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TOP: Kendall County drug court graduates its first class: 'I have a lot of lost time to make up with my kids' - Aurora Beacon-News

Bot - Cannabis - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:01 (US) Jennifer Molitor used heroin for more than 10 years and had been in and out of prison. The program offers drug-addicted offenders a treatment option as an alternative to incarceration. With an ongoing opioid epidemic across America and 13 overdose deaths in Kendall County from Dec. 1, 2016, to Nov. 30, 2017, Molitor thinks drug court programs could help peopl... (Wed Aug 29 14:01:32 2018 PDT)
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State marijuana panel is getting a lot of criticism after a recent ruling - The Boston Globe

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 23:48

The Boston Globe

State marijuana panel is getting a lot of criticism after a recent ruling
The Boston Globe
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is facing a growing backlash over its recent decision not to crack down on excessive payments from marijuana companies to municipalities — but with state legislators unlikely to force the commission's hand ...

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Study Proves That Charging People With Murder for Drug Overdose Deaths Helps No One

Alternet - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 22:36
The practice is "bad law and bad criminal justice policy," the author concludes.

As the nation grapples with the deadliest drug crisis in its history—more than 72,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—prosecutors across the country have rushed to embrace the use of "drug-induced homicide" charges as a means of combating the problem. That means charging the people who sold the fatal dose—or sometimes just the people who shared it—with murder or manslaughter and sending them away to prison for lengthy terms.

Faced with a public clamor to "do something," prosecutors are resorting to this facile, politically popular tactic in order to "send a message" of toughness to dealers in a bid to break the back of the epidemic. But a new study, “America’s Favorite Antidote: Drug-Induced Homicide in the Age of the Overdose Crisis,” concludes that the practice is worse than ineffective—it's actually counterproductive.

Such prosecutions are "bad law and bad criminal justice policy" that have only worsened the opioid crisis that has taken tens of thousands of American lives, writes Leo Beletsky, associate professor of law and health sciences of the Northeastern University School of Law.

Beletsky notes that while the strategy dates back to 1986, in an atmosphere of moral panic set off by the death of NBA player Len Bias of an overdose from cocaine given to him by a friend, it has really taken off in recent years as the country lives through what he calls the "worst drug crisis in U.S. history." Now, more than half the states have some form of drug-induced homicide law, while others are considering amending them to include fentanyl.

But the prosecutions amount to little more than "policy theater" rooted in the punitive approach long favored in the country's war on drugs, Beletsky argues. That is an unsuccessful approach that has largely failed to reduce drug use or stem the flow of drugs into the country, he notes.

Beletsky's study looked at data from 263 drug-induced homicide prosecutions between 2000 and 2016. One of the most striking findings was that, while such prosecutions are supposedly aimed at drug dealers, at least half of those charged were family members or partners.

"In many jurisdictions, it is enough to have simply shared a small amount of your drugs with the deceased to be prosecuted for homicide," he notes.

Another striking—yet completely unsurprising—finding is that when he applied his data to what he called "existing racially disparate patterns of drug law enforcement," he found evidence of racial differences in the application of drug-induced homicide laws as well. Such selective enforcement resulted in "gaping disparities between whites and people of color."

But the most bitter irony can be found in the impact of such laws on actual overdose deaths. Even though opioid overdose reversal drugs such as naloxone are now in wide use, many friends, fellow users, and family members are reluctant to call for emergency help because they fear the legal repercussions, even if they didn't provide the lethal drugs.

"Police involvement at overdose scenes may result in arrests on drug, parole violation, weapons, and other charges," wrote Beletsky. "It may also lead to loss of child custody, violation of community supervision conditions, and other legal consequences rooted in the pervasive stigmatization of substance use, but not directly linked to criminal law. Research suggests that fear of police contact and legal detriment is actually the single most important reason why people who witnessed overdoses do not seek timely emergency medical help," he concludes. "Aside from crowding out evidence-based interventions and investments, these prosecutions run at complete cross-purposes to efforts that encourage witnesses to summon lifesaving help during overdose events."

Rather than "tougher" policy responses to drug use such as the resort to drug-induced homicide charges, policymakers should be subjecting failed punishment-oriented policies to rigorous scrutiny while instead developing a "population-based" health policy emphasizing treatment and diversion from the criminal justice system, he suggested.

"A system that relies on the instrument of punishment to regulate the behavior of people affected by severe SUD (Substance Use Disorder) fundamentally misconstrues the nature of addiction," Beletsky writes. "The established scientific consensus predicts that individuals affected by addiction will substantially discount—or totally disregard—legal risks and threats of punishment as a matter of course. This scientific construct has yet to be translated into U.S. jurisprudence, however."

“Drug-induced homicide prosecutions and other similar punitive approaches to the opioid crisis, such as curbing prescriptions and subjecting patients to drug testing regimes, have crowded out public health strategies that have been proven to work in limiting the deleterious impacts of widespread opioid use," he writes.

"The bottom line," Beletsky writes, "is that, when it comes to policies that hold the most empirical promise for addressing the overdose crisis, we know what to do; we just are not doing it."

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.



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Legal marijuana industry tries to shake 'stoner' stereotypes - The Seattle Times

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 21:20

Legal marijuana industry tries to shake 'stoner' stereotypes
The Seattle Times
But with a multibillion-dollar industry beginning to flower — marijuana is now legal in some form in 30 states — cannabis advocates are pushing to dispel the idea that people who toke up still live on the couches in their parents' basements and spend ...

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Some Canadian Universities Will Allow Marijuana On Campus - Forbes

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:19


Some Canadian Universities Will Allow Marijuana On Campus
Accomplishing this goal, however, takes conviction, a tremendous amount of focus and, depending on the student's extracurricular interests and disposition towards inebriating substances, enough mind-ripping marijuana to choke an inbred Russian ...

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Time For Colleges To Give Cannabis A Try? - Forbes

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:19


Time For Colleges To Give Cannabis A Try?
From dorm rooms to classrooms, cannabis in college has come a long way. As both medical and recreational marijuana markets have soared, so too have career opportunities. In the 38 states with some form of legal marijuana, patients (and those who just ...

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California's recreational cannabis industry is booming — but regulations are posing a unique threat - Business Insider

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 18:21

Business Insider

California's recreational cannabis industry is booming — but regulations are posing a unique threat
Business Insider
Recreational cannabis has become a major industry in California. The price of cannabis in California has become an immediate hiccup that has initially angered consumers, reducing expected demand and state revenues. The effective sales tax on a gram of ...
California Cannabis: A Golden Opportunity With Unique ChallengesVisual Capitalist (blog)
Meet the leader of LA's cannabis revolutionFast Company
Central State medical pot lab will require more police, armored truckDayton Daily News
Yahoo Finance
all 68 news articles »
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Cannabis company stopped from building oversized Hamilton greenhouse says it will now grow potted plants instead - Toronto Star

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 16:42

Toronto Star

Cannabis company stopped from building oversized Hamilton greenhouse says it will now grow potted plants instead
Toronto Star
City council denied an application in July from federally licensed grower The Green Organic Dutchman to build a 130,000-square-foot greenhouse for medical marijuana on Jerseyville Road. City planners had recommended the project despite a bylaw size ...

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Beverage makers explore entries to Canadian cannabis sector - The Globe and Mail

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 16:00

The Globe and Mail

Beverage makers explore entries to Canadian cannabis sector
The Globe and Mail
The rise of a legal cannabis market has stoked fears among brewers and soft-drink makers that marijuana will dent already declining or stagnating sales. On the eve of legalization in Canada, some of these companies are trying to understand the ...
Top cannabis exec: Expect to see more strategic investment coming to cannabisCNBC
Marijuana Users Being Turned Away From Cannabis Industry JobsForbes
Marijuana Stocks Just Keep Going Higher: 'This Is Like Bitcoin Levels'Barron's
Toronto Star -SmallCapPower (press release) -Financial Post -Bloomberg
all 156 news articles »
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Tilray CEO on first earnings report and growing cannabis industry - CNBC

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 13:03


Tilray CEO on first earnings report and growing cannabis industry
Tilray CEO on first earnings report and growing cannabis industry. 8 Hours Ago. Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy discusses his company's growth alongside the expansion of the medical pot industry as a whole. Watch CNBC Live TV ...

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Researchers ID genes that could make you more likely to try cannabis - Ars Technica

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 12:07

Ars Technica

Researchers ID genes that could make you more likely to try cannabis
Ars Technica
Laws regarding marijuana use are changing even as scientists are still trying to understand why people use it and the overall effects of using it. Now, a study is wading in by examining how genetics influences people's tendency to try pot. But the ...
We Now Have An Even Better Idea Of How Schizophrenia and Marijuana Use Are LinkedIFLScience
Cannabis is not a cause of schizophrenia, says biggest study yetThe Times
There are 35 genes that make you more likely to smoke weedABC News
Gizmodo -Medical Xpress -GenomeWeb -Nature
all 43 news articles »
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Pediatricians put it bluntly: Motherhood and marijuana don't mix - ABC News

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 08:42

ABC News

Pediatricians put it bluntly: Motherhood and marijuana don't mix
ABC News
A recent study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, for example, found that 70 percent of cannabis dispensaries in Colorado recommended marijuana to treat morning sickness during the first trimester. No evidence suggests that marijuana use is safe ...
Marijuana Can Stay in Breast Milk for Up to 6 Days, Warn
Marijuana and Breast MilkAAP News

all 40 news articles »
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The Opioid Crisis Could Cost a Half Million Lives in the Next Decade

Alternet - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 22:24
There are some policy prescriptions that could lower that toll, but some other politically popular ones would likely increase it.

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released in mid-August, showed a record 72,000 drug overdose deaths last year, with 49,000 related to heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids. According to the authors of a study released last week in the American Journal of Public Health, that could be the new normal.

The study, by Stanford researchers Allison Pitt, Keith Humphreys, and Margaret Brandeau, attempts to assess the number of opioid-related deaths we could expect to see over the next decade, as well as the impact of different policy responses on reducing the death toll.

Using a mathematical model, the researchers estimate that some 510,000 people will die over the next decade because of opioid use. The number includes not only drug overdoses but also other opioid-related deaths, such as HIV infections caused by shared needles.

Even including the non-overdose deaths, the number is staggering. Last year was the worst year ever for opioid-related overdose deaths, but this research suggests we are going to see year after year of similar numbers.

The researchers said there are steps that can be taken to reduce the death toll, but also that some seemingly simple solutions, such as cracking down on opioid prescribing, could actually increase the toll. And even those policies that could cut the opioid death rate are likely to do so only marginally.

Making the overdose reversal drug naloxone more widely available could cut opioid-related deaths by 21,200 over the next decade, allowing greater access to medication-assisted therapies with drugs such as buprenorphine and methadone would save another 12,500 lives, and reducing opioid prescribing for acute pain would prevent another 8,000 deaths, the researchers said. But those three policy moves combined would shave less than 10 percent off the overall death toll.

"No single policy is likely to substantially reduce deaths over 5 to 10 years," the researchers wrote.

While harm reduction interventions such as those above would save lives, some aspects of tightening opioid prescribing would actually increase opioid-related deaths by as much as the tens of thousands—because they increase heroin deaths more than they cut painkiller deaths. Moves such as reducing prescribing for chronic pain, up-scheduling pain relievers to further restrict their prescribing, and prescription drug monitoring programs all tend to push existing prescription opioid users into the illicit heroin and fentanyl markers all end up contributing to net increases in opioid deaths over the 10-year period, the researchers found.

On the other hand, other interventions on the prescribing front, such as reducing acute pain prescribing, reducing prescribing for transitional pain, reformulating drugs to make them less susceptible to misuse, and opioid disposal programs, appear to prevent more deaths than they cause.

Ultimately, reducing the opioid death toll comes down to reducing the size of the opioid-using population. That implies making addiction treatment more available for those currently using and preventing the initiation of a new generation of opioid users. Restrictions on prescribing, while possibly driving some current users to dangerous illicit markets, will have a long-term impact by reducing the number of people who develop a dependence on opioids.

Still, by all appearances, when it comes to the loss of life around opioids, it looks like a pretty sad decade ahead of us.

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.



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Here's How Long Traces of Marijuana Can Remain in Breast Milk

Alternet - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 18:33
Click here for reuse options! With marijuana legalization becoming more widespread, these questions are growing in importance.

Marijuana is rapidly becoming legal across the United States as citizens and lawmakers question the wisdom of outlawing a drug that is, by almost any conceivable measure, much less dangerous than alcohol.

But "less dangerous" doesn't mean "risk-free," and the increasing ubiquity of legal pot raises serious medical and health questions that we are only beginning to unravel.

For example, there's little data about the impact of infants' exposure to marijuana through breast milk. Because of this lack of clarity, doctors recommend completely abstaining from marijuana use while breastfeeding.

A new study from researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggests there's a good basis for this recommendation. In a study of 50 women who were users of marijuana, researchers were able to detect THC in breast milk for as long as six days after the mother's last usage. THC is the chemical that can produce psychoactive effects in marijuana users.

"We found that the amount of THC that the infant could potentially ingest from breast milk was relatively low, but we still don't know enough about the drug to say whether or not there is a concern for the infant at any dose, or if there is a safe dosing level," said Christina Chambers, the principal investigator on the study. "The ingredients in marijuana products that are available today are thought to be much more potent than products available 20 or 30 years ago."

For those skeptical of any drug use, it might seem pointless to study the trace amounts of marijuana in breast milk when parents could just avoid using the drug at all. But Chambers argued that telling parents they must choose between breastfeeding and marijuana use can be difficult for doctors.

"Pediatricians are often put into a challenging situation when a breastfeeding mother asks about the safety of marijuana use," she said. "We don't have strong, published data to support advising against use of marijuana while breastfeeding, and if women feel they have to choose, we run the risk of them deciding to stop breastfeeding — something we know is hugely beneficial for both mom and baby."

There are still many more questions Chambers would like to explore with this research.

"Are there any differences in effects of marijuana in breast milk for a two-month-old versus a 12-month-old, and is it different if the mother smokes versus eats the cannabis?" she asks. "These are critical areas where we need answers as we continue to promote breast milk as the premium in nutrition for infants."

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