Latest News

US: Studies Link Legal Marijuana With Fewer Opioid Prescriptions

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 07:00
Lexington Herald-Leader, 02 Apr 2018 - Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may. Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws have proposed it as a lower-risk alternative to opioids. But some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid use, and so might make the epidemic worse.
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CN BC: Vet Can't Imagine Practising Today Without CBD

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/01/2018 - 07:00
Richmond News, 01 Apr 2018 - Veterinarian Katherine Kramer remembers an 18-year-old cat she recommended be put on hemp-based cannabidoil (CBD). "It had heart disease and pancreatitis so painful the traditional amount of pain medication knocked him out and he had no quality of life," says Kramer, a veterinarian at Vancouver Animal Wellness Clinic. "So, I contacted the [medicinal marijuana] Compassion Club."
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US AK: Alaska Marijuana Testing Lab Closes, Leaving Only 2 In State

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/01/2018 - 07:00
Kansas City Star, 01 Apr 2018 - One of only three marijuana testing labs in Alaska has shut down, leaving the state's cannabis growers with only two options for state-mandated testing. Steep Hill Alaska, of Anchorage, declared in an Instagram post Thursday that the lab is "suspending cannabis testing operations on March 31," the Juneau Empire reported .
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US MA: Recreational Marijuana Licensing To Begin Monday

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/01/2018 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 01 Apr 2018 - On Monday at noon, decades of debate all come down to this: a click of a computer mouse by a state technology contractor. With that, the Massachusetts state government's system for legal pot use will blink to life, and businesses can begin applying for licenses to grow, process, and sell cannabis to adults 21 and older.
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Chronicle AM: Pot-Friendly States Want Sessions Meeting, Indonesia Regressing on Drugs, More... (3/30/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 19:46

Treasurers from a handful of marijuana-friendly states ask for a meeting with Attorney General Sessions, Massachusetts pot shops can seek licenses beginning next week, Indonesia's latest draft criminal code reform is not exactly progressive on drug policy, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Marijuana-Friendly States Want Meeting With Sessions. State treasurers from California, Illinois, Oregon, and Pennsylvania sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday seeking a meeting in hopes of resolving conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws. The state treasurers are particularly concerned with the lack of clarity for businesses and banks. The absence of federal rules "leaves the industry and financial institutions in the dark," the treasurers said.

Massachusetts Pot Shops Can Start Applying for Licenses on Monday. The state Cannabis Control Commission made it official Thursday: Prospective marijuana purveyors can begin the process of applying for state licenses as of next Monday. "Starting on April 2, prospective licensees may begin applying for Priority Certification as Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD) or Economic Empowerment Applicants, which provides eligibility to apply for a marijuana establishment license on April 17. All other license types will start the application process on May 1 or June 1, depending on the category," the commission announced Thursday. Retail stores will be able to open starting July 1, depending on whether local regulatory ordinances have been finalized.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Lawmakers Approve Adding PTSD, Intractable Pain to List of Qualifying Disorders. The legislature has approved a measure, House Bill 65, that would add PTSD and intractable pain to the list of disorders that can be treated under the states CBD cannabis oil law.The bill now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal (R) for his approval or veto.

Michigan Orders More Than 200 Dispensaries to Close Their Doors. State regulators said Thursday they had ordered 210 medical marijuana dispensaries to shut down in the past two weeks largely because they failed to apply for a state license by mid-February or because they were not authorized by local authorities. More than 150 of the shops are in Detroit.

Utah Governor Announces Opposition to Medical Marijuana Initiative. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has come out against a medical marijuana initiative that has broad popular support and is likely to be on the November ballot. Herbert argued that a limited bill he signed this year was "an important first step," but that the initiative could "potentially open the door to recreational use."

International

Indonesia Moving Firmly Backwards on Drug Policy. The country is revising its criminal code, and in doing so, is continuing to embrace drug war dogma, with proposed revisions that promote harsh penalties for drug use and possession, up to and including the death penalty for some drug offenses. The draft bill contains 22 articles on the use, possession, couriering, and smuggling of narcotics, all of which are treated as criminal offenses punishable with jail time, or in severe cases, death by firing squad. This isn't new for Indonesia, but it's not progressive change, either.

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US MD: CBD Is Cannabis That Won't Get You High. So Why Are So Many

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 30 Mar 2018 - In a lowlit room at Joy's Spa in Washington, Dawn Franklin is smoothing a creamy white mask onto Jessica Osorio's face. The mask, she says, is infused with chamomile and sage and aloe vera, plus one ingredient that she still has to explain to her clients: CBD. An aesthetician, Franklin started working with an Oregon chemist last year to make CBD products for the skin, believing that a little of it swiped onto the face could help repair the ravages of age.
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Chronicle AM: DEA Deploys Against Opioids, NY Gov's Criminal Justice Plan, More... (3/29/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 21:29

Mucho medical marijuana, a Connecticut legalization bill gets a hearing, the DEA is deploying 250 agents to fight opioids, Louisiana could get a full-fledged needle exchange program, and more.

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

Third Connecticut Legalization Bill Gets Hearing. A marijuana legalization bill that also includes funding for drug treatment and prevention got a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday. House Bill 5394 calls for drafting a plan to legalize and regulate weed by October 1, as well as requiring a treatment and prevention plan by the same date.  The bill did not get a vote. Two other legalization bills before the legislature do not contain the treatment and prevention funding provisions.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Judge Puts Hold on State Medical Marijuana Program. A state judge last week put the state's program on hold because of objections to the licensing process, but was apologetic for imposing the delay. "Amendment 98 to the Constitution of Arkansas, an initiative by the people, exists because Arkansans want to provide medical marijuana to persons who suffer from chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening health challenges," Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen wrote in his order last week. "The prospect that Arkansans must now endure more delay before gaining much needed access to locally grown medical marijuana should be unpleasant to anyone concerned about providing relief to people who suffer from serious illnesses."

Kansas House Votes Down Medical Marijuana. As they debated changes to the state's drug laws, lawmakers in the House voted down an amendment that would have allowed the use of medical marijuana. The amendment was offered by Rep. Cindy Holscher (D-Lenexa), who said her own daughter, who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, could benefit from access to the medicine. "Please don’t make us lawbreakers," Holscher said. "Give us an option for something that has been proven to work." But the underlying bill contains a provision that allows for the limited use of CBD cannabis oil.

Louisiana House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana for Autism. The House Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would add certain types of autism to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The move comes as dispensaries are set to open in the state just four months from now. The measure, House Bill 627, now goes to the full House.

New Hampshire Senate Approves Bill to Add More Dispensaries. The state Senate last week approved a bill that would allow for two additional dispensaries in the state.  The state currently has four medical marijuana outlets. The bill now goes to the House.

South Carolina Senate Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill. The Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved a medical marijuana bill on Thursday. The measure, Senate Bill 212, now heads for a Senate floor vote.  But advocates worry the bill will die for lack of action in the House. The House has declined to hear its own medical marijuana bill so far this year, and the deadline for doing so is April 10.

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Second House Committee Vote. The House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday approved House Bill 1749, which would allow for the use of medical marijuana for a dozen qualifying conditions.  The bill now heads for a House floor vote.

Utah Poll Shows Enduring Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. More than three-quarters (77%) of Utahns "strongly" or "somewhat" favor legalizing medical marijuana, according to a new poll from Dan Jones & Associates. The poll is in line with other recent state polls show high levels of support, undaunted by the legislature's passage of a bill that allows for a "right to try" medical marijuana for terminally ill patients. An initiative that would create a full-blown medical marijuana system in the state will likely be on the ballot in November.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Federal Spending Plan Has Nearly $5 Billion to Deal With Opioid Crisis. The omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Trump last week contains some $4.6 billion. The biggest chunk of the money will go to states and tribes, especially those with the highest overdose mortality rates. Some 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year. The funding is less than the $7 billion for fighting AIDS, which killed 42,000 Americans last year.  

DEA Deploying 250 Additional Agents to Fight Opioid Crisis. The DEA announced Tuesday that it is deploying 250 additional task force officers and dozens of analysts across the country in a bid to crack down on opioids. The additional agents and analysts will go to areas hardest hit by the epidemic.

Oregon Governor Signs Opioid Bills into Law. Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Tuesday signed into law two bills and an order setting deadlines for a drug policy commission that has been plagued with staffing and other issues. The order declares addiction a public health crisis in the state. Two bills, House Bill 4137 and House Bill 4143, cover similar ground and require studying barriers to addiction treatment.

Criminal Justice

New York Governor Launches Campaign to Overhaul Criminal Justice System. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday launched a "Campaign to Restore Fairness in New York’s Criminal Justice System." The governor's package would eliminate cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses, ensure access to speedy trials, improve the disclosure of evidence, reform asset forfeiture, and improve reentry programs for people leaving prison.

Harm Reduction

Louisiana House Approves Needle Exchange Bill. A bill that would expand needle exchange programs by allowing them without seeking approval from local governments was approved by the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on Wednesday. House Bill 661 also expands the types of materials and programs a needle exchange can offer, including access to naloxone. The bill now heads for a House floor debate and vote next week.

International

Colombia Coca Growers Threaten to Suspend Cooperation With Peace Process. The federation that represents coca growers, COCCAM, said in a statement on Tuesday it is consulting its members "to define whether to suspend our participation" with the government program that seeks to substitute legal crops for coca.  The federation cited continuing violence, noting that more than 200 coca farmers have been killed since the beginning of the peace process in December 2016. The growers are also unhappy with the government's response to their complaints with Justice Minister Enrique Gil for proposing a law shielding coca growers from criminal prosecution, but which excludes families that have already signed up for the program. The bill also more than halved the amount of land to be considered a small grower, changes the federation called a "flagrant betrayal of the peasants, Afro-descendants and indigenous people who put their trust in the peace process by joining the program."

Georgia Drug Decriminalization Bill on Hold After Controversial Rewrite. A bill that would decriminalize drug use and possession has been held up after an interagency commission expressed support for a new draft drug policy law that activists say no longer talks about decriminalization.  The new draft also fails to differentiate quantities of drugs for personal use from those for distribution except in eight cases, meaning people caught with any amount of other drugs face years in prison. "Nobody mentioned decriminalisation at today’s hearing, which is alarming," Guram Imnadze, a lawyer from local rights group the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre (EMC) said after it was over. The current draft doesn't address the key problem with the country's drug policy, which, he said, was that "people spend years in prison for drugs they intended for personal use."

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US SC: Opioid Alternative Or Gateway To Legal Pot?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:00
The State, 29 Mar 2018 - Medical marijuana cleared a key committee on Thursday and headed to the floor of the S.C. Senate. But the 8-6 vote by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee came as enforcement leaders are hardening their opposition, saying it is another step toward legalized recreational marijuana in the Palmetto State.
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US NJ: Gov. Murphy Greatly Expands New Jersey's Medical Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 27 Mar 2018 - Gov. Murphy greatly expanded New Jersey's medical marijuana program Tuesday, opening the door to tens of thousands of new patients and allowing the five dispensaries spread across the state to add satellite retail centers and cultivation facilities. The governor added to the list of ailments that qualify for a cannabis prescription. He also cleared the way for any doctor in the state to prescribe cannabis, ending a system in which only those physicians who registered -- and thus, joined a publicly available list of providers - -- could do so. He said some doctors had been reluctant to participate in the program because they viewed joining the list as a stigma.
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US KY: Sen. McConnell On hemp: 'Make This A Legal Crop'

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 27 Mar 2018 - FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The U.S. Senate's top leader said Monday he wants to bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the controlled substances list that now associates it with its cousin – marijuana. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told hemp advocates in his home state of Kentucky that he will introduce legislation to legalize the crop as an agricultural commodity. The versatile crop has been grown on an experimental basis in a number of states in recent years.
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US FL: Rope, Not Dope: UF To Tackle Hemp Research

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:00
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 27 Mar 2018 - GAINESVILLE -- The University of Florida could start growing industrial hemp as soon as the fall. But the project still has to pass some hurdles before planting begins, said Rob Gilbert, chairman of the UF/IFAS agronomy department.
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US HI: Cure Oahu Begins Cannabis Sales

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 27 Mar 2018 - Cure Oahu, backed by a local private investment group, opened with 10 strains, including top sellers Master Kush, Da Glue, Sour Chem and Sunset Mango. The dispensary in the former Bank of Hawaii branch building at 727 Kapahulu Ave. said there was heavy demand for indica, sativa and hybrid flower strains as well as tinctures and lozenges, which sold out shortly after opening. The 5,434-square-foot building has had a major makeover with a high-tech, 2,400-square-foot open lobby and dispensing area with two private consultation booths and large electronic tablet stations where customers can browse through information and choose from a variety of strains. Patients are also able to register and order products online before coming into the dispensary.
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US FL: Company Files Lawsuit Challenging Orlando's Medical Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 26 Mar 2018 - A company that planned to open a medical marijuana dispensary south of downtown Orlando is challenging the city's ordinance regulating such businesses, alleging it violates state law. Surterra Florida, which operates five dispensaries statewide, filed the suit in Orange County Circuit Court last week and is asking a judge to rule Orlando's law is "invalid and unenforceable." Tallahassee Attorney William Hall, who filed the suit, is also seeking a temporary injunction to keep the city from enforcing the law while the court rules.
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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."
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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.
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Ethan Nadelmann: We Hit A Drug Policy Tipping Point

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 10/29/2013 - 16:25
The HCLU has several videos from the 2013 international drug policy reform conference in Denver on their Youtube channel.
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Hundreds of Medical Marijuana Supporters Protest Obama in Oakland as Feds Escalate War on Pot

Alternet - Tue, 07/24/2012 - 18:00
Demanding answers for unjustified federal raids and threats, patients challenged the DEA's claim that marijuana has no medical use.
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We Can't End AIDS Until We End the Drug War

Alternet - Tue, 07/24/2012 - 18:00
The end of AIDS is not just possible -- but predictably achievable -- if we end the war on drugs.
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4 Major Ways Countries Have Reduced Drug-Related Disease and Death -- Are We Americans Too Conceited to Imitate Them?

Alternet - Tue, 07/24/2012 - 00:00
Over the past two decades, a number of countries have implemented evidence-based programs that reduce the harms associated with drugs -- but the U.S. isn't listening.
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It's Not Just NYC: Across America, Only Black and Brown People Get Arrested for Pot

Alternet - Mon, 07/23/2012 - 06:00
The racial ratios of reefer roundups are as bad as New York's—if not worse—in scores of other U.S. cities.
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