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CANADA: Drug users, first responders share stories from the overdose crisis' front lines - Regional - News - Cape Breton Post

Drug News Bot - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:06 (US) First responders share stories from the overdose crisis' front lines Rea was one of more than a half-dozen drug users and first responders based in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside who shared their stories with residents living elsewhere in the city over the past six weeks as part of a series of overdose awareness and prevention workshops. (Tue Nov 14 02:06:55 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme1(100%), $addiction(60%), $propaganda_theme2(70%), $propaganda_theme3(55%), $use_is_abuse(60%), $gateway(55%), $propaganda_theme4(60%), $propaganda_theme5(75%), $propaganda_theme6(65%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $govt_prohib_other(50%), $plants(100%), $pharms(100%), $analgesic(100%), $anesthetic(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $naloxone(100%), $cannabis(100%), $fentanyl(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $various_illegal_drugs(100%), $youth(75%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%)]
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CANADA: Police chief warns CBRM to plan ahead for marijuana legislation - Local - News - Cape Breton Post

Drug News Bot - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:06 (US) Police chief warns CBRM to plan ahead for marijuana legislation ! Local ! News ! Cape Breton Post Police chief warns CBRM to plan ahead for marijuana legislation Chief Peter McIsaac is encouraging CBRM council to begin looking at how the new pot laws will affect the municipality. - Cape Breton Post SYDNEY. (Tue Nov 14 02:06:55 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme1(100%), $propaganda_theme2(100%), $propaganda_theme3(75%), $use_is_abuse(60%), $gateway(55%), $propaganda_theme4(60%), $propaganda_theme5(60%), $propaganda_theme6(50%), $propaganda_theme7(100%), $moral_imperative(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $drug_law(100%), $govt_prohib_other(50%), $legalization(100%), $chemicals(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $depressant_intoxicant(100%), $alcohol(100%), $cannabis(100%), $hashish(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $various_illegal_drugs(100%), $incarceration(100%), $mandatory_minimums(100%), $youth(60%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%)]
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CANADA: POLICE: Drug bust nets three - Brockville Recorder

Bot - Cannabis - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:04 (Canada) Three men are facing drug charges after Brockville police and OPP officers carried out a drug bust in Brockville&rsquo. (Tue Nov 14 02:04:34 2017 PST)
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CANADA: POLICE: Drug bust nets three - Brockville Recorder

Drug News Bot - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:04 (Canada) Three men are facing drug charges after Brockville police and OPP officers carried out a drug bust in Brockville&rsquo. (Tue Nov 14 02:04:34 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(90%), $propaganda_theme2(55%), $propaganda_theme3(50%), $propaganda_theme5(60%), $propaganda_theme6(90%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $chemicals(100%), $plants(100%), $pharms(100%), $euphoric_stimulant(100%), $analgesic(100%), $antitussive(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $opioid(100%), $stimulant(100%), $methamphetamine(100%), $narcotic(100%), $amphetamines(100%), $cocaine(100%), $crack(100%), $cannabis(100%), $hashish(100%), $hydrocodone(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $various_illegal_drugs(100%), $police_related_news(70%), $youth(60%), $school(100%)]
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CANADA: 'Cloud of smoke': Cities lost in pot frenzy - Barrie Examiner

Bot - Cannabis - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:01 (Canada) Cloud of smokeb : Cities lost in pot frenzy ! Barrie Examiner Ontario cities irked as marijuana legalization plans roll out NDP: Grits' pot pro... (Tue Nov 14 02:01:45 2017 PST)
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CANADA: 'Cloud of smoke': Cities lost in pot frenzy - Barrie Examiner

Drug News Bot - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:01 (Canada) Cloud of smokeb : Cities lost in pot frenzy ! Barrie Examiner Ontario cities irked as marijuana legalization plans roll out NDP: Grits' pot pro... (Tue Nov 14 02:01:45 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme3(75%), $use_is_abuse(100%), $propaganda_theme4(100%), $propaganda_theme7(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $govt_prohib_other(50%), $legalization(100%), $chemicals(75%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $depressant_intoxicant(75%), $alcohol(75%), $cannabis(100%)]
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US NY: NY Governor Signs Bill To Allow Medical Marijuana For PTSD

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:00
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 11 Nov 2017 - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of ailments that can legally be treated with medical marijuana. The PTSD bill was part of a package of legislation that Cuomo signed Saturday to mark Veterans Day.
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Philippines: When Trump Meets The Philippines' Duterte, 'Drug War'

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:00
Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov 2017 - In President Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines, the police, with his explicit support, have killed thousands of alleged drug dealers and users without due process, some while they were in jail, or asleep, or at home with their families. They allegedly shot a 17-year-old while he was in custody, then dumped his remains in an alley. The youngest victim was 4. Human rights groups, the U.S. Congress, the European Union and the United Nations have all condemned Duterte's "war on drugs." Yet when President Trump meets Duterte in Manila, it probably won't enter the conversation.
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US MI: You Can Be Fired For Medical Marijuana. Advocates Want That To

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:00
Detroit Free Press, 13 Nov 2017 - Can you be fired in Michigan for using medical marijuana? Joseph Casias injured his knee at the Battle Creek Wal-Mart where he worked in 2009. Per company policy, he took a drug test. It came back positive.
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Cannabis crop of 62 plants seized as police raid Aldinga Beach house - The Advertiser

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 22:57

The Advertiser

Cannabis crop of 62 plants seized as police raid Aldinga Beach house
The Advertiser
The crop of 62 plants in a makeshift hydroponic set-up was found at a house on Banksia Ave in Aldinga Beach about 6.30pm on Monday. Cannabis plants found at an Aldinga Beach home during a police raid. Picture: SAPOL. Police searched the premises as ...

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Police chief warns CBRM to plan ahead for marijuana legislation - Cape Breton Post

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:06

Cape Breton Post

Police chief warns CBRM to plan ahead for marijuana legislation
Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY, N.S. - Once the federal government legalizes cannabis, it may or may not be OK to smoke marijuana while walking down the street. According to Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac, it is far too soon to predict exactly how the new ...

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6 Ways to Advocate for a Pro-Cannabis Local Government - Leafly

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:03


6 Ways to Advocate for a Pro-Cannabis Local Government
The same often goes for government officials. While members of cannabis industry may not always know how to navigate bureaucracy or approach local officials, Jenkins said, those officials themselves often don't know much about marijuana businesses.

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'Where's the weed?' Branding is essential for cannabis companies - The Conversation CA

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 15:25

The Conversation CA

'Where's the weed?' Branding is essential for cannabis companies
The Conversation CA
Recreational cannabis is a burning topic around the world, especially in Canada as Parliament puts the finishing touches on legalization legislation. The province of Ontario has introduced a bill to govern cannabis sales there. Other provinces are ...

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Pot-friendly San Francisco fights over recreational cannabis - National Post

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 14:54

Pot-friendly San Francisco fights over recreational cannabis
National Post
SAN FRANCISCO — Famously pro-cannabis San Francisco, where the 4/20 marijuana holiday is celebrated with a group smoke-out on Hippie Hill, is having a surprisingly difficult time establishing regulations for the broad legal pot market coming to ...

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12-Year-Old Sues Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Legalize Medical Marijuana -

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 14:51

12-Year-Old Sues Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Legalize Medical Marijuana
Like most 12-year-olds, Alexis Bortell is energetic and loves to read, write and explore her family's 35-acre farm in Colorado. But Alexis isn't like most 12-year-olds. She's written a book, takes cannabis oil daily and is challenging the U.S ...
Is This The Lawsuit That Will Bring Medical Marijuana Legal Across The Nation?Above the Law
Chronically ill girl sues US Attorney General Jeff Sessions over medical marijuana legalizationNew York Daily News
Colorado girl suing US attorney general to legalize medical marijuana nationwideColorado Springs Gazette

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The Super Wealthy Oxycontin Family Supports School Privatization With Tactics Similar to Those That Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

Alternet - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 14:21
Click here for reuse options! A fortune derived from the relentless marketing of painkillers is now being used to expand charter schools.

The notoriously secretive Sackler family, also known as the OxyContin Clan, has been the subject of much scrutiny of late, including lengthy exposés in the New Yorker and Esquire shining a harsh light on the connection between the drug that made the Sacklers wealthy and their philanthropic giving. But there is another troubling beneficiary of Sackler largesse that has escaped public scrutiny: charter schools. OxyContin heir and Purdue Pharma director Jonathan Sackler is a major funder of charters and an extensive network of pro-charter advocacy groups.

Figuring out who is funding the latest charter school-promoting front group often feels like a game of whack-a-mole. That's why reading Patrick Radden Keefe’s recent New Yorker piece, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” made so much fall into place. Keefe writes, “Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies have long funded ostensibly neutral nonprofit groups that advocate for pain patients.”

The same influence techniques Purdue used to promote painkillers are now being used by Jonathan Sackler to expand charter schools.

Promotional power

The late Arthur Sackler, the eldest of three brothers who bought the company in 1952, was posthumously inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, and cited for his achievement in “bringing the full power of advertising and promotion to pharmaceutical marketing.” Yet Allen Frances, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, quoted in the New Yorker piece, highlighted the darker side of that power: “Most of the questionable practices that propelled the pharmaceutical industry into the scourge it is today can be attributed to Arthur Sackler.” As a copywriter at a medical advertising agency, Arthur Sackler devised strategies to promote drugs like Librium and Valium. Now, some of those same strategies are now being used with the aim of promoting charter schools.

Jonathan Sackler, Arthur’s nephew, is a well-known name in the education reform movement. He founded the charter school advocacy group ConnCan, progenitor of the nationwide group 50CAN, of which he is a director. He is on the Board of Directors of the Achievement First charter school network. Until recently, Sackler served on the board of the New Schools Venture Fund, which invests in charter schools and advocates for their expansion. He was also on the board of the pro-charter advocacy group Students for Education Reform.

Through his personal charity, the  Bouncer Foundation, Sackler donates to the abovementioned organizations, and an ecosystem of other charter school promoting entities, such as Families for Excellent Schools ($1,083,333 in 2014, $300,000 in 2015 according to the Foundation’s Form 990s) Northeast Charter School Network ($150,000 per year in 2013, 2014 and 2015) and $275,000 to Education Reform Now (2015) and $200,000 (2015) to the Partnership for Educational Justice, the group founded by Campbell Brown which uses “impact litigation” to go after teacher tenure laws. Earlier this year, the Partnership for Educational Justice joined 50CAN, which Sackler also funds ($300,000 in 2014 and 2015), giving him a leadership role in the controversial—and so far failing cause—of weakening worker protections for teachers via the courts.

Just as Arthur Sackler founded the weekly Medical Tribune, to promote Purdue products to the medical professional who would prescribe them, Jon Sackler helps to fund, the “nonpartisan” education news website founded by Campbell Brown. The site, which received startup funding from Betsy DeVos, decries the fact that “the education debate is dominated by misinformation and political spin,” yet is uniformly upbeat about charter schools while remarkably devoid of anything positive to say about district schools or teachers unions.

Vertical integration

The Sackler “special sauce” is vertical integration. As far back as the early 1960’s, staffers for Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver prepared a memo for a subcommittee he chaired that was looking into the rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry. 

“The Sackler empire is a completely integrated operation in that it can devise a new drug in its drug development enterprise, have the drug clinically tested and secure favorable reports on the drug from various hospitals with which they have connections, conceive the advertising approach and prepare the actual advertising copy with which to promote the drug, have the clinical articles as well as advertising copy published in their own medical journals, [and] prepare and plant articles in newspapers and magazines.”

This was used to great effect in promoting OxyContin. Art Van Zee MD looked at the Marketing and Promotion of OxyContin and found that in 2001 alone, the company spent over $200 million to market and promote the drug through a variety of methods. In the settlement in the US District Court of Western Virginia, the company admitted to misbranding the drug with the intent to defraud and mislead the public.

The company was lavish with branded swag for health care practitioners. According to a GAO report, these included, “OxyContin fishing hats, stuffed plush toys, coffee mugs with heat-activated messages, music compact discs, luggage tags, and pens containing a pullout conversion chart showing physicians how to  calculate the dosage to convert a patient to OxyContin from other opioid pain relievers.”

The GAO report went on to quote the DEA as saying the Purdue’s use of branded promotional items in the marketing of OxyContin was “was unprecedented among schedule II opioids, and was an indicator of Purdue's aggressive and inappropriate marketing of OxyContin.”

The description of “lavish swag” will sound familiar to anyone who has witnessed one of the no-expenses-spared charter school rallies that are a specialty of Sackler-funded organizations like Families for Excellent schools. Then there is the dizzying array of astroturf front groups all created for the purpose of demanding more charter schools. Just in Connecticut, we’ve had the Coalition for Every Child, A Better Connecticut, Fight for Fairness CT, Excel Bridgeport, and the Real Reform Now Network. All of these groups ostensibly claim to be fighting for better public schools for all children. In reality, they have been lobbying to promote charter schools, often running afoul of ethics laws in the process.

Take Families for Excellent Schools, a “grassroots” group that claims to be about parent engagement, yet was founded by major Wall Street players. In Connecticut, the group failed to register its Coalition for Every Child as a lobbying entity and report a multimillion-dollar ad buy expenditure and the costs of a rally in New Haven. 

In Massachusetts, Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy (FESA) recently had to cough up more than $425,000 to the Massachusetts general fund as part of a legal settlement with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, the largest civil forfeiture in the agency’s 44-year history. Massachusetts officials concluded that FESA violated the campaign finance law by receiving contributions from individuals and then contributing those funds to the Great Schools Massachusetts Ballot Question Committee, which sought to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state, in a manner intended to disguise the true source of the money. As part of the settlement, the group was ordered to reveal the names of its secret donors. Jonathan Sackler was one of them.

Patrick Riccards, a former CEO of ConnCan, the pro-charter group that Sackler founded in 2005, told me, “Jon went to Berkeley and in many ways fits into that idealistic mold. But at the same time it was he who made it clear to me that one of the reasons ConnCan existed was to leverage the investment in the charter community, in Achievement First, which is still the dominant charter school network in the state. [CT] The venture capital community ... has put tons of money into seeing Achievement First grow, first in Connecticut, then in New York, then in Rhode Island.”

It’s all part of the model, concluded Riccards. “While you have a public vision of great public schools for all, ConnCan’s focus was: how does the charter industry continue to grow? Every year, ConnCan’s fight was how do we increase the number of seats, and how do we increase the per pupil expenditure?”

Staggering toll

OxyContin was approved for use in treating moderate to severe pain in 1995. Purdue was determined to make the drug a hit, and funded doctors like Russell Portenoy, who said in a 1993 interview with the New York Times: "There is a growing literature showing that these drugs can be used for a long time, with few side effects and that addiction and abuse are not a problem.”

Except that the literature was based on short-term usage, not on long-acting opioids taken over extended periods of time. By 2003, Portenoy admitted to the Times that he had misgivings about how he and other pain specialists had used the research. Although he had not intended to mischaracterize it or to mislead fellow doctors, he had tried to counter claims that overplayed the risk of addiction. But if not for such mischaracterizations, the Sacklers wouldn’t be as wealthy, and America might not be suffering from a public health crisis that is costing the country an estimated $78.5 billion a year.

Even as the scope and scale of the opioid epidemic unfolds, the fortune OxyContin built continues to grow. In the case of OxyContin heir Jonathan Sackler, part of that fortune is being devoted to expanding charter schools and weakening protections for teachers in traditional public schools. Patrick Keefe’s New Yorker feature ends with a stunning statistic: “An addicted baby is now born every half hour.” He asks whether such devastation should give pause to organizations that benefit from the Sacklers' extensive philanthropy. In the case of the charter schools and education reform advocacy groups that Jonathan Sackler funds, the answer to that question should be obvious. 

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We took a scientific look at whether weed or alcohol is worse for you — and there appears to be a winner - Business Insider

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 14:04

Business Insider

We took a scientific look at whether weed or alcohol is worse for you — and there appears to be a winner
Business Insider
A 16-year study of more than 65,000 Americans published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the healthy marijuana users were not more likely to die of an early death than the healthy men and women who did not use cannabis.

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Martin Luther King, Coca-Cola, and Selective Compassion: A Black Brazilian Voyage to Atlanta

Alternet - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:34
Click here for reuse options! We must fight for social movements that centralize minority voices.

August 14 marked 43 years since Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the civil rights movement. This movement swept the United States in the 50s and 60s, calling for improvements in the lives of black Americans at a time and in a place where signs still restricted the entry of black people into bathrooms, buses, bars, restaurants, schools, and health centers. A time and a place where black Americans’ ability to vote was dependent on a complex structure of white discourses and white institutions.

And there we were, in the sixth blackest city in the United States, Atlanta, debating drug policy reform with 1,500 people from 50 countries at the Drug Policy Alliance’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference. The city is home to a black elite; it is common to see black people driving expensive cars through the city center, or catching planes from the world’s busiest international airport, or owning the establishments that we frequented at night. Atlanta was the city to elect the first black man to mayor (Maynard Jackson, in 1973) and to elect the first black female mayor of any major Southern city (Shirley Franklin, in 2001). The current mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, is black.

Atlanta was also the city where Coca-Cola sold its first cup in history, in 1886, created by Atlanta pharmacist John Stith Pemberton who was searching for a drink that could alleviate the pains of his Civil War-inflicted wounds and supplant his addictive use of morphine. 

Even before Pemberton relied on the coca leaf to create Coca-Cola, Pope Leo XIII had already awarded a Vatican gold medal to a drink created by chemist Angelo Mariani in 1863 that combined the properties from the alkaloids in the coca leaf with wine. For the first half of the 19th Century, alkaloids from the coca leaf were routinely administered as anesthetics and stimulants, surprising medical professionals with their positive effects. At the time, it was inconceivable that the Andean plant would be disapproved of, let alone made illegal. Sigmund Freud recommended its therapeutic use to his patients, and produced one of his best-known works on the subject, Über Coca. The emergence of psychiatry as a profession is closely related to the dissemination of Andean alkaloids amongst the white populations in Europe and the United States. In Brazil, its consumption was part of cocktail of substances consumed by the Rio “high society” in a period known as the Belle Epoque.

The other key ingredient used in Pemberton’s formula, the kola nut, is of African origin, a fruit from the trees in the sterculiaceae family. The kola nut similarly contains alkaloids and powerful stimulating properties. These nuts were brought to Latin America by enslaved black Africans who chewed them in order to endure their painful labor. Together with cloths from the coast, black soap, and palm oil, the kola nut was one of the most common African goods in the transatlantic trade with Brazil.

Over its 125-year history, Coca-Cola – the most popular drink in the world, which boasts more consumer countries than countries in the United Nations – has left a trail of blood, fraud, embezzlement, and corruption. It affects the lives of coca and kola producers through exploitative and slave labor, is responsible for water scarcity in many black and indigenous communities, and lobbies for water management policies that cater to its own interests. In some indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico, the Zapatistas declared Coca-Cola-free zones for many years. Recently in Brazil, the Ministry of Labor found Coca-Cola guilty of slave labor in the state of Minas Gerais.

In Memphis, on the eve of his assassination in 1968, Dr. King and other leaders called for a boycott of Coca-Cola. They noted that – from Atlanta to Memphis, and across the entire country – despite not being its biggest consumers, black people undertook the hard labor in the production and commercialization of Coca-Cola, yet never reached prominent positions in the company. As a result of the boycott, Coca-Cola was pressured to publically state that it did not practice any form of discrimination. Nevertheless, it was ordered to pay $2 million after a lawsuit filed by the company’s workers.

When we arrived in Atlanta to discuss drug policy, we thought about how the racism spoken of by Martin Luther King Jr. and the effects of industrial capitalism on the control of black bodies by is also reflected in the war on drugs. The new role played by prisons – partially to fulfill the demands produced by and for the advance of industrial capitalism in the world – not only changed the perception of the intention of incarceration but also the perception of those who commit offenses. Prison for labor aligned with the emergence of discourses and practices that sought to consolidate the idea of the black man as “the other”, a biologically and culturally inferior race, prone to addiction and a potential agent of race degeneration.

Michelle Alexander’s speech, at the start of the Reform conference, highlighted that she was not optimistic about the recent drug policy reforms in the United States and called on us to reflect on important global and local questions surrounding the processes of reform across diverse communities. President Trump has said that he will beat the “new epidemic”, also referred to as the “opioid crisis,” of rising heroin and other opiate consumption. There have been over 120,000 deaths from overdoses in the past 24 months, double the amount of lives lost in the 19 years of the Vietnam War.

In the same election that handed Donald Trump a victory, voters in the United States approved the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana through ballot initiatives in several states. California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in legalizing recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states plus Washington DC.

It may appear paradoxical that the United States is advancing on drug policy reform at the same time as it elected conservative Donald Trump. But it is not. In fact, Michelle Alexander reminds us that what connects the victory of conservatives in the U.S. elections to the advance of marijuana regulation and the debate on use and abuse of drugs in the country is: whiteness.

Currently, the popular reaction to the opioid crisis as characterized by media campaigns has been one of compassion for the victims and appeals for care so that deaths are avoided. Public figures, including conservative members of congress, are engaged in a dispute over who can offer most to these people and their families. The conservative Republican Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, declared a state of emergency in May and allocated $54 million to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

In Brazil, the launch of the documentary Ilegal had wide repercussions in the main Brazilian media outlets and elicited feelings of concern and compassion for the condition of five-year old Anny, a patient from a white Brazilian family with a serious and incurable form of epilepsy, who suffered 80 epileptic attacks a week since she was born. The only remedy that worked for her was CBD, a cannabis extract. After the documentary gained attention, even the most conservative members of the Brazilian Congress supported legislative changes that allowed for the import of CBD for Anny and other families other families who could afford to pay for the medication. Unfortunately, it is mainly white Brazilian families that can afford to import these medications. Steps are now being taken to regulate medical marijuana more widely in Brazil. 

All this to say, when problems associated with drugs reach the white population, when the effects of drug abuse or the conditions of illegal sale are of concern to white people, policies change, people change, campaigns change. When the victims are white, change is initiated, money is invested, and the population is moved. However, the same treatment is not given to the population most affected by the consumption and prohibition of crack: mostly black and poor people. Brazil and the United States share this same reality.

If the majority of people involved in the sale, production and use of opioids in the United States were black, we would not be having the same conversation we are now having, as Michelle Alexander reminded us. The life of a black child does not move the country. Because compassion, financial support, and policy change is selective.

That is why the reforms that we advocate for in this country and around the world must always center on the question of race. The reconfiguration of markets and means of control, instrumentalized by legal, economic and media discourses inherited from slavery, consolidate knowledge and practices about crime and deviance, but also about care and compassion, that are deeply racialized. Just as the public health view of drug use versus the criminalization of drug use reflect opposing notions that are deeply racialized, the changes ahead will present these same conditions. Whenever the subjection of life to the power of death continues, as explained by Achille Mbembe’s necropolitics, and decisions made over who we want to care for, protect, and promote will always bring back our history of colonization.

In 1963, Pastor King said about the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation that “this momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.” Therefore, we must always be aware of any process of change that does not centralize our voices, offer reparations for our history, or help overcome the traumas that exist in all societies. And that our compassion is a reflection of our own humanity – broad, inclusive and true – and not only a mirror of white faces telling us for whom we should cry.

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You Won't Believe Which Middle East Theocracy Takes an Enlightened Line on Entheogens and Psychedelics!

Alternet - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 10:04
Click here for reuse options! It's not exactly the Islamic Republic of Acid, but still…

In a move barely noticed in the West, more than three years ago, Iran's Grand Ayatollah Rohani issued a formal legal ruling—a fatwa—declaring that the use of entheogens and psychedelics was permissible (ḥalāl) for Shi'i Muslims for purposes of treatment and spiritual growth.

Grand Ayatollah Rohani's fatwa specified that such use should be undertaken under the direction and supervision of qualified experts, but it did not specify which psychoactive substances were meant to be included. The fatwa, however, was delivered after long discussions with petitioners about the effects of DMT, ayahuasca, haoma (or soma), LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, ibogaine, and marijuana.

Sufi mystic, Islamic scholar and psychedelic practitioner Wahid Azal explained what happened in an interview with Reality Sandwich. Another Shi'i scholar approached him about opening a dialog with the Shi'i religious establishment in an effort to get some sort of formal legal opinion about the approach to the therapeutic and spiritual use of entheogens:

To make a long story short, after well over a year and a half of back and forth discussions and correspondences between my friend (and one other individual) with the office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammad Sadeq Hussaini Rohani in Qom, Iran; in mid-March 2014, via email, the Grand Ayatollah issued a formal legal ruling (that is, a fatwa) determining the use of entheogens and psychoactive substances to be licit and thus permissible (ḥalāl) for Shi’i Muslims provided it be under the direction and supervision of qualified experts (ahl al-ikhtiṣāṣ), and that, moreover, such plant substances as a rule do not impair the mind. In the final missive before the decision, the questioner specifically underscored the issue of the visionary component of these plants, where people have reported visions of paradise and hell, and Grand Ayatollah Rohani’s fatwa finds no objections here either.

Grand Ayatollah Rohani could have been open to mind-altering drugs because the psychedelics have a resemblance to Esfand, also known as Syrian rue (peganum harmala), which contains the psychoactive indole alkaloid harmaline, a central nervous system stimulant and MAO inhibitor used for thousands of years in the region. According to at least one Shi'i tradition, the Prophet Mohammed took esfand for 50 days.

Whatever the precise theological reasoning behind the Rohani's fatwa, with it, Iran could leapfrog Western nations when it comes to psychedelic research. Although psychedelics are seeing a research renaissance in the West, research here is limited by their criminalized legal status, as well as lack of funding. But the Islamic Republic has cleared the way. 

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Far out: 6 retro Georgia Straight covers that celebrate cannabis -

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 09:02

Far out: 6 retro Georgia Straight covers that celebrate cannabis
(A VPD spokesperson told the Straight in May that the most an officer might do if they came across a person consuming in public is seize the cannabis in question, and even that doesn't occur very often.) But in the late '60s and early '70s before the ...

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