Cocaine

Chronicle AM: RI Senate OKs Life Sentence for ODs Bill, Guatemala's First Coca Crop, More... (5/30/18)

Cocaine (STDW) - Wed, 05/30/2018 - 20:09

A bill that would mandate life sentences for selling drugs involved in fatal overdoses is moving in Rhode Island, a California US attorney says he's too busy with the black market to go after legal marijuana, another Utah poll has a medical marijuana initiative winning, Guatemala gets its first coca crop and more.

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

California US Attorney Says Too Much Black Market Work to Focus on Legal Market. Sacramento-based McGregor Scott, US Attorney for the Northeastern District of California, said Tuesday there is so much marijuana being grown illegally on federal lands and trafficked to other states that he doesn't have the resources to go after state-legal marijuana operations. Scott said he would focus on interstate trafficking, organized crime, and damage to public lands.

New Jersey Legalization Advocate Wants to Tie Legalization, Medical Marijuana. State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) is working on a plan to combine a marijuana legalization push with a bid to expand medical marijuana, but some lawmakers are warning the effort could blow up chances for either to pass this year. The medical marijuana expansion plan has broad support; the move to legalize marijuana is much more contentious.

Northern Marianas Legalization Bill Advances. The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) has taken another step toward legalizing marijuana. The House Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations has unanimously approved a bill that would allow adults to grow, possess, and consume marijuana and set up a system of taxed and regulated sales and production. The bill has already passed the Senate and now awaits a House floor vote.

Medical Marijuana

Yet Another Utah Poll Has Medical Marijuana Initiative Winning. A new poll from Dan Jones & Associates finds that nearly three out of four Utah residents support the Utah Patients Coalition medical marijuana initiative. The poll had 72% either "strongly" or "somewhat" in support, with 25% opposed, and only 2% undecided. While the LDS Church has come out against the measure, even 59% of self-described very active Mormons say they are for it.

Sentencing

Rhode Island Senate Approves Bill Allowing Life Sentences in Overdose Deaths. The state Senate on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 2279A, which allows prison sentences of up to life for those convicted of selling, delivering, or distributing an illegal drug that results in a fatal overdose. The bill passed 22-11 over the objections of treatment professionals, mental health advocates, and civil liberties organizations, which argued that tougher sentences will only make it harder to fight drug overdoses. "We know, based on decades of criminal justice based drug policy, that harsher penalties do not decrease drug using activity. So, this bill's disturbing message will not decrease drug use, nor drug trafficking -- the economics ensure this -- but it will further marginalize people who use drugs and increase their fears," a joint letter to the Senate said. "Use of a public health approach, not lengthy criminal sentences for users and small-time dealers, is essential for our state's ability to continue to make headway in this crisis." The bill now goes to the House.

International

Guatemalan Authorities Bust First Coca Farm. The National Civil Police announced over the weekend that they had found and destroyed a 2 ½ plot of coca plants sown between coffee plants, the first discovery of coca cultivation in the country. The crops were found in a remote area of Alta Verapaz department. Honduras recently saw its first and second discovery of coca plantings, too, suggesting that traffickers are attempting to cut risk and transport costs by planting the cocaine-producing crop nearer to US markets.

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Chronicle AM: NM Marijuana Poll, House Passes Limited Prison Reform Bill, More... (5/23/18)

Cocaine (STDW) - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 19:30

A solid majority of New Mexicans support marijuana legalization, the House passes a limited prison -- but not sentencing -- reform bill, an Open Society Foundations report calls for increased opportunities for legal coca sales in Colombia, and more.

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

New Mexico Poll Has Strong Support for Legalization. A poll from Research & Polling Inc. conducted in March but not released until yesterday has support for marijuana legalization at 63%. Respondents were asked if they would support a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. Support was up 2% over a similar poll in 2016.

Medical Marijuana

West Virginia Bid for Special Session to Address Marijuana Banking Issues Fizzles. The legislature concluded its may interim meetings Tuesday without securing enough signatures in the House of Delegates to force a special session to address marijuana banking issues. The legislature needed three-fifths of members in both the Senate and the House to force a special session. Enough senators signed on to meet that bar, but not enough delegates did.

Prison Reform

House Passes Prison Reform Bill Backed By Trump. The House easily passed a bipartisan prison reform bill Tuesday, but it faces a murky future in the Senate. House Resolution 5682 aims to reduce recidivism by providing training programs for prisoners. Powerful senators, including Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), however, are holding out for a more substantive bill that includes not just prison reforms, but also sentencing reforms. "For that deal to pass the Senate, it must include sentencing reform. At least as of now, that's something Sen. Durbin and I still are sticking together on," Grassley said at a Tuesday event on criminal justice reform.

International

Open Society Report Calls for Boosting Colombia's Legal Coca Market to Reduce Violence. A new report from Open Society Foundations calls on Colombia to move away from traditional drug eradication measures that have not proven successful and instead create policies that encourage coca farmers to stay out of the black market. The report says both international and Colombian law allow coca to be grown for legal purposes, and Colombia should move to increase that prospect.

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CN ON: Column: Enabling Drugs While Shunning Sugar

Cocaine (MAP) - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 11 May 2018 - It'€™s all about harm reduction and improving community health outcomes No doubt some Hamiltonians are chuckling to hear city council is considering banning sugary drinks from city buildings to protect people's health.
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US OH: Needle Exchange Program Offers Fentanyl Test Strips

Cocaine (MAP) - Mon, 05/07/2018 - 07:00
The Blade, 07 May 2018 - Northwest Ohio Syringe Services has begun distributing fentanyl test strips to active users of opioids and other drugs. The exchange, a program through the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, is part of a larger strategy of harm reduction to keep people with addiction issues healthy while using, and provide them with resources and help when they want to seek treatment. Fentanyl has become the scourge of anyone trying to fight Ohio's opioid epidemic: deadly in small quantities and appearing in an increasing number of fatal overdoses.
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US: More Businesses Are Mellowing Out Over Hiring Marijuana Smokers

Cocaine (MAP) - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 02 May 2018 - WASHINGTON - FPI Management, a property company in California, wants to hire dozens of people. Factories from New Hampshire to Michigan need workers. Hotels in Las Vegas are desperate to fill jobs. Those employers and many others are quietly taking what once would have been a radical step: They're dropping marijuana from the drug tests they require of prospective employees. Marijuana testing - a fixture at large American employers for at least 30 years - excludes too many potential workers, experts say, at a time when filling jobs is more challenging than it's been in nearly two decades.
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CN BC: Liberal Party Members Overwhelmingly Vote For Decriminalizing

Cocaine (MAP) - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 07:00
The Straight, 23 Apr 2018 - The Liberal Party of Canada has voted in favour of removing criminal penalties for the personal possession of drugs. It'€™s one of a number of policies that the party selected as priorities at a convention in Halifax on Saturday (April 21).
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CN ON: Ontario Tory Leader Doug Ford Says He's Dead Against

Cocaine (MAP) - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 20 Apr 2018 - Doug Ford says he is "dead against" supervised injection sites and believes the focus should be on drug rehabilitation instead. And if elected premier of Ontario in June, the Progressive Conservative Leader says he will do everything he can to fight the opioid crisis and get people who are struggling with addiction the help they need.
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US: Column: We Scorned Black Addicts But Support White Addicts. Why?

Cocaine (MAP) - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 18 Apr 2018 - We have been here before -- a raging epidemic of addiction that destroys lives, families and communities. Who was on the front line in the 1990s, when the drug was crack and the addicts were mostly black? Drug czar William Bennett. His weapons were prosecution and prison.
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US: 'El Chapo' evidence: Killings, Prison Breaks And 7 Tons Of

Cocaine (MAP) - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr 2018 - U.S. prosecutors say their evidence against notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman includes killings, torture, kidnappings, prison breaks and even an attempt to smuggle seven tons of cocaine in cans of jalapenos. A government memo filed Tuesday also says there's evidence that Guzman was involved in a 1992 drug-gang shootout at a Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, nightclub that left six people dead.
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