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US CA: Column: Oakland's Weed Speakeasies Draw Heat

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 07:00
East Bay Express, 18 Jun 2014 - Measure Z Designates Oakland Pot Crime As the Police Department's "Lowest Enforcement Priority" - Yet Raids and Arrests Persist. Oakland's marijuana speakeasies - dispensaries that do not have a license to operate from the city - are facing renewed heat despite the fact that we're in the waning days of the war on pot. The Oakland Police Department has raided at least three unlicensed cannabis shops since December. Police rousted so-called "Measure Z" clubs in North Oakland and Uptown in December and January. And last week, authorities raided "Herbal Wellness Center" at 1921 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
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US: Medical Pot Gains Ground In Two States

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 18 Jun 2014 - Since California passed the nation's first medical marijuana bill in 1996, many states have been following suit, but some - most recently Florida and New York - still grapple with what medical marijuana legislation should look like. New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried introduced his first version of a medical marijuana bill the year after California passed its bill, and this week the legislation, the Compassionate Care Act, is the closest it's come to passing the state Assembly and Senate.
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 06:58

In all the years we've been doing this weekly update, there's only been one week with no corrupt cops stories. This week is pretty quiet, but we've still got a couple. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]In Edwardsburg, Indiana, a former Edwardsburg police officer pleaded no contest last Tuesday to stealing pain pills from a private residence. Jesse Holmes, 23, was on duty when he assisted on a medical call at a home and took the pills. He had been charged with larceny, home invasion, and committing a felony while in possession of a firearm, but ended up copping to only the home invasion count. But that's still good for up to 20 years in state prison.

In Michigan City, Indiana, a jury failed to convict a former prison guard last Friday on charges she smuggled drugs into the prison. The jury hung in the case of Christine Evans, a former Westville Correctional Facility officer who had been arrested on the charges in January 2013. She had been arrested after allegedly carrying more than 80 grams of synthetic cannabinoids while reporting for work and hiding the stash in a trash can. But there was no video or other physical evidence against her, and the jury wasn't convinced. Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek a retrial.

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Chronicle AM -- June 17, 2014

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 20:12

It looks like Oregon is set to join Alaska in voting on marijuana legalization this year, the New York medical marijuana bill is going down to the wire, Florida's governor signs a pair of drug-related bills, Colombia's drug-reforming president wins reelection, and more. Let's get to it:

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

New Approach Oregon Legalization Initiative Now Has More Than 100,000 Signatures. Only yesterday, we reported that just before the weekend, the New Approach Oregon legalization initiative had handed in some 83,000 raw signatures, but that proponents would need more than 100,000 raw signatures to feel comfortable that they will actually attain the 87,213 valid signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. Now, the campaign reports that it has more than 100,000 raw signatures and will continue signature-gathering until the July 3 deadline. It looks like Oregon is about to join Alaska as states where residents will vote on marijuana legalization this fall.

Medical Marijuana

Thirty Congressmembers Call on HHS to End Roadblocks to Marijuana Research. Thirty members of Congress led by Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-OR) have sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mathews Burkwell calling on her to make the process for obtaining marijuana for research purposes less onerous.

California Assembly Committee is Debating Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill. A bill that would create the first statewide regulation of medical marijuana is being heard in the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee today. Senate Bill 1262, sponsored by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), has already passed the Senate.

Florida Governor Signs Limited CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. Gov. Rick Scott (R) Monday signed into law the "Charlotte's Web" bill (Senate Bill 1030), which allows a small number of patients to use high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oils for the treatment of epilepsy or cancer.

New York Medical Marijuana Fight Going Down to Last Minute. Medical marijuana proponents continued to do battle with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) over the Compassionate Care Act as the state's legislative session draws to a close. Legislators have amended the bill to address Cuomo's concerns, but patients and providers expressed outrage over Cuomo's "attempt to derail the legislation." Cuomo has called for eliminating many medical conditions from eligibility for medical marijuana, as well as imposing onerous restrictions on physicians. Another obstacle is the Senate's GOP leadership, which could block a floor vote. The session ends on Thursday.

Oklahoma Initiative Signature-Gatherers Complain of Harassment by Tulsa Police. Signature-gatherers for the state's medical marijuana initiative say that on at least four occasions, Tulsa Police have shown up to harass them. Police asked signature-gatherers to leave, then, when they asserted their right to petition, began asking for identification and doing background checks on them. Tulsa Police, for their part, said they had records of two calls reporting that signature-gatherers were selling marijuana. But no one was arrested for selling marijuana or anything else, and the campaign group Oklahomans for Health said its people were not selling or advertising marijuana. The group said it has asked the ACLU of Oklahoma for assistance.

Privacy

Methadone Advocates Warn of SAMHSA Patient Confidentiality Threat. A proposed Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) regulation that would end the exclusion of methadone treatment records from electronic health records is raising concern among methadone advocates. They say methadone patients suffer from stigma and that the records of their treatment should stay protected. Click on the link for information about how to have some input on the decision-making process.

New Synthetic Drugs

Florida Governor Signs Bill Targeting New Synthetic Drugs. Gov. Rick Scott Monday signed into law House Bill 697, which adds six new synthetic drugs to the list of criminally banned substances. The new synthetics targeted all appear to be phenethylamines.

Law Enforcement

South Dakota Drug Arrests Up More than 40% Last Year. Although overall arrests were only up slightly last year, drug arrests in South Dakota jumped more than 40%. Law enforcement is saying the big jump is due to the increased presence of meth and other drugs in the state's largest cities, Sioux Falls and Rapid City "Certainly more people have been arrested for drug offenses," Attorney General Marty Jackley said. "Part of that is attributable to more people using controlled substances." Drug arrests accounted for one out of six of all arrests in the state last year. More people were arrested for drugs than for DUI, assault, or larceny.

New Orleans Police Department Loosens Past Drug Use Policies. Under a policy change approved Monday, past drug use is no longer an automatic disqualifier for being hired as a New Orleans police officer. Now, applicants can be hired if that have not used marijuana or prescription pills within the last three years and most other drugs within the last 10 years. The brings the NOPD in line with the FBI and other major city police departments.

International

Drug Reformer, Peace Negotiator Juan Manuel Santos Re-Elected President of Colombia. Juan Manuel Santos has won reelection as president of Colombia in a race against a rightist candidate who criticized his peace negotiations with the leftist guerrillas of the FARC. Santos has been a loud voice for drug reform on the national and international stages.

Bermuda Approves Drug Testing of Parliamentarians. After rancorous debate, Bermuda's parliament has approved a proposal to require drug testing of parliamentarians. MPS can test positive for marijuana three times before they are suspended; for other drugs, it's one time.

What Does the Dance of the Peruvian Drug Czars Mean? Peruvian President Ollanta Humala recently fired hard-line DEVIDA head Carmen Macias, replacing her with former Defense Minister Luis Alberto Otarola. Humala also backed away from a controversial coca eradication campaign about to get under way in the Apurimac-Ene-Mantaro River Valley (VRAEM) that faced strong local opposition. Washington Office on Latin America analyst Coletta Youngers has written an analysis of what it all means, both domestically and internationally. Click on the link to read her piece.

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Australia: Coroner Recommends Better Prison Checks

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 07:00
Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Jun 2014 - The Deputy State Coroner has recommended that NSW prison cells should be subject to random searches at afternoon lockdown, after the overdose death of a female inmate highlighted the endemic nature of prison drug use. TracyLee Brannigan, 41, died from a heroin overdose at Dillwynia Correctional Centre while locked in her cell on the night of February 24 last year. In handing down his findings in relation to Ms Brannigan's death on Monday, Deputy Coroner Paul MacMahon said there was evidence that 75 per cent of women inmates in NSW had "drug addiction issues". He acknowledged that steps were being taken to address this problem, but found that most drug taking occurred after inmates were locked in for the night. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
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Australia: Terminal Cancer Sufferer's Wife Pleads For Medical

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 07:00
Illawarra Mercury, 17 Jun 2014 - Nowra woman Sarah* hates feeling like a criminal because she is giving cannabis to her dying husband. John*, who is in his 40s, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of oral cancer in February when he was given six to 12 months to live.
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US NM: Medical Pot Rule Changes Criticized

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 17 Jun 2014 - Producers, Patients Testify Program Would Be Crippled SANTA FE - Patients and producers in New Mexico's 7- year-old medical marijuana program lined up Monday to criticize - in sometimes heated tones - new fees and other proposed program changes.
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US FL: Scott Signs Medical Pot Legislation

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 17 Jun 2014 - TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday that legalizes a form of medical marijuana touted as way to help relieve symptoms of children with epilepsy and for cancer patients. The law decriminalizes a version of cannabis nicknamed "Charlotte's Web" after a Colorado child. It is low in the chemical that gets people high when smoking the plant.
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US: Marijuana May Affect Size and Shape of Sperm, Inhibiting

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 17 Jun 2014 - THE QUESTION Marijuana has been shown to have a negative effect on memory and brain development but is believed to be potentially therapeutic for people with medical conditions or treatments that cause nausea, chronic pain or inflammation. What effect might marijuana have on a man's fertility? THIS STUDY included 1,970 adult men who had been trying to conceive for at least 12 months unsuccessfully. They had no medical conditions that affected fertility and had not undergone treatments that could have caused infertility. Analysis of semen samples found that 318 of the men had poor sperm morphology, meaning that less than 4 percent of their sperm were normal in shape and size. Men who had used marijuana in the three months before producing the sperm samples were about 1-1/2 times as likely to have abnormal sperm as were men who had not used marijuana. The effect was strongest among younger men, with risk for abnormal sperm doubling among marijuana users younger than 30.
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Chronicle AM -- June 16, 2014

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 20:58

It's looking like at least one Oregon marijuana legalization initiative will make the fall ballot, a legalization initiative gets underway in Oklahoma, proposed medical marijuana rule changes in New Mexico run into stiff opposition, Georgia gives up on drug testing food stamp recipients, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gets a coca birthday cake in Bolivia, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

New Approach Oregon Legalization Initiative Closes in on Signature Goals. The New Approach Oregon legalization initiative had gathered some 83,000 raw signatures by the end of last week, according to the secretary of state's office. It needs 87,213 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. With 25% to 30% of raw signatures typically thrown out, something north of 100,000 raw signatures is going to be needed for campaigners to rest easy. They have until July 3 to gather more signatures.

CRRH Oregon Legalization Initiative Facing Signature-Gathering Problems. The Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) legalization initiatives -- there are two; one is a constitutional amendment -- is facing labor issues with its signature-gatherers and needs to come up with a whole bunch of signatures in a hurry if either CRRH initiative is to make the November ballot. The campaign reports it still lacks 50,000 signatures for its initiative and 75,000 for its constitutional amendment, which has a higher signature threshold.

Oklahoma Legalization Initiative Campaign Gets Underway. State Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) last Friday unveiled a marijuana legalization initiative in the Sooner State. The initiative, which takes the form of a constitutional amendment, requires 155,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Proponents have three months to gather them. A medical marijuana initiative is already in the signature-gathering phase in the state.

Medical Marijuana

Contentious Hearing Today Over Proposed New Mexico Medical Marijuana Rules. The state Department of Health is holding a hearing today on proposed new rules for the medical marijuana program, and it is getting an earful from patients, growers, health care professionals, and even some state legislators. Proposals to reduce the number of plants patients can grow, impose stricter testing requirements, and increase fees are all proving unpopular. So is the department's insistence on holding the hearing today instead of postponing it to allow more time for people to respond to the proposed rules.

Kentucky VFW Passes Resolution Supporting Medical Marijuana for Veterans. The Kentucky state convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) last Friday passed a resolution calling on the national VFW to support medical marijuana access for veterans through the Veterans Administration. The VA should begin "post haste" to provide medical marijuana to vets through VA Hospital System pharmacies, the resolution said. The resolution will be brought up at the VFW national convention in St. Louis next month.

Oregon HIDTA Issues Report Noting "Threat" of Medical Marijuana. The Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a federal agency that coordinates law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking, has issued its annual threat assessment and finds marijuana use, cultivation, and distribution "pervasive." It blames the state's medical marijuana program for the "threat," complains about driving under the influence of marijuana (although its own graphs show a decline in such charges in recent years), and bemoans the fact that it can no longer sic child protective services on medical marijuana users and producers. It also highlighted the dangers of accidental ingestion of marijuana by children, even though the Oregon Poison Center reports only two to 15 cases a year, and even though there is no fatal overdose potential.

Drug Testing

Georgia Heeds USDA Warning; Will Not Drug Test Food Stamp Recipients. The office of Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced last Friday that it will not drug test food stamp recipients under a newly passed law after both state and federal officials concluded it was illegal. The US Department of Agriculture informed the state several weeks ago that such a law violated federal food stamp program rules, and state Attorney General Sam Olens delivered an opinion to the governor agreeing with that assessment.

Law Enforcement

Drug War Dominates the Police Blotter in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Just another weekend in Jacksonville, and the police blotter shows that drug arrests account for the bulk of the activity. Of 25 arrests, 11 were for drug charges. There were also four people arrested for breaking and entering, three for larceny, two for eluding arrest, and a handful of other charges. Most of the drug arrests appear aimed at users and low-level dealers.

Illinois Man Challenges State's Heroin Overdose Homicide Law. Under state law, a person who provides heroin to someone who then overdoses and dies can be charged with murder. John Chappell, 22, of Aurora, has been charged under that statute with the death of a relative after delivering heroin to a third man who then delivered it to her. He has filed a motion to have the law declared unconstitutional on several grounds, including that crime is essentially involuntary manslaughter, but is punished more severely.

International

UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon Gets Coca Birthday Cake in Bolivia. Ban Ki-moon's birthday was last Saturday, and Bolivian President Evo Morales helped him celebrate it by presenting him with a birthday cake containing coca. Ki-moon is in Bolivia for a meeting of the G77 group of countries. Ki-moon didn't actually publicly take a bite of the coca cake, but he thanked Bolivians for their "big, broad heart... and great wisdom."

Albanian Marijuana Growing Crackdown Sparks Clashes with Police. Hundreds of Albanian police have stormed and occupied the village of Lazarat after marijuana growers fired RPGS, mortars, and machine guns at them as they attempted to raid the village a day earlier, the Associated Press reported. The village is home to growers who produce an estimated 900 metric tons of weed each year. No injuries were reported, and the gunmen are said to have fled to the hills, although the sound of gunfire was still being reported hours later. A TV crew covering the raid was robbed at gunpoint by masked men who burned their vehicle, Albania's A1 channel reported.

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US CO: Marijuana Laws Lead To Child Safety Questions

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 16 Jun 2014 - Parents With Legal Pot Losing Custody DENVER (AP) - A Colorado man loses custody of his children after getting a medical marijuana card. The daughter of a Michigan couple growing legal medicinal pot is taken by child-protection authorities after an ex-husband says their plants endangered kids.
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US CO: Pot Laws Tangle Child-Welfare Cases

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 16 Jun 2014 - Pro-Marijuana Activists Counsel Parents on How to Deal With Police Denver (AP) - A Colorado man loses custody of his children after getting a medical marijuana card. The daughter of a Michigan couple growing legal medicinal pot is taken by child-protection authorities after an ex-husband says their plants endangered kids.
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US: Matter Of Kids' Safety Raised By Legalized Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 16 Jun 2014 - DENVER (AP) - A Colorado man loses custody of his children after getting a medical marijuana card. The daughter of a Michigan couple growing legal medicinal pot is taken by child-protection authorities after an ex-husband says their plants endangered kids. While the cases were eventually decided in favor of the parents, the incidents underscore a growing dilemma: While a pot plant in the basement may not bring criminal charges in many states, the same plant can become a piece of evidence in child custody or abuse cases.
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US OH: Toledo Sees Rise In Addicted Babies

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
The Blade, 15 Jun 2014 - The opioid and heroin epidemic has eclipsed the crack cocaine problem of the 1980s as a public health crisis and, as a result, the number of babies being born to opiate-addicted mothers is increasing at an alarming rate, including in the Toledo area. Government and health-care officials are struggling with how to manage the care of the drug-dependent babies. Their numbers are increasing each year and the costs of care are skyrocketing and straining the resources of hospitals in some Ohio counties, health officials say.
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US IL: Uptick In Local Overdoses Has Police On Alert

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
The News-Gazette, 15 Jun 2014 - Facebook LikeGoogle Plus OneTweet Widget Police in Champaign and Urbana have gone on high alert - and are asking the public to do the same - following a recent surge in drug-related overdoses in the two communities.
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US OH: Column: Using Names In Deaths Necessary, Agonizing

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
Columbus Dispatch, 15 Jun 2014 - About 10 days ago, our crime reporters heard a dispatcher announce on a police scanner that two bodies had been found in an apartment on the Northwest Side. Homicide detectives were on their way. Reports of a body being found are not uncommon, with people dying of natural causes, suicides, accidental drug overdoses and such.
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US NY: An Unwanted Visitor Heroin Creeps Into Glens Falls Region

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
The Post-Star, 15 Jun 2014 - Editor's note: The rise of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone has had an unforeseen consequence, as addicts turn to heroin when pills become hard to get. Abuse of heroin has spilled across all social strata and led to an increase in overdoses nationwide. The trend has not skirted our area. Heroin has come to the Glens Falls area, attended by addiction, crime and death. A map of heroin overdoses in the Glens Falls region in 2013-14 is seen below. She thought he was sleeping.
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US NY: Heroin Spurs Rise In Crimes

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
The Post-Star, 15 Jun 2014 - The 2011 bank robbery spree gripped the region for weeks. One after another, banks around eastern New York and western Vermont were being robbed by a man and woman who brazenly walked into them, handed tellers notes that bore threats and made off with thousands of dollars in cash.
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Canada: What Are Feds Smoking?

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 15 Jun 2014 - Medical marijuana group says oversight changes not needed OTTAWA - A medical marijuana group says the additional oversight measures proposed by the government this week are "redundant" and previous changes to the federal marijuana program already dramatically reduced its susceptibility to abuse.
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Canada: What Are Feds Smoking?

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 07:00
Winnipeg Sun, 15 Jun 2014 - Medical marijuana group says oversight changes not needed OTTAWA - A medical marijuana group says the additional oversight measures proposed by the government this week are "redundant" and previous changes to the federal marijuana program already dramatically reduced its susceptibility to abuse.
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