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US CA: Column: Oil Producers Gets Shattered

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Sacramento News & Review, 04 Feb 2016 - I heard a club got raided the other day? I thought raids were a thing of the past. What gives? - -Blue Steele Close. It wasn't a cannabis club that got raided, but a cannabis processing facility. Med West Distribution (which makes stuff for the Bhang line of cannabis products) in San Diego was raided by by the local cops, apparently acting on an "anonymous tip." Two people were arrested and charged with manufacturing an illegal substance and manufacturing an illegal substance with intent to sell. Local advocates were surprised that Med West got raided, considering that Med West has been operating at the same spot in San Diego for a few years, and local officials had recently toured the facility.
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CN ON: Cops In Harm Reduction's Way

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
NOW Magazine, 04 Feb 2016 - Public Health Workers Worry That Police Involvement in Street-Outreach Pilot Will Discourage Drug Users From Accessing Life-Saving Services When word got out in mid-December that undercover police officers had arrested two men accessing Toronto Public Health's (TPH) needle exchange program, The Works, TPH's own harm reduction workers scrambled to warn the drug user community.
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 23:10

[image:1 align:right]It's pretty quiet on the corrupt cops front this week. Maybe that's a good thing.

In Boston, a former Boston police detective was sentenced last Friday to a year's probation and a $5,000 fine for conspiring with another officer to obstruct an FBI inquiry into the Academy Homes street gang. Brian Smigielski, 43, sabotaged the FBI investigation out of spite after being ordered to turn control of the Boston Police's investigation into the gang over to the feds. He pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

In Sullivan City, Texas, a former Sullivan City police officer was indicted last Friday on charges he stole marijuana leaves from the departmental evidence room. Angel De La Mora allegedly claimed he needed the leaves for medical reasons for his relatives. It's not clear what the exact charge against him is.

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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:54

No new qualifying conditions for Illinois, Puerto Rico adopts medical marijuana regs, a New York state senator files a medical marijuana expansion bill, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Illinois

Last Friday, the state refused to expand the list of qualifying medical conditions. The administration of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will not allow patients suffering from eight conditions to use medical marijuana. The Department of Public Health announced last Friday that no new conditions would be added despite pleas from patients, advocates, and medical marijuana business owners. The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois issued a statement calling the decision "a gross injustice to patients."

New Hampshire

On Monday, a patient who sued the state over medical marijuana access died. Linda Horan, who sued the state in November to issue her a medical marijuana card so she could get her medicine in Maine because New Hampshire dispensaries hadn't opened, died Monday at age 64. The ailing labor leader won her lawsuit and was able to procure medical marijuana out of state, but succumbed to cancer. The court ruling applied only to Horan, but days after the ruling, the states began sending out ID cards to patients.

New York

Last Friday, a medical marijuana expansion bill was filed. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), chair of the Assembly Health Committee, last Friday filed a bill that would double the number of medical marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries in the state. The bill is not yet available on the legislative website.

Puerto Rico

Last Thursday, the commonwealth adopted medical marijuana regulations. The island dependency's Health Department has adopted a regulation to allow for the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of medical marijuana. The regulation does not allow smoking it. The department said it will implement a seed-to-sale tracking system and award licenses to doctors and companies that want to grow and manufacture medical marijuana projects. The system should be in place by year's end.

Rhode Island

On Wednesday, the governor announced a plan to impose hefty plant taxes on patients and caregivers. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has introduced a medical marijuana reform plan that would impose a $150 per plant tax on plants grown by patients and a $350 per plant tax on plants grown by caregivers. The governor says this will help the state raise $8.4 million in new tax revenues. But that tax is based on the administration's position that each plant is worth $17,000, which is nowhere near the case. Patient advocates are not happy.

Wyoming

On Monday, activists said the medical marijuana initiative won't make the ballot. A spokesman for Wyoming NORML, which organized the campaign, said Monday that the group had only managed to gather some 7,000 raw signatures ahead of next week's deadline and will fall far short of the more than 25,000 valid voter signatures required to make the ballot. The group will try again in 2018, it said.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Chronicle AM: DC Council Backs Away From Pot Club Ban, RI Gov Wants Patient Tax, More... (2/3/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 21:49

The idea of marijuana social clubs in the nation's capital remains alive, Rhode Island patients face the prospect of seeing their plants taxed, there are medical marijuana advances in Australia and Poland, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

DC City Council Backs Away from Pot Social Club Ban. The District of Columbia city council today voted to halt consideration of legislation that would permanently ban adult consumption of marijuana outside the home, and instead moved forward with the creation of a task force to explore the establishment of regulated places where adults can legally consume marijuana in the District. Last week, the council passed an emergency ban on social clubs and it was supposed to make that ban permanent today, but backed off in the face of strong public pressure. Instead, it voted to establish a task force to study the issue.

Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island Governor Wants to Impose Hefty Plant Tax on Patients, Caregivers. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has introduced a medical marijuana reform plan that would impose a $150 per plant tax on plants grown by patients and a $350 per plant tax on plants grown by caregivers. The governor says this will help the state raise $8.4 million in new tax revenues. But that tax is based on the administration's position that each plant is worth $17,000, which is nowhere near the case. Patient advocates are not happy.

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Bill Would Make It a Crime to Cheat a Drug Test. State Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) has introduced a bill that would criminalize the possession, sale, or advertising of chemicals used to create synthetic urine to defeat drug tests. Under current state law, workers can be fired for cheating on drug tests, but face no criminal penalty. The bill would make using synthetic urine to cheat a drug test a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail for users and up to 90 days in jail for sellers or manufacturers. Fourteen other states have similar laws.

International

Human Rights Watch Condemns Tunisia's Drug Laws. The group issued a report this week singling out Law 52, which is says requires courts to impose "cruel, disproportionate, and counterproductive" sentences on drug offenders. The law requires a mandatory minimum one year jail sentence for any illegal drug possession, including marijuana.

Australian State Run Synthetic CBD Trials on Children With Epilepsy. The Victoria state government has authorized a study on 10 children as part of an effort to understand the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on children with epilepsy. The trial is set to get underway in Melbourne this month. The state government has kicked in $150,000 for the trial.

Polish Rapper Files Medical Marijuana Bill. The pioneering Polish rapper known as Liroy is now Polish Member of Parliament Piotr Liroy-Marzec, and on Monday, he presented a draft bill to legalize medical marijuana in the East European country. "This draft crowns everything I've said over the years, especially during the election campaign," said Liroy-Marzec. "I promised people I met who were ill that I would do everything possible to table this draft," he said.

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CN NK: Edu: Federal Gov To Pass The Joint Laws

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
The Brunswickan, 03 Feb 2016 - The Canadian government stands to make over $5 billion from taxes if marijuana is legalized but Fredericton dealers aren't too concerned with how it will affect their sales. One local pot dealer thinks the possible legalization will only affect the people who will have the money to buy government supplied marijuana, and that the taxing will help the province.
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Canada: Prison Needle Programs Touted To Reduce Hiv And Hep C Risk

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 03 Feb 2016 - Researchers hope Liberals' 'evidence-based' approach will endorse safe-injection programs After years of pushing for safe drug-injection programs in Canadian jails, health advocates say mounting evidence and a new government in Ottawa present a chance to finally make it happen.
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US CA: Editorial: Scarlet Letters On Passports?

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 03 Feb 2016 - A Proposed Bill That Would Make It Harder for Registered Sex Offenders to Travel Is Vindictive and Unfair. After rousing themselves from the 30- plus-year bad trip that was the war on drugs - or rather, the war on drug users - many Americans in and out of elected office looked around for someone else to persecute. Someone, somewhere, must be so depraved and hateful that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans could join in common cause to vilify them.
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US DC: D.C. Council Moves Forward on Studying Pot Clubs

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Washington Post, 03 Feb 2016 - The District will begin studying whether to license private pot clubs under a measure that the D.C. Council approved Tuesday, potentially giving residents and visitors places to gather and smoke marijuana socially in the nation's capital as early as next year. The council action amounted to a compromise between allies of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who had sought to continue a complete ban on pot clubs, and a growing contingent of council members who had threatened to override the mayor and approve a plan to license clubs. Such an effort, they contended, would more fully implement a voter-approved ballot measure in 2014 that legalized pot in D.C.
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US: White House Seeks $1.2 Billion in Fight Against Drug Abuse

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Austin American-Statesman, 03 Feb 2016 - Proposal Targets Users of Heroin, Prescription Drugs. White House officials announced Tuesday that they will seek nearly $1.2 billion in new federal funding over the next two years to address the growing problem of heroin and prescription opioid use, an epidemic that has become an increasingly important policy priority among the nation's politicians.
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Chronicle AM: Obama Wants $1 Billion to Fight Opioids, Legal Pot Sales Hit $5.4 Billion, More... (2/2/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 21:17

A new report finds marijuana is a booming market, California doctors get on board with the AUMA legalization initiative, the White House wants nearly a billion bucks to fight opioid addiction -- with most of it going for "medication-assisted treatment" -- and more.

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

Legal Pot Sales Hit $5.4 Billion Last Year, Report Says. Legal marijuana sales increased 17.4% last year to $5.4 billion, according to data released this week by the ArcView Group. Nearly 80% of the sales were for medical marijuana, but $998 million was for legal adult use, up dramatically from $351 billion in 2014. Overall sales should grow to $6.7 billion this year, the group predicted.

California Medical Association Endorses AUMA Legalization Initiative. The CMA, the largest doctors' group in the state, announced Monday that is will support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act legalization initiative. The initiative, funded by tech billionaire Sean Parker and supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), has as one of its proponents Dr. Donald Lyman, who authored the CMA's 2011 policy called for decriminalization. "The California Medical Association believes the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a comprehensive and thoughtfully constructed measure that will allow state officials to better protect public health by clarifying the role of physicians, controlling and regulating marijuana use by responsible adults and keeping it out of the hands of children," Dr. Steven Larson, CMA's president, said in prepared remarks.

Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Patient Who Sued Over Medical Marijuana Access Dies. Linda Horan, who sued the state in November to issue her a medical marijuana card so she could get her medicine in Maine because New Hampshire dispensaries hadn't opened, died Monday at age 64. The ailing labor leader won her lawsuit and was able to procure medical marijuana out of state, but succumbed to cancer. The court ruling applied only to Horan, but days after the ruling, the states began sending out ID cards to patients.

Wyoming Medical Marijuana Initiative Won't Qualify for Ballot. A spokesman for Wyoming NORML, which organized the campaign, said Monday that the group had only managed to gather some 7,000 raw signatures ahead of next week's deadline and will fall far short of the more than 25,000 valid voter signatures required to make the ballot. The group will try again in 2018, it said.

Hemp

Twenty States Have Hemp Bills This Year, Vote Hemp Says. The industry group has issued its annual report and says 20 states are working to legalize or expand hemp production. There's much more in the report, too.

Drug Policy

White House Seeks $1 Billion to Fight Heroin and Prescription Opiate Abuse. The Obama administration Tuesday proposed a billion dollars in new funds over the next two years to combat widespread opioid use. More than $900 million of the newly sought funding would go for medication-assisted treatment (opioid maintenance), which also includes therapy. The administration said that 2.2 million people have been identified as needing treatment for opioid addiction, but only one million are receiving it.

Drug Testing

West Virginia Lawmaker Proposes Drug Testing Legislators. State lawmakers have once again introduced a bill to drug test welfare applicants, and in response, Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Wheeling) has introduced House Bill 2925, which would subject legislators to the same sort of testing. "There's no reason why state legislators should get a pass, simply because we wear suits," he said.

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CN NS: Shop Meets Need For Weed

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 08:00
Metro, 02 Feb 2016 - Dispensary serving up Tasty Buds in Cole Harbour At the municipality's newest medical marijuana dispensary, a mixture of Nova Scotia-themed and marijuana-themed art hangs on the walls, and the faint smell of fresh cannabis fills the air.
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CN QU: Edu: Column: Rules To Roll By

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 08:00
The Link, 02 Feb 2016 - A Speculative Look at a Canadian Cannabis Policy With a federal government elected on a platform of legalizing cannabis, Canada stands to set an example on the international stage by being the first G7 country to fully regulate the production, sale and possession of a plant that has been at the heart of so much controversy-frankly, it's about time.
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Chronicle AM: Maine Legalization Initiative On Target for Ballot, Narcan in the News, More... (2/1/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 22:14

Maine's legalization initiative looks like it will qualify for the ballot, Tommy Chong endorses Bernie Sanders, a new federal bill would fund needle exchanges, naloxone is in the news, and more.

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

Obama Says Marijuana Reform Not on His Agenda in Final Year. In a Friday press briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said any progress on further federal marijuana reform would have to come from Congress, not the president. "There are some in the Democratic Party who have urged the president to take this kind of action. The president's response was, 'If you feel so strongly about it, and you believe there is so much public support for what it is that you're advocating, then why don't you pass legislation about it and we'll see what happens.'"

Tommy Chong Endorses Bernie Sanders. This is not exactly a shocker, but every endorsement helps. Iconic stoner comedian Tommy Chong has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the Democratic presidential nomination, citing his support of marijuana legalization. "Bernie does support that… legalization that I care so deeply about, legalization of the super-medicine marijuana. So I know this year, you and I are going to 'Feel the Bern,' go up to the polling booths, and light up, man, for progress and change." Chong also touted Sanders' positions on immigration, equality, and a living wage, and he jokingly referred to Sanders as the "commander-in-Kush."

Maine Legalization Group Submits Nearly Double the Signatures Needed to Qualify for Ballot. It looks like Mainers will be voting on legalization in November. Today, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 103,000 raw signatures for its petition drive. It only needs 61,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Seattle Medical Marijuana Shops Sue State Over Licensing Process. A handful of long-time Seattle dispensaries filed a lawsuit last Friday against the state Liquor and Cannabis Control Board, saying the agency isn't following its own rules in issuing a new round of licenses for retail pot shops. The agency is supposed to give priority to dispensaries that have played by the rules, but the plaintiffs say it isn't doing that.

Medical Marijuana

Illinois Refuses to Expand List of Qualifying Medical Conditions. The administration of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will not allow patients suffering from eight conditions to use medical marijuana. The Department of Public Health announced last Friday that no new conditions would be added despite pleas from patients, advocates, and medical marijuana business owners. The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois issued a statement calling the decision "a gross injustice to patients."

New York Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Filed. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), chair of the Assembly Health Committee, last Friday filed a bill that would double the number of medical marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries in the state. The bill is not yet available on the legislative website.

Heroin and Prescription Opiates

Federal Bill Would Provide Funding for Needle Exchange Programs. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) last Friday introduced HR 4396 to address heroin and prescription opiate use. The bill has provisions for prevention, treatment, and recovery, as well as grant programs for needle exchanges and to reduce overdose deaths. The bill has been assigned to four different committees.

Asset Forfeiture

Utah Bill to Make Police Prove Seized Property Was Involved in Crime Wins Committee Vote. Rep. Brian Greene's (R-Pleasant Grove) House Bill 22, which would require police to prove seized property is involved in a crime, reversing the burden of proof requirement under the state's civil asset forfeiture law, has unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee. The bill also includes a provision making the state pay citizens' attorney fees and costs is property is wrongfully seized. It now heads for a House floor vote.

Harm Reduction

Overdose Prevention Drug Has Saved 2,000 Lives in North Carolina. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition reported last Thursday that the number of people whose opiate overdoses were reversed by naloxone (Narcan) had surpassed 2,000.

CVS to Make Overdose Prevention Drug More Widely Available in Ohio. The pharmacy chain announced today that it will make naloxone (Narcan) more available at stores throughout the state. Law enforcement had been skittish about using the drug, but as Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp noted, "We are in a heroin epidemic and this is just another tool to save lives."

New Orleans to Make Overdose Reversal Drug Available Over the Counter. People seeking naloxone (Narcan) will be able to pick it up without a prescription at the University Medical Center, city officials announced last Friday. City Medical Director Dr. Joseph Kanter has ordered the move in a bid to reduce fatal overdoses."There are no side effects. There is no abuse potential," Kanter said. "The primary effect of this medicine is to save a life."

(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.)

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Maine Now Poised to Vote on Marijuana Legalization This November

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 21:21

Mainers are likely be voting on legalization in November. Monday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 103,000 raw signatures for its petition drive. It only needs 61,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

[image:1 align:left]As a general rule of thumb, initiative and referendum experts counsel petitioners to expect a certain percentage of raw signatures to be deemed invalid, but that figure is usually around 25% to 30%. For this petition drive to fail, more than 40% would have to be found invalid. It's not impossible, but it's unlikely.

"Over the past eight months, we've talked to more than 100,000 voters across the state, from Kittery to Caribou," said campaign manager David Boyer. "Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November."

According to a poll last spring from the Portland marketing firm Critical Insights, a whopping two-thirds (65%) of Mainers support legalizing the weed, with nearly four out five (79%) saying it should be sold in licensed establishments.

The initiative would let people 21 or over possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot and grow a limited number of plants in their homes. It would also set up the framework for a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product-manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it would create rules governing the cultivation, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana. The initiative would enact a 10% tax on marijuana sales.

"This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of legitimate, taxpaying businesses that create good jobs for Maine residents," Boyer said. "It will also make Maine safer by allowing enforcement officials to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws."

Maine is ready to take marijuana "out of the shadows and out of the black market," state Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), a long-time legalization supporter, said at a Monday press conference. She scolded the legislature for refusing to act on legalization, but said the state's medical marijuana program pointed in the right direction. "It tells people we were right all along,"she said. "Maine people really do want a rational policy around drug use. Maine has proven we can regulate marijuana responsibly."

The push for legalization in Maine got off to a bumpy start, with two competing initiative campaigns, but activists were able to overcome acrimony and merge the two campaigns, leading to the united effort that appears to set the state down the path to legalization.

So far, only four states -- Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington -- all in the West, have voted to legalize it at the ballot box. Washington, DC, legalized possession and cultivation, but not sales and distribution. If the measure actually makes the ballot and passes, Maine could become the first state east of the Mississippi to legalize it.

But Vermont is moving toward legalization through the legislative process. That bill has won a first committee vote, but its prospects for passage this year are uncertain. And Massachusetts could well end voting for a legalization initiative this year, too. Whether it's Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, or some combination of the above, New England is becoming a real hotbed for reefer reform this year.

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CN NF: Editorial: Breaking The Cycle

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 08:00
The Western Star, 01 Feb 2016 - The Flat Bay Band Inc. is working on a project to develop a native addictions treatment centre in consultation with Memorial University and a local steering committee. The project got underway in November 2015 and is expected to wrap up in November of this year with a manuscript on the scope and nature of the treatment centre, recommendations on site locations and draft plans.
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CN ON: Two Decades Of The DARE Program

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 08:00
The Daily Press, 01 Feb 2016 - It was a full-house at the Timmins Public Library on Saturday afternoon as 40 youngsters celebrated Daren the DARE Lion's 20th birthday. The lion is the mascot for the Timmins Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, which also marked 20 years of serving the community at the event on Jan. 30.
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US NJ: Column: Pot Legalization Pipe Dream

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 08:00
The Trentonian, 01 Feb 2016 - Is the Zonker community inclined to overindulge in the product it champions - namely, marijuana? Seems so. That could explain the yawning gaps in Zonker logic - the apparent burnt spots in the medial temporal lobes from the pothead community's misfiring synapses. The Zonker community takes its name from Zonker Harris, the cannabis-addled character in the Doonesbury comic strip. Talking up marijuana, Zonker's namesakes illogically say that since alcohol is legal, marijuana should be too.
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US: Congress Jumping On Opioid-Abuse Crisis

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 08:00
Washington Post, 01 Feb 2016 - Congress is homing in on the issue of opioid abuse, which is no accident in a presidential year, when the issue is especially acute in the first-in-the-nation contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, it's one of the only possible pieces of legislation that both parties may be able to agree on in what is universally expected to be an unproductive Congress. Ironically, the rosier outlook for opioid abuse legislation is being driven by Republican and Democratic presidential contenders-who are sharing their personal stories about relatives with drug problems with concerned voters on the campaign trail.
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US CA: Chico Council to Discuss Medical Marijuana Regulations

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 08:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 01 Feb 2016 - Chico - In light of recent state medical marijuana legislation, the Chico City Council will discuss a policy for regulating medical marijuana deliveries and dispensaries Tuesday. The ordinance presented clearly prohibits deliveries and dispensaries, whether fixed or mobile. Any operations in violation would be declared a public nuisance and be subject to administrative fines and penalties, if the ordinance passes.
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