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  • 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.

In Historic Vote, UN CND Votes to Remove Cannabis from Most Restrictive Drug Schedule [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 12/02/2020 - 23:59

In a historic vote Wednesday, the 53 member states of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN body charged with supervising the application of the international drug control treaties that form the legal backbone of global drug prohibition, voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the United Nations' drug classification system as they met in Vienna.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]The vote followed an independent scientific assessment undertaken by some of the world's leading experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 and 2018. The Geneva-based WHO is charged under the UN drug conventions with assessing the harms and benefits of substances and making scheduling recommendations. In January 2019, the WHO formally recommended that cannabis be removed from Schedule IV and that CBD cannabis preparations containing less than 0.2% THC, such as tinctures and extracts, be removed from the schedules altogether.

While civil society groups gave the WHO's recommendations decidedly mixed reviews, including its "very questionable rationale for keeping cannabis in Schedule I," they also applauded its "obvious recommendations deserving support." The removal of cannabis form Schedule IV in particular would signify UN recognition that cannabis really does have therapeutic uses.

As explained in an October briefing paper from the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Transnational Institute, cannabis is currently both a Schedule I and a Schedule IV drug under the international drug treaties. Schedule I includes "substances that are highly addictive and liable to abuse or easily convertible into those (e.g. opium, heroin, cocaine, coca leaf" -- although Bolivia begs to differ on the latter), while Schedule IV includes Schedule I drugs with "particularly dangerous properties and little or no therapeutic value" (e.g. heroin, carfentanil).

Wednesday's vote removing cannabis from Schedule IV means the global anti-drug bureaucracy now recognizes the therapeutic value of cannabis and no longer considers it "particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects." 

With medical marijuana legal in dozens of countries in one form or another, the ever-increasing mountain of evidence supporting the therapeutic uses of cannabis, not to mention outright legalization in 15 American states Canada and Uruguay, with Mexico about to come on board, this decision by the CND is long past due, but nonetheless welcome.

"With this decision, the UN closes a 60-year denial of what has been documented as being among the most ancient medicinal plants humankind has domesticated," said independent researcher Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, who was monitored the CND process for years.

It will be 60 years in March since cannabis was placed in Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic without ever having been subject to any scientific assessment.

"As a medical patient myself I know how necessary this change in international law is, to help reduce the suffering of millions of people and how it adds a much needed pain treatment with promise in mitigating reliance on opiates at a key moment in history," said Michael Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access (USA), one of the global civil society groups that has been pushing for reform at the UN.

While the CND accepted the WHO's recommendation to remove cannabis from Schedule IV, it failed to advance some other recommendations, including rejecting a recommendation on medical CBD. That means CBD remains unscheduled, outside treaty controls, and liable to national bans. The failure to adopt more progressive WHO recommendations was "disappointing and represents a lost opportunity to make the treaty best fit to purpose," activists said.  

But this is the United Nations, and change comes at a glacial pace and even then, only incrementally. Still, Tuesday's vote is a long overdue step in the right direction and lays the groundwork for more progress in years to come. 

Categories: Latest News

GOP Snipes at Dems Over Looming House Legal Pot Vote, Congressional Report on Hemispheric Drug War, More (12/2/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 12/02/2020 - 22:05

Republicans seek to make political hay out of the looming House vote on marijuana legalization, a New Mexico criminal justice reform coalition gears up to push for pot legalization there, and more.

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

Congressional Republicans Use MORE Act Vote to Snipe at Democrats. GOP lawmakers are trying to score political points by attacking House Democrats for holding a vote this week on a marijuana legalization bill, the MORE Act (HR 3884). In a seemingly coordinated campaign, GOP members attacked the Democrats for taking up the MORE ACT before additional coronavirus relief is passed. Here's a representative tweet from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): "This week, your House Democrat majority is tackling the tough issues by holding a vote on legalizing pot and banning tiger ownership.Nothing for small businesses. Nothing for re-opening schools. Nothing on battling the pandemic. Just cannabis and cats."

New Mexico Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Gears Up to Press for Marijuana Legalization. Advocates for marijuana legalization have formed a criminal justice reform coalition, New Mexico Safe, to push for marijuana legalization. The group presented information to state lawmakers Tuesday night ahead of next year's legislative session, which begins next month. "This priority is one that obviously generates revenue and reinvest some of those dollars back into the public health system and back into communities that have been most harmed by substance use disorder," said Emily Katzenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance, which is a member of the coalition.  

Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Adds Two More Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana. The state Department of Health has added sickle cell disease and chronic vocal or motor tic disorder to the state's list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The change will go into effect in August 2021. An effort to an anxiety as a qualifying condition was denied but will be revisited next year. The state currently allows medical marijuana for 15 qualifying conditions.

Foreign Policy

US Congressional Commission Report Calls for Overhaul of War on Drugs in Latin America. The congressional Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission is calling for a "smarter" approach to hemispheric drug policy in a bipartisan report to be released later this week. The current approach has not stopped drug smuggling or reduced high rates of violence and corruption in the region, the report says. "An increasingly complex threat requires a more agile, adaptive long-term strategy," the report says, stressing that the COVID pandemic has only increased the problem. "The pandemic has exacerbated conditions that are worsening our ongoing opioid crisis, such as lack of adequate treatment, economic distress, and social isolation," said the report. It also noted that some anti-drug policies, such as forced coca eradication and the targeting of "drug kingpins" have had harmful and counterproductive consequences.

Categories: Latest News

Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges Over Oxycontin, House to Vote on Legal Pot This Week, More... (12/1/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 21:55

It's now legal to possess and grow your own marijuana in Arizona, the House Rules Committee takes up the MORE Act on Wednesday, Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to three federal criminal charges, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

House Rules Committee Takes Up Marijuana Legalization Bill Tomorrow Ahead of Looming Floor Vote. The House Rules Committee takes up the MORE Act (HR 3884) tomorrow, paving the way for a House floor vote on the bill later this week. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent the bill to the Rules Committee with some modifications, the most significant of which revolve around taxation. The bill originally imposed a 5% tax on marijuana products, but Nadler has amended the bill to remove that language and replace it with a scheme that would allow increases in the tax rate until it reaches 8%.

Arizona Marijuana Legalization Now in Effect. Marijuana is now legal in the state. It became so after the state secretary of state certified the election results, affirming that Prop 207 indeed passed. It is now legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of concentrates and to grow up to six plants for personal use. The legal, regulated marijuana market won't be in effect until sometime next year.

Virginia Legislative Working Group Issues Report Outlining Path to Legalization. A working group on marijuana legalization requested by the legislature issued its report Monday and concluded that the end of pot prohibition "cannot be created quickly." First, the state needs to invest in data collection, craft new regulations, and undertake a public education campaign, the report said. That pushes legalization down the road: "Setting up an adequate regulatory structure will require a significant up-front investment, in time, patience, and budgetary resources," the report reads. The report sets an 18-24-month timeline for legalization and up to five years before there is a fully developed legal marijuana industry.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Federal Criminal Charges Over Oxycontin Role in Opioid Crisis. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as well as two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The move came after a plea deal agreed to in October that also includes a historic $3.544 billion fine and a $2 billion criminal forfeiture. The company will now be dissolved and its assets used to incorporate a "public benefit company" designed to serve the public, not the company's bottom line.

Categories: Latest News

ALERT: House of Representatives Voting on MORE Act This Week!

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 20:37

Dear reformer:

[image:2 align:right]The US House of Representatives is scheduled to take an historic, first-ever vote on marijuana legalization this week! A hearing before the vote is scheduled for tomorrow morning (Wednesday), so please take action as soon as you can!

The MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019) will remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, decriminalizing it at the federal level and allowing states to move forward with legalization. It will allow marijuana businesses access to banking services. And it will enact social justice measures to help the communities most impacted by the drug war, like expungement of past convictions and equity measures for the legal marijuana industry. Read more about the MORE Act here.

If you're a US voter, please write your member of Congress using our online action alert. When you're done, please call them too -- use the Congressional Switchboard main number, (202) 224-3121, then ask to be transferred.

This historic moment is also a really important one. I hope we can count on your support to get the MORE Act through the House of Representatives now, and then as we take it from there!

Sincerely,

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
Washington, DC
https://stopthedrugwar.org

Categories: Latest News

House to Vote on Marijuana Legalization Bill This Week, Mexico Senate OKS Legal Pot, More... (11/30/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 21:46

Marijuana legalization is on the move in Washington, DC, and Mexico City, Washington state activists push for therapeutic psilocbyin and broader drug decriminalization, British police chiefs call for expanding a heroin maintenance pilot program, and more.

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

House to Vote on Marijuana Legalization Bill This Week. House Majority Leader Stony Hoyer (D-MD) said late last week that a marijuana legalization bill, the MORE ACT (HR 3884) would receive a House floor vote this week. First, though, it will go before the House Rules Committee. A floor vote should come between Wednesday and Friday.

Drug Policy

Washington State to See Push for Psychedelics, Drug Decriminalization. In the wake of victories for therapeutic psilocybin and drug decriminalization in Oregon this year, drug reformers in neighboring Washington are now looking to push similar reforms there. One push is for therapeutic psilocybin for end-of-life patients using existing administrative mechanism, while a second is aiming at a statewide drug decriminalization initiative that also legalizes psilocybin for broader therapeutic purposes. Meanwhile, advocates plan on lobbying the legislature for drug decriminalization this year, too.

International

British Police Chiefs Call for Expansion of Heroin-Assisted Treatment Program. The National Police Chiefs Council is calling for heroin-assisted treatment to be rolled out "across the country" after a year-old pilot program reported "very promising" results. Jason Harwin, the drug policy lead for the group, said his colleagues should ponder following that lead. We should look at expanding it across the rest of the country," Harwin. "Not in every place, not everywhere needs it. But where clearly there’s a heroin problem and particularly drug-related deaths and an impact on criminality and organized crime, it’s clearly a solution that actually helps "individuals and the wider communities as well."

Colombia Defense Minister Says Aerial Fumigation of Coca Crops Must Restart. Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said last Friday that the country needed to restart spraying coca crops with the herbicide glyphosate in order to shrink cocaine production and shrink the income of illegal. "There is no doubt at all. Colombia needs to reestablish aspersion, aerial fumigation with glyphosate for national security reasons," Holmes Trujillo said. "Logically it needs to be reestablished with assurances for health and the environment." Doing so would cut off resources "for those who commit massacres and kill social leaders," he added.

Mexican Senate Votes to Legalize Marijuana. The Senate overwhelmingly approved a marijuana legalization bill last Thursday. The bill now goes to the Chamber of Deputies where it is also expected to pass. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not publicly backed the bill, but his ruling MORENA Party, which supports the bill, holds majorities in both chambers. Under the bill, adults could possess up to an ounce and grow up to four plants at home, while a system of taxed and regulated legal sales would also be set up.

Categories: Latest News

NJ to End Pot Possession Prosecutions, OR County to End Drug Possession Prosecutions, More... (11/27/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 11/27/2020 - 21:44

The impact of voters' choices earlier this month is beginning to be felt, a new poll has New Yorkers ready to legalize marijuana, Vancouver's city council votes to move toward drug decriminalization, and more.

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

New Jersey Attorney General Orders End to Marijuana Possession Prosecutions. In a Wednesday letter to city, county, and state prosecutors, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal ordered them to put a halt to small-time marijuana possession prosecutions until at least January 25. "It simply does not make sense or serve justice to proceed with prosecutions on charges that may be foreclosed soon through legislative action," Grewal said in a statement. "Fairness demands that we suspend prosecution of marijuana possession-related cases while we await direction from the Legislature.".

New York Poll Has Support for Marijuana Legalization at All-Time High. A Sienna College poll released Tuesday has support for legalizing marijuana at an all-time high, with 60% saying it is time to free the weed. That's up five points from the same poll in February, when 55% supported it. Meanwhile, the number of people who opposed it dropped from 40% in February to 32% now.

Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Court Rules State Must Change "Unreasonable" System to Decide Who Can Sell Medical Marijuana. A three-judge appellate court ruled Wednesday that the state's system for determining who get can medical marijuana dispensary licenses was not transparent, created confusion in the industry, and was "unreasonable." The court threw out a 2018 decision awarding six licenses and ordered the health department to come up with a better rating system.

Drug Policy

Oregon County to End Low-Level Drug Possession Prosecutions. Prosecutors in Clackamas County, just outside Portland, sent a letter to local police chiefs Monday telling them that while they disagreed with voters' decision to decriminalize drug possession earlier this month, they will heed their wishes and drop drug possession cases. "Having officers investigate and submit cases for a prosecution in the weeks leading up to February 1, which will not lead to any sanction or court supervised treatment, is not the most effective use of criminal justice resources," the prosecutor's office said.

International

Canadian Government Gives Formal Response to Petition to Decriminalize Psychedelics. Responding to a petition presented to parliament signed by more than 15,000 Canadians calling for the decriminalization of psychedelics, government ministers formally replied that no such move would take place until psychedelics underwent further study. The ministers also pointed to ways some people could obtain exemptions to use them legally despite federal prohibition.

Vancouver City Council Unanimously Approves Motion to Seek Decriminalization of Drug Possession. The Vancouver city council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a motion asking the federal government to let it decriminalize simple drug possession. The motion was spearheaded by Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who cited high drug overdose death numbers. "On the same day that the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed that a person a day continues to die in our city due to drug overdose, Vancouver has once again decided to lead the way on drug policy in order to save lives," Stewart said. "If approved by the federal government, we will begin a robust process to determine how decriminalization will be implemented in Vancouver."

Categories: Latest News

Minneapolis Makes Feeble No-Knock Warrant Reforms, CT Dems Vow Legal Marijuana Push, More... (11/25/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 11/25/2020 - 21:44

Connecticut Democrats threaten to let voters have a say on marijuana legalization, Georgia opens applications for cannabis oil producers, and more.

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

Connecticut Democrats Will Put Marijuana Legalization Before the Voters if Legislature Fails to Pass Bill. Incoming House Speaker Matt Ritter (D) said Tuesday that if the legislature failed again to legalize marijuana, Democrats will do an end run and let the voters decide the issue via a ballot referendum. "I think it'll be a very, very close vote in the House," Ritter said. "But if we do not have the votes -- and I'm not raising the white flag -- I want to be very clear: We will put something on the board to put to the voters of the state of Connecticut to amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana." That, however, could take until 2022 and possibly even 2024.

Detroit City Council Passes Recreational Marijuana Sales Ordinance. Ending its refusal to allow anything other than medical marijuana sales in the city, the Detroit city council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve an ordinance allowing adult-use sales. The measure weights licensing preferences to favor longstanding city residents. Those "legacy Detroiters" will be eligible for half of the 75 licenses the city is proposing.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Opens Applications for Medical Marijuana Producers. Businesses that want to produce cannabis oil for medical use can now apply for state licenses. That's because the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission has finally given the go-ahead. Applications are available on the group's website and must be in by December 28.

Law Enforcement

Minneapolis Announces Small Reforms to No-Knock Warrant Policy. Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have announced changes to the city's policy on no-knock raids, but the changes aren't enough for local activists. Under the policy shift, no-knock raids are not ended, but police officers will instead have to announce their presence as they enter premises -- and keep doing so periodically while they are inside. The move comes in the wake of unrest after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. "This is about proactive policymaking and instilling accountability," Frey said. "We can't prevent every tragedy, but we can limit the likelihood of bad outcomes. This new, no-knock warrant policy will set shared expectations for our community and clear and objective standards within the department." Michelle Gross is president of Communities Against Police Brutality. The move was "pretty disappointing," she said. "Nothing about this would decrease the number of no-knock warrants," she said. "It simply enhances, to a certain degree, the announcement as officers move from room to room. But I don't see this as being a big advance, I really don't."

Categories: Latest News

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs to Take Up Cannabis Scheduling Next Week

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 11/25/2020 - 08:22

The 53 member states of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN body charged with supervising the application of the international drug control treaties that form the legal backbone of global drug prohibition, is set to meet in Vienna on December 2-4, and it will take up the question of making some modest scheduling changes to the way cannabis is classified.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]As explained in an October briefing paper from the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Transnational Institute, cannabis is currently both a Schedule I and a Schedule IV drug under the international drug treaties. Schedule I includes "substances that are highly addictive and liable to abuse or easily convertible into those (e.g. opium, heroin, cocaine, coca leaf" -- although Bolivia begs to differ on the latter), while Schedule IV includes Schedule I drugs with "particularly dangerous properties and little or no therapeutic value" (e.g. heroin, carfentanil).

With medical marijuana legal in dozens of countries in one form or another, the ever-increasing mountain of evidence supporting the therapeutic uses of cannabis, not to mention outright legalization in 15 American states Canada and Uruguay, with Mexico about to come on board, the harsh scheduling of cannabis is out of touch with both the science and the tide of history. Led by dedicated public health officials in the UN bureaucracies -- with equally dedicated activists monitoring the process and advocating -- the push is underway to revise those schedules.

But this is the United Nations, and change comes at a glacial pace and even then, only incrementally. The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) is charged under the UN drug conventions with assessing the harms and benefits of substances and making scheduling recommendations. For the first time in its history, it assessed cannabis in 2018, through an examination by WHO's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). In January 2019, the WHO formally recommended that cannabis be removed from Schedule IV and that CBD cannabis preparations containing less than 0.2% THC, such as tinctures and extracts, be removed from the schedules altogether.

Now the recommendations are back in Vienna, where the CND after several delays is finally expected to vote on them. As the official discussion at an October intersessional meeting of the CND shows, governments with regressive drug policies have argued that recognizing marijuana's medical benefit could lead to increased abuse of the drug, and some have questioned WHO's scientific analysis.

While civil society groups gave the WHO's recommendations decidedly mixed reviews, including its "very questionable rationale for keeping cannabis in Schedule I," they also applauded its "obvious recommendations deserving support." The removal of cannabis form Schedule IV in particular would signify UN recognition that cannabis really does have therapeutic uses.

Stay tuned. The CND session and possible progress on cannabis liberalization at the international level are just days away.

Categories: Latest News

San Francisco Ponders Smoking and Vaping Ban for Tobacco and Marijuana, Mexico Mass Grave Has 113 Bodies, More... (11/24/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 11/24/2020 - 22:02

Fort Worth, Texas, prosecutors will dismiss minor marijuana charges with one big caveat, Colombia's defense minister says coca eradication is on track, and more.

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

Fort Worth to Dismiss Small Time Pot Cases -- If People Pass Three Drug Tests in Three Months. The Tarrant County (Fort Worth) Criminal District Attorney's Office has announced it will dismiss minor marijuana possession cases, but only if the defendant passes three drug tests in three months. Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is the most common criminal charge in the county. "One of the goals of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation; sobriety is the beginning of that rehabilitation, "Tarrant County Criminal DA Sharen Wilson said. "When you bring proof of three months of sobriety -- 90 days -- the charge will be dismissed."

San Francisco Bid to Ban Smoking, Including Marijuana, in Apartment Buildings Draws Opposition. City Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee has introduced a measure that would bar people from smoking or vaping tobacco and marijuana in their apartments. The measure would apply to buildings with at least three units. But the move is drawing opposition from progressive LGBTQ groups and medical and recreational marijuana advocates. Yee's plan allows for medical marijuana, but that isn't soothing advocates. A vote before the full board is set for December 1.

International

Colombian Defense Minister Says County Will Meet 2020 Coca Eradication Target. Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said Monday that the country will meet its 2020 coca eradication target. The government had set a target of 320,000 acres eradicated and has so far eradicated about 300,000 acres. That's an increase of 30% over last year. The program includes aerial eradication operations involving the probably poisonous substance herbicide glyphosate, and is unlikely to make more than a short-term dent in cultivation.

Mass Grave With At Least 113 Bodies Found in Mexico's Jalisco State. A mass grave in Jalisco state that was discovered on October 2 has now yielded at least 113 bodies. Jalisco is one of the most violent drug cartel battlegrounds in the country and is the home of the most bodies found in clandestine mass graves since 2006, according to a recent government report.

Categories: Latest News

Mexico Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization, SD Cops Seek to Void Legalization Vote, More... (11/23/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 11/23/2020 - 21:55

A CDC study finds that marijuana legalization is linked to declining teen marijuana treatment rates, an EU court throws out France's ban on CBD, and more.

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

Teen Marijuana Treatment Admissions Fell Sharply in States That Legalized, Federal Report Shows. A peer-reviewed research report released last Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds steep declines in teens sent to drug treatment for marijuana use in states that have legalized it. But medical marijuana legalization appeared to have no impact on teen drug treatment admissions for marijuana use. "Consistent with prior research on medical marijuana and adolescent marijuana use, medical legalization status does not appear to correspond to treatment admission trends," the study says. "Notably, however, 7 of 8 states with recreational legalization during the study period fall into the class with the steepest level of admissions decline."

South Dakota Sore Loser Cops File Suit to Overturn Marijuana Legalization. Pennington County (Rapid City) Sheriff Kevin Thom and state Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller have filed a lawsuit seeking to void the state's voter-approved recreational marijuana constitutional amendment. The lawsuit filed last Friday argues that the measure should be considered a revision of the constitution, not an amendment, and that it violates the state constitution by addressing multiple topics. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind the initiative, says it is confident it will be upheld.

International

Australia Study Finds Strong Support for Pill Testing. A long-running election study by the Australian National University finds that nearly two-thirds of the public support the harm reduction tactic of pill testing at music festivals. Some 63% favored the idea even though governments across the country have largely refused to implement it despite high-profile drug-related deaths at those festivals.

European Union Court Rules French Ban on CBD Is Illegal. The European Union's Court of Justice ruled last Thursday that France's ban on CBD products is invalid. CBD doesn't qualify as a narcotic drug because "it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health," the court held. Under French law, only hemp seeds and fiber -- not the flower containing CBD -- are legal. France's law violated EU law on the free movement of goods, and the French need to modify their hemp law, the court said. "The national court must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations," the court wrote. "A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established."

Mexican Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill. The Senate voted overwhelmingly last Thursday to approve a marijuana legalization bill. The bill passed 82-18, with seven members not voting. The congress is under pressure from the national Supreme Court to get legalization done before the end of next month, and the measure now heads to the Chamber of Deputies, where it is also expected to pass. Final passage of the bill would make Mexico the world's largest legal marijuana market.

Categories: Latest News

Mexico: Oped: End The War On Drugs Now

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:00
New York Times, 20 Nov 2020 - MEXICO CITY - On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon stood in front of the White House press corps and made his historic declaration of a new type of war. "Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse," he said. "In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it's necessary to wage a new all-out offensive." It would be a government-wide effort, and rally the United States's power abroad to stem the supply of drugs. Among the countries targeted was Mexico, which was home to abundant marijuana production and had been resistant to aerial crop spraying.
Categories: Latest News

Book Review: How to Regulate Stimulants

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 11/20/2020 - 05:59

How to Regulate Stimulants: A Practical Guide by Steve Rolles, Harvey Slade, and James Nicholls (2020, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, 304 pp., $20 PB)

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana is now legal, taxed and regulated in 15 states, with most of the Northeast likely to join them next year. The movement for psychedelic liberation is flexing its muscles. Oregon just voted to decriminalize the possession of personal use amounts of all drugs. Brick by brick the wall of drug prohibition is crumbling in the United States.

And now, the good folks at Britain's Transform Drug Policy Foundation are out with a how-to guide for turning that wall into nothing more than a pile of bricks. When it comes to attacking prohibition, marijuana and psychedelics are the low-hanging fruit -- it's easier for members of the public to consider that the harms attributed to their potential abuse or misuse may be far outweighed by the harms of prohibiting them -- but with stimulants such as meth, Ecstasy, and cocaine, the case for prohibition is more popular because the potential harms of their abuse or misuse are much greater.

Still, Steve Rolles and his coauthors make a strong, thoughtful case for dealing with these drugs as we do other non-banned psychoactive substances: Regulating and offering them to consumers with restrictions based on the degree of risk involved. Caffeine is a stimulant, but one with low risk levels for users and society. It is subject only to the regulations of normal commerce -- quality control, informational packaging, and the like.

Coca leaf, coca tea, and oral coca products (lozenges, hard candies, pouches) have a similar risk profile to caffeine -- that is, not much. But both international and US law fail to differentiate between such products with low levels of the cocaine alkaloid and cocaine itself. A regulatory regime based on reason and science would treat coca tea like coffee, not cocaine. But that doesn't mean cocaine would be prohibited.

Indeed, Rolles et al. explicitly differentiate between different forms of stimulants to create a three-tiered regulatory system based not only on science, public health, human rights, but also recognizing the need to prevent corporate takeover and promote social equity. The first tier is the tier of coca tea and coffee.

The second tier, that of medium risk drugs in their typology, produces what they call their "standard model" for dealing with stimulants. Included here are MDMA pills, amphetamine pills (or meth pills -- Desoxyn, anyone?), and cocaine powder. For this tier, they recommend pharmacy-style retail sales at state-owned shops where specially trained druggists dispense not only the dope but also targeted harm reduction information.

And they recommend rationing of these substances, either by purchase amount limits or by means of licensing requirements. The idea is to limit harm by restricting access to these particularly binge-inducing drugs. Rationing is what we do with legal marijuana by restricting purchases, typical to one ounce per day. We don't do that with alcohol, however; you can walk in and buy multiple kegs of beer or cases of hard liquor and no one bats an eye.

Purchase limits -- say one gram of 70% pure powder cocaine per month -- would probably work for most cocaine consumers, who use it recreationally and infrequently. But it wouldn't work for the party host who wants to supply his guests, and more importantly, it wouldn't suffice for the needs of serious drug users, who make up a huge percentage of the sales of any drug.

If the object is to take drug consumers out of the illicit market, rationing is going to have to be flexible enough to address their needs and demands. The authors suggest a tiered system that would allow larger purchases contingent on periodic brief discussions of risks and harm reduction with trained pharmacy vendors.

When it comes to the hardest forms of stimulants, such as injectable meth or cocaine or smokable meth or crack, the model shifts from regulatory retail to harm reduction. The authors advocates measures such as supervised consumption sites and harm reduction kits for crack users. They envision no retail sales of drugs in such forms, but also no criminalization of their users. That might leave users to get their goodies in the black market (or get creative with less harmful forms of the drug, such as converting cocaine powder into crack at home), which could undercut one of the primary rationales for regulation: killing off the illicit market.

But instead of sticks, Rolles et al. offer carrots. Perhaps hardcore tweakers and cokeheads can be induced into using less harmful forms of their drugs of choice, switching from shooting meth to eating oral amphetamines or being offered less-potent powder cocaine formulations with a price incentive. Not discussed is whether users of tier three substances would have some way of obtaining a regulated supply of them through a medical or other non-sales framework.

Regulating stimulant drugs is tricky, with all sorts of different considerations to undertake. But we have a freedom interest, a social justice interest, and a public health interest in moving away from coercive drug prohibition. The Transform Drug Policy Foundation shows us some of the possible paths and is acutely aware of the intricacies of the task. This is very useful stuff. We should all probably send copies of this book to our state and federal elected officials, but not wait for them before starting down the path ourselves.

Categories: Latest News

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 22:34

It's all jail and prison guards gone bad this week. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In La Grange, Kentucky, a state prison guard was arrested Monday after she was caught with a large quantity of drugs at the prison. Guard Ashley Scrogham Sanford, 25, was found with two different drugs and investigators found she had been paid for smuggling them in. She is charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, trafficking in synthetic drugs, possession of a controlled substance, possession of synthetic drugs, promoting contraband, and official misconduct.

In Rome, Georgia, a former prison guard pleaded guilty last Friday to taking bribes to smuggle methamphetamine, marijuana and tobacco into the Floyd County Correctional Facility. Former guard Michael L. Jones, 31, supervised inmates at a recycling center and used that position to collect packages of drugs from inmate family members (usually for $200 a package) and give them to inmates working at the center, who would then smuggle them back into the jail. He was charged with conspiratorial drug trafficking and extortion under the color of official right. He pleaded guilty to both.

In Valdosta, Georgia, a former Valdosta State Prison guard was sentenced last Wednesday to 46 months in federal prison for smuggling meth and cellphones into the prison. Melissa Crawford, 53, went down after somebody snitched her out and her vehicle was subjected to a "random" search as she arrived at work. She first attempted to drive off, nearly hitting another guard, but was stopped and admitted she was carrying drugs. A car search turned up nearly an ounce of meth, some marijuana, and four cellphones. She had previously pleaded guilty to one count of methamphetamine distribution.

Categories: Latest News

Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 21:53

The will of the voters is being challenged in Mississippi, a New Mexico panel recommends higher purchase limits for medical marijuana, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Mississippi

Mississippi High Court Takes Up Challenge To Medical Marijuana Measure. Whether voters will actually get the medical marijuana program they approved at the polls earlier this month is now in question after the state Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will take up a challenge to its validity. The challenge was filed by the mayor of the town of Madison days before the election. It argues that the measure is invalid because of a state signature-gathering requirement that is impossible for any initiative to actually comply with. Initiatives are supposed to only get one-fifth of their signatures from each congressional district, but the state now has only four.

New Mexico

New Mexico Panel Recommends Higher Purchase Limits for Medical Marijuana. The state medical cannabis advisory board on Monday recommended allowing medical marijuana patients to buy 15 ounces of marijuana every three months, nearly doubling the current purchase limit. The state health secretary will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation, although it is unclear when that will happen.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Advisory Board Rejects Insomnia as Qualifying Condition. The state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board has refused to add insomnia as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use. Board members said they hesitated because insomnia is often caused by an underlying medical issue. The board voted 7-4 against adding insomnia last week.

Categories: Latest News

Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Advances, Senate Approves Meth "Emerging Drug Threat" Bill, More... (11/19/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 21:09

Madison WI ends penalties for pot use and possession, Vancouver, BC to take up a drug decriminalization ordinance, Mexican marijuana legalization bill heads for a Senate floor vote, and more.

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

North Carolina's Governor Racial Equity Task Force Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization, Study of Legalization. Gov. Roy Cooper's (D) Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice has recommended that the state study marijuana legalization and enact decriminalization in the meantime. Attorney General Josh Stein (D) who co-chairs the task force, made the case succinctly: "You cannot talk about improving racial equity in our criminal justice system without talking about marijuana," he said.

Madison, Wisconsin, City Council Votes to Remove Penalties for Marijuana Use, Possession. The city's Common Council unanimously approved three marijuana-related ordinances Tuesday that should reduce pot arrests in the state's capital. One allows adults to possess up to an ounce, another allows them to consume it on public or private property, and a third decriminalizes the possession of pot paraphernalia.

Methamphetamine

Senate Approves Meth Bill by Unanimous Consent. The Senate on Monday approved SB 4612, the Methamphetamine Response Act. The bill declares meth "an emerging drug threat" and requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) to come with a response plan within 90 days. That plan, which must be updated annually, must include an assessment of threat, as well as treatment and prevention programs and law enforcement programs. It must also set the level of funding needed to implement the plan. The House version of the bill, HR 8210, is parked in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is where it has been since being introduced.

International

Vancouver Mayor to File Motion to Decriminalize Drug Possession. Vancouver, British Columbia, Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced Wednesday that he will file a motion to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs in the city. "It's not a criminal issue, it's a health issue," he said, saying the move is "long overdue." If the council passes the measure, the city will ask the federal government to "decriminalize personal possession of illicit substances within the City's boundaries for medical purposes."

Mexico Denies Threatening to Expel DEA Agents After Ex-Defense Minister's Drug Arrest. President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador denied Thursday that Mexico had threatened to expel American DEA agents to retaliate for the arrest of ex-Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos upon arrival at LAX last month. At the same time, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico had threatened a review of security cooperation because the US did not provide advance notice that Cienfuegos was under investigation, but said there was no specific threat to expel DEA agents.

Mexican Senate Committees Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill. The marijuana legalization bill has been formally approved by the Senate Justice, Health, and Legislative Studies committees and is headed for a full floor vote soon. The bill would legalize the possession of up to an ounce by adults and allow the cultivation of up to four plants for personal use. It would also set up a taxed and regulated marijuana market.

Categories: Latest News

Fed Judge Approves Purdue Pharma Settlement, US Drops Case Against Ex-Mexican Defense Minister, More... (11/18/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 21:29

Mississuppi's higest court agrees to a hear a challenge to the voter-approved medical marijuana initiative, New York City public hospitals say no more drug testing pregnant women without their consent, and more.

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

Mississippi High Court Takes Up Challenge To Medical Marijuana Measure. Whether voters will actually get the medical marijuana program they approved at the polls earlier this month is now in question after the state Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will take up a challenge to its validity. The challenge was filed by the mayor of the town of Madison days before the election. It argues that the measure is invalid because of a state signature-gathering requirement that is impossible for any initiative to actually comply with. Initiatives are supposed to only get one-fifth of their signatures from each congressional district, but the state now has only four.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Federal Judge Approves Purdue Pharma OxyContin Settlement. A federal judge in New York has approved a settlement in a case brought by the Justice Department against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. Under the agreement, the company must plead guilty to "multiple serious felonies" in coming days. It will cop to conspiracy to defraud the United States, breaking laws against kickbacks, and one other count. The settlement also includes a $2 billion payout, with the federal government getting $225 million and states getting $1.775 billion to fight opioid addiction.

Drug Testing

New York City Public Hospitals Will Stop Drug Testing of Pregnant Women. Responding to an announcement that the city's Commission on Human Rights is investigating racial bias in the drug testing and reporting to child welfare authorities of pregnant women at three major hospitals, the city's public hospitals have announced they will no longer drug test pregnant women unless they have written consent. This is a change from the previous policy of the City Health and Hospitals Corporation, under which doctors and nurses did not need to inform pregnant patients they were being drug tested.

Foreign Policy

US Abandons Drug Case Against Former Mexican Defense Minister. Federal prosecutors made the surprise announcement Tuesday that they are dropping drug charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, who was arrested at LAX after arriving in the US last month. The announcement came in a joint statement with Mexican attorney general's office. "The United States has determined that sensitive and important foreign policy considerations outweigh the government's interest in pursuing the prosecution of the defendant," prosecutors said. Cienfuegos was accused of using his position to shield the H2 cartel and going after its rivals. But his arrest without prior notification of Mexican officials has strained ties between the two countries, with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador threatening to look again at agreements allowing DEA agents to operate in the country.

International

Thailand Loosens Drug Laws to Allow Sale and Possession of Drugs for Research Purposes. The Public Health Ministry has issued new regulations loosening controls on Category II drugs, such as cocaine, opiates and opioids, and ketamine. Under the new rules, such drugs can be sold and possessed for medical and scientific research, medical treatment and disease prevention, or for other government purposes. The new rules go into effect in 240 days.

Categories: Latest News

NJ Marijuana Decrim Sputters, NM Panel Recommends Patient Purchase Limit Expansion, More... (11/17/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 11/17/2020 - 21:06

The New Jersey legislature is trying to pass a marijuana decriminalization bill but isn't there yet, the New Jersey governor and legislative leaders are seeking agreement on legal marijuana taxes, and more.

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

New Jersey Senate Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill. The Senate has approved a marijuana decriminalization bill, A1897 / S2535. The bill would allow people to possess up to six ounces and to distribute up to one ounce with no criminal penalties. A first offense would be met with a written warning, followed by a fine for any subsequent offenses. The bill would also expunge previous marijuana possession offenses and end the smell of marijuana as probable cause for a law enforcement search. And it includes an amendment that would decrease the penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms.

New Jersey Assembly Postpones Vote on Marijuana Decriminalization Bill. An Assembly vote on the marijuana decriminalization bill, A1897 / S2535, didn't happen Monday after some Assembly members balked at a provision in the bill that would have lessened penalties for the possession of psychedelic mushrooms. That provision was added in the Senate, prompting Assembly bill sponsor Jamel Holley (D-Union) to call the move "irresponsible and poor judgment." The bill is now expected to come up for a vote next week.

New Jersey Governor, Senate Leader Reach Agreement on Marijuana Taxes. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) have apparently come to an accord on the thorny issue of how to tax legal marijuana, but Assembly Leader Craig Coughlin (D) is not on board yet. Sweeney, who opposed any marijuana tax increases has yielded to the governor, agreeing to let the state's Cannabis Regulatory Commission charge growers a 7% sales tax instead of the 6.625% envisioned in the voter-approved initiative that legalized marijuana. Once Coughlin gets on board, the bill to set up regulations for the legal marijuana industry, A21 / S21, could start moving again.

Medical Marijuana

New Mexico Panel Recommends Higher Purchase Limits for Medical Marijuana. The state medical cannabis advisory board on Monday recommended allowing medical marijuana patients to buy 15 ounces of marijuana every three months, nearly doubling the current purchase limit. The state health secretary will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation, although it is unclear when that will happen.

Categories: Latest News

NJ Decrim Advances in Wake of Legalization Vote, NYC to Investigate Hospital Drug Test Racial Bias, More... (11/16/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 11/16/2020 - 21:57

Virginia's governor says he supports marijuana legalization, New Jersey does marijuana and mushrooms decrim in wake of initiative, the White House releases Bolivian coca production estimates, and more.

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

Michigan Man Imprisoned Since 1994 for Selling Marijuana Seeks Release. The Michigan parole board will take up the case of Michael Thompson on Tuesday. He was convicted in 1994 of selling three pounds of marijuana to a snitch and has been behind bars ever since. Given that marijuana is now legal in the state, Thompson's bid for early release has the support of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the prosecutor's office that convicted him. He has suffered serious health problems in prison, including testing positive for COVID-19.

New Jersey Legislature Approves Marijuana Decriminalization, Magic Mushrooms, Too. The state Senate and Assembly have approved a measure that decriminalizes the possession of up to six ounces of marijuana, and defelonized the possession of magic mushrooms, too. The move is an interim measure until legalization takes place in January after voters approved it on Election Day. It also includes expungement of past nonviolent marijuana offenses.

Virginia Governor Supports Marijuana Legalization. Following the release of a study that found the state could generate $300 million in marijuana taxes, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday that he supports marijuana legalization. He plans to work with the General Assembly once it convenes in January, but the process could take up to two years to play out. The state decriminalized possession last year.

Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Advisory Board Rejects Insomnia as Qualifying Condition. The state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board has refused to add insomnia as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use. Board members said they hesitated because insomnia is often caused by an underlying medical issue. The board voted 7-4 against adding insomnia last week.

Drug Testing

New York City to Investigate City Hospitals Over Possible Racial Bias in Drug Testing. The City Commission on Human Rights announced Monday that is investigating allegations of racial bias at three top city hospitals over their policies around the drug testing of pregnant women and newborns. Advocates said that Black and Hispanic families are being reported to state child abuse authorities following a single positive drug test, even though, they said, just a single positive test result does not merit a report. The commission cited studies that show Black women are much more likely to be subjected to maternal drug testing than white women, even though both groups use drugs at similar rates.

Foreign Policy

ONDCP Releases Data on Coca Cultivation and Cocaine Production in Bolivia. Last Friday, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the United States Government's annual estimates of coca cultivation and cocaine production potential for the Plurinational State of Bolivia. According to these estimates, Bolivia remains the third largest producer of cocaine in the world. Bolivia's coca cultivation totaled 42,180 hectares in 2019, an increase of 28 percent over 2018. Commensurate cocaine production potential increased 20 percent to 301 metric tons. The Yungas region remained the largest coca cultivation area in Bolivia, while the Chapare region represents the second largest. Cultivation exceeded the 22,000 hectares limit established by the Bolivian government by an estimated 20,180 hectares, or 92 percent.

International

Mexican Senate Committees Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill with Floor Vote Planned Soon. Last Friday, three Senate committees gave preliminary approval to a marijuana legalization bill, with a formal vote set for this week. The bill would let people 18 and over possess up to an ounce and grow up to four plants for personal use. Advocates are still hoping for further revisions to promote consumers' rights and social equity in the legal market.

Categories: Latest News

US: Oped: 50 Years After The Start Of The War On Drugs, Americans

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 11/16/2020 - 08:00
The Hill, 16 Nov 2020 - Next year will mark 50 years since President Richard Nixon declared drugs "public enemy number one," launching a new war on drugs that has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into law enforcement, led to the incarceration of millions of people - disproportionately Black - and has done nothing to prevent drug overdoses. In spite of the widespread, growing opposition to this failed war, made clear yet again on Election Day, punitive policies and responses to drug use and possession persist. As President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris prepare to take office, it is abundantly clear that they have a mandate from the electorate to tackle this issue. Today there are more than 1.35 million arrests per year for drug possession, with 500,000 arrests for marijuana alone. By comparison, there are less than 500,000 arrests per year for violent crimes. Every 25 seconds a person is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use, and on average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. At least 130,000 people are behind bars in the U.S. for drug possession, some 45,000 of them in state prisons and 88,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention.
Categories: Latest News

Poll Finds Little Support for Asset Forfeiture, Argentina Okays MedMJ Home Growing, More... (11/13/20)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 11/13/2020 - 21:59

State legal marijuana regulators form an association, a New Jersey marijuana decrim bill is amended to include magic mushrooms and wins a committee vote, and more.

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

State Marijuana Regulators Start 'Cannabis Regulators Association.' State marijuana regulators from across the United States have announced the formation of a non-partisan organization, the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), to better share institutional knowledge and regulatory best practices. Cannabis regulators from 19 states have joined in filing documents to establish CANNRA, which is being created in order to assist federal, state and local jurisdictions that have approved or are weighing legalization of cannabis. "The Cannabis Regulators Association will provide a much needed forum for regulators to engage with each other to identify and develop best practices, create model policies that safeguard public health and safety, and promote regulatory certainty for industry participants," said Norman Birenbaum, CANNRA's inaugural president.

New Jersey Bill Decriminalizing Up to Six Ounces of Pot -- and Magic Mushrooms, Too -- Passes Senate Committee. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday unanimously approved S 2535, which decriminalizes the possession of up six ounces of marijuana. And an unidentified senator added an amendment decriminalizing up to an ounce of psilocybin mushrooms. It was still a unanimous vote.

Asset Forfeiture

Poll Finds Little Public Support for Asset Forfeiture. A new YouGov poll commissioned by the Institute for Justice finds that asset forfeiture has little public support. Only 26% support allowing police to seize cash or property from someone without a criminal conviction. Some 59% of respondents oppose "allowing law enforcement agencies to use forfeited property or its proceeds for their own use." Opposition to equitable sharing, a federal program that allows state and local police to evade state laws against civil asset forfeiture, was even higher, with 70% against the program. When it comes to where seized funds should be allocated, 38% said Social Security trust funds, 36% said drug treatment, 28% said paying down the national debt, and only 19% wanted forfeiture funds to go to federal law enforcement. (The question was multiple choice, thus adding up to more than 100%.)

International

Argentina to Allow Medicinal Marijuana to Be Grown at Home. President Alberto Fernandez issued a decree Thursday allowing people to grow marijuana at home for medicinal use, as well as allowing caregivers to grow for patients. The decree also allows pharmacies to sell marijuana-based products and orders insurance systems to pay the cost of marijuana for those who obtain a prescription.

Categories: Latest News
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