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US NM: OPED: U.S. Needs to Find Solution to Opioid Epidemic

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 05 Feb 2016 - We Must Treat Addiction Like Any Other Disease and Aim to Prevent and Treat Last fall, I listened as a mother named Cary Dixon told her family's story at a forum I convened in West Virginia. It was heartbreaking.
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US MD: OPED: A 'Paradigm Shift' On Drug Use Views

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 05 Feb 2016 - Nearly 47,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2014 - more than from gunshot wounds or car crashes. In Maryland, the governor's office has defined the problem as an "epidemic ... destroying lives." Indeed, heroin deaths alone have increased by 186 percent from 2010 to 2015 in the state.
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Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans? [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 04:31

On Wednesday, a group of 21 US senators and representatives sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs calling on it to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend marijuana as medicine in states where it is legal.

[image:1 align:left]The bipartisan effort was led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). All represent medical marijuana states.

Under current VA policy, embodied in VHA Directive 2011-004, which expires Sunday, VA doctors are prohibited recommending marijuana as a treatment option even in legal states. This discourages patients and doctors from being honest with each other.

"According to the current directive, VA providers are prohibited from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran's participation in a state-sanctioned marijuana program. This policy disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other," the solons wrote. "Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal. However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans' access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options."

If patients can't get a recommendation from their VA docs and thus can't access dispensaries, they would be tempted to go elsewhere for recommendations, to doctors "likely far less familiar with their symptoms and medical history," the solons wrote.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]Noting that there has been a "sea change" in the legal framework around marijuana since the directive was issued in 2011, they asked that "upon the directive's expiration, any new directive remove barriers that would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship in states that have chosen to legalize marijuana for medical purposes."

But without a new directive, even though the old one is expiring, it will be the status quo at the VA, said Michael Krawitz, a US Air Force veteran and executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Krawitz participated in the process that led to the production and distribution of the directive.

"VA Directives remain in effect with full force even after expiration unless they are officially replaced or rescinded," he said. "Although I can understand that patients might not know that and might get uneasy about the expiring directive, but in practicality there should be no change in clinical practices caused by the expiration."

While VA patients could be spooked by the expiration, the status quo is unacceptable, said Dr. Sue Sisley, MD, in clinical psychiatry and internal medicine, who has two decades of experience treating veterans and who is set to do a pilot study on medical marijuana and PTSD for veterans.

"I've worked with veterans all over the country who are dealing with severe and chronic, debilitating medical problems," she said. "They just want the treatment that is going to help them the most, with the least side effects. I have seen firsthand the dramatic improvement so many veterans have had while taking cannabis. Not only have they experienced relief from problems such as PTSD, chronic pain, and migraines, but many of them have also been able to break their addiction to more dangerous drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]VA staff physician Deborah Gilman, MD, said current VA policy forces physicians to ignore the science if it conflicts with policy.

"Unlike private practice physicians, VA physicians are under a gag order regarding discussing marijuana with patients," she said. "In other settings, doctors can be honest about their medical opinions regarding treatment options, based on science. In the VA, an administrator can write policy that you can't disagree with without losing your job. Veterans are fearful of losing either their medical benefits or their access to health care if they acknowledge using marijuana. This causes a VA doctor to give you a medical opinion based on the VA regulation, not on the science. I knew many VA doctors whose professional opinion was that cannabis might help some of their patients, but they could never say so in their office or in public."

"There is nothing more sacred in healthcare than the doctor-patient relationship," said Sisley. "Right now we are seeing interference with that coveted relationship. No government policy should come between a doctor and their patients. The only people who should be making medical decisions for veterans are their physicians, not a bureaucrat and not a law enforcement official. These men and women have sacrificed so much for their country. It's only fair that they get the care that they deserve, and have access to the whole range of treatment options."

For Krawitz, it's about getting health care he and countless other vets deserve.

"I suffer from a combination of internal injuries and broken bones leading me to be a perfect candidate for cannabis as an adjunct pain treatment," he explained. "I need to be able to go in and see my VA doctor and have a honest conversation where my doctor feels free to gain knowledge now available through continuing medical education and relay that information to me in writing even if that is the very documentation is what I need to participate in a state medical marijuana program."

Now it's up to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. He's heard from Congress, he's heard from patients, he's heard from doctors and scientists. We'll see if he's listening.

Categories: Latest News

Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans? [FEATURE]

Top Stories (STDW) - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 04:31

On Wednesday, a group of 21 US senators and representatives sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs calling on it to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend marijuana as medicine in states where it is legal.

[image:1 align:left]The bipartisan effort was led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). All represent medical marijuana states.

Under current VA policy, embodied in VHA Directive 2011-004, which expires Sunday, VA doctors are prohibited recommending marijuana as a treatment option even in legal states. This discourages patients and doctors from being honest with each other.

"According to the current directive, VA providers are prohibited from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran's participation in a state-sanctioned marijuana program. This policy disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other," the solons wrote. "Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal. However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans' access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options."

If patients can't get a recommendation from their VA docs and thus can't access dispensaries, they would be tempted to go elsewhere for recommendations, to doctors "likely far less familiar with their symptoms and medical history," the solons wrote.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]Noting that there has been a "sea change" in the legal framework around marijuana since the directive was issued in 2011, they asked that "upon the directive's expiration, any new directive remove barriers that would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship in states that have chosen to legalize marijuana for medical purposes."

But without a new directive, even though the old one is expiring, it will be the status quo at the VA, said Michael Krawitz, a US Air Force veteran and executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Krawitz participated in the process that led to the production and distribution of the directive.

"VA Directives remain in effect with full force even after expiration unless they are officially replaced or rescinded," he said. "Although I can understand that patients might not know that and might get uneasy about the expiring directive, but in practicality there should be no change in clinical practices caused by the expiration."

While VA patients could be spooked by the expiration, the status quo is unacceptable, said Dr. Sue Sisley, MD, in clinical psychiatry and internal medicine, who has two decades of experience treating veterans and who is set to do a pilot study on medical marijuana and PTSD for veterans.

"I've worked with veterans all over the country who are dealing with severe and chronic, debilitating medical problems," she said. "They just want the treatment that is going to help them the most, with the least side effects. I have seen firsthand the dramatic improvement so many veterans have had while taking cannabis. Not only have they experienced relief from problems such as PTSD, chronic pain, and migraines, but many of them have also been able to break their addiction to more dangerous drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]VA staff physician Deborah Gilman, MD, said current VA policy forces physicians to ignore the science if it conflicts with policy.

"Unlike private practice physicians, VA physicians are under a gag order regarding discussing marijuana with patients," she said. "In other settings, doctors can be honest about their medical opinions regarding treatment options, based on science. In the VA, an administrator can write policy that you can't disagree with without losing your job. Veterans are fearful of losing either their medical benefits or their access to health care if they acknowledge using marijuana. This causes a VA doctor to give you a medical opinion based on the VA regulation, not on the science. I knew many VA doctors whose professional opinion was that cannabis might help some of their patients, but they could never say so in their office or in public."

"There is nothing more sacred in healthcare than the doctor-patient relationship," said Sisley. "Right now we are seeing interference with that coveted relationship. No government policy should come between a doctor and their patients. The only people who should be making medical decisions for veterans are their physicians, not a bureaucrat and not a law enforcement official. These men and women have sacrificed so much for their country. It's only fair that they get the care that they deserve, and have access to the whole range of treatment options."

For Krawitz, it's about getting health care he and countless other vets deserve.

"I suffer from a combination of internal injuries and broken bones leading me to be a perfect candidate for cannabis as an adjunct pain treatment," he explained. "I need to be able to go in and see my VA doctor and have a honest conversation where my doctor feels free to gain knowledge now available through continuing medical education and relay that information to me in writing even if that is the very documentation is what I need to participate in a state medical marijuana program."

Now it's up to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. He's heard from Congress, he's heard from patients, he's heard from doctors and scientists. We'll see if he's listening.

Categories: Latest News

January Drug War Deaths: Two in Night-Time Raids, One Unarmed and Fleeing From Police

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 04:20

At least three people were killed by American police enforcing the war on drugs last month, including one young man who died in a late-night drug raid that netted a little more than a quarter pound of marijuana.

[image:1 align:right]Two of the dead were killed in night-time drug raids. Both were allegedly armed, although in neither case is it asserted that they fired on police. In both cases, police have not mentioned -- nor have local media asked -- whether these were kick-the-door-down, SWAT-style no-knock raids.

In a country where firearm ownership is both cherished and widespread, surprise police assaults that could be mistaken for home invasions can well result in homeowners grabbing their weapons to protect themselves and their domiciles. And then getting shot dead for doing so. Was that the case in these two deaths? We will likely never know. (The homeowners sometimes shoot and kill the invading police, too, but, unlike the police, they tend to get charged with murder.)

The third case raises a different kind of issue. Here, the victim was fleeing from police and made the all-too-familiar move "toward his waist band." He also had something in his hand, but it wasn't a weapon. And now he's dead, too. An unarmed man, running away from the police, is killed they were so quick to fear for their own lives.

Here are January's drug war deaths:

  • On January 4, deputies in Louisiana's Beauregard Parish doing a night-time drug raid shot and killed Eric John Senegal, 27. They also shot and killed a dog at the house. The house was under investigation for drug activity and the deputies were serving a narcotics search warrant, according to State Police Troop D spokesman Sgt. James Anderson. Sheriff Ricky Moses later explained that the deputies "encountered an armed suspect who has been identified as Eric J. Senegal and an attacking dog which resulted in the deaths of both Mr. Senegal and the dog." The sheriff didn't say what kind of weapon Senegal had or whether the raid was a no-knock raid. The search warrant for the raid said deputies were looking for marijuana, cocaine, and illegal pills. There hasn't been any word on whether they found anything. State police have opened an investigation a A local television station's Facebook posting of a story about his death generated numerous and heated responses as the national debate over police use of force hit home for commenters.
  • On January 5, police in Ceres, California, shot and killed Albert Thompson, 28, after he fled from them at a small apartment complex. The officers were on patrol "because of prior illegal drug activity there," according a Ceres Police news release. When the police arrived, Thompson took off running, and the officers gave chase. Police said Thompson reached for something at his waist, and the officers fired, striking and killing him. Initial police reports said an "item" was found near Thompson's body. It was later revealed that the item was a hand torch. Thompson was a parolee-at-large wanted by the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
  • On January 16, West Virginia state troopers helping Elkins police execute a midnight drug search warrant shot and killed William Keith Waldron, 26, when he met them armed with a shotgun. Waldron "did wield a firearm and as a result officers did defend themselves by firing at the subject," prosecutors explained in the criminal case against one of the two other men in the home at the time of the raid. Police have not said whether the raid, which included at least seven officers, was a no-knock raid. They found a little over a quarter-pound of weed, some plastic baggies, and a scale.
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Chronicle AM: MJ Arrests Plummet in NYC & Jamaica, ME May Refelonize Drug Possession, More... (1/4/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 21:34

What a difference a policy change makes! After decrim in Jamaica and actually enforcing decrim in New York City, marijuana arrests plummet in both places, a bill to cut pot penalties advances in Kansas, a bill to refelonize hard drug possession is in play in Maine, and more.

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

Kansas Senate Approves Cutting Marijuana Penalties. The state Senate Wednesday voted 38-1 to approve House Bill 2049, which lowers marijuana possession penalties. The bill moves first time pot possession from a Class A to a Class B misdemeanor and it moves second-time pot possession from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor. The Senate rejected an effort by Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) to decriminalize marijuana possession.

New York City Marijuana Possession Arrests Plummet. Marijuana possession arrests in the city hit their lowest level in 20 years last year, according to new data released by the State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Some 16,590 people were arrested for pot possession last year, down 42% from the year before and down a whopping 67% from 2011, when more than 50,000 people were arrested. While the arrests are down dramatically, what has not changed is the racial disparity in arrests: 88% of those arrested were black or Latino.

Medical Marijuana

California Governor Signs Bill to Kill Medical Marijuana Decision Deadline. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) Wednesday signed Assembly Bill 21, which will give cities and counties more time to develop local rules for commercial medical marijuana cultivation. An error in last year's statewide medical marijuana regulation bill had imposed a March 1 deadline for localities to act or they would lose control over regulating the grows to the state. More than a hundred cities and counties banned commercial cultivation in recent months as the deadline loomed.

Sentencing

Maine Officials Argue for Refelonizing Drug Possession. State Attorney General Janet Mills Wednesday asked lawmakers to approve a bill, LD 1554, that would refelonize the possession of hard drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine. The legislature last year made first-time drug possession a misdemeanor when the defendant had no previous convictions, but Mills and other administration officials argued that without the threat of a felony conviction and sentence (up to five years)) hanging over their heads, drug users could not be forced into drug treatment. " A felony charge brings with it the possibility of a significant period of probation … along with a long sentence hanging over the person," Mills said. "That kind of potential sentence gives the person an incentive to get into treatment and to demonstrate their commitment to recovery." But Mills is getting pushback from lawmakers. Another working session on the bill is set for next week.

International

Marijuana Legalization Could Cut Mexican Cartel Revenues By One-Quarter, Report Says. Mexico supplies between 30% and 50% of the pot consumed in the US, with the drug cartels raking in between one and two billion dollars a year, but that figure could be cut by up to 26% if legalization proceeds apace in the US, according to a report from the Instituto Belisario Dominguez for the Mexican Senate as it debates marijuana policy this spring. Legalization in Mexico itself "could benefit Mexico because that would increase the financial damage to the cartels, especially the Sinaloa cartel."

Jamaica Ganja Arrests Plummet After Decriminalization. National Security Minister Peter Bunning said Tuesday that police have arrested 14,000 fewer people for marijuana possession since the government decriminalized it last year. He pointed out that arrests have serious consequences, including not being able to get a visa to visit the US and problems with finding employment.

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CN BC: Column: Urban Drug Ghettos Aren't Working

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Alberni Valley News, 04 Feb 2016 - Communities around B.C. are struggling to cope with the continued influx of what politicians call "homelessness," a term that suggests the problem can be solved merely by providing more homes. Taxpaying citizens see the daily reality behind the soothing euphemisms - mainly transients squatting in parks and "tent cities" blighted by drug abuse and crime, and "homeless" shelters that fill up as soon as they open. They worry that the continued costly supply of supports only invites more arrivals, particularly in the gentle climate of southwestern B.C.
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CN BC: Will Legalization Ignore Medical Marijuana?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 04 Feb 2016 - The Canadian government legalized medical marijuana more than a decade ago. However, Kamloops physician Ian Mitchell told the Straight that patients still come to him with basic questions and often have no idea where they can find advice about cannabis. "I send them to dispensaries, just because there is nowhere else to go," he said in a telephone interview.
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CN ON: Editorial: Durham Should Be Compensated If Legalized

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Port Perry Star, 04 Feb 2016 - If legalizing marijuana use syphons money away from Durham, the Region should receive compensation from the federal and provincial governments. One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's more eye-catching promises during the last federal election campaign was to legalize marijuana. He has appointed former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to take the lead on the portfolio.
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US VT: OPED: Don't Make Pot Problem Worse

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Rutland Herald, 04 Feb 2016 - Legalization of recreational marijuana use would be to the definite detriment of Vermonters. The pending bill proposing to do so should be resolutely rejected. It is a flawed perception that marijuana "just isn't that bad." Medical science has shown that there are multiple deleterious effects of marijuana, among which are the following: 1) Marijuana use has been shown to be associated with the development of mental health illness including depression, anxiety and paranoia.
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US CA: Column: Oil Producers Gets Shattered

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
Sacramento News & Review, 04 Feb 2016 - I heard a club got raided the other day? I thought raids were a thing of the past. What gives? - -Blue Steele Close. It wasn't a cannabis club that got raided, but a cannabis processing facility. Med West Distribution (which makes stuff for the Bhang line of cannabis products) in San Diego was raided by by the local cops, apparently acting on an "anonymous tip." Two people were arrested and charged with manufacturing an illegal substance and manufacturing an illegal substance with intent to sell. Local advocates were surprised that Med West got raided, considering that Med West has been operating at the same spot in San Diego for a few years, and local officials had recently toured the facility.
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CN ON: Cops In Harm Reduction's Way

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:00
NOW Magazine, 04 Feb 2016 - Public Health Workers Worry That Police Involvement in Street-Outreach Pilot Will Discourage Drug Users From Accessing Life-Saving Services When word got out in mid-December that undercover police officers had arrested two men accessing Toronto Public Health's (TPH) needle exchange program, The Works, TPH's own harm reduction workers scrambled to warn the drug user community.
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 23:10

[image:1 align:right]It's pretty quiet on the corrupt cops front this week. Maybe that's a good thing.

In Boston, a former Boston police detective was sentenced last Friday to a year's probation and a $5,000 fine for conspiring with another officer to obstruct an FBI inquiry into the Academy Homes street gang. Brian Smigielski, 43, sabotaged the FBI investigation out of spite after being ordered to turn control of the Boston Police's investigation into the gang over to the feds. He pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

In Sullivan City, Texas, a former Sullivan City police officer was indicted last Friday on charges he stole marijuana leaves from the departmental evidence room. Angel De La Mora allegedly claimed he needed the leaves for medical reasons for his relatives. It's not clear what the exact charge against him is.

Categories: Latest News

Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:54

No new qualifying conditions for Illinois, Puerto Rico adopts medical marijuana regs, a New York state senator files a medical marijuana expansion bill, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Illinois

Last Friday, the state refused to expand the list of qualifying medical conditions. The administration of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will not allow patients suffering from eight conditions to use medical marijuana. The Department of Public Health announced last Friday that no new conditions would be added despite pleas from patients, advocates, and medical marijuana business owners. The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois issued a statement calling the decision "a gross injustice to patients."

New Hampshire

On Monday, a patient who sued the state over medical marijuana access died. Linda Horan, who sued the state in November to issue her a medical marijuana card so she could get her medicine in Maine because New Hampshire dispensaries hadn't opened, died Monday at age 64. The ailing labor leader won her lawsuit and was able to procure medical marijuana out of state, but succumbed to cancer. The court ruling applied only to Horan, but days after the ruling, the states began sending out ID cards to patients.

New York

Last Friday, a medical marijuana expansion bill was filed. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), chair of the Assembly Health Committee, last Friday filed a bill that would double the number of medical marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries in the state. The bill is not yet available on the legislative website.

Puerto Rico

Last Thursday, the commonwealth adopted medical marijuana regulations. The island dependency's Health Department has adopted a regulation to allow for the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of medical marijuana. The regulation does not allow smoking it. The department said it will implement a seed-to-sale tracking system and award licenses to doctors and companies that want to grow and manufacture medical marijuana projects. The system should be in place by year's end.

Rhode Island

On Wednesday, the governor announced a plan to impose hefty plant taxes on patients and caregivers. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has introduced a medical marijuana reform plan that would impose a $150 per plant tax on plants grown by patients and a $350 per plant tax on plants grown by caregivers. The governor says this will help the state raise $8.4 million in new tax revenues. But that tax is based on the administration's position that each plant is worth $17,000, which is nowhere near the case. Patient advocates are not happy.

Wyoming

On Monday, activists said the medical marijuana initiative won't make the ballot. A spokesman for Wyoming NORML, which organized the campaign, said Monday that the group had only managed to gather some 7,000 raw signatures ahead of next week's deadline and will fall far short of the more than 25,000 valid voter signatures required to make the ballot. The group will try again in 2018, it said.

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

Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: DC Council Backs Away From Pot Club Ban, RI Gov Wants Patient Tax, More... (2/3/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 21:49

The idea of marijuana social clubs in the nation's capital remains alive, Rhode Island patients face the prospect of seeing their plants taxed, there are medical marijuana advances in Australia and Poland, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

DC City Council Backs Away from Pot Social Club Ban. The District of Columbia city council today voted to halt consideration of legislation that would permanently ban adult consumption of marijuana outside the home, and instead moved forward with the creation of a task force to explore the establishment of regulated places where adults can legally consume marijuana in the District. Last week, the council passed an emergency ban on social clubs and it was supposed to make that ban permanent today, but backed off in the face of strong public pressure. Instead, it voted to establish a task force to study the issue.

Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island Governor Wants to Impose Hefty Plant Tax on Patients, Caregivers. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has introduced a medical marijuana reform plan that would impose a $150 per plant tax on plants grown by patients and a $350 per plant tax on plants grown by caregivers. The governor says this will help the state raise $8.4 million in new tax revenues. But that tax is based on the administration's position that each plant is worth $17,000, which is nowhere near the case. Patient advocates are not happy.

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Bill Would Make It a Crime to Cheat a Drug Test. State Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) has introduced a bill that would criminalize the possession, sale, or advertising of chemicals used to create synthetic urine to defeat drug tests. Under current state law, workers can be fired for cheating on drug tests, but face no criminal penalty. The bill would make using synthetic urine to cheat a drug test a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail for users and up to 90 days in jail for sellers or manufacturers. Fourteen other states have similar laws.

International

Human Rights Watch Condemns Tunisia's Drug Laws. The group issued a report this week singling out Law 52, which is says requires courts to impose "cruel, disproportionate, and counterproductive" sentences on drug offenders. The law requires a mandatory minimum one year jail sentence for any illegal drug possession, including marijuana.

Australian State Run Synthetic CBD Trials on Children With Epilepsy. The Victoria state government has authorized a study on 10 children as part of an effort to understand the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on children with epilepsy. The trial is set to get underway in Melbourne this month. The state government has kicked in $150,000 for the trial.

Polish Rapper Files Medical Marijuana Bill. The pioneering Polish rapper known as Liroy is now Polish Member of Parliament Piotr Liroy-Marzec, and on Monday, he presented a draft bill to legalize medical marijuana in the East European country. "This draft crowns everything I've said over the years, especially during the election campaign," said Liroy-Marzec. "I promised people I met who were ill that I would do everything possible to table this draft," he said.

Categories: Latest News

CN NK: Edu: Federal Gov To Pass The Joint Laws

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
The Brunswickan, 03 Feb 2016 - The Canadian government stands to make over $5 billion from taxes if marijuana is legalized but Fredericton dealers aren't too concerned with how it will affect their sales. One local pot dealer thinks the possible legalization will only affect the people who will have the money to buy government supplied marijuana, and that the taxing will help the province.
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Canada: Prison Needle Programs Touted To Reduce Hiv And Hep C Risk

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 03 Feb 2016 - Researchers hope Liberals' 'evidence-based' approach will endorse safe-injection programs After years of pushing for safe drug-injection programs in Canadian jails, health advocates say mounting evidence and a new government in Ottawa present a chance to finally make it happen.
Categories: Latest News

US CA: Editorial: Scarlet Letters On Passports?

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 03 Feb 2016 - A Proposed Bill That Would Make It Harder for Registered Sex Offenders to Travel Is Vindictive and Unfair. After rousing themselves from the 30- plus-year bad trip that was the war on drugs - or rather, the war on drug users - many Americans in and out of elected office looked around for someone else to persecute. Someone, somewhere, must be so depraved and hateful that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans could join in common cause to vilify them.
Categories: Latest News

US DC: D.C. Council Moves Forward on Studying Pot Clubs

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Washington Post, 03 Feb 2016 - The District will begin studying whether to license private pot clubs under a measure that the D.C. Council approved Tuesday, potentially giving residents and visitors places to gather and smoke marijuana socially in the nation's capital as early as next year. The council action amounted to a compromise between allies of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who had sought to continue a complete ban on pot clubs, and a growing contingent of council members who had threatened to override the mayor and approve a plan to license clubs. Such an effort, they contended, would more fully implement a voter-approved ballot measure in 2014 that legalized pot in D.C.
Categories: Latest News

US: White House Seeks $1.2 Billion in Fight Against Drug Abuse

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:00
Austin American-Statesman, 03 Feb 2016 - Proposal Targets Users of Heroin, Prescription Drugs. White House officials announced Tuesday that they will seek nearly $1.2 billion in new federal funding over the next two years to address the growing problem of heroin and prescription opioid use, an epidemic that has become an increasingly important policy priority among the nation's politicians.
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