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Chronicle AM: CA Faces Plethora of Pot Bills, NM Legalization Bill Advances, More... (2/6/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 22:01

Marijuana-related legislation is moving in several states, the HIA is suing the DEA over hemp foods, Philippines Catholic bishops speak out against drug war killings, and more.

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

Alaska On-Site Consumption Not Dead Yet. Last Wednesday, the Marijuana Control Board shot down a proposal that would have allowed for Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes, but a day later, the state's Department of Economic Development clarified in a press release that the decision didn't amount to a permanent ban on such businesses. The department encouraged marijuana businesses that want to allow on-site consumption to continue filing relevant paperwork, even though there is not yet an alternative proposal to regulate businesses allowing on-site consumption.

After Legalization, California Faces a Plethora of Pot Bills. The passage of Prop 64 appears to have left as many questions as answers, and legislators in Sacramento are working to address them with at least nine bills filed already. The proposals range from efforts to reconcile the medical marijuana and legal marijuana regulatory systems to protecting non-union workers to helping pot businesses gain access to financial services and beyond. Click on the link to see the full list of bills and accompanying discussion.

New Mexico Legalization Bill Wins House Vote. The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted to allow a legalization measure, House Bill 89, to keep advancing through the House. The committee made no recommendation for or against. The bill still faces to more committee votes before it can head for a House floor vote. "This is the one thing we can do this year that will instantly inject a massive amount of money into our economy and create jobs right away," said bill sponsor Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla Park).

New York Legalization Bills Filed. A pair of identical bills to legalize marijuana for adults and allow for legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana commerce have been filed in Albany. They are Senate Bill 3040, with Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) as primary sponsor, and Assembly Bill 3506, with Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) as primary sponsor.

Wyoming House Votes to Cut Pot Penalties. The House voted Saturday to approve House Bill 197, which would reduce the penalty for possession of three ounces of marijuana or less. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Medical Marijuana

Washington Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana Use at School Wins Committee Vote. The House Health Care and Wellness Committee approved "Ducky's Bill," House Bill 1060, last Friday on a 13-3 vote. The bill is named after an elementary school student who can only attend half-days of class because of intractable epileptic seizures. It would require school districts to allow students to use medical marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, or while attending a school-sponsored event. A companion measure has been filed in the Senate, but has not moved yet.

Hemp

Hemp Industries Association Sues DEA Over Illegal Attempt to Regulate Hemp Foods as Schedule I Drugs. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has filed a motion to hold the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in contempt of court for violating an unchallenged, long-standing order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, prohibiting the agency from regulating hemp food products as Schedule I controlled substances. Specifically, the HIA asserts that the DEA continues to operate with blatant disregard for the 2004 ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which permanently enjoined the DEA from regulating hemp fiber, stalk, sterilized seed and oil, which are specifically exempted from the definition of "marijuana" in the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Asset Forfeiture

Colorado Bill Would Close Federal Asset Forfeiture Loophole in Most Situations. A bipartisan group of four senators has filed Senate Bill 136, which would require state law enforcement to comply with extensive reporting requirements, but would also prohibit them from entering into agreements to transfer seized property to the federal government unless it amounts to more than $100,000. Law enforcement agencies use federal sharing programs to get around state laws aimed at reining in asset forfeiture procedures. The bill is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Drug Testing

Colorado Companies Shedding Marijuana Drug Tests. The Associated Press is reporting that in the past two years, seven percent of Colorado companies have dropped marijuana from pre-employment drug tests. Would you test someone for alcohol or something like that I mean it's legal like alcohol is. Why would you test someone for marijuana especially if it's legal?" said one small business owner.

Rhode Island Random Welfare Drug Testing Bill Filed. State Sen. Elaine Morgan last Thursday filed a bill that would allow the Department of Human Services to conduct random, suspicionless drug tests on welfare recipients. The bill heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has yet to appear on the legislative website.

International

Israeli Ministers Endorse Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana Exports. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation has endorsed a draft bill to allow the export of medical marijuana. That means the measure will now move forward as a government bill.

Tel Aviv Marijuana Legalization Demonstration Draws Thousands. As the Knesset and the Israeli cabinet ponder marijuana decriminalization, thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday night to call for full legalization. At least two Knesset members, Likud's Sharren Haskel and Meretz's Tamar Zandberg, were present.

Philippines Catholic Bishops Issue Pastoral Statement Condemning Drug War Killings. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral statement Sunday expressing opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign of killings of drug users and sellers. The bishops called on Filipinos to follow the basic teaching of the Church. The full text of the statement is available at the link.

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CN BC: City Looks To Add Initiatives

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 08:00
Metro, 06 Feb 2017 - Vancouver city council may pump another $370,000 this week into its efforts to fight the ongoing overdose crisis. Council will be briefed on two initiatives Wednesday, one providing peer-based outreach to drug users in single room occupancy hotels and shelters, and another to enhance mental health support for first responders.
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CN ON: Mayor Joins Fentanyl Task Force

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 08:00
The Record, 06 Feb 2017 - KITCHENER - Mayors from a dozen cities across Canada, including Kitchener, are on a newly formed task force to tackle the epidemic of fentanyl overdose deaths. "I wanted to make sure we were at the table," said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. He asked to be a part of the task force at an Ottawa meeting two weeks ago of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors' Caucus.
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CN ON: We Need More Naloxone, Say Paramedics

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 08:00
Ottawa Sun, 06 Feb 2017 - Ontario's paramedics will be sending a message to the province's paramedic chiefs this week: we need to carry more naloxone in ambulances. Naloxone blocks the effect of opioids on the brain, reversing the effects on breathing. It can be used in an emergency to pull a drug user who has stopped breathing from the brink of death.
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CN ON: Pilot-Testing Your High

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00
Standard Freeholder, 04 Feb 2017 - SDG OPP constables among those road testing equipment that measures drug impairment LONG SAULT - SDG OPP officers are testing cutting-edge, high-tech equipment that will eventually be used to detect drivers who are under the influence of drugs.
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CN AB: 5 Questions Brian Thiessen, Lawyer

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 04 Feb 2017 - A CRISIS BY NAME Brian Thiessen chairs the Calgary Police Commission, the civilian organization that oversees the city's police force. He joined the board about a year and a half ago, as the number of deaths tied to opioid overdoses was exploding in Alberta, he tells Carrie Tait. Mr. Thiessen explained to The Globe and Mail why he supports supervised-consumption sites and labelling the fentanyl issue a crisis
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CN BC: The Children Left Behind

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 04 Feb 2017 - As the province's opioid crisis continues, family, friends or foster care can step in for missing parents When Mary Purdy died of a suspected fentanyl overdose on January 17, she became another victim of an opioid crisis that killed more than 900 people in British Columbia last year and has made fentanyl a household word.
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Canada: Cities Seek Opioid-Crisis Aid From Ottawa, Provinces

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 04 Feb 2017 - As wave of overdoses spreads across country, senior governments must 'step up their health responsibilities,' Vancouver mayor says Mayors of Canada's largest cities are calling for a nationwide emergency response to an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths devastating many communities.
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CN AB: 'Juana Know More?

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00
The Calgary Sun, 04 Feb 2017 - Calgary council goes to school on marijuana legalization Calgary's elected officials will gather on Monday for an education session on marijuana, as the legalization of weed looms in Canada. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said council will hear from experts including officials from American municipalities that have already lifted pot prohibition.
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CN AB: Pot Baker Behind Bars

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00
Edmonton Sun, 04 Feb 2017 - Man who pleads guilty to selling drug-laced goods gets 15 months A man who pleaded guilty to running an operation that included selling drug-laced baked goods out of a west Edmonton music venue will spend 15 months behind bars, a judge ruled Friday.
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Chronicle AM: Duterte Vows More Killings, AK Nixes On-Site MJ Shop Consumption, More... (2/3/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 20:19

Regulators and legislators continue to mess with the will of the voters when it comes to implementing marijuana initiatives, the Philippines' president makes more bloody-minded threats, and more.

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

Alaska Just Says No to On-Site Pot Consumption. State regulators have rejected a proposal to allow marijuana stores to have areas where customers can consume their products on-site. Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office acting Director Sara Chambers said public notice for the proposal was not done properly, but instead of re-advertising the proposal for another 30 days, the Marijuana Control Board voted to kill it on a 3-2 vote.

North Dakota House Rejects Marijuana Legalization Study. A measure that would have authorized a study of marijuana legalization and taxation was killed in the House Thursday. The bill had passed out of committee with no opposition testimony. The legislature killed a similar proposal two years ago. "If we had undertaken that study we might have been more proactively prepared to deal with the issues arising from the recent initiated measure," said Rep. Mary Schneider (D-Fargo). "This is a second chance to get it right. There was no opposition testimony and the committee urges a green, as in grass, vote."

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Regulators Continue Working Despite Threat of Legislative Meddling. The Medical Marijuana Commission met again Wednesday, but members spent much of the time discussing what they would do if a pending bill that would ban dispensaries from growing their own crops passes. That's only one of a number of bills filed aimed at tinkering with the voter-approved law. Among other actions, the commission agreed to require hefty performance and surety bonds for dispensaries that grow their own medicine.

North Dakota Activists Scold Legislature for Messing With Medical Marijuana Initiative. Medical marijuana supporters are denouncing legislative efforts to rewrite their voter-approved initiative and replace it with an 81-page lawmaker-drafted law. The proposed law, Senate Bill 2344, is set for a hearing in the Joint Health and Services Committee next Wednesday. The bill would create a $300 fee for patients seeking medical marijuana cards and a $100,000 fee for dispensaries that grow medical marijuana. The measure also pares back the amount of medicine patients can possess and would eliminate smoking or vaping it. "It's a punch in the gut to the patients of North Dakota, and a slap in the face to the voters of North Dakota," said Rilie Ray Morgan of Fargo, one of the sponsors of the initiative.

International

Philippines President Out for More Blood, Vows More Killings. Just a day after he suspended police participation in his murderous war on drugs after the killing of a South Korean businessman in a police station opened a window on corruption in the National Police, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is calling on the military to join the campaign, and vowing to kill more people. "You bleed for those sons of a bitches. How many? Three thousand? I will kill more if only to get rid of drugs." The actual number of people killed in Duterte's drug war is more than 7,000; he was taking credit only for the ones officially attributed to police. The rest are blamed on "vigilantes."

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CN BC: 'Disturbing' Report Highlights Skyrocketing Homeless

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 08:00
Abbotsford News, 03 Feb 2017 - The combination of cheaper, more-potent drugs and a lack of housing may have helped push the Abbotsford homeless population to unprecedented levels last summer, according to a "disturbing" report provided to the city last fall. In just six months, the number of homeless people living in the bush and not accessing any services had risen from around 150 in the spring to 273 by the late summer, according to an informal count by a Salvation Army outreach worker. Other service providers reported similar spikes in the number of homeless people needing help.
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CN BC: Column: Condemning The Addicted Is No Solution

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 08:00
Abbotsford News, 03 Feb 2017 - As B.C. continues to cope with a stunning number of fatal opioid overdoses, the province has significantly expanded the number of places where people can use drugs, knowing help is nearby in case of an overdose. It's a stop-gap measure to try to save lives now, while (hopefully) longer-term measures are put in place. Nevertheless, with dozens dying every week, some have suggested a link between the presence of the long-running supervised injection site, InSite in Vancouver, and the current overdose epidemic.
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CN NS: N.S. Board Says Insurance Must Cover Man's Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 03 Feb 2017 - Nova Scotia's human-rights board has ruled that a man suffering from chronic pain must have his marijuana prescription paid for by his employee-insurance plan, with advocates saying the decision opens the door for patients across Canada to push for similar cannabis coverage. Gordon Skinner, from a community just outside Halifax, had argued that he faced discrimination when he was denied coverage by the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan. He has been using medical cannabis to treat pain from an on-the-job car accident that forced him from work as an elevator mechanic more than six years ago.
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CN BC: Fighting Fentanyl

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 08:00
Nelson Star, 03 Feb 2017 - Ten Kootenay residents died from drug overdoses last year. "And all of those deaths were preventable," Police Chief Paul Burkart told the dozens of people gathered at the Legion for his fentanyl task force meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
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Chronicle AM: Sessions AG Nomination Advances, FL Bill Would Fix MedMJ System, More... (2/2/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 22:56

The Senate Judiciary Commitee has approved the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, a legalization bill pops up in Wyoming, a Florida bill that would fix the state's medical marijuana system has the support of the folks behind the constitutional amendment, and more.

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

Wyoming Bill to Put Legalization to Popular Vote Filed. State Reps. James Byrd (D-Cheyenne) and Mark Baker (R-Rock Springs) have filed House Joint Resolution 11, which would allow the state's residents to vote on a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana. The measure envisions legalizing up to three ounces and six plants, three of which can be mature. The bill's prospects are dim; the legislature has already defeated a decriminalization bill this year and is currently fighting over how much jail time pot possessors should face.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Bill Would Overhaul State's Medical Marijuana Laws. State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed Senate Bill 614 Wednesday. The bill would scrap the state's existing system and replace it with a new set of rules. The move is supported by the people behind the successful Amendment 2 initiative. "Sen. Brandes' bill does an excellent job of establishing a comprehensive, tightly regulated medical marijuana system in Florida," said United For Care campaign manager Ben Pollara on Wednesday. "The two most essential pieces of implementation are maintaining the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and expanding the marketplace to serve patient access. SB 614 does both in a well-regulated, well thought out manner."

Asset Forfeiture

Kansas Legislature Punts on Asset Forfeiture. The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to set aside five bills dealing with asset forfeiture issues until it could get input from an advisory committee. The bills have been referred to the Kansas Judicial Council, which Committee Chairman Blaine Finch said may "possibly draft legislation," but probably not this year.

Drug Testing

Iowa Workplace Hair Drug Testing Bill Passes Senate. A bill that would allow employers to conduct drug tests using hair samples passed the Senate 35-15 on Wednesday. Employers can already conduct drug tests using blood, urine, or saliva, but the hair tests can indicate drug use months in the past.

Drug Policy

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved the nomination of Sen. Jeff Session (R-AL) to be attorney general on a party line vote of 11-9. The nomination now goes before the full Senate.

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CN BC: Fernie Prepares For Fentanyl

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 08:00
The Free Press, 02 Feb 2017 - All first responders in the Fernie area are now equipped to take on a potential opioid crisis. Fernie Fire and Rescue were the last group in the area to become trained in opioid overdose situations by BC Emergency Health Services. The main area of focus for training was on Naloxone, the antidote for opioid overdoses.
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CN AB: Researchers To Study Treating Epileptic Children With Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 08:00
Edmonton Sun, 02 Feb 2017 - As desperate parents of children with severe epilepsy turn to alternative therapies, researchers are launching a study examining the efficacy and safety of treating seizures with medical marijuana products. "Parents are becoming more aware of the use of cannabis to treat epilepsy from social media and parent support groups," said Richard Tang-Wai, a pediatric epileptologist at the University of Alberta.
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CN BC: VOP Discusses Pot Dispensary

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 08:00
Pique Newsmagazine, 02 Feb 2017 - Large crowd addresses council on proposed zoning bylaw amendment It was standing room only on Tuesday, Jan. 31 as Village of Pemberton (VOP) council undertook a meeting to gauge public opinion and the course of action on a proposed zoning bylaw amendment to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.
Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: AR Lawmakers Meddle With MedMJ, Major Reform Package Rolled Out in MD, More... (2/1/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 22:20

Technical issues stopped us from publishing yesterday, but the news didn't stop. Here's a couple days worth of mainly, but not entirely, marijuana policy news.

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

District Attorneys Form Marijuana Policy Group. The National District Attorneys Association has formed a working group of 14 prosecutors from across the country to arrive at policy positions on marijuana. The association "formed an internal working group made up of prosecutors from around the country to develop association policy on the subject of marijuana," said NDAA political director Nelson Bunn. "Contrary to other reporting, the working group is not affiliated with any other organization or entity, including the incoming administration."

Tennessee GOP Lawmaker Files Bill to Overturn Memphis, Nashville Pot Laws. The state's two largest cities have moved toward partial decriminalization of marijuana possession, passing laws last fall allowing police discretion to hand out civil violations for small-time offenders, and now a key state legislator is striking back. House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) filed House Bill 173 Monday. It would repeal any local law that is inconsistent with penalties outlined in the state's drug laws. It would also prevent local governments from acting like Memphis and Nashville in the future. Democrats Rep. Harold Love and Sen. Jeff Yarbro, both of Nashville, respond by announcing plans to file a bill that would make possession a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 or less.

Vermont Bill Would Legalize Marijuana, But Not Sales. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has filed House Bill 170, which would allow adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to two mature and seven immature pot plants. The bill does not contain provisions allowing for marijuana commerce, or its taxation. Similar to the initiative passed in Washington, DC, the bill would be "decrim 2.0," said cosponsor Rep. Maxine Grad (D-Moretown).

Wyoming House Panel Rejects Decrim, But Approves Adjusting Pot Penalties. The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to reject decriminalization, but approve House Bill 197, which would create a tiered system of penalties for pot possession. Under the bill, first time possession of up to three ounces (or eight ounces of edibles) would face up to 20 days in jail, a second offense would garner up to six months, a third offense would earn up to two years in jail, and a fourth offense would be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. There would be a 10-year limit on counting previous convictions. The bill now goes to the House floor.

San Diego Okays Pot Shops. California's second largest city has given the green light to marijuana businesses. The city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow sales at 15 dispensaries already approved to sell medical marijuana, as well as opening up the possibility it will allow grows, testing facilities, and testing labs. The council will take up those issues later.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Legislators File Three More Bills Ban to Amend Voter-Approved Initiative. Republicans in Little Rock have filed three more bills that would tighten up the state's new law. One would ban the smoking of medical marijuana (House Bill 1400), one would ban edibles (House Bill 1392), and would require previous local zoning to be in place before licenses for dispensaries or grows are issued (House Bill 1391). HB1391 and HB1392 have been sent to Committee on House Rules while HB1400 has only been filed.

Colorado Bill to Add PTSD as Qualifying Condition Moves. The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 17-017 Monday. The measure would add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The bill is now on the Senate's "consent calendar," meaning it should move through the Senate with little debate. Then it's on to the House.

Utah Medical Marijuana University Study Bill Advances. The House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved House Bill 130 Monday. The measure would allow universities in the state to study medical marijuana. The bill is supported by the Utah Medical Association, which has opposed medical marijuana bills saying more study is needed. It now heads for a House floor vote.

Drug Policy

Groundbreaking Drug Policy Bill Package Reintroduced in Maryland. Delegate Dan Morhaim, M.D., has introduced three bills to transform drug policy in the state. This legislative package, with multiple cosponsors from across Maryland, would reduce the harms associated with substance abuse disorders, costs to the general public, and incarceration rates. H.B. 515 requires specified hospitals to establish a substance use treatment program, H.B. 488 removes criminal penalties for low-level, non-violent drug offenses under certain minimal threshold limits, and H.B. 519 permits the establishment of safe consumption programs which allow individuals to consume controlled substances in a safe space.

Drug Testing

New York Bill to Require Drug Testing Kids of Busted Parents Passes Senate. The state Senate passed "Kayleigh Mae's Law" (Senate Bill 137), which would require child protective services to investigate and drug test children under three who were present during a parent's drug arrest. The bill is named after Kayleigh Mae Cassell, who died of a drug overdose at age 13 months after her mother and mother's boyfriend were arrested and pleaded guilty to drug crimes. A companion measure, Assembly Bill 3900, has yet to move.

International

Philippines Police Suspend Drug War to Clean Up Corrupt Drug Cops, Government Says. National Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa said Monday that the country's brutal crackdown was suspended and police anti-drug units were being dissolved in the wake of a scandal around the murder of a South Korean businessman inside police headquarters at the hands of anti-drug police. More than 7,000 people have been killed in the six months since President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown began. De la Rosa said a temporary halt had been ordered by Duterte. News reports have not yet independently verified whether the killings have stopped or not.

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