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Chronicle AM: ME MedMJ Crackdown, Duterte Faces Heat Over Human Rights Abuses, More... (11/10/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 20:42

The DEA will enact an emergency ban on fentanyl analogs, Maine officials try to tighten up the medical marijuana market, NGOs and individuals target Filipino President Duterte ahead of the ASEAN Summit, and more.

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

North Dakotans Gear Up for Legalization Initiative Campaign. Coming off a successful medical marijuana initiative campaign last year, state activists are eyeing a full-blown legalization initiative for 2018. The Recreational Marijuana/Expungement initiative campaign is expected to file with the secretary of state's office next week. If approved there, the measure could then move on to the signature gathering phase.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Poll Has Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. A new Georgia College poll has support for medical marijuana at 77%, up 13 points from the same poll two years ago. Rep. Allan Peake (R-Macon) has been pushing for medical marijuana for several years; this poll should give a boost to his efforts in 2018.

Maine Cracks Down on Medical Marijuana. The state Health Department issued new rules Wednesday that tighten the state's medical marijuana market. Under the new rules, authorities can conduct surprise inspections of grows, and the department is implementing a new patient tracking system. The changes will go into effect on February 1.

Industrial Hemp

Wisconsin Senate Passes Hemp Bill. The Senate has unanimously approved a measure that would legalize the production and cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill would create a system of state licenses for farmers to legally grow hemp. The measure now goes to the Assembly, which is also expected to pass the bill.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

DEA Will Enact Emergency Ban on Fentanyl Analogs.The Department of Justice Thursday announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intends to take immediate action against the flow of illicit fentanyl analogues into this country and the alarming increase in overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids by scheduling all fentanyl-related substances on an emergency basis. When the DEA's order takes effect, anyone who possesses, imports, distributes, or manufactures any illicit fentanyl analogue will be subject to criminal prosecution in the same manner as for fentanyl and other controlled substances. The action announced Thursday will make it easier for federal prosecutors and agents to prosecute traffickers of all forms of fentanyl-related substances.

International

On Eve of ASEAN Summit, Hundreds of Groups Call for UN Probe of Philippines Drug War Killings. More than 280 nongovernmental organizations and individuals have renewed calls for a UN-led investigation into the thousands of deaths linked to the Philippines drug war as the country prepares to host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit this weekend. They all signed onto a statement coordinated by Stopthedrugwar.org executive director David Borden and "organized by a coalition including the leading human rights organizations in the Philippines, Filipino-American advocacy groups, drug policy reform, recovery, (and) HIV/AIDS groups," among others. The move came after President Duterte again insisted he would brook no criticism of his human rights record, warning that he would tell US President Trump to "lay off" if he brought up the issue. But Trump has given no indication he has any concerns about human rights abuses in the Philippines.

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Philippines: When Trump Meets The Philippines' Duterte, 'Drug War'

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov 2017 - In President Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines, the police, with his explicit support, have killed thousands of alleged drug dealers and users without due process, some while they were in jail, or asleep, or at home with their families. They allegedly shot a 17-year-old while he was in custody, then dumped his remains in an alley. The youngest victim was 4. Human rights groups, the U.S. Congress, the European Union and the United Nations have all condemned Duterte's "war on drugs." Yet when President Trump meets Duterte in Manila, it probably won't enter the conversation.
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CN BC: Column: D-E-C-R-I-M-I-N-A-L-I-Z-E

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:00
Kamloops This Week, 10 Nov 2017 - A quarter-century ago, Abbotsford had its moment of clarity with respect to drugs and gangs. After repeated denials by the city's municipal police department that gangs were active in the Fraser Valley city, the truth was laid bare when 18-year-old Kirby Martin was shot and killed in a parking lot of a mall along the city's main strip, South Fraser Way.
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CN MB: Budding Opportunity

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:00
Winnipeg Sun, 10 Nov 2017 - Legal pot sales could lead to $95M annual profits for province Legal pot sales in Manitoba could raise as much as $95 million a year for government after five years if the province could take over 80% of the black market, according to recent figures released by the Pallister government.
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Press Release: Global Statement Calls for International Action on Philippine Drug War Killings

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 22:17

Concern Growing in Asia, US, World Over Philippines Extrajudicial Drug War Killings

In Advance of ASEAN Summit, More Than 270 NGOs, Political Leaders, Human Rights and Health Advocates Call for International Pressure -- and for Justice

[image:1 align:right caption:true]A global coalition released a statement today calling for urgent measures to stop Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's murderous drug war and to seek justice. The statement comes just before President Trump (who has repeatedly praised Duterte's drug war) will meet with Duterte for the first time, during the ASEAN Summit in the Philippines November 12-14. In anticipation, Duterte has reportedly told Trump to "lay off" human rights issues. Trump is one of 21 world leaders, along with the UN's Secretary General, expected to attend the Summit.

Of the more than 200 NGO endorsers on the statement, more than 40 are based in Asia, including a majority of ASEAN member states as well as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The statement also lists several Asia-wide networks on issues such as HIV, transgender and drug user concerns, and youth democracy activism.

A political component of the statement's outreach efforts is in the early stages, but includes legislators from Canada, Italy, Cambodia, and Washington State, as well as other political and governmental officials from Singapore, Canada and the UK.

"We call for a process of accountability, starting with a UN-led investigation," says the statement. "We likewise call on world leaders attending the ASEAN Summit to unequivocally call for an end to the killings and for human rights to be respected."

The statement notes: "Since the Philippines escalated its 'drug war' in June of last year, over 3,900 people have been killed in anti-drug operations, with nearly 2,300 more drug-related murders and thousands still 'unexplained,' according to police reports. Estimates by media and human rights groups for the total drug war killings have ranged from 7,000 up to 14,000. Appearance suggests there may be a deliberate policy of extrajudicial killing." (References are available in the statement's end notes section.)

The statement was organized by a coalition including the leading human rights organizations in the Philippines, Filipino American advocacy groups, drug policy reform, HIV/AIDS groups and others. It was coordinated by the Washington-DC based organization StoptheDrugWar.org, whose executive director David Borden organized a forum on extrajudicial killings at the UN in Vienna last March that became highly controversial in the Philippines.

Notable signatories on the document include the National Organization for Women (NOW), Doctors of the World, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG, a nationwide Philippines human rights lawyers group founded during the Marcos dictatorship years), Treatment Communities of America, prominent human rights advocate and actor of MASH fame Mike Farrell, former police chief of Seattle Norm Stamper, and others.

"President Duterte has defined a particular section of Philippine society as inhuman & worthy of elimination -- namely the poor," said Ellecer Carlos, spokesperson for In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), the largest human rights coalition in the Philippines. "Instead of caring for these people and addressing the root cause of their problems, this present leadership has chosen to assault and further brutalize them."

Carlos was featured speaker at a forum at the US Congress's Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in July. 'A bill in the US Senate to impose human rights conditions on law enforcement assistance to the Philippines, "The Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017," was introduced in May by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), and has 'seven cosponsors. Lantos Commission co-chairs Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and James McGovern (D-MA) sent a 'letterto President Trump this week urging him to "impress upon President Duterte the United States' profound concern over reported extra-judicial killings associated with the Philippine government's 'war on drugs.'"

Ago Pedalizo of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA) said, "President Duterte, through reprehensible public statements, has instigated unabated extrajudicial killings of thousands of drug suspects by police and vigilante elements as part of his war on drugs. We call on the Philippine government to conduct a thorough and effective investigation of the killings, and to fully cooperate with investigations by international human rights advocates."

"It is unfortunate that President Trump has repeatedly praised not only Duterte personally, but Duterte's bloody drug war too," said Borden. "I hope that both presidents change course on this. In the meantime, Congress should step in by including language from the Cardin/Rubio bill in the pending State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill."

The statement concludes: "The world is at a crossroads. At this uncertain time, lawlessness and extrajudicial violence must not become a model for more countries. When human rights are attacked, all are called on to act -- by individual conscience, age-old moral principles, and the global agreements seeking peace and security for all. The time for action is now."

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Chronicle AM: Mexican Military's Drug War Abuses, Norway Reduces LSD Penalties, More... (11/9/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:54

The man behind Florida's medical marijuana initiatives is considering a run for governor and now wants to legalize it, a battle over medical marijuana is looming in Indiana, a new report says the Mexican military is getting away with murder in its US-backed drug war, and more.

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

Colorado Towns Approve New Pot Taxes. Voters in several localities approved proposals to set new marijuana taxes on Tuesday. Eagle County approved new sales and excise taxes that will start at 2.5% and increase to 5%. The town of De Beque appoved a 5% sales tax, while Longmont approved a 3% tax and Berthoud a 7% one.

Florida Attorney, Possible Gubernatorial Candidate, Says Legalize It. Florida attorney John Morgan, the man behind the state's medical marijuana initiatives, is considering a run at the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and he says he's ready to legalize marijuana. "As to marijuana itself -- and I've kind of evolved to this point -- I believe now that the real answer is that we should just legalize marijuana, period, in America," he said in an interview with WUFT TV. "There's so many kids, young people, whose lives are ruined forever for possession of marijuana. And you get arrested, yeah, you may not go to jail, but that may be the end of West Point, that may be the end of law school, that may be the end of getting this university, it may be the end of that job."

Medical Marijuana

Indiana Battle Lines Forming Over Medical Marijuana. A group of military veterans advocating for medical marijuana is holding a news conference today to make their case for legalization, but they're facing opposition from the state's county prosecutors, who have urged state leaders to resist legalization "in any form, for any purpose." In making their case, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys deployed Reefer Madness-style rhetoric, writing that "despite claims of the contrary, the legalization of marijuana could further exacerbate Indiana's opioid epidemic," and, "that information purporting that marijuana is medicine is based on half-truths and anecdotal evidence."

International

Backed by US Anti-Drug Funds, Mexico's Military is Getting Away With Murder, New Report Charges. A new report from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) charges that the Mexican military is resorting to torture, sexual violence, extrajudicial executions, and forced disappearances as it pursues its fight against drug trafficking organizations. Rampant violations go unpunished, and the report exposes a culture of impunity and a lack of transparency within the military. "Violence has increased in the country while human rights violations persist, the urgency and pressure to pass reforms to strengthen the civilian police force has decreased, and accountability has been virtually nonexistent," the report noted.

Norway Lowers Penalties for LSD Possession. Hearing an appeal from a man sentenced to five months in jail for possession of LSD for personal use, the Supreme Court has instead sentenced him to 45 hours of community service, setting the stage for a more general relaxation of penalties for LSD possession for personal use.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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CN NS: Column: Strictly Regulated Legal Pot Environment Expected

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:00
The News, 09 Nov 2017 - Nova Scotians thinking that next July they'll be able to nip down to the corner pot shop whenever they want, might want to chill until they see the province's plan. Cannabis will be legal next summer, but the rules and regulations are yet to come and Nova Scotia, along with the other Atlantic Provinces, will create tightly controlled, strictly regulated environments.
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CN ON: OPED: Still Much To Learn About Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:00
The Sun Times, 09 Nov 2017 - Many Canadians can hardly wait for the day that the recreational use of marijuana becomes legal. As a doctor, I'm far less enthusiastic. I worry about two things: the experimental nature of marijuana in medical practice, and the public health consequences of legalized marijuana. Before you write me off as overly prudish or an anti-marijuana conservative, let me say that I'm not opposed to legalized marijuana in principle. I'm just paying attention to the evidence, or rather, the lack of it. My concern is that as marijuana becomes more easily available, Canadians may become more inclined to self-medicate with this drug.
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CN MB: Column: Union Needs To Get Real

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:00
Winnipeg Sun, 09 Nov 2017 - MGEU off-base when it comes to private pot stores Manitoba's largest union is accusing the Pallister government of compromising the safety of Manitobans and foregoing millions in profits by allowing private retailers to sell marijuana once it becomes legal next year.
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CN BC: Column: Marketing Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:00
Vancouver 24hours, 09 Nov 2017 - The guidelines are strict but it won't matter According to new marijuana marketing guidelines released Wednesday by The Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Branding after working with Advertising Standards Canada, companies marketing marijuana will not be able to use animals to sell pot nor will be they be able to promote the use of cannabis itself ( just brand preference) and they will be required to advertise in places where over 70 per cent of the audience is adult (or above the age of majority in the particular province).
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:48

A Hackensack narc bails to avoid problems over illegal searches, a Tennessee cop gets nailed for pain pills, and more prison guards break bad. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Mountain City, Tennessee, a Mountain City police officer was arrested Monday on drug and weapons charges in a federal sting. Lt. Ronald Shupe went down after buying Oxycontin tablets from an informant working with the FBI and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. He is also accused of giving pain pills to another informant. He is charged with possession with intent to distribute and being an unlawful user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm. He is on administrative leave without pay.

In Hackensack, New Jersey, a former Hackensack narcotics unit commander resigned last Wednesday in a deal that allows him to keep his benefits even though he is embroiled in an internal affairs investigation of warrantless drug searches that led to the dismissal of at least eight drug cases. Capt. Vincent Riotto resigned shortly before a scheduled disciplinary hearing where he and five officers he commanded were to face charges of mishandling evidence, illegally entering an apartment building, and conducting warrantless searches.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a former Michigan state prison guard was found guilty October 26 of participating in a drug smuggling ring at the prison. James Kitchen had been arrested in a March drug bust that yielded kilos of cocaine, heroin, meth, and ecstasy. He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to launder money. He is set to be sentenced on February 5.

In Hagatna, Guam, a Guamanian prison guard was sentenced October 26 to more than three years in federal prison for trying to sneak methamphetamine into the prison. Ronald Periera, 48, went down when he was searched upon arriving at work, and fellow officers found $951 in cash, meth hidden in a cigarette pack, and meth sealed in a clear plastic bag wrapped up in a rolled dollar bill. Officers found more contraband in his car in the prison parking lot. He had pleaded guilty to possession of meth with intent to distribute and providing contraband in prison.

In Westover, Maryland, a state prison guard was sentenced Monday to nearly four years in federal prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy operating inside the state prison in Westover. Xavier Holden, 28, is one of 80 prisoners, relatives, and guards charged in two racketeering indictments over a scheme to bribe guards to smuggle drugs, tobacco, and cell phones into the prison.

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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:15

The FDA cracks down on claims marijuana cures cancer, Michigan's dispensaries catch a break and Detroit's dispensaries win on Election Day, a South Dakota initiative hands in signatures, and more.

[image:1 align:right]National

Last Tuesday, The FDA cracked down on claims marijuana cures cancer The Food and Drug Administration sent letters to four companies warning them they cannot market their products as treatments for cancer. The letter is directed at companies who claim their products can combat tumors and kill cancer cells. "We don't let companies market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims that their substance can shrink or cure cancer and we're not going to look the other way on enforcing these principles when it comes to marijuana-containing products," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Last Thursday, an American Legion poll found strong support for medical marijuana among veterans. A poll from the American Legion found support for medical marijuana at a whopping 83% among veterans surveyed. Even more -- 92% -- support research into the clinical efficacy of medical marijuana. The American Legion passed a resolution at its national conference in August urging the federal government to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where it is legal.

Michigan

Last Wednesday, the state reversed itself on forcing dispensaries to close during the transition to a new regulatory regime. After ferocious blowback from patients concerned they could lose access to their medicine, the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reversed an earlier decision forcing dispensaries to shut down while the licensing process for them under a new state law is completed. Now, the dispensaries will be able to stay open past December 15, the day they were supposed to have to shut down.

On Tuesday, Detroit voters approved medical marijuana ballot proposals. Voters in the Motor City approved two ordinances to loosen zoning restrictions and other rules around the city's medical marijuana industry. The ordinances are a popular response to tight zoning laws and rules passed by the city council last year. The marijuana facilities ordinance won with 60.15% of the vote and the marijuana zoning ordinance won with 58.85% of the vote.

North Dakota

On Monday, the Health Department said medical marijuana was still a year away. The state Health Department announced proposed administrative rules for such things as lab testing, security requirements, and transportation regulations, and added that the proposed rules will be open for public comment until December 26. The department also said it doesn't expect the drug to be available for sale to patients for another year -- two years after it was approved by voters.

Ohio

Last Friday, the state issued its first medical marijuana grower licenses. State officials announced they had issued 11 Level II medical marijuana licenses. The licenses will allow holders to begin medical marijuana growing operations.

Pennsylvania

Last Wednesday, the state started signing up patients. The state Health Department announced that it had launched its patient and caregiver registry, bringing patients one step closer to being able to legally access their medicine. Medical marijuana should be available for patients by May 1, the department said.

Last Thursday, patients showed they were interested. The state Health Department reported that more than a thousand people registered on the first day of open applications for the state's new Medical Marijuana Program. That includes both patients and caregivers.

South Dakota

On Tuesday, medical marijuana initiative organizers handed in signatures. Sponsors of an initiative to legalize medical marijuana turned in 15,000 raw signatures Tuesday, the deadline day for initiatives to turn in signatures. The state requires 14,000 valid voter signatures for the measure to qualify for the ballot, and initiative campaigns typically have an invalid signature rate of between 10% and 30%, so it still looks like an uphill battle to get the measure before the voters. A marijuana legalization initiative failed to gather enough signatures to pass this first hurdle.

Tennessee

Last Thursday, state Democrats endorsed medical marijuana. The state Democratic Party's executive committee has passed a resolution calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. The state has seen repeated attempts to pass a medical marijuana bill, to no avail so far.

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

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Chronicle AM: NJ Elects MJ-Friendly Gov, Canada NDP Head Calls for Drug Decrim, More... (11/8/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 19:55

Election day brought good news for marijuana reformers in New Jersey, Detroit, and an Ohio town; Canada's NDP leader calls for drug decriminalization, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Maine Republicans Threaten to Block Pot Bill If Not Overhauled. The Republican House Minority Leader, Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport), says that after Gov. LePage (R) vetoed the bill to regulate marijuana commerce, it must be altered or it will face another veto. Fredette and the Republicans want tougher penalties for impaired driving, removing "loopholes" from the medical marijuana program, and killing a tax-sharing provision for locales that host marijuana businesses. "If they don't, they'll get more of the same: they'll get another veto," said Fredette on Tuesday. "Rank-and-file House Republicans are frustrated. Our districts think this is moving too fast. If they don't reach out to House Republicans, who have been the most powerful force in Augusta for the past five years and the only group that is willing to work closely with the governor, they'll end up with another veto, and we will sustain that one as easily as we did this one." Meanwhile, it remains legal to possess and grow marijuana for personal use.

Democratic Victory in New Jersey Governor Race a Good Omen for Legalization. Voters elected a pro-marijuana legalization Democrat to replace Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday. Governor-elect Phil Murphy made marijuana legalization part of his campaign and has said he will sign a legalization bill if it reaches his desk. A legalization bill sponsored by Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Union), S3195, has already been filed, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who controls which bills move, said his goal was to get the bill passed within the first 100 days of the Murphy administration.

Athens, Ohio, Depenalizes Marijuana. Voters in the Ohio city approved The Athens Cannabis Ordinance (TACO) on Tuesday with 77% of the vote. TACO removes all penalties for the possession, cultivation, and gifting of up to 200 grams of marijuana. Last November, four other communities passed similar measures. Under state law, though, marijuana possession remains a minor misdemeanor, with fines, but no jail time.

Cook County, Illinois, Commissioner Wants Marijuana on the March Primary Ballot. Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said on Tuesday he plans to let county residents hold a non-binding vote on marijuana legalization in the March primary election. Fritchey said he already has enough support for the idea from other commission members to get the measure on the ballot. Cook County, the home of Chicago, contains 40% of Illinois voters.

Medical Marijuana

South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative Turns in Signatures. Sponsors of an initiative to legalize medical marijuana turned in 15,000 raw signatures Tuesday, the deadline day for initiatives to turn in signatures. The state requires 14,000 valid voter signatures for the measure to qualify for the ballot, and initiative campaigns typically have an invalid signature rate of between 10% and 30%, so it still looks like an uphill battle to get the measure before the voters. A marijuana legalization initiative failed to gather enough signatures to pass this first hurdle.

Detroit Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Ballot Proposals. Voters in the Motor City approved two ordinances to loosen zoning restrictions and other rules around the city's medical marijuana industry. The ordinances are a popular response to tight zoning laws and rules passed by the city council last year. The marijuana facilities ordinance won with 60.15% of the vote and the marijuana zoning ordinance won with 58.85% of the vote.

International

Canada New Democratic Party Leader Calls for Drug Decriminalization. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh Tuesday called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider drug decriminalization as a response to the country's opioid crisis. Trudeau has previously dismissed such pleas. Singh argued that the majority of Canadians struggling with opioids also struggle with mental health issues and poverty and that the solution to the crisis lies in social justice, not criminal justice.

South Africa's Highest Court Considers Marijuana Legalization. The country's Constitutional Court heard arguments Tuesday on the government's appeal of a case from the Western Cape High Court, which had held in March that arrests for growing marijuana for personal use at home violated citizens' right to privacy and gave the government two years to amend the Drug Trafficking Act to incorporate that decision. A decision on the appeal is expected by next March.

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CN BC: Revelstoke Secondary School Receives Naloxone Kits

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:00
Revelstoke Times Review, 08 Nov 2017 - Staff at Revelstoke Secondary School now have a new tool to keep students safe. The high school received two Naloxone kits at the end of September. Naloxone is used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.
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CN BC: Editorial: Better Safe Than Sorry

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:00
Revelstoke Times Review, 08 Nov 2017 - The fentanyl crisis in B.C. continues to worsen. In the past five years, the province has gone from 12 fentanyl-related deaths to 823 between between January and August this year. There have been no fentanyl-related deaths reported in Revelstoke, but RCMP still believe that the powerful opioid has made its way into the community.
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CN BC: Editorial: Lighting Up The Economy

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:00
Penticton Western, 08 Nov 2017 - Being illegal - for now - makes it hard to pin down just how big the market for marijuana is, but one estimate suggests it's at least as large as hard liquor sales, about $5 billion annually. The report, from financial services firm Deloitte, estimates the market for legalized recreational marijuana could give Canada's economy a $22.6 billion annual boost when you include growers, equipment suppliers and the like.
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Chronicle AM: CA Magic Mushroom Initiative Approved for Signature Gathering, More... (11/7/17)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 20:24

The Maine legislature fails to override the governor's veto of the pot regulation bill, a California initiative to legalize magic mushrooms gets the okay for signature gathering, North Dakotans will wait another year for their medical marijuana, and more.

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

Maine House Fails to Override Veto of Marijuana Regulation Bill. The House voted Monday to sustain Gov. Paul LePage's (R) veto of a bill providing a legal regulatory framework for marijuana commerce. What happens next is unclear. A moratorium on recreational sales expires on February 1. The legislature reconvenes in January, but there is little indication political dynamics will change between now and then. If the moratorium is not extended and a new bill passed, the law as passed by voters in 2016 would go into effect. "I feel like we legalized gasoline, but not gas stations," Rep. Martin Grohman told the Portland Press-Herald.

Medical Marijuana

North Dakota Says Medical Marijuana Still a Year Away. The state Health Department Monday announced proposed administrative rules for such things as lab testing, security requirements, and transportation regulations, and added that the proposed rules will be open for public comment until December 26. The department also said it doesn't expect the drug to be available for sale to patients for another year -- two years after it was approved by voters.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Florida's Largest Insurer Stops Covering Oxycontin. The state's largest health insurance company will stop covering OxyContin, the brand name prescription opioid, beginning January 1, in a bid to reduce overdoses and opioid dependence. Instead, Florida Blue will start covering an alternative opioid that isn't crushable for injection or snorting, reducing its potential for abuse, the company said Monday. That other drug is Xtampza ER, which also contains oxycodone, but which is designed to deter abuse because the pills cannot be crushed for snorting or injection.

Psychedelics

California Magic Mushroom Legalization Initiative Approved for Signature Gathering. An initiative that would legalize psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been approved for signature gathering by state officials. The California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative needs 365,880 valid voter signatures by April 30 to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

Sentencing

Massachusetts Sentencing Reform Bill Filed. House leaders Monday proposed sweeping changes to the state's criminal justice and sentencing laws. It's a mixed bag: Some provisions would allow for the expungement of marijuana offenses and end some mandatory minimum drug sentences, but others would increase sentences for dealing in opioids. The bill also includes pre-trial diversion programs and bail reforms. The House will debate the measures next week. The Senate has already passed its own version of a criminal justice reform bill.

International

Canada's Newest Safe Injection Site Approved in Ottawa. Health Canada has given final approval for a safe injection site in Ottawa, which will be housed in a trailer in a hospital parking lot. Operators said they expected to begin welcoming clients today.

Dutch Localities Line Up for Regulated Marijuana Cultivation Pilot Project. Some 25 of the country's 380 local authorities have applied to participate in pilot schemes to allow the regulated growth of marijuana to supply the nation's fabled cannabis cafes. Among those councils which have come forward are Breda, the Noord-Brabant town of Cuijk, and Rotterdam, where mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants the experiment to cover distribution as well. The government is expected to announce which locales win spots in the pilot program next year.

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CN NS: Column: Elderly Being Left Out Of Cannabis Discussions

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:00
Chronicle Herald, 07 Nov 2017 - For months, Ralph (all names have been changed), neighbour to my friend The Chairman, has left his house only for doctor visits and a couple of hospital stints. That's not for lack of trying. Prescribed mind-numbing meds put the former coal miner into a fog. Several times he insisted that he needed to go outside, rolled his wheelchair to the front door, tried to stand but instead tumbled, like laundry out of a basket, like a milk bottle smashed on the floor.
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CN ON: OPED: How Canada Can Properly Deal With The Opioid Crisis

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 07 Nov 2017 - Canada's response to the opioid crisis has been fragmented and marginally effective at best. We deserve a better approach, and the answers are out there. Other countries are effectively dealing with the issue and Canada should be more open to learning from them. There are several key steps we can take to ensure Canadians with addiction can lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. First, we need to recognize this is actually a crisis. Do you remember SARS and how it impacted every Canadian with a focused response from our public health teams? Forty-four Canadians died from SARS. How about AIDS at its peak in 1995? We all were aware of the crisis and as Canadians we worked together diligently to help. That year about 1,400 people died from AIDS. Compare this to over 2,400 Canadians dying from opioid overdoses in 2016 and the number likely to double in 2017.
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CN ON: No Marijuana Store For Brantford, Yet

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:00
The Expositor, 07 Nov 2017 - Mayor Chris Friel says he isn't surprised that Brantford is not among the first Ontario cities selected to have legal marijuana stores by next July. "All of the cities on the list have had problems with illegal dispensaries," Friel said Monday.
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