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US MN: Should Marijuana Be Medicine, Locals Ask

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 07:00
The Free Press, 15 Mar 2014 - Medicinal Marijuana Debate Continues in Legislature Rachael Nelson is 11 years old, and her Mankato family has tried everything to stop the seizures. Diets, medication, even a nerve stimulator implanted in her chest. Not only did the drugs not stop her seizures, they had nasty side effects, like vomiting and drowsiness so bad she couldn't go to school. One drug made her seizures worse and another stopped her breathing.
Categories: Marijuana

US MN: New Ulm Man Challenges Pot Arrest

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 07:00
The Free Press, 15 Mar 2014 - NEW ULM -- A New Ulm man is challenging his February arrest for a marijuana growing operation that was discovered in his house. He filed a motion to dismiss his case Wednesday in Brown County District Court. Jon Hansen II, 33, of New Ulm is charged with felony fourth-degree and fifth-degree controlled substance sale, felony fifth-degree controlled substance possession and petty misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession.
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US WA: Medical Marijuana Bill Dies As Washington State Awaits

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 15 Mar 2014 - SEATTLE - Legislation aimed at bringing Washington State's largely unregulated medical marijuana system under state control, which state officials have said is crucial to maintaining order as the legalized sale of recreational marijuana begins this year, died late Thursday night without a vote as the House and Senate adjourned. "I'm taken aback," said Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, after the Legislature concluded its regular session for the year with the legislation still on the calendar. "Many people at the last moment apparently did not want a bill."
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US MD: Md. Senate Bill Eases Marijuana Penalties

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 15 Mar 2014 - Small Amounts Would Be Handled Like Traffic Ticket; House Will Weigh in Next The Maryland Senate on Friday approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates, where its prospects are uncertain.
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US: Government Approves Pot Study

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar 2014 - The Move May Signal a Turning Point Toward Wider Research on Medical Marijuana WASHINGTON - The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug.
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US CO: Huge Turnout At Denver Pot Job Fair

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar 2014 - More Than 1,200 People Seek to Fill About 150 Jobs in Colo. Marijuana Industry. Looking for a job as a bud-tender? Get in line. More than 1,200 people - nearly half from out of state - flocked this week to what was billed as the first marijuana-industry job fair, said organizers of the Denver event.
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Maryland Senate Okays Marijuana Decriminalization

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 21:59

The Maryland Senate today overwhelmingly approved a marijuana decriminalization bill with bipartisan support. It now heads to the House of Delegates.

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Chronicle AM -- March 14, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 20:31

No legalization for Maryland this year, the ASA national conference is coming soon, Utah (!) passes a package of policing reform bills, welfare drug testing goes down in flames in Indiana, the Swiss ponder cannabis clubs, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Michigan Activists Plan Slew of Local Reform Initiatives. Marijuana reform activists are planning "a tsunami move in November 2014," with plans to put initiatives aimed at legalizing or decriminalizing possession, use or transfer of small amounts of marijuana on private property by persons 21 or older on the local ballot in at least eight towns and cities, and perhaps a dozen more. The Safe Michigan Coalition, the folks behind successful initiatives in Lansing, Ferndale, and Jackson last year, are also behind this effort.

NORML PAC Endorses Tommy Wells for DC Mayor. NORML PAC, the campaign and lobbying arm of NORML, announced today that it is endorsing Councilman Tommy Wells for mayor of Washington, DC. "Councilman Wells is a passionate crusader for the cause of marijuana law reform," stated NORML PAC manager Erik Altieri, "Wells showed his skill and acumen for the issue when he championed the District's marijuana decriminalization measure, which was overwhelmingly approved by the DC City Council just this month. The District of Columbia would greatly benefit from having his compassion, knowledge, and strong leadership in the mayor's office. Under a Tommy Wells administration, DC will continue to roll back its failed prohibition on marijuana and move towards a system of legalization and regulation."

Maryland Legalization Bill Dies, But Decriminalization Bill Still Lives. A bill that would have legalized marijuana in Maryland, House Bill 880 from Rep. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore), died for lack of support in committee yesterday, but a decriminalization bill, Senate Bill 364, filed by Sen. Robert Zirkin (D-Montgomery) passed the Senate and is now before the House Judiciary Committee.

Colorado Appeals Court Rules Some Marijuana Convictions Can Be Thrown Out. Some people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can ask for those convictions to be thrown out under the law that legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, the state's second-highest court ruled Thursday. The Colorado Court of Appeals said people whose cases were under appeal when Amendment 64 on recreational marijuana took effect in December 2012 are eligible to have their convictions reversed. The case is Colorado v. Brandi Jessica Russell.

Medical Marijuana

ASA National Conference in Washington, DC, April 5-7. The country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), formally announced today its second annual Unity Conference, "Navigating Medical Cannabis in the Mainstream," to be held in Washington, DC on April 5-7, 2014. The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. Click on the links for more details.

Washington Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill Dies. A legislative effort to roll Washington's medical marijuana program into its I-502 legal marijuana system has died at the last minute after House Republicans tried to use it to divert a share of marijuana tax revenue to cities and counties. Senate Bill 5887 sponsor Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) said the bill was doomed by "immovable positions" even after a last-minute push by the governor. The bill would have required existing dispensaries to either get legal under I-502 or close, would have ended collective gardens, and would have reduced the amount of marijuana patients could possess and the number of plants they could grow.

Utah CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Legislature. A bill that would allow children with epilepsy to use CBD cannabis oil has passed the legislature and now heads for the governor's desk. House Bill 105 won final approval in the House Thursday.

Drug Testing

Pre-Job Offer Drug Tests Violate ADA, Federal Court Rules. Pre-offer drug tests to determine the use of both legal and illegal drugs violates the Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) prohibition on pre-offer medical inquiries, a federal court in Pennsylvania ruled last week. The ADA contains an exception for tests solely "to determine the illegal use of drugs," but the court held that the urine drug screens qualified as medical exams because they tested not just for drugs but also for other medical purposes. The case is EEOC v. Grane Healthcare Co. and Ebensburg Care Center, LLC, d/b/a Cambria Care Center.

Indiana Welfare Drug Testing Bill Dies on Ties Vote in Senate. A bill to drug test welfare recipients suspected of using drugs died last night on a dramatic tie vote in the Senate. Senate Bill 1351 had already passed the House by a margin of 81-17, but Senate opponent said the measure unfairly targeted poor people and that other states that have adopted such programs have found they were not cost effective.

Law Enforcement

Utah Legislature Passes Policing Reform Bills. Three bills to impose some controls on law enforcement have been sent to the governor's desk in Utah. House Bill 70 originally would have limited the use of "dynamic entry" search warrants to situations involving violent crime, but was watered down. It still, however, imposes some restrictions on such searches. Senate Bill 185 would require police agencies with SWAT teams to report on why and how often they are used. Only Maryland has approved a similar law. And House Bill 185 requires police to obtain a warrant before searching the contents of a cell phone, including bulk data collection through technologies like Stingray.

Drugged Driving

Drugged Driving Bill Passes Vermont House. A bill that makes it easier for police to charge drivers with drugged driving passed the House Thursday. House Bill 501 changes existing law to use the same definition of "under the influence"of drugs as has been established for alcohol. Under current law, drugged driving can only be proven if someone drives unsafely, but the proposed law would change that to enable a conviction "when the person is under the influence of any other drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug." The state Supreme Court has held that any drug presence constitutes "under the influence." The bill now heads to the Senate.

International

Swiss Cities Consider Backing Cannabis Clubs. Municipal governments in at least five Swiss cities are considering plans to allow "cannabis clubs" or user associations. Local governments in Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, and Zurich are contemplating the move, with Geneva taking the lead. A working group will present a final proposal to authorities in June, but the move would require changes in federal law.

British Deaths From New Synthetics "Inflated," Former Drug Advisors Say. The National Program on Substance Abuse Deaths (NSPAD) reported 68 deaths in 2012 from the use of "legal highs" or new synthetic drugs, but two former government drug advisors say that figure includes many deaths from substances that "are already illegal, not new, and/or not psychoactive." Professor David Nutt and Dr. Les King of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs said only 11 of the 68 deaths actually occurred with new synthetics. "What is certain is that if the current government review of legal highs is to be taken seriously and lead to health improvements then there must be a proper definition of terms and improved data collection," they said. "Moreover the data must be properly and independently audited so the effects of any change in the law can be properly evaluated."

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Financing Abounds For Medical Marijuana Startups

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 14 Mar 2014 - Canada's new medical marijuana industry is set to make history on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Tweed Inc., among the first ten companies licensed by the federal government to produce and distribute pot, is in the final stages of approval for a listing on the TSX Venture Exchange.
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UK: Editorial: Compound Interest

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
Independent, 14 Mar 2014 - Legal Highs Blow Yet Another Hole in Our Drugs Policy Professor David Nutt is rocking the boat once again.The former chief drugs adviser to the Government, who was sacked in 2009 after saying that tobacco and alcohol are more harmful than some illicit substances, has now added his name to a letter to The Lancet raising questions about the perceived dangers of so-called legal highs. In fact, many of the recorded fatalities were caused by substances that were already illegal, Professor Nutt and Dr Leslie King claim.
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US: Congress Hears a New Cannabis Pitch: It's Just Good

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 14 Mar 2014 - The delegation from the National Cannabis Industry Association made a point of dressing well for its day on Capitol Hill, sporting mostly dark suits, lots of ties and plenty of the group's signature lapel pins, which feature a sun rising over vibrant fields of marijuana. Marijuana advocates have come to lobby Washington before, often to argue for more lenient treatment under federal law. But on Thursday, buoyed by a flurry of state decisions that have expanded the legal use of marijuana, the cannabis crowd came less as social activists than as entrepreneurs, asking Congress to remove some of the obstacles that stand in the way of their fledgling businesses.
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US: Anti-Drug Effort Said To Falter

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 14 Mar 2014 - Its leader says the Southern Command lacks resources to do the job. Dwindling defense budgets have been a boon to drug trafficking networks in Latin America as U.S. intelligence and interdiction assets in the Caribbean have been pared down, the top American commander responsible for the region said Thursday. "Because of asset shortfalls, we're unable to get after 74 percent of suspected maritime drug smuggling," Marine Gen. John F. Kelly told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing about threats and military posture in the Western Hemisphere. "I simply sit and watch it go by."
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US MD: Marijuana Hearings Reflect A Shift In Public Opinion

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 14 Mar 2014 - An NAACP leader, a former Maryland State Police major, a candidate for governor and a mother seeking to help her son with epilepsy converged Thursday on Annapolis to support more liberal marijuana laws. A number of bills, backed by lawmakers from a range of philosophical backgrounds, are moving through the General Assembly this year as a broader swath of the electorate has embraced legalizing or decriminalizing the drug.
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US: G.O.P. Moving to Ease Its Stance on Sentencing

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 14 Mar 2014 - WASHINGTON - Not that long ago, criminal justice reform in a conservative place like Texas meant executing prisoners with lethal injection instead of the electric chair. Now, leading Republicans are saying that mandatory minimum sentences in the federal system have failed - too costly, overly punitive and ineffective. So they are embracing a range of ideas from Republican-controlled states that have reduced prison populations and brought down the cost of incarceration.
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US CO: Colorado Appeals Court Says Marijuana Law Can Be Used

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 14 Mar 2014 - DENVER - A Colorado law that allows adults to legally possess and use marijuana may now allow some people found guilty of minor marijuana crimes to challenge their convictions in court, a state appeals court ruled on Thursday. The decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals stemmed from a 2010 drug case in which a woman from the mountains west of Denver was convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana and a concentrated form of the drug - both of which are now legal under a 2012 ballot measure approved by Colorado voters. Her lawyers argued that the legal landscape had shifted since she was charged and that her marijuana convictions should thus be thrown out.
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US: Holder Backs Proposal To Reduce Drug Sentences

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 14 Mar 2014 - Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is endorsing a proposal that would reduce prison sentences for people convicted of dealing drugs, the latest sign of the Obama administration's retrenchment in the so-called war on drugs. In January, the United States Sentencing Commission proposed changing federal guidelines to lessen the average sentence for drug dealers by about one year, to 51 months from 62 months. Mr. Holder testified before the commission on Thursday in support of the plan.
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Chronicle AM -- March 13, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 22:56

Attorney General Holder endorses federal drug sentencing reductions, CBD medical marijuana bills move in the South, a New Hampshire decriminalization bill advances, Zohydro may get some competition, and the UN is generating plenty of news, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Marylanders Rally for Legalization. Nearly 100 supporters of sweeping changes in Maryland's marijuana laws rallied in Annapolis Thursday before planned legislative hearings on bills to legalize -- or at least decriminalize -- possession of the drug. The House Judiciary Committee is hearing a series of marijuana reform bills this afternoon, including a legalization bill (House Bill 880) from Rep. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore).

Maryland Poll Has Slim Majority for Legalization. As the legislature considers marijuana reform bills, a new Goucher Poll has support for legalization at 50.1%, with 39.4% opposed. The poll also had a whopping 89.6% in favor of medical marijuana.

New Hampshire Decriminalization Bill Passes House. The House approved a decriminalization bill by a veto-proof margin Wednesday. House Bill 1625, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven cosponsors including Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Now, it's on to the state Senate.

Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Senate Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The Senate passed a bill allowing doctors to prescribe and patients to use CBD cannabis oil for medical reasons Wednesday. The bill passed with no opposition. Senate Bill 124 now goes to the House.

Georgia Senate Committee Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved House Bill 885, which would allow patients to use CBD-based cannabis oils. It also amended the bill to allow parents to bring the oil into the state without facing penalties. The bill has already passed the House and now awaits a Senate floor vote.

South Carolina Senate Panel Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. A subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Medical Affairs approved a bill allowing people suffering from epilepsy to use CBD cannabis oil Wednesday. Senate Bill 1035 still needs to pass the full committee. Similar legislation is moving in the House.

Hemp

Tennessee Hemp Bill Wins House Committee Vote. A bill that would allow the cultivation of hemp for research purposes passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday. House Bill 2445 now heads for the House Finance Ways and Means Committee.

Drug Testing

Mississippi Food Stamp Drug Testing Bill Heads to Governor. A bill that would require applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to undergo drug testing if there is a suspicion they are using drugs passed the Senate Wednesday and now goes to the desk of Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who has made it a keystone of his legislative agenda. House Bill 49 passed the Senate after debate in which supporters couched the program as an additional benefit that could help somebody struggling with addiction, while opponents said it was unfairly singling out the poor.

ASAM White Paper Calls for Vastly Expanded Drug Testing. The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has published a white paper by former NIDA director and present day drug testing consultant Robert Dupont calling drug testing "underutilized" and arguing it should be expanded to be include people of all ages in virtually all aspects of daily life. The totalitarian vision is ably critiqued by NORML drug testing expert Paul Armentano (click the title link), as well as by progressive talk radio host Thom Hartman, who countered Dupont with an op-ed entitled "It's Time to End All Drug Testing." Both Armentano's and Hartman's critiques are worth the read.

Prescription Opioids

Oxycontin Maker Offers Alternative to Zohydro. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, says it has completed testing of an abuse-resistant version of the painkiller hydrocodone, a surprise development that could derail sales of the recently launched Zohydro, a similar medication that has been criticized for lacking such safeguards. Purdue Pharma says it plans to submit its extended-release hydrocodone drug to the Food and Drug Administration later this year. Shares of rival Zogenix Inc. plunged more than 20% after the announcement, which appears to jeopardize sales of the company's just-launched drug Zohydro. Zogenix began shipping Zohydro to pharmacies last week.

Sentencing

Attorney General Holder Endorses Proposal to Cut Federal Sentences. US Attorney General Eric Holder today endorsed a proposal from the US Sentencing Commission to reduce the sentences of people convicted of federal drug trafficking offenses by about a year, from an average of 62 to months to an average of 51 months. "This overreliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable," Holder said. "It comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate."

International

Listen to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs Sessions. You can do it by clicking on the UNODC's webcast page at the link above. Also, Oregon activist Doug McVay has uploaded audio of the second part of today's plenary session here. There will be more updates on McVay's weekly Drug War Facts podcast.

UNODC Panel Says Criminalizing Drug Use "Not Beneficial". Today, a key working group of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced the release of groundbreaking recommendations discouraging criminal sanctions for drug use. The Scientific Consultation Working Group on Drug Policy, Health and Human Rights of the UNODC -- which includes Nora Volkow, head of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) -- is releasing the recommendations at the High-Level Segment of the 57th UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The working group recommendations say "criminal sanctions are not beneficial" in addressing the spectrum of drug use and misuse.

UNODC Sees "Serious Setbacks" in Fight Against Drugs. Addressing the opening session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNOC) head Yury Fedotov said the global fight against drugs had suffered "serious setbacks," including record opium crops in Afghanistan, violence linked to drug trafficking in Central America, and weak West African states succumbing to the blandishments of traffickers. While he said legalization was no solution, he did add that: "A public health response to the drug use problem should consider alternatives to penalization and incarceration of people with use disorders."

Caricom Creates Commission to Study Marijuana Legalization. The leaders of the Caricom Caribbean trade bloc announced today that they are creating a commission to study the impact of legalizing marijuana. The move came at the end of a two-day summit where members discussed a preliminary report on decriminalization. The commission is charged with presenting its report in early July for a Caricom summit in Antigua.

Iran Executed More Than 300 People for Drugs Last Year, Report Says. A report from the nonprofit group International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released Wednesday says Iran executed 331 people on drug-related charges last year. The drug executions accounted for almost half of all executions in the Islamic Republic, the report found. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime sponsors anti-drug programs in Iran, and is under increasing pressure from European donor countries to put in place measures to stop its support from contributing to the death penalty.

Dire Prospects for Afghanistan Drug War, Analysis Finds. A new analysis from Alex Pollard-Lipkis of Foreign Policy in Focus finds that "if costly drug war strategies in Afghanistan have been unsuccessful even with a strong US military presence, they won't stand a chance after the US withdraws." The analysis critiques contemporary US approaches and peeks into the post-US future. Click on the title link to read the whole thing.

Categories: Marijuana

CN AB: Residents Share Views on Licensed Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 07:00
Cochrane Eagle, 13 Mar 2014 - Rocky View County residents shared their feelings on a proposed land use amendment that would permit Licensed Medical Marijuana Facilities. Rocky View County (RVC) is proposing a change to its Land Use Bylaw (LUB) to only allow federally-regulated Licensed Medical Marijuana Facilities to be located in areas of the county that are zoned for commercial use.
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CN BC: Businessman Debunks Myths About Medical Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 07:00
Kelowna Capital News, 13 Mar 2014 - The District of West Kelowna is progressing with its plans to have medical marijuana production limited to industrial lands. Council gave third reading to the zoning amendment bylaw in a six to one vote Tuesday. If the bylaw is passed, commercial medical marijuana operations would be prohibited on agricultural land and in multi-unit buildings, unless all tenants are growers.
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US GA: Edu: Column: The Lesser Of Three Evils

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 07:00
The Spectator, 13 Mar 2014 - Two Legal Drugs Continue to Cast a Plague Over the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 443,000 people die from tobacco each year; 8.6 million live with a life-threatening illness, and approximately 46.6 million Americans continue to use the drug.
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