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US MA: Baker Staunch In Opposition To Legalizing Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 23 Jan 2015 - But Governor Still Sees Value in Review by State Senate With marijuana legalization advocates considering a ballot measure campaign in Massachusetts in 2016, Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that he is "going to always be opposed to legalizing" recreational use of the drug.
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US AK: North Pole Grapples With Marijuana Laws at City Council

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 23 Jan 2015 - NORTH POLE - The City Council is divided over whether to allow marijuana to be sold here. The panel agreed at a workshop on Thursday to deal with personal use of pot first. "I think the first thing is public consumption, defining that, narrowing it down," North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward said.
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Chronicle AM: VA Forfeiture Reform, Jamaica to Decriminalize, Supreme Court Drug Dog Case, More (1/22/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 21:19

There's medical marijuana action in the states, the Supreme Court hears a case about drug dogs, Jamaica is about to decriminalize ganja, an asset forfeiture reform bill is moving in Virginia, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Washington State "Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Act" Filed. State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) is filing this week legislation designed to bring the state's existing medical and recreational marijuana systems into agreement. "The main intent of my bill is to simplify and unify the two systems so that complex gray areas and dangerous illicit markets will eventually cease to exist," she said. The bill would eliminate unregulated dispensaries and collective gardens, but it would also direct the state Liquor Control Board to increase the number of retail outlets by adopting a competitive, merit- and experience-based licensing application system.

Medical Marijuana

Kansas Parents Get Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana Bill. The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee heard Wednesday from parents of chronically ill children were speaking in support of pending medical marijuana legislation, SB 9, introduced by Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City). Click on the title link for hearing details.

Maine Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana in Hospitals. State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Auburn) has filed LD 35, which would allow registered patients to use medical marijuana in hospitals. It does so by adding hospitals to list of eligible primary caregivers, the list of places where patients can store and use medical marijuana, and barring hospitals from prohibiting the use of smokeless marijuana by patients.

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Bill Filed. State Sen. Tommy Garrett (D-Bellevue) has filed LB 643, a full-blown medical marijuana bill that allows patients or caregivers to grow up to 12 plants and possess up to six ounces, envisions a dispensary system, and allows the plant to be used for a specified list of diseases and conditions.

Opiates

New Jersey Legislators Tackle Package of Heroin and Pain Pill Bills. State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodridge), chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, announced Wednesday that legislators from both parties had introduced a package of 21 bills aimed at confronting widespread heroin and prescription pill use. The bills are designed to increase access to treatment and recovery. Click on the link for more details.

Asset Forfeiture

Virginia House Panel Approves Bill Ending Civil Asset Forfeiture. A bill that would require a criminal conviction before asset forfeiture could take place has passed the Criminal Law Subcommittee of the House Committee for Courts of Justice. HB 1287, sponsored by Del. Mark Cole (R-Spotsylvania) now heads for a full committee vote.

Criminal Justice

Vera Institute for Justice DC Event Next Week Features Sen. Cory Booker. The Vera Institute is hosting "Justice in Focus: The Path Forward," in Washington, DC, next Tuesday. The event will feature a keynote interview with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), as well as panels with other major figures in criminal justice reform. Click on either link for more information and event details.

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Governor Moving Forward With Public Benefits Drug Testing Scheme. Republican Gov. Scott Walker today announced more details of his plan to require drug screening and testing of people seeking public benefits, including food stamps and unemployment benefits. He said that those who fail the drug test would get a chance for free drug treatment and receive job training. More details will come when he unveils his budget proposal on February 3.

Search and Seizure

Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Roadside Detentions While Awaiting Drug Dogs. How long can a police officer detain you on the side of the highway while waiting for a drug-sniffing dog to come sniff your vehicle? That was the question before the Supreme Court Wednesday. The case is that of a man pulled over in Nebraska. He was issued a warning ticket and asked to consent to a search of his vehicle. He refused, but rather than allow him to go on his way, the officer detained him for eight more minutes until a drug dog arrived. From their questions, it doesn't appear the justices are inclined to side with the defendant; click the link to get the flavor of their comments. The case is Rodriguez v. US.

International

Jamaica is About to Decriminalize Ganja. The island nation most closely associated with marijuana is about to decriminalize it. The Jamaican cabinet Monday approved a bill that would do just that, as well as allow for the creation of medical marijuana and hemp industries. The bill, the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, goes to the Senate tomorrow and will be debated there next Friday. It would decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of ganja; allow its use for religious, medical, scientific, and therapeutic purposes; prohibit smoking it in public places; and provide for the granting of licenses for the development of a legal hemp and medical marijuana industry.

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Jamaica is About to Decriminalize Ganja

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 18:22

This article was published in collaboration with AlterNet.

The island nation most closely associated with marijuana is about to decriminalize it. The Jamaican cabinet Monday approved a bill that would do just that, as well as allow for the creation of medical marijuana and hemp industries.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]The bill, the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, goes to the Senate tomorrow and will be debated there next Friday.

It would decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of ganja; allow its use for religious, medical, scientific, and therapeutic purposes; prohibit smoking it in public places; and provide for the granting of licenses for the development of a legal hemp and medical marijuana industry.

While Jamaica is home to the Rastafarian religion, whose sacrament is marijuana, and has high usage rates (9.8% of the adult population, ranking it 10th worldwide, according to the UN), it has been slow to move forward on marijuana law reform.

It's been 14 years since a government-appointed National Commission on Ganja recommended decriminalization. At the time, Jamaican politicians were able to point to baleful threats coming from Washington as a reason not to move forward.

But things have changed. The United States is no longer wielding international drug control treaties as clubs with which to beat down reform efforts and, in fact, is moving unevenly toward marijuana legalization itself. Four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized it, and 14 more have decriminalized it.

The situation in the hemisphere is similar. Uruguay has already legalized it, while Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico have decriminalized the possession of small amounts. The land of the legendary Lamb's Bread pot strain and the home of ganja icon Bob Marley is in danger of being left behind when it comes to bringing marijuana laws into the 21st Century.

Groups such as the Ganja Law Reform Coalition, the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association, and the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force have been urging the government to loosen the island's pot laws not only for the sake of social justice, but also for fear that failure to act will hurt Jamaica's competitiveness in what is foreseen to be an emerging international legal marijuana market.

Now, while they're not getting full legalization, they are getting decriminalization and the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a legal marijuana industry.

"The development is long overdue and comes after years, and, in recent times, heavy pressure from what is now a diverse and broadening group of stakeholders on human rights, social, economic, scientific and medical grounds," cannabis taskforce director Delano Seiveright said in a statement.

For Justice Minister Michael Golding, it's less about social justice than economics. Marijuana law reform could boost the island's already significant tourist industry, he said.

"We need to position ourselves to take advantage of the significant economic opportunities offered by this emerging industry," Golding said.

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US IN: Parent Program On Drugs And Children Set Jan. 28 At GHS

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
Banner Graphic, 22 Jan 2015 - The Greencastle Community School Corporation will present the program "What Parents Should Know: Drugs and Their Children" on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at Greencastle High School's Parker Auditorium. Any parent who has a child from fourth grade up is invited to attend.
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CN AB: Half A Million Needles Handed Out As Harm-Reduction Program

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
Metro, 22 Jan 2015 - More than 1.8 million clean needles distributed over past four years Nearly half a million needles were handed out in Calgary last year as uptake of safe injection services offered through Alberta Health Services' Safeworks program continues to rise.
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CN ON: Sharps Containers Coming

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
The Record, 22 Jan 2015 - City Says the Installations Are Not Tied to Anti-Needle Push KITCHENER - The City of Kitchener says its decision to install sharps containers in 25 city facilities has nothing to do with a city woman's recent campaign to rid downtown of what she calls a glut of discarded drug needles.
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CN ON: Inquest Into Possible Ecstasy Death

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
The Recorder & Times, 22 Jan 2015 - KEMPTVILLE - Provincial police here are assisting a coroner's investigation into the death of a 23-year-old woman that may have been related to the use of ecstasy, also known as MDMA or Molly. Grenville OPP say that just after 3 a.m. on Sunday, they were called to a Kemptville home to assist with a woman who had no vital signs. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
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CN BC: Jodie Emery to Keep Fighting for Liberals Despite Being

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 22 Jan 2015 - JODIE EMERY SAYS she remains a supporter of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals after the party dropped her from its nomination race in Vancouver East. "This doesn't change anything for me," the advocate for marijuana reform told the Straight. "There are a lot of people who feel this is backtracking by the party, but most people understand that this is a high-stakes election and any sort of distraction could do a disservice."
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US CO: Column: Creating a National Cannabis Brand Might Be

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
Boulder Weekly, 22 Jan 2015 - I ran across several stories about Bethenny Frankel, a reality show personality, who, after apparently being spotted coming out of an Aspen dispensary and tweeting her delight at the experience, is rumored to be wanting to cash in on the cannabis business. Frankel developed the Skinnygirl ready-to-drink cocktail line, and "insiders" say she wants to sell a special strain that would not induce the munchies. This is hardly news. Google "munchies and pot" and you'll find recommendations for strains that don't necessarily force the unsuspecting into wolfing an entire giant bag of jalapeno potato chips in 15 minutes. Recent studies are indicating that cannabis opens olfactory receptors, which then helps activate appetite. But really, "the munchies" concept seems little more than a marketing device, developed and perfected from the 1970s, when pot was highly illegal yet flourishing and depicted in a long parade of stoner movies and advertising, from Cheech and Chong and Animal House to Jeff Spicola in Fast Times at Ridgemont High up through Seth Rogen's Pineapple Express.
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US NJ: Column: 'Selma' Was a Great Film, but More Work Is

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
The Trentonian, 22 Jan 2015 - I went to see Selma on Monday, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day." I smoked two joints on the way and after seeing it, I gave it a 420 on the NJWeedman movie scale. A 500 means it's right on the money, but a 420 is as close as you can get in my THC-enhanced movie evaluations. Other movies that I gave a 420 to were Half Baked, Soul Plane, Friday, How High, and of course Cheech & Chong's Next Movie. I'm a history and news buff; I love to read history and current news events worldwide, and this movie Selma is a historical example of a worldwide news event.
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US CA: Column: What's Up, Doc?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 08:00
North Coast Journal, 22 Jan 2015 - I got my 215 card on a drippy early afternoon. It took about an hour and a half, but a good portion of that was spent in the waiting room - - even though I had an appointment. The whole business felt doctory and friendly - if a little rougher around the edges than your average clinic visit. Let's back up. I, like many people who grew up in Humboldt County, started experimenting with marijuana for fun in my teens. That continued through my early 20s until I realized that getting high just wasn't for me - it brought on, or at least exacerbated, anxiety and a general young-adult malaise.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 22:45

California localities continue to deal with medical marijuana, bills are showing up in the states, the Kettle Falls Five want their prosecutions ended, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Federal

On Monday, a member of the Kettle Falls Five sought dismissal of his federal marijuana case. The widely watched case out of Washington state has been proceeding despite passage of the "CRomnibus" appropriations bill barring the use of federal funds to pursue medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Now, Larry Harvey, 71, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, with his attorney arguing that "federal prosecutions take away Washington's authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not."

California

On Monday, Berkeley began accepting applications for a fourth dispensary. The deadline for applications is March 20. Click on the link for more details.

On Tuesday, the San Diego city council tightened dispensary rules. The council approved requiring employee background checks and testing of products for mold and pesticides, but didn't move to regulate deliveries or create stricter rules for edibles or concentrates. The rules come as the city's first permitted dispensary is supposed to open in the spring. Numerous un-permitted ones exist, but the city has been trying to shut them down.

Also on Tuesday, the Rancho Cordova city council approved a ban on outdoor grows and indoor grows if children are present. The measure was approved 5-0 and will take effect in 30 days.

Also on Tuesday, the Redding city council decided not to try to prohibit outdoor grows. Councilmembers said they wanted to wait for the state and the federal government to figure out their medical marijuana policies first.

Florida

On Monday, the state chose its medical marijuana rulemakers. The state Office of Compassionate Use has selected a 12-member panel to craft rules for growing and distributing low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana under a state law passed last year. The panel will meet during the first week of February to set up a regulatory structure for five nurseries that will be selected to grow, process, and distribute the medicine.

Georgia

Last Friday, a CBD medical marijuana bill died. Rep. Allen Peake's House Bill 1, which would have allowed for the use of high-CBD cannabis oil to treat seizures in children, has died before even being introduced. The bill died after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced his support for another CBD bill, which is yet to be written.

Hawaii

On Wednesday, the Health Department took over the medical marijuana program. A 2013 law transferring control of the state's medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health is now in effect. Although the program officially became part of the Health Department on January 1, it took until now for the transfer to be complete. For more detail on other program changes, as well as times for public hearings on new regulations, click on the link.

Kansas

Last Friday, medical marijuana supporters rallied in Topeka. Several dozen medical marijuana supporters were joined by a pair of Democratic lawmakers at a statehouse rally to call for legalizing the medicinal use of the herb. The two legislators, Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) and Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), filed medical marijuana bills prior to the start of this year's legislative session. Similar measures have been filed since 2009, but none of them have made it to the discussion stage in committee.

Minnesota

Last Thursday, a Minnesota Indian tribe okayed a study on medical marijuana. The tribal council for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians has approved a study what economic benefits could accrue to the tribe by allowing the production of medical marijuana and hemp. Tribal leaders weren't interested in recreational marijuana, but saw job growth and economic development opportunities in producing medical marijuana or hemp. The federal government cleared the way for Indian reservations to participate in marijuana business last month, but so far, only one tribe, the Pinole Pomos in Northern California, has announced plans to move forward.

Rhode Island

On Saturday, the state's first vapor lounge opened. Rhode Island patients can now have a place where they can gather and enjoy their medicine together. The Elevated vapor lounge opened in Providence Saturday.

Virginia

As of Wednesday, there were at least three medical marijuana or CBD bills before the legislature. There are at two new bills aiming to make the use of high-CBD, low-THC medical marijuana legal in the Old Dominion. Filed by Sen. David Marsden (D-Fairfax), Senate Bill 1235 would legalize CBD cannabis oil and THC-A oil. Delegate David Albo (R-Fairfax) has filed House Bill 1445, which would also legalize CDB cannabis oil. A third bill, House Bill 1605, filed by Delegate Kenneth Plum (D-Reston) would legalize marijuana.

Washington

Last Monday, a state law banning medical marijuana advertising was ruled unconstitutional. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Martin has ruled unconstitutional a state law that prohibits the advertising of medical uses of marijuana. The law was both vague and overly broad, she ruled, concluding that it violated both the state and federal constitutions. The case is Havsy v. Department of Health.

[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, 01/21/2015 - 22:00

A veteran cop gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar, jail guards go wild, and two different ex-cops go to prison for growing marijuana. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Prescott Valley, Arizona, a Prescott Valley police commander resigned last Friday as he was being investigated for stealing prescription drugs that had been turned in by the public. Commander Arthur Askew is accused of stealing pills from the drug storage fault in the evidence room, and police had video of him doing it. The department has asked local prosecutors to conduct a criminal review of the case.

In East Madison, Maine, a Somerset County Jail guard was arrested last Friday after an investigation into contraband at the jail. Alexender Jordon, 21, went down after a search warrant executed at his home turned up evidence he had supplied Suboxone strips to one inmate and tobacco products to two others. He is charged with trafficking Suboxone, a felony, and trafficking tobacco, a misdemeanor. At last report, Jordon was residing at his former place of employment.

In Michigan City, Indiana, an Indiana state prison guard was arrested last Saturday after he aroused suspicions during a routine shakedown as he arrived at work. Officer Gordon Dennis's car was then searched, and investigators found two cell phones, a cell phone watch, and a substance that appeared to be synthetic marijuana. He is charged with attempting to traffic with an offender. At last report, he was in the LaPorte County Jail.

In Lutz, Florida, a former Florida state prison guard was arrested Tuesday on charges he allowed inmates on outside work crews to drink, use drugs, and have "conjugal visits in the woods" with prostitutes. Henry Blackwelder went down after one of his favored inmates escaped. Blackwelder didn't report the escape for three hours, but investigators still found empty cans of margarita drinks and malt liquor and empty packages of synthetic marijuana, as well as a blanket used for hook-ups. Blackwelder resigned after the escape, but it later emerged that he was using his work crews and a pair of strippers to smuggle the contraband into the prison. He now faces charges of official misconduct, unlawful compensation for official behavior and smuggling contraband into a state correctional facility. He was released on bail Wednesday.

In Buffalo, New York, a former Buffalo police officer was sentenced last Wednesday to five years in federal prison for running a marijuana-growing operation while he was an officer. Jorge Melendez oversaw a pot-growing operation of more than a thousand plants and sometimes visited it while in uniform. Prosecutors said he made about $80,000 in the two years the grow was in operation, and he agreed to forfeit a Chevy Suburban, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a speedboat, and seven firearms. He had copped to one count of conspiracy to grow more than 99 marijuana plants.

In Hagatna, Guam, a former Guam police officer was sentenced last Thursday to eight years in prison for growing marijuana while employed as a cop. Roy Pablo had been arrested as part of an investigation into a grow ring in November 2013 and was convicted on cultivation charges in October.

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Chronicle AM: DEA Settles Facebook Suit, WY Decrim Bill Advances, More (1/21/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 21:17

The DEA will pay for using a woman's identity (and photos) to make a fake Facebook page, a Wyoming decrim bill is moving, Virginia is seeing CBD and medical marijuana bills, there's a hemp bill in Florida, the Vera Institute releases a report on New York sentencing reforms, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Wyoming Decriminalization Bill Wins Committee Vote. The House Judiciary Committee has approved House Bill 29, which would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot. Fines would be $250 for less than a half ounce and $500 for more. The bill now awaits a House floor vote.

Medical Marijuana

Kettle Falls Five Defendant Seeks Dismissal in Federal Medical Marijuana Case. The widely watched case out of Washington state has been proceeding despite passage of the "cromnibus" appropriations bill barring the use of federal funds to pursue medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Now, Larry Harvey, 71, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, with his attorney arguing that "federal prosecutions take away Washington's authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not."

Hawaii Health Department Takes Charges of Medical Marijuana Program. A 2013 law transferring control of the state's medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health is now in effect. Although the program officially became part of the Health Department on January 1, it took until now for the transfer to be complete. For more detail on other program changes, as well as times for public hearings on new regulations, click on the link.

Virginia Legislature Sees CBD, Medical Marijuana Bills. There are at two new bills aiming to make the use of high-CBD, low-THC medical marijuana legal in the Old Dominion. Filed by Sen. David Marsden (D-Fairfax), Senate Bill 1235 would legalize CBD cannabis oil and THC-A oil. Delegate David Albo (R-Fairfax) has filed House Bill 1445, which would also legalize CDB cannabis oil. A third bill, House Bill 1605, filed by Delegate Kenneth Plum (D-Reston) would legalize marijuana.

Washington State Law Banning Medical Marijuana Advertising Unconstitutional, Court Rules. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Martin has ruled unconstitutional a state law that prohibits the advertising of medical uses of marijuana. The law was both vague and overly broad, she ruled, concluding that it violated both the state and federal constitutions. The case is Havsy v. Department of Health.

Hemp

Florida Hemp Bill Filed. Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasalinda (D-Tallahassee) has introduced a bill that would legalize hemp production in the state. The bill is House Bill 363. Activists with the Florida Cannabis Action Network (CAN) are seeking a Senate sponsor.

Sentencing

Vera Institute of Justice Report on New York Sentencing Reforms. The report examines 2009 reforms to the Rockefeller drug laws that removed mandatory minimums for some drug offenses and expanded eligibility for treatment instead of incarceration. The report found a 35% percent increase in the rate of diversion to treatment; lower rates of re-arrest in such cases; which was associated with lower rates of rearrest, and fewer defendants sentenced to jail, time served, or "split sentence" -- a combination of jail and probation. However, most drug arrests still did not lead to diversion, and implementation varied widely across boroughs.

Law Enforcement

DEA Will Pay $134,000 to Woman It Used in Fake Facebook Page. The Justice Department has settled a civil suit brought against the DEA by a Watertown, New York, woman whose identity and photos were used by a DEA agent to create a fake Facebook page in her name to catch drug fugitives. Sondra Arquiett's phone had by seized by the Agenty Tim Sinnigen during a 2010 drug arrest, and the agent posed as her on Facebook without her consent. "The photographs used by Sinnigen included revealing and/or suggestive photographs of (Arquiett), including photographs of (her) in her bra and panties. Sinnigen also posted photographs of (Arquiett's) minor child and her minor niece to the Facebook page." The Justice Department will pay $134,000 to make this go away.

International

Vietnam Sentences Eight to Death for Heroin Trafficking. Eight people have been sentenced to die for trafficking 416 pounds of heroin in Vietnam. The trial in People's Court in Ho Binh province ended Monday. Six other defendants were sentenced to life in prison, and 17 others jailed for terms ranging from six to 20 years. Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws.

Stratfor's Mexico Cartel Map. The private, Austin-based intelligence concern has released its latest map of Mexican cartel activity. Despite constant changes in the organized crime scene, Stratfor says, cartel activity remains based in three geographic locations: Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and the Tierra Caliente in Michoacan and Guerrero. Click on the link for more.

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US CA: Column: All Pot Is Political

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 08:00
SF Weekly, 21 Jan 2015 - ALL POT IS POLITICAL The world is changing around Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is proving as immovable as a glacier. On Jan. 6, California's senior U.S. senator sent official letters to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry issuing a warning and demanding answers. America's standing in the world is being eroded, she wrote, and the culprit is marijuana legalization.
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Chronicle AM: ME Mj Bills, OH Mj Init, VA Heroin Bills, WY Drug & Asset Forfeiture; More (1/20/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 20:39

State legislative sessions are getting underway, and drug policy-related bills are popping up all over. There's good, bad, and ugly. Let's get to it:

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

Alaska Bill Would Delay Regulations for Marijuana Concentrates. Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) last Friday filed House Bill 59, which would delay regulations for concentrates by up to a year. That conflicts with the language of the marijuana legalization initiative, and has legalization supporters unhappy. Click on the story link for more details.

A Big Batch of Pot Bills in Maine. There are at least 15 marijuana-related bills pending before the state legislature, including one that would legalize, tax, and regulate the weed. Rep. Dianne Russell (D-Portland), sponsor of the legalization bill, is also sponsoring four medical marijuana bills. Another bill, sponsored by the Department of Public Safety, would set a limit on the amount of THC drivers could have in their systems. Click on the link for more detail.

Nebraska Bill Would Make Pot Concentrates a Felony. The state decriminalized pot possession in the 1970s, but a bill being pushed by the state attorney general's office, LB 326, would begin to undo that by making possession of marijuana concentrates not just a misdemeanor, but a felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. It's been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Responsible Ohio Lays Out its Vision for Legalization. The group wants to put a constitutional amendment to legalize pot on the November 2015 ballot, and today announced details of its proposal. The initiative would create a Marijuana Control Commission, allow for 10 licensed commercial grows, allow for marijuana manufacturing facilities that would sell only to retailers, allow for nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, and would tax marijuana at a 15% rate. Click on either link for more.

Heroin

Virginia Legislature Sees Heroin Bills Filed. At least four bills have been filed that seek to address the toll of heroin addiction and overdoses. House Bill 1638 would make people who provided drugs that resulted in a fatal overdose liable for a second degree murder charge; House Bill 1500 is a limited 911 Good Samaritan bill; House Bill 1458 would expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and Senate Bill 817 would expand the state's prescription monitoring program to allow probation and parole officers to access the database.

Asset Forfeiture

Wyoming Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Advances to Senate Floor. A bill that would bar police from seizing people's property unless they are charged with a felony drug crime passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday and now awaits a Senate floor vote. Senate File 14 drew late opposition from the offices of Gov. Matt Mead (R) and Attorney General Peter Michael (R), which claimed they would have to charge more people with felonies if they couldn't just take their money, but legislators expressed irritation at the late objections when the bill has been in process for months.

Drug Policy

Wyoming Bill Would Lighten Up on Repeated Drug Possession Punishments. Under current law, people convicted a third time in their lives for misdemeanor drug possession face felony penalties. House Bill 109 would change state law to make the felony penalties apply on the forth conviction, and the previous convictions would have to have happened in the past five years, instead of throughout the convict's lifetime, which is current law. There are at least three other bills relating to drug possession before the legislature; click on the title link to read more.

Drug Testing

Montana Food Stamps Drug Testing Bill Filed. Rep. Randy Pinocci (R-Sun River) Monday filed House Bill 200, which would require all applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, the food stamps program) to be screened for evidence of drug abuse. Those whose screening suggests a possible issue would be required to undergo a drug test. People who test positive for drugs wouldn't be allowed to receive benefits unless they agreed to complete a 30-day drug treatment program.

Harm Reduction

Michigan Cops Start Carrying Overdose Reversal Drug. Deputies in Oakland County have begun carrying naloxone opioid overdose reversal kits in a bid to reduce overdoses. That was made possible by the passage last year of Senate Bill 1049, which allowed law enforcement agencies to distribute the drug to police who have been trained to use it.

International

German Cops Tired of Messing Around With Small Time Drug Crimes. The country's police union is calling for "soft" drug offenses and other minor crimes to be decriminalized so police can focus on serious crime and terrorism. German police are also faced with shrinking numbers due to mandatory retirement of officers.

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CN BC: Lifesaving Overdose Kits May See Purview Expanded

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 20 Jan 2015 - A fledgling harm-reduction initiative in British Columbia is being credited with reducing the toll of opioid overdoses - and could play an important role in responding to an increase in illicit use of the dangerously potent drug fentanyl. The pilot Take Home Naloxone (THN) program - launched on International Overdose Awareness Day in August, 2012 - provides severe opioid addicts ahead of time with an injectable medication that quickly reverses the effects of an overdose of drugs such as heroin and oxycodone. Without it, the user's breathing could slow or stop, leading to brain damage or death.
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CN BC: Marijuana Bylaw Bans Terrible Odours

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
Langley Advance, 20 Jan 2015 - MARIJUANA BYLAW BANS TERRIBLE ODOURS Langley Township can't ban medical pot growing, but it will regulate excessive odour. A bylaw that will penalize medical pot growers for foul odours was given preliminary approval by Langley Township council.
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CN BC: Medical-Marijuana Adviser Opens Shop

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
Peace Arch News, 20 Jan 2015 - Mostly Positive Reaction In White Rock, Entrepreneur Says You could say she's following in her father's footsteps. Tara Caine - daughter of Hempyz Gifts & Novelties owner and marijuana proponent Randy Caine - opened her own White Rock storefront in Five Corners Saturday, but instead of a hemp-themed retail store, the 35-year-old is working to provide public consultation and education for those who use medicinal marijuana.
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