The Union: The business behind getting high

Monday, January 21, 2013

American drug demand kills Latin America- playing wackamole.

To get America its drugs it has to be trafficked through many hands and countries until it reaches its destination. According to the Congressional Research Service in 2007, "The State Department estimates that 90% of cocaine entering the United States transits Mexico.” Over 60,000 people have died in Mexico as a result of the drug cartels. Children, mothers, civilians, and anyone trying to stop them, do you think they care?

Specifically, in the western state of Michoacan last November, the Mayor Maria Santo Gorrostieta was kidnapped in broad daylight in front of her daughter. Days later she was found dead in a ravine, hands and feet bound, showing signs of torture and beatings. Prior to this she survived two assassination attempts, the first of which took her husband's life. She still spoke out against cartels "continue fighting, true to my ideals and my convictions, convinced that the truth will make us free.", showing the damages of the second assassination attempt.

The truth is the more and more Latin American countries are bending to the will of the cartels power and influence. The cartel has infiltrated all forms of control insure the success of their trafficking. In a recent story, The Guardian examined Guatemala's response to the newly developed routes of running the drug by land.

Before 2008, The Guardian reports that "the favoured method of transporting drugs from South America to the US was by sea (via the Caribbean or the Pacific) or by air; land-based smuggling was rare."
Now that the air and sea were unsafe to transport drugs "...the concept of the "transit" nations was born – countries in Central America through which drugs were passed en route to the world's largest drugs market, America. "

President of Guatemala, PĂ©rez Molina has spoken out multiple times against the "War on Drugs" since he took office last year; calling it a failure and pressing the international community to "end the taboo of debating decriminalization."

In an interview with the Observer, Molina stated:

"Drug traffickers have been able to penetrate the institutions in this country by employing the resources and money they have. We are talking about the security forces, public prosecutors, judges. Drug money has penetrated these institutions and it is an activity that directly threatens the institutions and the democracy of countries."
He continued, 
"A message should be sent to the leaders of the countries with the biggest drug markets. They must think not only of their country, but rather of the context of what is happening in the world, in regions such as Central America, where this destruction, this weakening of democracy, is happening. They must be open to recognising that the struggle against drugs, in the way it has been conducted, has failed. That is a fact, a fact that can be analysed after 40 years."
This is how every American should be looking at the "War on Drugs", as a global effort which affects the lives of millions. Now after two states have legalized marijuana, the paradox grows as we sell marijuana yet import it from this drug trafficking.
Photograph: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images/The Guardian

President Molina is the first head of state to sign the Beckley Foundation Letter, which declares the international failure of drug policy and which seeks reform. President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos has also signed. As well as former president Jimmy Carter of America, and the presidents of Brazil, Switzerland and Poland. And many more scholars, politicians, artists, full list found here

America is behind the curb and our ignorance to acknowledge the devastation toward other nations will go down in history. Because we can't keep our noses and veins clean we need end the 'War on Drugs' for everyone involved.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Obama Factor and Bank Funding Cartel Ignorance

On November 6th, 2012, I had the awesome privilege of personally seeing President Barack Obama give his acceptance speech at McCormick Place in Chicago among thousands of others.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.
 The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.  

Not to pigeon whole this quote to make a statement and remove its context; I love this quote, but one area we are failing to look at is the effects from our drug policies on a global scale, and our failure to prosecute big banks who give money to cartels--which I cover later on.

As majority of you know two states made historic strides by legalizing marijuana for adult consumption. Amendment 64 passed in Colorado and I-502 in Washington approving personal use of cannabis for users over the age of 21 and possession up to an once.

Continual American support grows for legalization and support for state right's especially in the area of medical marijuana according to a recent YouGov poll taken December 5th&6th for Huffington Post.


And technically, the federal government doesn't have the power to instantly overthrow all the power of the states toward sovereignty laws. For example, the federal government cannot tell a state they themselves cannot decriminalize a particular substance, but the ethical debate begins with whether or not a state within the federal domain can regulate a substance which is federally banned but state approved.

However, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have both been receiving media coverage lately for comments regarding the state of drug prohibition. First for Mr. Clinton for comments he made toward his administrations involvement with Colombia in a documentary before this election, and Carter during a panel discussion on CNN Tuesday night on the topic of marijuana legalization:
“I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK...I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet, but I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington, for instance around Seattle, and let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.”

Overall there is a growing sentiment for a smarter approach to our drug policies. Old school ways of thinking now replaced by a more integrated set of thinking: legalize, regulate and benefit for the common good. Amendment 64 in Colorado plans to do just that, the first $40 million dollars of tax revenue generated is set to go to Colorado schools. It is a culture changing and spreading in a positive light in most directions. For instance, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper passed and signed Amendment 64 December 10, and appointed a diverse staff to oversight the implementation and discussion regarding cannabis as a legal substance. Comprised of both parties, various representatives from health and safety sectors as well as an agricultural representative to say the least.

The Obama Factor and Bank Funding Cartel Ignorance

A fair amount of time passed before President Obama or the Justice Department spoke about the recent state legalization efforts until recently. Obama for now seems to respect state's rights saying, "we've got bigger fish to fry" in an interview with Barbra Walters, he continued, "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal." Dandy.

But let me turn you to a quote the media is overlooking and its underrated, why you may ask? It is a direct contradiction to the current administrations efforts to look at the global impact of drug trafficking i.e. how these cartels got their money from a large bank. Obama said in the same interview:

"When you're talking about drug kingpins, folks involved in violence, people who are peddling hard drugs to our kids and our neighborhoods that are devastated, there is no doubt we need to go after those folks hard," 
Well you could have, but your Justice Department failed and so did you. Recently a mammoth of the banking industry, HSBC:Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, a British company, dodged an indictment for laundering billions of dollars to Mexican cartels and groups linked to al-Qaeda. $800 million supposedly went to the cartels but the bank avoided prosecution by paying a meager 2 months profit equivalent of $1.9billion. They violated two acts: the Trading with the Enemy Act, and the Bank Secrecy Act in which they improperly supervised $9 billion dollars.

So really what we have here is a situation of banks who are too big the fail in the sense that they cannot be caught. No one was put into jail for this, yet everyday thousands of Americans are sent to jail for drug arrests. Meanwhile, we go after the small guy and ignore the implications of failing to do proper justice. Obama means well and I agree with him we need to protect children from drugs and can ABSOLUTELY do more on a public health side.

What the U.S. government and Justice Department need to consider is that it is not just domestic drug problems we need to focus on. I wrote earlier in September how current Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, called on the United States to look for alternatives if they could not curb their drug demand. Obama, I was there in Chicago the night you won-- I shared your space for the second time in my life, I voted for you, and yet I can't help but feel you are neglecting the truth in favor of preserving our status quo.

Our state governments have spoken, Feds, it is your time to step up and acknowledge the global problems of trafficking caused by the drug war and American drug demand. American ignorance breeds us to believe it is all domestic, I am calling on the federal government to recognize our failure to hold those responsible who fuel the cartel--which has killed over 60,000 people, even if it is a banking institution or in some cases, our own government. (See Operation: Fast and Furious)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mexico, Canada, Uruguay call for end of prohibition

In the U.S. our demand for illicit drugs continues to rise amid foreign concerns regarding our international policies toward prohibition. Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in late September saying "The United Nations should lead a global debate over a less "prohibitionist" approach to drug policy."One of the points he raised was the fact that US demand for drugs causes global trafficking of narcotics by organized crime which is problematic for countries like Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Calderon proposed the idea of looking for alternatives to the global 'prohibitionist' measures if US drug demand did not decrease.
But there is no doubt that much more must be done, particularly when I -- when it comes to monitoring the financial operations of criminals' organizations in the U.S. and reducing American demand for drugs. We need to have a coordinated on both initiatives to get to the root of this problem -- (inaudible) -- increasing demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. As long as this market continues growing, money will keep flowing to the pocket of the criminal. Source.
No doubt it creates problems for other nations, under the six years Calderon has been in office more than 60,000 people have died from the Mexican cartels. Organized crime runs rampart, flourishing from unregulated black markets with profits seeming endless. Thankfully for the intervention of America via Operation Fast and Furious the cartels got more fuel for their fire and continued to ravage onward.
The purpose of the operation, known internally as "Fast and Furious," was to crack down on the trafficking of illegal guns across the U.S. border to drug cartels in Mexico. Beginning in late 2009, when ATF agents would let the guns "walk" and keep track of where they ended up.
It didn't quite work out as planned.
According to some estimates, under the operation more than 1,700 guns, including AK-47s, flowed from the U.S. to Mexican cartels, and ATF agents lost track of most of them. Source
Clearly going after the cartel and targeting the weapons is not the way to remove the violence:we need to look at the drugs. President Calderon in his address to the Council on Foreign Relations stated if we cannot curb demand we must look to alternatives.
Now, let me be honest. You really want to think about a real -- another alternative? I cannot see any one different from to think about the regulation of drugs in the global market, starting here in the U.S. That is reason why I say if we are not able or you are not able to reduce the demand for drugs in a dramatic way, you need to think in different alternatives. And you have the duty to analyze any other alternatives in order to stop the flow of money towards the hands of the criminals. And that implies to analyze even market alternatives for that, because if you want to talk about the real different way to do these things, that is the only one.
Mexico and the countries in South America are not alone. Kash Heed who is a former law enforcement official is now a sitting provincial politician who supports legalization and regulation for Canada. He is now an advocate for a British Columbia group called "Stop the Violence". More details on his address from their website.
The point I am making is that the U.S is not alone, in fact we are far behind the discussions in other countries. The prohibition on drugs has long lasting global affects on everyone; especially those who are jailed, killed by organized crime, are victims of human trafficking and those with drug abuse problems. Repealing prohibition can fix all of these issues by taking the power from the black market and regulating it in such a way that gives control to the state.

Uruguay for example is the first country to consider full legalization in order to steer users away from cocaine and pasta basica, which is similar to crack. The United States needs to take more action and it is up to us, the public, to tell our representatives how we feel.

The House I Live In is a 2012 Sundance film festival winner of the Grand Jury prize which shows the impact the drug war has on our people. I have not seen the film yet, and I am not able to tonight because I will be in class (tonight is the last night its showing in Chicago--whoops). But this film gives life to the real reason any of this prohibition or legalization talk should even be spoken. As Americans we incarcerate the most people per million than any other nation. This is the new front for the civil rights movement, its the reason the NAACP backed Amendment 64 in Colorado. There is a large disparity between the people using and the people serving time--and people are rewarded for it. Private prisons, bonuses for officers who remove drugs off the street, an entire market based around imprisoning people and removing them from their communities. If we arrested white kids in the suburbs for the same drug offenses, then maybe we would see more of an interest--but we don't and the story rolls on.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Feds to review marijuana classification

Feds are to review their stance on medical marijuana on October 16th in a historic case. I was originally writing the DEA's view on marijuana analyzing their viewpoints, but now this recent announcement puts to question all of the evidence...I'm questioning. It has been 20 years since a challenge has been issued to the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance, e.g. no medical value and high risk of dependency.
News story Drug Enforcement Agency v. Americans for Safe Access

The views of the government against marijuana are based in this document on the medical validity of smoking marijuana and nothing else.  Initially the document on the DEA's website disputes claims of medical marijuana, but I want to stop there.

Is alcohol legal because it has any medicinal value? No? Never taken 5 shots of wiskey and had your cancer cured? Prohibition of marijuana should not solely rest on the argument on whether or not smoking marijuana has any medicinal value. Is the argument to prove medical validity of smoking marijuana or the fact that prohibition ties up many lives in prison by drug charges with massive amounts of money wasted in processing these charges? I guess its big brother's decision, not me the lowly peasant class, bow down to America the God.

The DEA cites many, many medical organizations but the ultimate statement they want to reinforce is
discount the notion that smoked marijuana is or can become “medicine.”
Again, this is a game of semantics, notice the wording of smoked. The cannabinoids themselves do have medicinal value and various ones are proven to be useful, please consult my canninboids article.
This DEA article then goes on to cite the fact that 111 research organizations are registered with the DEA, 14 of which are investigating the use of smoking marijuana.

The DEA then brings up two currently approved medicines,  Marinol®&Sativex®, and an anecdote which the DEA uses to paint the image of people mistaking marijuana for medicine--outweighing the fact that this 14 year old girl overdosed on ecstasy.

The legalization movement is not simply a harmless academic exercise. The mortal danger of thinking that marijuana is “medicine” was graphically illustrated by a story from California. In the spring of 2004, Irma Perez was “in the throes of her first experience with the drug Ecstasy... when, after taking one Ecstasy tablet, she became ill and told friends that she felt like she was...‘going to die’... Two teenage acquaintances did not seek medical care and instead tried to get Perez to smoke marijuana. When that failed due to her seizures, the friends tried to force-feed marijuana leaves to her, “apparently because [they] knew that drug is sometimes used to treat cancer patients.” Irma Perez lost consciousness and died a few days later when she was taken off life support. She was 14 years old.
Tragic. How do we prevent these occurrences? More prohibition policy? No. Limiting access clearly does not work, people will navigate all channels to pursue their desire to achieve the drug of choice. Education is the answer. We need to increase audience intellect by enacting the central processing which will allow teens to make better decisions toward drugs (though formal operational thinking is developed until the late teens). I think the government is missing the fact that this 14 year old girl first took ecstasy, another Schedule Class 1 drug, which kills more people than marijuana overdoses in 20EVER--ZERO.

I'm trying not to cherry pick a 63 page document, but after this section the DEA starts to analyze the pro legalization movement and the progress various states and cities have made in recent years. In a letter from a doctor of a substance abuse clinic to the Denver Post,
  • “About 95 percent of the hundreds of young people referred to my clinic each year have problems with marijuana. I see teenagers who choose pot over family, school, friends and health every day. When they’re high, these young people make poor choices that lead to unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, school dropouts and car accidents that harm people. When teenagers are withdrawing from marijuana, they can be aggressive and get into fights or instigate conflicts that lead to more trouble.”
I can agree that teen use results in many problems, but we need to address those issues in its core argument of prohibition. Another footnote of the DEA article talked about the notion of increased THC rates in "new strains" over the years. So much so that DEA believed a broadcasting outlet's stance on cannabis, in Britain, was credible enough to add to their document. Though this article is the newspaper denouncing cannabis, I noticed a great solution to curb teen drug use. We can adopt this philosophy into a legalization model.
Young people caught in possession of cannabis could be treated in much the same way as those arrested for drink driving -- fined, required to attend classes on the dangers of drug use and threatened with loss of their driving licence for repeat offences. Source
The rest of the document on the DEA website contains evidence for debate among the physical and psychological affects of cannabis. They support the falsehood of the marijuana "Gateway Theory" e.g. smoking cannabis increases the likelihood of other drug use. Ever heard of under age drinking leading to anything bad?

This is the final icing on the cake of lies by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"Marijuana takes the risks of tobacco and raises them.  Marijuana smoke contains more than 
400 chemicals and increases the risk of serious health consequences, including lung damage."

Out of the thousands of research studies covering cigarettes and tobacco in general, the numerous links of cancer to smoking cigarettes, three out of four of my grandparents dead from lung cancer; the nerve of the government to suggest that marijuana, albeit a carcinogen, is MORE deadly than the destruction of cigarettes? Perhaps it isn't fair to make assumptions but from the logic of cannabis being more deadly than alcohol or tobacco is ingrained in the framework of the DEA.

October 16th will hopefully be a historic date in which the government has the opportunity to make up for its last 75 years of prohibition. To admit wrong and change the classification of cannabis the government can start the process of more sensible policy. Too many people are hurt by cannabis arrests, yes DEA, also the children of those whom you arrest.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Poverty in Chicago, end prohibition and create jobs

I just watched the documentary called "Poverty in Chicago", filmed in 2006, which followed poverty across the city of Chicago with an emphasis on the south side. My takeaway is that hard drugs are ruining the lives of these people, but I should be careful not to establish this as the only framework used. I watched for 40 minutes as communities were shown torn by poverty and drugs. Lacking education, many drop out of school because they don't see the point. Even if they do stay in school there are a lack of available jobs in the area, many teens are saved by taking jobs at McDonalds or Subway according to one man in the video. It is a complex issue I can't quite cover in one paragraph or work, but we need to stop demonizing this community.

"Poverty in Chicago" Documentary Program from Brian Schodorf on Vimeo.

A document called "Children of the Drug Trade"-A case study of children in organized armed violence in Rio De Janerio. This 265 page document caused me to make a few connections to Chicago and the history of gangs.
Drug traffickers benefit poor favela communities by providing work
for thousands of otherwise unemployed people and a huge cash injection
into the community
The fact is these people on the southside have limited job opportunities to seek and as a result some, especially those that are young, turn to selling drugs. The community on some level depends on these gangs to provide resources because they are the ones gaining the most, if anything significant, by way of drug trades. This was more prevalent during the Chicago Housing Authority projects such as Cabrini Green for example, and I can't fully speak about the present conditions elsewhere on the southside because I am far removed from it at the moment. In "Poverty in Chicago", the filmmaker follows a man to show a drug trade; he returns with what I assume is one hit of heroin costing approximately $10. The film really shows the devastation these hard drugs have on individuals and their well being. Prohibition does not stop the illicit drug trade. "Limiting drug availability is the key goal of any prohibition regime." And a goal for a governing body should be to improve the standard of living of those who struggle and suffer.

Speaking as a white northsider, there is definitely a stigmatization of the poorer areas including the Chicago Housing Authority projects and the occupants of those areas. Businesses don't want to invest in those areas, consumers aren't exactly lining up to go to 45th and Western. So again I turn it back to what I can currently try to do. Write words and post images!
The above graph is brought to you by an organization across the pond called "Transform Drug Policy Foundation." It demonstrates the fact that a lack of regulation creates more harm than not, and it also supports my earlier article stating decriminalization is the step in the right direction albeit not far enough.

Regulation of an entirely new market will create opportunities for new jobs. Growers, caretakers, distributors, transporters, salesman within dispensaries, regulating industries such as GLACA, doctors prescribing doses, schools and new "D.A.R.E"-like program requiring teachers educating our youth about the facts about drugs, and researchers examining the properties of cannabis. This is just a small list of how a large new economy can emerge. For more details on the specifics of the money behind cannabis, consult the documentary I have posted on the top of my page, "The Union: The Business Behind Getting High."

All in all, this city's poor have been plagued by crack and heroine and the continued failure of our society to end prohibition. By regulating marijuana, we can seek to create jobs and look at one facet to restore those community members back to full strength. We can lower the rates of drug use among harder drugs and instill better forms of rehab with the revenue from taxing marijuana. This isn't a one fix solution but by fixing our prohibition rules we can definitely make a positive impact on the lives of many instead of ignoring their silent pleas for help.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Prohibition leads to seeking horrible alternatives

I'm hoping right now as I write this that synthetic alternatives to marijuana such as spice and bath salts are simply a fad passed by. People I knew after graduation would smoke K-2 and spice because they were getting drug tested or they were already on probation. Although bath salts took on after I left the homeland and are much more severe. However, for the time being this epidemic is growing as one by product of the War on Drugs.

Not for human consumption, or bears.

In 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received only about 300 reports relating to the usage of “bath salts,” a man-made substance available across the country that, if consumed, can cause extreme side-effects. By the end of 2011, poison control received an additional 6,000 calls about the drug and now, after a rash of bizarre incidents where the substance was believed to play a role, bath salt abuse is becoming a nation-wide epidemic. Source

The new zombie craze definitely calls attention to our new found designer drug. Bath salt Miami incident.Though a toxicology report later suggested there we no bath salts present, only marijuana--which, lets be clear, does not solely make a person consume a person's face. However, there have been many other cases this year linked to bath salts and violent attacks. Some of the side effects of bath salts include: psychosis, agitation, and paranoia to name a few. DEA description of bath salts.

Lovely couple, gives the Royal couple some competition

Thankfully, Obama signed off on a measure to effectively end the distribution of synthetics now mostly online, and eliminate interstate trading discouraging users to go across state lines to obtain the drug. Obama signs bill. The law also lists 31 compounds that are now banned, 20 from a list of synthetic marijuana variants and 10 of the bath salt. Typically in the past, when a compound was outlawed the producers of the synthetics were able to change the chemical make up and pass it off without any concern. Now the law dictates for banned compounds which produce similar effects to pre-emptively be banned, allowing officers to make arrests without the need for new legislation. What was once reported as a 121$ billion dollar industry by Jeffrey A. Miron of Harvard and the Cato Institute seems to be crumbling into ruins.

The final note of this TIMES article has some merit for discussion apart from their outlandish title revealing the toxicology report of the famed 'bath salt zombie'.
If we want to prevent such violence, we need to focus on its genuine causes, not sensational claims about what drugs “make” people do.
The genuine causes are those of the failed efforts of the War on Drugs. Prohibition clearly does not work and creates more bad than good. With Alcohol Prohibition in the 1930's you had spinoffs from alcohol such as moonshine and sterno or "canned heat"; which was made by using a filter and handkerchief often leading to poisonous results if not a lethal dose. Now in the late 20th and early 21st century, prohibition along with technology has led us to manipulate once non lethal drugs (not referring to meth, cocaine) into scientific chaos. Many hospitalizations and deaths have occurred as a result of these formerly unregulated substances.

The TIMES article author states "but current policies didn’t keep marijuana away from a seriously mentally ill man either," citing mental illness as a major factor in the Miami bath salt incident apart from drug use. Since this article, Obama has signed the bill regulating the 31 compounds. Although, Sen. Rand Paul speaks in opposition toward the bill stating restrictions on the chemical compounds will  "hinder legitimate medical and pharmaceutical research on them." 

And he's right. For now research is ongoing studying the effects of different cannabinoids and their properties both good and bad. There is much more to research when analyzing individual cannibinoids. Good: HU-210 linked with neurogenesis in the brain. Bad: JWH-018 spice which leads to many nasty things. Both of these are synthetic cannabinoids, where as cannabis contains over a hundred natural cannabinoids which work synergistically. A large database of clinical applications of cannabis and cannabinoids can be seen here.
In the PDF provided by NORML the breakdown of the ongoing research for each of the diseases listed above is detailed with citations. The medical validity outweighs completely dismissing the ongoing research into medical marijuana as well as individual cannabinoids. The fact that a few synthetic alternatives can be abused and mass produced speaks to our emphasis and current drug habits. Prohibition sets up a system in which the then legal and synthetic trump the illegal and natural.

Friday, September 21, 2012

For science: Debunking the latest cannabis studies

Research studies are always in process whether that be the initial research or a final peer review before publishing. It seems everyday scientists across the world are making new discoveries regarding cannabis. The first two studies exemplify the rational needed to create safe legalization laws for our citizens. Specifically, why there is a need to outlaw consuming marijuana before the age of 18 (at least).
1."Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife."Source. CBS provides the laymen terms,"Smoking marijuana regularly as a teen may lower IQ scores as an adult." Source.

 Memes make excellent text spacers- its like I'm on
The study measured 1,037 individuals from age 13 at intervals of 18, 21, 26, 32, and finally 38 years, tracking patterns of use. This is a summary from their abstract.
Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education. Informants also reported noticing more cognitive problems for persistent cannabis users. Impairment was concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users, with more persistent use associated with greater decline.
Make note of this final bit:
Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users.
Basically, if a teenager starts smoking early in adolescence there is an increased risk in cognitive decline. And if a adolescent-onset user stopped, it would not make up for lost IQ. My policy opinion would be to delay the access to the drug until the brain is fully developed. Also this image sums it up nicely.

2. "Heavy teenage cannabis use linked with anxiety disorders in late 20s" Source The study concludes that users in their teens are twice as likely than non-users to develop an anxiety disorder in their late 20's, even if they stop using. The findings are also interesting because even after not using for years, there is an association between teen use and development of anxiety disorders even after a decade of cessation. Why? Professor Patton, lead investigator on the project,
“During the teen years the parts of the brain that are involved in managing emotions are still developing rapidly and it is highly possible that heavy cannabis use at this sensitive point could have long lasting effects.”
What is known is that the brain is in development in these critical years and the use of marijuana affects aspects of the brain.

3. "Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects"Source. Hippocampus helps in memory formation, storage and organization. Neurogenesis is the ability to generate new neurons.
Before you draw the conclusion that marijuana makes you smarter, "420 smoke weed e'erday", there needs to be clarification on exactly what these researchers are measuring. Can you tell me what a cannabinoid is? Soon.
Shamefully stolen from wikipedia (but its so concise!)Cannabinoid
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors. These include the endocannabinoids (produced naturally in the body by humans and animals),the phytocannabinoids(found in cannabis and some other plants), and synthetic cannabinoids (produced chemically by humans). The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis. However, there are known to exist numerous other cannabinoids with varied effects.
Cannabinoids are any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis.Source
 HU-210 listed above-because we all knew what it looked like, right?

HU-210 is the synthetic cannabinoid in question. Researchers tested the hypothesis if Hu-210 and the endocannabinoid, natural-cannabinoid, AEA are
"able to promote hippocampal neurogenesis, leading to the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects of cannabinoids."
There are two receptors in which cannabinoids bind with, HU-210 binds with both CB1--brain and CB2--peripheral.
They found that these two compounds
both HU210 and the endocannabinoid AEA promote proliferation [growth of cells] of embryonic hippocampal NS/PCs[neural stem/progenitor cells] without significant effects on their differentiation[specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell type], resulting in more newborn neurons.
My added brackets for clarification.

"Most 'drugs of abuse' suppress neurogenesis," Dr. Zhang of University of Saskatchewan says. "Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis." Depression may be sparked when too few new brain cells are grown in the hippocampus, scientists believe. It is unclear whether anxiety is part of this process but, if true, HU-210 could offer a treatment for both mood disorders by stimulating the growth of new brain cells."

The study also states that cannabis is the only illegal drug which increases neurogenesis. There are many useful cannabinoids which are being isolated and researched to show their effects. However, I want to conclude and mention that many of these synthetic marijuana alternatives have the potential for abuse, namely, JWH-018 (spice). But I will write about those potentially next time.