Skip to Content

Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: MA Drug Lab Scandal Redux, PA MJ Support Strong and Rising, More... (9/22/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 19:52

Pennsylvania support for marijuana legalization is strong and rising, Attorney General Sessions mixes drug and immigration policy, another federal court rules against Stingray, a second Massachusetts drug lab scandal could see thousands more cases dismissed, and more.

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

California Will Issue Temporary Business Licenses. Regulators will introduce a temporary marijuana business licensing system to ensure a smooth start to regulated marijuana sales beginning on January 1, the state's top marijuana official announced Thursday. Businesses would only need to provide some "pretty basic information" for the temporary licenses, said Lori Ajax. The application will be available in early December, after temporary rulemaking is completed. "We don't have time to do regular rulemaking," she explained, adding that would come next year.

Pennsylvania Poll Shows Strong, Rising Support for Legalization. A Franklin & Marshall College poll released Thursday has support for marijuana legalization at 59%, with only 31% opposed and 9% undecided. The pro-legalization numbers are the highest ever in the poll, up three points since May and a whopping 19 points since June2015.

Immigration

Sessions Blames Lax Immigration Policies for Drug Gangs, Cartels. Attorney General Jeff Sessions used concerns over drug gangs and cartels to attack "loose" immigration policy in remarks in Boston Thursday. He specifically singled out MS-13 as an example, while failing to note the gang's origins among Salvadoran refugees fleeing a US-sponsored civil war there in the 1980s. He also attacked the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protections to undocumented residents who were brought to the country as children. "The gangs use this program as a means to recruit members," Sessions said. "We cannot allow young people to be brought into this life of crime." Sessions did not mention that DACA participants are carefully vetted and must have no serious criminal records or that 90% of them are working or in college.

Law Enforcement

DC Court Latest to Rule Against Warrantless Stingray Searches. The DC Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the warrantless use of a Stingray cell-site stimulator to monitor phone calls was unconstitutional. The ruling was only the latest in a string of recent federal appeals court judgments that ruled using the Stingray amounts to a search under the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. In the DC case, the court found the violation so egregious that it excluded all evidence derived from it, overturning the conviction of Prince Jones on drug charges.

ACLU Calls for Thousands More Massachusetts Drug Cases to Be Thrown Out in Drug Lab Scandals. Bay State judges have already dismissed more than 20,000 drug cases tainted by the misbehavior of state lab chemist Annie Dookhan, but now the ACLU is calling for judges and prosecutors to dismiss thousands more in a second case of lab tech misbehavior. Amherst state lab chemist Sonja Farak pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing cocaine from the lab and admitted she was high nearly every day from 2004 to 2013 on cocaine, meth, and other stimulant drugs she pilfered from her job. The ACLU charges that prosecutors have sought to minimize Farak's misbehavior in a bid to preserve drug cases and convictions and failed to notify defendants that the evidence in their cases had been tainted. "Far worse than the Hinton scandal, the Amherst scandal combines a lab crisis with prosecutorial misconduct of unparalleled scope and irremediable consequence," the ACLU argued. "This latest systemic lapse in the justice system demands a most emphatic response." And that response would be mass dismissals.

International

Iceland Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. Members of the Reform Party and the Pirate Party have banded together to file a bill that would legalize marijuana in the North Atlantic island nation. The bill would allow anyone 20 and over to possess and cultivate pot for personal use -- with a government permit. The bill would also allow retail sales and consumption lounges, but not at the same business.

Australia to See First Music Festival With On-Site Pill Testing. The Spilt Milk Festival in Canberra will provide on-site pill testing for attendees in a harm reduction move aimed at reducing overdoses and other bad drug interactions. The Australian Capital Territory government has given the okay for the project, which will be operated by the Safety Testing Advisory Service at Festivals and Events. That consortium consists of Harm Reduction Australia, the Australian Drug Observatory, the Noffs Foundation, DanceWize, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: CA Safe Injection Site Blocked for Now, No Toronto Pot Lounges, More... (9/19/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 20:29

The California safe injection bill comes up two votes short of passing this year, Toronto authorities ignore the pleas of pot lounge operators for a place under legalization, Virginia's Democratic attorney general comes out with a plan to fight opioid overdoses, and more.

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

New Mexico Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Want to Legalize It, Republicans Not So Much. Three leading Democratic contenders for the party's gubernatorial nomination support legalization, while the sole Republican in the race does not. Democrat Peter DeBenedittis released a statement Monday calling for legalization, prompting Democrats Jeff Apodaca and US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham to come out for it as well. The sole Republican, US Rep Steve Pearce opposes legalization, as does one Democrat, state Rep. Joseph Cervantes. But Cervantes noted that he has sponsored legislation reducing penalties for possession.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Deadline Sees Rush of Applicants for Grower, Distributor Licenses. A Monday deadline for grower and distributor applications saw applicants flood the state office building where the paperwork is delivered. Firm numbers weren't available, but applicants overwhelmed the clerks on duty and faced hours-long waits to get processed.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Virginia Attorney General Releases Plan to Fight Opioid Epidemic. State Attorney General Mark Herring (D) on Monday released a plan to address the growing number of deaths caused by the use of heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids. Among the proposals: harsher laws for people dealing in fentanyl, enhanced electronic prescription monitoring, requiring health insurers to cover alternative treatments for pain, teaching schoolchildren about opioids beginning in middle school, and an investigation into price gouging by companies selling naloxone. News accounts don't indicate any discussion in Herring's plan of the need to ensure the availability of opioid pain relievers to those patients who do need them, nor any critical examination of his proposal for increased sentences.

Harm Reduction

California Safe Injection Site Bill Falls Short in State Senate. A bill that would have opened the way to safe injection sites in the state has come up two votes short in the state Senate. The measure, Assembly Bill 186, is not dead, however. Even though the Senate did not vote to pass it, it did vote to reconsider it next year.

International

Toronto Just Says No to Marijuana Lounges. Despite the pleas of pot consumption lounge owners, some of whom have been open for years, the city's municipal standards and licensing committee voted 4-1 to limit marijuana businesses to government-run stores. The committee also voted to increase penalties for businesses that allow on-site consumption. The city is staying within the parameters set by the Ontario provincial government, which recently announced plans for a government monopoly on pot sales.

Lesotho Becomes First African County to Issue Medical Marijuana License. The country's health ministry has licensed a South African company, Verve Dynamics, to manufacture medical marijuana products, marking a first for the continent.

Peru Medical Marijuana Bill Advances. Spurred by a recent raid on a makeshift medical marijuana facility that mothers were using to soothe their sick children, the Peruvian congress is advancing a medical marijuana bill. The bill has now passed the congressional Committee on National Defense and heads to the full Congress for debate and a final vote. President Pablo Kucyzinski has supported the legislation.

Amnesty International Criticizes Indonesia's Turn to Harsh Drug War. The government's tough stance against drug dealers is leading to an increasing death toll, the human rights group said. Amnesty's Indonesian affiliate said some 80 people had been killed by police in the drug war so far this year, more than four times as many as last year.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org"s lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays 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: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Politicians Back Group To Tackle Opioid Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:00
London Free Press, 19 Sep 2017 - While politicians were busy debating whether to create a new group to deal with an opioid crisis, community agencies went ahead and formed it themselves. That created a confusing conversation at a city hall committee on Monday night, when politicians debated the opioid crisis working group for the third time since Aug. 1.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: Publish Statistics

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 19 Sep 2017 - News that Toronto is one big step closer to a long-term safe injection site is most welcome, particularly as this city, like many in North America, grapples with a growing opioid addiction crisis. It's also a reminder of the important work ahead. In the month since a pop-up injection site opened in Moss Park, the volunteer staff has accommodated nearly 2,700 visits and administered 26 doses of naloxone, the antidote to these deadly drugs.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Injection Site Gets OK

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 19 Sep 2017 - Health board approves Lowertown location The Ottawa Board of Health on Monday night unanimously endorsed a plan by the city's top doctor to set up a temporary supervised injection site in Lowertown at a time when more people are overdosing and ending up in hospital emergency rooms.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Pot Use Will Surge: Poll

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:00
Sudbury Star, 19 Sep 2017 - More than a third of respondents plan to use legalized marijuana A new study by Sudbury-based researchers has found that 39 per cent, or 11.5 million adult Canadians intend to be cannabis consumers once the federal government's legalization plan becomes a reality.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Bill to End Federal Man Mins Filed, CA Calls for Pot Rescheduling, More... (9/18/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 21:01

Bostonians celebrate marijuana legalization, California calls for its rescheduling, state attorneys general urge health insurers to reduce opioid prescriptions, Maxine Waters files a bill to end mandatory minimums for drug sentences, and more.

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

California Officially Calls for Marijuana Rescheduling. The Assembly last Thursday passed a resolution calling on the federal government to reschedule marijuana. The Senate had approved the resolution earlier. "The Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use," reads the joint resolution.

Boston Freedom Rally Draws Thousands to Celebrate Legalization. For the first time since voters legalized marijuana last November, the annual event demanding legalization was held this past weekend. Thousands flocked to Boston Common for the 28th Annual Boston Freedom Rally for live music, speeches, educational panels, and -- of course -- plentiful pot-smoking. Even though public marijuana use is illegal, police reported no arrests.

Nevada Supreme Court Throws a Wrench in Marijuana Distribution Licensing. The state's highest court issued a temporary injunction last Friday barring the Department of Taxation from granting any more pot distribution licenses. This means supply chain issues will continue to plague pot shops in the near term. The initiative that legalized pot in the state reserved such licenses for liquor distributors for the first 18 months, but the Tax Commission had voted to allow other distributors to get in on the action after determining that the booze distributors couldn't keep up with demand. The liquor distributors took legal action to block the new licenses, and here we are. Oral arguments in the case are set for October 3.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

State Attorneys General Urge Insurers to Seek Alternatives for Opioids. Attorneys general from 35 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico announced a bipartisan coalition to fight opioid addiction on Monday and rolled out their effort by jointly calling on health insurers to review pain management treatment policies in a bid to promote more use of alternatives to prescription opioids. The AGs said they didn't want health insurers to unintentionally contribute to the crisis. News articles didn't indicate whether the AGs noted the need to ensure that patients who do need opioids receive them.

Harm Reduction

Philadelphia DA Candidates Are Open to Safe Injection Sites. Larry Krasner, the Democratic frontrunner to be the next district attorney, has come out in support of city-sanctioned safe injection sites for drug users. His Republican foe, Beth Grossman, wouldn't go that far, but said she is open to discussion on the issue. Safe injection sites were mentioned in Mayor Jim Kenney's opioid task force report in May, but they were the most controversial of the report's 18 recommendations. Although efforts are underway in several cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, no officially-sanctioned safe injection sites operate in the US, although one unsanctioned one is reportedly operating in an unnamed US city.

Sentencing

Maxine Waters Files Bill to End Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has filed House Resolution 3800 "to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offenses." The bill text is not yet available on the congressional web site.

International

Toronto Pot Lounges Want Right to Exist Under Legalization. Faced with a provincial plan to impose a government monopoly on retail marijuana sales, Toronto's existing pot consumption lounges, some of which have been around since before the turn of the century, are asking the city's Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee to regulate them instead of shutting them down. They argue that the shops are needed in the city, which bans public pot smoking and where many renters and apartment dwellers have no legal place to indulge.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays 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: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Pop-Up Injection Site May Get Long-Term Home

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 18 Sep 2017 - Plans are afoot to give the Moss Park "pop-up" safe-injection tent, established by volunteers just over a month ago as an emergency response to overdose deaths, a permanent future in a nearby building. And the city councillor leading Toronto's overdose crisis response foresees similar facilities - where people can safely inject drugs without fear of arrest - in "three or four" other neighbourhoods in addition to the four sites Toronto will have by the end of October.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: City's Ranking 'Wake-Up Call'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/16/2017 - 07:00
The Expositor, 16 Sep 2017 - Report puts Brantford at top in province for emergency room visits due to opioid poisoning, A report putting Brantford at the top of the provincial list for emergency room visits due to opioid overdoses is a "wake-up call," says Ruth Gratton.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN NS: Local MLA Worried About Pot Legalization

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/16/2017 - 07:00
The News, 16 Sep 2017 - Government, business community and advocacy groups have varied opinions As the deadline for the federal government's move to legalize marijuana in July 2018 approaches, users, stakeholders, business people and politicians involved in the matter offer a variety of concerns.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: Decriminalize All Drugs? Not A Bad Idea

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/16/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 16 Sep 2017 - NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh's recent promise that, as prime minister, he would move quickly to drop criminal penalties for possession or purchase of small amounts of all drugs will no doubt seem radical to many. Broad-based decriminalization would be a stark reversal after decades of increasingly punitive policies. And this would certainly add a layer of complication to the already-complicated task of legalizing marijuana, which Ottawa and the provinces are struggling to do by next summer. The Trudeau government's current position on decriminalization is understandable: Ottawa already has its hands full with pot.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US PA: DA Candidate Endorses Safe Injection Sites For Heroin

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 14 Sep 2017 - Democrat Larry Krasner, the front-runner to become Philadelphia's next district attorney, says he supports city-sanctioned spaces where people addicted to heroin can inject drugs under medical supervision and access treatment, a move advocates see as a promising step toward making the city the first in the U.S. to open such a site. His Republican opponent, Beth Grossman, says she's open to discussions on the matter.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Singh Vows To Decriminalize Petty Drug Charges At NDP Debate

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 12 Sep 2017 - A federal New Democratic leadership hopeful has pledged to make it party policy to decriminalize petty drug possession if he is elected leader, supporting calls by an increasing number of health officials who say it would help lift the stigma around addiction. Jagmeet Singh made his pledge on Sunday at an NDP leadership debate in Vancouver, a city that had recorded nearly 250 suspected overdose deaths by the end of August. Across British Columbia, 876 people died of illicit-drug overdoses from January through July of this year.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: On Pot, Province Is Right To Take It Slowly

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:00
Kenora Daily Miner And News, 12 Sep 2017 - Without question, the Ontario government's plan to regulate marijuana once the drug is legalized makes eminent sense. There's no doubt that Canada is entering unchartered waters; caution should be the watchword.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: On Pot, The Government Is Right To Take It Slowly

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:00
London Free Press, 12 Sep 2017 - Without question, the Ontario government's plan to regulate marijuana once the drug is legalized makes eminent sense. There's no doubt that Canada is entering unchartered waters; caution should be the watchword.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Ontario Goes With State-Owned Pot Shops, DEA Agent's Sordid Affair, More... (9/11/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:20

Canada's most populous province is going with a state monopoly on legal marijuana sales, the CARERS Act is back, last week's surprise budget deal preserves protections for legal medical marijuana states for a few more months, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Medical Marijuana

Congressional Budget Deal Preserves Medical Marijuana Protections -- For Now. The budget deal agreed to last week between President Trump and congressional leaders extends federal protections to state-legal medical marijuana programs through December 8. This provides an opportunity for House GOP leaders to rectify their decision last week not to allow a vote on the amendment that for the past four years has blocked the Justice Department from spending federal funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Reintroduce CARERS Act. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Rand Paul (R-KY) refiled the CARERS Act (Senate Bill 1764) last Wednesday. The bill aims to "extend the principle of federalism to State drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana, and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana."

Iowa Attorney General Cites Fed Fears to Block CBD from Out of State Dispensaries. The attorney general's office has advised the Department of Public Health not to implement a part of the state's CBD medical marijuana law that would have licensed two dispensaries from bordering states to supply CBD to Iowa patients. "It is possible that state's program may come under increased scrutiny from the federal government," a spokesman told the Des Moines Register, adding that the halt would remain "until the federal government provides further guidance regarding state medical marijuana programs."

Drug Policy

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Joins Trump's Drug Task Force. A Republican and Trump supporter, Bondi has been appointed to the Presidential Commission on Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, her office announced last Friday. The other commission members are chairman and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), North Carolina Roy Cooper (D), former US Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-MA), and Harvard professor Dr. Bertha Madras. The commission is supposed to issue a final report by October 1.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

New York Congressman Files Bill to Broaden Medication Assisted Treatment. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) has filed House Resolution 3692 to "amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide additional flexibility with respect to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders."

Law Enforcement

DEA Agent's Scandalous Affair Unveiled. A Justice Department inspector general's report released last Thursday revealed one bit of juicy scandal: A DEA agent carried on a wild affair with a convicted drug criminal for five years, and let her listen to active wiretaps, roam the evidence room unattended, and had sex with her in his office and official vehicle. The whole thing unraveled when she got pregnant, he reacted unfavorably, and she ratted him out to superiors. The unnamed agent was originally only suspended for 45 days, but was eventually fired.

International

Ontario Will Only Allow Legal Pot Sales in Government Monopoly Shops. Canada's most populous province announced last Friday that it will open 150 standalone pot shops operated by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), as well as eventually allowing an online order service. Dispensaries that have sprouted up in the province are out of luck: "Illicit cannabis dispensaries are not and will not be legal retailers," the province explained in a news release. "The province will pursue a coordinated and proactive enforcement strategy, working with municipalities, local police services, the OPP and the federal government to help shut down these illegal operations."

Canadian Prime Minister Just Says No to Drug Decriminalization. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected calls from British Columbia public health and political figures to embrace drug decriminalization as part of a solution to the country's opioid crisis. "We are making headway on this and indeed the crisis continues and indeed spreads across the country but we are not looking at legalizing any other drugs than marijuana for the time being," Trudeau told a news conference in BC last Thursday.

German Poll Finds Solid Majority for Marijuana Legalization. A Mafo Market Research Institute poll has found signs of a rapid shift in support for freeing the weed in Germany. Polls going back to 2001 have had support hovering around 19%, but things began to change around 2014. That year, a poll had 30% supporting legalization. In November 2015, another poll had support at 42%. The new Mafo poll has support at 57.5%.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN QU: Edu: Editorial: McGill Cannot Ignore The Fentanyl Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 07:00
The McGill Daily, 11 Sep 2017 - Content Warning: drug use and overdose Last week, public health officials in Montreal warned of an imminent fentanyl crisis that poses a serious risk to the city's drug users. Fentanyl is an opioid prescribed to relieve chronic pain, but its intensity is 40 times that of heroin, and its toxicity 100 times that of morphine. Fentanyl can be found in opiates, as well as party drugs such as cocaine, PCP, and MDMA. Because it's often present without the consumer's knowledge, it can easily cause a fatal overdose. In British Columbia, 706 overdose deaths from January to July 2017 involved fentanyl. In Montreal, there have been 24 confirmed drug overdose cases since the beginning of August 2017. Faced with this growing public health crisis, the McGill community must waste no time in supplying the tools and information necessary to keep students safe.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: LCBO Will Open 150 Pot Shops

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/09/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 09 Sep 2017 - Government-controlled outlets, website only place weed will be bought legally Premier Kathleen Wynne is cornering Ontario's recreational marijuana market by restricting sales to 150 LCBO-run stores.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: Ontario's Pot Plan Can Set Standard

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/09/2017 - 07:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 09 Sep 2017 - Government union says public sales model best bet for health and safety CANADA'S most populous province has announced a plan to sell legal marijuana through a publicly owned system, which is music to the ears of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Pot Plan Good For Business: Retailer

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/09/2017 - 07:00
Packet & Times, 09 Sep 2017 - The Ontario government is going to pot. The province announced Wednesday it plans to replace drug dealers and dispensaries next year when recreational marijuana use is set to be legalized in Canada. Legislation will be introduced at Queen's Park later in the fall that will make the government the only legal retail distributor for cannabis in Ontario.
Categories: Harm Reduction
Syndicate content