Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Marijuana Mess"

City Attorney Pete Holmes, Reverend Harriett Walden, and City Councilmember Nick Licata recently appeared on City Inside/Out and discussed the medical and recreational marijuana systems in Seattle.

Councilmember Licata said that if the state legislature does not "fix" the medical marijuana law, Seattle likely will have to shut down marijuana dispensaries.

He noted that legal and regulated alcohol is more abused than marijuana and suggested that perhaps alcohol stores should not be located near churches if people disapprove of marijuana stores near churches.

When it comes to the illegal use of marijuana in public, the councilmember encouraged people to complain by calling 911 and asking for a quick response.  He stated that minors should not go to jail for alcohol and marijuana violations which echoes long-time city and county policy that refers minors to a diversion program, not jail.   

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prescription drug abuse prevention training now available to view online

Prescription drug abuse has steadily increased among NE Seattle middle and high school students since 2008.  Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of American hosted a webinar earlier this week about this nationwide problem.  It is now available to view online.

The webinar explored national prescription drug abuse trends, the types of prescription drugs adults and youth use non-medically, and how to gather local data on this issue to inform strategies and interventions. The webinar also provided a case study from a coalition in Kentucky that reduced prescription drug abuse by 80 percent.

The Prevention WINS coalition is currently planning to launch a public education campaign called Mind Your Meds encouraging NE Seattle residents to lock up medications in their homes as one way for preventing teen prescription drug abuse. 

City hosting medical marijuana symposium tonight

Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall 
5:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. 

Medical marijuana businesses in Seattle and in jurisdictions across the state remain unregulated.  In March, a state court of appeals ruled that collective gardens (dispensaries) are not legal under Washington's current law.  

The Mayor's Office organized this symposium for those concerned about access to medical marijuana and the location of marijuana-related businesses in the city.  

“We are still looking to Olympia to enact broad medical marijuana reform next session, but we need to take action here in Seattle to address immediate concerns of patients, businesses and neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. 

The symposium will feature panel discussions on a range of issues where medical marijuana businesses face a much more uncertain regulatory landscape than recreational marijuana operations governed by the state’s Liquor Control Board, including:
  • Testing of marijuana products for purity and strength
  • Best practices for manufacturing marijuana-infused products
  • Packaging and labeling requirements
  • The location of dispensaries and collective gardens

Poison Center reports spike in pediatric exposure to marijuana 
This event comes a week after the Washington Poison Center reported a spike in marijuana exposures among children and teenagers.  The report notes that with only a handful of recreational marijuana stores open in the state, the majority of exposures likely result from marijuana obtained at medical marijuana dispensaries. “The medical marijuana industry is largely unregulated and not subject to the scrutiny and oversight by the Liquor Control Board that recreational marijuana must go through”, says Dr. Garrard, Clinical Managing Director of the Washington Poison Center.

Overdoses among children
Marijuana overdoses in children have caused seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, breathing problems that sometimes require mechanical ventilation until breathing returns to normal, and extremely high heart rates.  Children may become lethargic, disoriented, intensely agitated, have difficulty walking and balancing, and be unable to respond to stimulation.  

Exposure among teenagers
Last year, five Seattle high school students overdosed on marijuana edibles while at school and required medical attention.  During this week's Prevention WINS coalition meeting, members representing schools and parents discussed the need for marijuana packaging and products that are readily identifiable as containing marijuana.  Right now, it is difficult to determine since some medical marijuana packaging and products mimic packaging and products that do not contain marijuana.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teen drug use prevention resources

Looking for information about how to prevent teen drug use?  Below is a list of local, state, and national organizations that provide teen drug use education and prevention resources.

Community coalitions in Seattle

University of Washington

King County region


National & federal


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Councilmember Licata discusses marijuana business licensing

Last week, Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata talked about the medical and recreational marijuana systems, among other topics, on the Seattle Channel.

The marijuana discussion starts at around 7:35 and lasts for about 3 minutes.  Councilmember Licata explained that while medical marijuana businesses are licensed in Seattle, they are not regulated.  The City does not receive excise tax revenue from either marijuana systems and, right now, recreational marijuana is "undersold" compared to medical marijuana.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Learn about advocacy during free seminar December 3

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE) is hosting a 2014 Fall Seminar:

Wednesday, December 3
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Professor and long-time community activist Nancy Amidei will cover the basic functions of our three branches of government, how a bill becomes a law, and five effective advocacy tools. 

RSVP by November 21 to Wendy.Watson@seattle.gov.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

General coalition meeting next week

Prevention WINS General Coalition Meeting
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
8-9:30 a.m.
Seattle Children's Hospital Division of Adolescent Medicine
4540 Sand Point Way NE

For more information please contact coalition staff.

All meetings are open to everyone concerned about youth substance use in NE Seattle.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Learn about prescription drug abuse during free webinar

Free webinar:
Tuesday, November 18 at noon
Click here to register.

To help communities tackle problems they’re facing with prescription drug misuse and abuse, CADCA is launching a four-part webinar series on this important topic. The series kicks off on November 18 with a one-hour webinar that will explore the problem of prescription drug misuse and abuse in the United States. Participants will learn about national prescription drug abuse trends, the types of prescription drugs adults and youth use non-medically, the unintended consequences of prescription drug abuse on communities and linkages to other problems. In addition, participants will learn how to gather local data on this issue to inform their strategies and interventions. The webinar will also provide a case study from a coalition in Kentucky that reduced prescription drug abuse by 80 percent. 

Thursday: Mental Health & Substance Abuse Legislative Forum

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Public reception at 6:30 pm, program begins at 7:00 pm.

This annual community forum features Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett, along with a parental perspective from Seattle television reporter/producer Penny LeGate. Jim Vollendroff, director of King County’s mental health and substance abuse services, will identify the key legislative priorities for the upcoming year, and highlight innovations and outcomes in behavioral healthcare in the community. Individuals recovering from mental illness and/or substance abuse will share their personal stories, and state and federal legislators representing this region will also share their perspectives and priorities.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Liquor Control Board is seeking public comments about marijuana-infused foods

The Liquor Control Board (LCB) recently proposed new rules to govern what types of marijuana-infused foods they will allow to be made (processed) and sold as part of Washington’s recreational marijuana system.  The LCB does not regulate the medical marijuana market so these rules only apply to the recreational (I-502) market. 

Public comment period

The LCB is now seeking public comments about their proposed rules.  Comments are due by December 3 and a public hearing will be held that day. 

Overview of proposed rules

Marijuana processors must get infused products approved by LCB. 
What the proposed rule says: A marijuana processor licensee must obtain approval from the liquor control board for all marijuana-infused products, labeling, and packaging prior to offering these items for sale to a marijuana retailer. The marijuana processor licensee must submit a picture of the product, labeling, and packaging to the liquor control board for approval.

Denials may be appealed. 
What the proposed rule says: If the liquor control board denies a marijuana-infused product for sale in marijuana retail outlets, the marijuana processor licensee may request an administrative hearing per chapter 34.05 RCW, Administrative Procedure Act.

Products must be scored to show serving sizes. 
What the proposed rule says: Marijuana-infused products in solid form that contain more than one serving must be scored to indicate individual serving sizes, and labeled so that the serving size is prominently displayed on the packaging.

Packages containing multiple servings must be re-sealable. 
What the proposed rule says: Products containing more than one serving must be packaged in a package that remains child resistant after the package is opened.

Servings must contain equal amounts of THC. 
What the proposed rule says:  Marijuana-infused products must be homogenized to ensure uniform disbursement of cannabinoids throughout the product.

Packages must say that the product contains marijuana. 
What the proposed rule says: All marijuana-infused products must state on the label, "This product contains marijuana."

Products cannot be appealing to children. 
What the proposed rule says:  A marijuana processor is limited in the types of food or drinks they may infuse with marijuana to create (an infused edible product) marijuana-infused solid or liquor products meant to be ingested orally, that may be sold by a marijuana retailer. Marijuana-infused products that are made to be especially appealing to children are prohibited. Marijuana-infused products such as, but not limited to, gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly colored products, are prohibited.

Approved marijuana-infused products

The LCB implemented emergency rules about marijuana edibles earlier this year that required that all marijuana-infused products, packaging, and labeling be approved by them.  Following are a few examples of products that have already been approved by the LCB and are being sold in retail stores:
  • Cherry soda
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Granola
  • Trail mix
  • Cinnamon & sugar pita chips
  • Chocolate-covered pretzels
  • Brownie bites
The regularly-updated list of approved marijuana-infused products may be viewed on the LCB's website.  

For information about this topic, KCTS recently broadcast a story about marijuana edibles in both the medical and recreational markets.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Parents learn about local drug trends, "dabbing", and preventing teen drug use

Parents filled half of Nathan Hale High School's common area during last night's forum about preventing teen drug use.

Dr. Leslie Walker addresses NE Seattle parents at
Nathan Hale High School, November 3, 2014

The evening started with Dr. Leslie Walker providing an overview of teen drug abuse and what parents can do to prevent it.  One of the slides she shared showed the rates of current alcohol and marijuana use among students of Seattle's public neighborhood high schools.  She noted that students from the more affluent communities in Seattle report higher substance use rates than those living in less affluent communities.

Seattle Public Schools
10th Grade Substance Use Rates
Source: 2012 WA Healthy Youth Survey

Since an increasing number of teenagers who seek substance abuse treatment report "dabbing" (consuming concentrated forms of marijuana) and few parents knew what it was, Dr. Walker briefly provided a description of it.  A news story from last year provides a good overview of what dabbing is.