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Marijuana

New Zealand: Arrests For Drug Use Slightly Up In December

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 08:00
Marlborough Express, 08 Feb 2016 - Marlborough police are finding more drug users and less drug dealers, according to new police data. Police statistical indicators for December showed Marlborough police caught more than twice as many people using illicit drugs in December last year, compared to the previous year.
Categories: Marijuana

CN NF: Life-Changing Leaf

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 08:00
The Telegram, 08 Feb 2016 - Medical marijuana user says doctors discouraged from prescribing; new clinic hopes to alleviate concerns As the country moves towards legalizing marijuana for recreational use, patients in Newfoundland and Labrador are still having trouble accessing the herb for medical use.
Categories: Marijuana

US HI: Lawmakers Consider Industrial Hemp Bill

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 08 Feb 2016 - Hawaii residents say legalizing industrial hemp could spur business ventures ranging from home construction to selling hemp seed candy bars at Hawaii airports. Lawmakers considered a bill Friday that would legalize and set rules for growing industrial hemp. The bill would require growers to register with the state and would clarify the difference between hemp and marijuana.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Seattle's Brash King Of Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 08:00
Seattle Times, 08 Feb 2016 - Just after Uncle Ike's Pot Shop opened in Seattle's Central District, it boasted in an ad, "Our weed cures Ebola." Knowing that merchants in the new industry weren't allowed to make any medical claims about pot, the fine print disclaimer winked: "If you believe this ad, you are a (expletive) moron."
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Column: When Drugs Cloud Your Vision

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 08:00
Daily Press, 07 Feb 2016 - I'm from the generation that fell in love with drugs, I'm sorry to say. Timothy Leary implored us to "turn on, tune in and drop out." Some of my friends did that, though most of them later regretted it.
Categories: Marijuana

US NE: Editorial: Where There's Smoke...

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 08:00
Lincoln Journal Star, 07 Feb 2016 - The recent seizure of hundreds of pounds of marijuana in Lincoln, apparently harvested in states where it can be grown legally, raises the question of how long the country will tolerate the current patchwork of laws. In one case deputies with the Lancaster County Sheriff's Deputies seized 1,517 pounds of pot worth an estimated $7.5 million. The marijuana was stuffed into 39 duffel bags in a rental RV traveling from Oregon, where marijuana can be grown legally, to Georgia.
Categories: Marijuana

US FL: Editorial: As Government Drags Its Feet, Voters Move on

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 08:00
The Palm Beach Post, 07 Feb 2016 - After utterly failing to bring relief even to children with severe epilepsy through a non-narcotic form of marijuana, Florida officials fully deserve the wrath of voters who are on the way to taking matters into their own hands - with a constitutional amendment that would make marijuana available for a wide range of debilitating medical conditions. The medical marijuana amendment has gained enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. It is sponsored by the same folks who fell just short with a similar amendment in 2014. Then, the measure got 58 percent of the vote. This time - in a higher-turnout, presidential election year - the chances of gaining the needed 60 percent seem in the bag.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Attorney Says Pot Raid Target Was A Church

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 07 Feb 2016 - Costa Mesa police say there was nothing to indicate that mall storefront was Native American sanctuary. Police officers who thought they were shutting down a marijuana dispensary in Costa Mesa last month were in fact raiding a Native American church that uses cannabis and other controlled substances in its spiritual ceremonies, according to a lawyer representing the organization's founders.
Categories: Marijuana

US MD: Lawmaker Calls for State to Exit Drug War, Focus on

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 08:00
Washington Post, 07 Feb 2016 - Maryland Del. Dan K. Morhaim on Friday proposed four bills that would radically change the state's approach to dealing with drug problems, in part by removing criminal penalties for low-level possession and adding an emphasis on addiction treatment. One measure would create "safe spaces" for drug use, with facilities that provide sterile injection equipment, medical care and connections to social services.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Editorial: Chico Council Wise to Chill on Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 08:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 07 Feb 2016 - Time is too short to waste it spinning your wheels, especially in local government where every exercise costs staff time and money. The city of Chico avoided one unnecessary fire drill Tuesday and wisely chose to take a wait-and-see attitude on a second one, all related to the always-confusing topic of marijuana regulation.
Categories: Marijuana

US HI: Pot O' Gold

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 06 Feb 2016 - Celebrities, politicians and attorneys vie to get in on the ground floor of an industry forecast to be worth millions Actor Woody Harrelson, Hollywood producer Shep Gordon and dozens of high-profile attorneys, entrepreneurs and politicians are jumping on the opportunity to sell pot in Hawaii. The state Health Department released Friday a list of 66 applicants for eight dispensary licenses that will allow for the opening of Hawaii's first medical marijuana retail centers as early as July 15.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Fed Bill Would Allow MJ Ad Mailings, Far-Reaching MD Bills Filed, More... (2/5/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 22:08

Oregon's federal representatives fight to protect marijuana advertising, medical marijuana and CBD bills are moving in the states, a Maryland delegates files bills for drug treatment on demand, supervised injection sites, opiate maintenance (including heroin), and drug decriminalization -- quite a package! -- and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Oregon Federal Reps File Bill to Allow Published Marijuana Ads. Responding to warnings from the US Postal Service that mailing newspapers or magazines with marijuana advertising is prohibited even in states where it is legal, Oregon's two Democratic senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, have joined with two Democratic House members, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, to file the Marijuana Advertising in Legal States (MAILS) Act (HR 4467). The bill would reverse the USPS policy. "Federal agencies must respect the decisions made by law-abiding Oregonians and small business owners in the state," Wyden said. "Our bill updates the federal approach to marijuana, ending the threat to news publications that choose to accept advertising from legal marijuana businesses in Oregon and other states where voters also have freely decided to legalize marijuana."

Michigan Legalization Campaign Getting Close to Signature Goal. The MILegalize campaign says it has already collected some 240,000 raw signatures and is seeking another 100,000 to ensure a comfortable cushion for invalidated signatures. The state requires 252,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Alabama Bill Would Expand Access to CBD Cannabis Oil. Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison County) has introduced House Bill 61, which would expand access to CBD beyond a limited study program at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The new bill would allow parents with a valid recommendation for CBD cannabis oil to possess it in the state.

Delaware Bill Would Allow CBD Cannabis Oil for Kids in Schools. Sen. Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes) has filed Senate Bill 181, which would allow authorized caregivers to possess and administer CBD cannabis oil to pupils in school as needed.

Utah Medical Marijuana, CBD Cannabis Oil Bills Move. Two medical marijuana-related bills are headed for the Senate floor after winning committee votes. Senate Bill 73, filed by Rep. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), would allow whole plant medical marijuana, while Senate Bill 89, sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City), would expand on CBD cannabis legislation passed last year.

Kratom

Florida Bill to Ban Kratom Advances. A bill that would ban the increasing popular Southeast Asian herb, which some are using as an alternative to opiates or as a means to withdraw from them, has passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. The bill, House Bill 73, would make possession of kratom a misdemeanor. A similar measure seeking to make possession a felony failed last year.

New Synthetic Drugs

Kentucky Bill to Toughen Penalties for New Synthetic Drugs Advances. A bill that would increase penalties for possessing or selling new synthetic drugs has passed the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is House Bill 66.

Drug Policy

Maryland Bill Package Attempts Comprehensive Drug Decriminalization, Harm Reduction Approach. A set of four bills being filed today would upend the way the state deals with drug use and related problems. One bill would provide for drug treatment on demand in emergency rooms and hospital settings, a second bill would allow for safe injection facilities (there are currently none in the US), a third bill would allow for opiate maintenance therapy, including with heroin, and a fourth bill would decriminalize the use and possession of personal use quantities of illicit drugs. The package is being sponsored by Delegate Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County).

Drug Testing

Utah Bill Would Repeal Welfare Drug Testing Law. Since Utah approved a welfare drug testing law, only 47 applicants out of nearly 14,000 have tested positive for drugs. That's enough for Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City) to call for an end to the program. Her House Bill 172 would do just that. It is currently before the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Editorial: Time To Start Talking About Substance Abuse

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 08:00
Mission City Record, 05 Feb 2016 - Whether it's alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs, meth, acid or whatever vice chosen, substance abuse impacts almost everyone you know, one way or another. It may be your brother or sister, your child or parent or even just a person on the street you happen to drive by, but whatever the connection, addiction has touched your life.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: At Bible Study, Weed Brings Revelations

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 08:00
Chicago Tribune, 05 Feb 2016 - Members of Colo. Group Say Pot Strengthens Faith CENTENNIAL, Colo. - As snow began to fall outside, Deb Button snuggled up on her couch, fired up a joint and spoke of the nature of Christ. "Even if Jesus didn't smoke weed, he'd still be a stoner," she said, exhaling a white cloud.
Categories: Marijuana

South Africa: More Adults Are Getting High in the US

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 08:00
The Times, 05 Feb 2016 - MORE US adults are using marijuana now that some states have either decided to decriminalise the use of dagga or legalise the possession of it, a review published yesterday in the Journal of Addiction Medicine says. And data from the US National Survey of Drug Use and Health says marijuana use has increased significantly among US adults in the past decade.
Categories: Marijuana

Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans? [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 04:31

On Wednesday, a group of 21 US senators and representatives sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs calling on it to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend marijuana as medicine in states where it is legal.

[image:1 align:left]The bipartisan effort was led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). All represent medical marijuana states.

Under current VA policy, embodied in VHA Directive 2011-004, which expires Sunday, VA doctors are prohibited recommending marijuana as a treatment option even in legal states. This discourages patients and doctors from being honest with each other.

"According to the current directive, VA providers are prohibited from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran's participation in a state-sanctioned marijuana program. This policy disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other," the solons wrote. "Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal. However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans' access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options."

If patients can't get a recommendation from their VA docs and thus can't access dispensaries, they would be tempted to go elsewhere for recommendations, to doctors "likely far less familiar with their symptoms and medical history," the solons wrote.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]Noting that there has been a "sea change" in the legal framework around marijuana since the directive was issued in 2011, they asked that "upon the directive's expiration, any new directive remove barriers that would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship in states that have chosen to legalize marijuana for medical purposes."

But without a new directive, even though the old one is expiring, it will be the status quo at the VA, said Michael Krawitz, a US Air Force veteran and executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Krawitz participated in the process that led to the production and distribution of the directive.

"VA Directives remain in effect with full force even after expiration unless they are officially replaced or rescinded," he said. "Although I can understand that patients might not know that and might get uneasy about the expiring directive, but in practicality there should be no change in clinical practices caused by the expiration."

While VA patients could be spooked by the expiration, the status quo is unacceptable, said Dr. Sue Sisley, MD, in clinical psychiatry and internal medicine, who has two decades of experience treating veterans and who is set to do a pilot study on medical marijuana and PTSD for veterans.

"I've worked with veterans all over the country who are dealing with severe and chronic, debilitating medical problems," she said. "They just want the treatment that is going to help them the most, with the least side effects. I have seen firsthand the dramatic improvement so many veterans have had while taking cannabis. Not only have they experienced relief from problems such as PTSD, chronic pain, and migraines, but many of them have also been able to break their addiction to more dangerous drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]VA staff physician Deborah Gilman, MD, said current VA policy forces physicians to ignore the science if it conflicts with policy.

"Unlike private practice physicians, VA physicians are under a gag order regarding discussing marijuana with patients," she said. "In other settings, doctors can be honest about their medical opinions regarding treatment options, based on science. In the VA, an administrator can write policy that you can't disagree with without losing your job. Veterans are fearful of losing either their medical benefits or their access to health care if they acknowledge using marijuana. This causes a VA doctor to give you a medical opinion based on the VA regulation, not on the science. I knew many VA doctors whose professional opinion was that cannabis might help some of their patients, but they could never say so in their office or in public."

"There is nothing more sacred in healthcare than the doctor-patient relationship," said Sisley. "Right now we are seeing interference with that coveted relationship. No government policy should come between a doctor and their patients. The only people who should be making medical decisions for veterans are their physicians, not a bureaucrat and not a law enforcement official. These men and women have sacrificed so much for their country. It's only fair that they get the care that they deserve, and have access to the whole range of treatment options."

For Krawitz, it's about getting health care he and countless other vets deserve.

"I suffer from a combination of internal injuries and broken bones leading me to be a perfect candidate for cannabis as an adjunct pain treatment," he explained. "I need to be able to go in and see my VA doctor and have a honest conversation where my doctor feels free to gain knowledge now available through continuing medical education and relay that information to me in writing even if that is the very documentation is what I need to participate in a state medical marijuana program."

Now it's up to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. He's heard from Congress, he's heard from patients, he's heard from doctors and scientists. We'll see if he's listening.

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: MJ Arrests Plummet in NYC & Jamaica, ME May Refelonize Drug Possession, More... (1/4/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 21:34

What a difference a policy change makes! After decrim in Jamaica and actually enforcing decrim in New York City, marijuana arrests plummet in both places, a bill to cut pot penalties advances in Kansas, a bill to refelonize hard drug possession is in play in Maine, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Kansas Senate Approves Cutting Marijuana Penalties. The state Senate Wednesday voted 38-1 to approve House Bill 2049, which lowers marijuana possession penalties. The bill moves first time pot possession from a Class A to a Class B misdemeanor and it moves second-time pot possession from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor. The Senate rejected an effort by Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) to decriminalize marijuana possession.

New York City Marijuana Possession Arrests Plummet. Marijuana possession arrests in the city hit their lowest level in 20 years last year, according to new data released by the State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Some 16,590 people were arrested for pot possession last year, down 42% from the year before and down a whopping 67% from 2011, when more than 50,000 people were arrested. While the arrests are down dramatically, what has not changed is the racial disparity in arrests: 88% of those arrested were black or Latino.

Medical Marijuana

California Governor Signs Bill to Kill Medical Marijuana Decision Deadline. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) Wednesday signed Assembly Bill 21, which will give cities and counties more time to develop local rules for commercial medical marijuana cultivation. An error in last year's statewide medical marijuana regulation bill had imposed a March 1 deadline for localities to act or they would lose control over regulating the grows to the state. More than a hundred cities and counties banned commercial cultivation in recent months as the deadline loomed.

Sentencing

Maine Officials Argue for Refelonizing Drug Possession. State Attorney General Janet Mills Wednesday asked lawmakers to approve a bill, LD 1554, that would refelonize the possession of hard drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine. The legislature last year made first-time drug possession a misdemeanor when the defendant had no previous convictions, but Mills and other administration officials argued that without the threat of a felony conviction and sentence (up to five years)) hanging over their heads, drug users could not be forced into drug treatment. " A felony charge brings with it the possibility of a significant period of probation … along with a long sentence hanging over the person," Mills said. "That kind of potential sentence gives the person an incentive to get into treatment and to demonstrate their commitment to recovery." But Mills is getting pushback from lawmakers. Another working session on the bill is set for next week.

International

Marijuana Legalization Could Cut Mexican Cartel Revenues By One-Quarter, Report Says. Mexico supplies between 30% and 50% of the pot consumed in the US, with the drug cartels raking in between one and two billion dollars a year, but that figure could be cut by up to 26% if legalization proceeds apace in the US, according to a report from the Instituto Belisario Dominguez for the Mexican Senate as it debates marijuana policy this spring. Legalization in Mexico itself "could benefit Mexico because that would increase the financial damage to the cartels, especially the Sinaloa cartel."

Jamaica Ganja Arrests Plummet After Decriminalization. National Security Minister Peter Bunning said Tuesday that police have arrested 14,000 fewer people for marijuana possession since the government decriminalized it last year. He pointed out that arrests have serious consequences, including not being able to get a visa to visit the US and problems with finding employment.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Will Legalization Ignore Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 04 Feb 2016 - The Canadian government legalized medical marijuana more than a decade ago. However, Kamloops physician Ian Mitchell told the Straight that patients still come to him with basic questions and often have no idea where they can find advice about cannabis. "I send them to dispensaries, just because there is nowhere else to go," he said in a telephone interview.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Editorial: Durham Should Be Compensated If Legalized

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Port Perry Star, 04 Feb 2016 - If legalizing marijuana use syphons money away from Durham, the Region should receive compensation from the federal and provincial governments. One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's more eye-catching promises during the last federal election campaign was to legalize marijuana. He has appointed former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to take the lead on the portfolio.
Categories: Marijuana

US VT: OPED: Don't Make Pot Problem Worse

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Rutland Herald, 04 Feb 2016 - Legalization of recreational marijuana use would be to the definite detriment of Vermonters. The pending bill proposing to do so should be resolutely rejected. It is a flawed perception that marijuana "just isn't that bad." Medical science has shown that there are multiple deleterious effects of marijuana, among which are the following: 1) Marijuana use has been shown to be associated with the development of mental health illness including depression, anxiety and paranoia.
Categories: Marijuana
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