Latest News

US PA: Are There Risks From Secondhand Marijuana Smoke? Early Science

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 26 Mar 2018 - The inspiration arrived in a haze at a Paul McCartney concert a few years ago in San Francisco. "People in front of me started lighting up and then other people started lighting up," said Matthew Springer, a biologist and professor in the division of cardiology at the University of California-San Francisco. "And for a few naive split seconds I was thinking to myself, 'Hey, they can't smoke in AT&T Park! I'm sure that's not allowed.' And then I realized that it was all marijuana."
Categories: Latest News

US MO: Medical Marijuana Narrowly Rejected By Kansas House

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:00
Kansas City Star, 26 Mar 2018 - The Kansas House of Representatives rejected medical marijuana legalization Monday. But the closeness of the 54-69 vote and the hour of emotional testimony that preceded it made advocates more confident that Kansas is now closer to joining the 30 states that allow marijuana by prescription.
Categories: Latest News

US IL: In The Era Of Legalization, How Do You Discuss Marijuana With

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 21 Mar 2018 - KIDS? "My uncle is prescribed marijuana." "My parents use it, and they're doing fine."
Categories: Latest News

US MA: There's More To That Dartmouth Study Trump Mentioned In His

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 21 Mar 2018 - When President Trump took the stage in New Hampshire on Monday and delivered a fiery speech about how the White House plans to tackle the nationwide opioid problem, he leaned heavily on the idea that the Massachusetts city of Lawrence was largely to blame for the scourge of addiction in the Granite State. Citing a 2017 study by researchers at Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine, the president said the "sanctuary city" of Lawrence, a community that restricts its cooperation with federal immigration officials, is one of "the primary sources of fentanyl in six New Hampshire counties."
Categories: Latest News

US SC: Medical Marijuana Slowly Gaining Acceptances In SC This Year

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:00
The State, 21 Mar 2018 - When Mack Hudson of Lexington was 16 years old, he was paralyzed when he fractured his skull, broke his neck and shattered a key vertebrae in a car wreck. Over the past 10 years, he's been prescribed increasing doses of opioids -- Percocet and Roxycodone to alleviate the pain.
Categories: Latest News

US OH: Editorial: There Is No Magic Solution For The Opioid Crisis

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:00
The Blade, 21 Mar 2018 - President Trump's proposal to invoke the death penalty for drug traffickers is an idea that is, in the practical scheme of things, unworkable. It is also probably unconstitutional and obviously simplistic. It is a gimmick, not a policy. We need a policy.
Categories: Latest News

US: Death Penalty For Drug Dealers Is Not A New Idea

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 21 Mar 2018 - WASHINGTON - President Trump's plan to use the death penalty on drug dealers has all the hallmarks of his favorite policies: It could fit on the front of a baseball cap. It is a proven applause line. It appeals to a conservative base. But, like so many of Trump's slogans-turned-policy, it's dredged from a bygone era and lacks clear evidence showing it would be effective.
Categories: Latest News

US SC: SC Senators Kill Proposal To Study Cannabis Oil On Inmates

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 07:00
The State, 20 Mar 2018 - An S.C. Senate panel quickly killed a proposal Tuesday that would have created a study committee to research the effects of cannabidiol oil - -- an active ingredient found in marijuana -- on prison inmates with physical and mental illnesses. The oil -- used sometimes in place of prescription drugs -- can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from epilepsy, schizophrenia and seizures, supporters say.
Categories: Latest News

US PA: Safe Injection Site Stirs Tensions At Northeast Philly Meeting

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 19 Mar 2018 - Midway through a community meeting in Northeast Philadelphia on the opioid crisis Monday, a man stood up at the back of the room and yelled out a question to city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley: "Doctor, where do you live? Can we put a safe injection site next door to you?" The crowd of 150 in the Fox Chase community center applauded and burst into shouts in a display that vividly showed the tough sales job the city is facing as it tries to fulfill a promise to allow a place where people in addiction can use drugs under medical supervision. As heroin has been adulterated with the deadlier opioid fentanyl, often without the user's knowledge, the overdose death rate has soared. Quick administration of a reversal medicine can save lives.
Categories: Latest News

US IL: Oped: The Opioid Epidemic And 'Do No Harm'

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 07:00
Daily Herald, 19 Mar 2018 - Historically opioid medications were used cautiously by physicians for selected patients to reduce pain associated with acute injury or illness, and for those suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer. This caution was based upon recognition that improper use of opioids could result in patient harm. However, in 1996, the American Pain Society, supported by opioid pharmaceutical manufacturers, promoted acknowledgment and expanded treatment of pain as the 'fifth vital sign" by physicians in hospitals. In 2001, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations introduced new pain standards recognizing the under-assessment and treatment of pain, which then expanded the use of opioids. In the two decades that followed opioid use and abuse has exploded, with nearly 80 percent of the world's opioid medications now being consumed in the U.S.
Categories: Latest News

US: Trump Calls For Death Penalty To 'get Tough' On Drug Pushers

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 19 Mar 2018 - Unveiling a long-awaited plan to combat the national scourge of opioid drug addiction, President Donald Trump called Monday for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including embracing a tactic employed by some of the global strongmen he admires: the death penalty. "Toughness is the thing that they most fear," Trump said.
Categories: Latest News

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 19:52

A Vermont cop was wooing girlfriends with dope from the evidence locker, a Pennsylvania narc goes down for ripping off drug money, a Mississippi cop goes away for dealing weed, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Middletown, Ohio, a Seven Mile auxiliary police officer was arrested last Thursday along with 12 dealers for trafficking in fentanyl for a Mexican drug cartel. Officer Christopher Watkins, 23, is accused of acting as a drug mule by traveling to California and transporting a drug shipment back to Ohio for $1,000 in cash. He and the 12 others are all charged with distribution of narcotics and money laundering.

In Monroe, Louisiana, a Richwood Correctional Center guard was arrested last Saturday after contraband was found on him as he arrived at work. Guard Tyre Manning, 41, was carrying two sandwich bags filled with synthetic cannabinoids, as well as a cell phone and rolling tobacco.

In South Royalton, Vermont, a former South Royalton police officer pleaded guilty last Friday to stealing heroin and prescription opioids from the department evidence locker. John Breault had admitted stealing the drugs last summer for his girlfriend, who later became an FBI informant. She also said Breault let her search the evidence locker herself, and she took fentanyl pataches, oxycodone, and Zoloft as Breault watched, and that he took a bag of weed for another woman. He pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and is looking at up to 20 years in prison.

In Philadelphia, a former state attorney general's office agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to scheming to pilfer illicit drug proceeds. Timothy Riley, accepted three cash payments totaling $48,000 he knew was stolen from a drug dealer. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and is now looking at up to 20 years in federal prison.

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a former Hattiesburg police officer was sentenced Monday to five years and month in federal prison for his role in a marijuana distribution scheme. Thomas Wheeler, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted possession of 50 kilograms or more of marijuana with the intent to distribute. He went down after state troopers pulled over a vehicle driven by his grandfather and found a load of weed, then spotted Wheeler in another vehicle nearby. Both grandpa and Wheeler confessed to their roles in the plot.

Categories: Latest News

Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 19:18

A Missouri medical marijuana initiative signature gathering campaign is looking good, Virginia's governor signs a CBD expansion bill, North Dakota takes another step toward getting its system up and running, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Arkansas

On Thursday, the state was sued over the denial of a cultivation licence . A would-be medical marijuana provider who failed to win a license from the state has sued the Medical Marijuana Commission. Natural Health filed suit Thursday in Pulaski County Circuit Court charging the selection process was "plagued by unlawful and inconsistent procedures" and that members of the commission were biased or had conflicts of interest. . 

Florida

Last Thursday, a bill to let a black farmer get in on growing marijuana passed the Senate. The Senate on approved House Bill 6049, which would allow black farmer Columbus Smith to receive a medical marijuana growing license even though he is not a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association. The state's medical marijuana law had required it to give one license to a member of the association in a bid to increase racial diversity, but this bill deletes that provision. It has already passed the House and now awaits the signature of Gov. Rick Scott. (R).

Indiana

Last Thusday, a CBD bill lost its in-state manufacturing provision.Two CBD cannabis oil bills, House Bill 1214 and Senate Bill 52, have passed both chambers, but after Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said he didn't want manufacturing legalized, legislative leaders stripped that provision from the bills in conference committee Thursday.

Kentucky

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill died. Hopes for medical marijuana this legislative session were dashed as the House Judiciary Committee voted 14-4 to "pass over" House Bill 166. That means the bill will not be voted on until some unspecified later date, but is typically a maneuver to bury bills for the rest of the session.

Maine

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana expansion bill advanced. The Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve a bill that eliminates patient limits for registered caregivers and allows patients to possess up to eight pounds of harvested cannabis. Caregivers and dispensaries could carve out a larger sales market under the bill, which removes a list of qualifying medical conditions, such as epilepsy. The bill doesn't eliminate a cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, but does allow six new dispensary licenses. It now faces House and Senate floor votes.

Maryland

Last Thursday, the House approved adding more grower and processor licenses. The House of Delegates approved a bill that would increase the number of licenses for medical marijuana growers from 15 to 20 and the number of licenses for processors from 15 to 25—largely in a bid to increase minority business ownership in the industry. None of the companies licensed so far has a black owner. House Bill 0002 now heads to the Senate.

Missouri

On Sunday, the New Approach Missouri medical marijuana initiative had 200,000 signatures. It's looking increasingly likely that Shoe Me state residents will have a chance to vote to legalize medical marijuana in November. New Approach Missouri, the group behind a medical marijuana initiative, announced Sunday it had collected more than 200,000 raw signatures. It only needs 160,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, but because some raw signatures may be disqualified, the group said its goal is 300,000 raw signatures.

North Dakota

On Monday, lawmakers approved medical marijuana rules. The legislature's Administrative Rules Committee signed off Monday on rules for the state's nascent medical marijuana program. While the committee took no formal vote, it also did not call for any changes or delay in implementing the rules. The next step is for the state Health Department to announce an application period for growers and manufacturers, which should happen by the end of next week, according to the department's Medical Marijuana Division.

Oklahoma

On Monday, a medical marijuana bill failed as an initiative vote looms. The sponsor of a limited medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 1120, has held up the measure after it failed to get enough votes to pass. That clears the playing field for the passage of a medical marijuana initiative, State Question 788, which goes before the voters in June.

Utah

As of Monday, the legislature had passed a passle of medical marijuana bills, but not enough to blunt an initiative campagn. Faced with an ongoing initiative campaign, legislators in Salt Lake passed four medical marijuana bills this session, but none of them actually sets up a workable, dispensary-based program, and the Utah Patients Coalition, the folks behind the initiative campaign say they are tired of lawmakers beating around the bush and will continue to gather signatures so the issue will appear on the November ballot. Of the bills passed, one would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana, one would ease medical marijuana research, one seeks a federal waiver for doctors to recommend CBD, and one modifies a task force charged with reviewing existing medical marijuana research.

Virginia

Last Friday, the governor signed a CBD expansion bill into law. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) last Friday signed into law House Bill 1251, which allows doctors to recommend CBD cannabis oil for any patient they see fit. Previously, state law only allowed the use of CBD for epilepsy. The new law also increases the amount of CBD cannabis oil each patient can buy at a time, from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply.

West Virginia

Last Saturday, a medical marijuana expansion bill died. The legislature adjourned Saturday without taking final action on a medical marijuana expansion bill, just days after State Treasurer John Perdue warned that because of federal pot prohibition the state could not support the program with its financial services. House Bill 4345 would have increased the number of growers, processors, and dispensaries that can operate in the state.

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

Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: NJ Gov Says Legalize It This Year, Duterte Pulls Out of ICC, More... (3/14/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 19:10

New Jersey pot legalization politics heats up, the CDC reports a big jump in opioid overdoses, the Sentencing Commission ponders increasing fentanyl penalties, Duterte pulls the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court, and more. 

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

New Jersey Legalization Bill Filed. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) has filed Assembly Bill 3581, which would legalize the possession of marijuana, allow for home cultivation, and set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. The bill envisions some 400 pot shops across the states.

New Jersey Governor Budgets for Legal Weed, Wants It This Year. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) wants the legislature to legalize marijuana this year and has included $60 million in tax revenues from legal weed in his state budget proposal. "I am committed to working with you to get this passed this year," Murphy said in his budget address at the Statehouse in Trenton.

<iframe width="533" height="300" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/T2fQkOAd694" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Sued Over Denial of Cultivation License. A would-be medical marijuana provider who failed to win a license from the state has sued the Medical Marijuana Commission. Natural Health filed suit Thursday in Pulaski County Circuit Court charging the selection process was "plagued by unlawful and inconsistent procedures" and that members of the commission were biased or had conflicts of interest. . 

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

CDC Reports Opioid Overdoses Jumped 30% in 14 Months. Opioid overdoses in the US increased by about 30% over the course of 14 months, according to a report issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data collected in 16 states across the country show some emergency rooms experienced as high as a 109% increase (Wisconsin) in overdoses between July 2016 and September 2017 while others — including Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — reported declines. "This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age. It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States," said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat.

Sentencing

US Sentencing Commission Ponders Increased Penalties for Fentanyl Dealers. The Sentencing Commission is holding a hearing today on whether to lengthen prison sentences for people caught dealing fentanyl. Under the proposal, first-time offenders caught selling a half ounce of fentanyl would face up to five years in prison—more than twice the current sentence. While the Justice Department supports the proposal, the Drug Policy Alliance says that implementing the plan would have "perverse public health impacts."

International

Experts at UN Side Event Call for Access to Morphine for Severe Pain. The Organization for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS), a Swiss think-and-do tank, and International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies (IDHDP), a London-based network, are holding a side event with expert panelists during the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, titled "Ending the Agony: Access to Morphine as an Ethical and Human Rights Imperative." The groups are calling for a centralized strategy for access to opioid pain relievers, better balance between access and control, "an ambitious scale-up of training and oral morphine distribution," and destigmatizing the use of morphine and other opiates.

Duterte Will Withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court. In a statement Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Philippines will withdraw from the ICC. The move comes weeks after the ICC announced it was investigating allegations the Duterte government committed crimes against humanity in its bloody war on drugs, which has left thousands dead since he took office in May 2016.

Panamá Opens the Door to CBD Medicinal Marijuana with a Proposed Law. The government has filed a bill to allow the use of CBD cannabis oil, Bill 595. It was prompted out of concern for children suffering from epilepsy. The bill could be amended by the National Assembly.

Categories: Latest News

EVENT: Human Rights Challenge: One Year Later, Drug War Extrajudicial Killings Continue

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 03/13/2018 - 22:32

Human Rights Challenge: One Year Later, Extrajudicial Killings Continue
side event at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs annual meeting, Vienna
Thursday 15 March, 1:10pm CET, Room MOE79

Live stream will be available from our Facebook and Event pages, and at https://stopthedrugwar.org/philippines, from about 1:00pm.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Extrajudicial killings in nations' "drug war" campaigns have plagued multiple countries. This session will review the current situation in countries affected by extrajudicial drug war killings, national and international advocacy efforts to stop them, and interrelated matters such as social media manipulation and the struggle to promote and preserve democratic institutions.

Featuring:

  • Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes, Republic of the Philippines
  • Ellecer Carlos, iDEFEND human rights coalition, Philippines

Moderated by:

  • David Borden, Executive Director, DRCNet Foundation (AKA "StoptheDrugWar.org")
  • Marco Perduca, former Senator, Italy, Luca Coscioni Associazone

Sponsored by:

  • DRCNet Foundation, United States
  • Forum Drogue, Italy

Cosponsored by:

  • Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs
  • Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines
  • FAAAT think & do tank
  • Filipino American Human Rights Alliance
  • In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), Philippines
  • México Unido Contra la Delincuencia A.C.
  • No Peace Without Justice
  • Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust (India)
  • SATHI SAMUHA (Friends Group), Community-led Organization of Positive People Who Use Drugs in Nepal
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy
  • Suruwat (Nepal)
  • Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG)
  • Union C, Nepal

This forum follows on our 2017 CND side event, "Human Rights Challenge: Responding to Extrajudicial Killings in the Drug War," which featured a video from Vice President Leni Robredo that criticized President Duterte's drug policies. The video became controversial in the Philippines, leading to weeks of political attacks on Robredo including calls for her impeachment. Visit https://stopthedrugwar.org.philippines/ for further information, including links to video footage, transcripts, press coverage and other information.

Categories: Latest News

WATCH: Jeff Sessions Marijuana Rolling Papers Are a Thing

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 03/13/2018 - 21:34

A group supporting the legalization of marijuana has come up with a nifty fundraising scheme: Rolling papers with the attorney general's image on the packaging.

[image:1 align:right]Who better to poke fun at than the cluelessly anti-marijuana Sessions—the man who claims "good people" don't smoke pot, that marijuana is a gateway drug, and who once said he liked the local Ku Klux Klan boys until he found out they smoked weed?

The folks at #JeffSesh apparently agreed, selecting the attorney general's visage to grace the packages of "General Jeff's Old Rebel Session Papers," replete with the warning to "Don't Beauregard That Joint My Friend."

"We’re not criminals, junkies or idiots. Regular Jeffs all over the country — good, responsible, patriotic Americans — have a sesh now and then… and it's OK!" the group's website proclaims. "Every time you sesh with any brand of JeffSesh papers, you’re helping keep the law moving forward — and not back to the Nixon era," the website says. "You’re saying we’ve moved on, Jeff."

The rolling paper packages come in either black or white and go for $5 each. #JeffSesh says they're selling out, but hasn't said whether any money raised will go to any specific marijuana legalization groups.

Check out the video below:

Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: UN Sec Gen Touts Portugal Drug Decrim, NH House Derails Legal Pot Bill, More... (3/13/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 03/13/2018 - 20:54

A New Hampshire pot legalization bill gets derailed, the UN Secretary General touts Portugal's drug decriminalization policy, North Dakota takes another step forwared with its nascent medical marijuana program, and more.

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

New Hampshire House Committee Nixes Legalization Bill. The House Ways and Means Committee voted Monday to delay any action on a marijuana legalization bill, instead sending House Bill 656 to "interim study." The bill is now effectively dead, but debate on marijuana legalization will continue as a separate commission studies legalization, regulation, and taxation. Its report is due on November 1.

Medical Marijuana

North Dakota Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Rules. The legislature's Administrative Rules Committee signed off Monday on rules for the state's nascent medical marijuana program. While the committee took no formal vote, it also did not call for any changes or delay in implementing the rules. The next step is for the state Health Department to announce an application period for growers and manufacturers, which should happen by the end of next week, according to the department's Medical Marijuana Division.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Bill Fails as Initiative Vote Looms. The sponsor of a limited medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 1120, has held up the measure after it failed to get enough votes to pass. That clears the playing field for the passage of a medical marijuana initiative, State Question 788, which goes before the voters in June.

Virginia Governor Signs CBD Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill into Law. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) last Friday signed into law House Bill 1251, which allows doctors to recommend CBD cannabis oil for any patient they see fit. Previously, state law only allowed the use of CBD for epilepsy. The new law also increases the amount of CBD cannabis oil each patient can buy at a time, from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply.

International

UN Secretary General Talks Up Portugal's Drug Decriminalization. Addressing the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres touted the success of Portugal's 18-year-old experiment with drug decriminalization, which began when he was Portuguese prime minister. "Current efforts have fallen short of the goal to eliminate the illicit drugs market," said Guterres. "We can promote efforts to stop organized crime while protecting human rights, enabling development and ensuring rights-based treatment and support. I am particularly proud of the results of the reforms I introduced in Portugal when I was prime minister almost 20 years ago."

Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: Trump Looking at Drug Dealer Death Penalty, Vancouver Wants Drug Decrim, More... (3/12/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 20:51

Sessions admits feds can't effectively enforce pot laws, Trump admin studies the death penalty for some drug dealers, Mexico murders hit a high, Vancouver wants drug decriminalization, and more.

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

Attorney General Sessions Concedes Feds Lack Resources to Prosecute Small-Time Pot Busts. The attorney general admitted the obvious Saturday, saying that federal prosecutors will not take on small-time marijuana cases because federal law enforcement lacks the resources to take on "routine cases." In response to a question, Sessions said, "I am not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that possession of marijuana is legal under United States law," but then added that federal prosecutors "haven’t been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now."

Medical Marijuana

Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative Has 200,000 Signatures, Still Wants More. It's looking increasingly likely that Shoe Me state residents will have a chance to vote to legalize medical marijuana in November. New Approach Missouri, the group behind a medical marijuana initiative, announced Sunday it had collected more than 200,000 raw signatures. It only needs 160,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, but because some raw signatures may be disqualified, the group said its goal is 300,000 raw signatures.

Utah Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bills, But Initiative Campaign Will Continue. Faced with an ongoing initiative campaign, legislators in Salt Lake passed four medical marijuana bills this session, but none of them actually sets up a workable, dispensary-based program, and the Utah Patients Coalition, the folks behind the initiative campaign say they are tired of lawmakers beating around the bush and will continue to gather signatures so the issue will appear on the November ballot. Of the bills passed, one would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana, one would ease medical marijuana research, one seeks a federal waiver for doctors to recommend CBD, and one modifies a task force charged with reviewing existing medical marijuana research.

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Dies. The legislature adjourned Saturday without taking final action on a medical marijuana expansion bill, just days after State Treasurer John Perdue warned that because of federal pot prohibition the state could not support the program with its financial services. House Bill 4345 would have increased the number of growers, processors, and dispensaries that can operate in the state.

Drug Policy

Trump Administration Studying Death Penalty for Drug Dealers. It's not just off-the-cuff rhetoric: The administration is studying a new policy that could allow federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for some drug dealers, particularly those dealing in fentanyl and its analogs. The Department of Justice and the Domestic Policy Council are studying potential changes, and a final announcement could come within weeks.

New Report Finds War on Drugs a Key Factor in Colorado’s Growing Prison Population — and Its Prison Budget, Which Is Nearing $1 Billion for First Time in History. The war on drugs is a key factor in Colorado's growing prison population and, in turn, its growing budget, according to a report released Monday by the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC). It also appears to be having a disproportionate impact on women. The analysis of state court and prison data found there were more than twice as many drug felony case filings in Colorado in 2017 (15,323) compared to 2012 (7,424), and the vast majority of drug felony filings (75%) are for simple possession. As a result, there are more people being sentenced to prison for drug possession, especially women. The report, which also includes a breakdown for each of Colorado's 22 judicial districts, shows that five districts saw drug felony filings increase by 165% or more in 2017 compared to 2012.

International

European Union Calls on Member States to Find Alternatives to Punishing Drug Users. The EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council last week adopted recommendations on alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug users. These recommendations were approved within the frame of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020 which requests member states to provide alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug using offenders "where appropriate, and in accordance with their legal frameworks."

Dutch Will Decide on Marijuana Cultivation Pilot Programs By Summer. Justice Minister Ferninand Grapperhaus told parliament last Friday that ministers will publish their proposals for the planned experiment with legal marijuana cultivation this summer. The move is an effort to address the country's "back door problem," where possession and legal sales are allowed, but there is no legal provision for supply.

Vancouver Calls for Canada to Decriminalize Drugs. The city is officially calling on the Liberal federal government to immediately decriminalize the personal possession of all drugs. "What we've learned from countries, for example like Portugal, is that when you decriminalize then people are feeling like they're actually safe enough to ask for treatment," said managing director of social policy, Mary Clare Zak. "People who are dying are more likely to be indoors and struggle with accessing help or assistance because of their illicit drug use." The move comes as the city saw 33 overdose deaths in January, the highest number since last May.

Jamaica's First Marijuana Retailer is Now Open for Business. Kaya Farms in St. Ann Parish opened its doors last Saturday. It's a wellness-focused, tourist-friendly café, lounge, juice bar, and "herb house" on the island nation's north coast. Bob Marley must be smiling.

Mexico Saw More Than 29,000 Murders Last Year. The Interior Ministry has reported that there were 29,168 murders in the country last year, more than at the previous peak of prohibition-related violence in 2011 and 2012. While fighting among cartels and between various cartels and law enforcement and the military accounts for the vast majority of these killings, it's not the only cause. Still, the homicide rate is now the highest in years.

Categories: Latest News

WATCH: Mississippi Police Chief Gets Caught Smoking Weed

Drug War Chronicle - Sat, 03/10/2018 - 20:34

The man who described himself on video as "the only chief of police in Lumberton that likes to smoke weed" is now out of a job after that video, which indeed shows him admittedly smoking marijuana, was shown on a local television station.

[image:1 align:left]Lumberton, Mississippi, Police Chief Shane Flynt had been suspended after the video emerged, and on Tuesday, the Lumberton Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to accept his resignation.

Mayor Quincy Rogers wanted Flynt fired, but the board instead accepted his resignation, with Alderwoman Audrey Davis saying the board wanted to give Flynt a chance at another opportunity.

It's unclear when the video was recorded, although Christmas music can at times be heard in the background, and the red-eyed police chief makes a reference to a red-nosed reindeer.

In a statement on Facebook, Flynt said that his wife had filmed him inside his home and that he had made "a huge mistake."

Under Mississippi law, if Flynt had been caught with the weed he was smoking, he would not have been charged with a criminal offense, but would have faced a civil violation and a $250 ticket. Mississippi has decriminalized the possession of up to 30 grams. Possession of any amount greater than 30 grams (a little more than an ounce), is a felony.

Here's the video from WDAM-TV:

Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: Senate Push to Ease Pot Banking Issues,WV Opioid Bill Advances, More... (3/9/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 03/09/2018 - 21:45

An amendment to a Senate banking bill could help the marijuana industry, West Virginia passes a bill restricting opioid prescriptions, a bill to expand Maine's medical marijuana system advances, and more.

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

Senate Push to Ease Marijuana Banking Problems. A bipartisan group of senators led by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has filed an amendment to a banking bill that would bar federal officials from punishing financial institutions "solely because the depository institution provides or has provided financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business." The measure would be added onto a bill that aims to undo some of the restrictions imposed on financial institutions as part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which was passed in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

Wisconsin Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Chase Marijuana Voters. In a crowded Democratic primary field, candidates are making serious efforts to woo voters interested in marijuana legalization. Candidates Matt Flynn and Mike McCabe both spoke at a Southeastern Wisconsin NORML event last month, Mahlon Mitchell and state Rep. Dana Wachs have issued position papers calling for legalization, Andy Gronik and Tony Evers have said they would sign on to legalization if approved by the voters, and Paul Soglin says he supports it if it is done "carefully."

Medical Marijuana

Florida Bill to Let Black Farmer Get in on Growing Medical Marijuana Passes Senate. The Senate on Thursday approved House Bill 6049, which would allow black farmer Columbus Smith to receive a medical marijuana growing license even though he is not a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association. The state's medical marijuana law had required it to give one license to a member of the association in a bid to increase racial diversity, but this bill deletes that provision. It has already passed the House and now awaits the signature of Gov. Rick Scott. (R).

Indiana CBD Bill Loses In-State Manufacturing Provision.Two CBD cannabis oil bills, House Bill 1214 and Senate Bill 52, have passed both chambers, but after Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said he didn't want manufacturing legalized, legislative leaders stripped that provision from the bills in conference committee Thursday.

Maine Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Advances. The Health and Human Services Committee voted Wednesday to approve a bill that eliminates patient limits for registered caregivers and allows patients to possess up to eight pounds of harvested cannabis. Caregivers and dispensaries could carve out a larger sales market under the bill, which removes a list of qualifying medical conditions, such as epilepsy. The bill doesn't eliminate a cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, but does allow six new dispensary licenses. It now faces House and Senate floor votes.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

West Virginia Opioid Bill Passes. The House of Delegates gave final approval Thursday to Senate Bill 273, which seeks to reduce opioid use by limiting the number of pain pills doctors can prescribe. The bill now goes back to the Senate for approval of minor changes in the House before heading for the desk of Gov. Jim Justice (D), who requested it.

 

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