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US PA: Richland Woman Dies Of Heroin Od With 3-year-old Son In

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 05 Jan 2017 - A Richland woman died Wednesday in her apartment from a suspected heroin overdose, leaving her 3-year-old son alone in the residence until police found him. The woman was identified as Lauren Wilson, 34, of Thomas Village in the 5600 block of Community Center Drive.
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US MA: Ten-month Old Methuen Child Revived Twice After Exposure To

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 05 Jan 2017 - [photo] Lieutenant Michael Pappalardo said the 10-month-old girl's family is cooperating with an investigation that includes state child-protection authorities. METHUEN - A 10-month-old girl who narrowly survived after ingesting fentanyl is the latest victim of an opioid epidemic that has been blamed for hundreds of deaths in Massachusetts.
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US PA: The Surge In Narcotic Overdoses Is Affecting Everyone

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 05 Jan 2017 - Recent headlines tell it all: "9 dead from apparent heroin ODs over weekend in Kensington area"; "Medical examiner: Philly overdose surge may have killed 35 over 5 days"; "New Jersey's overdose nightmare hits a new peak"; and "Growth in the use of opioids is fueling a nationwide epidemic of deaths from drug overdose". Heroin mixed with fentanyl - or heroin alone - may be responsible for this surge in overdoses. In the past, Philadelphia typically had three overdoses a day and they were not all fatal. Last June, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office confirmed nearly 700 drug-related deaths in 2015, twice as many deaths as there were from homicides. At the current rate, 2016 will end with even more.
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US MD Md. Medicaid Waiver Will Fight Drug Addiction

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 05 Jan 2017 - Maryland is leading the way on a new model for fighting drug addiction. Kudos to Gov. Larry Hogan and Dennis Schrader, the governor's newly-appointed secretary for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, for their leadership and vision in negotiating significant improvements with our state's Medicaid services ("Md. reaches agreement with Medicaid," Dec. 28). Especially noteworthy is now allowing Medicaid to reimburse residential treatment services for people with substance use disorder.
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US MD: Poll: 41 Percent Of Maryland Residents Personally Touched By

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 05 Jan 2017 - Among Baltimore residents, 68 percent said they had been affected by opioid epidemic. A new poll found 41 percent of Maryland residents said the escalating opioid epidemic has directly affected them or someone they know over the past five years.
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 22:59

A newly elected West Virginia sheriff has a meth problem, a Kentucky drug detective develops a case of sticky fingers, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Spencer, West Virginia, the newly elected Roane County sheriff was arrested Tuesday on charges he stole methamphetamine from the evidence room of his previous employer, the Spencer Police Department. Sheriff Bo Williams faces removal from office after being charged with grand larceny. He had been placed on leave and resigned from the Spencer Police in December after investigators found evidence bags in his car and home. Williams has admitted to the theft and said he had been strung out for more than a year.

In Louisville, Kentucky, a former Louisville Metro Police detective pleaded guilty December 22 to stealing cash from UPS packages he was inspecting as part of the Narcotics Airport Interdiction Team. Kyle Willet, 48, "would identify UPS packages that possibly contained cash. He would then take the packages to his vehicle and open them. On a number of occasions, he then stole the contents of (the) packages." Federal prosecutors said he got away with nearly $75,000 in cash. Willet's attorney said that he was sorry, "but I think it's important for everyone to know that's whose money it was. It's cartel drug dealer money." Willet copped to one count of theft from interstate commerce and is looking at up to 10 years in federal prison when sentenced in April.

In Philadelphia, a former Bucks County jail guard was sentenced last Wednesday to between six and 23 months in prison for trying to smuggle suboxone into the Bucks County Correctional Facility in return for a $500 bribe. John Christopher Dingle, 36, copped to one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Dingle said he was trying to help a prisoner who had helped him maintain order, but the prisoner's girlfriend was secretly working with the cops, and he was arrested after accepting suboxone strips as part of the plan.

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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 22:20

Arkansas and Florida start moving toward voter-approved medical marijuana systems, Massachusetts activists push for greater patient access, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Arkansas

Last Friday, a lawmaker filed medical marijuana implementation bills. State Rep. Douglas House (R-North Little Rock) has filed a pair of bills aimed at the state's new medical marijuana law. House Bill 1057 would add national and state criminal background check requirements, while House Bill 1058 would amend the definition of written certification to clarify that it is not a medical record. The bills are not yet available on the legislative web site.

Florida

As of Tuesday, Florida is now a medical marijuana state. The constitutional amendment approved by voters in November to legalize medical marijuana went into effect Tuesday. But the state doesn't have a distribution system up and running yet. Lawmakers and the state Department of Health will have to craft rules, with an implementation target date of September 9.

Massachusetts

On Tuesday, a public hearing heard calls for eased patient access. At a public hearing in Boston Tuesday, advocates called for changes in the state's medical marijuana law to allow hospices and nursing homes to provide the medicine for patients. "Hospice patients are literally out of time," said Elizabeth Dost, clinical director for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical marijuana patients. "The patient's average length of stay (in hospice) in Massachusetts is 35 to 45 days. By the time they access cannabis, they are often deceased." Another public hearing is set for Thursday morning in Holyoke.

New Hampshire

Last Friday, a new bill being drafted would let patients grow their own. A bill currently in draft form would allow patients living at least 30 miles from a dispensary to grow their medicine. New Hampshire and Connecticut are the only New England states that don't allow patients to grow, and state Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) wants to change that. He said he is open to altering the bill's language, including the 30-mile provision.

Puerto Rico

Last Friday, the territory got its first dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries have begun operating in the US territory, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Friday. He said two dispensaries are now open. The move comes nearly two years after his administration adopted a regulation to allow for medical marijuana.

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

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Chronicle AM: VT MJ Possession Pardons, No Jail for MJ in Houston, UK CBD, More... (1/4/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 21:57

Vermont's governor pardons nearly 200 for pot, Houston's incoming DA says no jail for pot possession, a British medical regulatory agency recognizes CBD as medicine, and more.

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

Alaska Gets First Legal Marijuana Tax Revenues. The state is starting to reap the fiscal benefits of marijuana legalization, as the Department of Revenue announced it had taken in $81,000 in taxes from seven growers in the month of November. The revenues came from taxes on 98 pounds of pot and 10 pounds of trim, which are taxed at $50 an ounce and $15 an ounce, respectively.

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 for Pot Possession. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) has pardoned 192 people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Some 450 people applied for pardons after Shumlin announced the program last month, but he only pardoned 192 after looking at subsequent criminal histories. "While attitudes and laws about marijuana use are rapidly changing, there is still a harmful stigma associated with it," Shumlin said. "My hope was to help as many individuals as I could overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it."

No Jail for Marijuana Possession in Houston. Incoming Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has said the practice of jailing people for pot possession is over. "All misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail," Ogg said. "I've never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers. It's just not fair, it doesn't make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that."

Medical Marijuana

Florida is Now a Medical Marijuana State. The constitutional amendment approved by voters in November to legalize medical marijuana went into effect Tuesday. But the state doesn't have a distribution system up and running yet. Lawmakers and the state Department of Health will have to craft rules, with an implementation target date of September 9.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Hearing Aims to Ease Patient Access. At a public hearing in Boston Tuesday, advocates called for changes in the state's medical marijuana law to allow hospices and nursing homes to provide the medicine for patients. "Hospice patients are literally out of time," said Elizabeth Dost, clinical director for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical marijuana patients. "The patient's average length of stay (in hospice) in Massachusetts is 35 to 45 days. By the time they access cannabis, they are often deceased." Another public hearing is set for Thursday morning in Holyoke.

Law Enforcement

NAACP Activists Arrested in Protest at Attorney General Nominee's Office. Six NAACP demonstrators were arrested after occupying the Mobile, Alabama, offices of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Donald Trump's choice to head the Justice Department. The NAACP is demanding the Sessions turn down the nomination to be attorney general, citing his record of ignoring voter suppression but prosecuting black voting rights activists. Sessions is also opposed by broad swathes of the drug reform community for his stances against marijuana legalization and sentencing reform and in favor of asset forfeiture.

International

Britain Recognizes CBD as a Medicine. The Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Tuesday classified CBD as a medicine in the United Kingdom. The agency said it made the move after reviewing claims from several companies that their CBD products offered health benefits.

Georgia Marijuana Activists Face 12 Years in Prison for Planting Pot Seeds. In a New Year's Eve act of civil disobedience, dozens of activists and the Girchi Party planted pot seeds at party offices, publicly breaching the country's criminal code and exposing themselves to up to 12 years in prison under the country's drug laws. The Girchi Party is demanding drug decriminalization and marijuana legalization.

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CN AB: Legalized Marijuana Hurts Youth: Senator

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
The South Peace News, 04 Jan 2017 - A Canadian Senator with roots in the Peace Country is deeply concerned with the Liberal government's intention to legalize marijuana. "We are clearly headed in the wrong direction and our young people will be the most victimized due to the damage that marijuana causes to a young person's brain development," Senator Betty Unger states in a news release dated Dec. 14.
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US MO: Mandatory Drug Testing At Missouri Technical College Is

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Kansas City Star, 04 Jan 2017 - Mandatory drug testing of students at a two-year technical college in Linn, Mo., has been banned by a federal appeals court. The court has reinstated the ban on mandatory drug testing for most students at the State Technical College of Missouri. The decision was the latest ruling in a 5-year-old lawsuit.
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US MA: $325 Plastic Bags - With Free Weed 'Gift' - Advertised On

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 04 Jan 2017 - Giving away -- or "gifting"-- up to one ounce of marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, but are some people pushing the new law too far? Days after Governor Charlie Baker signed a measure delaying the opening of recreational marijuana retail shops statewide by six months, a budding entrepreneur took to Craigslist to offer people a backdoor approach to getting their hands on some pot - one that authorities say would violate the new law.
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US MA: Proposed Changes To Medical Marijuana Rules Draw Fire From

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 04 Jan 2017 - Medical Marijuana advocates rallied before a public meeting on proposed changes to the rules. Proposed changes to the state's medical marijuana program do not address problems that hamper people from registering for the program, according to patients and advocates who testified Tuesday at a crowded public hearing in Boston.
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CN ON: Cannabis Culture There For Healing

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Goderich Signal-Star, 04 Jan 2017 - CANNABIS CULTURE THERE FOR HEALING This was not your ordinary cooking class. Barb Mahy was making her basic "canna chocolates," a simple mix of semi-sweet chocolate, coconut butter and a cannabis tincture mix with glycerine and water which she melted and poured into moulds.
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Chronicle AM: US Legal MJ Sales Near $6 Billion, ME Goes Legal at Month's End, More... (1/3/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 20:58

Happy New Year! Legal marijuana sales hit a new record, Maine's legalization law will go into effect on January 30 (but not pot shops), Puerto Rico sees its first dispensaries, and more.

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

US Marijuana Sales Hit Nearly $6 Billion in 2016. A new report from Arcview Market Research put US legal and medical marijuana sales at $5.86 billion last year, with nearly another $900 million being sold in Canada. Assuming a compound annual growth rate of 25%, Arcview estimates that North American sales will reach $20.2 billion by 2021.

California Bill Would Specifically Outlaw Pot Smoking Behind the Wheel. State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) have filed Senate Bill 65, which would make it a misdemeanor to drive while smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana. Hill said he filed the bill because the state's legal marijuana law does not explicitly bar such activity.

Idaho Moms for Marijuana Founder Busted for CBD at Statehouse Rally. Serra Frank, the founder of Moms for Marijuana International, was arrested on the capitol steps in Boise Sunday for possession of marijuana after she displayed a pill bottle containing what she said were capsules containing CBD oil. She was also charged with possession of paraphernalia. The rally was held to protest Gov. "Butch" Otter's (R) veto of a CBD bill last year.

Maine Legalization Goes Into Effect January 30, But Governor Wants a Moratorium on Sales. Tea Party Republican Gov. Paul LePage has officially certified the results of the November vote on marijuana legalization, meaning it will go into effect at month's end. But he also called for a moratorium on sales until lawmakers can work out regulatory details. The state's new pot law already gives the legislature nine months to come up with regulations, leading legalization activists to describe LePage's moratorium call as "defeatist" and premature.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Lawmaker Files Medical Marijuana Implementation Bills. State Rep. Douglas House (R-North Little Rock) has filed a pair of bills aimed at the state's new medical marijuana law. House Bill 1057 would add national and state criminal background check requirements, while House Bill 1058 would amend the definition of written certification to clarify that it is not a medical record. The bills are not yet available on the legislative website.

New Hampshire Bill Would Let Patients Grow Their Own. A bill currently in draft form would allow patients living at least 30 miles from a dispensary to grow their medicine. New Hampshire and Connecticut are the only New England states that don't allow patients to grow, and state Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) wants to change that. He said he is open to altering the bill's language, including the 30-mile provision.

Puerto Rico Gets First Dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries have begun operating in the US territory, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Friday. He said two dispensaries are now open. The move comes nearly two years after his administration adopted a regulation to allow for medical marijuana.

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CN BC: Column: A Look Ahead To Canada's 150th

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 08:00
Prince George Citizen, 03 Jan 2017 - 'Tis the season to look upon the year to come. Given the bizarre character of this past year, I hope you will forgive me for wishing 2017 is a much quieter affair. It would be great if the world took a year off and rested. Of course, that will never happen. For Canadians, 2017 will be a bit of a milestone. We are 150 years old and as we like to celebrate round numbers, we will likely be fully vested in our sesquicentennial. After all, Canadians like to party and a major birthday is as good reason to do so. From a historical perspective, 150 years is not a long time. Many institutions have been around for much longer such as Oxford University and the Roman Catholic Church. Many countries are much older, such as China which dates back 3,800 years. But there are also many countries much younger than ours. As countries go, we are something of a middle child.
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CN AB: Legal Uncertainty Keeps Cannabidiol Off Shelves

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 08:00
Metro, 03 Jan 2017 - Substance not psychoactive, used for pain, and anxiety Some Edmonton vape shops are pulling products containing a substance derived from cannabis, amid confusion over its legality. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is illegal for anyone to purchase without a prescription, under the federal Controlled Substances and Drugs Act. The substance is not psychoactive - it's tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and not CBD that gets users high - which may be where the confusion comes in.
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CN BC: Column: Marijuana Legalization Raises Concerns Of Unknown

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 08:00
Prince George Citizen, 03 Jan 2017 - The greatest public-health disaster our species ever brought upon itself began in Europe 400 years ago - the introduction and use of tobacco. In the 20th century alone, 100 million people died from cigarette smoking worldwide. And while the incidence rate has fallen in western countries, it remains high in Third World nations. Six million tobacco users still die each year. The cause of smoking deaths is not, primarily, the active ingredient in tobacco - nicotine. Rather it is the chemicals that comprise tobacco smoke - - among them various tars, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde.
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US MD: Two Kilos Of Heroin Seized, Virginia Man Arrested In Harford

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 03 Jan 2017 - [photo] Police in Harford County seized two kilos of heroin during a traffic stop in Havre de Grace on Thursday, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office. A Virginia man faces multiple drug possession and distribution charges. (Harford County Sheriff's Office / Baltimore Sun) Police in Harford County seized two kilograms of heroin and arrested a Portsmouth, Va., man on drug charges, during a traffic stop in Havre de Grace, the Harford County Sheriff's Office said.
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US NY: Editorial: Recent Advances Represent Only A Start In The

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 08:00
Buffalo News, 03 Jan 2017 - The opioid epidemic ripping throughout the nation and our own backyard will not be stopped without the multi-pronged approach that is thankfully occurring on all levels of government. Local, state and national leaders have stepped up to provide assistance. Police, fire departments, ambulance crews, hospital staffs and others are on the front lines of this fight.
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2016: People Still Killed in US Drug War at the Rate of One a Week [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 21:20

With 2016 now behind us, it's time for some year-end accounting, and when it comes to fatalities related to drug law enforcement, that accounting means tallying up the bodies. The good news is that drug war deaths are down slightly from last year; the bad news is that people are still being killed at the rate of about once a week, as has been the norm in recent years. There were 49 people killed in the drug war last year.

[image:1 align:left]This is the sixth year that Drug War Chronicle has tallied drug war deaths. There were 54 in 2011, 63 in 2012, 41 in 2013, 39 in 2014, and 56 in 2015, That's an average of just a hair under one a week during the past six years.

The Chronicle's tally only include deaths directly related to US domestic drug law enforcement operations -- full-fledged, door-busting, pre-dawn SWAT raids, to traffic stops turned drug busts, to police buy-bust operations. Some of the deaths are by misadventure, not gunshot, including several people who died after ingesting drugs in a bid to avoid getting busted and two law enforcement officers who separately dropped dead while.

Many of those killed either brandished a weapon or actually shot at police officers, demonstrating once again that attempting to enforce drug prohibition in a society rife with weapons is a recipe for trouble. Some of those were homeowners wielding weapons against middle-of-the-night intruders who they may or may not have known were police.

But numerous others were killed in their vehicles by police who claimed suspects were trying to run them down and feared for their lives when they opened fire. Could those people have been merely trying to flee from the cops? Or were they really ready to kill police to go to avoid going to jail on a drug charge?

Which is not to understate the dangers to police enforcing the drug laws. The drug war took the lives of four police officers last year, one in a shootout with a suspect, one in an undercover drug buy gone bad, one while doing a drug interdiction training exercise at a bus station, and one while engaged in a nighttime drug raid over a single syringe. That's about par for the course; over the six years the Chronicle has been keeping count about one cop gets killed for every 10 dead civilians.

Here are December's drug war deaths:

On December 7, in Dallas, Texas, Keelan Charles Murray, 37, shot and killed himself as local police operating as part of a DEA drug task force attempted to arrest him for receiving a package of synthetic opioids. Police said they were clearing the apartment when they heard a gunshot from upstairs. A Duncanville police officer then shot Murray in the shoulder, and Murray then turned his own gun on himself. Murray was locally notorious for having sold heroin to former Dallas Cowboy football player Matt Tuinei, who overdosed on it and died in 199. Dallas Police are investigating.

On December 11, in White Hall, West Virginia, Marion County police attempting to serve a drug arrest warrant shot and killed Randy Lee Cumberledge, 39, in the parking lot of the local Walmart. Police said they spotted Cumberledge's vehicle, but when they approached and ordered him to show his hands, he put his vehicle into gear and "drove aggressively" toward a deputy. Both the deputy and a White Hall police officer opened fire, killing Cumberland. There was no mention of any firearms recovered. The West Virginia State Police are investigating.

On December 12, in Byron, Georgia, member of a Peach County Drug Task Force SWAT team shot and killed Rainer Smith, 31, when he allegedly opened fire on them with a shotgun as they forced their way into his home to arrest him. Smith wounded two Byron police officers before return fire from police killed him. Police said no one answered the door when they arrived, so they forced their way in, and were immediately met by gunfire. Smith's live-in girlfriend and infant daughter were in the home with him. They were uninjured. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating.

On December 21, in Knox, Indiana, Knox Police shot and killed William Newman, 46, as they attempted to arrest him for possession of methamphetamine, failure to appear for dealing meth, and violating parole. Police said Knox attempted to flee, almost running down an officer, and they opened fire. He died in a local hospital hours later. The Indiana State Police are investigating.

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