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US CA: Column: Marijuana Is Far Safer Than Alcohol

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 07:00
Sierra Sun, 11 Apr 2014 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Incline resident Andy Whyman, MD, is a former opinion columnist for the Bonanza. Over the next several months, he will author columns pertaining to drugs, mental health and substance abuse in an effort to raise better awareness. The columns will be featured on a periodic basis in both the Bonanza and Sierra Sun. Some weeks ago I read about the results of an informal survey conducted in Colorado before the passage of its new law legalizing marijuana.
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US WA: Column: Ex-Chief's Global View on Drug-Policy Reforms

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 11 Apr 2014 - I first heard former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper's name as a furious teenager with a face full of tear gas. It was at the WTO protests that roiled Seattle back in 1999. I didn't know much about globalization back then (I still remember learning the term "sweatshop" for the first time) but the experience launched me toward a career in international issues - and left me with a lingering fear of the police. "It was a formative experience for you and for me, too," says Stamper 14 years later in a downtown coffee shop not far from the epicenter of those long-ago protests.
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US VA: EDU: Column: Legalize Drugs

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 07:00
Cavalier Daily, 11 Apr 2014 - The War on Drugs Should End Because It Is Costly, Anti-American and Unnecessary The purpose of this piece is not to disprove the widespread notion that drug use is bad; rather, I want to illustrate how legalization is the best way to limit the social, human and economic costs of drug use. As a clarifier: this argument covers recreational drugs like marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, LSD and heroin.
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CN BC: Local Medical Pot User Relieved

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Oliver Chronicle, 10 Apr 2014 - Medical marijuana users say they are in a state of limbo after the latest court battle halted implementation of new laws governing pot. New federal laws that would have made it illegal for medical marijuana users to grow their own plants were set to take effect April 1.
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CN ON: Editorial: Uxbridge Medical Marijuana Farm Deserves

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
The Uxbridge Times Journal, 10 Apr 2014 - A proposal to establish a medical marijuana grow farm in Uxbridge is no doubt a harbinger of the future and the dawn of change. Regardless of whether Uxbridge ultimately becomes home to such an operation or not, evidence is growing that the marijuana plant and its derivatives offer tangible medical benefits to many patients, including those with multiple sclerosis and children who suffer life-threatening seizures.
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UK: Nigerian Envoy Sues Police After Mistaken Cannabis Raid

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Evening Standard, 10 Apr 2014 - A FORMER member of the Nigeria High Commission is suing Scotland Yard for raiding his London home after police suspected it was a cannabis factory. Ikechukwu Nwokike, the former minister and head of political affairs at the commission, and his family are suing the Met for UKP250,000, claiming that officers twice entered their home illegally, causing distress.
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US WA: Editorial: Need To Reclassify Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 10 Apr 2014 - NEED TO RECLASSIFY CANNABIS Now that the federal government has finally, belatedly given the OK to a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the same government needs to take another step and remove the legal hypocrisy that prevents such research in the first place.
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US IL: Column: Why Do Democrats Scorn Legal Pot?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 10 Apr 2014 - Legalizing marijuana is an issue made to order for the Democratic Party. A majority of Americans now support the idea, and so do 2 out of 3 Democrats. Two states have done it, and several more may vote on it in 2016. The party could put the issue to use against Republicans, who have no desire to be the party of weed. Can you imagine Rick Santorum or Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan endorsing legalization? Even libertarian Rand Paul declines to go that far.
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US MA: Federal Probe Uncovers Fake Pot Operation

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
The Hampton Union, 10 Apr 2014 - Multiple Seacoast Communities Linked To Investigation Two suspected dealers have been charged with selling an extremely potent form of synthetic marijuana as part of a major operation that allegedly included sales to undercover agents on the Seacoast.
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US CA: Pharmacy Syringe Sales Permanent?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Manteca Bulletin, 10 Apr 2014 - SACRAMENTO (AP) - The Assembly voted Thursday to make permanent a program that allows pharmacies to sell syringes to drug users as a way to prevent diseases spread by needle-sharing. AB1743 by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, passed on a largely party-line, 43-26 vote and heads to the Senate. The bill also removes a 30-syringe limit, making California the 46th state to allow for bulk syringe sales. Ting's office estimates a 100-syringe box can cost about $30, while a single syringe is less than a dollar.
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US CO: Column: Do Hemp Houseplants Count As Marijuana?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Westword, 10 Apr 2014 - Dear Stoner: I've always wanted a hemp houseplant. What are the rules and regulations for growing hemp on a small, non-commercial scale? And does that count as one of the six plants that I'm allowed to grow? I realize that if I'm already growing marijuana, I'd need a male hemp plant to avoid cross-pollination - right? Spring Haze
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US CO: Column: CBS Slaps Down Weedmaps' Times Square Ad

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 10 Apr 2014 - More good news about the end of cannabis prohibition. A new PEW poll indicates that 75 percent of voters say legalization is a foregone conclusion. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who along with Rep. Jared Polis has been pushing legislation for cannabis businesses the last couple of years, is quoted as saying legalization is "game over in five years." Attorney General Eric Holder recently indicated a willingness to open a discussion with Congress about removing cannabis from its Schedule One designation, and a study of criminal statistics shows that crime didn't go up, and in some cases, went down in Colorado in the first three months of legalization. The first week in April was also when Weedmaps was planning to inaugurate a campaign in New York to help bring attention to the legalization movement in that state as well as its own website by running a 10-second advertisement that would rotate on the CBS Super Screen in Times Square. The featured link brought you to a page with information about the legalization effort alongside the best places to get baked in the Apple.
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US CA: Column: Classified Talk

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 10 Apr 2014 - Ngaio Breaks Down How the Federal Government Could Reschedule Marijuana Without Going to Congress Can the Department of Justice reschedule marijuana, or do you need an act of Congress? - -Medical Mary
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US NJ: Repeat Topics At Christie Forum

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 Apr 2014 - Medical Marijuana and Pig-Gestation Crates Came Up Again After He Laid Out Plans for the 2015 Budget. FAIRFIELD, N.J. - The same few questions appear to be following Gov. Christie from town to town.
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US AZ: Column: Still Suppressing

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 10 Apr 2014 - In a Truly Sad Turn of Events, Our Marijuana Guy's Last Moments Included Thoughts of Kimberly Yee Editor's note (again, not really, but it's a premise): Mr. Smith continues to drift in and out of consciousness and blink out orders to Dick Cheney. Mostly Mr. Smith is tasking the former vice president with flipping the television between Duck Dynasty and pay-per-view porn. But at times he is requesting the bizarre, such as foot massages using oil from the blubber of slain baby seals and ground rhino horn to treat his gout and impotence. God save Dick Cheney ... and Mr. Smith.
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US: Sheriffs Warn Dangers of Cartels Reach Far Beyond the

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 10 Apr 2014 - Outmanned and outgunned, local law enforcement officers are alarmed by the drug and human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping and money laundering that Mexican drug cartels are conducting in the U.S. far from the border. U.S. sheriffs say that securing the border is a growing concern to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, not just those near the U.S.-Mexico boundary.
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New Zealand: Editorial: This Time The Law Really Is An Ass

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:00
Taranaki Daily News, 10 Apr 2014 - LAWS and the legislation that enables them are key points to building and sustaining a safe, reasonable society. But just as important than the laws themselves is the level of confidence we place in them. Without that confidence people will ignore the rules or, worse still, take the law into their own hands. One thing that can erode that confidence is criticism and searching questions from people charged with enforcing that law. A lot of people already think the law can be an ass, but when top-level officials come to the same conclusion, then you have some issues.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 20:25

Medical marijuana remains on the agenda at statehouses across the country, Oregon communities decide whether to bother with temporary dispensary moratoriums, DC looks to expand its medical marijuana program, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Arizona

Last Thursday, medical marijuana advocates began a recall effort against state Sen. Kimberly Yee for blocking funding of a study of marijuana as a treatment for PTSD in veterans. The Phoenix NORML affiliate and the Arizona Veterans Assistance Committee have undertaken a campaign to make the Phoenix Republican pay a price. They'll need to collect 18,297 signatures from Legislative District 20 by August 2.

California

Last Thursday, a district judge upheld Bakersfield's ordinance banning dispensaries. A group called Concerned Citizens for Bakersfield had filed a lawsuit to block it, arguing that the city hadn't complied with environmental requirements, but the judge wasn't buying it.

Also last Thursday, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano reintroduced his medical marijuana regulation bill. The San Francisco Democrat's new bill is Assembly Bill 1894. The previous version, Assembly Bill 604 had been pending in the Senate. The major change is the addition of language authorizing limited local transaction and use taxes.

Connecticut

Last Thursday, Connecticut picked locations for six dispensaries. The state Consumer Protection Commissioner announced that facilities in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville had been authorized by the state's medical marijuana program to dispense Connecticut-produced marijuana products.

District of Columbia

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana expansion bill was filed. The bill, sponsored by Councilmembers Yvette Alexander and David Grosso, would permit doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from any condition for which it provides medical benefits. Patients would then be allowed to apply to the Department of Health for acceptance in the District's medical marijuana program. All 13 members of the council are now cosponsors.

Illinois

Last Wednesday, a CBD medical marijuana bill passed the Senate. The bill would allow children to use high-CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy. Filed by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 2636 now heads for the House.

Maryland

On Monday, the state legislature passed a medical marijuana expansion bill. The bill would create 15 licenses for medical marijuana growers. The measure is Senate Bill 963. It also would allow dispensaries to operate and let growers sell the medicine directly. Passage of the bill into law would make Maryland a full-fledged medical marijuana state.

Minnesota

Last Thursday, medical marijuana supporters unleashed TV ads attacking Gov. Dayton for opposing medical marijuana. An aggressive TV ad targeted the DFL governor after he told a St. Paul mother and her seizure-ridden child to just find medical marijuana on the street!

On Tuesday, medical marijuana supporters tried to attach their stalled bill to a broader health bill. A standalone bill, House File 1818, has been stuck in committee, but supporters plan to propose it as an amendment to a separate health bill. The vote will come after the legislature returns from spring break later this month.

Missouri

On Tuesday, a House committee approved a CBD medical marijuana bill. The bill would permit use of "hemp extract" with little THC and high CBD. Patients would need to have epilepsy that a neurologist has determined is not responding to at least three treatment options. The bill is House Bill 2238, and it has the support of the Republican House leadership.

New Jersey

Last Thursday, a patient sued NJ Transit for denying him a job. A former New Jersey Transit worker and medical marijuana patient who was denied a new position with the agency after testing positive for marijuana is suing in hopes of seeing marijuana recognized as a legitimate medication. Charlie Davis, 57, said he was denied both safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive positions with the agency. Courts in other medical marijuana states have generally upheld the rights of employers to fire workers who use medical marijuana even if it is legal.

New Hampshire

On Wednesday, supporters rallied as a Senate committee considered a home cultivation bill. The measure, House Bill 1622, would allow two mature plants per patient, and the authorization would be only until a licensed cannabis dispensary opens within 30 miles of their residence.

Oregon

On Monday, the Newport city council enacted a moratorium on dispensaries. The council said the moratorium would remain until it could get rules and regulations in place, probably a few months. By state law, the moratorium must end by May 1, 2015.

Also on Monday, the Springfield city council rejected a moratorium on dispensaries. Other Lane County communities, including Florence, Junction City and Oakridge have approved one-year bans. Lane County and Veneta considered but decided against imposing moratoriums.

On Tuesday, the Coburg city council approved a moratorium on dispensaries.

South Carolina

Last Wednesday, the House passed a CBD medical marijuana bill. The bill allows people suffering from severe epilepsy to legally use CBD cannabis oil to control their seizures. House Bill 4803 is less restrictive than a Senate measure passed last week. It's unclear what happens next.

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

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Smarter Sentencing Act Picks Up More GOP Cosponsors

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 19:11

A sentencing reform measure pending in Congress has picked up more support from four more Republican members of the House this month. The Smarter Sentencing Act (House Resolution 3382/Senate Bill 1410) now has 26 cosponsors, including 10 Republicans. The Senate version of the bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in January.

[image:1 align:right]The bill, which is supported by the administration, would direct federal judges to not sentence some drug offenders to mandatory minimum sentences, reduces mandatory minimum sentences for other drug offenders, and applies the more lenient crack cocaine sentencing scheme under the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act to crack offenders sentenced before it was passed.

It also calls on the US Sentencing Commission to amend its sentencing guidelines and policy statements for drug offenders to minimize federal prison overcrowding and reduce and prevent racial disparities in sentencing, but at the same time directs that "penalties for violent and serious drug traffickers who present public safety risks remain appropriately severe."

The act is currently before the House Judiciary Committee. Bill sponsor Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) recently held a Republican Study Committee session on the bill, which resulted in four new GOP members signing on in one day.

The new cosponsors are Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mark Sanford (R-SC), and Chris Stewart (R-UT). For a complete list of sponsors, click here.

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Chronicle AM -- April 9, 2014

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 18:20

Attorney General Holder was on the pot-seat in Congress yesterday, New Jersey's legalization bill looks to have an uphill battle with public opinion, there's a psychedelic conference in Massachusetts this weekend, Uruguay is going to give medical marijuana to prisoners, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Holder Defends Administration Response to Marijuana, But Refuses to Go Further. Facing critics from both sides of the debate, Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday defended the administration's rather laissez-faire approach to marijuana legalization at the state level, but declined to go further to please reform supporters by taking executive branch action to reschedule the herb. He was appearing before the House Judiciary Committee. Click on the link for more details and some of the repartee.

GOP Congressman Calls for Republicans to Nominate Presidential Candidate With States' Rights Position on Marijuana. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said Tuesday that the Republican Party should field a presidential candidate who supports states' rights to legalize marijuana -- as part of a broader states' rights agenda that also includes scrapping the Department of Education. "I think we ought to look for a presidential candidate who will make that part of his message," he said. "Just transfer it all to the states. Now this government would have nothing to do with education, and how about, from now on, drug laws are considered criminal matters, which is what our Founding Fathers had in mind, and that is up to the states." Rohrabacher also claimed (rather fancifully, unfortunately) that "Reagan did not want to put people in jail. He did not want to militarize our county in order to stop people from smoking weed."

Poll Finds New Jersey Evenly Split on Legalization, Less Support for Actual Bill. A new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll has support for legalizing small amounts of marijuana at 48%, with 47% opposed. But when asked specifically about supporting a pot legalization bill, Senate Bill 1896, recently introduced by Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Middlesex), only 36% were in favor, with 49% opposed. "Obviously, New Jerseyans are really split on the idea of legalizing marijuana and are unsure about the specifics of the Scutari proposal," said Patrick Murray, director of the polling institute.

Medical Marijuana

Supporters Rally as New Hampshire Senate Considers Home Cultivation. Supporters of cannabis for therapeutic use are rallying in Concord this morning behind a bill that would allow for a limited home cultivation of marijuana plants for qualifying patients. The bill, House Bill 1622, would allow two mature plants per patient, and the authorization would be only until a licensed cannabis dispensary opens within 30 miles of their residence.

Missouri House Committee Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. A Missouri House committee has advanced legislation allowing the use of a cannabis extract by people whose epilepsy is not relieved by other treatments. House Bill 2238 passed the House General Laws Committee and is now set for a hearing in the House Rules Committee tomorrow.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill Derailed in Oklahoma. A bill that would require doctors to check their patients' drug histories before writing narcotic prescriptions was derailed Tuesday by a House committee chairman, but sponsors expressed hope they could keep the issue alive. Rep. David Derby, chairman of the House Public Health Committee, would not let the bill be heard Tuesday during his panel's last scheduled meeting before a deadline for committee approval. He said he was concerned about several elements of the bill, including a provision that could allow the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to fine physicians $2,000 for failing to check the online Prescription Monitoring Program. The measure is House Bill 3030.

Psychedelics

Psychedelic Conference This Weekend at UMass-Amherst. Psychedelic and research and policy experts will speak on issues relating to the role of psychedelics in culture, medicine and science at the Psymposium 2014: The Nature of Psychedelics conference. The conference will be held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on April 12 & 13 and is open to the public. Click on the link for all the details.

Law Enforcement

Another Lawsuit Filed Against Crooked Suburban Chicago Cops. Another lawsuit has been filed against the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg and three of its former undercover tactical narcotics officers, who have been accused of selling illegal drugs they seized from dealers. Xavier Neodina filed the suit Monday in federal court claiming police used falsified information to get a search warrant for his home, that he was then arrested and sexually assaulted while being held in the Cook County Jail, and the officers "intentionally schemed and worked together" to set him up. This is the fourth lawsuit filed against Schaumburg and its crooked cops. At least a dozen people convicted of drug offenses have been cleared of charges. One of the cops has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, while two others face trial later this month.

International

Uruguay to Provide Prisoners with Medical Marijuana. Prisoners in the jails of Uruguay will be able to use marijuana if a doctor says it will benefit their health. Uruguay's drug czar, Julio Calzada, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that any inmates with doctors' orders will be prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health.

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