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Federal Courts Speak and makes a statement regarding Marijuana!

May 7, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »
Marijuana has not been approved by the FDA!!!!!!!!
Judge Upholds Controlled Substances Act
Judge Kimberly Mueller

At a hearing last month, US District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller announced she would uphold the right of Congress to specify the process by which illicit drugs should be scheduled in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. The judge promised she would write a full opinion, which has just been released: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. BRIAN JUSTIN PICKARD, et al., Defendants.

The case stems from the indictment in 2011 of 16 people charged with conspiring to grow more than 1,000 marijuana plants in two California counties. The defendants claim the CSA is obsolete, and therefore the court should strike down the law and dismiss their indictment:

We’re not asking for reclassification. We’re asking that the statute be struck because it is unconstitutional at this particular day and this particular time in the history of the evolution of the evidence with regard to the effects of marijuana.

After explaining why the court has jurisdiction to hold an evidentiary hearing, the court narrowed the issue to evidence from scientists to determine whether Congress has a rational basis to place marijuana in Schedule I. Defense witnesses were Gregory T. Carter, M.D., Carl L. Hart, Ph.D., Philip A. Denney, M.D., and marijuana cultivator and processor Christopher Conrad. The government’s sole witness was Bertha K. Madras, Ph.D.

Judge Mueller notes the findings required for Schedule I are

  1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  3. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

“Defendants claim that the weight of current medical knowledge shows marijuana does not satisfy these three criteria,” she writes, adding:

The Supreme Court has observed that “the constitutionality of a statute predicated upon the existence of a particular state of facts may be challenged by showing to the court that those facts have ceased to exist.”

“Here, the facts relating to the three criteria as applied to marijuana, on which Congress initially relied in 1970, have not been rendered obsolete however much they may be changed and are changing. Selected facts relevant to each criterion illustrate this point,” she writes and then cites several. As for having a high potential for abuse:

As shown from the evidence in the record, there are conflicts in testimony and material disagreements as to whether marijuana has a high potential for abuse. For example, Dr. Carter testified that he advocated for reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II substance. That testimony is important because the first criterion under both Schedule I and II is the same: “The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.” On redirect, however, he testified marijuana’s potential for abuse was “moderate.”

Dr. Madras, on the other hand, was adamant in her opinion that marijuana has a high potential for abuse: “There is no question that extensive data and practical experience support the conclusion that marijuana has a high potentialfor abuse, and is actually abused.”

“Congress could rationally find marijuana has a high potential for abuse,” Judge Mueller writes. As for no currently accepted medical use:

Similarly, the evidence shows that disagreements among well-informed experts as to marijuana’s medical use persist. Dr. Carter testified that although he believes the majority of physicians believe marijuana has medical benefit, other qualified professionals, including Dr. Madras, disagree with his opinion.

Dr. Hart’s testimony was consistent with Dr. Carter’s observation that he was “in the majority” of qualified people who think marijuana has medical use. And Dr. Denney’s testimony corroborated Drs. Hart’s and Carter’s testimony that there is a recognized minority view holding marijuana had no medical use.

Dr. Madras, on the other hand, stated that “a substantial majority—perhaps the vast majority—of scientists familiar with the literature and research” attest that, at this time, marijuana has no confirmed medical application. She conceded at most that cannabinoids, the components of marijuana, should be evaluated because there is scientific evidence that they may have medical benefit. Dr. Madras opined that while reasonable experts could find a way to conclude otherwise, that whole plant marijuana is known to have medical value, they would be ignoring some of the evidence to reach that conclusion.

“Defendants, here, have not met their ‘heavy burden of proving the irrationality of the Schedule I classification of marijuana,’ because they have not negated ‘every conceivable basis which might support it,’” Judge Mueller concludes. “In view of the principled disagreements among reputable scientists and practitioners regarding the potential benefits and detrimental effects of marijuana, this court cannot say that its placement on Schedule I is so arbitrary or unreasonable as to render it unconstitutional.”

Read Judge Mueller’s opinion


New App Available to Help Parents Talk about Dangers of Alcohol with Kids

May 6, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reminds parents that it’s never too early to talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. They found that parents have a significant influence on whether their kids drink. SAMHSA also found that children start experimenting with alcohol earlier than many parents realize:

  • 10 percent of 9- to 10-year-olds have already started drinking.
  • By the age of 12-years-old, 10 percent of kids say they’ve tried alcohol.
  • And by age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent.

The app is called: “The Talk. They Hear You.” free app and is available for download on iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Phone Store.

To help parents and caregivers start a conversation about the harms of underage drinking with the children in their care, SAMHSA created an underage drinking website with free resources to help parents talk to their kids about the dangers of alcohol. The “Talk. They Hear You” website now features a science-based, interactive mobile application tool that allows parents to use avatars to practice conversations with their children about alcohol. This free, interactive role-playing tool gives parents and caregivers of children ages 9–15 the chance to practice “virtually” talking with a child about underage drinking. The app helps parents build their skills and confidence to have these conversations with their own children and keep the conversation going.

“The Talk. They Hear You.” free app is available for download on iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Phone Store.

If you need any help getting this app on your phone, give me a call at 320 231 7860 x 2533.


Marketing of Marijuana

May 5, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Wanted to share this Letter to the Editor in the New York Times from today (May 5, 2015):

pot leaf

To the Editor:

Re “The Perils of Smokeless Tobacco” (editorial, April 23) and “It’s Time to Regulate E-Cigarettes,” by David A. Kessler and Matthew L. Myers (Op-Ed, April 23):

We applaud your editorial and Op-Ed essay for highlighting the rise in electronic cigarette use among high school students and for condemning the tobacco industry for aggressively targeting kids.

Unfortunately, the noxious tactics of Big Tobacco — flavored products, colorful packaging, kid-friendly advertising — are not limited to the marketing of e-cigarettes. They also characterize the commercialization of marijuana in states like Colorado, where pot has been legalized. Attempts to ban edible marijuana products that target youth, such as “Pot Tarts” or “Pot Lollipops,” have been met with fierce opposition from a burgeoning marijuana industry eager to hook kids early, and ensure a steady stream of future profits.

As we condemn the harms of e-cigarettes and their marketing to youth, we should also acknowledge that the legalization and mass commercialization of marijuana means yet another industry that thrives on addiction and recklessly targets the most vulnerable in society. We can reform our drug laws and address the currents pitfalls of prohibition without giving rise to the next Big Tobacco.



Princeton, N.J.

The writers, a former congressman and a former White House drug policy adviser, respectively, are leaders of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.


May 2015 Community Spotlight Ad on Q102.5 – KQIC

May 1, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »


Click the link  above to listen to this months radio ad!

This month, May 2015 we were agained honored as the Community Spotlight Ad recipient on Q102.5 FM radio.  Thank you so much to West Central Sanitation and Lakeland Broadcasting, Inc.  Laura Daak, DFC Coordinator narrated this month’s ad giving parents a prevention message on not providing alcohol to your prom-goer or Senior during Prom and Graduation Season.


Marijuana Talk Kit- Get yours downloaded for FREE today!

April 28, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »
41 percent of teens used before age 15
What you need to know to talk with your teen about marijuana

Between marijuana legalization, the normalization in pop culture and new ways of using (edibles, vaporizers, concentrates), it’s becoming more complicated for parents to talk to their teens.

So where do you start? And what should you say? The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is here to help.

Inside the Marijuana Talk Kit, you will find:

  • Facts about marijuana
  • Why weed is still risky for teens
  • Ways to talk with your teen about marijuana
  • What you should – and shouldn’t say – when talking with your teen
  • How to respond to your teen’s questions and arguments
  • Resources to help
The Marijuana Talk Kit will help you have meaningful, productive conversations with your teen.
Marijuana call out
Visit this website and in less than five minutes you will have downloaded the toolkit onto your computer and you are well on your way to finding advice on how to talk to your teen about marijuana.
Twitter/Tweet: #MJTalkKit

BOLD Prom Guys

April 27, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

These three fine BOLD guys had just picked up their tuxes for the BOLD Prom last weekend from Coat & Tie, out of Willmar Kandi Mall.  Found in their tuxes, were the PROM Inserts with an alcohol and drug free prevention message courtesy of the Kandiyohi  County Drug Free Communities Coalition and Coat & Tie.


BOLD Prom goers from L to R: Jacob Mehlhouse, Christopher McRell and Nick Kubesh.

Thanks guys for stopping to allow me to take a picture of you all.  I hope you had a great time at PROM with your dates!  Laura :)


MN has 5th-highest level of binge drinking in US

April 24, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »



MN has 5th-highest level of binge drinking in US – which county is highest?

  • April 24, 2015
  • By Adam Uren

Minnesota has the fifth-highest rate of binge drinking in the United States, a study has found, with North Dakota and Wisconsin home to the nation’s biggest drinkers.

A study of alcohol use in adults above the age of 21 was published this week in the American Journal of Public Health, showing binge and heavy drinking is rising across the country – led by an increase among women.

The data breaks it down state-by-state, county-by-county, and found that Menominee County in Wisconsin has the highest levels of binge drinking in the United States, with 36 percent of residents admitting to bingeing in 2012.

Bingeing is classed as a woman drinking four and a man five alcoholic drinks on a single occasion at least once in the past month. The study tracked drinking levels between 2002 and 2012, and found that bingeing rose by 8.9 percent nationally since 2005.

Which county in Minnesota has the most binge drinkers?

Binge drinking USA
The highest level of binge drinkers in Minnesota are found in Morrison County, between St. Cloud and Brainerd, which has its administrative center in Little Falls. (In the map above, the darker the red, the more prevalent binge drinking is).

The study found that 30.6 percent of residents admitted to binge drinking, with the number of male binge drinkers rising by 10 percent between 2002 and 2012, and 22.5 percent among women, the St. Cloud Times notes.

Morrison County is followed in binge drinking rates by Wilkin County, on the North Dakotan border (29.1 percent), Red Lake County and Marshall County in northwest Minnesota (28.3 and 28.2 percent respectively) and Winona County in southeast Minnesota (27.3 percent).

The lowest levels of binge drinking are in Kandiyohi County, west-central Minnesota (19.7 percent), and the southwest counties of Pipestone (19.9 percent) and Nobles (20.2 percent).

Minnesota’s binge drinking problem

Drinking levels USA Minnesota

The new American Journal of Public Health study found that Minnesota has a higher-than-average amount of alcohol users, with 66.6 percent of the population having had a drink in the previous month, above the national average of 56 percent. (In the map above, the darker the red, the more prevalent any drinking is).

And it has a higher binge drinking rate as well, with 23.6 percent of residents admitting to binge drinking in the previous month in 2012, higher than the national average of 18.3 percent (see graph at below).

Binge drinking

Some 30.2 percent of men in Minnesota admit to binge drinking, while 17.3 percent of women admit the same – the fourth-highest level nationally.

But Minnesota is significantly lower when it comes to heavy and binge drinking compared to North Dakota and Wisconsin, which are first and second with rates of 26.2 and 26.1 percent respectively.

Minnesota’s issues with binge drinking are well known, with a study by the Centers for Disease Control finding that the state has one of the highest levels of alcohol poisoning deaths in the country, and the rise in drinking has caused the state to fall down the rankings of the healthiest places in America.



Prom Prevention Messages w/ Coat & Tie

by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

This year, Coat & Tie who operates out of the Kandi Mall in Willmar, again partnered with us to provide prevention messages to the prom-goers who have rented from them.  A huge thank you to Duane, owner of Coat & Tie for working with us again.  Here is Duane inserting a prom insert into a tuxedo rental.

Duane, who owns Coat & Tie inserts a prom insert into a tux



Here is a close up of the prom insert in the tux pocket!

Prom insert


and a color picture of the prom insert:

Prom - Get Dressed Up, Not Messed Up


Get Dresses up – Not messed up.  A Drug and Alcohol Free Prom…A Memory you can live with!





Study Finds Teens Who Use Marijuana Heavily Have Poor Memories and Brain Abnormalities

March 27, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Study Finds Teens Who Use Marijuana Heavily Have Poor Memories and Brain Abnormalities

A new study by Chicago’s Northwestern University found that teens who use marijuana heavily grow up to have poor memories and also have brain abnormalities, suggesting there could be long-term effects of heavy marijuana use.

Researchers evaluated 97 volunteers with and without some sort of a mental illness. The people surveyed said they’d used marijuana daily starting at age 16 or 17, and said they had not used other drugs.

The daily marijuana users had an abnormally shaped hippocampus, the part of the brain used in storing long-term memory, and performed about 18 percent more poorly on long-term memory tasks, the researchers reported. Previous research by the Northwestern team showed heavy pot smokers had poor short-term and working memory and abnormally shaped brain structures including the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus.

The brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals’ early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana. Young adults who abused cannabis as teens performed about 18 percent worse on long-term memory tests than young adults who never abused cannabis.

“The memory processes that appear to be affected by cannabis are ones that we use every day to solve common problems and to sustain our relationships with friends and family,” said senior author Dr. John Csernansky in a news release.

The study is among the first to say the hippocampus is shaped differently in heavy marijuana smokers and the different looking shape is directly related to poor long-term memory performance. Previous studies of cannabis users have shown either the oddly shaped hippocampus or poor long-term memory but none have linked them.

“Both our recent studies link the chronic use of marijuana during adolescence to these differences in the shape of brain regions that are critical to memory and that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” added lead study author Matthew Smith, also in a news release.

The longer the individuals were chronically using marijuana, the more abnormal the shape of their hippocampus, the study reports. The findings suggest that these regions related to memory may be more susceptible to the effects of the drug the longer the abuse occurs. The abnormal shape likely reflects damage to the hippocampus and could include the structure’s neurons, axons or their supportive environments, researchers concluded.

Participants took a narrative memory test in which they listened to a series of stories for about one minute, then were asked to recall as much content as possible 20 to 30 minutes later. The test assessed their ability to encode, store, and recall details from the stories.
The study also found that young adults with schizophrenia who abused cannabis as teens performed about 26 percent more poorly on the memory tests than young adults with schizophrenia who never abused cannabis.

In the U.S., marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, and young adults have the highest — and growing — prevalence of use.

The study, titled “Cannabis-related episodic memory deficits and hippocampal morphological differences in healthy individuals and schizophrenia subjects,” was published in the journal Hippocampus.


The Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Coalition receives $50,000 from the Otto Bremer Foundation to continue the work of drug prevention.

February 11, 2015 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

The Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Coalition today announced that its drug prevention coalition received a $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The grant allows to the Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Coalition to continue its work to reduce alcohol use by underage youth; reduce tobacco, e-cigarette, and nicotine use; intensify efforts on the newly emerging issue of e-cigarettes; and reduce marijuana use in the various forms (dabs, waxes, vaping, etc.).The coalition addresses a critical need for drug prevention as these are direct issues that drain our county’s resources. 


The Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Coalition is a county-wide community coalition working to establish and strengthen community collaborations that support policies and community norms that serve to reduce youth substance use. Research has shown that for every dollar put into prevention, the community gets $7-$10 back in savings.  “Together, by investing in an effective community-based drug prevention strategy and supporting the adult and youth leaders that carry out this critical work we know that we can have an incredible impact on the lives of the people in our community. We truly believe that youth substance abuse is no one’s fault, but prevention is everyone’s responsibility and that belief drives our prevention efforts.  In the future, we envision a safe and healthy community free of substance abuse among our youth and families in Kandiyohi County.” said Laura Daak, Coalition Coordinator.

About the Otto Bremer Foundation

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities in the places that are homes and neighbors to Bremer banks—communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone’s reach. The Otto Bremer Foundation owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank, and receives an equivalent share of the bank profits that are paid out as dividends. This means that a large portion of bank profit is invested back in local communities through grants and program-related investments.