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Chronicle AM: CT Opioids Bill Passes House, CA Drug Sentence Reduction Bill Killed, More... (4/26/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 18:20

DC marijuana activists scored a White House meeting, Montana medical marijuana patients catch a temporary break, hemp states could be protected from federal interference, Canada just says no to decrim ahead of pot legalization next year, and more.

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

White House Staffers Meet With DC Marijuana Activists. Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller of the DC Cannabis Campaign met with White House staffers Monday and urged them to commit the administration to a marijuana policy summit at the White House. They didn't get any answers from the staffers, but Eidinger said they did get "a lot of nods, a lot of smiles."

Nebraska and Oklahoma Try Again to Derail Colorado's Pot Legalization. After being turned away by the US Supreme Court in their bid to overturn marijuana legalization in Colorado, the two neighboring states have asked to be added to another case at the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver brought by opponents of legalization. The case consolidates two separate lawsuits brought by a group of county sheriffs and the owners of a rural property, and now, Nebraska and Oklahoma hope it will include them, too.

Medical Marijuana

Iowa CBD Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Killed. A Republican-backed bill to expand the number of ailments for which Iowans could use CBD cannabis oil was defeated in the House Monday. Democrats said the proposal did not go far enough, while some Republicans objected to any effort to legalize marijuana, medicinal or otherwise. The bill was defeated 61-36.

Montana Supreme Court Delays Enforcement of Medical Marijuana Rollback. The state high court said it will delay enforcement of its February ruling dramatically rolling back the state's medical marijuana program. The court said its ruling would now not go into effect until August 31. Montana activists and medical marijuana industry spokesman have said the rollback would force the closure of dispensaries and leave patients in the lurch. Supporters are also working on an initiative campaign to put a revamped medical marijuana system before the voters in November.

Hemp

Senate Committee Approves Amendment to Block Federal Interference With Hemp. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered an amendment to the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill that would prevent the federal government from interfering with implementation of state hemp laws, and the Appropriations Committee passed it last Friday. More than half the states have laws allowing farmers to cultivate hemp, but they faced the prospect of the DEA taking action against them. That will end if the amendment survives the rest of the appropriations process.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Connecticut House Passes Comprehensive Opioid Bill. The House Monday unanimously approved House Bill 5053, which would widen access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, put a seven-day cap on first-time opioid prescriptions, strengthen the prescription monitoring program, provide a release from liability for Good Samaritans who administer naloxone, and add staffing for emergency medical care and the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Sentencing

California Bill to Reduce Drug Sentences Fails. A bill to repeal sentencing enhancements for certain drug offenses died in the Senate Monday after some senators warned that it would favor drug dealers. The measure, Senate Bill 966, filed by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would have repealed a law that adds three years in prison for people convicted of drug distribution offenses if they have previously been convicted on similar charges. All Republican members voted against it, as did three Democrats, while five more Democrats abstained. The bill lost 18-16.

International

Canada Will Not Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Ahead of Legalization. The Liberal government has made it clear that it will not move to end marijuana possession arrests ahead of its push to legalize marijuana, which it said it will undertake next year. "The current provisions of the CDSA [Controlled Drugs and Substances Act] regarding marijuana will remain in place until they are replaced by new legislation that will legalize and strictly regulate marijuana, Ian McLeod, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, said. "Marijuana will not be decriminalized prior to legalization."

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CN BC: Editorial: Drug War Continues To Rage In Province

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 26 Apr 2016 - British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to declare a public-health emergency because of fentanyl-related deaths. Dr. Perry Kendall, the provincial health officer, took this step after fatalities associated with the prescription painkiller surged. In B.C., 76 people died in January. If these fatality rates remain constant, as many as 900 British Columbians could die in 2016.
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CN AB: Concrete Company Worries About Working With Increased Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
Medicine Hat News, 26 Apr 2016 - Legalizing marijuana may result in more impaired workers on the job, says a local concrete contractor. "We have enough dealing with present drugs and alcohol. We don't need marijuana too," said Dean Brown, project manager, Mudrack Concrete Ltd.
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CN AB: Editorial: What Will New Pot Laws Look Like?

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
Lethbridge Herald, 26 Apr 2016 - The history of our Crowsnest Pass communities is replete with stories of Prohibition adventures and misadventures. One event even inspired an opera! Today, those stories offer more than entertainment, or a hit of nostalgia. They're also somewhat instructive, as Canadians look to the end of another form of prohibition.
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US MA: Overwhelmed by Overdoses, Clinic Offers a Room for Highs

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 26 Apr 2016 - It has become a grim workplace routine: the "code blue" crackling over the loudspeaker. The all-hands-on-deck emergency response. Then, in more than half the calls, the discovery of a nonresponsive person - - blue lips, shallow breathing, and constricted pupils, all telltale signs of a drug overdose. "It's happening everywhere," said Dr. Jessie Gaeta, chief medical officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, headquartered in the South End neighborhood infamously nicknamed Methadone Mile.
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US DC: DC 'Bud Summit' A Bit Of A Buzz Kill

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 26 Apr 2016 - Marijuana Advocates Had Hoped to Speak With Obama, Got Staffers It took a pot-smoking protest outside the White House, but on Monday, advocates for marijuana legalization were set for a historic face-to-face meeting with the Obama administration about easing laws governing the drug. Except, it wasn't. Leaders of the ballot-measure fight that legalized marijuana in the nation's capital said they were granted a White House meeting, but it was with two junior-level staffers in President Obama's Office of National Drug Control Policy.
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US: Study Details Jailed Parents' Effects On Families

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 26 Apr 2016 - Communities should be strengthened by "minimizing the economic and social effects of incarceration," the report's authors write. Nearly 6 percent of children in Maryland have a parent in prison or jail, which makes it more likely that they will struggle academically, live in poverty, and have other social or psychological problems that could plague them for life.
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Chronicle AM: NE Ends Civil Asset Forfeiture, New England Pot Politics, Mexico Marijuana Reforms, More... 4/25/16

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 20:02

Marijuana policy is keeping state houses busy in New England, Nebraska becomes the 10th state to end civil asset forfeiture, Maine's Tea Party governor vetoes a Naloxone bill, Mexico's president expands marijuana reforms, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

DC Marijuana Activists Meet Today With White House. Two members of the DC Cannabis Campaign (DCMJ) were set to meet with Obama administration officials at the White House today. DCMJ head Adam Eidinger said he had been requesting a "Bud Summit" with Obama's leading drug advisors for years, but had no response until his group demonstrated in front of the White House on April 2. "This is an opportunity for the White House to meet with serious and committed cannabis activists and hear our case for why it's in President Obama's best interest to work with the attorney general to fully remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act," DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller said in a statement.

Connecticut Legalization Bill Dies. There will be no marijuana legalization in Connecticut this year. Rep. Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven), sponsor of the legalization bill, withdrew it last Wednesday after first attempting to add it as an amendment to a related bill. The bill had been declared dead earlier in the session, and Candelaria's move last week was a last ditch effort to keep it alive.

Illinois Decriminalization Bill Advances. A bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana was approved by the Senate last week. A similar measure was approved by the legislature last year, only to be vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). This year's bill lowers the decrim limit from 15 grams to 10 grams, making it a bit more palatable to the governor. A spokesman for Rauner said he was "encouraged" that legislators heard his concerns and would be monitoring the bill's progress. The bill now goes to the House.

New Hampshire Decriminalization Bill Dies. The Senate voted last week to kill House Bill 1631, which would have decriminalized the possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana. This is the seventh time the House has approved decriminalization, only to see it shot down by the Senate. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that has not decriminalized small time pot possession. This year, the legislation ran up against concern over heroin and prescription opioid abuse. "We are in a war, and the last thing we need is to tell our citizens it is OK to use a little marijuana or any other illegal substance," said Sen. Gary Daniels (R-Milford).

Rhode Island Poll Has Support for Legalization at 55%. A new Brown University Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy poll has two-thirds (67%) supporting medical marijuana and a solid majority (55%) in favor of marijuana legalization. This as a legalization bill has been stalled this year. "I know public officials are being very thoughtful and careful on this issue," pollster James Morone said. "But it's hard to see in the long run how legalization won't happen because there is so much strong support among young people. But I would emphasize 'in the long run.' I think anytime you have voters under 44 years old supporting something by 72 percent, it's just a question of time," he added. "Like same-sex marriage around the country, it's being driven by the demographics around the country. It's the exact same dynamic."

Vermont Legalization Bill Amended. The state's legalization bill, Senate Bill 241, faces an uncertain fate after the House Ways and Means Committee approved it, but only after amending it to allow residents to grow and possess small amounts of pot, but not to allow regulated sales. Another House committee had rejected legalization, and a third House committee now has it under consideration. If the House manages to pass some version of the bill, it will have to be reconciled with the version passed earlier by the Senate.

Medical Marijuana

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Prevent DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws. The committee voted last week 21-8 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration. After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, Congress has moved at lightning pace to advance marijuana reform in recent years. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana. The Committee approved similar amendments last year as well as an amendment to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to access banks and other financial services. The Mikulski amendment is expected to pass the full Senate as well as the House. Similar amendments were passed by Congress last year and the year before.

DEA Approves Colorado-Funded Study on Marijuana and PTSD. The DEA gave the go-ahead for the ground-breaking study last week. It's the first time the agency has given permission to use raw marijuana in a controlled clinical trial for PTSD. Enrollment in the study could begin as early as next month. The study is one of nine funded by historic grants from the Colorado Health Department, which are in turn funded by medical and legal marijuana fees and tax revenues.

Connecticut House Approves Medical Marijuana for Kids. The House voted overwhelmingly last week to expand the state's four-year-old medical marijuana program to include children. The bill also includes a provision to create a Board of Physicians to review requests for new ailments to be added the list of qualifying conditions, which currently lists 17 diseases or syndromes. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

Asset Forfeiture

Nebraska Latest State to Institute to Abolish Civil Asset Forfeiture. Last week, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed into law LB 1106, which eliminates civil forfeiture in the Cornhusker State. The bill had passed the legislature a week earlier on a vote of 38-6. Nebraska becomes the 10th state to eliminate civil asset forfeiture. Now, if Nebraska cops want to seize cash and property, they must first obtain a criminal conviction. The bill also imposes some limits on state law enforcement participation in the federal "equitable sharing" program, under which police can end run state laws directing where seized assets go by turning the busts over to the feds, who in turn give back 80% of the value of seized goods to the arresting agency.

Harm Reduction

Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Seeking to Increase Access to Life-saving Overdose Antidote Naloxone. Gov. Paul LePage last week vetoed the bill last week, arguing that "naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose." Every state in the nation, with the exception of five, have either passed or are in the process of passing naloxone access legislation, and thirty states currently allow for sales of the overdose antidote without a prescription. The bill, LD 1547, could still be revived, though. On Friday, the legislature will take up all bills vetoed by Le Page, including LD 1547. Two-thirds votes in both the House and the Senate would be needed to override the veto.

International

Mexican President to Push Broader Marijuana Decriminalization, Medical Marijuana. President Enrique Pena Nieto used his speech before the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs last week to call for decriminalizing up to an ounce of marijuana and legalizing the medicinal use of the plant. Currently, only up to five grams is decriminalized. "We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years," Pena Nieto said. "Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking. Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies," he said. "A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities."

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Canada: Feds Warned Of Risks To Pot Regime

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
The Record, 25 Apr 2016 - Internal Documents Flag Organized Crime Infiltration As Urgent Issue To Confront OTTAWA - Legalizing marijuana won't automatically make Canada's black market for weed go up in smoke or banish organized crime, warns a draft federal discussion paper on regulation of the drug.
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US MI: More Suspects Arrested In Connection To March 10

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Petoskey News-Review, 25 Apr 2016 - GAYLORD - Two more suspects were arrested Friday follow the March 10 Otsego County medical marijuana dispensary raids, bringing the total arrest number to four. According to Detective Lt. Ken Mills, unit commander for the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement (SANE) team, a 21-year-old male and a 56-year-old male, both owners of Gaylord medical marijuana dispensaries, were arrested Friday.
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CN BC: Pro-Harm Reduction Victoria Cop Awarded $20,000

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 25 Apr 2016 - A Victoria police officer who was repeatedly told by management to limit his public views on drug policy has been awarded $20,000 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Const. David Bratzer's run-ins with senior officers in his department began after he joined The Law Enforcement Against Prohibition advocacy group in 2007.
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CN ON: Editorial: This Isn't The Better Way

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 25 Apr 2016 - Randomly testing workers is unjustified since the transit commission already conducts fairly extensive screening If the Toronto Transit Commission had proof of a serious drug or alcohol problem among its staff - something putting public safety at significant risk - it would have good reason to institute mandatory screening for impairment. But that's not the case.
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Canada: Feds Warned Of Risks To New Pot Regime

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 25 Apr 2016 - Report Says Possible Infiltration By Organized Crime Is A Key Issue Legalizing marijuana won't automatically make Canada's black market for weed go up in smoke or banish organized crime, warns a draft federal discussion paper on regulation of the drug.
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New Zealand: NZ 'Needs' Medicinal Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
The Nelson Mail, 25 Apr 2016 - Cannabis conversations are smoking in Nelson. In just one hour, more than 250 signatures of support were collected at a medicinal cannabis rally at the Church Steps. The gathering on Saturday saw people from all walks of life attend - families with children, the elderly and business people.
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CN ON: Marijuana Traffic Deaths Spike In U.S.

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 24 Apr 2016 - Colorado Legalized Weed TORONTO - Concern over higher rates of impaired driving once Canada legalizes marijuana has surprisingly mellowed as the feds move forward with the long-awaited new legislation.
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US DC: At Cannabis Festival, Tokin' Appreciation For Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 24 Apr 2016 - The National Cannabis Festival at the RFK Stadium grounds Saturday afternoon seemingly offered so much: rolling papers of all sizes; neon-pink bongs; "Hydroponics for Everybody" books; free issues of Dope magazine; several odor-protecting clutches from the Annabis purse collection; and an "Educational Pavilion" for yoga techniques or lessons on entrepreneurship and local "Potlitics." One thing at the National Cannabis Festival not technically allowed: the consumption or sale of cannabis. Although it's been legal since Feb. 26, 2015, for people in the District to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, it's still illegal for ordinary citizens to sell it to one another or smoke it in a public place.
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US GA: Medical Cannabis Resolution Overwhelmingly Approved

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
Times-Herald, 24 Apr 2016 - Delegates at the Third District Republican Convention last weekend overwhelmingly voiced their support for the expansion of Georgia's laws on cannabis/marijuana-derived medicine, and for allowing the medicine to be produced in Georgia. A resolution supporting expanding the number of conditions that can be treated with oil containing cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana, and in-state cultivation of cannabis used to make the oil, passed with very little opposition at the convention, held April 16 in Newnan.
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CN ON: Column: Pot? We Can't Get Booze Right

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 24 Apr 2016 - Our Alcohol Distribution System Is Chaotic As Ontario Ombudsman, Andre Marin was a frank, tough-talking watchdog, keeping the provincial government in check and exposing problems in the system. Now, he's bringing that same passion to the pages of the Sun in a new column called The Ombudsman. Every Sunday, he'll weigh in on issues that matter to you. If you have a hot topic you think he should cast a critical eye on, let us know.
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CN ON: Column: Pot? We Can't Get Booze Right

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 24 Apr 2016 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise of liberalizing pot use has Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberals high on selling marijuana at the LCBOs. But before we pop open the bubbly over pot sales, let's look at how we're doing distributing a lesser evil, alcohol.
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Canada: OPED: Canada Warned Of The Dangers Of Legalizing Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 24 Apr 2016 - TORONTO - What a week for Canada and pot! Follow this train of news events and then ask yourself whether we are speeding towards a wreck. On Sunday, an international conference on cannabis policy cautioned Canada not to err in the way of the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado, where pot overuse and intoxicated driving have become all too common.
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