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US OH: OPED: Law Better Option Than Amendment

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Morning Journal, 22 Apr 2016 - One way or another, it appears Ohioans who need it will have marijuana in their medicine cabinet. The only questions may be how soon and by whose rules. A bill introduced this week in the Legislature would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana edibles, patches, plant material and oils, but doesn't allow for the smokable form.
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Singapore: Singapore Will Not Soften Stand on Drugs: Shanmugam

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Straits Times, 22 Apr 2016 - Review Needed Only If There Is Evidence That a Different Model Will Work Better, He Says at UN Singapore will not soften its drug policies, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam has said at a United Nations meeting, pushing back against calls for a shift in approach to the global war on drugs.
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Singapore: Singapore Blasts Softer Drugs Stance

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Apr 2016 - Singapore has blasted widespread calls to make the worldwide fight against illicit drugs less punitive, using a major meeting at the UN to argue that a "soft approach" would cause a flood of narcotics to the island state. "We believe that drugs will destroy our society," said Singapore Home Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam.
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US NY: U.N. Hears Major Differences on Approach to Drug Use

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Star, 22 Apr 2016 - UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Jamaica defended its decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. Iran said it seized 620 tons of different types of drugs last year and is helping protect the world from "the evils of addiction." Cuba opposed the legalization of drugs or declaring them harmless. The first U.N. General Assembly special session to address global drug policy in nearly 20 years heard major differences on the approach to drug use on its second day Wednesday.
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US CA: Tunnel Found In San Diego From Mexico, With Elevator

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
New York Times, 22 Apr 2016 - United States authorities discovered a half-mile tunnel running between California and Tijuana, Mexico. They also seized a significant amount of cocaine and marijuana. For all the talk about a wall between the United States and Mexico, the problem with border security continues to be as much below ground as above. On Wednesday, officials in San Diego announced the discovery of another cross-border tunnel built by drug smugglers - the longest one found yet, at about half a mile.
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CN BC: Vancouver Fights Opioid Crisis With Prescriptions for

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 22 Apr 2016 - VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Dave Napio started doing heroin over four decades ago, at 11 years old. Like many addicts these days, he heads to Vancouver's gritty Downtown Eastside neighborhood when he needs a fix. But instead of seeking out a dealer in a dark alley, Napio, 55, gets his three daily doses from a nurse at Crosstown Clinic, the only medical facility in North America permitted to prescribe the narcotic at the center of an epidemic raging across the continent.
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UN Bicycle Day Rally Calls for Psychedelic Freedom

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 19:15

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

This year's United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs is notable for the increasing inclusion of non-governmental voices, with civil society being represented for the first time within the session itself. In this case, civil society refers to non-governmental organizations, most of which seem to oppose the existing international drug prohibition regime.

[image:1 align:right]But as the UNGASS proceeds this week, civil society is making itself heard not only inside the UN, but outside the formal structures of the meeting, too. At Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, in the very shadow of UN headquarters, demonstrators are showing up daily to promote a variety of drug reform-related causes.

On Monday, the Latin American Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and Moms United -- a group in which many members have lost children to prison, violence, or drug overdoses -- rallied hundreds of people to call for repealing global drug prohibition. On Wednesday, April 20, the cannabis culture contingent was out in force to call for marijuana legalization.

But the demonstration on Tuesday, April 19, was to promote a slightly more esoteric position: support for access to psychedelic drugs. The date is known by psychonauts as Bicycle Day, to commemorate April 19, 1943, the date Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann intentionally ingested his new creation, LSD-25, took off for home on his bicycle, and began tripping brains, inaugurating the modern psychedelic era.

The ride was a bit bumpy, with Hofmann reporting wavering vision, a sense of motionless, and a "weird, unfamiliar world." But it got better, as he wrote in his notes on the hallucinogenic trip:

Now, little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux.

Welcome to the psychedelic age. Between then and the late 1960s, LSD was the subject of much fascinating and provocative research, especially on its therapeutic uses for dealing with issues such as alcoholism, trauma, and depression. But that scientific interest was squelched by the prohibition of the drug (and its insertion into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in the US) after its use spread from scientific and research circles into the population at large, especially the hippies.

Still, interest in LSD and other psychedelics never went away, and now the mind-altering substances are making a comeback, both in the research community and in popular culture. Earlier this month, scientists examined the brains of people on acid using cutting-edge nuero-imaging techniques to show exactly what LSD does in the human brain. And further research on LSD and other psychedelics for therapeutic purposes is ongoing.

But the people in the plaza on Tuesday were, for the most part, not scientists and researchers but enthusiasts and psychedelic explorers. Led by Psymposia and the Psychedelic Society of Brooklyn (one of at least 50 city-based such societies around the world), they took on the question of why use, support, or call for the legalization of the consciousness-changing drugs by providing their own answers under the format of "Psychedelics Because…"

"The science has been there for 50 years, but that doesn't change hearts and minds," began event MC Lex Pelger as he urged a popular push for psychedelic acceptance. "When used properly and with intention, these drugs can be tremendously beneficial," he added, citing the recent (and not so recent) research on their therapeutic potential.

Pelger urged others in the audience to share their own stories, and they did.

"I was seriously depressed and then did iboga and cured myself," said someone identifying himself as Rainbow Star Guide. "Eat the plants!"

Another speaker, also citing problems with depression, said that he used ayahuasca to break free.

"It gave me a feeling of happiness, energy, and contentment," he said. "Think about the influence that psychedelic culture could have. These substances can open us up to try to build a better world, to save the world."

"The war on drugs is stealing happiness from the world!" interjected Pelger.

"Psychedelics can help shake you free of your shit," said another speaker, who identified as a shamanic practitioner who worked with ayahuasca, before playing a trippy ode to the powerful herbal concoction on a very strange drum-like instrument.

A young man who identified himself as a Muslim described his confusion and alienation growing up in the faith in America in the post-9/11 era. He told how he ate magic mushrooms at age 16 in a search for spiritual direction.

"That offered me the resilience and the head space to develop my own framework," he said.

Not everyone claimed profound, life-changing reasons for using psychedelics.

"Psychedelics because they make the music sound great and because my head doesn't belong to the state," said a long-haired man who appeared old enough to have melted his mind listening to Jimi Hendrix.

Some psychedelic researchers were present, including Neil Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and author of Psychedelic Healing: Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development.

"Psychedelics enhanced my practice by illuminating my insides," he said. "I do them and bring that insight and wisdom to my practice. Psychedelics should be permitted as an adjunct to psychotherapy," Goldsmith added.

Psychedelic science, medicine, and culture is undergoing a renaissance. It's breaking out all over, including this week in the shadows of UN headquarters. The nations of the world may not be listening yet, but the clamor is growing louder.

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Canada Will Move to Legalize Marijuana Next Year

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 19:02

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

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, elected last fall, campaigned on a promise that his Liberal government would legalize marijuana. Now, we're getting an idea of just when that is going to happen.

[image:1 align:left]Speaking at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem Wednesday, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott said the government will introduce legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana in spring 2017.

"Our approach to drugs must be comprehensive, collaborative, and compassionate. It must respect human rights while promoting shared responsibility. And it must have a firm scientific foundation. In Canada, we will apply those principles with regard to marijuana," she said.

"To that end, we will introduce legislation [to legally regulate marijuana] in spring 2017 that ensures we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and the profits out of the hands of criminals. While this plan challenges the status quo in many countries, we are convinced it is the best way to protect our youth while enhancing public safety."

Canada's is a parliamentary system, which generally means that if the government introduces a bill, it becomes law. There could be unforeseen bumps in the road, but it appears all but certain that the land of the maple leaf is soon going to become the land of the pot leaf, too.

In the meantime, government officials, including legalization point man former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, are emphasizing that until the law changes, marijuana remains illegal except for medicinal purposes. After a Canadian Supreme Court decision in March, medical marijuana users will be able to grow their own, a right that was taken away by the previous Conservative government.

But within a couple of years, any adult Canadian should be able to join them.

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CN BC: Editorial: It Shouldn't Be That Hard To Legalize

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 21 Apr 2016 - It seemed appropriate the federal Liberal government chose 4-20 - pot smokers' favourite day - to announce a timeline to live up to its campaign promise to legalize marijuana. At a United Nations conference on drug policy, Health Minister Jane Philpott declared legislation to legalize marijuana will come in 2017.
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CN BC: Locals Pass On 420 Pot Holiday

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Penticton Herald, 21 Apr 2016 - Marijuana Users Look Forward To Liberals Following Through With Legalization Plan The most sacred day in cannabis culture passed with little fanfare in Penticton, although marijuana users everywhere were treated to some good news from the federal government to puff on.
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Canada: Canada To Introduce Bill To Allow Marijuana Sales

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 21 Apr 2016 - OTTAWA - The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it will introduce legislation next year to decriminalize and legalize the sale of marijuana, making Canada the first G7 country to permit widespread use of the substance. The announcement was made by Canada's health minister, Jane Philpott, at a U.N. drug conference in New York. It follows through on a promise made during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's successful election campaign last fall.
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US NY: Call To Support War On Drugs

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
The Pretoria News, 21 Apr 2016 - NEW YORK - Afghanistan has called for more international support for its efforts in fighting the drug problem as the anti-narcotics war is "beyond the limits of any single government". Slamat Azimi, the minister of counter narcotics of Afghanistan, made the statement at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem here.
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US: Thousands Puff For Legal Pot At 4/20 Parties

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Porterville Recorder, 21 Apr 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Thousands sent up a cheer and a collective plume of marijuana smoke at the stroke of 4:20 p.m. Wednesday in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. They gathered at the park's "Hippie Hill" to toke up, eat and drink the afternoon away into the night. A plane dragging a banner encouraging attendees to "smoke weed" circled overhead, while unlicensed vendors set up tables and makeshift tents to sell all types and strains of bud, not to mention T-shirts, pipes and food.
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US NY: Trend Shifting Towards More Liberal Drug Laws

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
The Pretoria News, 21 Apr 2016 - NEW YORK - The UN General Assembly is rethinking the global strategy in the war on narcotics for the first time in two decades as activists, UN officials and world leaders cited an international trend towards more liberal drug laws. Despite agreement to deal with the global drug problem, there are deep divisions among the 193 member states.
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South Africa: OPED: Time For A Truce In The War On Drugs

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
The Pretoria News, 21 Apr 2016 - A More Nuanced Stand Needed AS THE last century drew to a close, and the West continued to congratulate itself on reaching the "End of History" and the sunny triumph of liberal democracy, the UN announced a bold ambition: to secure a "drug-free world". With communism having been overcome, the cycle of economic boom and bust seemingly broken, declaring war on an illegal, global trade must have felt to some like the next step towards social nirvana.
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US MA: State Official Looks for Limits on Legal Marijuana Sales

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 21 Apr 2016 - Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who would oversee regulation of the state's recreational marijuana industry if voters approve a ballot measure this fall, said Wednesday the Legislature should ban home cultivation and delay retail sales of the drug if the proposal passes. She also wants state lawmakers to restrict marijuana edibles such as candy that can be attractive to children and to give her office money to regulate the new industry in the early going.
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Canada: Dagga Set To Be Decriminalised

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Cape Argus, 21 Apr 2016 - TORONTO - Canada's Liberal government will introduce legislation to decriminalise and regulate recreational marijuana next year, Health Minister Jane Philpott said yesterday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during last year's election campaign that his Liberals would legalise recreational marijuana, following the US states of Washington and Colorado, but the time frame had been unclear.
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US NY: 'Tackle Drug Networks, Terror Acts'

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
The Pretoria News, 21 Apr 2016 - NEW YORK - India has voiced its concern over "the growing nexus of drug trafficking and terrorist networks", saying that "we have to continue and toughen our collective fight against these evils". Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley was addressing the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem here.
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US AZ: Column: Treating Parkinson's

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 21 Apr 2016 - MMJ is one treatment that can help, but our state needs some convincing April is Parkinson's Awareness Month and so now is a good time to have some discussion about cannabis treatments for these conditions and the state of Medical Marijuana in Arizona.
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US CA: Narcan Can Bring Overdose Victims Back From the Dead

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 21 Apr 2016 - Sacramento's Deadly Fentanyl Outbreak Underscores Antidote's Access Barriers Presh doesn't remember what it's like to come back from the dead. But her mom sure does.
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