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US IL: Parents, Community Leaders Discuss Dangers Of Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Barrington Courier-Review, 05 Apr 2014 - Barrington parents and community leaders discussed the effects of marijuana legalization Friday morning in a follow-up to a presentation on teen marijuana use. Andrea Barthwell, founder of Two Dreams Outer Bank Comprehensive Wellness Center for the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addictions in North Carolina, talked to parents Thursday about what she identified as myths surrounding adolescent marijuana use -- like the idea that marijuana is harmless.
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Chronicle AM -- April 4, 2014

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 19:04

Cops like to say they don't make the laws; they merely enforce them, but that wasn't exactly the case today in Louisiana, Oregon, and Washington, DC. Plus, decrim has a last hurrah in Maryland, an Alabama welfare drug testing bill passes, Vermont moves against the new pain reliever Zohydro, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Maryland Legislators Try to Revive Decriminalization Bill Today. An effort was underway in Annapolis Friday to revive a decriminalization bill just days after it was scuttled in committee. The effort to revive House Bill 879 is being led by members of the Legislative Black Caucus, who will try to amend the bill on the House floor. It was turned from a decriminalization bill to a study bill earlier this week in the House Criminal Justice Committee, chaired by reform foe Rep. Joe Vallario (D-Prince Georges).

Louisiana Marijuana Sentencing Reform Bill Derailed. Rep. Austin Badon (D-New Orleans) has pulled his measure to soften marijuana penalties from consideration in the House Criminal Justice Committee after testimony by the head of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association. Association executive director Michael Ranatza said sheriffs fear the bill, House Bill 14, could lead to decriminalization of marijuana. Louisiana has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country.

Oregon State Police Withdraw from Anti-Marijuana Summit. The Oregon State Police have withdrawn from an anti-marijuana conference scheduled for later this month after the police superintendent learned the event is closed to the public. OSP was listed as a cosponsor of the summit, which includes sheriffs from Malheur and Yamhill counties, a Medford police official and law enforcement officials from Colorado, Washington and Arizona, as well as anti-drug reform groups such as Drug Watch International, Save Our Society from Drugs, and the Drug Free America Foundation.

Medical Marijuana

Ammiano Reintroduces California Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill. San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D) has reintroduced his medical marijuana regulation bill. The new bill is Assembly Bill 1894. The previous version, Assembly Bill 604 had been pending in the Senate. The major change is the addition of language authorizing limited local transaction and use taxes.

Connecticut Picks Locations for Six Dispensaries. Locations for Connecticut's six medical marijuana dispensaries have been selected, the state Consumer Protection Commissioner said Thursday. The facilities in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville were authorized by the state's medical marijuana program to dispense Connecticut-produced marijuana products.

Drug Testing

Labor Department Says Texas Can't Make Drug Tests a Condition for Receiving Unemployment Benefits. The US Labor Department has ruled that Texas cannot enforce a law passed by the Legislature in 2013 which makes passing a drug test a requirement for some workers to get and keep unemployment compensation benefits. The law was watered down by the legislature to cover only people who are in professions where drug testing is a requirement, like truck driving and nursing. The feds say the law as it is written is too vague and it is unclear exactly what workers will qualify.

Alabama Legislature Approves Welfare Drug Testing Bill. The legislature has approved a bill that would require welfare applicants who have a drug conviction in the last five years to undergo drug testing before receiving benefits. People could keep their benefits after one positive drug test. After a second positive, the person would be ineligible for one year. The recipient would be permanently ineligible after a third positive drug test. Senate Bill 63 now goes to the desk of Gov. Robert Bentley (R).

Harm Reduction

FDA Approves Innovative New Device to Reverse Opiate Overdose. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Evzio, a handheld device containing naloxone, designed for lay people to use outside of hospital settings. When activated, the device will give verbal instructions about how to use Evzio to deliver the medication.

Prescription Opiates

Vermont Issues Emergency Rules to Restrict Access to Zohydro. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and state officials announced Thursday that Vermont is moving to restrict access to the new opiate pain reliever Zohydro, the first single-ingredient hydrocodone drug approved for patients in the US. New emergency rules require that prescribers of Zohydro conduct a thorough medical evaluation and risk assessment. This is only the latest move against Zohydro, which was approved by the FDA last fall -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) banned it outright earlier this week and a handful of congressmen have called for the FDA to reverse its decision. But Zohydro's maker, Zogenix, said the drug is no more potent than other hydrocodone medications. The company also says it has set up a board of experts to guard against abuse of the drug and that its sales representatives are not being paid based on the volume of sales, but rather on their efforts to ensure prescribers, pharmacists and patients are educated to understand the risks and benefits of extended-release opioids Politicians have been quick to raise the alarm about possible increases in addiction and overdose deaths with Zohydro, but they haven't been nearly as quick to talk about its usefulness in addressing the needs of legitimate pain patients.

Sentencing

Who Wants to Kill Sentencing Reform? No Surprises Here. The Huffington Post reports that law enforcement groups including the National Sheriffs' Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition, the National Association of Police Organizations and the Major County Sheriffs' Association are quietly trying to kill a bipartisan bill that would roll back tough mandatory sentences for people convicted of federal drug offenses under legislation passed during the height of America's drug war three decades ago. The bill is the Smarter Sentencing Act (Senate Bill 1410), which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January. Click the title link for the full story.

New Report Shows Failure of Connecticut's Sentencing Enhancement Drug Free Zones. A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative finds that Connecticut's 1,500-foot sentencing enhancement zones are so pervasive that they blanket almost all urban areas, creating an "urban penalty" that increases the sentence imposed for a given offense simply because it was committed in a city rather than in a town. The report recommends the sentencing enhancement zones be shrunk to 100 feet. This would allow the law to actually create the specially protected places as intended. Connecticut Senate Bill 259, which just passed out of the Judiciary Committee, takes a similar approach and would decrease that size to 200 feet. The report is Reaching too far: How Connecticut's large sentencing enhancement zones miss the mark." You can read it by clicking on the title link.

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US PA: Edu: Sterling Speaks On Cannabis Law

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
The Triangle, 04 Apr 2014 - Eric Sterling, president and co-founder of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, came to speak at Drexel Law School March 24 about the complicated and contradictory legislation behind marijuana. Sterling, whose past activist involvement includes the anti-Vietnam War movement, believes that the United States' current drug policy is counterproductive. A graduate of Haverford College and Villanova University School of Law, he has been an adviser for Students for Sensible Drug Policy since 2000 and the chair of the Alcohol and Other Drug Advisory Council in Montgomery County, Md.
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Canada: Column: Oil Sands Haven't Heard The Last Of Random

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 04 Apr 2014 - The oil sands have long had a reputation for being a tough place to work. Employees, mostly male, are often bunked in work camps in the middle of nowhere, away from friends and family for weeks at a time. Tales of drug and alcohol abuse have abounded for years. An entire mythology has been constructed around the belief that workers routinely drink and take drugs on the job, then resume operating some of the most dangerous equipment on the planet. But how real is that image?
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CN BC: Woman Gets $500 After Police Search

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Nelson Star, 04 Apr 2014 - Woman Gets $500 After Police Search Although he rejected most of her arguments, a judge has ordered the City of Nelson to pay a woman $500 in damages over a police search conducted almost five years ago.
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US NJ: NJ Weedman Fined By Elec For Funding His Campaign On

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 04 Apr 2014 - TRENTON - An election funded by weed apparently isn't legal. The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has fined Robert Edward Forchion Jr. - a.k.a. Weedman - over $13,000 for not appropriately filing all the election contributions he has received during his last three election campaigns.
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US: Let Pot Plants Bloom And End 'Trespass Grows'

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 04 Apr 2014 - If you care about protecting clean water, endangered species and public health, then you might want to consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use. That's because so much of the stuff is now being grown illegally on our public lands in places dubbed "trespass grows." These secretive and often well-guarded farms do enormous environmental damage and place a huge burden on federal agencies. In California in 2013, the Forest Service discovered about 1 million plants within public forests on nearly 400 sites. Thousands of trees had been logged to make way for marijuana plants.
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US: Pot Industry Puts On Pinstripes

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 04 Apr 2014 - Republican Leads Way As Lobbyists Start to Swarm Nation's Capital WASHINGTON - Hoping to get pot legalized in Nevada, an investment firm specializing in the burgeoning marijuana industry invited the ballot initiative's backers to pitch 150 financiers at a Las Vegas symposium.
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US NM: Forest Service Probes Ski Area Drug Raid

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 04 Apr 2014 - Officials Promise Full Transparency in Reviewing February's Taos Incident Residents and business owners in Taos Ski Valley say the "swaggering" demeanor and heavily armed presence of a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer assigned to the ski area may have set the tone for a controversial drug sweep that now has the agency investigating itself.
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US VA: Fairfax Antidrug Group Warns of Marijuana's Dangers

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
The Times, 04 Apr 2014 - Average THC Levels Up 400 Percent in Last Eight Years, Expert Says Although it has been decriminalized and even made quasi-legal in some states, the dangers of marijuana have not gone away. That was the message March 27 in Annandale at a presentation made by the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County titled "Marijuana Harmless? Think Again."
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US: Poll: Adults Prefer Rehab For Drug Use

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 04 Apr 2014 - About two-thirds of Americans say drug abusers need access to treatment to address their addiction rather than criminal prosecution that could lead to jail time, according to a poll that highlights the public's shifting attitude toward illegal drugs in the United States. While people are still worried about the extent of drug abuse, especially in their schools and neighborhoods, those surveyed supported less harsh punishment for nonviolent offenders, especially marijuana users, the Pew Research Center found.
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US: A Device To Curb Deadly Overdoses

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 04 Apr 2014 - The FDA Approves the Sale of a 'Rescue Pen' To Reverse the Effects of Painkillers. Federal officials said Thursday they hoped a new "rescue pen" would help reduce the death toll from overdoses involving prescription painkillers.
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Chronicle AM -- April 3, 2014

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 19:31

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is banned from the US for admitting using coke, decrim dies for the year in Maryland, CBD medical marijuana bills continue to move, the resort to the overdose drug naloxone is spreading rapidly, Guatemala's president wants to legalize marijuana and license poppies for the medical market, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Maryland Decriminalization Bill Killed; Task Force Will Study It Instead. Marijuana decriminalization is dead for the year in Maryland after a bill to do just that -- House Bill 879 -- died without a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, the committee, led by reform foe Rep. Joe Vallario Jr. (D-Prince Georges), chose to form a task force to study the issue.

Washington State Will Issue First Marijuana Store Licenses by July, Impose Lottery System. Colorado is the only state where you can walk into a store and legally purchase marijuana, but not for long. Washington state regulators announced Wednesday that the first retail marijuana licenses will be issued "no later than the first week of July." The state has already issued licenses to eight growers. After eliminating retail license applications that did not return required documents or were incomplete, the state still has more than a thousand applications for the 334 stores it will allow to open, so it is imposing a lottery system to determine who gets those licenses.

Northern Mariana Islands Senate Ponders Legalization. The Senate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US protectorate, discussed the possibility of legalizing marijuana Wednesday. The Fiscal Affairs Committee touched on legalization when discussing a decriminalization bill, and committee member Sen. Pete Reyes (IN-Saipan) said members had asked the Senate legal counsel to research Colorado's legalization model. "Yes, the committee is tinkering with the idea, whether it's a good idea to legalize it or not. But nothing is final. Nothing is decided," Reyes told The Saipan Tribune.

Medical Marijuana

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

Illinois Senate Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. A bill that would allow children to use high-CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy passed the Senate Wednesday. Filed by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 2636 now heads for the House.

Minnesota TV Ad Attacks Gov. Dayton for Opposing Medical Marijuana. Patients and medical marijuana advocates have unleashed an aggressive TV ad targeting Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) for standing in the way of medical marijuana legislation. The ad features a St. Paul mother and her seizure-ridden child, whom Gov. Dayton told to just find medical marijuana on the street!

South Carolina House Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The House Wednesday passed a bill allowing people suffering from severe epilepsy to legally use CBD cannabis oil to control their seizures. House Bill 4803 is less restrictive than a Senate measure passed last week. It's unclear what happens next.

Harm Reduction

Louisiana House Committee Passes Bill to Allow Overdose Reversal Drug. The House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday passed a bill that would allow first responders to provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). House Bill 754 now heads for a House floor vote.

Every Cop in New York Will Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Under a new initiative announced today by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), every state and local law enforcement officer in the state will be able to carry with them the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). The Community Overdose Prevention program will provide police with kits containing two syringes filled with naloxone, two inhalers of the drug, sterile gloves and a booklet on using them. The cost of the kit is roughly $60. Each has a shelf life of about two years.

Some New Jersey Cops to Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Police throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties soon will be armed with a drug that can save heroin users from fatal overdose, launching a program officials hope will be adopted statewide in New Jersey. All 32 Ocean County police departments are participating in a pilot program backed by Gov. Christie, who said Wednesday that equipping police with the drug, naloxone (Narcan), would help save lives.

Sentencing

Louisiana House Passes Harsh Heroin Sentencing Bill. The House voted 96-0 Wednesday in favor of a bill that imposes mandatory minimum prison sentence for heroin possession and increases sentences for heroin dealers. But first, it amended House Bill 332 so that, in addition to prison time, heroin users would also have to undergo court-approved drug treatment. Under the bill, heroin possessors would have to do at least two years in prison, while dealers would see their mandatory minimum sentence doubled from five years to 10. The bill now goes to the Senate.

International

Mexican Drug War Victims Criticize Lack of Progress on Tens of Thousands of Cases. Families of drug war victims who were hoping to see concrete policy shifts with the change of administrations a year and a half ago are growing impatient with the lack of progress on tens of thousands of cases of murders and disappearances. An estimated 100,000 Mexicans have been killed since former President Felipe Calderon turned drug prohibition policies into a militarized offensive. The whereabouts of another 26,000 are unknown. They are Mexico's "disappeared". Some are believed to have been kidnapped by criminals, others have vanished after being taken into police custody. Click on the link for the full report.

Guatemalan President Will Present Plan to Legalize Marijuana and License Opium Production. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year's end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. See our news brief today for more detail.

Albanian Cops Try Persuasion in Marijuana-Growing Village. Albanian Police peacefully visited the village of Lazarati this week in a bid to get school children to persuade their parents not to grow marijuana there. Lazarati is described as "a paradise for cannabis growers and criminals," and has been a no-go zone for police for nearly two decades. Villagers in the past have created armed groups to fend off eradication efforts, and even the kids didn't seem too keen on giving up the trade. "If you tell us to convince our parents not to grow cannabis, do you guarantee us that you will provide jobs for them? This is our way of life," one student replied.

British Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Denied Entry to US Over Cocaine Use Admission. Nigella Lawson was stopped from boarding a flight from London to the US because of her courtroom confession that she used cocaine. Lawson was never charged with a criminal offense over her confession, but the US can deny travel to foreigners who have committed offenses without being charged.

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Guatemalan President Will Present Plan to Legalize Marijuana, Opium Production

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 17:12

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year's end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. His comments came in an interview with Reuters.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Perez, a conservative and former general, has been a harsh critic of the US-led war on drugs in Latin America, repeatedly denouncing such policies at international forums. He has also previously mentioned the possibility of moving to legalize marijuana and opium production, but has yet to put forward a concrete plan to do so.

But a presidential commission has been studying the issue of reforms in the country's drug laws, and Perez told Reuters he expected the commission to make its recommendations by October and that the measures could be presented by year's end. That could include a bill to legalize drugs, particularly marijuana, Perez said.

"The other thing we're exploring... is the legalization of the poppy plantations on the border with Mexico, so they're controlled and sold for medicinal ends," Perez said. "These two things could be steps taken on a legal basis."

While Afghanistan is by far the world's largest opium producer, accounting for nearly 90% of global production, poppies are also grown in the Western hemisphere -- in Mexico and Colombia, as well as Guatemala. Western hemisphere opium accounts for most of the heroin consumed in the United States.

Perez is keeping a careful eye on his northern neighbor, too. Mexico decriminalized drug possession in 2009, but has been loath to take further steps to end the drug war there, although there are now proposals afoot to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, Mexican drug trafficking organizations, under pressure in their home country, have expanded their operations in Guatemala and other Central American nations.

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Canada: Up In Smoke: Injunction Burns Budding Medical-Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 03 Apr 2014 - Ottawa's introduction of a medical marijuana strategy last summer was supposed to relieve some anxiety. Patients facing debilitating diseases would have wider access to cannabis produced in safe, regulated environments. Enforcement officials wouldn't have to worry as much about pot going out the back door of grow-ops to criminal elements, and insurance companies wouldn't have to grapple with house fires brought on by inexperienced growers who place too much faith in their electricity outlets. But a temporary federal injunction last month has rocked the cradle of a nascent industry, a dozen or so companies licensed to sell medical marijuana to about 38,000 patients who face debilitating issues as varied as spinal-cord injuries, Parkinson's disease and cancer. By April 1, around 24,000 marijuana growers were obliged to destroy around a total of 3.5 million plants, which in turn would have created a relatively huge base of customers who needed to buy marijuana elsewhere. The injunction, which Ottawa is appealing, put an end to that. Patients who have valid licences through September 30, 2013, can keep cultivating provided they keep no more than 150 grams of dried pot.
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Canada: Feds Appeal Medical Marijuana Injunction

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Surrey Leader, 03 Apr 2014 - Doctors To Get Guidance On Pot Prescriptions The federal government will appeal a March 21 court injunction that lets authorized patients temporarily keep growing their own medical marijuana past April 1, when the old system was to be outlawed.
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US WA: Pot-Store Openings Move To Early July

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 03 Apr 2014 - About 500 of the 2,180 Who Applied Have Failed to Respond to Requests for Basic Information and Others Have Asked for More Time - Both of Which Have Led to a Delay in the Opening of Stores. Retail pot stores are now expected to open in early July, state officials said Wednesday, blaming delays in the licensing process on unprepared and unresponsive applicants.
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US: Recreational Pot Will Be Legal, 75% Of American Citizens

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 03 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Three-fourths of Americans say it's inevitable that marijuana will be legal for recreational use across the nation, whether they support such policies or not, according to a public opinion poll released Wednesday that highlights shifting attitudes after the drug war era and tough-on-crime legislation. The Pew Research Center survey also shows increased support for ending mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and doing away with jail time for small amounts of marijuana.
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US WA: Lottery For Pot Store Licenses

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 03 Apr 2014 - 207 Applications Have Been Filed for the 35 Stores That Are Allowed in Snohomish County. OLYMPIA - A lottery to dole out dozens of licenses for marijuana retail outlets will be conducted later this month and owners of those stores could be opening their doors in July.
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US MT: OPED: Nip It In The Bud

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
Missoula Independent, 03 Apr 2014 - Let a Thousand Pot Plants Bloom and End Trespass Grows If you care about protecting clean water, endangered species and public health, then you might want to consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
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