begin to imagine the pain both of you must have gone through I know there were times I was impressed to pray for you but didn’t know why. Now I wish I had been listening better and praying more. Now no matter what I said, it isn’t enough. Thank you for being strong enough and so grounded in your faith that you have had the courage to write this.
    My heart bleeds for you and I love you very very much. Elaine

  30. Oh Sue, When I read this I couldn’t stop tearing up.
    You and your family went through so much. I tried to put my feet in your shoes and don’t know how you survived, but GOD. What a peace to know that at one time he asked Jesus to come into his life. Now he is free from all the awfulness of drugs and what it can do to a wonderful healthy young man who had so many dreams and plans of college, a degree, a wife, a family, children, grandchildren.
    When I hear what all the drugs are doing to young people, I know many families must be going through the same terrible experience you endured.
    So glad you were blessed with the day you and Spencer said your last last good-bys and the love you shared together.

  31. Thank you for sharing your story Phyllis. I am heart broken to hear about your son. Prayers for you and your family.

  32. My Dear Sweet Sue, God Bless you for wanting to help others by opening up and sharing your experience. It was a long road Spence traveled and he knew you were always there, even though he was often so ugly in his behavior towards you. I too am so glad God gave you that last visit.

  33. This is my story and thank you so much for caring so much too help not only me but for others as well, it’s all good.

  34. This is my double first cousin,we grew up together and we smoked a lot of pot together.I myself often wondered if it wasn’t all im his head.I drove a tractor trailer and Kenny as i call him would often ride along with me.He was sick alot,I felt so bad for him and it was extreamly difficult to watch.He is a tuff ole boy.Ive seen him in a few battles including a few with me.Getting punched in the face didnt even faze him.He was like a brother to me,so yea we had a few run in’s.He dam sure held his own.But this sickness was beating him up bad,it was scary and very difficult to watch.I love my cousin,probably more than he will ever know and im so glad he found the problem.Im proud of Kenny he and me were both headed down the wrong road.He is a beautiful soul and thank the good lord we didnt loose him over something like this.Ive been smoking since i was 9 years old we just grew up in houses were it was as comon as water.I often want to stop smoking myself but i battle anxiety thats pretty extream.Im sorry someone had to pass for my cousin to find what was wrong.I just sit back and wonder how many lifes will be saved because of Brian.May god bless his family and his death might be the reason my beautiful soul cousin lives on.I love you cuz,can’t wait to come catch some more catfish with you.God bless

  35. I’m unsure whether or not you got my last comment as I’m having phone difficulties & a screenshot can’t be sent.
    Please contact me as I’d like to give my observations/input as a retired educator on informational articles and research that I’ve done over the last 40+ yrs. Also, pass this along to the other relevant organizations listed in your ad or that might be interested.

  36. With the mega demand for and supply of Marijuana in the US and Australia these psychosis cases must be occurring daily in our Public Hospital EDs and Psychiatric Units. Can someone please reveal to Every Brain Matters the reason why medical doctors and psychiatrists are not sounding the alarm and taking cannabis prohibitive action modeled on anti-tobacco education warnings.

  37. Hello Dr. Stuyt, I became addicted in my early 20s and suffered a marijuana psychosis at age 25. This was around 1970, when THC was about 3%. I’ve struggled with mental illness ever since, and now some 50-years later, I take 3 antidepressants (two at maximum daily dosage) and see both a therapist and a psychiatrist.

    gfs

  38. Thank you for sharing this all-too-familiar progression with cannabis becoming a gateway to harder drugs, now laced illegally with killer substances, like fentanyl .

    May Catherine rest in peace and her story be a powerful learning for others.

  39. Thank you for sharing this all-too-familiar progression with cannabis becoming a gateway to harder drugs, now laced illegally with killer substances, like fentanyl .

    May Catherine rest in peace and her story be a powerful learning for others.

  40. I think you are missing the point if you think cannabis simply leads to more serious drugs. Cannabis is the destruction drug. It kills the brain and the person as we know them never returns. The damage is done. The idea of calling it the 1st death is brilliant as that is what it is. I understand this journey all too well as my son has experienced the first death and even though he lives on physically he will never be the same. The light in his soul has gone out. There is hardly anyone left. The medical field cannot help as they experiment with different treatment options to no avail and eventually the victims give up on treatment. This is reality and so you go home every day hoping he had the will power to go on to fight another day. The sadness never lifts and hardly anyone understands your pain.

  41. Do not believe that is effective at all. Not just only not particularly effective, but I have seen this in many clients and in a family members. When people self-medicate or use a so-called prescription which is nothing more than a fraudulent voucher per se, they frequently use it to treat depression, anxiety, etc. However, cannabis is known to make these conditions worse and to provoke them. Well most drugs have side effects the side effects of the drug are completely unacceptable and the fact that it’s used recreationally more than proves the point that it would be nearly impossible to sort out a dopamine seeking intoxication as opposed to the remediation for the very conditions that it provokes and aggravates and increases.

  42. My son 17 already has 2 episodes it’s horrible I don’t know what to do, he won’t stop the weed. He acts completely different. It’s really difficult to find help.

    He won’t stop smoking the weed, like he doesn’t understand what happened to him.

  43. Thank You for sharing this story. My daughter was just diagnosed. It was very scary.

  44. This is complete rubbish. Research shows Some studies showed that cannabis products reduced the number and/or intensity of different symptoms, including hyperactivity, attacks of self-mutilation and anger, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, psychomotor agitation, irritability, aggressiveness perseverance, and depression. Moreover, they found an improvement in cognition, sensory sensitivity, attention, social interaction, and language. The most common adverse effects were sleep disorders, restlessness, nervousness and change in appetite. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34043900/

  45. That baby boy yeah that was me pops I never knew and tried killing itself I never knew you said the same as that thing I did and all those times I tried I couldn’t even get that right but you’re my dad man I’ve been through the same thing man I remember staying up for days smoking methamphetamines smoking Molly snorting coke smoking crack smoking synthetic cannabis overdosing three times and now look man I’m sober a year and 11 months I’m sober yes I smoke marijuana but I also believe marijuana has benefits and disadvantages so I just want you to know I truly thank you man every time you told me that you understood what I was going through you really did I love you man you’re my pops

  46. I am so sorry. This industry is devastating the world with its lies and faulty science, poor quality control and general nonsense. I can’t say what I want to say but it would include a lot of four letter words, and ugly language because I am filled with anger. RAGE, more specifically, at the people who are making tons of money at the expense of sick and hurting people. God Bless you and keep you and I will be praying for your healing.

  47. Juli Shamash – “almost all opioid users, started with marijuana” were is your proof? This is nothing but an opinion Cannabis is NOT a gateway drug, it has been debunked long long ago!

  48. Thank you Rik! What an honest share about your struggles and triumphs. I really appreciate reading about what’s it’s like to use marijuana every day. It gives me a better understanding and compassion towards my qualifier. I am so proud of you for running your Mon MA meetings!!!!!Thank You!

  49. I see you said you child was diagnosed with ADHD.
    Did your child take ADHD medication?
    What Medication was prescribed to them?
    How long did they take the medication prescribed to them by a doctor?

  50. Dear Emma,
    So sorry for your son. This warning was out 9 years ago, and psychiatrists have improved in places like California where the problem is too widespread to ignore. But most of the USA doesn’t understand and children/ parents are not warned. Your story is beautifully written and it goes with this article which is in 2 parts. https://poppot2.wpengine.com/2015/02/01/mental-health-care-fails-addiction-treatment/. We need to bring you on as advocate who can demonstrate the story.

  51. My son who is 40 had 2 episodes back in 2019 due to marijuana and what we now know is cannabis induced psychosis. He knew if he continued, he would lose his wife and 2 kids. So he stopped. That is until July 2023 when him and his wife separated and he got a medical marijuana card and started vaping it. He is so out of touch with reality right now that we can’t get him to listen to us and will not get help. I have reached out to the police to do a wellness check and they go out to his house and say there is nothing they can do, because he had a medical marijuana card and is in his house. His gas has been turned off due to not paying the bill, and he thinks it is because his thermostat is broke. After his daughter went to check on him, she saw where it looked like he had tried to start a fire on their wood kitchen table, but then put out. The police and mental help line people there is nothing they can do unless he is a danger to himself or someone else. If lighting a fire on a wood table isn’t a danger to himself, I don’t know what is. I don’t know where to turn for help or what to do. I am concerned he isn’t eating, sleeping, and has no heat in the house and it is 26 degrees overnight. If anyone has any suggestions or can help, please let me know.

  52. MADE a COUPLE of TWEAKS:

    A friend involved with Every Brain Matters asked me if I’d consider writing a paragraph or two on my experience with a loved one with a Cannabis Use Disorder.

    My loved one is a good friend, who I’ve watched smoke cannabis daily, then stop for a few days or even a week or two, only to fall back into using. They have struggled, and I have struggled. Sometimes, when they haven’t been using, I wish they would use, but then it means interacting with someone who’s in an altered state of mind while I’m not. It’s a roller coaster of emotions ranging from sympathy, anger, frustration, disappointment, concern for their well-being, and fear. It’s a lot, and it can be isolating..very isolating.

    Who do I talk to? Do I talk? What do I say?

    What are some of the things that have really helped and made all the difference? Getting support for myself. In particular, a weekly, Saturday morning support group via Zoom. There we share our experiences; the things which have helped and as importantly, the things which have not.

    There’s a wide range of support available, and I encourage anyone to seek out support and that fits with you. There’s a saying, “Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional”. Don’t suffer in silence, and don’t think you’re alone, because you’re not.

    Another helpful saying is, “I didn’t cause the marijuana use, I can’t control the marijuana use, I can’t cure the marijuana use.” It was the beginning of detaching with love from my loved one and taking responsibility for myself, not my loved one’s addiction.

    At the moment, my friend hasn’t used cannabis for a couple of months, and while I’m pleased for them, I’m also cautious and wary. For better or worse, I simply see them as an “untreated addict.”

    Whether my friend/loved one is using marijuana or not, my job is to keep the focus on myself, so I’m able to continue taking loving care of myself, and keep giving myself the support I need and deserve.

    Ana B., Canada

  53. Aubrey
    Excellent presentation of the facts. I have continued to evaluate SAMHSA’s grantmaking guidelines and it allows allocations to non-governmental entities. Secondly, I believe we have a strong case for not allowing funds for prevention to go to States that actively market marijuana, like mine in California.

    I am going to pursue it further. If we can capture part or all of those funds for a valid prevention program, I think we can start the process of effecting a change in drug policy to protect our youth. The existing federal drug policy focused entirely on treatment is a joke.

  54. Hello you sweet mama. You are an amazing and courageous mother for taking the strength needed to post this. I can’t imagine anything worse for a mom, but thank you for sharing and helping and serving. I am actually a 40 year old mother and teacher, and I was using legal cannabis vape pens for insomnia. I was sick for two months before I figured it out from researching on the Internet- the docs couldn’t figure it out. It is hell to go through. We need to fight for more education about how strong these new forms of marijuana are.

  55. Thank you Mr.Hill for sharing your horrifying experience. My daughter had psychosis to a lesser extent and she is now in a recovery program. I am sharing your story with everyone I know who thinks weed is “harmless”. I am absolutely spreading the word about this destructive substance.
    May God bless you and your girlfriend and her mother who are staying by your side. Praying for you and sending blessings and peace.

  56. Yes, You as many other mothers and fathers in this nation are appalled at what is in front of us – the destruction of the brain and well being of our children – The joy of teenage life of our daughters and sons is at risk just because a policy and media is pushing on them weed ” Marijuana and THC ” as a harmless and recreational drug that can be get in easy way, changing the course (for worse) the life of many families and forever. WEED IS WRONG and THC is killing our children. We need to atop this Now.

  57. Javonte,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is a haunting and remarkably similar to those I’ve heard others tell. It means a lot that you’re speaking up. You will help others and prevent needless violence, death and suffering.

  58. The information provided here is relevant to my position as a cancer control specialist, as vaping is a major problem in my area of Kentucky. Suicide is also on the rise as well.

  59. I am experiencing the same thing with my 22 year old son who is complete denial. Please send me some resources who he can talk to. I feel he was totally brainwashed when he was young about THC that it is harmless.

  60. Thank you for so bravely sharing your story, Ethan. God bless you on your journey. Your story is happening to many, many young people. We need them told to help people understand.

  61. Hi There!

    I am so sorry for what you have been through and so glad to hear that your daughter is doing well.. My name is Crissy and I’m the Director of the Parent Action Network. We are an initiative of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and we work directly with parents and families negatively impacted by the legalization of marijuana. We provide education and training in today’s high potency products and give you a voice and prepare you to use your story to encourage policy change at the state , local and federal level. We are currently working very closely with Pennsylvania advocates and legislatures to change policies and hopefully prevent recreational legalization. If you are interested in sharing your story and advocating for change in your own community/state please contact me at [email protected] We also have other advocates in Pa. that we could connect you with. I hope to hear from you. Again I’m so sorry for what you e been through and I admire your willingness to edu are others. Best, Crissy Groenewegen

  62. Ethan, your article is the best firsthand account of what it feels like to be in psychosis that I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing your story and giving hope to the MANY teenagers and young adults who are addicted to marijuana (in all its many forms) and experiencing CIP. This truly is going to be the next epidemic in America and we need to get the word out. You should consider going to speak at assemblies at middle schools and high schools and sharing your story/warning/hope!! I will be forwarding this article to all my friends, thanks again.

  63. I knew from the day I met you how special you were. I think we often define “courage” as something we did in combat…but writing this article is the ultimate courage. You are one of my hero’s brother!
    todd

  64. If you would be interested, Ed Shemelya, National Coordinator and Director of the National Marijuana Initiative, will be special guest speaker Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 1:00 at Wayne County Community College District, 21000 Northline, Taylor, MI 48180.
    Courtesy of AARP, Chapter 4676.

    Mary Sobran
    Program Chair
    734.374.2515

  65. Ed Shemelya will be our guest speaker, Tues, March 5, 2024
    at Wayne County Community College District.

    The National Marijuana Initiative National Coordinator will be AARP’s special guest to dispel misconceptions and raise
    awareness of issues to improve public safety and knowledge
    regarding marijuana.

  66. Thanks for sharing your story. It is really helpful in understanding the progression that follows when your loved ones begin usingTHC. Such a devastating, tragic and exhausting problem that breaks families apart. Very glad to hear about his recovery and I hope we can hear about his full recovery and success story some day.

  67. This story is tragic, but you should have some relief in knowing that Florida passed a law banning Delta-8 THC. We hope the governor will sign the law and it will be banned throughout the country. The 2018 Farm Bill which legalize hemp must be revised.
    (Delta-9 THC is still a problem and vaping has been a great way for youth to hide their THC habit.)
    Your story shows that treatment does not guarantee that recovery can be permanent.

  68. Hi Jennifer, my heart is also broken right now. My 17 year old is in a mental facility as well. This is his 3rd admission since Feb 13. I am also so scared. I’m heartbroken because like you, I can’t comfort him, I can’t hold him. My prayers are with you. I hope god is merciful and heals our babies ❤️ Sending you strength.
    Ginny

  69. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and strength in revealing this very important story . You have suffered greatly but still have great compassion and understanding. I commend you and hope people realize how dangerous marijuana can be.

  70. The ridiculous concept of “Harm Reduction” was conceived of and implemented through the Drug Policy Alliance, financed by George Soros. His motives are not to reduce harm. He is on record in his book The Bubble of American Supremacy stating …. “Prevention is the single most important dimension of the responsibility to protect.,” so he knows what works. He has been in control of drug policy since he put Obama in office and for 16 years, through 3 administrations, there has been no attempt at PREVENTION. He should be held accountable, along with all the politicians he has corrupted, and his assets should be seized as retribution for all of the lives lost and destroyed, and environment harms to the planet.

  71. Dear Paul,
    Thank you for sharing your experience to help others. My thank you also to Kurt for allowing you to share this.
    My heart goes out to both of you as you recognize Kurt as the victim of this drug. We need people like you to help others understand how dangerous THC can be.
    My son died by suicide blaming his severe cannabis use disorder for killing his soul and ruining his brain. From a discussion I once had with him, I believe he feared he could become a danger to others, perhaps leading to his suicide.

    Thank you for helping others.

  72. My daughter has tried to kill me in phycosis from THC and almost has ! If I was an avg 62 year old I would be dead! I have been an athlete all my life so being thrown down stairs and off decks and my head hitting tile I was ok! Strangled beaten the list goes on broken nose jaw on and on! It’s not my. Kid
    I mis my daughter so much😓😓😓🦾👣🙏👣

  73. I’m so sorry for all
    Your family has endured due to this poison it helps to have the terrible unraveling made sense of I wish you had found this group and these resources sooner to support you but it’s never too late to share your family’s tragic story to help others These kids have no idea what can happen to them with marijuana use it’s horrendous unintended consequences on so
    Many levels I hope this article gave you some peace in knowing there are many of us out her that understand what you have and are going through
    May comfort always be with you Sending love to you

  74. Reading about the devastating impact of Delta-8 THC on this family is heart-wrenching and sheds light on the serious consequences of unregulated cannabis products. The personal account shared here emphasizes the urgent need for stricter regulation and awareness of the potential dangers associated with Delta-8. It’s evident that this substance can have severe effects on mental health, leading to psychosis and disrupting lives. The courage to speak out about these experiences is commendable and serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of informed decision-making and responsible consumption. This article has deepened my understanding of the risks posed by Delta-8 THC and underscores the necessity for comprehensive measures to protect individuals and families from such harm.

  75. This heartbreaking account vividly illustrates the devastating impact of delta-8 THC use on individuals and their families. Through the lens of a parent’s anguish and concern for their son’s well-being, the article powerfully conveys the urgency of addressing the risks associated with this substance. It’s a poignant reminder of the importance of informed decision-making, regulation, and education surrounding THC and CBD products. The personal narrative not only raises awareness but also prompts reflection on the need for responsible industry practices and robust safety measures. This story underscores the imperative to prioritize public health and safety over profit margins.

  76. Reading your story was deeply moving and informative. It’s heartbreaking to hear about the struggles your family has faced due to the effects of delta-8 THC on your son’s mental health. Your candid sharing of personal experiences sheds light on the serious risks associated with this substance, highlighting the urgent need for greater awareness and regulation. Your bravery in speaking out serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating impact unchecked substances can have on individuals and families. Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope it inspires others to advocate for safer practices and regulations surrounding THC and CBD products.

  77. So honest and brave. Admirable and strong. You will get there Michael, I love you!! Your cuz, Lori

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