Washington Post, 11 Aug 2014 - At the Hudson Institute, David Murray and former drug czar John Walters have responded to my post on marijuana legalization and roadway fatalities in Colorado. It's an odd response. It includes some condescending lecturing about statistics, a complete misunderstanding of my point and criticism of me for overlooking things that my post actually addresses. Before I get to their response, I'll just reiterate that my argument isn't that roadway fatalities in Colorado have fallen because of pot legalization. My argument is this: Opponents of legalization predicted a surge in roadway fatalities due to drivers under the influence of pot. After seven months, that hasn't happened. Roadway fatalities have continued to decline. Opponents of legalization also argue that we've seen an increase in arrests for "drugged driving" and that we've also seen an increase in accidents (in Colorado and in states that have legalized medical marijuana) in which one or more drivers tested positive for pot. My argument is that these tests don't measure inebriation. Therefore, we can't say that those accidents were caused by pot, and we can't say what percentage of those new drugged-driving arrests involved drivers who were actually a threat to the other people on the road. All we can say is that as pot becomes more widely available, a larger percentage of people on the roads are testing positive for pot. It doesn't necessarily mean they were high while driving, nor that they were significant impaired while driving. As pot becomes more widely available, you would expect a large percentage of people to test positive for pot from any sample group.
Southern Illinoisan, 10 Aug 2014 - CHICAGO -- As Illinois' new medical marijuana program gets underway, potential patients, growers and retailers have questions. State officials plan to hold three town hall meetings across Illinois to provide answers, particularly about the application process, which starts next month. Multiple sclerosis patient Marla Levi of Buffalo Grove plans to apply for the required ID card so she can buy marijuana legally from a state-approved dispensary. She's found that the drug helps relieve the rigidity in her legs, she said. She wants to attend one of the meetings to get more information.
Edmonton Sun, 10 Aug 2014 - Edmonton Folk Music Festival's Relaxed Atmosphere Keeps Troublemakers at Bay While several summer music festivals are taking heat for attendees overdosing on drugs, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is busy dealing with scrapes, bruises and the occasional lost child.
Tulsa World, 10 Aug 2014 - Many believe that reform to drug laws is appropriate, and I welcome that debate. I believe we need to continue to explore evidence-based prevention, access to treatment, and alternatives to incarceration. But substance abuse is a public health issue, as well as a criminal justice problem. I do not believe that legalization of marijuana solves the issues raised in the debate on drug policy. We must consider the public health problems associated with increased availability of marijuana. A review of some of the facts cited by the Office of National Drug Control Policy is important for people to consider before they decide this issue.
Albuquerque Journal, 10 Aug 2014 - When you go to urgent care, you should be able to be confident the medical professionals treating you aren't high. When you drive down the highway, you should expect a truck driver to be sober. A drug-free workplace is what most people expect - including employers. And that's what Presbyterian Healthcare Services says it is committed to and is required to provide under federal law. So, when a nurse practitioner started working in one of its centers and tested positive for THC, the active chemical in marijuana, she was fired, even though she provided documentation that she is authorized to use medical marijuana to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Donna Smith's attorney says she did not possess or use marijuana at work and had excellent performance reviews at previous jobs.
The Mail on Sunday, 10 Aug 2014 - THE Sun newspaper, which has in the past been a keen cheerleader and bootlicker for the Blair creature, the Iraq and Afghan Wars and for David Cameron, now wants a 'rethink' on drug laws. Well, you can't rethink till you've thought in the first place. Its pretext for this irresponsible tripe is an interview with Nick Clegg, in which he claims we're too tough on drug possession. The courts, he drivels, are 'imprisoning 1,000 users a year who have not committed a crime other than possession'.
The Press Democrat, 10 Aug 2014 - Tales of mysterious men in black or camouflage dropping from helicopters into legal marijuana gardens, cutting the plants, then disappearing with nary a word to the growers, have been spreading fear among Mendocino County pot cultivators. Many believe the intruders are private, paramilitary security officers conducting vigilante anti-pot operations, but the real story likely is less intriguing, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
Southern Illinoisan, 09 Aug 2014 - MOUNT VERNON -- Chris Marler wasn't prepared for what she found Sept. 5, 2006, in her Marion County home. She planned to have lunch with her youngest son that day, but when she came home both her sons were dead.
The Daily Herald, 09 Aug 2014 - PROVO -- City mayors and a county commissioner were recently warned of the impacts the cities and county may have if recreational marijuana was ever made legal in Utah. On Thursday night at a meeting of the Utah County Council of Governments, a monthly meeting of county and city leaders, the county's Department of Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment made a brief presentation informing the leaders of what has happened in cities and states that have already moved forward with legalizing pot.
Orlando Sentinel, 09 Aug 2014 - On May 12, 1996, Miami police raided the home of Richard Brown on a false tip that the 73-year-old retiree with no criminal record was selling drugs. After busting the door open, police claim that Richards began firing a gun, prompting officers to pump 123 rounds into his body. However, a later investigation revealed that the gun police allege Brown had used had no traces of his fingerprints on them. Brown's 14-year-old great-granddaughter, Janeka, reported he was not holding a gun when he instructed her to take shelter in a bathroom moments before he was killed.
Toronto Star, 09 Aug 2014 - My neighbour is a pot dealer. I knew this before I moved in and was not bothered by it; I don't find marijuana offensive. However, his front door is right next to our living room window and people come and go all day, having loud conversations during their transactions. They wave money and purchases around carelessly. The neighbour's door sets off a horrible alarm every time he unlocks it. This man has also made misogynistic comments when I come from the gym in my yoga outfit. Is it ethical to call the police about his activities simply due to my dislike of this man, when I don't object to the fact he sells marijuana? - ---
The Oakland Press, 09 Aug 2014 - When Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, nobody knew exactly how would it affect the state's economy. But when the numbers starting coming in, it turned out that pot legalization proved to be a good source of revenue for the state. One report said Colorado expected about $184 million in tax revenues in the first 18 months since the law passed.
Chicago Sun-Times, 09 Aug 2014 - Seriously ill people seeking to use medical marijuana in Illinois can start filling out the application to belong to the program. Illinois officials on Friday posted the nine-page patient application online.
Hamilton Spectator, 09 Aug 2014 - As bizarre as it might seem, ecstasy seems to restructure a patient's relationship to trauma ... permanently WHEN IT COMES to psychedelics, an under-the-radar nonprofit research group is opening people's minds.
Albuquerque Journal, 09 Aug 2014 - DENVER - New marijuana tax records from Colorado show June was the best-selling month yet for the state's recreational pot experiment, with $24.7 million in total sales. The numbers released by the Department of Revenue also show recreational pot inching toward medical pot in total sales.
Things get slow in the dog days of summer, but there's still news from the legal marijuana states, California continues to grapple with regulating medical marijuana, and a couple of items from Britain suggest change could be in the air there. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:right caption:true]ACLU of Washington Joins Fight Against Local Marijuana Store Bans. The ACLU of Washington announced today that it is representing three state-licensed marijuana business owners who have filed a lawsuit challenging the city of Fife's ban on marijuana operations. The business owners and the ACLU argue that local bans violate I-502, the voter initiative that legalized marijuana in the state. You can view the ACLU's pleadings in the case here.
Colorado Health Department Says Teen Marijuana Use Is Down Since Dispensaries Came, Voters Approved Legalization. An annual survey of teen drug use in the state has found that marijuana use has been declining since hundreds of medical marijuana outlets opened in the state in 2009 and since the state legalized adult marijuana use and sales in late 2012. Current use among Colorado teens dropped from 24.8% in 2009 to 20% in 2013. Meanwhile, nationally, teen current use has increased, from 20.8% in 2009 to 23.4% last year.
Wichita Decriminalization Initiative Campaign Comes Up Short on Signatures. There will be no popular vote on decriminalization in Wichita this year. Election officials said that campaigners didn't have enough valid voter signatures to qualify. Although they handed in about 3,500 signatures and only needed 2,928, they still came up 180 valid voter signatures short. They say they will now press the city council to act on decriminalization.
California Statewide Regulation Bill Goes to Assembly Appropriations Committee Next Week. The Assembly Appropriations will examine Senate Bill 1262, the law enforcement- and local government-backed bill to regulate the state's medical marijuana industry next Wednesday. That's the last day the committee meets this session. The bill has already passed the Senate, but must pass the Assembly by month's end or it dies. The bill link above may not represent the latest changes to it; new updates are expected today. The bill has divided the state's medical marijuana community, with some groups supporting it as is and some demanding changes to make it friendlier to patients and the industry.
British Liberal Democrats Will End Jail for Drug Possession, Nick Clegg Says. Liberal Democratic Party leader Nick Clegg has said that if the Lib Dems win the next election, they will move to abolish prison sentences for simple drug possession, even for Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Half of the people currently being jailed for drug possession in Britain are being held for marijuana offenses. This call for effective decriminalization puts Clegg and the Lib Dems at odds with their governing coalition senior partners, the Tories. Meanwhile, the Home Office is currently undertaking a review of British drug policy.
British Government to Provide Foil to Heroin Users to Encourage Smoking Rather Than Injecting. In a harm reduction move, Britain will begin providing free foil to heroin users to encourage them to smoke the drug instead of injecting it. Injection drug users are more likely to contract blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. The move was approved last year by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which said it could also help move addicts toward recovery.
Penticton Herald, 08 Aug 2014 - The family of a two-year-old Summerland girl is willing to break the law to provide her with the cannabis oil that appears to have dramatically reduced the hundreds of seizures she was suffering daily. Kyla Williams, who has a severe seizure disorder, has shown marked improvement during the past five months while her family has been treating her with the illegal oil.
Evening Standard, 08 Aug 2014 - Brothers aged 14 and 15 walked free from court despite being found with crack cocaine while dealing for a notorious "Wire-style" gang in London. The younger boy had 21 wraps of crack on him and his brother spat four wraps of crack from his mouth in a sale to an undercover officer. They were arrested in an operation targeting a gang engaged in "prolific drug dealing".
Albuquerque Journal, 08 Aug 2014 - Supporters: City Clerk's Office 'Arbitrarily' Disqualified Names The petition drive to reduce marijuana penalties failed to collect enough valid signatures to trigger an election on the issue, according to figures released by the Albuquerque City Clerk's Office.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 08 Aug 2014 - There is an everexpanding chorus of serious and legitimate voices in government and the media who are calling for the decriminalization - if not outright legalization - of marijuana. Twenty-three states and a number of cities have already enacted new laws legalizing or decriminalizing possession of marijuana. While stopping short of full legalization, President Obama has said this year that he believes marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, and his administration's 2014 National Drug Control Strategy notes that "an enforcement-centric ' war on drugs' approach to drug policy is counterproductive, inefficient, and costly."