Synthetic marijuana (“K2” or “Spice”) often sold in legal retail outlets as “herbal incense” and “plant food,” labeled “not for human consumption” to mask their intended purpose and avoid FDA regulatory oversight of the manufacturing process. Synthetic marijuana consists of plant material that has been laced with substances (synthetic cannabinoids) that users claim mimics Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), the primary psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana, and are marketed toward young people as a “legal” high. Use of synthetic marijuana is alarmingly high. According to data from the 2011 Monitoring the Future survey of youth drug-use trends, 11.4 percent of 12th graders used Spice or K2 in the past year, making it the second most commonly used illicit drug among seniors. Synthetic cannabinoids in herbal incense products were first detected in the United States in November 2008, by (DEA) forensic laboratory. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. American Association of Poison Control Centers, 2,906 calls relating to human exposure to synthetic marijuana were received in 2010; 6,959 in 2011; and 639 as of January 2012 Synthetic Marijuana Overview (The White House Office of Drug Policy 2012)
Synthetic Marijuana Overview (The White House Office of Drug Policy 2012) Who uses synthetics?
6 MILLION dollars annual sales, mostly synthetic MJ sales Regional Sales- customers travelling couple hours to LPOE LPOE/Jim Carlson represented by Randall Tigue Patrons line-up for City block waiting for LPOE to open Patrons under the influence use nearby city park bordering Lake Superior; impact quality of life, tourism, etc Increase in medical episodes, fights, assaults, vomiting, urinating in public, foul language, aberrant behavior. Some call it “walking the gauntlet” or refer to users as “Zombies” Results in significant financial losses to neighboring businesses A look at problem…
Remember the good old days when crack, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth were drugs of choice? Synthetic products do not have field based evidence testing Legislation was too narrow, chemical or molecular change makes illegal substance legal All testing done at state crime lab; results not timely People on probation could not be tested for use DPD was relegated to addressing patron behavior and not root of problem due to limited legislative tools Active investigation limited what we could release to public Enforcement challenges, “Do Something!”
“ Our sales are just insane ” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sept 2011)
Cost associated with Security Detail November 2011 to date 1600 + hours of dedicated police OT to police LPOE More than $80,000 in OT wages OT 8 hours @ business hours to “babysit” patrons On-duty officers respond to 200 calls for service On-duty officers directed patrol activities daily On-duty officer activities at LPOE cost + $40,000 $120,000 or nearly 2 full time positions!
Community based solutions Community collaboration critical, stakeholders in business, political (city, state and federal) building safety, social services, hospitals and non-profits Public nuisance statutes (does your state have one?) Court injunction Legislation, City of Duluth in September 2012 banned ALL smoking on Lakewalk; including synthetic MJ Surveillance cameras Stakeholder meetings and serve as eyes and ears for police Environmental design (Crime Prevention through environmental design, CPTED) Dedicated police presence and enforcement
State and Federal Support Met with State and Federal politicians State Legislation (twice passed laws) Federal legislation Requested help from Federal enforcement agencies, DEA, ATF, FDA, IRS Federal agencies used extensive resources to assist in search warrants and audits Federal sanctions more significant than most states Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 90 cities in 31 states, 91 defendants for sales of synthetic drugs
Federal Search Warrants July 25, 2012 The Wall Street Journal
THANK YOU! QUESTIONS? Mike Tusken, Deputy Chief of Police, Duluth Police Department firstname.lastname@example.org 218-730-5020
Items for Discussion Harm Reduction Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) Methadone – Brief Overview Delivery Programs of MMT in BC Analysis of MMT Programs Advantages and Disadvantages Recommendations
Harm Reduction The International Harm Reduction Association (2002) describes Harm Reduction as: “Policies and programs which attempt primarily to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of mood altering substances to individual drug users, their families and communities, without requiring decrease in drug use.”
Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) Why MMT is part of a harm reduction model MMT reduces the use of other opioids, injection related health risks, mortality and drug-related criminal activity. It improves physical and mental health, social functioning, quality of life, pregnancy outcomes and client connections to other critical medial and social services. The BC Methadone program has received 2 international awards recognizing the comprehensive nature and quality of the program.
Methadone – Brief Overview What is it? Legal opioid long-acting medication How is it taken? Usually in liquid form, once a day (lasts for about one day) How does it work? Methadone is a LT maintenance program for heroin dependent people. Reduces drug cravings without producing the high. How long do I have to stay on methadone? Methadone can safely be taken for years. Does methadone have side effects? Most people experience few if any side effects.
Delivery Programs of MMT in BC Most widely used substitution therapy for opiate (heroin) addiction Prescriptions are given by licensed doctors Dispensed through small-scale pharmacies Patients are assigned to dispensing pharmacies One methadone dispensing pharmacy every 400 metres - City of Vancouver Regulation (in Vancouver Downtown East Side there are 13 dispensaries in 9 blocks) For profit model
Analysis of MMT Programs MMT in British Columbia is viewed by client and professional stakeholders alike as making a substantial contribution to reducing the harms related to illicit opioid use and opening a door to a more stable and better quality of life for people with opioid dependency. However: MMT is not integrated into the wider addictions system of care Methadone provision is unevenly distributed across the province, and need often exceeds capacity Question of service quality Lack of clarity about the responsibility of monitoring of counselling services Question of client retention Source: Methadone Maintenance Treatment in British Columbia, 1996-2008, University of Victoria
Advantages from Business’ Point of View When managed properly, MMT can: Reduce on street drug use Reduce spread of disease Reduce on street disorder Reduce petty crime Allows people to live a relatively “normal” life Help people beat addiction
Disadvantages from Business’ Point of View When not managed properly, MMT can: Lead to predatory behaviour, lack of property insurance, increase in assaults Lead to vacancies and increases in petty crime for existing businesses Lead to on street disorder Attract a criminal element to the area Bring in vulnerable people to a troubled neighbourhood as people are assigned to methadone dispensing pharmacies Lead to conflict of interest (because it is a for profit model) Lead to a perception of lack of safety Sources: Methadone Clinics in London Ontario: Discussion Paper, Scott Burns Planning Consultants & Empirical evidence from BIA’s in the Downtown East Side, Vancouver
Recommendations Health clinics with wrap around services (integration of services) Decentralize methadone delivery Take away financial incentive Fewer dispensing pharmacies in an area Assign people to clinics in the neighbourhoods in which they live Use larger national/international pharmacies that are not dependent on the dispensing cash Closer regulation Good neighbour agreements built into business permits Look at drug options such as buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction as studies show it has fewer side effects than methadone.
History of Medical Marijuana Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215) passed in 1996 – “To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDs, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”
What Prop 215 Also Did… History of Medical Marijuana VS. FederalState
Progression of Prop 215 In early 2000’s – Estimated that approximately 200,000 Californians have received approval from their physican to use medical marijuana Many of whom were NOT enumerated in the language of Prop 215
In 2007, SB-420 established an “ID Card” system for medical marijuana patients. SB 420 - Signed
2008-2009 Regulation Efforts Begin California Attorney General issues directives mandating dispensaries operate as cooperatives, sell only to legitimate patients, operate as non-profits, and only buy from fellow co-ops.
17 States and the District of Columbia allow Medical Marijuana In 2007 President Obama’s campaign promises to end drug enforcement administration raids of medical marijuana clinics, leaving it to states to govern.
With no regulation in place… The Floodgates began to open: Los Angeles experiences a 2,350% increase in the number of dispensaries in the city.
2008-2009 Regulation Efforts Begin LA City Council adopts an Interim Control moratorium on new dispensaries, placing restrictions on hours of operation and their proximity to schools, churches, parks, and other dispensaries STOP - LAWSUIT FILED
Our District’s Involvement Try to educate property owners on the issue Monitor and track “problematic” dispensaries Meet with dispensary ownership Re-train BID Security Officers on Marijuana Arrests
January 2010 LA City Council adopts a new Ordinance which limited the number of dispensaries in an area, regulated where they could open, and prohibited new locations from entering Los Angeles. STOP - 75 LAWSUITs FILED
Injunction was enacted prohibiting the City from taking action against problematic locations, and allowed the continued proliferation of new dispensaries. July 2012 the injunction is overturned…two years of no registration/regulation damage had been done. Hundreds of more illegal shops litter the City.
Today A new “Gentle Ban” was recently passed by LA City Council, August 2012. Immediately met with opposition and a petition was signed to prohibit this ban from taking place. The measure will now go to the voters.
Meanwhile Enforcement and prohibitive measures continue to remain in suspension until the ballot measure goes to vote. Council could repeal the “gentle ban” and create another ordinance, but the dispensaries will fight any City regulation in court or by another referendum.
What We Would Do Differently 1.Establish proactive legislation – prohibiting/capping number of clinics established in our city. 2.Improve retail recruitment and work with property owners to educate them on positive uses for their properties. 3.Develop higher tax structure and Pharmaceutical guidelines for various “narcotic substances.”
4.Supporters of this cause have considerable financial backing – know who you are going up against. 5.Enforcement Still Exist! – Establish relationships with the US Attorney and the District Attorney. Both agencies can still enforce the federal law - which prohibits marijuana for all purposes. What We Would Do Differently