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US MA: New England Governors Point to Prescription Control to

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 06/08/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 08 Jun 2016 - Six New England governors called on health care professionals Tuesday to work with government officials to combat the opioid epidemic and control prescriptions, describing a grim reality of addiction across the region they govern. "There is not an issue more pressing I know for all of us at this table," said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, addressing an audience at Harvard Medical School. "We are losing good people to the opioid crisis that is sweeping across America, and we need your help."
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South Africa: OPED: Banning Cannabis More Harmful Than Drug

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 06/08/2016 - 07:00
Cape Argus, 08 Jun 2016 - SA Can Join Countries in Showing Shortcomings and Deciding on Policies THE CRACKS in the policies that prohibit the use, cultivation and trade in cannabis in South Africa are beginning to show. Fields of Green for ALL representatives attended the recent UN Special Session on Drugs in New York as civil society delegates. Our Minister of Police and Deputy Minister of Social Development were there in their official capacity. But South Africa's comments on the outcome document were as bland as the majority of other countries, and a report that described the special session as a "damp squib" was quite accurate.
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Chronicle AM: States Failing on Drug Treatment Insurance, MI Initiative Soldiers On, More... (6/7/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 21:30

Michigan legalizers suffered a double blow today but vow to fight on, a California medical marijuana initiative from anti-marijuana activists dies on the vine, a new report says the states need to step up on addiction treatment coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and more.

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

Rick Steves Is Matching Donations to Maine Legalization Initiative. Travel show host and marijuana legalization advocate Rick Steves has announced he will match any donations to the Maine Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The initiative has already qualified for the November ballot, and Steves has $50,000 set aside for matching donations.

Michigan Pot Legalization Initiative Takes Double Blow, But Vows to Fight On. Efforts to let Michiganders vote on legalizing marijuana this year suffered a one-two punch from the state's political establishment today, but organizers are unbowed and are vowing to keep up the fight to get their initiative on the ballot. First, the state election board ruled Tuesday that the initiative was at least 106,000 signatures short of qualifying after throwing out 137,000 signatures that were gathered more than 180 days before the signatures were handed in. Then, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed into law Senate Bill 776, which limits signature gathering to a strict 180-day window. But Mi Legalize says it is fighting on. "We're alive and well," said MI Legalize spokesman Jeffrey Hank. "We expected this, and in the next few days, we'll be filing a lawsuit. We will continue to run our campaign as we go through litigation." The campaign says it needs financial help, too.

Medical Marijuana

California Initiative to Create State Medical Marijuana Monopoly Fails to Qualify. An initiative filed by a leading state anti-medical marijuana activist that would have banned all private cultivation sites and dispensaries has failed to qualify for the ballot. The California Safe and Drug-Free Community Act was filed by Roger Morgan, with the Take Back American campaign, which brandishes a #stoppot hashtag.

Drug Treatment

Report: States Are Failing to Provide Sufficient Insurance Coverage for Addiction Treatment. A new report from the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse reviewed Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark plans under the Affordable Care Act and called its findings "disheartening." None of the plans provided comprehensive coverage for addiction treatment without harmful treatment limitations, two-thirds of the plans had ACA violations, and nearly one in five didn't comply with parity requirements.

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Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative Takes Double Blow, But Vows to Fight On

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 20:48

Efforts to let Michiganders vote on legalizing marijuana this year suffered a one-two punch from the state's political establishment today, but organizers are unbowed and are vowing to keep up the fight to get their initiative on the ballot.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]The campaign is led by the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, also known as MI Legalize.

First, the state election board ruled Tuesday that the initiative was at least 106,000 signatures short of qualifying after throwing out 137,000 signatures that were gathered more than 180 days before the signatures were handed in. Last week, the campaign handed in more than 345,000 raw signatures. It needed 252,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The campaign hopes to take advantage in ambiguities in the state's initiative and referendum laws that left an opening for getting older signatures validated, but that hope took another hit later on Tuesday when Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed into law Senate Bill 776, which limits signature gathering to a strict 180-day window.

"Establishing reasonable time limits on when signatures can be collected helps ensure the issues that make the ballot are the ones that matter most to Michiganders," Snyder said in a statement.

The law passed both the House and Senate with only Republican support, and opponents have said the law will impede the ability of the people to have a voice in government and challenge laws passed by the legislature.

MI Legalize said it is considering legal challenges.

"We're alive and well," MI Legalize spokesman Jeffrey Hank told the Chronicle Tuesday afternoon. "We expected this, and in the next few days, we'll be filing a lawsuit. We will continue to run our campaign as we go through litigation."

But the upstart campaign needs some help, Hank said.

"We've raised over $1.1 million without any big national money," he said. "If we win, this would be the second or third largest marijuana market in the county (after California), but we need people to continue to support us financially."

People can make donations through the MI Legalize website.

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US NJ: Series: Marijuana And Criminal Justice In New Jersey

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
New Jersey Herald, 07 Jun 2016 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Legalizing recreational marijuana is being considered in New Jersey. The most recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows public support for legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey is 58 percent - the highest it's ever been - with 39 percent opposed.
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CN ON: 9 Views On Pot Legalization

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 07 Jun 2016 - After last week's pot raids, experts talk about restraint, acceptance of the controversial drug Everybody seems to be talking about marijuana these days. Impending legalization has prompted a many-faceted debate about how our society should incorporate the greenery, even as dispensaries selling cannabis and related goods are popping up like, well, weeds.
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Canada: Veterans' Opioid Requests Down

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 07 Jun 2016 - Data Show Fewer Are Seeking The Drugs In Recent Years, While Prescriptions For Medical Marijuana Have Skyrocketed Fewer Canadian veterans have sought prescription opioids and tranquilizers in recent years, while at the same time prescriptions for medical marijuana have skyrocketed.
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US MT: OPED: A Responsible Medical Marijuana Program For

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
Missoulian, 07 Jun 2016 - Someday you or someone you love may need safe, legal access to medical marijuana. You, or they, may have cancer, epilepsy, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or Crohn's disease, Parkinson's, breast cancer, a recent heart attack, or may be a veteran or emergency worker with post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2004, 64 percent of Montana voters passed a law creating a medical marijuana program, but access for patients seeking relief will soon disappear because of political nonsense in the 2011 Legislature. With these draconian, nonsensical laws, you and your loved ones aren't going to get what you need for pain, symptom relief or a cure. In my town, there is a courageous 33-year old mom of two who is fighting a battle with cancer. You might have seen her, bald, on TV or in a newspaper photo, asking you to sign the petition to get Initiative 182 on the ballot and vote for the measure come November. Medical marijuana makes her daily struggle with chemotherapy possible, and allows her some quality of life. I-182 will ensure patients like her have access to the medicine they need, while putting new sideboards and accountability in place.
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US IL: Series: Addicts Aren't The Only Ones Who Need A Helping

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
Herald & Review, 07 Jun 2016 - Editor's note: This is day three of a four-day series that examines the impact heroin is having on the community through the eyes of the addicts, their families, law enforcement and the groups that provide treatment. MOUNT ZION - Hearing a 35-year-old addict say things her son might have said made Kathy Burkham apprehensive.
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Philippines: Editorial: Delivering On A Promise

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
Philippine Star, 07 Jun 2016 - He promised voters a killing spree against bad guys, and he won by a landslide. So Rodrigo Duterte looks determined to deliver on his promise and carry out his mandate. Already the president-elect is laying the groundwork for this, putting up bounties for notorious drug lords and encouraging citizen participation in crime busting. He has placed retired military and police officers in charge of even agencies that require expertise in complex financial matters, apparently with the prime objective of purging the corrupt or at least scaring them enough to mend their ways. Yesterday Duterte said he wanted a berdugo - literally, an executioner - to head what he described as a graft-ridden Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
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New Zealand: Medicinal Cannabis Review 'Ignorant'

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
The Nelson Mail, 07 Jun 2016 - Medicinal cannabis advocates in Nelson are among those wanting international input after a "disappointing" review of guidelines for the drug. A Government review of the guidelines released last month said five medical professionals who had made at least one application to prescribe approved medicinal cannabis product Sativex unanimously supported the current rules, suggesting only minor changes.
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US OH: OPED: Medical Marijuana Has Arrived In Ohio

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 07:00
Morning Journal, 07 Jun 2016 - Lawmakers weren't bluffing when they pledged they would consider medical marijuana after an outside group's effort to legalize pot failed last November. Much of that push, of course, came from polls suggesting Ohioans favor medical marijuana, and from concerns that outsiders would again try for a more liberal marijuana law by amending the state constitution.
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Chronicle AM: Obama Commutes More Drug Sentences, Majority for Legalization in New Poll, More... (6/6/16)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 21:52

President Obama keeps chipping away at the federal drug prisoner population, Weldon Angelos finally goes free, yet another poll has a national majority for marijuana legalization, the new Filipino president encourages vigilante violence against drug dealers, and more.

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

Another National Poll Has Majority Support for Legalization, Near Unanimous Support for Medical Marijuana. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday has support for marijuana legalization at 54%, with 41% opposed. That's in line with a bevy of polls in the past couple of years showing majority support for legalization. The new Quinnipiac poll also had support for medical marijuana at 89%, with only 9% opposed, and 87% support for allowed Veterans Administration doctors to recommend it to vets with PTSD.

Anti-Legalization Forces Seek Backing of Rightist Casino Billionaire. The anti-reform group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, led by Kevin Sabet, is seeking funding from Nevada casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who contributed millions of dollars to defeat a medical marijuana initiative in Florida in 2014. Adelson is also a major funder of Republican presidential candidates, having spent $15 million supporting Newt Gingrich in 2012.

Massachusetts Supreme Court to Hear Challenges to Legalization Initiative. The high court is set to hear two challenges Wednesday to the legalization initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. One challenge alleges that organizers have misled voters about its ramifications and claims it would allow for the sale of GMO marijuana, while the other challenge says the words "marijuana legalization" in the initiative's title are misleading because it doesn't legalize it for people under 21.

Medical Marijuana

Montana Initiative Coming Up on Signature Deadline. Backers of Initiative 182, which seeks to restore the state's medical marijuana program demolished by the legislature in 2011, say they have some 30,000 raw signatures as a June 17 deadline draws near. They need 24,000 valid signatures to qualify. Initiative watchers generally assume as many as 30% of gathered signatures could be invalidated. If that were the case right now in Montana, the initiative would not make the ballot.

Drug Testing

Michigan Supreme Court to Hear Case of Mother Jailed for Refusing Drug Test in Son's Juvenile Case. The state's high court will hear the case of Kelly Michelle Dorsey, who was jailed for contempt of court in 2012 for refusing to take a drug test in a case involving her minor son, because the son was under the court's jurisdiction, not Dorsey. An appeals court held that forcing mothers to submit to drug tests in such cases was unconstitutional, but upheld a finding a contempt of court for her refusal. Now, the state Supreme Court is set to weigh in.

Sentencing

Obama Commutes Sentences for 42 More Drug Offenders, Including 20 Lifers. President Obama last Friday added another 42 names to the ever growing list of federal drug prisoners whose sentences he has commuted. That brings to 348 the number of commutations Obama has handed out, more than the last seven presidents combined. For a list of names of the newly commuted, go here.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Poster Child Weldon Angelos Freed After 12 Years. The Salt Lake City rap and hip hop label owner and small-time pot dealer was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison because he carried a pistol strapped to his ankle during marijuana deals. Now he is a free man after prosecutors moved to cut his sentence.

New Hampshire GOP Senator Wants to Jack Up Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is planning to offer an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act this week that would vastly increase mandatory minimums for fentanyl. Currently, it takes 100 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl to garner a five-year mandatory minimum; under Ayotte's proposal, it would only take half a gram. The Drug Policy Alliance and Families Against Mandatory Minimums are among those opposing the move.

International

Israeli Security Minister Opposes Marijuana Decriminalization. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Sunday he opposes such a move because it could increase traffic accidents and police have no way of preventing drugged drivers from getting behind the wheel. He also said that policies were already lax and the decriminalization would amount to legalization. Opposition from Erdan and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has delayed a vote on a decriminalization bill that was supposed to take place Sunday.

Philippines President Encourages People to Kill Drug Dealers. President Rodrigo Duterte used a televised speech Saturday night to encourage citizens to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest. "Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun -- you have my support," adding, "Shoot him and I'll give you a medal." He also threatened to kill drug addicts. Duterte, the former mayor of Davao City, was reputed to have been involved with death squad killings. Apparently some Filipino voters wanted to hear that or didn't mind, since they just elected him president.

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CN MB: Pot Crackdown Steadfast In 'Peg

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 07:00
Metro, 06 Jun 2016 - While marijuana dispensaries proliferate and engage in a game of legally-grey chicken with authorities in some Canadian cities, Winnipeg police say the same simply isn't happening locally. "There are a few people that have tried to open up and we enforced the laws as we know them right away," said Winnipeg Police Service Grow Operations Unit member, Sgt. Carrol MacDonald.
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CN ON: Pot-Vocate Fights On After Losing Case

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 07:00
Metro, 06 Jun 2016 - Ottawa Man Argues For The Right To Smoke Up In Public Local marijuana advocate Russell Barth has lost his human rights case against Mayor Jim Watson, but his fight for medical marijuana rights is far from over.
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US NJ: Series: Public Health Effects Of Legalized Mariuana In

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 07:00
New Jersey Herald, 06 Jun 2016 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Legalizing recreational marijuana is being seriously considered in New Jersey. The most recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows public support for legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey is 58 percent -- the highest it's ever been -- with 39 percent opposed.
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Australia: OPED: Why The Back-Pedalling On Cannabis?

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 07:00
The Age, 06 Jun 2016 - The Debate on Medicinal Cannabis Needs the Major Parties to Grow Up. I think I am the only member of parliament in Australia to acknowledge my recreational use of cannabis. In fact, I have enjoyed the many blessings that cannabis can bestow for a lot of my adult life and have not lost my mind or become a serial killer.
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Philippines: Column: Lowlifes

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 07:00
Philippine Star, 06 Jun 2016 - When we see corrupt public officials also turning up dead in the streets, with cardboard signs declaring "nagnakaw sa taumbayan, huwag tularan," we will believe Dirty Rody and his trigger-happy kindred spirits mean business. Since this could decimate the ranks of Congress, paralyze the judiciary, and shut down many local government offices plus the Bureau of Customs, Land Transportation Office and other revenue-collecting agencies, I don't think we will ever hear Dirty Rody endorsing the same mass killing for these agencies' crooks that he has justified for corrupt media workers and ordered for drug dealers.
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US CA: Edu: OPED: Civil Liberties Jeopardized by Drug

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Californian, 06 Jun 2016 - Roger Morgan's "Reefer Madness" diatribe in a May 23 op-ed would be hilarious if it weren't infuriating. There are so many things wrong with prohibition that it would take a book to explain all of them, but the following is a summary of the major problems with prohibition, especially prohibition of marijuana or any other plant: First, whether people participate in drugs, prostitution, gambling, assisted suicide - or anything else that consenting adults want to do with their own bodies - is their own business, not the business of the government or anyone else. This is first and foremost a civil liberties issue. All victimless crimes should be legalized; prohibiting these activities is nothing short of tyranny and/or a nanny state regarding these issues.
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CN ON: Column: Toronto Left In A Haze Waiting For Feds New Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 06/05/2016 - 07:00
City Centre Mirror, 05 Jun 2016 - A bright flash of reason emerged in the haze of Toronto's new war on drugs this week, when the Toronto Board of Health supported a Joe Cressy motion to essentially ask the federal government what ought to be done about marijuana over the next year or so. That's how long Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals have given themselves to come up with legislation governing soon-to-be-legalized marijuana use. New MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair is taking the lead on crafting the legislation, and taking appropriate time doing it, so when it finally shows up in the spring of 2017, expect premium law.
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