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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: MA Legal MJ Bill Heads to Gov, DOJ Restarts Forfeiture Sharing, More .... (7/20/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 20:01

Massachusetts lawmakers approve the legal marijuana bill, the Justice Department officially resurrects "adoptive sharing" for asset forfeitures, Gallup says more Americans have smoked pot than ever, and more.

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

Gallup Poll Has Number Who Say They've Used Marijuana at All-Time High. Some 45% of American adults have tried marijuana, according to Gallup. That's an all-time high, and it's more than ten times the number (4%) who admitted smoking pot in 1969, the first year Gallup asked the question. About 12% said they currently use marijuana.

Massachusetts Legislature Approves Compromise Legalization Bill. The House and Senate both approved a compromise measure to implement marijuana legalization Wednesday. House Bill 3818 now heads to the desk of Gov. Charlie Baker (R), who is expected to sign it. The bill increases taxes from 12% to up to 20%, and would allow authorities in localities that didn't vote in favor of the legalization initiative to ban pot businesses without a popular vote.

Medical Marijuana

Texas Bid to Expand Medical Marijuana Defeated. An effort to expand medical marijuana in the state was stopped by the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday. Rep. David Knoll (R) had tried to add an amendment to a special session bill authorizing the Texas Medical Board and other agencies, but the amendment never got enough support to come up for a vote.

Asset Forfeiture

Justice Department Brings Back Aggressive Asset Forfeiture Policy. As Attorney General Sessions vowed earlier this week, the Justice Department on Wednesday formally unrolled a revamped "adoptive forfeiture" policy that will allow state and local law enforcement agencies to hand drug cases over to the feds to ensure that the cops get the great bulk -- 80% -- of the proceeds from seizures, in many cases doing an end-run around state asset forfeiture law. The program was halted by then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2015 after a rising outcry over abuses. The move was praised by law enforcement but criticized by civil rights groups and even some members of Congress.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Rhode Island Governor Signs Package of Bills to Fight Opioid Epidemic. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) Wednesday signed into law three bills aimed at the state's opioid problem. One allows law enforcement to access an electronic prescription database without a warrant, one requires doctors to discuss the risks of addiction with patients when prescribing opioids, and one expands the kind of drugs that can be electronically prescribed. "Every Rhode Island community has been touched by this crisis, and I'll take every step I can to fight back," Raimondo said in a signing statement.

Harm Reduction

California Safe Injection Site Bill Awaits Senate Floor Vote. A bill that would allow supervised injection sites in the state has already passed the Assembly and has now been approved by both the Senate Health Committee and the Public Safety Committee. Assembly Bill 186, sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) now awaits a Senate floor vote. If the bill passes, it will go back to the Assembly for concurrence, and then to Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: IH Set To Expand Services For Users Of Illegal Drugs

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 20 Jul 2017 - Mobile overdose-prevention unit to start offering supervision as well Overnight, the bureaucratese for safe injection site has changed to supervised consumption services. "Our new permission from Health Canada allows us to transition, in the next two weeks, from offering a mobile safe injection site to offering mobile supervised consumption services," said Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Lilvina Mema.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Premiers Push PM On Pot

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:00
Edmonton Sun, 20 Jul 2017 - Call on federal government to resolve issues around pending legalization of marijuana The federal government is leaving provinces and territories hanging when it comes to legalized marijuana, premiers say, and they want answers to help them draft cannabis legislation.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: MA Solons Reach Legalization Accord, Sessions Wants More Forfeiture, More... (7/18/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 17:54

Bay state lawmakers come together on implementing marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions signals a ramped up asset forfeiture effort, DanceSafe is offering fentanly test strips, and more.

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

Massachusetts Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Legalization Implementation Bill. Lawmakers announced Monday they had agreed on a rewrite of the state's voter-approved marijuana legalization law. Under the deal, taxes on pot could reach 20% (up from the 12% approved by the voters, down from the 28% proposed by the House). The measure, House Bill 3818, also addresses the issue of local control by requiring jurisdictions where a majority voted for the initiative to hold a popular vote before banning marijuana businesses; jurisdictions that didn't favor the initiative could ban such businesses without a popular vote.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Renews Call for Legalization. Auditor General Eugene DePascuale (D) came out in support of marijuana legalization earlier this year, and he was at it again this week. Now, he's arguing that legalization could help in fighting the opioid epidemic."So the connection I'm drawing there is: there are times when there are going to be people who will smoke marijuana as a way to reduce their pain," DePasquale said. "The ideal would be for nobody to have any pain, but that's not reality. In many instances, marijuana is a much safer alternative than opioids."

San Francisco Creates Office of Cannabis for Pot Businesses. The city has taken initial steps to create a new Office of Cannabis to handle marijuana permits and complaints and serve as a clearinghouse for the public and pot businesses. It will be responsible for creating and managing the permitting process for all pot businesses, as well as providing policy analysis and serving as the main point of contact for businesses, state regulators, and the public.

Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Sessions Wants to Ramp Up Asset Forfeiture in Drug Cases. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday that the Dept. of Justice will seek to increase the use of asset forfeiture by state and local police forces. Sessions said in prepared remarks for the National District Attorney's Association meeting, "We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture -- especially for drug traffickers. With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime."

Harm Reduction

DanceSafe is Now Offering Fentanyl Test Strips. The rave culture-oriented harm reduction group has studies various fentanyl detection strips and found that one offered by Canadian company BTNX was most effective at detecting the synthetic opioid and its analogues. It is now offering those strips for sale via its website. Click on the link for complete information.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Colleagues Mourn Drug Reformer

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 18 Jul 2017 - Tracey Morrison remembered for her tenderness and tirelessness A longtime advocate for drug policy reforms in Vancouver is being mourned after her unexpected death on Friday night. Tracey Morrison was of Anishinabe ancestry and president of the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN NS: Researchers Want Two Weed Streams

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 18 Jul 2017 - Dalhousie duo say recreational, medical need to be separate Dalhousie researchers are lending their voices to the debate on keeping the medical and recreational streams of marijuana separate. The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation published recommendations in a framework for legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2016.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US: US Heroin Crisis Is So Bad, It's 'Raining Needles'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:00
New York Post, 17 Jul 2017 - LOWELL, Mass. -- They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere. In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900 gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 in the same month in 2016.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Needle Exchange Site Sought

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 07:00
North Bay Nugget, 14 Jul 2017 - Efforts underway to establish a new needle exchange site in the city The North Parry Sound District Health Unit indicated in a release Friday that harm reduction services, including the needle exchange program, continue to operate in the community and that work is underway to find ways to further increase access.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: Manitoba Slow To Sniff Out Pot-legalization Opportunities

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 07:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 13 Jul 2017 - THE Manitoba government will never have enough time to study and prepare for the impending legalization of marijuana. At least, that's how Canadian cannabis advocate and president of Winnipeg 420's organizing committee, Steven Stairs, sees it.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US FL: Real-Time Drug Tests At Music Festivals Show 'Molly' Often

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 12 Jul 2017 - 'MOLLY' Scientists, public health experts and volunteers working with them have started to show up at music festivals, concerts, raves and other public gatherings where illicit drugs are frequently used. Equipped with special chemical testing kits, they help attendees test pills and powder for purity in real time so people can make better informed decisions about whether to take them.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Trial For Overdose Prevention System

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 12 Jul 2017 - City's health authority to use drug users' info to lower deaths Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is rolling out an alert warning system that aims to bring drug overdose and contamination information to drug users faster.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Closing Needle Exchange Makes For Bad Business

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:00
North Bay Nugget, 12 Jul 2017 - Life for the police in North Bay is going to become at least a little more difficult. The city is going to lose its primary needle exchange program. Police Chief Shawn Devine has warned that this will put the public and others at risk. The Nipissing Detoxification and Substance Abuse Program is slated to close in September. The North Bay Regional Health Centre is cutting the program.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN QU: Naloxone Tough To Get In Gatineau

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 12 Jul 2017 - For Ottawa residents, getting a naloxone kit to help protect against overdose deaths is as easy as finding a pharmacy and going through a 30-minute information session. Across the river in Gatineau, however, the situation is much different.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: OD Visits To Hospitals Spike

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 12 Jul 2017 - June a record for number of people treated for overdoses At least 134 people were admitted to Ottawa emergency departments for suspected drug overdoses during the month of June, according to data from Ottawa Public Health, as the overdose crisis continues to deepen in Ontario.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Why Addicts Still Play Russian Roulette With Fentanyl

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 11 Jul 2017 - "People doing drugs now are dope-sick and it's so painful, you'd rather die." - Constance Barnes, Overdose Prevention Society The day you read this column, four people in British Columbia will die of a drug overdose, two-thirds due to the powerful opioid fentanyl.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: Folk Festival Stocks Up On Naloxone Kits

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 07:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 07 Jul 2017 - FOR the first time, naloxone kits will be available at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Festival spokeswoman Kelly Romas said Thursday any of the event's 60 first-aid volunteers can administer the medication that reverses the effect of an opioid overdose, which can slow down or stop a person's breathing.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Canada Expanding Safe Injection Sites, FL Sued Over MedMJ Smoke Ban, More... (7/6/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:47

Canada is expanding the use of safe injection sites, the man behind Florida's successful medical marijuana constitutional amendment is suing the state over a smoking ban enacted by lawmakers, Massachusetts lawmakers continue to struggle with how to implement marijuana legalization, and more.

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

Massachusetts House Speaker Wants Marijuana Talks Suspended Until Budget is Passed. Legislators locked in a battle over how to implement the state's voter-approved pot legalization law are being told to put the issue on hold until solons can get a budget passed. House Speaker Roberto DeLeo (D), whose chamber is backing a plan that radically increases taxes and would allow localities to ban marijuana businesses without a popular vote, called Wednesday for setting the issue aside to take on the budget. But Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) countered that the Senate could work on both bills and that "mischief makers are once again at work."

Nevada Opening Pot Sales Exceed Store Owners' Expectations. Legal marijuana sales that began just after midnight Saturday have exceeded the expectations of pot shop operators. Long lines formed in the wee hours Saturday morning, and shops are continuing to report heavy interest, with lines forming again before shops opened for business on Monday. "I'm very happy with the way sales have gone and continue to go, especially when you consider that the word didn't really get out ahead of time," Andrew Jolley, president of the Nevada Dispensary Association and a store owner told Leafly. "The public really only had a couple of weeks' notice, whereas Colorado had a full year to prepare."

Medical Marijuana

Florida Sued Over No Smoking Provision in Medical Marijuana Law. Orlando attorney John Morgan, the mastermind and chief funder of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a legislative ban on smoking medical marijuana. He is asking the courts to throw out the implementing law, saying legislators violated the will of the voters by altering the constitutional amendment they approved last November. "Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream," the lawsuit argues. "By redefining the constitutionally defined term 'medical use' to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of 'a licensed Florida physician' and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process."

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Law Now in Effect. The state's Medical Cannabis Act went into effect Wednesday, but it could still be months or years before Mountain State patients are able to medicate with marijuana. But now an advisory board has been appointed to create a regulatory framework for medical marijuana regulations, and it could be 2019 before patients are able to legally purchase their medicine.

Drug Testing

Colorado Employers Begin to Walk Away from Testing for Marijuana. Changing social attitudes and a tight labor market are pushing employers in the state to drop screenings for marijuana from pre-employment drug tests, said a spokesman for the Mountain States Employers Council. "We're finding that for employers, it's such a tight labor market, that they can't always afford to have a zero-tolerance approach to somebody's off-duty marijuana use, Curtis Graves told Colorado Public Radio.

Harm Reduction

Mississippi Law Easing Naloxone Access Now in Effect. As of July 1, health care providers can write "standing prescriptions" for the opioid overdose reversal drug for family members of people strung out on opioids. "This will save many lives," said Rep. Tommy Reynolds (D-Water Valley).

International

Canada Expanding Safe Injection Sites. Once there was only InSite, the Vancouver safe injection site under constant assault from the Conservative federal government. But now, the Liberals are in power, and the number of safe injection sites has expanded to seven, including three in Montreal and another in Vancouver. Another Montreal site is set to open soon, and so are three in Toronto, with more than a dozen other potential sites being considered.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Perception Of Drug Use Needs To Change

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 07:00
Packet & Times, 06 Jul 2017 - Following the federal government's announcement that approval for supervised drug-injection sites would be made more obtainable, the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (SHCHC) in Ottawa became one of the first to submit an application. After receiving confirmation provincial funding would be provided earlier this year, the centre is anxiously awaiting final federal approval. I visited the SHCHC to speak with Rob Boyd. He is a former Orillia resident, and director of the Oasis Program largely responsible for the SHCHC's drug-treatment services. We sat down, in the room where the supervised injection site is planned to be established, to discuss what will be the centre's newest initiative.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: OPED: Mental Health Woes Play Role In Fentanyl Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:00
The Sun Times, 05 Jul 2017 - We're in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, with fentanyl-related overdoses causing the death of thousands of Canadians. I believe this crisis is due, to a great extent, to the wilful blindness of all levels of government to the inadequate resourcing of mental-health care. Whether due to stigma, poor insight, hopelessness or lack of access to care, many people who are mentally ill suffer in silence, sometimes for years. For some, this leads to a reliance on "self-medication" to cope with their symptoms. This term refers to the use of inappropriate or unhealthy measures to relieve the distress and pain of a mental illness. Self-medication can take many forms: alcohol and cannabis are most common, but other illicit substances, food or other forms of escape are also common.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US NY: Schools, On Guard Against Deadly Opioids, Stock Naloxone

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:00
Newsday, 04 Jul 2017 - School districts on Long Island and statewide are stocking naloxone onsite in school buildings to have the opioid antidote at the ready because of the growing issue of abuse of the deadly drugs, educators and health officials said. At least 340 schools across the state, including dozens on Long Island, have provided training for school nurses or other personnel about how to administer naloxone, according to the state Education Department.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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