Drug War Chronicle

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /raid/home/csdp/csdp/cms/sites/all/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
Syndicate content
Updated: 12 hours 36 min ago

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 14:06

An LAPD officer gets nailed for stealing money from a grow op worker's backpack during a marijuana raid, and a trio of jail guard break bad. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Los Angeles, an LAPD officer was arrested last Thursday for allegedly stealing money from an employee's personal property while inside an illegal marijuana grow operation earlier this year. Officer Luis Alfredo Mota was serving a search warrant at the grow op and is accused of stealing money from an employee's backpack. He is charged with one felony count of second-degree burglary and one misdemeanor count of petty theft in connection with a Jan. 27 incident. He's looking at up to three years in county jail if convicted.

In York, South Carolina, a York County jail guard was arrested last Thursday for trying to smuggle drugs into the jail. Detention Officer Heather McRorie went down after authorities caught wind of the plot. No drugs actually made it inside, authorities said. McRorie is charged with criminal conspiracy and is now a former detention officer.

In Gretna, Louisiana, a jail guard was arrested last Friday for allegedly conspiring with an inmate to smuggle cocaine into the facility. Keoindra Howard, 20, went down after she was detained upon arriving at work, and her vehicle was searched, with cocaine found in it. She is charged with malfeasance in office, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to introduce contraband into a correctional center. The inmate she allegedly conspired with has also been charged.

In Tavares, Florida, a Lake County corrections officer was arrested Monday as he tried to smuggle drugs into the jail. Officer Jimmy Ankrom was searched when he arrived for his shift, and officers found meth and tobacco in his pocket. The exact charges he faces are unclear.

In Chicago, a former Chicago police officer was sentenced last Friday to nearly 13 years in prison for ringleading a crew of crooked cops who posed as federal agents to shake down drug dealers for cash and dope. Eddie Hicks, 71, fled a pending trial on drug charges in 2003, but was arrested in Detroit in 2017 and convicted last year on racketeering, drug and gun charges, as well as jumping bail.

Categories: Latest News

VT Battle Over Marijuana Bill, Key Mexico Leader Vows Marijuana Legalization Bill Passage by December, More... (10/5/20)

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 20:07

Another Arizona poll muddies the waters on support for marijuana legalization, pressure is mounting on Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) to sign or veto the state's marijuana sales bill, and more.

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

New Arizona Poll Has Marijuana Initiative Still Ahead, But Under 50%. The polling is getting wacky in Arizona. Last week, one pollster had Prop 207 winning with 57% of the vote while another had the measure at 50%, with 34% opposed. Now, a new Suffolk University/USA Today poll has the measure with 45.6% support, with 34.2% opposed and 19% undecided. If this latest poll is accurate, Prop 207 needs at least a quarter of those undecideds to break in its favor.

Vermont Racial Justice Group Condemns Marijuana Legalization Bill. The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance led several dozen protestors at a Sunday rally at the statehouse to call on Gov. Phil Scott (R) to veto the marijuana legalization bill, SB 54. The group argues that the bill fails to address the impact of systemic racism on the state's marijuana industry as well as the historical disproportionate impact marijuana prohibition has had on communities of color. The Vermont Growers Association also opposes the bill, saying it would be detrimental to the state's current illicit growers because it offers no way for them to transition to the legal marijuana market.

Vermont Coalition of Justice Organizations Urge Governor to Sign Cannabis Bills. Five justice organizations -- ACLU of Vermont, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, Middlebury Showing Up for Racial Justice, Women's Justice and Freedom Initiative, and the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana -- issued a statement Monday urging Gov. Phil Scott (R) to sign SB 54 and accompanying expungement legislation into law. It notes, "Taken together, these bills will make huge strides towards addressing the racist legacy of cannabis prohibition and disparate enforcement of our current cannabis laws." They urge Gov. Scott to sign this bill into law, and, as the bill is implemented, ensure that the promises of racial justice are given full effect.

Psychedelics

Michigan Prosecutor Not Pursuing Psychedelics Possession Cases After Decriminalization Vote. Incoming Washtenaw County prosecutor Eli Savit, who is running unopposed for election, has told the Ann Arbor branch of Decriminalize Nature that in the wake of the Ann Arbor city council voting to essentially decriminalize the possession of psychedelics he would not pursue any cases of simple psychedelic possession. He also called the war on drugs "a terrible failure."

International

Mexico Senate Leader Expects Marijuana Legalization to Pass in December. Ricardo Monreal, leader of the ruling MORENA Party in the Senate has said he expects marijuana legalization to be approved by December. The Supreme Court has given lawmakers a deadline of December 15 to get it done. This after two previous Supreme Court deadlines have come and gone. He said Amsterdam-style on-site consumption would not be allowed, but marijuana would be sold at private, strictly regulated "sale and distribution centers."

Mexican Marijuana Legalization Campaigners Take Fight to Senate's Doorstep. Activists have planted and nurtured a thriving marijuana garden right next to one of the Senate entrances as part of a campaign to pressure the legislature body to get legalization done. The plants are now about eight feet tall. The plants will not be harvested, but the two dozen young people who tend them bring their own marijuana with them and toke up in the evenings. "The aim is to claim our rights as responsible consumers," said Enrique Espinoza, a 30-year-old member of the Mexican Cannabis Movement.

Categories: Latest News

Bipartisan Policy Center Recommends Safe Injection Sites, Marijuana Busts Declined Last Year, More... (10/2/20)

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 20:58

The House includes marijuana banking language in its latest COVID relief bill, pot busts declined last year, an Arizona poll is looking good for marijuana legalization there, and more.

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

After Climbing Three Years in a Row, US Marijuana Arrests Fell by 18% Last Year. According to the just-released FBI Uniform Crime Report 2019, there were some 545,600 marijuana arrests in the US last year, 92% of them for simple possession. That's an 18% decline from 2018. Marijuana arrests peaked at nearly 873,000 in 2007.

House Democrats Include Marijuana Safe Harbor in Latest COVID Relief Bill. The House is including language to allow financial services for the marijuana industry in its latest $2.2 trillion COVID relief bill. It does so by including the text of the SAFE Banking Act (HR 1595) within the relief bill. No word yet on how the Republican-led Senate will respond.

Arizona Poll Has Strong Support for Marijuana Legalization Initiative. A new statewide poll of likely voters has support for the Prop 207 legalization initiative at 57%, with 38% opposed. The numbers are basically unchanged from the same poll in August, which had 57% in favor, with 37% opposed.

California Governor Signs Four Bills Affecting Marijuana Industry. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed into law four bills relating to the marijuana industry. Assembly Bill 1458 eases requirements for edibles manufacturers, Assembly Bill 1525 lets the state or local governments share financial information with the consent of marijuana licensees, Senate Bill 67 establishes marijuana appellations, and Senate Bill 1244 clarifies that marijuana labs may tests samples provided by law enforcement in a bid to reduce illicit cultivation.

Colorado Governor Mass Pardons People Busted for Marijuana Possession. Gov. Jared Polis (D) on Thursday signed an executive order pardoning people convicted of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana prior to legalization. "We are finally cleaning up some of the inequities of the past by pardoning 2,732 convictions for Coloradans who simply had an ounce of marijuana or less. It's ridiculous how being written up for smoking a joint in the 1970's has followed some Coloradans throughout their lives and gotten in the way of their success," Polis said. "Today we are taking this step toward creating a more just system and breaking down barriers to help transform people's lives as well as coming to terms with one aspect of the past, failed policy of marijuana prohibition."

Harm Reduction

Bipartisan Policy Center Report: Use Federal Money for Syringe Exchange Programs. The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report Wednesday looking at how federal money is being used to combat the opioid epidemic. The report recommended states do more to combat rising overdose deaths, including adding more syringe exchange programs to help reduce overdose deaths and disease transmission. "(Syringe exchange services) don't increase drug use, but rather facilitate entry into treatment as well as access to naloxone, which, as you know, is a lifesaving antidote for an opioid overdose," BPC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anand Parekh said.

Categories: Latest News

VT Governor Hints Could Veto Marijuana Sales Bill, NY Governor Calls for Arrest of Street Drug Users, More... (10/1/20)

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 19:25

New Jersey's governor gets behing the marijuana legalization initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services wants to impose hair drug testing on federal employees, the New Zealand marijuana legalization referendum is facing headwinds, and more.

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

New Jersey Governor Joins Marijuana Legalization Campaign. In an email from the Democratic State Committee Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) called for marijuana to be legalized as a social justice matter. "In fact, Black residents are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than White residents," Murphy said. "Legalization would right those wrongs while also spurring massive economic development opportunities, job creation and new tax revenue." Polls show strong support for the measure, but concerns about confusing ballot design and about voting in general in this election are spurring backers to push aggressively in the final weeks.

Vermont Governor Says He Could Veto Marijuana Sales Bill, Cites Racial Justice Objections. Gov. Phil Scott (R) signaled Tuesday that he could veto the bill legalizing marijuana sales, saying he was concerned the bill did not adequately address racial equity issues. Scott had previously raised concerns about impaired driving, local control, and taxation, but after those were addressed in the current legislation, he has found a new issue to be concerned about. "In terms of the pot bill, I haven't made up my mind about that. I have received a lot of groups -- racial equity groups -- that are asking me to veto it," Scott said during a gubernatorial debate. "I was leaning towards letting it go, but I'm really questioning that at this point. I want to hear and listen from them."

Drug Policy

New York Governor Calls for Arrest of Public Drug Users, Raising Hackles Among Harm Reductionists. During a Tuesday press conference in Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said police should arrest people injecting drugs on city streets. "The police have to do their jobs, and they have to arrest people who deserve to be arrested," Cuomo said Tuesday. "If somebody is openly injecting drugs on a city street, they should be arrested." The remarks came as Cuomo introduced a five-point plan to stabilize the city, which was short on details. The remarks raised concern about harm reductionists, with the Legal Action Center's Tracie Gardner, a former Cuomo staffer, calling it "a step backwards." She added that "We're supposed to be the leader in responding to people who use drugs. This is not leadership."

Drug Testing

HHS Considering Hair Samples for Federal Employee Drug Testing. The Department of Health and Human Services is considering adding hair testing for federal employees, saying that "hair testing potentially offers several benefits when compared to urine, including directly observed collections, ease of transport and storage, increased specimen stability, and a longer window of drug detection. The department believes these benefits justify pursuing hair testing in federal workplace programs," it said in a Federal Register notice open for comment through November 9. The proposed changes would see hair testing used for pre-employment and random drug testing, but not for "reasonable suspicion" testing.

International

New Zealand Marijuana Legalization Vote Looks to Be a Squeaker. The country is voting on a referendum to legalize marijuana on October 17, and the latest polling suggests a very tight race. 1 News Colmar Brunton polls had the referendum at 43% last November, 40% in June, and 35% now. But another poll conducted by Horizon Research should support and opposition dead even at 49.5% each. Dozens of national political figures including former Prime Minister Helen Clark are now mobilizing in support of the referendum, which is non-binding, but which, if passed, would open the way to a parliamentary vote.

Categories: Latest News

Montana's Marijuana Legalization Campaign Is Set for a Big October Push [FEATURE]

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 07:01

Come November, Big Sky Country could be among the latest places to free the weed. As is the case in Arizona, New Jersey, and South Dakota, marijuana legalization is on the ballot in Montana this year.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]In Montana, though, people will be voting on not one but two complementary initiatives. I-190 would legalize marijuana, while CI-118 would amend the state constitution to allow for the age of majority -- set at 18 -- to be raised for marijuana as it is for alcohol.

I-190 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and over and allow for the home cultivation of up to four plants and four seedlings. It would also designate the state Department of Revenue to regulate marijuana commerce from cultivation to retail sale. The initiative sets a retail tax of 20 percent on marijuana and marijuana-infused products.

And that's become a selling point for legalization: It can help fund state spending with the budget stressed by the coronavirus pandemic. A September report from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that tax revenues from legal marijuana sales would generate between $43 million and $52 million a year in the first five years after legalization.

"Following in the footsteps of eleven other states, Montana voters have the opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21 by passing both CI-118 and I-190," said the Public Lands Coalition, which wants to see revenues from marijuana support projects like Habitat Montana, working to ease access to landlocked public lands. "The Montana effort to legalize marijuana differs from other states, though. Roughly 50 percent of the revenue generated from recreational marijuana sales would support state public lands by funding efforts like Habitat Montana. These funds are critical in order to maintain abundant wildlife populations and ensure our outdoor economy continues to thrive."

"Our research has always shown that a majority of Montanans support legalization, and now voters will have the opportunity to enact that policy, which will create jobs and generate new revenue for our state," said Pepper Petersen, a spokesperson for New Approach Montana, which organized the effort, said. "It also means that law enforcement will stop wasting time and resources arresting adults for personal marijuana possession, and instead focus on real crime."

There is no recent polling to back up Petersen's claims, but a pair of older polls suggest he could be onto something. A February University of Montana Big Sky poll had marijuana legalization winning 54 percent to 37 percent. That was up from a March 2019 Big Sky poll that had support at 51 percent.

That's not an especially comfortable lead for a ballot initiative, since organized opposition later in the campaign can eat away at support. And in September, organized opposition emerged in the form of Wrong for Montana. Led by Billings businessman Steve Zabawa, a persistent foe of marijuana reforms, the group is also supported by the Montana Family Foundation and the Montana Contractors Association.

Zabawa said he planned a billboard and digital media campaign. "Our message will be well-received, it'll be shared, and it'll be taken from family to family," he said. "I believe that, at the end of the day, the legalization issue will go away in the state of Montana."

Wrong for America has reported $78,000 in donations and has already spent $61,000, leaving a paltry $17,000 to campaign with. New Approach Montana, on the other hand, has raised nearly $4.8 million dollars and still has $300,000 cash to play with. And nearly half that $4.8 million has been spent for a late campaign TV ad blitz set to begin hitting the airwaves this month.

The campaign's coffers were filled largely by the national New Approach PAC, which supports various drug reform efforts around the country and has kicked in nearly $2 million and the North Fund, which has donated nearly $3 million. A somewhat mysterious entity whose funders remain unknown, it has also donated big bucks to a campaign for DC statehood and an effort to expand Medicaid in Missouri.

All that money and all those TV ads -- and the prospect of all that marijuana tax revenue -- should help New Approach Montana get over the finish line come November 3. But it will be nail-biting time until all the votes are counted.

Categories: Latest News

Medical Marijuana Update

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 21:39

Things are heating up in Mississippi as Election Day nears, the New Jersey legislature approves a medical marijuana telemedicine bill, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Mississippi

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Initiative Hearings Coming. The state secretary of state's office will host the first of five public hearings about the medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot, Initiative Measure 65, and its legislatively sponsored alternative, Alternative Measure 65A, on Wednesday in Oxford. The hearings will feature presentations from speakers both for and against Initiative Measure No. 65 and Alternative Measure No. 65A. All public hearings will be conducted in accordance with all state guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Medical Groups Urge Mississippi Voters to Reject Medical Marijuana Initiative. The Mississippi State Medical Association and the American Medical Association released a memo this week calling on voters to reject the medical marijuana initiative, saying the ballot is inherently confusing. They also accused petitioners of being driven by a desire for profit.

Nebraska

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Advocates Submit Language for 2022 Ballot. After the state Supreme Court deprived voters of a chance to choose to legalize medical marijuana this year, the group behind the effort, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, on Monday submitted petition language aimed at getting the issue on the 2022 ballot. Five Supreme Court judges ruled that the 2020 initiative, which had already qualified for the ballot, unconstitutionally dealt with more than one subject. The new language keeps it simple: "Persons in the State of Nebraska shall have the right to cannabis in all its forms for medical purposes," is all it says.

New Jersey

New Jersey Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Bill. The Assembly last Thursday approved A-1635/S-619, which would allow health care practitioners to remotely authorize the use of medical marijuana via telemedicine. The bill had already passed the Senate and now goes to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Categories: Latest News

CA Governor Signs Marijuana Appellations Bill, IL Senate Committee Takes Up Drug Penalties, More... (9/30/20)

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 20:53

A new federal bill uses drugs and terrorism to take aim at tech companies' liability protections, a new Wyoming bill would ban smokeable hemp and most CBD products, and more.

Your California marijuana may soon be labeled for appellation of origin, like wine. (Frank Schulenberg, Wikimedia) Marijuana Policy

California Governor Signs Marijuana Appellations Bill into Law. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed into law Senate Bill 67, which will allow marijuana growing communities in the state to establish authentic, terroir-based appellations similar to those used by wine producers around the world.

Wyoming Bill Would Limit CBD, Hemp Products. At the behest of Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt, state Sen. R.J. Kost has drafted a bill, 21LSO-88, that would ban the processing, possession, and retail sale of smokable hemp and CBD food and beverage products. CBD oils are not included in the bill. "It's an attempt to try to eliminate where the crossover between marijuana and hemp is so difficult to be able to identify," Kost said. The bill would all ban CBD products from being marketed as a dietary supplement and require labels saying that the product has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Drug Policy

New Federal Bill Uses Drugs, Terrorism Threats to Limit Internet Companies' Liability Protections. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) on Tuesday filed the See Something, Say Something Online Act that would limit tech companies' liability protections over illegal activity on their platforms. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act currently exempts tech companies from being liable for third-party content on their platforms, but this bill would amend Section 230 to make large tech companies legally responsible for removing specified illegal content -- such as drug sales or terrorist activity -- on their platforms.

Illinois Senate Committee Focuses on Drug Penalty Reform. The state Senate Criminal Law Committee and Special Committee on Public Safety held its latest in a series of hearings related to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus' legislative agenda Tuesday, focusing on reclassifying offenses, drug penalty reform and elderly parole. Witnesses told the committee that changes to reduce penalties for marijuana offenses were a step forward, but that deeper changes are needed. They pointed to racial disparities in drug sentencing, where Blacks who make up less than 15% of the state population account for nearly 70% of prison admissions for drug charges. No legislation has yet been filed.

Categories: Latest News

AZ Poll Has Legalization Init in Dead Heat, Psychedelic Group Releases Handbook for Organizers, More... (9/29/20)

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 21:12

The battle over medical marijuana in Mississippi is heating up, a proposed 2022 Oklahoma marijuana legalization initiative has to go back to the drawing board, and more.

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

Arizona Poll Has Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Dead Heat. A new poll from OH Predictive Insights has the state's voters evenly split on support for the Prop 207 marijuana legalization initiative, with 46% in favor and 45% opposed and 9% undecided. That's down from a 62%-32% lead in the same poll in July. The shift is being driven by older voters, rural residents, Republicans and independents, the pollster said.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Proposed 2022 Marijuana Legalization Initiative. The state Supreme Court on Monday struck a petition that would have put marijuana legalization on the 2022 ballot. The court held that the wording on the petition was misleading and lacked sufficient detail. There is plenty of time to try again, though.

Medical Marijuana

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Initiative Hearings Coming. The state secretary of state's office will host the first of five public hearings about the medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot, Initiative Measure 65, and its legislatively sponsored alternative, Alternative Measure 65A, on Wednesday in Oxford. The hearings will feature presentations from speakers both for and against Initiative Measure No. 65 and Alternative Measure No. 65A. All public hearings will be conducted in accordance with all state guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Medical Groups Urge Mississippi Voters to Reject Medical Marijuana Initiative. The Mississippi State Medical Association and the American Medical Association released a memo this week calling on voters to reject the medical marijuana initiative, saying the ballot is inherently confusing. They also accused petitioners of being driven by a desire for profit.

Psychedelics

National Psychedelics Reform Group Releases Handbook on Enacting Decriminalization Locally. Decriminalize Nature, a national psychedelic reform group, has released guidelines for advocates who want to pursue local policy changes that challenge the criminalization of psychedelics. The group has led successful campaigns to deprioritize natural psychedelics in cities such as Denver, Oakland, and Washington, DC, among others.The organizer's handbook includes fact sheets, press release templates and sample educational emails to send to local lawmakers.

Categories: Latest News

Biden Campaign Scorns Trump Demand for Pre-Debate Drug Test, NE MedMJ Advocates File for 2022, More... (9/28/20)

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 20:25

Medical marijuana via telemedicine could be coming soon to New Jersey, medical marijuana via the ballot box could be coming to Nebraska in 2022, and more.

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

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Advocates Submit Language for 2022 Ballot. After the state Supreme Court deprived voters of a chance to choose to legalize medical marijuana this year, the group behind the effort, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, on Monday submitted petition language aimed at getting the issue on the 2022 ballot. Five Supreme Court judges ruled that the 2020 initiative, which had already qualified for the ballot, unconstitutionally dealt with more than one subject. The new language keeps it simple: "Persons in the State of Nebraska shall have the right to cannabis in all its forms for medical purposes," is all it says.

New Jersey Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Bill. The Assembly last Thursday approved A-1635/S-619, which would allow health care practitioners to remotely authorize the use of medical marijuana via telemedicine. The bill had already passed the Senate and now goes to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Drug Testing

Biden Campaign Scorns Trump Demand for Candidate Drug Test. Suggesting without any evidence that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden uses performance-enhancing drugs, President Trump on Sunday demanded be subjected to a drug test before Tuesday's presidential debate. The Biden campaign was having none of it, responding thusly: "Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it. We'd expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn't make a plan to stop COVID-19," the campaign said in a press release.

International

Mexico Bar Massacre Leaves 11 Dead. Armed gunmen killed 11 people Sunday in a bar in Jaral del Progreso, Guanajuato. The state has become the scene of recurring violence in recent months as the rival Santa Rosa de Lima gang and the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel vie for control of the state. Two months ago, 24 people were killed a drug rehab center in the city of Guanajuato, one of the worst mass slayings since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office pledging to reduce record levels of violence.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. 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.)

Categories: Latest News

Study Finds Drug Use Rose During Pandemic, San Francisco Sues to Block Dealers from Tenderloin, More... (9/25/20)

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 20:11

The Michigan legislature is moving forward on a couple of fronts, San Francisco prosecutors try suing Tenderloin drug dealers, and more.

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

Michigan Legislature Passes Expungement Bill. A bill that would automatically expunge criminal records for those convicted of marijuana offenses has passed the legislature. Under the bill, people convicted of those offenses would not have to apply and their records would be cleared seven years after their misdemeanor sentence or 10 years for a felony offense. The bill is part of a six-bill package, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign into law, also would allow people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to clear the offenses sooner if they would not have been considered crimes after voters' legalization of marijuana in 2018. They could start applying 180 days after the law is enacted -- late March or early April.

Drug Policy

Drug Use Rose During Pandemic, Study Finds. A study published Wednesday in the American Medical Association's JAMA Network found that drug test positivity rates for cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine have increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coauthored by the Department of Health and Human Services and Millennium Health, the study was based on urine drug test results from 150,000 patients between Nov. 14 and July 10. The study found that people were 19% more likely to test positive for cocaine, 67% more likely to test positive for fentanyl, 33% more likely to test positive for heroin, andd 23% more likely to test positive for methamphetamine.

Michigan Bill to Lift SNAP Drug Felony Ban Advances. A bill that would end the state's permanent ban on food assistance for people with two or more drug convictions passed out of the Senate Families, Seniors and Veterans committee this week. The measure, SB 1006, is sponsored by State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), and is now headed for a Senate floor vote.

San Francisco Sues 28 Tenderloin Drug Dealers, Seeks to Ban Them from Area. The city has sued 28 alleged drug dealers in the Tenderloin, where drug dealing and open drug use is common, in a bid to clean up the area. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the lawsuits would bar the defendants from a 50-square-block area of the Tenderloin and part of the adjoining South of Market neighborhood. Of the 28 defendants, 27 live outside the city, and all have multiple arrests for sale or possession of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl.

Categories: Latest News

OR Dems Endorse Drug Reform Inits, CA East Bay County Ends Drug Possession Prosecutions, More... (9/24/20)

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 21:02

The Drug Policy Alliance on the Breonna Taylor non-indictments, Oregon Democrats go all in for drug decriminalization and therapeutic psilocybin initiatives, and more.

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

Oregon Democratic Party Endorses Legal Psilocybin Therapy and Drug Decriminalization Ballot Measures. The state Democratic Party officially endorsed two statewide drug reform initiatives Wednesday. The party is getting behind both Measure 110, which would decriminalize drug possession, and Measure 109, the therapeutic psilocybin initiative.

Law Enforcement

Drug Policy Alliance Statement on Release of Grand Jury’s Findings in Breonna Taylor Killing by Louisville Police. In response to the release of the grand jury’s findings -- only indicting one of the three officers on a charge of "wanton endangerment" -- in the horrific killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Police in what was a baseless no-knock warrant in a drug investigation, Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement: "Breonna Taylor should be alive today, but instead, the systems we have in place -- as a result of the drug war -- failed her. And they robbed her of the bright future she was just beginning. Had it not been for the drug war -- which provides the military-grade equipment to local police departments through military weapons transfer and earmarked federal funds -- Breonna would be alive today. And had it not been for the drug war that incentivizes drug arrests with said federal resources, the police likely would have never gone to her home to begin with. While this decision is upsetting and certainly doesn’t go far enough, it does not change the fact that as long as the drug war remains, people of color will continue to have a bounty on their heads. They will continue to be gunned down in their beds, or held down until they can’t breathe with an officer’s knee on their necks. And worse, those responsible for their deaths will use drugs -- or alleged drug involvement -- as a cover for their merciless actions. This isn't an isolated incident. These aren't 'a few bad cops.' It is a system that has been created through the parasitic relationship between policing, the drug war and racism. And until we completely terminate those connections, we are simply adding fuel to the fire and no court or jury will be able to stop the police violence that ensues."

California East Bay County to Stop Prosecutions for Drug Possession, Other Nonviolent Misdemeanors. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced Thursday that her office will no longer file charges against most people arrested for small-time drug possession and other nonviolent misdemeanor offenses. The county had not been pursuing such charges under a pilot program in effect since early this year. Now that policy has been made permanent. The county says the move will divert low-level recreational users out of the criminal justice system and into the health care system with the goals of both reducing the strain in the courts and on law enforcement.

The Drug Policy Alliance is a funder of StoptheDrugWar.org.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. 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.)

Categories: Latest News

Will New Jersey Be the Next State to Legalize Weed? [FEATURE]

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 07:03

New Jersey looks set to be the next state to legalize marijuana. It's on the ballot come election day, the polls are looking good, and while it's not the only state with marijuana legalization on the ballot, the others -- Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota -- are all out West, and the Garden State should beat them by a few hours.

[image:1 align:left]The New Jersey legalization initiative, Public Question 1, would amend the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and its cultivation, processing, and retail sale. It also designates the existing Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which currently handles medical marijuana, to regulate all legal marijuana commerce. Retail marijuana sales would be subject to the state sales tax of 6.625%, but any other states sales taxes would be prohibited. The initiative authorizes the legislature to let local governments add a 2% local sales tax.

It also leaves it up to the legislature and the CRC to address unresolved issues. Those include whether and how home cultivation would be allowed, how much weed people could possess, and detailed retail regulations.

If the measure passes, New Jersey will be not only the first to legalize it this election day, it will also be the first Mid-Atlantic state to do so, and the first to legalize it via a legislatively-initiated voter referendum. Of the 11 states (and the District of Columbia) that have so far legalized marijuana, nine did it through citizen-based ballot initiatives, while in the other two, Illinois and Vermont, the legislatures passed legalization bills.

But even though Gov. Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on marijuana legalization in 2017 and vowed to get it passed in 100 days, legislative infighting, opposition within the Legislative Black Caucus, and bickering over revenues blocked the legislature from ever getting it done. As a last resort, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) and marijuana reform champion Sen. Nick Scutari (D) filed the resolution giving the voters the final decision. It passed with overwhelming Democratic support over strong Republican opposition last December.

And the polls have consistently shown it winning in November.An April Monmouth University poll of registered voters had the measure winning 61% of the vote, while a July Brach Eichler Cannabis Poll of likely voters had support at 67.6%. An August Brach Eichler Cannabis Poll had support at 66%, a barely noticeable decline and still a number to warm the hearts of legalization supporters.

That latter poll also had a large majority (74%) saying the state should make sure that racial equity issues are addressed, while another large majority, 71%, wanted tax revenues to be used for drug awareness and education. More than half (55%) wanted to see higher marijuana taxes.

"The [poll] shows that as we get closer to the November election, public awareness and support for the legalization of adult cannabis use is steady or growing," John D. Fanburg, co-chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler, said in a press release accompanying the poll. "Additionally, we can see that voters are recognizing the importance of addressing the social justice impact of disproportional enforcement and arrests against New Jersey's minority population."

For Ken Wolski, RN, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey (CMM-NJ), supporting the initiative is a no-brainer. Wolski and CMM-NJ are part of a broader coalition, NJ CAN 2020, that is working with Head Count's Cannabis Voter Project to end marijuana prohibition in the Garden State. Other coalition members include the ACLU-New Jersey, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, the Latino Action Network, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association.

"Legalizing marijuana is the best way to get the right medicine to the most people," Wolski told the Chronicle in an email exchange. "Legalization will make it much easier for adults to take advantage of the tremendous therapeutic potential of cannabis. No longer will adults need a specific diagnosis and multiple visits to physicians to obtain cannabis. Adults in New Jersey will be able to purchase cannabis over the counter, like they purchase aspirin now. NJ currently has some of the most expensive medical cannabis in the country, but increased competition will bring down those prices. Home grow should also come into play. Easily available marijuana will improve public health," he said.

Wolski is counseling reefer revolutionaries who don't think the measure goes far enough to think again. There will be opportunities to further shape what legalization looks like down the road, he said.

"Unfortunately, some marijuana reform advocates oppose the amendment because it does not address their specific concerns about guaranteeing home cultivation, ensuring that ex-felons can participate in the new legal industry, ensuring reparations for individuals and communities harmed by the war on marijuana, etc.," he explained.

"To those who say the question does not go far enough, I point out that the CRC must follow the regulatory process, which ensures input from the people of the state," Wolski continued. "The CRC will hold public hearings before they draft the regulations, then there will be a Public Comment period before they adopt the regulations. This will be the time to make opinions about home grow, social equity, affordable licenses, etc. known. The entire process will be transparent. If some of our demands are not met in the first go-round, we can immediately file to amend the regulations. The very first step is to give whole-hearted support for the ballot question, without which, there will be no reform of marijuana laws in New Jersey for the foreseeable future."

And he'll be fighting for home cultivation, he said.

"We anticipate arguments in civil and criminal courts that the amendment does, in fact, allow home cultivation," Wolski explained. "We plan to work with the CRC in the development of regulations to ensure that home cultivation is part of legal cannabis in New Jersey. At the same time, we will continue to work with legislators for a bill to specifically allow New Jersey medical marijuana program patients and caregivers to grow a limited supply of cannabis for their medical needs."

But first, the measure needs to win.

"If the ballot question fails, the war on marijuana will be business as usual, and we will be that much further away from home cultivation, legalization, expungement, social justice, etc.," Wolski warned. "The first step is victory in November that we can build on. We encourage New Jersey residents to join us in our efforts to pass this ballot question."

Categories: Latest News

No Indictments for Killing Breonna Taylor, Vermont MJ Commerce Bill Goes to Governor, More... (9/23/20)

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 20:18

A Vermont legal marijuana commerce bill goes to the governor, Michael Bloomberg has paid the fines of 32,000 Floridians with felony records so they can vote this year, and more.

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

Vermont Lawmakers Send Marijuana Retail Sales Bill, Automatic Expungement Measure to Governor's Desk. With final votes in the state Senate, the legislature has approved two bills, one, S. 54, that allows for the regulated cultivation and sale of marijuana and the other, S. 234, which allows for the automatic expungement of past low-level marijuana possession convictions. The House approved the measures days earlier. The bills now go to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott (R).

Medical Marijuana

North Carolina Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. A new WGHP/Emerson College poll finds that nearly three quarters (72.5%) of respondents support the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Fewer than one out of five (18.9%) were opposed. Support for recreational marijuana, on the other hand, remains a minority position, but just barely, with 48.1%.

Felon Voting Rights

Michael Bloomberg Pays Fines For 32,000 Floridians with Felony Records So They Can Vote. Former New York City mayor and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has donated more than $16 million in a bid to help Floridians with felony records register to vote. Voting rights activists estimate the funds have already paid off fines for some 32,000 felons. Florida voters in 2018 approved an initiative that allowed felons to vote once they pay off all fines, fees, and restitution. Activists had challenged the provision requiring that all fines be paid before allowing felons to register, but the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law last week.

Law Enforcement

Kentucky Attorney General Announces One Louisville Police Officer Indicted in Breonna Taylor Killing, But Not for Killing Her. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) announced Wednesday that a grand jury his office empaneled had indicted former Officer Brett Hankinson on a charge of endangering neighbors with reckless gunfire, but no officer was charged with causing Taylor's death. Taylor was shot and killed during a no-knock middle-of-the-night drug raid in March after her live-in boyfriend opened fire on police he believed were home invaders. As of Wednesday afternoon, the streets of Louisville were filling with angry demonstrators.

International

US Offers $5 Million Reward for Arrest of Colombia Rebel Leader. The US is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of a leader of the Colombian rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN). The US accuses Wilver Villegas Palomino of participating in an ongoing scheme to distribute Colombian cocaine in the United States to finance the rebel group. The ELN was founded more than 50 years ago to fight for a more just Colombia, but like other armed actors there, has been involved in the cocaine trade. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently described Palomino as an "indicted terrorist."

British Labor MPs Call on Their Leader to Embrace Drug Law Reforms. A group of Labor MPs organized as the Labor Campaign for Drug Policy Reform (LCDPR) are calling on party leader Keir Starmer to get behind the need for urgent drug law reforms. The group, which consists of 20 MPs, launched a manifesto yesterday calling for an explicitly public health-based approach to drug use, the introduction of safe injection sites to prevent overdoses, the expansion of pill-testing services, and the diversion of drug possession offenders out of the criminal justice system.

Categories: Latest News

SD Marijuana Poll Has Good News, UC Berkeley to Open Psychedelic Research Center, More... (9/22/20)

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 20:37

A Texas judge has temporarily lifted a ban on smokable hemp, the Ann Arbor city council approves a resolution effectively decriminalizing plant-based psychedelics, and more.

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

South Dakota Opposition Group's Polling Shows Voter Support for Marijuana Legalization Initiatives. A poll commissioned by a group opposing the state's marijuana legalization initiative, Constitutional Amendment A, and medical marijuana initiative, Initiated Measure 26, finds both leading by a sizeable margin. The survey found that 70% supported the medical marijuana initiative and 60% supported the legalization initiative.

Hemp

Texas Judge Lifts Ban on Smokable Hemp Until 2021. A Texas judge has granted a temporary injunction barring the state from enforcing a ban on smokable hemp products until a challenge from the industry can be heard on court. The ban was written into legislation legalizing hemp in the state, but four hemp producers challenged it in court. Last week, Travis County Judge Lora Livingston found that the plaintiffs "have demonstrated a probable right to relief," Livingston granted the injunction, which will be in effect until the issue is litigated in February.

Psychedelics

New Psychedelics Research and Education Center Launched at UC Berkeley As Reform Movement Grows. The University of California at Berkeley will launch a new center dedicated to psychedelics research and education, the school announced Monday. Researchers will study psychedelics to "investigate cognition, perception and emotion and their biological bases in the human brain," according to a press release. At the same time, the new entity will be putting resources toward informing the public about "this rapidly advancing field of research." Johns Hopkins University opened a similar center last year.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, City Council Approves Psychedelic Decriminalization Resolution. The city council voted Monday night to approve a resolution effectively decriminalizing plant-based psychedelics (or entheogens). The resolution passed unanimously.

Categories: Latest News

New Coalition Unveils Plan to Legalize Interstate Marijuana Commerce, Colombia Cocaine Regulation Bill, More... (9/21/20)

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:31

People with small-time marijuana possession convictions in New York state can now move to get them expunged, Secretary of State Pompeo promises more anti-drug aid for Colombia, and more.

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

New Marijuana Coalition Unveils Plan to Legalize Interstate Marijuana Commerce. A group of advocacy groups and marijuana businesses calling itself the Alliance for Sensible Markets has rolled out a plan to allow marijuana commerce between states that have legalized it even while federal prohibition remains. The alliance will urge governors of legal and hopefully soon-to-be legal states to create an interstate compact to establish a framework for cannabis to be transported and marketed across state lines. If at least two governors agree, the compact would then go to Congress for approval.

New York Courts Ready to Begin Expunging Marijuana Convictions. In line with a law passed last year, the state's court system is now ready to begin expunging low-level marijuana convictions for people previously charged and convicted of specific possession offenses. Under the process, individuals must fill out an application with the court where they were convicted. From there, the applications are then sent to the Division of Criminal Justice Services and applicable law enforcement agencies, who will destroy the already expunged records. For an application with instructions click here.

Foreign Policy

Secretary of State Pompeo Promises More Anti-Drug Aid for Colombia. During his tour of Latin America, US Secretary of Sate Mike Pompeo on Saturday pledged to Colombian President Ivan Duque continued assistance to help fight drug trafficking. The country is under strong pressure from the Trump administration to reduce the size of its coca crop. Pompeo also praised Duque for his stance against Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, who the US does not recognize.

International

Colombia Legislature to take Up Coca, Cocaine Regulation Bill Next Month. A bill from a coalition of leftist legislators that would have the national government take control of the drug market by purchasing coca leaf from farmers and regulating cocaine sales will be debated next month. It faces long odds, but the bill's backers say it could reduce the waste of public funds, help protect the environment and led to a better public health approach to drug consumption. They also argue that it would lead to a reduction in violence, which persists despite the 2016 peace treaty with the FARC as other guerrilla groups, FARC dissidents, paramilitaries, drug traffickers, police and the military fight either to control or repress the trade.

Seven Killed in Latest Colombia Massacre. At least seven people died after they were gunned down at a cock fight in the municipality of Buenos Aires in Cauca province, where various armed groups are fighting over control of territory abandoned by the FARC after the 2016 peace deal. This is the ninth mass killing in Cauca this year and the 60th in the country. Cauca has been the scene of some of the worst violence in the fight over control of the coca and cocaine trade.

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Web Highlight: "Claiming the Moral High Ground" DrugTruth Interviews

Sat, 09/19/2020 - 17:00

All star hour-and-a-half compilation of interviews conducted by our friend Dean Becker of the DrugTruth Network. (Trailer here.)

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Categories: Latest News

AZ Poll Has MJ Init With Bare Majority, White House Releases Annual Drug Certification List, More... (9/16/20)

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 19:46

A new poll has the Arizona marijuana legalization initiative at 51%, the natural psychedelic decriminalization movement comes to Ann Arbor, and more.

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

Arizona Poll Has Marijuana Legalization Initiative with Bare Majority. A new Monmouth University poll has the Prop 207 marijuana legalization initiative winning the support of 51% of registered voters, with 41% opposed, 6% undecided, and 3% who said they would not vote on the issue. That is an uncomfortably close margin, but at this late stage also a hopeful one. Traditionally an initiative campaign hopes to begin a campaign with 60% support, expecting to lose some voters as election day approaches and details of the initiative get debated.

Foreign Policy

White Houses Releases Annual Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2021. In an annual exercise in which the US grades other countries' compliance with US drug policy objectives, President Trump on Wednesday named 20 countries as "major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries." They are: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. Although Venezuela is not a drug producing country, Trump named "the Venezuelan dictator, Nicholas Maduro" as "the most complicit kingpin in the Hemisphere." He also called on Colombia to "move forward with aerial spraying" of coca crops and Peru "to resume eradication operations in the country"s high yield coca producing regions, including the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers." He also warned Mexico that it must step up anti-drug operations if it wants to avoid being considered a country that "failed demonstrably to uphold its international drug control commitments."

Psychedelics

Ann Arbor, Michigan, City Council to Take Up Natural Psychedelic Lowest Priority Ordinance. The Ann Arbor city council will take up a ordinance that would make enforcement of laws against plant- and fungi-based psychedelic drugs the lowest law enforcement priority next Monday. Those drugs include psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca, mescaline, ibogaine and others. The move is being pushed by an activist group, Decriminalize Ann Arbor.

International

Brazil Fast-Tracks Legislation to Legalize Cultivation of Hemp, Medical Marijuana. The Brazilian legislature is moving a bill that would legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana and hemp. While efforts have been underway since 2015 to revise the country's marijuana laws, this new version of the legislation calls for cultivation, processing, research, storage, transportation, production, industrialization, commercialization, import and export of medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp be legalized.

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House Postpones Marijuana Legalization Vote Until After Election Day, BC Expands "Safe Supply" of Drugs, More... (9/17/20)

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 21:00

There will be no House vote on marijuana legalization until after the election, Vermont lawmakers reach agreement on regulated legal marijuana sales, British Columbia moves to expand access to a "safe supply" of drugs to replace street drugs, and more.

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

House Postpones Vote on Marijuana Legalization Bill Until After Election Day. A House Democratic member and several aides said Thursday that a pending vote on the MORE Act marijuana legalization and expungement bill will not happen until after Election Day. The bill was set to be voted on next week, but there were already reports that it would be pushed back to allow the House to concentrate on getting a pandemic relief package passed. Some moderate House Democrats have been expressing concern that passing a marijuana bill before the relief bill was passed would leave them open to attacks by Republicans.

Pennsylvania Governor Reiterates Call for Marijuana Legalization. At a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) once again pleaded with lawmakers to move on legalizing marijuana in the state. Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and have said legalization is not on the table. "The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous disruptions to Pennsylvania's economy, and with the additional federal aid stagnating in Congress, we need to do everything we can right here in Harrisburg right now, to help ourselves recover from this pandemic," Wolf said. "Some states that have legalized adult use cannabis have received literally hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue."

Vermont: Lawmakers Finalize Marijuana Retail Sales Legislation. A legislative conference committee has finalized an agreement on Senate Bill 54, which would allow for the regulated commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults. Now, the revised language must be approved by the House and Senate and then be signed by Gov. Phil Scott (R).

International

British Columbia Moves to Increase "Safe Supply" of Drugs. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry issued a public-health order on Wednesday that will allow registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe, make more medications available, and expand eligibility to people who are at risk of overdose, including those who may not necessarily be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. "We know the pandemic has only made the street drug supply in BC more toxic than ever, putting people who use drugs at extremely high risk for overdose," Dr. Henry said in a statement. "Giving physicians and nurse practitioners the ability to prescribe safer pharmaceutical alternatives has been critical to saving lives and linking more people to treatment and other health and social services." Since the COVID crisis began, the province already allowed doctors to prescribe take-home doses of pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs. Now, they will be available to anyone at risk of overdose.

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Book Review: Hell in the Heartland

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 07:32

Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller (2020, Berkley Books, (319 pp., $27.00 HB)

[image:1 align:right]Early on the morning of December 31, 1999, a northeast Oklahoma couple headed to work in the predawn hours spotted a rosy glow on the rural horizon. The glow was turned out to be a mobile home in flames. It was home to Danny and Kathy Freeman and their teenage daughter Ashley, whose best friend, Lauria (not a typo) Bible, was spending the night.

Rural volunteer firefighters arrived to douse the flames of the now-collapsed trailer, followed shortly by a county sheriff's deputy -- and a crowd of curious neighbors gawking from the road. But when firefighters reported finding a body, but no sign of the presumed other three occupants of the home that night, the Craig County sheriff promptly bowed out of the case, handing it over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). That's because the Freemans had a serious beef with local law enforcement: A Craig County deputy had shot and killed 17-year-old Shane Freeman a year earlier, and now the sheriff feared Freeman had flipped, killing his wife and taking the girls hostage in his rage over his son's death.

And so begins journalist Jax Miller's Hell in the Heartland, a chilling bit of nasty prairie noir that explores an enduring mystery replete with still-missing girls, stunningly incompetent and possibly corrupt police, and a deeply criminal meth-cooking and -using subculture in the forgotten dead end towns and environmental cleanup sites of far northeast Oklahoma, where it butts up against Kansas and Missouri.

Were the local cops really scared of Freeman or, as relatives would later argue, had they eliminated a threat to them? Was the OSBI agent truly clueless -- as he comes off for years in the book -- or was something more sinister going on? In any case, both the deputies and the OSBI managed to miss the charred body of Danny Freeman in the ruins of the trailer, leaving them fruitlessly searching for their "suspect" in the critical first hours after the girls vanished and leaving family members searching the unsecured crime scene for clues to make the gruesome discovery themselves.

That was only the first in a years-long litany of police bungling or seeming indifference toward finding the killers of the Freeman couple and even more shockingly, finding the missing girls. Miller, who began working on the book in 2015, meticulously sifts through the evidence, pointing out misstep after police misstep. The years went by, rumors abounded, and in the meth subculture of the neighboring towns, whispers were heard of Polaroids and videos of bound and gagged girls and a New Year's Eve party where the captive teens were sexually abused and tortured before being murdered and their bodies thrown into one of the numberless pits that dotted the hellish landscape of Picher, Oklahoma, once a lead and zinc mining center, now a toxic wasteland of mineshafts and hills of mineral tailings that is now part of the Tar Creek Superfund site.

Miller shows how police on both sides of the Kansas-Oklahoma line heard those same whispers but failed to put two and two together. People in the meth subculture knew early on exactly who committed these atrocities, but when they said as much to law enforcement, nothing happened. For years. And while there were attempts to tell the cops, the incentive to keep quiet was strong, since those same killers were still around and scarier than ever.

It takes 18 years for Oklahoma authorities to announce an arrest in the case, with most of the legwork actually being done by the parents of the Bible girl, and just this month, one of the three men named as the killers, Ronny Busick, 69, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to accessory to murder. It is an unsatisfying denouement. The true mastermind of the murder, a maniacal meth-cooking preacher universally described as "evil" by everyone who knew him, died without meeting justice, as did the second henchman. And the girls have still not been found.

Miller excels at evoking the schizophrenic ambience of small-town pastoral rusticity mixed with bedraggled dead-enders cranked out of their heads, and she digs deep, interviewing dozens of people involved, from sheriffs and OSBI agents to current and former tweakers, family members, and townspeople. In those small towns, people know who is up to what, and Miller finds out, too.

Hell in the Heartland is true crime. It doesn't interrogate drug prohibition; it just accepts meth as a social problem. Nor does Miller talk about the history of meth in Oklahoma -- they may not have been smoking marijuana in Muskogee in the 1960s, but there was a trucker/cowboy speed culture tweaking in Tulsa -- or how harm reduction or other policy responses to an underground drug trade might have shaped a reality where teenaged girls don't get raped and murdered over drug deals gone bad. That's too bad, but she at least gets at the underlying social context. At one point, she writes how the good people of one nearby town "expected nothing but trouble from [those] boys, poor boys, boys of angry fathers and neglected mothers."

Hell in the Heartland is a compelling read, a horrifying mystery, still unsatifyingly unresolved. It's a real page-turner that sheds a very creepy light on that little corner of Oklahoma.

Categories: Latest News

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 21:11

A former DEA task force member and a former DEA agent are the sole members of this week's rogue's gallery. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right caption:true]In McAllen, Texas, a former DEA task force member was arrested last Wednesday as part of an anti-corruption drive called Operation Blue Shame. Johnny Jacob Domingue had been a federal task force officer for the DEA in Louisiana and is accused of negotiating the purchase of four kilos of cocaine and the transport of another four kilos of cocaine. On September 9, he traveled from Louisiana to Edinburgh, Texas, where he picked up a vehicle "loaded with eight kilograms of cocaine concealed inside a secret compartment." according to a news release from federal prosecutors. "Domingue intended to transport the vehicle to Houston and on to Louisiana to further distribute the cocaine to buyers," they added. He faces federal cocaine trafficking charges and is looking at 10 years to life in prison.

In Tampa, Florida, a former DEA agent pleaded guilty Monday to plotting with a Colombian cartel to launder money for it. Jose Irizarry pleaded guilty to 19 federal counts, including bank fraud and diverting millions of dollars in drug proceeds from DEA control. He also copped to filing false reports and ordering DEA staff to wire money to be used in undercover stings to international accounts he and his associates controlled. The prosecution was a scandal for the DEA and calls into question its undercover money-laundering operations. It also raises questions about the level of supervision Irizarry had during his tenure at DEA, where he had been entrusted with setting up front companies, shell bank accounts, and courtiers to fight international drug trafficking. He's looking at decades behind bars, although a sentencing date has yet to be set.

Categories: Latest News