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US PA: Medical Marijuana Issue Is Scrambling Party Lines

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:00
Standard-Speaker, 12 Apr 2015 - HARRISBURG -- A lawmaker from Tioga County has a key role in the ongoing debate over legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Rep. Matt Baker, R-68 Wellsboro, chairman of the House Health Committee, is openly skeptical about legalizing what he considers a dangerous drug without action first from the federal Food and Drug Administration.
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US GA: Editorial: Local Meth Labs On Decline As Mexican Drugs

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:00
Rome News-Tribune, 12 Apr 2015 - It's good news and bad news for Rome and Floyd County in the battle to curb methamphetamine labs here. First, the good news: the efforts of law enforcement to find and destroy home-grown meth-cooking operations of significant size in this area have been very successful. That, combined with stricter regulation and monitoring of ingredients used by labs, has caused a decline in local meth production. Now users have gravitated to the "one pot cook method," says Barry McElroy, assistant commander of the Rome-Floyd Metro Task Force. This involves making a small quantity of meth in a soft drink bottle and then tossing the bottle away. In the past two years, McElroy's unit has been called to the sites of no more than two labs and they were not full-sized, active operations.
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US CA: Column: Pot Case Goes Up In Smoke?

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 12 Apr 2015 - California's Marijuana Wars Never Seem to End, and Now the Frontlines Are in Yuba County. What a scary thought if you're one of the pot people. This mess just spun out of control, as the supervisors passed an ordinance they thought would make everybody happy, or at least not upset.
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US OR: New Pot Law Will Not Change Drug Testing

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:00
The Bulletin, 12 Apr 2015 - Oregon Employers With Drug Policies May Continue to Enforce Them The advent in July of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Oregon will have no effect on workplace rules on drug use and drug testing, say lawyers specializing in Oregon employment law.
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US HI: Column: Legislature Works To Fix Marijuana Law Conundrum

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 12 Apr 2015 - Medical marijuana may just be the controversy with a solution in sight. Fifteen years ago, Hawaii's Legislature became the first in the nation to allow the use of marijuana if ordered by a doctor's prescription.
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US PA: Freedom Is Not Free

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 07:00
Standard-Journal, 11 Apr 2015 - Howard Wooldridge wore a T-shirt lettered with the words "Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why" as we talked last week at Lisa's Milltown Deli. The shirt is among his trademarks, as were the stickers on his car which echoed the words. Also notable were his boots, jeans and belt buckle not much different than what Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.10) wears on the House floor. Wooldridge made a name for himself as co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), and is one of its more than 200 speakers available for talks on the topic of replacing current drug laws with a practical system of legal distribution and control. MCFCU - Big Box
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UK: The Net Closes

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 07:00
The Economist, 11 Apr 2015 - THE NET CLOSES The web's two largest drug markets go down, panicking dealers and buyers "I JUST can't bear this any longer," writes "Megan" in an anonymous internet forum. Waiting for online shopping to be delivered is frustrating. But for drug users it can be agony. Megan's vice is OxyContin, an addictive prescription painkiller. Like many users, she buys her illicit supply on the "dark web", a hidden corner of the internet accessed with anonymous browsing software. In the past month the online market for drugs has been rattled, after the two main drug-dealing sites suddenly locked buyers and sellers out. "If you know anyone...who would sort something out for me tonight or tomorrow I'll drop dead of gratitude," pleads Megan.
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CN SN: Discarded Needles Prompt Debate

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 07:00
Prince Albert Daily Herald, 11 Apr 2015 - Dumped on the boulevard just outside his home, Coun. Lee Atkinson found dozens of used needles and other drug paraphernalia first thing Friday morning. Not too big a surprise, he shrugged, noting that needles are a common sight around his midtown area home.
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Canada: Canadians Have Fewer Legal Marijuana Options Compared

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 11 Apr 2015 - Canadians buying legal marijuana have a much slimmer selection than their American counterparts. That's because Health Canada-licensed producers are allowed to sell only dried cannabis through the mail to registered patients and must stay away from "edibles" or other forms of the drug that are regulated south of the border. However, like medicinal and recreational pot sold in Washington State, Canada's 17 licensed producers offer dozens of strains of dried leaves that help patients treat a range symptoms. Canadian producers must also display the potency of the batch's tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content, as enforced under the federal Ministry of Health's current Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.
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CN ON: Police Keeping Close Watch on 'Molly'

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 07:00
Barrie Examiner, 11 Apr 2015 - Authorities Say Local Sales of Ecstasy Appears to Booming After a three-month undercover investigation into cocaine sales in local bars, Barrie police recently arrested five people at two separate apartments on suspicion of selling cocaine on the Dunlop Street West strip.
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Chronicle AM: Obama Talks Ganja in Jamaica, NM Ends Policing for Profit, More (4/10/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 22:06

President Obama talks ganja in Jamaica, a federal banking official talks shop in Colorado, New Mexico takes a historic step to end civil asset forfeiture, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Rastaman Queries Obama on Marijuana Policy. At a town hall event in Kingston, Jamaica, a dreadlocked Rastafarian asked President Obama about legalizing marijuana. "Give thanks! Yes greetings Mr. President," said the man, "Life and blessings on you and your family. My name is Miguel Williams but you can call I and I 'steppa'... That is quite sufficient, ya man." Williams then set out the case for legalization and asked if Obama would champion it. "How did I anticipate this question?" was Obama's joking response. "Well, there is the issue of legalization of marijuana and then there is the issue of decriminalizing or dealing with the incarceration in some cases devastation of communities as a consequence of nonviolent drug offenses," Obama said. "I am a very strong believer that the path that we have taken in the United States in the so-called 'war on drugs' has been so heavy in emphasizing incarceration that it has been counterproductive," he said to some applause. But he didn't address the question of whether the US should legalize, only whether it would. "I do not foresee, any time soon, Congress changing the law at a national basis," he said.

Federal Banking Official Meets With Colorado Pot Shops. Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George met with marijuana business owners in Denver Thursday to discuss vexing access to banking issues with proprietors. But she gave no indication that the industry is on the verge of gaining increased access to financial services. Click the link for more details.

Kansas Attorney General Asks State Supreme Court to Undo Wichita Decriminalization Vote. Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked the high court to strike down the decriminalization ballot measure approved by Wichita voters on Tuesday. In a court filing Thursday, Schmidt argued that the ordinance would conflict with state law, that it would give unlawful direction to police and judges, and that the initiative was not properly filed because it did not contain a "be it ordained" clause required by state law.

Oregon Edibles Could Be Delayed. Oregon pot shops should be open by early next year, but don't expect to find any edibles in them, at least at first. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has asked the legislature for the okay to delay licensing of edibles manufacturers, citing the complexities around the issue. Edibles may not be available until 2017.

Medical Marijuana

Colorado Bill to Let Parolees, Probationers Use Medical Marijuana Advances. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill Thursday that would allow people on probation or parole use to medical marijuana. The change wouldn't apply, however, to people whose crimes were related to marijuana. The measure is House Bill 1267.

Los Angeles City Attorney Says 500 Unpermitted Dispensaries Shut Down. City Attorney Mike Feuer said Thursday that his office has closed down 500 unpermitted dispensaries since the city voted two years ago to cap their number at about 130. But he conceded that hundreds more still operate.

Asset Forfeiture

New Mexico Ends Civil Asset Forfeiture. In a historic move, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) today signed into law a bill that will end civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement in the state, a practice widely known as "policing for profit." The measure is House Bill 560. Click on the title link for more details.

Law Enforcement

California Bill Would Allow Immigrant Drug Offenders to Get Treatment, Avoid Deportation. A bill proposed by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) would let people charged with drug possession and other low-level drug offenses to opt for drug treatment ahead of taking a plea and see their charges dropped if they complete treatment. The bill is designed to block the deportation under federal law of long-time resident immigrants because they have a drug conviction. The bill is Assembly Bill 1351. It is currently before the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

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New Mexico Ends Civil Asset Forfeiture

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 20:35

This article was written in collaboration with AlterNet and originally appeared here.

[image:1 align:right]In a historic move, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) today signed into law a bill that will end civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement in the state, a practice widely known as "policing for profit." The measure is House Bill 560.

Under civil asset forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize someone's property without ever charging them with a crime, let alone convicting them. Police can then funnel many of those assets, including cash seizures, back to their own departments, creating a vicious cycle of more profit-driven law enforcement providing more resources to law enforcement for more profit-driven law enforcement.

"This is a good day for the Bill of Rights," said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. "For years police could seize people's cash, cars, and houses without even accusing anyone of a crime. Today, we have ended this unfair practice in New Mexico and replaced it with a model that is just and constitutional."

The practice of asset forfeiture has been coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism in recent years as cases of abuse become more widely known. The Obama administration Justice Department has in the past few months taken steps to address asset forfeiture abuse at the federal level, and asset forfeiture reform bills have been introduced in a number of states this year. The governor of Wyoming vetoed one last month.

New Mexico is the first state where such a bill has passed, and it now has the strongest asset forfeiture protections in the county. The bill passed the legislature unanimously.

Under the new law, civil asset forfeiture will be replaced with criminal forfeiture, forcing authorities to actually convict someone of a crime before taking his property.

"With this law, New Mexico leads the nation in protecting the property rights of innocent Americans," said Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation. "Convicted criminals will still see the fruits of their crime confiscated by the state, but innocent New Mexicans can now rest easy knowing that their property will never be seized by police without proper due process."

"New Mexico has succeeded today in reigning in one of the worst excesses of the drug war," said Emily Kaltenbach, State Director for Drug Policy Alliance's New Mexico office. "Like other drug war programs, civil asset forfeiture is disproportionately used against poor people of color who cannot afford to hire lawyers to get their property back. This law is an important step towards repairing some of the damage the drug war has inflicted upon our society and system of justice."

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CN BC: Pot Safe for Pregnant Women: Advocates

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 10 Apr 2015 - Marc and Jodie's online magazine claims pregnant women smoking pot helps with nausea and emotions - but studies say otherwise Marc Emery's online magazine, Cannabis Culture, encourages marijuana use during pregnancy for relief of nausea, loss of appetite and to help get emotions under control.
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US WA: Dueling State Budgets Are Split Over Which Pot Gets Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 10 Apr 2015 - Legislature Under the 2012 Voter-Passed Initiative, Revenue From Marijuana Taxes Was to Go to Substance-Abuse Programs and Health Care. But That's Not Exactly What Lawmakers Have in Mind. The initiative approved by voters to legalize recreational marijuana included a specific shopping list for spending the tax revenue, but the state Legislature looks poised to tweak those instructions, or even lose them entirely.
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US CA: After Ruling, Pot Referendum Petitions Are Turned Away

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 10 Apr 2015 - Opponents to Yuba County's new medical marijuana ordinance tried Thursday to file referendum petitions with county election officials, but were turned away. County Clerk-Recorder Terry Hansen said she had no choice but to not accept the petitions that would force the new ordinance to a public vote. Ordinance opponents also made an unsuccessful attempt to file them with the clerk to the Board of Supervisors.
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US CO: Fed Official, Pot Businesses Meet

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr 2015 - A federal banking official took the unprecedented step of meeting with marijuana business owners. But Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George gave no indication that the industry is any closer to getting more access to banking services. The Denver meeting was arranged by two Colorado congressmen who have tried unsuccessfully to pass laws expanding banking access for the pot industry. Also joining the closed-door meeting were Colorado bankers. It was thought to be the first meeting of a Federal Reserve president with pot businesses. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
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US WA: Editorial: Rein In Pot Dispensaries

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 10 Apr 2015 - CUSTOMERS are getting smoked out of the Ding How Center in Seattle's Little Saigon neighborhood. While the city is looking into the matter, landlords must do more to protect their properties from bad disreputable medical-marijuana stores. Businesses, employees and patrons should not be constantly overwhelmed by the smell of marijuana. Two dispensaries are now located at 1207 South Jackson Street. Store owners say The Green Door is a good neighbor. But the other, Seattle Caregivers, has become a nuisance.
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Another Week, Another Pair of Drug War Deaths

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 04:35

A black New Orleans man was killed Monday after a traffic stop escalated into a chase and shootout, and a white South Carolina man was killed in a drug raid on his home Thursday, in the two latest deaths in the US drug war. Desmond Willis, 25, and Phillip Michael Burgess, 28, become the 18th and 19th persons die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

[image:1 align:left]According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, citing the account provided by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Norman at a Wednesday press conference, deputies initially pulled Willis over for a traffic violation, but smelled marijuana from his open window. (This contradicts an earlier law enforcement statement that he was targeted as part of a drug investigation.) Deputies ordered him to put his hands up and turn off the SUV, but when one deputy reached into the vehicle to grab his arm, Willis sped off.

He then crashed his SUV and took off on foot. Norman said Willis fired at deputies and that witnesses inside an office building and a restaurant saw him firing. Deputies returned fire, killing him in the parking lot of New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger.

Detectives recovered a 9 mm pistol near his body, and a .38 caliber pistol and $800 in cash in his pockets. In the SUV, investigators found a half-pound of pot packaged for sale, as well as ammunition, sandwich bags, and a vacuum sealer.

According to Fox Carolina News, citing Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office sources, narcotics officers were serving a drug search warrant Thursday morning in Boiling Springs when Burgess became "belligerent."

The narcs called for backup, and two deputies showed up to assist. The official account said Burgess continued to be belligerent and grabbed a gun from atop the refrigerator, pointing it at deputies. The two deputies then opened fire, killing him.

Because his death was at the hands of law enforcement, it will be investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

No word on if any drugs were found.

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Chronicle AM: Third MI Init, TX MJ Bill Hearings, Drug Czar Touts Needle Exchanges, More (4/9/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/09/2015 - 23:02

An Alaska marijuana regulation bill continues its slow advance, another Michigan legalization initiative effort emerges, Texas pot bills get a hearing, the DEA recommends tripling the federal research marijuana crop, and more.

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

Alaska Marijuana Regulation Bill Advances. The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill to create a marijuana control board to govern the state's soon-to-be legal pot industry. The committee advanced the bill, House Bill 123, without adopting amendments that would have barred people with felony convictions within the past five years or misdemeanor drug convictions within the past three years from getting licenses. The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.

Michigan Legalization Initiative Group Files Proposed Language. The Michigan Cannabis Coalition today submitted proposed language to state officials for review. The coalition is one of three groups considering a 2016 legalization initiative. If approved for signature-gathering, initiatives would have to come up with some 250,000 valid voter signatures within 180 days to qualify for the 2016 ballot.

Texas Marijuana Reform Bills Get Hearing. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee ran late into the night last night hearing impassioned testimony on a set of bills aimed at decriminalizing marijuana. The main bill is House Bill 507, by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), which would make possession of less than an ounce a civil infraction. Another bill, House Bill 325, from Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) would make possession of less than a third of an ounce a Class C misdemeanor, the least serious criminal offense. Yet another bill, House Bill 414, from Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) would make possession of less than an ounce a Class C misdemeanor, while House Bill 1115, from Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) would keep pot possession a misdemeanor, but would require police to cite and release anyone caught with less than four ounces. Finally, House Bill 2165, from Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) would remove all marijuana prohibition laws from the books. No votes were taken.

Wichita Seeks Court Ruling on Legality of Local Decriminalization. The city has filed a petition for declaratory judgment in local district court asking the court to rule on the legality of enacting a decriminalization ordinance approved Tuesday by voters. State Attorney General Derek Schmidt said last month that the ordinance would have no effect, and he's also warned the city that he would be required to sue to enforce state law.

Medical Marijuana

DEA Recommends Government Triple Amount of Marijuana Grown for Research. The DEA recommended Wednesday that the government produce nearly 900 pounds of marijuana for research this year, more than three times the amount the agency had estimated it would need. The increase is because of "unanticipated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States," the agency said in a notice published in the Federal Register.

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Dead for This Year. Both the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and the House Health Committee voted to kill pending medical marijuana bills this week. Both committees, however, agreed to create summer study committees to look at the legislation.

Asset Forfeiture

Florida Senate Panel Takes Up Asset Forfeiture Bill. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice today took up Senate Bill 1534, from Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-Tampa). The bill would limit law enforcement to using seized funds only to reimburse themselves for the cost of holding seized property, with the rest going into the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund.

Harm Reduction

Drug Czar Touts Needle Exchange Programs in Kentucky Visit. Director of the Office of National Drug Control (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) Michael Botticelli touted needle exchange programs as a means of reducing the spread of infectious diseases and to steer drug users toward treatment in a visit to Kentucky Wednesday. He said the program also reduce the danger of law enforcement getting stuck with dirty needles. Kentucky lawmakers just passed an anti-heroin bill that will allow for needle exchanges, and a nearby Ohio county just started an emergency needle exchange to combat an HIV outbreak.

International

Chile Harvests First Medical Marijuana Crop. TV cameras were on hand in Santiago Wednesday as the country's first permitted medical marijuana crop was harvested. Chilean health officials last fall gave the okay. The therapeutic Daya Foundation will produce cannabis oils from the plants and provide them to 200 selected cancer patients.

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CN NF: Drug Testing A No Go

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/09/2015 - 07:00
Advertiser, 09 Apr 2015 - Bishop's Falls council determines program unnecessary After reviewing the pros and cons, Bishop's Falls council won't be instituting a drug and alcohol-testing program for employees. "It was just a discussion we held about whether we should we be doing testing like some companies do," said Mayor Bob Hobbs when asked about the decision made at the March council meeting.
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