Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug 2016 - A Bill Headed to Brown's Desk Would Give Shops a Six-Month Grace Period to Pay $106 Million in Taxes. SACRAMENTO - Estimating that two-thirds of the medical marijuana stores in California have failed to pay sales taxes, state officials on Tuesday took a carrot-and-stick approach to persuade pot shops to pay the $106 million owed.
The Age, 31 Aug 2016 - Victorians would be free to smoke and grow marijuana if a push by the Sex Party to legalise the drug is successful. On Wednesday, Sex Party MP Fiona Patten will introduce a motion to the upper house calling on the government to immediately remove criminal sanctions for the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana for personal use by people 18 and older.
The DEA announces it will make the active ingredients in kratom Schedule I substances, marijuana legalization initiatives in Arizona and Michigan go to court, the Thai government is moving to reform the way it deals with meth, and more.
[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy
Arizona Legalization Campaign Sues Over Ballot Description. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol filed a lawsuit Monday asking the state Supreme Court to fix what is says is inaccurate language in the ballot description of Prop 205 that will be presented to voters. The description written by Secretary of State Michele Reagan left out information that the campaign says is important, such as noting that a new 15% marijuana tax would go mainly to schools. The Supreme Court is also hearing a challenge from opponents of Prop 205. It needs to finalize the ballot language today.
Michigan Legalization Campaign Asks State Supreme Court to Put Initiative on Ballot. In a last ditch bid to get its legalization initiative on the November ballot, MI Legalize has filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking it to overturn a lower court's ruling that the state had no obligation to include signatures gathered outside a 180-day window. MI Legalize gathered more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but some of them were deemed too old to be counted.
Arkansas Democratic Party Endorses Medical Marijuana. With two competing medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot, the state Democratic Party has approved a platform plank endorsing medical marijuana. The plank calls for "the development of a responsible medical marijuana program that will receive patients in need of such relief the freedom to access this remedy."
DEA to Place Kratom on Schedule I. The DEA announced Wednesday that it is moving to place the active materials in the kratom plant on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. That schedule is reserved for drugs that have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. The scheduled substances are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Kratom is a tropical tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. It produces opioid-like effects and has been marketed as a legal alternative to controlled substances. Not anymore, though.
Hundreds of Argentine Judges, Lawyers Call for End to Drug War. Some 500 magistrates, lawyers, and other legal figures used the 30th anniversary of key Supreme Court decision to call for an end to the war on drugs. In 1986, in the "Bazterrica" ruling, the nation's high court ruled it unconstitutional to prosecute people for simple drug possession. Yet Argentine law still allows such prosecutions. The legal figures are demanding that the law be changed to be in compliance with the Bazterrica ruling.
Thailand Takes Another Step Toward Moving Meth off Dangerous Drugs List. The Justice Ministry is set to remove methamphetamine from its list of dangerous drugs, which would allow health authorities to use it for medical reasons. The move is part of a larger shift in how the country deals with drug use, and is part of a bill that will emphasize treatment for drug users, including substituting prescription stimulants such as Modafinil for meth. The government has given no time line for when the bill will move.
Philippine Star, 30 Aug 2016 - The Europen Union ( EU) has expressed concern over the spate of killings in the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said yesterday. In a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Dureza said when he met with EU officials in Brussels, Belgium last Aug. 25, "they asked about the issue on drug campaign in the country."
New York Times, 30 Aug 2016 - About half of opioid overdose deaths involve prescription drugs. With that stark fact in mind, the surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, sent an unusually direct plea last week to 2.3 million doctors and other health care workers to help fight the opioid epidemic by treating pain "safely and effectively." A website for his "Turn the Tide" campaign highlights alternative, nonaddictive treatments for pain. Not only doctors but also policy makers, insurance companies and other players in the health care system should pay attention. Prescriptions for opioids such as oxycodone and methadone have quadrupled since 1999, as have opioid overdose deaths - more than 28,000 in 2014, up 14 percent from the year before. While prescriptions for opioids peaked in 2012, their use remains high by historical standards. And many people who were prescribed opioids have gone on to use illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Aug 2016 - HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania needs to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession, Gov. Wolf said Monday, yet he remains guarded about the kind of recreational legalization that is in place in several western states. While some cities have stopped arresting people for possessing small amounts and prosecutors have been downgrading it as a crime, the state should act because too many people are still going to prison for marijuana possession, Wolf said.
New York Times, 30 Aug 2016 - ALBANY - Moving to address complaints about New York's new medical marijuana program, the state's Health Department is making substantial changes to expand access to the drug, including allowing home delivery, quite likely by the end of September. The program, which saw its first dispensaries open in January, has struggled to gain broad traction in the medical community and with potential patients. Advocates for the medical use of marijuana have said the program, allowed by a 2014 law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was too restrictive, and its regulations too cumbersome to fulfill its mandate.
Standard-Speaker, 30 Aug 2016 - HARRISBURG (AP) - Pennsylvania needs to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday, yet he remains guarded about the kind of recreational legalization that is in place in several western states. While some cities have stopped arresting people for possessing small amounts and prosecutors have been downgrading it as a crime, the state should act because too many people are still going to prison for marijuana possession, Wolf said.
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 30 Aug 2016 - Democrats Add Plank for 2016 The backers of two competing medical marijuana initiatives found good news in their cause ending up on the platform of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Members of the party met Saturday to hear speeches and take care of business ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, including approving a platform. One of the planks is on medical marijuana.
The Nation, 30 Aug 2016 - JUSTICE MINISTER General Paiboon Koomchaya is willing to propose that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha invoke Article 44 of the interim charter to downgrade the amphetamine drug known as "yaba" to a narcotics category two drug, provided that the Public Health Ministry has a proper system to combat drug abuse. Public Health permanent secretary Dr Sopon Mekthon said he was ready to respond accordingly if the government revised its policy to regulate the drug. He said doctors could not prescribe 'yaba' for medical treatment while it remained a category one drug. Category two drugs can be used legally with a doctor's prescription. Downgrading the category of the drug could address addiction issues, officials have said, because the current designation as a category one drug carries severe penalties that can deter users from seeking treatment.
Cornhuskers look down the road on marijuana reforms, Pennsylvania's governor calls for marijuana decriminalization, the Oklahoma medical marijuana initiative looks like it won't actually make the ballot, and more.
[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy
Nebraska 2018 Legalization Initiative Campaign Gets Underway. A group calling itself Legal Marijuana Now has begun a signature gathering drive for an initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for medical or recreational purposes. The group is aiming at 2018 and needs roughly 87,000 valid voter signatures to qualify.
Pennsylvania Governor Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said Monday the state needs to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot. While some localities have quit arresting small-time pot possessors, too many haven't. "I think we need to do that in a more systematic fashion," Wolf said. "There are too many people who are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts or carry modest amounts of marijuana, and that is clogging up our prisons, it's destroying families and it's hurting our economy, so I think decriminalization is the first step."
Oklahoma Initiative Unlikely to Appear on Ballot, Advocates Say. The group behind the initiative, State Question 788, said they will challenge the attorney general's rewording of the battle title, and that will begin a legal process that will delay the measure beyond the November 8 election date. State officials, on the other hand, said the initiative campaign waited too long to turn in signatures. "We are dealing with processes established in both federal and state election law for initiatives proposed by the people that require specific procedures to be followed," Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) said. "It's important for the people of Oklahoma to know -- regardless of the substance of the state question -- the signatures were not submitted with enough time to allow this process to be played out completely."
New Zealand Poll Finds Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. Another poll is signaling overwhelming support for medical marijuana among Kiwis. A new UMR poll has support at 76%, up four points from the same poll last year. The poll had only 12% opposed, with another 12% undecided. The poll also asked whether marijuana should be treated as a herbal remedy; 61% said yes.
The Mail Tribune, 29 Aug 2016 - Williams Farm With Elaborate Greenhouse Operation Underscores Huge Growth in Local Marijuana Industry WILLIAMS - Josephine County's growing marijuana industry is experiencing growing pains. The number of medical marijuana grow sites in the county has remained steady from a year ago, at about 2,500.
Philippine Star, 29 Aug 2016 - Pedicab driver Reyjin dives into a neighbor's house for a quick meth fix, fearful of taking a bullet to the head in President Duterte's brutal war on drugs but unable to quit. More than 2,000 people have died violent deaths since Duterte took office two months ago and immediately implemented his scorched-earth plans to eradicate drugs in society, ordering police to shoot dead traffickers and urging ordinary citizens to kill addicts.
The Nelson Mail, 29 Aug 2016 - The outgoing boss of the New Zealand Police Association says a tour of cannabis-friendly countries was an eye-opener, but hasn't convinced him New Zealand should follow suit. Greg O'Connor spent time travelling through Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Colorado, in the United States, seeing firsthand the effects of both decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis.
The Mail on Sunday, 28 Aug 2016 - THE most sinister thing I have heard all year was this week's revelation that British government doctors secretly sought to drug troublesome teenagers in the 1960s and we have only just found out. One of the pills they wanted to use was called Haloperidol. Its side effects include incurable lifelong twitching, delirium and rigid muscles. This plan was stopped, but another worrying substance, Beclamide, was given to boys at a Yorkshire 'Approved School' (a state-inspected home for troubled teens). Neither the boys nor their parents were told of this experiment.
Philippine Star, 28 Aug 2016 - (AP) - On the day he was sworn into office, President Rodrigo Duterte went to a Manila slum and exhorted residents who knew any drug addicts to "go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful." Two months later, nearly 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users lay dead as morgues continue to fill up. Faced with criticism of his actions by rights activists, international bodies and outspoken Filipinos, including the top judge, Duterte has stuck to his guns and threatened to declare martial law if the Supreme Court meddles in his work.
Philippine Star, 28 Aug 2016 - The US State Department's 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report says that addiction to shabu ( street name for methamphetamine or meth) is the most significant drug problem of the Philippines, with the narcotic continually growing as the most widely trafficked in the country. A UN World Drug Report also tagged the Philippines as the country having the highest rate of shabu use in the whole of East Asia with even the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) releasing a pastoral letter last year expressing concern about the proliferation of the drug problem in the country and the alleged involvement of government officials.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 Aug 2016 - Define Human Being, Duterte Tells Rights Groups DAVAO CITY - Junkies are not humans. That is how President Duterte sees drug users whose bodies are piling up as he presses his brutal war on drugs.
The Press Democrat, 28 Aug 2016 - "Santa Rosa wants this industry here. I think this is probably going to be the New Age Amsterdam." - - Larry Schaeffer, owner of Cherry Kola Farms near Penngrove, a medical cannabis collective Really? Says who?
Oneida Daily Dispatch, 28 Aug 2016 - SALEM, ORE. (AP) - Living marijuana plants went on display Friday at the Oregon State Fair, with organizers saying it's the first state fair in the nation to allow cannabis for public viewing. The state voted to legalize recreational marijuana in late 2014. Here are a few things to know about legal pot in Oregon and the display at the fair: