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Canada: Pot and the Teenage Brain: Understanding the Science

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 17 Oct 2014 - Because their brains are still developing, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of marijuana. During this crucial period, brain connections are strengthened through myelination - growth of fatty insulation around the neurons - as well as a "pruning" of inefficient neural connections. It's a lengthy process, stretching past the postsecondary years to at least 25.
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CN BC: Less Drug, Alcohol and Sexual Activity With Vancouver

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 17 Oct 2014 - Survey Finds Reductions in Some Risky Behaviours Over the Last Decade, While Mental Health Concerns Grow Fewer Vancouver teens are drinking and doing drugs than they were a decade ago, shows a survey of over 2,000 local students. The percentage of Vancouver youth who have tried alcohol decreased from 45% to 33%, while those who have tried marijuana dropped 7% in the last decade, says a McCreary Centre Society survey of adolescent health.
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Canada: Your Kid's Brain on Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 17 Oct 2014 - As the debate over legalization heats up, Adriana Barton examines the effects of marijuana on the developing brains of teenagers - our nation's most prolific users - and finds there is no such thing as a harmless habit Like it or not, your kids will probably try marijuana. So will their friends. Canadian teens are more than twice as likely as adults to smoke pot - and have the highest rate of cannabis use in the developed world. Marijuana has become as much a part of Canada's youth culture as hockey or Katy Perry.
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US CA: Federal Official Urges State to Tighten Medical

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct 2014 - California should strengthen its regulation of the medical marijuana industry if the state wants to avoid federal intervention, U.S. Deputy Atty. Gen. James M. Cole said in an interview with The Times. Cole, who announced Thursday that he is leaving the No. 2 job at the Justice Department, said he was proud of his efforts to take a softer approach to enforcing federal marijuana laws. A year ago, Cole sent a memo to all U.S. attorneys, including several in California who had aggressively targeted medical marijuana facilities, telling them to ease up on marijuana prosecutions in states where it was legal.
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Chronicle AM: ACLU Drug Reformer to Big DOJ Post, OR Init Leading, FL MMJ Init Trailing, More (10/16/14)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 20:59

Polls have the Oregon initiative up, but the Florida initiative down; a marijuana march in New Jersey takes place on Saturday, Obama nominates a drug reformer to a key Justice Dept. position, a Dutch court sticks a thumb in the government's eye, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Latest Poll Has Oregon Legalization Initiative Up By Nine Points. An Oct. 8-11 survey taken for Oregon Public Broadcasting has the Measure 91 legalization initiative at 52% of the vote with 41% opposed. If these numbers hold true, even if all undecided ended up voting "no," the initiative would still pass.

NJ Weedman to Lead Legalization March Saturday in Trenton. New Jersey marijuana activist Ed Forchion, also known as the NJ Weedman, is leading a legalization march this Saturday in Trenton. Click on the link for more details.

Medical Marijuana

Americans for Safe Access Launches "Vote Medical Marijuana" Campaign. The medical marijuana defense and advocacy group aims to educate voters ahead of next month's elections with a new 30-second online TV advertisement that will air on Sunday cable news programs in Detroit, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Washington state. The campaign also includes an interactive online voters' guide at VoteMedicalMarijuana.org. Check it out at the links.

Another Poll Has Florida Initiative Coming Up Short. A new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll has the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative at 48% of the vote with 44% opposed and 7% undecided. Because the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% to win. This is just the latest in a series of polls showing the initiative failing to reach that mark. Click on the link for more poll details.

Drug Policy

Obama Nominates ACLU Attorney with Strong Drug Reform Record to Head Justice Department Civil Rights Division. The Obama administration has nominated ACLU attorney Vanita Gupta to head the Justice Department's civil rights division. Gupta has been a stalwart drug reformer, working to obtain justice for the victims of racially biased drug enforcement in Tulia, Texas, currently leading the ACLU's National Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, and speaking out frequently about drug war injustices and against mandatory minimum sentencing. "The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color," she wrote in 2011. She is also a strong supporter of marijuana law reform, including legalization.

International

Unprecedented Swarm of Overdoses at Vancouver Safe Injection Site -- But No One Died. Vancouver's InSite safe injection site has seen 31 overdoses in two days, a record for the facility. The ODs came on Sunday and Monday, and speculation is that a particularly strong batch of heroin, perhaps laced with fentanyl, is responsible. It's worth noting that no one died in the InSite overdoses, where medical attention is at hand. In fact, no one has ever died of an overdose at InSite. The batch of heroin has claimed at least one life, though -- a 20-something woman who died in a hostel on the Downtown East Side. There was no medical attention on hand for her. "Heroin overdoses don't need to be fatal," said Gavin Wilson of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which runs InSite. "They're reversible if caught in time."

Guatemala Weighing Softer Drug Punishments. President Otto Perez Molina has told Reuters that the country is considering reducing drug sentences for small-time offenses as part of its push to liberalize its drug policy. "We have 17,000 prisoners in our jails. Many of them are linked to drug trafficking. Some of them are indeed criminals. And there are some who are in for minimal amounts of consumption or possession," Perez said. "So I think there are steps we could take time to analyze," he added, when asked about the possibility of easing sentences to lighten the strain on Guatemala's overstretched penal system. The government received an interim report from a commission studying possible drug policy changes last month, and Perez said final recommendations would be ready sometime in the first half of next year. He also said that his government is considering regulating medical marijuana and opium poppy production for medical purposes.

Dutch Court Refuses to Punish Marijuana Growers. A court in Groningen has found two people guilty of growing marijuana, but refused to punish them, instead criticizing the government's policy that criminalizes pot growing but allows its sale in the country's famous cannabis coffee shops. "The court finds the suspects guilty, but no punishment will be applied," the court said in its ruling. "Given that the sale of soft drugs in coffee shops is tolerated, this means that these coffee shops must supply themselves and so cultivation must be done to satisfy these demands. The law does not state how this supply should be done," the court said. The Groningen growers had been open about their activities, and the court found they had acted within the spirit of the marijuana laws, acting "in the interests of public health and so as to not disturb the public order."

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CN MB: Manitoba Embraces Harm Reduction Principles In Policies

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Thompson Citizen, 16 Oct 2014 - There is a growing recognition that harm reduction policies are more effective than abstinence-based policies as Manitoba organizations embrace harm reduction principles. During the Manitoba Harm Reduction Conference, held in Thompson Sept. 29- Oct. 1, representatives from various community organizations, First Nations communities, the five regional health authorities, and government departments addressed how their organizations are evolving to incorporate harm reduction. Provincial representation covered as far south as Steinbach and as far north as Churchill. Dr. Michael Ellery, clinical specialist of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba shared how client-centred care, an integral component of the harm reduction model has been proven to be more effective at treating addictions. All five regional health authorities, including the Northern Health Region, are at various stages of recognizing harm reduction as part of its patient care model. The Safer Choices Northern Network (SCNN) based in Thompson was the host organization for the Manitoba Harm Reduction Conference. The conference organizing committee selected Thompson as it allowed participants, many of whom had travelled from southern Manitoba to better understand northern realities. The conference was hosted in partnership with the Play it Safer Network based in Flin Flon and The Pas, The 595 Prevention Team, and Ka Ni Kanichihk based in Winnipeg. SCNN provided an update of its activities during the past year and its priorities over the next year which includes a sustained public presence to increase awareness of harm reduction principles.
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US MA: Reading Group Pushes To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
The Reading Advocate, 16 Oct 2014 - A Reading-based advocacy grouped is seeking to get a question on the ballot for a 2016 vote that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis in Massachusetts. Bill Downing, leader of Bay State Repeal, has been advocating for the positive opportunities brought by legalizing marijuana since 1989. He thinks that the time is fast approaching where the drug will be accepted and taxed like other mind-altering substances, namely alcohol and tobacco.
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CN BC: Overdoses Underscore Need for Outreach

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Oct 2014 - A flood of drug overdoses at Vancouver's supervised injection site is being blamed on fentanyl, a highly dangerous substance that looks like heroin and which is increasingly being sold on the streets. The flurry of nearly 40 incidents since Sunday is underscoring for health officials the need not only for controlled injection sites such as Insite, but also for outreach programs that can deliver naloxone to users, wherever they are. Naloxone is a rapidly acting antidote for opioid drug overdose that users and other volunteers are being trained to administer in a pilot program run by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
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CN ON: Review: Marc Emery Documentary Doesn't Pull Any Punches

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
London Free Press, 16 Oct 2014 - MARC EMERY DOCUMENTARY DOESN'T PULL ANY PUNCHES CitizenMarc is no pot puff piece. The documentary on marijuana activist Marc Emery, written and produced by Canadian filmmaking couple Roger Evan Larry and Sandra Tomc, is being released Friday in 13 Canadian cities, including London at Landmark Cinemas.
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US TX: Deal Made In Brownie Case

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Austin American-Statesman, 16 Oct 2014 - Man Who Had Faced Possible Life Sentence Takes 7 Years Probation. GEORGETOWN - A man whose case made national news when he was facing up to life in prison for possessing pot brownies in Williamson County has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
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US NJ: Column: Legalize Marijuana March to Happen Saturday in

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 16 Oct 2014 - I consider myself a peaceful, proud, patriotic pothead, and I've always been a civil disobedience aficionado. "F the law, smoke it anyway" has been my rallying cry for a couple of decades now. In my opinion this nation's War on Drugs is built upon a foundation of unjust laws that have infringed upon the freedoms of all Americans, especially people of color. I have come to understand that one of the most pivotal duties of a patriot is to question the government. Nowhere have I seen in our nation's Constitution where the government granted the right to regulate anyone's body or mind. But that's exactly what these freedom traitors - the Democrats and Republicans - have done. They proudly enacted unjust laws to imprison citizens for what they choose to ingest. A Plant.
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US AZ: Column: Customer Concentration

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 16 Oct 2014 - The Apothecary Has Evolved Along With Its Industry If the customer is always right, then The Apothecary, recently ranked in a patient survey as Tucson's number one medical marijuana dispensary, has a lot going for it.
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US CA: Column: Cannabis and Nerve Pain: Does It Work?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 16 Oct 2014 - Also, What's Up With Law Enforcement Attacking Grows in Mendocino? My primary doctor told me that marijuana would probably relieve my peripheral neuropathy pain. I looked at all the ads in the SN&R issue. Problem is that I can't tell who is the most reputable doctor I should go to for an evaluation. Can you suggest someone who really looks at my medical information and steers me to the right dispensary. I am 88 years old and haven't used since the old "love in" days. Today's scene is a mystery to me, so please help this old man with your knowledge and sage advice.
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US CA: Gary Webb: Pariah No More

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Orange County Weekly, 16 Oct 2014 - A few months after Gary Webb killed himself with his dad's old pistol, I stood shirtless in my back yard, staring at the full moon. The sky was black and cloudless, the moon blurry. Earlier that night, I'd poured myself several splashes of single-malt scotch. I shook my fist in the air and screamed. I'd been a mess ever since Dec. 12, 2004, when the Sunday-morning edition of the Los Angeles Times hit my porch. As usual, I had opened the paper to the last page of the news section, where the Times tended to bury its most important stories. "Gary Webb, 49, wrote series linking CIA and drugs," read the headline, and suddenly I realized I was reading an obituary. Webb, the article stated, who "wrote a widely criticized series linking the CIA to the explosion of crack-cocaine in Los Angeles, was found dead in his Sacramento-area home Friday. He apparently killed himself."
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US CA: No On A Committee Leads In Contributions

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 16 Oct 2014 - OROVILLE - If the success or failure of Measures A and B on the November ballot were dependent on finances alone, those opposed to A and in favor of B would have the election in the bag. The two measures are competing proposals related to the legal cultivation of medical marijuana in Butte County.
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US CA: Measure a and B: Voters Will Choose Which Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 16 Oct 2014 - From a quick glance, two marijuana measures on the November ballot in Butte County look fairly similar. Both allow cultivation of marijuana. Both require that growers live in Butte County for at least one year before growing pot. Both require growers to have a permanent water supply, not to draw unpermitted water and not to illegally discharge water from the property.
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US CO: Column: Can I Sell My Old Bong On Craigslist?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Westword, 16 Oct 2014 - Dear Stoner: Is it legal to sell my old bong on Craigslist? Broke Glass Dear Broke: This was a head-scratcher. Though we figured the answer was yes, considering you can buy things like used underwear on Craigslist, we weren't sure if there were laws that prohibit selling a used cannabis pipe, as there are laws against selling actual cannabis. Local cannabis-centric attorney Warren Edson cleared it up for us, though, saying it's legal under all state laws, because marijuana paraphernalia is legal to buy, possess and use. If you want to be uber-paranoid about it, though, make sure your pipe is clean of any resin before you sell it (of course, you should be doing that anyway, out of courtesy). But keep it in Colorado: Shipping that bong over state lines would be a major no-no and could land you federal charges, since Uncle Sam considers your bong illegal and more of a danger to society than, say, automatic weapons.
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US CO: Column: My Cannabis Poll Is Better Than Yours

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 16 Oct 2014 - Next time you read or watch a news story about a survey or poll, stop reading or turn it off. It doesn't mean anything. It won't help you understand anything. You're better off watching videos of parkouring goats or hawks knocking drones out of the sky. Polls, which are surveys of public opinion taken from a select sample, have become staples of newspaper, television and online news. We're inundated by them. Each is subject to its own methodology, bias and interpretation, and I'll grant that they can offer simple snapshots into peoples' beliefs or positions at a given time. Today they are much more than that, with hundreds of polls conducted daily on nearly every subject.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 22:23

A major report on CBD cannabis oil products come out, San Diego may soon get its first legal dispensary (it's only been 18 years!), patients in the Northeast grumble, the Illinois program gets lots of applicants, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]National

On Monday, Project CBD released a report on CBD cannabis oil products that raises a number of questions about the safety, reliability, and legality of mass-marketed CBD oil products, some of which are available in Internet marketplaces. The report found that some products contained toxic solvents, some had little actual CBD in them, and some entities that claimed to obtain CBD from industrial hemp crops in other countries were probably not telling the truth. Click on the link to go directly to the report.

California

On Tuesday, a federal court judge issued a preliminary injunction barring Lake County officials from using warrantless raids to seize and destroy medical marijuana plants. Patients have sued to block the enforcement measures linked to Measure N, an ordinance that severely restricts medical marijuana grows in the county. Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that the patients have demonstrated a strong likelihood of prevailing at trial on their claim that the raids violate their Fourth Amendment rights.

On Wednesday, what would be San Diego's first legal dispensary won a key approval. A Green Alternative has applied to open its doors in Otay Mesa and won approval from a city hearing officer for its plans. Unless someone appeals the decision, the shop should be open by year's end.

Connecticut

On Monday, Connecticut patients demanded whole buds, not ground-up whole plant material. State medical marijuana regulations require that the plant be ground up, and that's not sitting well with some patients and activists. Homogenizing the plant results in "the degradation of the cannabinoids, the actual essential oils that are in the flower," explained Peter Mould, executive director of Connecticut NORML, who has posted a petition at change.org (search for "medical marijuana CT") asking state regulators to allow the sale of whole buds.

Florida

On Tuesday, another poll had the medical marijuana initiative coming up just short. A new poll with a large sample and small margin of error has Amendment 2 coming up short. According to the SaintPetersBlog poll, a slim majority (52%) supports the initiative, but that's not enough because, as a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% of the vote to pass. The poll sample consisted of 3,128 Florida registered voters who said they were planning to vote in the election and has a margin of error of +/- 1.8%. The poll is roughly in line with other recent surveys that have shown Amendment 2 polling in the 50s.

Guam

Last Wednesday, the Guam Election Commission moved to end legal challenges to the medical marijuana initiative vote. The commission has asked the US District Court on the island territory to dismiss the petition for a writ blocking the vote filed by local attorney Howard Trapp. Trapp has argued that the legislature cannot send an initiative to the voters, but the Election Commission and the Guam Supreme Court have already rejected his claim.

Illinois

Last Wednesday, more than 6,000 Illinoisans had applied for medical marijuana cards. The Department of Health reported that some 6,300 state residents have applied for permission to use medical marijuana, with cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries being the most common health conditions mentioned. But the department also noted that the vast majority of applications were incomplete; only 800 have submitted complete applications, which include a doctor certification form and background check information. People whose applications are incomplete will be notified and then will have 21 days to complete them.

Massachusetts

On Tuesday, patients protested over the slow pace of medical marijuana implementation. Several dozen patients and advocates rallied outside the Department of Public Health in Boston Tuesday to call on the department and the governor to get the state's medical marijuana program moving. Voters legalized medical marijuana nearly two years ago, but: "We have zero cannabis plants in the ground to serve the patients," said Mickey Martin, a medical marijuana activist. "It's unacceptable to make patients wait." The protestors are calling for the state to immediately open up the program, get dispensaries up and running, and ease restrictions on "hardship cultivation" so more patients can grow their own.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.].
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 21:15

A pill-popping, prescription-forging North Carolina narc, a pair of lying New York City narcs, a crack-slinging Baltimore schools police officer, and a pot-growing California prison guard are among the corrupt cops in the news this week. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]In Elizabethtown, Tennessee, a Carter County sheriff's jail guard was fired September 28 after he was caught bringing drugs and contraband into the jail. The sheriff didn't announce the firing until last week. Officer Kenneth Turner has yet to be charged in the case, but the state Bureau of Investigation is looking into it.

In New York City, two former Yonkers narcotics officers were arrested last Wednesday for lying about drug activity in order to obtain search warrants. Former narcs Neil Vera and Christian Koch are accused of lying to a Yonkers City Court judge to convince him to sign a search warrant in a drug raid that resulted in a man's death. Dario Tena fell to his death from a window during the raid. The two former officers pleaded not guilty to one count of felony perjury.

In Sacramento, a California state prison guard was arrested last Wednesday when an investigation into gang activity resulted in the seizure of 617 marijuana plants. Guard Eddie Lay, 32, is charged with cultivation of marijuana for sale. Four others were also arrested, and police seized guns, 248 pounds of packaged pot, and more than $5,000 in cash in addition to the plants.

In Houston, a former Houston police officer pleaded guilty last Thursday to playing a role in a drug conspiracy. Marcos Carrion admitted to providing security for a drug deal involving 10 kilograms of cocaine in exchange for $2,500. He also admitted agreeing to provide security for future dope deals. He copped to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five or more kilos of cocaine and is looking at a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

In Baltimore, a former Baltimore school police officer was sentenced last Friday to two years in federal prison for dealing in cocaine. Napoleon McLain, 31, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. He admitted buying various ounces of cocaine base and reselling them to others between December 2012 and August 2013.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, a former New Hanover County sheriff's narcotics lieutenant was sentenced Monday to seven years in state prison for stealing evidence and forging court orders to obtain prescription medications. Joseph Antoine LeBlanc, 42, had pleaded guilty to a hundred felony charges including four counts of embezzlement; four counts of obstruction of justice; four counts of altering, destroying or stealing criminal evidence; four counts of obtaining property by false pretense; 28 counts of uttering forged papers; 28 counts of forgery; and 28 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge. Another 40 counts of trafficking opium or heroin and 21 counts of possession of a controlled substance were dismissed. LeBlanc admitted forging the names of local judges and assistant DAs to obtain the prescriptions.

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