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Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 00:00

Dear Reformer:

From prosecutions to asset forfeiture to sentencing to human rights, hardliners in Washington are trying to undo our progress. The president and the attorney general are pushing to ramp up the drug war. Committee chairs in Congress are stopping good bipartisan bills from getting voted on. Even medical marijuana is at risk now. The president has encouraged human rights violations in other countries' drug wars.

[image:1 align:right]Your support has made our work possible for 24 years. Thanks to contributions from our members, StoptheDrugWar.org has pressed for reform, grown the movement, and advanced the legalization debate. But the challenges we're facing are more urgent today than ever.

Our organization continues to play a unique role for drug policy reform, in both the US and international arenas, and our staff make up some of the movement's most experienced human capital. Your generous donation will help us advance our programs and do our part to hold the line on policy. This year we've done the following:

We couldn't have done this without you, and we need your support to continue it in 2018. I hope you'll take a moment to renew your support or become a new member of our organization at this dangerous and critical, but still promising time in the issue.

Visit https://stopthedrugwar.org/donate to give by credit card or PayPal. If you want to donate by mail, send your check or money order to P.O. Box 9853, Washington, DC 20016. Tax-deductible donations should be made payable to DRCNet Foundation, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit; or non-deductible donations should be payable to Drug Reform Coordination Network, our 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit. Visit https://stopthedrugwar.org/about to read more about our programs, for info on how to donate stocks, and for other info.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
P.O. Box 9853, Washington, DC 20016
http://stopthedrugwar.org

Categories: Latest News

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 22:01

A Tennessee deputy goes down for bribing a drug dealer and then trying to kill him, a former South Carolina narcotics commander gets nailed for stealing money from the department, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Port Everglades, Florida, a Broward County sheriff's deputy was arrested Monday for alleged involvement with a drug trafficking organization. Deputy Albury Burrows, 47, was one of 15 people arrested in a DEA bust of the organization. He faces 10 counts, including racketeering, tampering with evidence, owning a place for the purpose of trafficking drugs, and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony. Authorities said Burrows helped one of the traffickers "by advising him on law-enforcement tactics, as part of ongoing efforts to avoid detection and prosecution for crimes committed in furtherance of the unlawful enterprise." This isn't Burrows' first arrest on the job. In 2010, detectives arrested him for allegedly stealing $1,200 from a marijuana grow house, but he beat that rap.

In Greenwood, South Carolina, a former Greenwood County narcotics officer pleaded guilty last Wednesday to misconduct in office for stealing money from the county's drug enforcement unit for personal use. Brandon Richard Strickland was the former commander of the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office narcotics division, but stole something less than $10,000 from the department over a six-month period in 2015. Strickland was then sentenced to one year in prison, with all but one day suspended.

In Memphis, a former Shelby County sheriff's deputy was convicted last Thursday of taking money from a drug dealer and trying to have a witness killed. Jeremy Drewery was convicted of taking a bribe from a drug dealer to let him go free, but the drug dealer then went to the FBI, which recorded the pair's interactions, including the delivery of a cash bribe. After Drewery was arrested, he then tried to get an informant to find out how to kill the drug dealer. Drewery was convicted of a federal charge of solicitation to tamper with a witness, one count of Hobbs Act extortion and one count of receipt of a bribe by a government agent.

In Chicago, a former Chicago police officer was sentenced last Wednesday to five years in prison for leaking details of an undercover drug investigation to a friend who was a target of the probe. Ronald T. Coleman, an 18-year veteran of the force, had been convicted of obstruction of justice after warning his friend to move drugs from a house to avoid a looming raid.

Categories: Latest News

Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 21:34

A leading Senate Republican calls for removing obstacles to medical marijuana research, a Florida judge decides to take up a case over the state's ban on smoking medical marijuana, and more.

[image:1 align:right]National

Last Friday, Orrin Hatch decried obstacles to medical marijuana research. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told the Deseret News he supports research into medical marijuana and condemns the federal "regulatory acrobatics" required of researchers who want to study the plant. "Under current law, those who want to complete research on the benefits of medical marijuana must engage in a complex application process and interact with several federal agencies… The longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer," Hatch said through his spokesman. Hatch is the sponsor of the Marijuana Effective Drug Study (MEDS) Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1803), which aims to reduce research barriers.

Florida

Last Friday, a state judge announced she will hear a medical marijuana smoking case. State Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers announced that she will hear arguments over a lawsuit that challenges a new rule barring the smoking of medical marijuana. The hearing is set for January 25. As the USA Herald drily noted, "The conservative legislature is often caught between what is, clearly, the will of their constituents and the presumed traditionalism of their constituents."

Guam

On Monday, the territory's medical marijuana program proposed rules got a hearing. Guamanian lawmakers held a public hearing on the updated rules and regulations for the US territory's medical marijuana program Monday. The hearing covered markups to Bill 210, which is set to adopt rules written by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

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

Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: NJ, PA Move to Increase Opioid Sentences, Canada Legal Pot Delayed?, More... (12/20/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 21:11

Mid-Atlantic state politicos are moving toward harsher sentences for some opioid offenses, Canada's July 1 marijuana legalization date may get bumped back, California's Humboldt County rejects safe injection sites, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Harm Reduction

California's Humboldt County Rejects Safe Injection Sites. At its meeting Tuesday, the county board of supervisors voted to send a letter to the sponsor of a state bill that would allow for safe injection sites telling her they weren't interested. The measure, Assembly Bill 186, filed by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), would allow certain cities and counties, including Humboldt, to authorize such programs. Some supervisors had moral objections, while others raised cost concerns. Most public commenters at the meeting also opposed the plan.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Pennsylvania DAs Want Tougher Fentanyl Laws. The state District Attorneys Association is getting behind a push by Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) for harsher sentences for fentanyl-related crimes. "Stiffer penalties for fentanyl would go a long way in helping us," Shapiro said during a recent roundtable discussion on drugs. The DAs backed him up a few days later, tweeting that "An increase in sentencing guidelines for #fentanyl will help prevent deaths. PA Sentencing Commission is considering changes."

New Jersey Bill Could Quadruple Prison Sentences for Opioid-Related Offenses. Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill, Assembly Bill 5264, that would dramatically increase sentences for some opioid offenses. Under the bill, the sentence for possessing five grams of heroin would double from a maximum of five years to a maximum of 10 years. People caught possessing 10 grams would see their maximum sentences quadrupled, from five years to 20.

Drug Policy

Acting Chief of Staff at Drug Czar's Office Fired. Lawrence "Chip" Muir, the acting chief of staff and general counsel for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office), was suddenly fired Tuesday afternoon. ONDCP has been without a new drug czar since the Trump administration took office, and now it lacks a chief of staff, too. It's not clear why Muir got canned.

International

Canada Not Wedded to July 1 Deadline for Marijuana Legalization. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed to back away from the long-anticipated July 1 rollout date for legal marijuana in an interview Tuesday night. "It won't be July 1," he said, but will happen "next summer." The House of Commons approved legalization legislation last month, but the bill is now being studied by the Senate, which could modify it and possibly delay final adoption.

Indian Government to Craft New Drug Rehab Policy for Addicts. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot told congress Tuesday that the country's 2001 law on rehabilitating drug addicts is under review and that a survey of drug addicts nationwide was underway. An action plan to rehabilitate addicts is now being prepared he said.

Indonesia Officials Threatens "Shoot to Kill" Policy for Drug Dealers Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno has threatened to kill drug dealers who resist arrest. "We are serious [in fighting drugs], we will '810' drug dealers who try to avoid authorities' pursuit," he said, referencing the police code for shooting and killing suspects who try to flee arrest. According to Amnesty International, Indonesian police have killed 80 suspected drug dealers this year, five times the number killed in 2016.

Categories: Latest News

The Three States Best Positioned to Legalize Marijuana in 2018 [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 18:52

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Election Day 2016 was a big day for marijuana: Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all supported successful legalization initiatives, doubling the number of states to have done so since 2012 and more than quadrupling the percentage of the national population that now lives in legal marijuana states. Only Arizona lost, and it garnered a respectable 48.68% of the vote. Medical marijuana passed in four states too.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana momentum was high, national polling kept seeing support go up and up, and 2017 was expected to see even more states jump on the weed bandwagon. That didn't happen.

There are two main reasons this year was a dud for pot legalization: First, it's an off-off-year election year, and there were no legalization initiatives on the ballot. Second, it's tough to get a marijuana legalization bill through a state legislature and signed by a governor. In fact, it's so tough, it hasn't happened yet.

But that doesn't mean it isn't go to happen next year. Several states where legislative efforts were stalled last year are poised to get over the top in the coming legislative sessions, and it looks like a legalization initiative will be on the ballot in at least one state -- maybe more.

There are other states where legalization is getting serious attention, such as Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, but they all have governors who are not interested in going down that path, and that means a successful legalization bill might face the higher hurdle of winning with veto-proof majorities. Similarly, there are other states where legalization initiatives are afoot, such as Arizona, North Dakota, and Ohio, but none of those have even completed signature gathering, and all would face a tough fight.

We could be pleasantly surprised. But barring pleasant surprises, here are the three states with the best shot at legalizing next year:

Michigan

Michigan voters shouldn't have to wait on the state legislature to act because it looks very likely that a legalization initiative will qualify for the ballot next year. The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already completed a petition campaign and handed in more than 365,000 raw signatures last month for its legalization initiative. It hasn't officially qualified for the ballot yet, but it only needs 250,000 valid voter signatures to do so, meaning it has a rather substantial cushion.

If the measure makes the ballot, it should win. There is the little matter of actually campaigning to pass the initiative, which should require a million or two dollars for TV ad buys and other get-out-the-vote efforts, but with the Marijuana Policy Project on board and some deep-pocketed local interests as well, the money should be there.

The voters already are there: Polling has showed majority support for legalization for several years now, always trending up, and most recently hitting 58% in a May Marketing Resource Group poll.

New Jersey

Outgoing Gov. Chris Christie (R) was a huge obstacle to passage of marijuana legalization, but he's on his way out the door, and his replacement, Gov.-Elect Phil Murphy (D), has vowed to legalize marijuana within 100 days of taking office next month.

Legislators anticipating Christie's exit filed legalization bills earlier this year, Senate Bill 3195 and companion measure Assembly Bill 4872. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) has also made promises, vowing to pass the bill within the first three months of the Murphy administration, and hearings are set for both houses between January and March.

But it's not a done deal. There is some opposition in the legislature, and legalization foes will certainly mobilize to defeat it at the statehouse. It will also be the first time the legislature seriously considers legalization. Still, legalization has some key political players backing it. Other legislators might want to listen to their constituents: A September Quinnipiac poll had support for legalization at 59%.

Vermont

A marijuana legalization bill actually passed the legislature last year -- a national first -- only to be vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott (D) over concerns around drugged driving and youth use. Legislators then amended the bill to assuage Scott's concerns and managed to get the amended bill through the Senate, only to see House Republicans refuse to let it come to a vote during the truncated summer session.

But that measure, House Bill 511, will still be alive in the second year of the biennial session, and Gov. Scott has said he is still willing to sign the bill. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D) is also on board, and the rump Republicans won't be able to block action next year.

Johnson said she will be ready for a vote in early January and expects the bill to pass then. Vermont would then become the first state to free the weed through the legislative process.

Categories: Latest News

The Three States Best Positioned to Legalize Marijuana in 2018 [FEATURE]

Top Stories (STDW) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 18:52

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Election Day 2016 was a big day for marijuana: Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all supported successful legalization initiatives, doubling the number of states to have done so since 2012 and more than quadrupling the percentage of the national population that now lives in legal marijuana states. Only Arizona lost, and it garnered a respectable 48.68% of the vote. Medical marijuana passed in four states too.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana momentum was high, national polling kept seeing support go up and up, and 2017 was expected to see even more states jump on the weed bandwagon. That didn't happen.

There are two main reasons this year was a dud for pot legalization: First, it's an off-off-year election year, and there were no legalization initiatives on the ballot. Second, it's tough to get a marijuana legalization bill through a state legislature and signed by a governor. In fact, it's so tough, it hasn't happened yet.

But that doesn't mean it isn't go to happen next year. Several states where legislative efforts were stalled last year are poised to get over the top in the coming legislative sessions, and it looks like a legalization initiative will be on the ballot in at least one state -- maybe more.

There are other states where legalization is getting serious attention, such as Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, but they all have governors who are not interested in going down that path, and that means a successful legalization bill might face the higher hurdle of winning with veto-proof majorities. Similarly, there are other states where legalization initiatives are afoot, such as Arizona, North Dakota, and Ohio, but none of those have even completed signature gathering, and all would face a tough fight.

We could be pleasantly surprised. But barring pleasant surprises, here are the three states with the best shot at legalizing next year:

Michigan

Michigan voters shouldn't have to wait on the state legislature to act because it looks very likely that a legalization initiative will qualify for the ballot next year. The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already completed a petition campaign and handed in more than 365,000 raw signatures last month for its legalization initiative. It hasn't officially qualified for the ballot yet, but it only needs 250,000 valid voter signatures to do so, meaning it has a rather substantial cushion.

If the measure makes the ballot, it should win. There is the little matter of actually campaigning to pass the initiative, which should require a million or two dollars for TV ad buys and other get-out-the-vote efforts, but with the Marijuana Policy Project on board and some deep-pocketed local interests as well, the money should be there.

The voters already are there: Polling has showed majority support for legalization for several years now, always trending up, and most recently hitting 58% in a May Marketing Resource Group poll.

New Jersey

Outgoing Gov. Chris Christie (R) was a huge obstacle to passage of marijuana legalization, but he's on his way out the door, and his replacement, Gov.-Elect Phil Murphy (D), has vowed to legalize marijuana within 100 days of taking office next month.

Legislators anticipating Christie's exit filed legalization bills earlier this year, Senate Bill 3195 and companion measure Assembly Bill 4872. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) has also made promises, vowing to pass the bill within the first three months of the Murphy administration, and hearings are set for both houses between January and March.

But it's not a done deal. There is some opposition in the legislature, and legalization foes will certainly mobilize to defeat it at the statehouse. It will also be the first time the legislature seriously considers legalization. Still, legalization has some key political players backing it. Other legislators might want to listen to their constituents: A September Quinnipiac poll had support for legalization at 59%.

Vermont

A marijuana legalization bill actually passed the legislature last year -- a national first -- only to be vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott (D) over concerns around drugged driving and youth use. Legislators then amended the bill to assuage Scott's concerns and managed to get the amended bill through the Senate, only to see House Republicans refuse to let it come to a vote during the truncated summer session.

But that measure, House Bill 511, will still be alive in the second year of the biennial session, and Gov. Scott has said he is still willing to sign the bill. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D) is also on board, and the rump Republicans won't be able to block action next year.

Johnson said she will be ready for a vote in early January and expects the bill to pass then. Vermont would then become the first state to free the weed through the legislative process.

Categories: Latest News

CN NF: Editorial: CRA Poll Dashes Pot-Revenue High Hopes

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 08:00
The Western Star, 20 Dec 2017 - A Corporate Research Associates (CRA) survey last week probably sent chills down the spines of finance ministers and premiers in Atlantic Canada. After they left Ottawa earlier in the week with a lucrative tax-sharing deal on the sale of legalized marijuana, their visions of windfall revenues were quickly dashed with a reality check. The CRA survey suggests that 20 per cent of Atlantic Canadians plan to buy pot once it becomes legal July 1. It's about the same percentage that uses pot today - illegally.
Categories: Latest News

CN NF: St. Anthony Mayor Weighs Pros And Cons Of Marijuana Plan

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 08:00
Northern Pen, 20 Dec 2017 - McDonald believes production facility should be located in rural area St. Anthony Mayor Desmond McDonald believes the province's marijuana production facility should be located in a rural area. He also sees opportunities for business with the province's plan to legalize marijuana.
Categories: Latest News

CN BC: British Columbia Going Down The Road To Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 08:00
Quesnel Cariboo Observer, 20 Dec 2017 - Province releases first decisions on cannabis regulation after public engagement After receiving input from 48,951 British Columbians and submissions from 141 local and Indigenous governments and other interested stakeholders, the provincial government made some decisions on the anticipated legalization of non-medical cannabis in July 2018.
Categories: Latest News

CN ON: City Shooting For Quick OD-Prevention Site

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 08:00
London Free Press, 20 Dec 2017 - In the wake of a deadly opioid drug crisis that's killed hundreds in Ontario, London health officials are fast-tracking a pop-up, - -overdose-prevention site they want to have up and running by January. The stripped-down version of a supervised consumption site will give drug users a safer environment to inject. The location of the site, or the total number if there is more than one, hasn't been pinned down. But the plan is to have at least one as early as possible in 2018.
Categories: Latest News

CN ON: Windsor Cops Leery Of Life-Saving Drug

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 08:00
London Free Press, 20 Dec 2017 - Officers fear SIU probe if they can't revive opioid OD victims with naloxone WINDSOR - The fear of officers getting into a legal jam for trying to save someone from an overdose has made the Windsor police service hesitant to embrace a medication that fights the effects of opioids.
Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: Wyden Signs On to Booker Pot Bill, Ithaca Safe Injection Site Talks, More... (12/19/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 21:56

Cory Booker's federal marijuana bill finally finds another sponsor, Kentucky's ag commissioner pronounces himself "dumbfounded" at the DEA's recalcitrant position on industrial hemp, and more.

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

Wyden Signs On to Booker's Federal Marijuana Bill. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced Monday that he is cosponsoring Sen. Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act, Senate Bill 1689. The bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to legalize it without fear of federal interference. The bill would also withhold funds from states that continue to criminalize marijuana and disproportionately arrest and imprison minorities for marijuana offenses, as well as allowing people sentenced under racially biased marijuana law enforcement to file civil lawsuits against their states. Wyden is the only cosponsor of the bill so far.

Hemp

Kentucky Ag Commissioner "Dumbfounded" at DEA Position on Hemp. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has written a letter to the DEA requesting a meeting about hemp policy. "I was dumbfounded" to read about the DEA's position that hemp-derived CBD oils are illegal, even if they contain no THC," Quarles wrote. "Consumable hemp products are legal to buy," Quarles noted. But the DEA maintains that hemp is the same thing as marijuana, and DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson responded that Quarles is "knocking on the wrong door." Patterson said the DEA was simply enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, and if people want to change hemp policy, they need to talk to Congress.

Drug Testing

Illinois Roadside Drug Testing Pilot Program Coming Soon. Police in the northwestern town of Carol Stream will begin a pilot roadside drug testing program in February. Officers will use mouth swabs to screen for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and opiates. Testing will begin on a voluntary basis, with drivers asked if they will consent to giving a saliva sample. The test results could be used to help police build drugged driving cases, but since Illinois does not have a zero tolerance drugged driving policy, test results alone would not be sufficient to prove guilt.

Harm Reduction

Ithaca, New York, Continues Discussions on Safe Injection Site. County officials on Monday continued discussing a proposal from Mayor Svante Myrick to open a safe injection site for heroin users in the city. The county legislature's Health and Human Services Committee heard from proponents of the harm reduction measure in what is the second hearing on the topic in two months.

Categories: Latest News

CN ON: Peer-Based Program Aims To Reduce Unsafe Needle Disposal

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 08:00
The Record, 19 Dec 2017 - CAMBRIDGE - An innovative new peer-based pilot project will be launched in Cambridge early next year with the aim of curbing improper needle disposal in the community. The project is a partnership between Region of Waterloo Public Health, which will provide funding, Sanguen Health Centre and the City of Cambridge.
Categories: Latest News

Canada: Data Highlight Canada's 'Serious And Growing' Opioid Crisis

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 19 Dec 2017 - Canada is on pace to lose more than 4,000 people to opioid-related deaths this year - with about one-third of them in British Columbia, according to new figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The grim update was in a national report the federal government released on Monday. The report described the country's opioid crisis as "serious and growing," devastating families and communities nationwide.
Categories: Latest News

CN ON: Weeding Out Problems

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 08:00
Kenora Daily Miner And News, 19 Dec 2017 - Keewatin-Patricia public school board trustees not up for blowing smoke Legalized marijuana concerns public school board trustees. With the legalization of marijuana closer to becoming a reality the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is concerned how the new law could impact its students.
Categories: Latest News

CN NS: Column: Make No Mistake, Not All Polls Are Created Equal

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 08:00
Truro Daily News, 19 Dec 2017 - They're great for entertainment purposes, but then again, so are fortune-tellers and horoscopes. If you're looking at public opinion polls to predict things, well, there are wins and there are losses. And lately, more losses.
Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: ND MJ Initiative Can Seek Signatures, Sen. Hatch Decries MedMJ Obstacles, More... (12/18/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 20:05

A Republican grandee complains about obstacles to medical marijuana research, a Florida judge will take up the state's ban on smoking medical marijuana, a North Dakota marijuana legalization initiative is approved for signature gathering, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

North Dakota Legalization Initiative Approved for Signature Gathering. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said last Friday that a marijuana legalization initiative has been approved for signature gathering. Now, activists will have until July 9 to gather a minimum of 13,452 qualified voter signatures. If that happens, the measure will appear on the November 2018.

Medical Marijuana

Orrin Hatch Decries Obstacles to Medical Marijuana Research. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told the Deseret News last Friday he supports research into medical marijuana and condemns the federal "regulatory acrobatics" required of researchers who want to study the plant. "Under current law, those who want to complete research on the benefits of medical marijuana must engage in a complex application process and interact with several federal agencies… The longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer," Hatch said through his spokesman. Hatch is the sponsor of the Marijuana Effective Drug Study (MEDS) Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1803), which aims to reduce research barriers.

Florida Judge Will Hear Marijuana Smoking Case. State Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers announced last Friday that she will hear arguments over a lawsuit that challenges a new rule barring the smoking of medical marijuana. The hearing is set for January 25. As the USA Herald drily noted, "The conservative legislature is often caught between what is, clearly, the will of their constituents and the presumed traditionalism of their constituents."

Guam Medical Marijuana Program Rules Get Hearing. Guamanian lawmakers will hold a public hearing on the updated rules and regulations for the US territory's medical marijuana program Monday. The hearing will cover markups to Bill 210, which is set to adopt rules written by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Categories: Latest News

US MD: Kratom: An Old Plant Sparks A New Challenge

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 12/16/2017 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 16 Dec 2017 - When Anne Arundel police seized 158 grams of kratom, a plant from Southeast Asia used medicinally for centuries, it was the first time it was seized in a county investigation, according to police. Officers arrested Michaela Elizabeth Gran, 21, and Chase Seven Gran, 23, both of Glen Burnie, on Tuesday after they said the two were found with small amounts of narcotics as well as the 158 grams of kratom. Its seizure caused some confusion, as the drug is legal in Maryland and can be bought for $1 for a pill-sized capsule in local smoke shops. That, and how many people have ever heard of kratom?
Categories: Latest News

US PA: Organ Donations From Fatal Drug Overdoses Double

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 12/16/2017 - 08:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 16 Dec 2017 - LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Charles Grugan's drug addiction took a toll on his family. They tried to help him, but on Oct. 12, 2011, Grugan 33, overdosed on heroin. He never recovered. While on life support in a regional hospital, doctors approached his family and showed them his driver's license.
Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: CA Licenses First Legal Marijuana Shops, US ODs at Record High, More... (12/15/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 21:42

California starts rolling out recreational marijuana business licenses, Maryland approves more dispensaries, Michigan starts accepting dispensary applications, the Mexican Senate approves a bill letting the military keep playing a policing role, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

California Issues First Recreational Marijuana Business Licenses. The state's Bureau of Cannabis Control issued 20 retail marijuana business licenses Thursday, paving the way for consumers to buy legal weed at pot shops as early as January 1. On the list were medical and recreational adult use distributors, retailers, and "microbusinesses." Among first day retail licenses were KindPeoples in Santa Cruz, 530 Cannabis in Shasta Lake, and Torrey Holistics in San Diego.

Denver Arrests 12, Shutters 26 Marijuana Stores in Criminal Investigation. Police in Denver shut down 26 Sweet Leaf marijuana stores Thursday and arrested 12 people in an ongoing criminal investigation related to allegations the shops were selling larger amounts of marijuana than allowed under state law. The shops involved all received orders to close the business, the first time the city has issued an open-ended suspension to a legal pot business. The DEA was not involved.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Regulators Approve a Dozen More Dispensaries. The state's Medical Cannabis Commission has given the go-ahead for another 12 dispensaries to open their doors. The state currently has 10. Another 60 dispensaries that have received preliminary licenses are still awaiting final approval. The state has more than 10,000 registered patients and existing dispensaries have had a hard time keeping up with demand.

Michigan Starts Accepting Medical Marijuana Applications. The state's Medical Marihuana Licensing Board is now accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses under the new regime approved by the legislature earlier this year. Existing dispensaries will not have to shut down while their licenses are approved, a process that could take three or four months.

Drug Policy

Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Rise. At least 66,324 people died of drug overdoses during the 12-month period ending in May 2017, up 17 percent from the 56,488 who died between May 2015 and May 2016, according to data released this week by the National Center for Health Statistics. Fentanyl and other synthetics overtook heroin as the leading killer, accounting for some 23,000 deaths compared to heroin's 15,525 and another 14,467 deaths from prescription opioids.

International

Mexico Senate Votes to Keep the Military in Police Role. Despite soaring violence and human rights abuses, the Mexican Senate voted early Friday to approve the "internal security law" even as protestors surrounded the Senate to decry the measure, which they say will militarize the country and harden a failed strategy of using soldiers to fight drug cartels. The bill now returns to the lower house, where passage is expected to be a formality. "We are concerned that the bill gives the armed forces a leadership and coordination role in certain circumstances, rather than limiting their role to aiding and assisting civilian authorities," said a statement issued by the UN high commissioner for human rights. "[It] does this in the absence of solid control mechanisms to ensure that operations are carried out with full respect for human rights." The proposal comes as Mexico suffers its most murderous year on record -- despite having the military involved in the fight against the cartels for the past 11 years.

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