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BUSTED: Watch LA Cops Plant Drugs in Black Suspect's Wallet—Unaware Their Body Cams Were On

Alternet - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 13:11
Both officers involved in the bust refused to comment on their actions.

An investigation into what is being captured on the body cams worn by Los Angeles police has turned up evidence of officers planting drugs in a suspect’s wallet while believing their cameras were off.

According to CBS-LA, Los Angeles police are now wearing the body cams, but police officials are withholding the videos from the public. However, the station was able to acquire video of one black man being arrested for a hit and run, with the video showing something quite different from what was documented in the official police report.

The report documents the arrest of Ronald Shields, 52, in April when he was taken into custody for a hit and run. According to the police report, LAPD officer Samuel Lee stated that cocaine was found in Shields’ front left pocket

But the body cam of a fellow officer showed one officer picking up the small packet from the ground and placing it in the suspect’s wallet — before making a show of discovering it multiple times for the camera.

According Shields’ attorney, Steve Levine, officer Lee seemed stunned when he was shown the video while on the witness stand, saying the officer, “Looked dumbstruck to me. Period. He had really no answer.”

According to an expert discussing how the body cams work, the officer may not have realized that the camera was running 30 seconds before he believed he activated it.

Confronted by CBS reporter David Goldstein, both officers involved in the bust refused to comments on the discrepancy between their reports and what was shown on-camera.

Watch the video below via CBS-LA:

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The Startup Catering To Women's Curiosity About Cannabis - Forbes

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 12:46


The Startup Catering To Women's Curiosity About Cannabis
The launch of the New York City chapter in October at a hip downtown herbalist shop featured a discussion about cannabis and pain, including the differences between THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana and CBD, the part of the cannabis plant ...

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Cities fight for legal marijuana revenue as Ottawa reveals minimum $1 per gram tax -

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:38

Cities fight for legal marijuana revenue as Ottawa reveals minimum $1 per gram tax
"Preparing the bulk of Canada's police forces to enforce new cannabis rules — with appropriate training, systems and resources — is a massive and costly undertaking." Gerbasi says the $161 million already earmarked by the federal government for ...

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Marijuana's Female Pioneers Are Being Pushed Aside in the Legal Weed Boom - Bloomberg

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:09


Marijuana's Female Pioneers Are Being Pushed Aside in the Legal Weed Boom
“The marijuana industry is still primarily white male, but if the glass ceiling was 12 feet high in the banking industry, I think in marijuana it feels like it's 20 feet high,” Amy Andrle, co-owner of L'Eagle Services, a Colorado-based cannabis ...

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Could California’s Insane Cannabis Tax Cripple the Legal Market?

Alternet - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:56
Did someone say 45 percent sales tax?

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 with Proposition 215. It was a time when the wild west was full of marijuana warriors who literally laid down the law — and their lives at times. Which might help explain why California has been so resistant to full on legalization with all its taxes and regulations. Things start sounding more like Nottingham and less like Sherwood Forest when you hear the words “45 percent sales tax.”


Prop 215 was the perfect medical marijuana model thanks to one of its key authors, Dennis Peron, who changed the marijuana and LGBT landscapes of our nation. It was perfect in it’s numerous imperfections (hindsight) that allowed almost anyone to obtain a medical use card. But California is the world’s sixth largest economy and that means tourism. Also, full on legalization is looking better and better on the states that make it happen.

High sales taxes, however, are threatening to bring California cannabis back into the black market when they finally go all the way on January 1, 2018. “High effective tax rates on California cannabis may complicate the state’s efforts to establish legal markets” analysts Stephen Walsh and Karen Ribble said within a Fitch Ratings report on California’s pot taxes.

Rates will vary between municipalities with both state and local taxes added to the price. Growers, sellers and consumers all have their own sets of taxes with consumers paying 22.25 to 24.25 percent tax, though also reaching as high as an outrageous 45 percent — depending where one is in the state. The taxes include the state excise tax and additional state and local taxes.

The Fitch report believes that these higher taxes could send people back into a black market that’s never stopped flourishing. “California’s black markets for cannabis were well established long before its voters legalized cannabis in November 2016 and are expected to dominate post-legalization production,” read the Fitch report.

It’s all going to really come down to the consumer. Plenty of Californians and visitors are going to be pleased as punch to pay the extra taxes in order to just walk into a legal dispensary and pick up their cannabis supplies. However, those already prone to doing things under the radar? Well, we can predict one thing clearly, California’s legalized marketplace will be nothing if not dynamic.


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The Opioid Crisis is at Its Worst in Rural Areas: Can Telemedicine Help?

Alternet - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:26
Technology-assisted treatment could be part of the solution.

Some of the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic are in rural America. However, many of those same communities lack access to comprehensive treatment.

To address the epidemic’s increasing reach, the White House declared a public health emergency on Oct. 26. The administration outlined a need to expand treatment in rural communities, most notably by making telemedicine more readily available. Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth, aims to improve treatment access by allowing people to consult their provider remotely – for example, by using videoconferencing.

As a researcher of opioid treatment in Michigan, I’m excited to see the call for greater availability of telemedicine as a way to help rural communities. However, telemedicine has important limitations that need to be considered.

Rural struggles

Drug overdose deaths are rising in rural areas across the U.S. In 2015, the overdose death rate for rural areas surpassed the death rate for urban or suburban areas. People living in rural areas were four times more likely to die from overdoses in 2015 than they were in 1999. The opioid epidemic hit states east of the Mississippi River hardest, with the highest death rates in relatively rural states: West Virginia, New Hampshire and Kentucky.

The most scientifically supported opioid treatments combine medications – like buprenorphine, methadone or Suboxone – with behavioral therapy. These opioid treatment programs help patients stop abusing opioids and promote long-term recovery.

However, people living in rural areas face a number of barriers in accessing opioid treatment. Many rural populations have a limited number of clinics that provide opioid treatment and behavioral therapy, as well as a shortage of providers who prescribe opioid treatment medications. People living in rural areas frequently travel long distances to their opioid treatment provider. Moreover, many may feel ashamed or stigmatized if they seek out opioid treatment in their local community.

In northern Michigan, for example, roughly 400,000 residents live north of the closest clinic in Otsego County that provides both methadone and behavioral therapy. People in need of comprehensive opioid treatment in these remote areas require their own transportation and finances to support multiple hours of travel.

The shortage of providers is also an obstacle for rural communities in less remote areas of Michigan. In Lenawee County, which is situated roughly an hour from Ann Arbor and Toledo, there are approximately 100,000 citizens with access to a handful of buprenorphine treatment providers. The few rural providers in areas like this typically offer opioid treatment within small family medicine practices and have limited staff to provide behavioral therapy.

Telemedicine pros and cons

With these issues in mind, telemedicine seems like a promising way to help rural communities, and specifically, to aid in rural opioid treatment.

One study from Ontario demonstrated that the more sessions patients attended via telemedicine, the more likely they were to stay in an opioid treatment program. Patients in the study attended telemedicine sessions under a nurse’s supervision at an affiliated opioid treatment clinic. The prescribing physicians, who likely oversee other clinics from afar, were videoconferenced in from a different location. Videoconferencing helped patients better access providers to discuss medication issues, but still required patients to travel to an affiliated clinic.

The White House has yet to provide explicit details on how expanded telemedicine services will be funded. The US$57,000 released through the public health emergency isn’t enough by itself to lead to meaningful changes and needs renewal after 90 days.

The use of telemedicine for opioid treatment also presents particular challenges. Providers are required by law to see patients for initial in-person assessment before prescribing controlled medications like Suboxone.

There are exceptions to this law, including letting the patient see other clinical staff in person while videoconferencing with the prescribing physician. The emergency declaration could offer even more flexibility.

What’s more, most people need services for other problems besides opioid addiction, such as mental health problems like depression or difficulties with other drugs like cocaine. Many also lack private health insurance or financial means to pay out of pocket for telemedicine.

Despite these issues, the administration’s call to improve treatment access is a positive step for rural health.

Not just rural areas

Urban areas, too, may benefit from this technology-assisted treatment, as people living in rural and urban areas face similar obstacles.

Within my home state of Michigan, drug overdose deaths are overrepresented in urban areas. The two most densely populated counties, Wayne and Macomb, both ranked among the top counties for overdose deaths in 2014 and 2015. This risk among urban communities may be in part due to the increased availability and use of highly potent, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

My research on opioid treatment highlights strikingly similar treatment barriers for rural and urban patients. In a study at an urban opioid treatment clinic, we found those who live farther from the clinic were more likely to drop out sooner, potentially due to transportation-related hardships in accessing the clinic.

Urban patients have similar needs for comprehensive services to treat other mental healthand drug problems and they, too, experience financial problems and a lack of private health insurance.

Steps toward a solution

A few steps, including the advancing of telemedicine, could help save countless lives currently being lost to the opioid epidemic.

First, the administration is still considering declaring a national emergency. That would provide access to more funds, or eliminate proposed budget cuts to existing addiction treatment programs. These monies could be used to train providers interested in delivering telemedicine or used to increase the number of staff able to provide comprehensive services.

Second, we need to investigate the effectiveness of existing telemedicine approaches within rural communities, and continue developing new technology-assisted opioid treatments for rural and urban communities.

Universities, especially those located within surrounding rural communities, should develop dedicated rural health initiatives. My colleagues and I are currently conducting a study to better understand rural patients’ views on treatment access. We will also ask providers about their likelihood to use new treatments – like telemedicine or treatments delivered through mobile or internet devices – in their practice.

Last, it’s important to provide publicly funded treatment and comprehensive services to both rural and urban communities. Practically speaking, many people in need of opioid treatment are able to access treatment only using public health insurance programs like the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and block grant programs.

Until all communities, rural or otherwise, have better access to comprehensive opioid treatment, we will continue to lose loved ones at alarming and unacceptable rates.





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The Corporate Roots of the Opioid Crisis

Alternet - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:13
Opioid overdose claims 175 Americans each day, but powerful pharmaceutical companies continue to promote their sales.

Sitting in a small cafe in a small town in western Massachusetts, Jordan talks about his problems with opioids. He was a construction worker, but an accident at his work site sent him to a hospital and into the arms of prescription painkillers. Jordan’s doctor did not properly instruct him about the dangers of these pills, which he used to kill the pain that ran down his leg. When the prescription ran out, Jordan found he craved the pills. “I used up my savings buying them on the black market,” he told me. When his own money ran out, Jordan got involved in petty theft. He went to prison for a short stint. The lack of proper care for his addiction in the prison allowed him to spiral into more dangerous drugs, which led to his near-death. Now released, Jordan struggles to make his way in the world.

With us is Mary, another recovering addict who entered the world of prescription drugs after she had a car accident a few years ago. Her shoulders and neck hurt badly and so Mary’s doctor gave her a prescription for fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Mary used a fentanyl patch, which allowed the drug to slowly seep into her body through her skin. It was inevitable, Mary told me, that she became addicted to the drug. The pain went away, but the longing for the opioid continued. Mary, like Jordan, is in a de-addiction programme. It is an uphill climb, but Mary is confident. She is a bright person, whose eyes tell a story of great hope behind the fog of her addiction.

In late October, in Easthampton, Massachusetts, a small crowd gathered in public to talk about the scourge of the opioid epidemic in the area. Kaisa Clark talked about her sister Kristina, who died last year at the age of 32 from endocarditis. Kristina (Tina) was addicted, but was not given much support from the medical community. “Time and again my sister was made to feel like her life didn’t matter,” Kaisa said, her voice cracking. In her obituary, Tina’s family wrote movingly about her fight with addiction. “It was an uphill battle to acquire the necessary physical and mental health services that she required, as the stigma of substance abuse continues to plague all areas of our community.”

These are some of the two million Americans who suffer from substance abuse disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. The numbers are staggering. In 2016, as many as 64,000 people died in the U.S. as a result of drug overdose. In 2015, the number was 52,404 dead, which means that the number increased by 22 percent over the year. But more staggering is that over the past three years, deaths by synthetic opioids (fentanyls) increased by 540 percent from 3,000 to 20,000. Illegal drugs—such as cocaine and heroin—continue to pose a challenge, but the real threat is from prescription opioids such as fentanyls of one kind or another. Each day, 175 Americans die from opioid overdose.

National Emergency

In early November, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency against opioid abuse. “The opioid is a tremendous emergency,” he said in his characteristic style. The declaration of an emergency means that state funds should go post-haste to help stem the crisis. It is not clear, however, if this will be enough. There are indeed severe problems of inadequate funding for the treatment of addiction, and funds will be welcome. But the problem also exists at the other end—the production of the addicts. This would require a full-scale assault on the pharmaceutical industry.

Whether Trump will have the stomach to take on this powerful industry is to be seen.

In July, Dan Picard, a City Council member in the town of Middletown (Ohio), reported that the opioid epidemic had put immense pressure on the financial resources of the town. He suggested that the town adopt a “three strikes” approach to the crisis. If a person called for an ambulance because of an opioid overdose, the city would send medical care twice, administer the antidote (Narcan) and allow the person to survive. The third time, the person having an overdose would be left to die. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown,” said Picard. He was chastised for his callousness.

But Picard is not alone. Across the “rust belt,” where de-industrialization has slowly eviscerated community after community, the opioid epidemic makes its way. Matters are so grave that in West Virginia, by early March, the state ran out of money to help bury the poor. West Virginia’s Funeral Directors Association president Frederick Kitchen said that this was largely the result of drug overdose deaths. Robert Kimes of the same association said that many funeral home directors had said that the majority of those who required the indigent burial programme were young and “not financially in a great position”.

Princeton University economists Anne Case and Sir Angus Deaton looked carefully at the mortality rates for the U.S. working class and found them prone to “diseases of despair”—including drug overdose. In 2015, the Case-Deaton study found that there was a “sea of despair” that was drowning a generation of working-class Americans, with diseases such as drug addiction and alcoholism as evidence for the despair. In an updated version of the study that came out this year, Case and Deaton find that the collapse of the job market and the lack of hope amongst the working class have turned the poor towards various forms of addiction, including that of prescription drugs. Half the men who are out of the labor force, they suggest, are taking a prescription painkiller (such as an opioid).

“Although we do not see the supply of opioids as the fundamental factor,” Case and Deaton argue, “the prescription of opioids for chronic pain added fuel to the flames, making the epidemic much worse than it otherwise would have been.” Importantly, Case and Deaton point at the money. “We should note,” they suggest, “that a central beneficiary of opioids are the pharmaceutical companies that have promoted their sales.”

Social Reasons for Drug Overdose

Case and Deaton are right to point to the social reasons for the drug overdose epidemic—the despair in society as it suffers from unemployment and social collapse—but also correct to point a finger at the pharmaceutical industry. Purdue Pharma, which makes the popular drug OxyContin, made $35 billion on this drug. The family that owns Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers, has made upwards of $13 billion. They donate vast amounts of money to charity, particularly in the arts. But they have also lobbied Congress with laser-sharp intensity. Between 2006 and 2015, Purdue Pharma and others who produce opioids spent $900 million on their lobbying efforts. That is eight times the amount spent by the gun lobby. They have purchased immunity from the elite, who are loath to stand up to stem the epidemic that is hemorrhaging poor communities across the U.S.

Matters get more horrid when one looks at the entire pharmaceutical industry. It is true that the drug industry has made a fortune selling painkillers—especially opioids—to the general public. But they also make a killing from selling the antidotes for an overdose. And they have shown their colors by raising prices as the epidemic spirals out of control. The drug that Picard wanted to deny the overdose victim on their third call to the hospital is Narcan. One version of Narcan is called Evzio and is made by the pharmaceutical company Kaleo. In 2014, Kaleo sold two Evzio doses for $690, but increased the price earlier this year to $4,500. Kaleo controls about 20 percent of the antidote market. This means that it has been able to set the price for this drug across the market, including for generic naloxone, which doubled over the past year.

Neither Jordan nor Mary is able to easily face a world that seems to have turned its back on them. There are millions of others like them who live in “factory deserts,” in towns that have been utterly hollowed out by the new order of things. They have no faith in Trump’s emergency order. Some money will go towards opioid addiction, which they welcome. But that is not the crux of the matter. They point their fingers at the pharmaceutical industry and the billionaires in their society. There is money in their society, they tell me at different times, but it does not seem to be coming to them. “The rich would like us all to die or go to prison,” says Mary.


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Cannabis producers skeptical of whether Ontario's plan can compete with black market -

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 06:02

Cannabis producers skeptical of whether Ontario's plan can compete with black market
Without private cannabis companies and proper branding, the Ontario government's plan to roll out the sale of marijuana won't be able to compete with the current black market, advocates say. The current plan includes plain packaging, which wouldn't ...

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In The Age Of Legalization, Talking To Kids About Marijuana Gets Tougher - NPR

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 02:01


In The Age Of Legalization, Talking To Kids About Marijuana Gets Tougher
Recreational marijuana is now legal for adults in California, which could bring a massive boom in drug sales and advertising when stores can begin selling the drug without a prescription in January. But it's bringing a new challenge, too. Raygoza ...

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OR: Oregon man arrested in Nebraska after deputies seize marijuana - KPTV - FOX 12

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:54 (US) Oregon man arrested in Nebraska after deputies seize marijuana - KPTV - FOX 12 Oregon man arrested in Nebraska after deputies seize marijuana Authorities have arrested an Oregon man found with pot and a cannabis extract called shatter in a van after an Interstate 80 traffic stop in Nebraska. (Fri Nov 10 21:54:57 2017 PST)
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Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:54 (US) [Cannabis 101 Meeting Dr. ...] Cannabis 101 Meeting Dr. ... (Fri Nov 10 21:54:17 2017 PST)
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Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:54 (US) Cannabis 101 Meeting Dr. Cannabis 101 Meeting Dr. ... (Fri Nov 10 21:54:17 2017 PST)
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OR: Creswell Says No Again To Pot Shops - Jefferson Public Radio

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:48 (US) Sales of marijuana in the small Lane County city of Creswell remain banned. But, opponents say the matter was decided las... (Fri Nov 10 21:48:37 2017 PST)
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OR: Lane County Board Moves Ahead With Pot Tax - KLCC

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:44 (US) Lane County Board Moves Ahead With Pot Tax ! KLCC ... (Fri Nov 10 21:44:03 2017 PST)
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OR: Lane County Approves Tax on Pot - KLCC

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:44 (US) The Lane County tax would apply to both recreational and medical marijuana if Oregonb s Measure 91 is approved by voters in November.B The measure would legalized and tax recreational marijuana statewide.B But Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich says the measure doesnb t allocate enough money to local governments. (Fri Nov 10 21:44:03 2017 PST)
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OR: marijuana tax - KLCC

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OR: Eugene City Council Considers Pot Tax - KLCC

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:44 (US) Eugene City Council Considers Pot Tax ! KLCC Eugene City Council Considers Pot Tax Eugene is among many cities and counties in Oregon considering a tax on recreational marijuana. (Fri Nov 10 21:44:03 2017 PST)
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OR: Willamette Week -- Portland News, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Arts - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:27 (US) "cannabis-socials" The Witchy Woman Social Is A Supernaturally Feminine Celebration of Cannabis (Fri Nov 10 22:27:03 2017 PST)
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OR: Willamette Week -- Portland News, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Arts - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 00:27 (US) An all-women, business-oriented yet whimsical, and fully legal cannabis soirC)e feels pretty revolutionary. ... (Fri Nov 10 22:27:03 2017 PST)
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