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US VA: Fairfax Antidrug Group Warns of Marijuana's Dangers

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
The Times, 04 Apr 2014 - Average THC Levels Up 400 Percent in Last Eight Years, Expert Says Although it has been decriminalized and even made quasi-legal in some states, the dangers of marijuana have not gone away. That was the message March 27 in Annandale at a presentation made by the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County titled "Marijuana Harmless? Think Again."
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US: Poll: Adults Prefer Rehab For Drug Use

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 04 Apr 2014 - About two-thirds of Americans say drug abusers need access to treatment to address their addiction rather than criminal prosecution that could lead to jail time, according to a poll that highlights the public's shifting attitude toward illegal drugs in the United States. While people are still worried about the extent of drug abuse, especially in their schools and neighborhoods, those surveyed supported less harsh punishment for nonviolent offenders, especially marijuana users, the Pew Research Center found.
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Chronicle AM -- April 3, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 19:31

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is banned from the US for admitting using coke, decrim dies for the year in Maryland, CBD medical marijuana bills continue to move, the resort to the overdose drug naloxone is spreading rapidly, Guatemala's president wants to legalize marijuana and license poppies for the medical market, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Maryland Decriminalization Bill Killed; Task Force Will Study It Instead. Marijuana decriminalization is dead for the year in Maryland after a bill to do just that -- House Bill 879 -- died without a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, the committee, led by reform foe Rep. Joe Vallario Jr. (D-Prince Georges), chose to form a task force to study the issue.

Washington State Will Issue First Marijuana Store Licenses by July, Impose Lottery System. Colorado is the only state where you can walk into a store and legally purchase marijuana, but not for long. Washington state regulators announced Wednesday that the first retail marijuana licenses will be issued "no later than the first week of July." The state has already issued licenses to eight growers. After eliminating retail license applications that did not return required documents or were incomplete, the state still has more than a thousand applications for the 334 stores it will allow to open, so it is imposing a lottery system to determine who gets those licenses.

Northern Mariana Islands Senate Ponders Legalization. The Senate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US protectorate, discussed the possibility of legalizing marijuana Wednesday. The Fiscal Affairs Committee touched on legalization when discussing a decriminalization bill, and committee member Sen. Pete Reyes (IN-Saipan) said members had asked the Senate legal counsel to research Colorado's legalization model. "Yes, the committee is tinkering with the idea, whether it's a good idea to legalize it or not. But nothing is final. Nothing is decided," Reyes told The Saipan Tribune.

Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Patient Sues NJ Transit for Denying Him a Job. A former New Jersey Transit worker and medical marijuana patient who was denied a new position with the agency after testing positive for marijuana is suing in hopes of seeing marijuana recognized as a legitimate medication. Charlie Davis, 57, said he was denied both safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive positions with the agency. Courts in other medical marijuana states have generally upheld the rights of employers to fire workers who use medical marijuana even if it is legal.

Illinois Senate Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. A bill that would allow children to use high-CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy passed the Senate Wednesday. Filed by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 2636 now heads for the House.

Minnesota TV Ad Attacks Gov. Dayton for Opposing Medical Marijuana. Patients and medical marijuana advocates have unleashed an aggressive TV ad targeting Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) for standing in the way of medical marijuana legislation. The ad features a St. Paul mother and her seizure-ridden child, whom Gov. Dayton told to just find medical marijuana on the street!

South Carolina House Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The House Wednesday passed a bill allowing people suffering from severe epilepsy to legally use CBD cannabis oil to control their seizures. House Bill 4803 is less restrictive than a Senate measure passed last week. It's unclear what happens next.

Harm Reduction

Louisiana House Committee Passes Bill to Allow Overdose Reversal Drug. The House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday passed a bill that would allow first responders to provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). House Bill 754 now heads for a House floor vote.

Every Cop in New York Will Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Under a new initiative announced today by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), every state and local law enforcement officer in the state will be able to carry with them the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). The Community Overdose Prevention program will provide police with kits containing two syringes filled with naloxone, two inhalers of the drug, sterile gloves and a booklet on using them. The cost of the kit is roughly $60. Each has a shelf life of about two years.

Some New Jersey Cops to Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Police throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties soon will be armed with a drug that can save heroin users from fatal overdose, launching a program officials hope will be adopted statewide in New Jersey. All 32 Ocean County police departments are participating in a pilot program backed by Gov. Christie, who said Wednesday that equipping police with the drug, naloxone (Narcan), would help save lives.

Sentencing

Louisiana House Passes Harsh Heroin Sentencing Bill. The House voted 96-0 Wednesday in favor of a bill that imposes mandatory minimum prison sentence for heroin possession and increases sentences for heroin dealers. But first, it amended House Bill 332 so that, in addition to prison time, heroin users would also have to undergo court-approved drug treatment. Under the bill, heroin possessors would have to do at least two years in prison, while dealers would see their mandatory minimum sentence doubled from five years to 10. The bill now goes to the Senate.

International

Mexican Drug War Victims Criticize Lack of Progress on Tens of Thousands of Cases. Families of drug war victims who were hoping to see concrete policy shifts with the change of administrations a year and a half ago are growing impatient with the lack of progress on tens of thousands of cases of murders and disappearances. An estimated 100,000 Mexicans have been killed since former President Felipe Calderon turned drug prohibition policies into a militarized offensive. The whereabouts of another 26,000 are unknown. They are Mexico's "disappeared". Some are believed to have been kidnapped by criminals, others have vanished after being taken into police custody. Click on the link for the full report.

Guatemalan President Will Present Plan to Legalize Marijuana and License Opium Production. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year's end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. See our news brief today for more detail.

Albanian Cops Try Persuasion in Marijuana-Growing Village. Albanian Police peacefully visited the village of Lazarati this week in a bid to get school children to persuade their parents not to grow marijuana there. Lazarati is described as "a paradise for cannabis growers and criminals," and has been a no-go zone for police for nearly two decades. Villagers in the past have created armed groups to fend off eradication efforts, and even the kids didn't seem too keen on giving up the trade. "If you tell us to convince our parents not to grow cannabis, do you guarantee us that you will provide jobs for them? This is our way of life," one student replied.

British Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Denied Entry to US Over Cocaine Use Admission. Nigella Lawson was stopped from boarding a flight from London to the US because of her courtroom confession that she used cocaine. Lawson was never charged with a criminal offense over her confession, but the US can deny travel to foreigners who have committed offenses without being charged.

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Guatemalan President Will Present Plan to Legalize Marijuana, Opium Production

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 17:12

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year's end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. His comments came in an interview with Reuters.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Perez, a conservative and former general, has been a harsh critic of the US-led war on drugs in Latin America, repeatedly denouncing such policies at international forums. He has also previously mentioned the possibility of moving to legalize marijuana and opium production, but has yet to put forward a concrete plan to do so.

But a presidential commission has been studying the issue of reforms in the country's drug laws, and Perez told Reuters he expected the commission to make its recommendations by October and that the measures could be presented by year's end. That could include a bill to legalize drugs, particularly marijuana, Perez said.

"The other thing we're exploring... is the legalization of the poppy plantations on the border with Mexico, so they're controlled and sold for medicinal ends," Perez said. "These two things could be steps taken on a legal basis."

While Afghanistan is by far the world's largest opium producer, accounting for nearly 90% of global production, poppies are also grown in the Western hemisphere -- in Mexico and Colombia, as well as Guatemala. Western hemisphere opium accounts for most of the heroin consumed in the United States.

Perez is keeping a careful eye on his northern neighbor, too. Mexico decriminalized drug possession in 2009, but has been loath to take further steps to end the drug war there, although there are now proposals afoot to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, Mexican drug trafficking organizations, under pressure in their home country, have expanded their operations in Guatemala and other Central American nations.

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Canada: Up In Smoke: Injunction Burns Budding Medical-Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 03 Apr 2014 - Ottawa's introduction of a medical marijuana strategy last summer was supposed to relieve some anxiety. Patients facing debilitating diseases would have wider access to cannabis produced in safe, regulated environments. Enforcement officials wouldn't have to worry as much about pot going out the back door of grow-ops to criminal elements, and insurance companies wouldn't have to grapple with house fires brought on by inexperienced growers who place too much faith in their electricity outlets. But a temporary federal injunction last month has rocked the cradle of a nascent industry, a dozen or so companies licensed to sell medical marijuana to about 38,000 patients who face debilitating issues as varied as spinal-cord injuries, Parkinson's disease and cancer. By April 1, around 24,000 marijuana growers were obliged to destroy around a total of 3.5 million plants, which in turn would have created a relatively huge base of customers who needed to buy marijuana elsewhere. The injunction, which Ottawa is appealing, put an end to that. Patients who have valid licences through September 30, 2013, can keep cultivating provided they keep no more than 150 grams of dried pot.
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CN ON: Liberal Leader Talks Pickering Airport, Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Oshawa This Week, 03 Apr 2014 - Justin Trudeau Makes The Case For Legalizing Marijuana AJAX -- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spent the afternoon in Ajax on Monday taking questions from residents and drumming up support for his party and his 2015 bid for the Prime Minister's job.
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CN ON: Liberal Leader Talks Pickering Airport, Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Whitby This Week, 03 Apr 2014 - Justin Trudeau Makes The Case For Legalizing Marijuana AJAX -- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spent the afternoon in Ajax on Monday taking questions from residents and drumming up support for his party and his 2015 bid for the Prime Minister's job.
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US: Recreational Pot Will Be Legal, 75% Of American Citizens

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 03 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Three-fourths of Americans say it's inevitable that marijuana will be legal for recreational use across the nation, whether they support such policies or not, according to a public opinion poll released Wednesday that highlights shifting attitudes after the drug war era and tough-on-crime legislation. The Pew Research Center survey also shows increased support for ending mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and doing away with jail time for small amounts of marijuana.
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US WA: Lottery For Pot Store Licenses

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 03 Apr 2014 - 207 Applications Have Been Filed for the 35 Stores That Are Allowed in Snohomish County. OLYMPIA - A lottery to dole out dozens of licenses for marijuana retail outlets will be conducted later this month and owners of those stores could be opening their doors in July.
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US MD: Effort To Drop Criminal Sanctions For Pot Killed

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 03 Apr 2014 - House Committee's Chairman Holds Bills Back; Task Force Formed A committee in Maryland's House of Delegates on Wednesday killed legislation that would have legalized or decriminalized the use of marijuana in the state, choosing instead to form a task force to study the issue.
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US: Soros Turns Cash Into Legalized Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 03 Apr 2014 - Billionaire philanthropist George Soros hopes the U.S. goes to pot, and he is using his money to drive it there. With a cadre of like-minded, wealthy donors, Mr. Soros is dominating the pro-legalization side of the marijuana debate by funding grass-roots initiatives that begin in New York City and end up affecting local politics elsewhere.
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US: In Poll, Many Say Recreational Pot Will Be Widely Accepted

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
The Middletown Press, 03 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Three-fourths of Americans say it's inevitable that marijuana will be legal for recreational use across the nation, whether they support such policies or not, according to a public opinion poll released Wednesday that highlights shifting in attitudes following an era of drug war and "tough on crime" legislation. The Pew Research Center survey also shows increased support for ending mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and doing away altogether with jail time for small amounts of marijuana.
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US: Poll: Three-Fourths Of US Says Pot Will Be Legal

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
The Progress-Index, 03 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Threefourths of Americans say it's inevitable that marijuana will be legal for recreational use across the nation, whether they support such policies or not, according to a public opinion poll released Wednesday that highlights shifting attitudes following the drug war era and tough-on-crime legislation. The Pew Research Center survey also shows increased support for ending mandatory minimum prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders and doing away altogether with jail time for small amounts of marijuana.
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US MT: OPED: Nip It In The Bud

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Missoula Independent, 03 Apr 2014 - Let a Thousand Pot Plants Bloom and End Trespass Grows If you care about protecting clean water, endangered species and public health, then you might want to consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
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US CO: Column: Medical Cannabis Heads Toward The Tipping Point

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 03 Apr 2014 - Weed, the CNN documentary anchored by Dr. Sanjay Gupta that aired last summer, highlighted the case of Charlotte Figi, a Colorado girl whose epileptic seizures were calmed by use of a special strain of cannabis high in cannabidiol, or CBD, a cannabinoid associated with the plant's medical properties. Television is a powerful medium, and the documentary showed the anguish and ultimate relief of the parents, who OKed the use of the cannabis oil only after exhausting all other possibilities. Millions watched as Charlotte, after being given a specially grown and manufactured tincture of cannabis oil, went from having hundreds of seizures a day to just a few.
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US CA: Column: Will Proposition 215 Doctor Recommendations For

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 03 Apr 2014 - I am writing to ask about the 215 card. I have a back/spinal condition, which puts me in a lot of pain. I would like to try the CBD buds, having heard that it helps and doesn't get you high. The concern I have is that I am applying for fellowship and state jobs. Would my name be put on a list where employers and anyone who does a background check would be able to see that I have a 215 card? I am competing with hundreds of others and do not want to jeopardize my chances. I have heard that no urine test is administered, however, I am worried of the background check. - -A.
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US NV: Medical Watch

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Reno News & Review, 03 Apr 2014 - Statewide regulations covering medical marijuana dispensaries took effect on April 1, clearing the way for local governments to provide for dispensaries within their jurisdictions. City staffers in Sparks are preparing language for the Sparks City Council to use in dealing with medical marijuana dispensaries in the Rail City. The step doesn't commit the council to approving dispensaries, however.
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US: Most Foresee Pot Legal In U.S.

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 03 Apr 2014 - New Poll Reflects Changing Attitudes Since Drug War Era DENVER - Three-fourths of Americans say it's inevitable that marijuana will be legal for recreational use across the nation, whether they support such policies or not, according to a public opinion poll released Wednesday that highlights shifting attitudes following the drug war era and tough-on-crime legislation.
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CN NS: Laws Could Force Patients Into The Illegal Drug Trade:

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Annapolis County Spectator; The, 03 Apr 2014 - Cannabis activists have some breathing room before Health Canada changes the way they can access medical marijuana. Debbie Stultz-Giffen, of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society, says she is hopeful about a recent court injunction that grants a temporary reprieve from new laws that would change patients' access to medical marijuana.
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Pew Poll Reveals Seismic Shift in Drug Policy Attitudes [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 21:49

A new national survey released today by the Pew Research Center provides strong evidence that Americans are undergoing a tectonic shift in their views on drug policy. Not only are Americans convinced that marijuana legalization is coming; a majority supports it, and even larger majorities support a fundamental realignment of our drug policies away from the criminal justice system and toward treatment instead of punishment for hard drug users.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Among the key findings of the report was that more than six in ten Americans (63%) say that state governments moving away from mandatory prison terms for drug law violations is a good thing, while just 32% say these policy changes are a bad thing. This is a substantial shift from 2001 when the public was evenly divided (47% good thing vs. 45% bad thing). The majority of all demographic groups, including Republicans and Americans over 65 years old, support this shift.

Similarly, two-thirds (67%) say the government should focus more on providing treatment for people who use drugs like cocaine and heroin. Just 26% think the focus should be more on prosecuting people who use such drugs. The poll did not ask if hard drug users should just be left alone barring harm to others.

"Given that the vast majority of Americans don't think people should be prosecuted for drug possession, it's time to ask the question: Why are we still arresting people for nothing more than drug possession?" asked Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

More than 1.5 million people are arrested in the U.S. every year for a drug law violation. The vast majority -- more than 80% -- are arrested for possession only. Roughly 500,000 Americans are behind bars on any given night for a drug law violation, including more than 55,000 people in state prisons for simple drug possession.

"There's a new consensus that mandatory minimums are no longer appropriate for drug and other nonviolent offenders," said Nadelmann. "This is reflected and confirmed by the growing bipartisan support for rolling back and ending such laws."

The passage of the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which reduced, but did not eliminate, sentencing disparities between federal crack and powder cocaine offenders is one example of the emerging reformist consensus. Sentencing reform measures passed by around half the states in the past decade, which have resulted in an absolute decline in state prison populations, have also proven popular with a citizenry increasingly tired of drug war without end.

And President Obama and Attorney General Holder have continued to make a series of moves over the past year indicating that they are serious about reducing mass incarceration and fixing the criminal justice system, including a call from Holder to federal prosecutors to not use mandatory minimum charges if they don't have to.

Likewise, in an otherwise-bitterly-divided Congress, legislators from both sides of the aisle are pushing to reform mandatory minimum drug laws. The reforms are supported by a group of Senators who can only be described as strange bedfellows: Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

At the same time, the Pew poll illuminates what has been a major shift in attitudes on whether the use of marijuana should be legal. As recently as four years ago, about half (52%) said they thought the use of marijuana should not be legal; 41% said marijuana use should be legal. Today those numbers are roughly reversed -- 54% favor marijuana legalization while 42% are opposed. Just 16% say it should not be legal for either medical or recreational use.

And no matter respondents' personal feelings for or against marijuana legalization, 75% of them think it is inevitable.

Also, more than two-thirds (69%) said that alcohol was more harmful than marijuana for individuals. And nearly the same number (63%) said alcohol was more harmful to society.

"Leadership is needed to overcome the institutional lethargy and vested interest that have stymied meaningful police and sentencing reform," said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org (publisher of this newsletter). "The policies are counterproductive, and too many otherwise law-abiding people are getting caught up in the justice system because of them."

[image:3 align:left]"It is good to know that despite the DEA's best efforts the American people are getting scientifically accurate information about marijuana, and the fact that it is objectively less harmful than alcohol to both individual health and society at large. The increase in support since last year's poll shows that more and more Americans understand it's simply bad public policy to steer adults toward alcohol by punishing those who prefer marijuana as a less harmful alternative," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"Now that three-quarters of Americans understand taxing and regulating marijuana is inevitable, the writing is on the wall. Congress needs to read it and move forward with legislation allowing states to choose more effective policies without federal interference," Riffle added.

While Nadelmann also greeted the poll results, he warned that it should not be used as fuel for even more, if softer, expansion of the criminal justice system.

"It's good to see yet another poll confirm the results of other state and national polls showing majority support for legalizing marijuana," he said. "And it's nice to see that Americans overwhelmingly support treatment-instead-of-incarceration. But it's important to recognize that there has been overwhelming support for treatment-instead-of-incarceration for well over a decade now -- and that we've reached the point where the public needs to be better educated about the benefits of providing treatment outside the criminal justice system rather than within and through it. It would be a shame if this latest poll result were used to promote drug courts and other coercive, abstinence-only programs rather than meaningful treatment in the community."

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