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Marijuana

Canada: Editorial: The Hazy Path To Legalization

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 14 Dec 2016 - When the Trudeau government vowed to legalize the consumption of marijuana, there may have been those who believed the process would be straightforward. The final report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation proves it will be anything but. Here are just a few samples of the task force's slightly hallucinogenic recommendations:
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CN BC: Recommendations Getting Positive Reviews

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 08:00
Vancouver 24hours, 14 Dec 2016 - Federal panel's suggestions on legalizing recreational marijuana greeted cautiously in B.C. Recommendations released Tuesday by the federal panel on legalizing recreational marijuana were greeted positively, if cautiously, by B.C. businesses with a stake in the issue.
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CN ON: Haze Lingers, Except For Cops

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 08:00
London Free Press, 14 Dec 2016 - Despite federal report, deputy chief insists police have duty to take action until laws change Until Canada's pot law goes up in smoke, there's nothing hazy about whether cannabis lounges and unregulated marijuana dispensaries are legal.
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CN NS: Editorial: Task Force Still Has Work To Do

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 08:00
The News, 14 Dec 2016 - This must be some sort of lapse of the synapse. One of the key warnings regarding coming legalization of marijuana didn't make the impression warranted. Health professionals have tried to stress the importance of keeping recreational marijuana away from young people. Last month, the Canadian Paediatric Society urged that the federal government ban sales to those younger than 18 or 19, depending on the province, to correspond with age limits for alcohol and tobacco sales.
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Chronicle AM: Marijuana Legal in MA Thursday, Canada Moving Forward, More... (12/13/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 22:00

There's a lot of international news today, plus Colorado pot sales pass the $1 billion mark this year, Massachusetts politicians get out of the way of legalization, and more.

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

Colorado Marijuana Sales Hit $1 Billion Mark This Year. The state Department of Revenue reports that marijuana sales through October exceeded the billion dollar mark, coming in at $1.09 billion. That figure could hit $1.3 billion by year's end, according to marijuana industry attorney Christian Sederberg.

Massachusetts Officials Won't Delay Marijuana Legalization. Possession of small amounts of marijuana will become legal Thursday. There had been fears of a delay after loose talk in the legislature, but legislative leaders made it clear Monday they will not seek to delay the start of the new law.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commissioners Sworn In. In the first meeting of a commission established to create a state medical marijuana system after voters approved a constitutional amendment last month, five commissioners were sworn in. The members of the state Medical Marijuana Commission are Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman of Little Rock, lobbyist James Miller of Bryant, Dr. Carlos Roman of Little Rock, pharmacy executive Stephen Carroll of Benton and attorney Travis Story of Fayetteville. Henry-Tillman was unanimously elected Monday afternoon as the commission's chairman.

Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill Filed. State Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) has filed the Cannabis Compassion Act of 2017 (BR 409), which would allow patients with a specified list of diseases and medical conditions access to their medicine. The bill would allow patients to possess up to three ounces and grow up to 12 plants and envisions a system of regulated cultivators and "compassion centers."

Michigan Medical Marijuana Fees Fund State's War on Drugs.Medical marijuana fees have fattened the Michigan Medical Marijuana Fund, and state law enforcement has been tapping into that fund to aggressively go after marijuana. Local sheriffs in the Detroit area have spent more than $600,000 raiding dispensaries in the past year, and there's more where that came from since the fund has raised $30 million. "I really don't think it's appropriate to fund law enforcement on the backs of medical marijuana patients," medical marijuana attorney Matt Abel told the Detroit News. "… It's really a hidden tax on patients."

International

Canada Marijuana Task Force Advises Wide-Ranging Legalization. The task force charged with shaping the country's looming marijuana legalization has recommended that pot be sold in retail stores and by mail order, that possession of 30 grams and cultivation of four plants be legalized, that the minimum age be set at 18, and that pot not be sold along with alcohol. The commission is also recommending that high-potency products be more heavily taxed to discourage their use. The Liberals are expected to file their legalization bill this coming spring.

Canada Releases New Comprehensive Drug Strategy. Health Minister Jane Philpott Monday unveiled the Canadian Drug and Substances Strategy, which will replace the existing National Anti-Drug Strategy of the Conservatives. The new strategy restores harm reduction as a core pillar of Canadian drug policy, along with prevention, treatment, and law enforcement, and insists on a "strong evidence base."

British Drug Advisers Call for Prescription Heroin, Safe Injection Sites. The official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has recommending allowing hard-core heroin users to get the drug via prescription and called for the opening of supervised injection facilities. Both moves come as a response to a soaring number of drug overdose deaths. "The ACMD is of the view that death is the most serious harm related to drug use," commission head Les Iversen said in a letter to the Home Secretary. "The most important recommendation in this report is that government ensures that investment in OST [opioid substitution therapy] of optimal dosage and duration is, at least, maintained," he added.

Philippines Drug War Death Toll Nearing 6,000. According to statistics released Monday by the Philippines National Police, some 5,927 deaths have been linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs since he took office at the beginning of July. Nearly 2,100 were killed in police operations, while more than 3,800 deaths were blamed on vigilantes or death squads.

Effort to Block Philippines Death Penalty Bill. In addition to widespread extra-judicial executions of drug suspects, President Duterte wants to reinstate the death penalty, including for drug offenses. ASEAN Parliamentarians on Human Rights is leading the campaign against the bill and wants people to contact Philippines lawmakers. Click on the link for more info.

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Chronicle AM: Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Hemispheric Drug Policy Study Passes, More... (12/12/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 22:01

A bipartisan effort to goose federal marijuana reforms is underway, a bill that would establish a hemispheric drug policy review heads for the president's desk, the Israeli anti-drug body makes a surprise move, and more.

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

Congressional Cannabis Caucus Created. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have announced the formation of a congressional cannabis caucus to speed the passage of federal marijuana reform legislation. Another Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) will likely emerge as a spokesman for the caucus, which will begin meeting next month.

Drug Policy

Congress Passes Bill to Reassess Hemispheric Drug Policy. The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act (HR1812) has passed the Congress and now heads to the president's desk. The bill sponsored by Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) was folded into the State Department appropriations bill. "Over the last few decades, we've spent billions and billions of taxpayer dollars on counter-narcotics programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Engel. "The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission will force us to take a fresh look at our drug policy and make sure we have the best strategy moving forward. We need to have an honest assessment of what has worked and what has failed as we consider how to spend our counter-narcotics dollars in the future. With heroin use on the rise here at home, our children deserve no less than a fair evaluation of our drug policy."

Study Slams Virginia Drivers' License Suspensions for Drug Convictions. Under a law dubbed "a relic of the drug war," some 38,000 Virginians lose their driving privileges each year, not for traffic offenses, but for any drug conviction, including the possession of small amounts of marijuana. A new study from the Prison Policy Institute contends that the law is counterproductive, threatens public safety, and unnecessarily burdens low income offenders by limiting their ability to get or keep a job, pay fines, and cover expenses like child support.

International

Colombia President Accepts Nobel Peace Prize, Slams Drug War. President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the prize for his critical role in overseeing lengthy peace negotiations with FARC rebels that have now resulted in an accord ending the world's longest-running civil war. In his acceptance speech Saturday, he reiterated his call for a "rethink" of the war on drugs, saying "Colombia has been the country that has paid the highest costs in deaths and sacrifices. He also suggested that changing policies in the US make it unreasonable to prosecute the drug war in Colombia. "It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States," he said.

Israel's Anti-Drug Body Reverses Itself, Calls for Drug Decriminalization. In a surprise move, the Israel Anti-Drug Authority told the Knesset's Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse that it supports the "Portugal model," where drug use and possession is decriminalized and treated as a public health issue and called for the decriminalization of up to 25 grams of marijuana. Reform foe Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is expected to object strenuously.

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US VA: Editorial: Pot Shots

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12 Dec 2016 - POT SHOTS Virginia lawmakers have shown scant inclination to legalize marijuana, but it might not matter. Law enforcement seems to be doing it for them. In the past two years, arrests and charges for marijuana crimes have dropped 14 percent - and "it ain't because less people are smoking marijuana," one defense lawyer tells the Daily Press. In Newport News, charges have dropped 60 percent - perhaps in part because prosecutors there decided a few years ago not to prosecute misdemeanor possession by adults.
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US CA: Zoning Change Aimed At Pot Firms

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec 2016 - Lynwood officials move toward allowing commercial cannabis production. Lynwood officials last week took a step toward allowing businesses to grow medical marijuana within city limits. If the measure gains final passage, the city of 70,000 would be among the first in Los Angeles County to issue such permits.
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US TN: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In Tennessee

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
Commercial Appeal, 12 Dec 2016 - NASHVILLE - Medical marijuana will again become a topic of discussion and legislation during the 2017 legislative session. An announcement from the House Republican Caucus on Friday said an official announcement will come next week from state Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, RNashville, who are planning to introduce legislation about medical marijuana.
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US PA: Past Approach To Crack Addicts Harsher Than Today's Heroin

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
The Reporter, 12 Dec 2016 - Officials, former inmate contrast the emphasis on treatment vs. incarceration When Leola Bivins was first sent away for dealing drugs, she was a 22-year-old high school dropout with a 2-year-old daughter at home.
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US MA: Editorial: False Promise On Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
Boston Herald, 12 Dec 2016 - Massachusetts voters legalized the sale and recreational use of marijuana when they passed Question 4 in November. Folks who work in the cannabis industry, who authored that legislation, want to squeeze as much as they can out of the Bay State market even if it means exploiting minority communities. Oh, they wouldn't describe it that way. The authors of the legislation instead called for regulators to encourage "full participation" in the new industry "by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities."
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US CA: Van Nuys On The Legalization Of Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec 2016 - After multiple failed attempts over the course of a century, Proposition 64, which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, passed with a 56 percent vote in California on Nov. 9. Proposition 64 legalizes the recreational use of marijuana; anyone 21 and older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow a maximum of six marijuana plants at home. The proposition can also potentially reduce sentences as well as clearing criminal records of prisoners that have been convicted of felonies related to the possession and consumption of marijuana.
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Canada: Ottawa Aims To Soften Injection Site Rules

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 12 Dec 2016 - As drug-related deaths rise in B.C. and opioids continue to spread nationwide, government seeks amendments to Harper-era bill Ottawa will introduce a bill Monday that is expected to reduce barriers to opening and operating supervised drug consumption sites in Canada.
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CN ON: Judge Warns Of Pot's Impact

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 08:00
The Observer, 12 Dec 2016 - Young teen leaves victim with concussion An attack that left a girl with a concussion resulted in a year's probation for another Lambton County girl. The impact of marijuana use on developing brains was one of the issues to be examined during probation.
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CN AB: Column: Smoking Today's Dope Like It's The Seventies? Stoned!

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 12/11/2016 - 08:00
Edmonton Sun, 11 Dec 2016 - The Remembrance Day Massacre, as it was dubbed, began at 3 a.m. when long-haired Toronto drug cops busted down the door of our shared apartment, guns drawn, and hauled the four of us off in handcuffs. I was arraigned in court for marijuana possession the next morning, wearing blue jeans, sneakers and my Fly United T-shirt showing two ducks copulating in mid-flight.
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Chronicle AM: Opioid ODs Keep Rising, More Vancouver SIJs, More DC "Smoke Sessions", More... (12/9/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 21:53

Trump's anti-marijuana attorney general pick gets a surprise visit from DC activists, the CDC announces that opioid OD deaths went up again last year, British Columbia expands its safe injection site program, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

DC Activists Visit Sessions' Office, Offer Free Weed. As part of their #SmokeSessions campaign to defeat the nomination of Trump's attorney general pick, activists from the DC Cannabis Campaign, the same group that led the DC legalization campaign, visited the offices of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) Thursday, carrying marijuana with them as they went. Sessions staffers listened to arguments against prohibition and stories about medical benefits and did not call Capitol Police to arrest the federal lawbreakers, leading organizer Adam Eidinger to ask: "If you're not going to arrest people in your own office who bring marijuana… why would you break down people's doors as a federal policy?"

Hemp

Missouri Hemp Bill Filed. State Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) has pre-filed a bill that would authorize commercial hemp farming, production, and sale, and does not require growers to get federal permission to grow their crop. The measure is SB120. The legislative session starts next month.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Opioid Deaths Surpassed 30,000 Last Year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data Thursday showing the opioid overdose deaths had surpassed 30,000 for the first time in recent history last year. That's up nearly 5,000 deaths over 2014. And for the first time since the 1990s, more people died from heroin overdoses than prescription opioid overdoses. "The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen," said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a statement. "Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems."

Asset Forfeiture

Institute of Justice Sues Border Patrol, IRS Over Asset Forfeiture FOIA Records. The libertarian-leaning Institute of Justice filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Border Patrol and the IRS, saying the two agencies are violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The IRS demanded $750,000 to turn over asset forfeiture records, while the Border Patrol denied the FOIA request, first claiming it was "overbroad" and then saying to do so would reveal law enforcement techniques. "The lack of transparency surrounding forfeiture is deeply troubling, especially considering the vast power law enforcement has to take property from people without so much as charging them with a crime," The Institute for Justice's research director Lisa Knepper said in a press release announcing the suit. "The public ought to know how forfeiture is being used."

Ohio Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Heads to Governor's Desk. A bill that would require the filing of criminal charges before the state could institute civil asset forfeiture proceedings won final approval in the House Friday and now head to the desk of Gov. John Kasich (R). The measure, House Bill 347, was earlier approved unanimously by the state Senate.

International

New Safe Injection Sites Open in Vancouver, with More Yet to Come. Two new safe injection sites for drug users opened in the city's Downtown Eastside Thursday, and similar facilities will open in Surrey and Victoria next week. And later this month, additional sites will open in all three locations. The move was announced by the British Columbia Ministry of Health, which did not seek permission from the federal government to do so. But they did let Health Canada and the Ministry of Public Safety know it was coming. BC Health Minister Terry Lake said the actions were necessary to combat a rising toll of opioid overdose deaths. "We can't wait for federal changes in order to save people's lives," he said. "We know people are using in alleys, they are using in their rooms, and they are not where the people who can help them are. And so in the face of this crisis, we really just wanted to do more."

Germany's Dusseldorf Wants to Legalize Weed. Following the lead of Berlin, which is moving to allow cannabis coffee shops, the city of Dusseldorf is moving to enact total marijuana legalization. The city council met Wednesday with experts in crime, economics, and psychology to discuss how best to move forward.

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CN BC: Editorial: Can't Blow Aside The Issue Of Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 08:00
Penticton Western, 09 Dec 2016 - It was a long meeting Tuesday as Penticton city council once again wrestled with the slippery grey issue of medical marijuana dispensaries. The horns of the dilemma are that on one hand, storefront sales of marijuana, even for medicinal use, are unlawful. On the other hand, dispensaries are setting up in communities across Canada in advance of promised legalization, and RCMP are doing little, if anything to enforce the law.
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CN ON: Column: Reefer Madness

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 08:00
The Daily Observer, 09 Dec 2016 - When you look at the rainbow of sins that governments tax, you would have to place marijuana in a pretty unique place. Think of the vast array of ills government live off of and their alternatives:
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CN AB: Pot Tourism Hanging In The Balance

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 08:00
Metro, 09 Dec 2016 - Would-be weed entrepreneurs await federal framework Although not clear how pot legalization will go down, Albertans are already planning to piggyback business on the marijuana economy. In Colorado, when pot was decriminalized in the state, their local tourism board didn't touch the stuff, because it's not federally legal. Yet if you plan a trip to the toking state, there are many services purporting to be 420 friendly.
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CN BC: Is It Too Easy To Get Medical Marijuana In Nelson?

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 08:00
Nelson Star, 09 Dec 2016 - First you need a doctor's note. To purchase cannabis in Nelson at one of the six dispensaries currently existing downtown, you have to provide this documentation to start the process of becoming a member. That note needs to either confirm a medical diagnosis or recommend cannabis to treat it.
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