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FL: Advocates Want To Re-Classify Misdemeanors For Marijuana Possession - WUSF News

Drug News Bot - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 01:02
wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu (US) Nearly 43000 Floridians were arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and medical cannabis patients believe Florida cannabis laws are strict. (Tue Apr 03 20:02:35 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $explicit_propaganda(70%), $propaganda_theme2(50%), $propaganda_theme3(65%), $use_is_abuse(100%), $gateway(55%), $propaganda_theme4(100%), $propaganda_theme7(100%), $dissent_attacked(90%), $propaganda_theme8(90%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(90%), $drug_ngo(100%), $drug_law(100%), $drug_reform_ngo(100%), $norml(100%), $flcan(100%), $prohibition_agency(70%), $secret_evidence(50%), $legalization(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $medical_cannabis(100%), $cannabis(100%), $cannabis_industry(85%), $various_drugs(90%), $msm(100%), $mockingbird(100%), $assoc_press(100%)]
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FL: Opioid Use Lower In States That Eased Marijuana Laws - WUSF News

Drug News Bot - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 01:02
wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu (US) "We do know that cannabis is much less risky than opiates. " says "We do know that cannabis is much less risky than opiates. (Tue Apr 03 20:02:35 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $addiction(60%), $propaganda_theme2(100%), $propaganda_theme3(75%), $use_is_abuse(100%), $gateway(55%), $propaganda_theme4(100%), $propaganda_theme6(65%), $propaganda_theme7(100%), $dissent_attacked(90%), $propaganda_theme8(90%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $drug_law(100%), $compassion_club(100%), $govt_prohib_other(100%), $chemicals(100%), $plants(100%), $pharms(100%), $euphoric_depressant(100%), $analgesic(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $opioid(100%), $medical_cannabis(100%), $narcotic(100%), $opiate(100%), $heroin(100%), $cannabis(100%), $oxycodone(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $various_illegal_drugs(75%), $school(100%), $msm(100%), $mockingbird(100%)]
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FL: Richard Harris - WUSF News

Drug News Bot - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 01:02
wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu (US) Opioid Use Lower In States That Eased Marijuana Laws Medical marijuana appears to have put a dent in the opioid abuse epidemic. (Tue Apr 03 20:02:35 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme2(100%), $propaganda_theme3(55%), $propaganda_theme6(65%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $drug_law(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $opioid(100%), $medical_cannabis(100%), $narcotic(100%), $cannabis(100%), $tobacco(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%)]
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Regulated marijuana production test will include health warnings: Volkskrant - DutchNews.nl

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:17

Regulated marijuana production test will include health warnings: Volkskrant
DutchNews.nl
Growers will be asked to go through a public tender process for the contracts and will have to fulfill strict conditions. For example, they will have to meet centrally-agreed rules on packaging (which will include a health warning similar to tobacco ...

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CN ON: Marijuana-Dispensary Raid Charges Not Sticking In Court

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
London Free Press, 03 Apr 2018 - More than half the charges laid against London marijuana dispensary staffers and operators swept up in a series of raids on the illegal businesses in the past two years have been withdrawn, court records examined by The Free Press show. London police have launched seven raids in three separate crackdowns on city pot shops since August 2016, resulting in 49 charges against 15 people.
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CN BC: Vet Can't Imagine Practising Today Without CBD

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Richmond News, 01 Apr 2018 - Veterinarian Katherine Kramer remembers an 18-year-old cat she recommended be put on hemp-based cannabidoil (CBD). "It had heart disease and pancreatitis so painful the traditional amount of pain medication knocked him out and he had no quality of life," says Kramer, a veterinarian at Vancouver Animal Wellness Clinic. "So, I contacted the [medicinal marijuana] Compassion Club."
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US MA: Mass. Pot Business Applications Strong On First Day Of

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Boston Globe, 03 Apr 2018 - In just the first day of accepting preliminary applications, the Cannabis Control Commission said 23 companies and entrepreneurs had submitted requests for expedited licensing, and another 167 were in the process after the agency launched its online licensing system Monday. "Yesterday was a seminal day in the thus-far-brief history of the commission," said Steve Hoffman, the agency's chairman. "There were probably a large number of people that didn't think we'd be ready on April 2 to start accepting applications," but the agency's regulations were in place on time last month and its system worked smoothly, he added.
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US AK: Alaska Marijuana Testing Lab Closes, Leaving Only 2 In State

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Kansas City Star, 01 Apr 2018 - One of only three marijuana testing labs in Alaska has shut down, leaving the state's cannabis growers with only two options for state-mandated testing. Steep Hill Alaska, of Anchorage, declared in an Instagram post Thursday that the lab is "suspending cannabis testing operations on March 31," the Juneau Empire reported .
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US MA: Recreational Marijuana Licensing To Begin Monday

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Boston Globe, 01 Apr 2018 - On Monday at noon, decades of debate all come down to this: a click of a computer mouse by a state technology contractor. With that, the Massachusetts state government's system for legal pot use will blink to life, and businesses can begin applying for licenses to grow, process, and sell cannabis to adults 21 and older.
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US MD: CBD Is Cannabis That Won't Get You High. So Why Are So Many

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Baltimore Sun, 30 Mar 2018 - In a lowlit room at Joy's Spa in Washington, Dawn Franklin is smoothing a creamy white mask onto Jessica Osorio's face. The mask, she says, is infused with chamomile and sage and aloe vera, plus one ingredient that she still has to explain to her clients: CBD. An aesthetician, Franklin started working with an Oregon chemist last year to make CBD products for the skin, believing that a little of it swiped onto the face could help repair the ravages of age.
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US IL: Synthetic Pot Leaves 2 Dead And Dozens Hospitalized In Chicago

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Chicago Tribune, 02 Apr 2018 - Two people have died and 56 sickened in the Chicago area and central Illinois after using synthetic pot, popularly known as K2 and Spice, state officials said on Monday. Over the weekend, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that one person had died after using synthetic cannabinoid products, but on Monday the state agency announced that a second person had also perished. Generally, those sickened by the drug have been hospitalized for internal bleeding as well as blood coming from the ears, eyes and mouth.
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US: Studies Link Legal Marijuana With Fewer Opioid Prescriptions

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Lexington Herald-Leader, 02 Apr 2018 - Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may. Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws have proposed it as a lower-risk alternative to opioids. But some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid use, and so might make the epidemic worse.
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US SC: Opioid Alternative Or Gateway To Legal Pot?

MAP Drugnews - Top Stories - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
The State, 29 Mar 2018 - Medical marijuana cleared a key committee on Thursday and headed to the floor of the S.C. Senate. But the 8-6 vote by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee came as enforcement leaders are hardening their opposition, saying it is another step toward legalized recreational marijuana in the Palmetto State.
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Maximum of 10 Dutch municipalities to test regulated cannabis: report - NL Times

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 22:37

NL Times

Maximum of 10 Dutch municipalities to test regulated cannabis: report
NL Times
Only after this evaluation will a decision be made on whether to introduce regulated cannabis cultivation and sale nationwide. The bill also contains strict requirements for packaging and transport of the regulated cannabis. In this way the government ...

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Police enforcement of marijuana shops will level playing field, says ... - CBC.ca

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:44

Police enforcement of marijuana shops will level playing field, says ...
CBC.ca
Jason Childs, an associate professor of economics at the University of Regina, says dispensaries that were raided could have damaged their chance to apply for a licence. Six unlicensed retailers were raided last week in Regina.

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Legalized medical cannabis lowers opioid use, study finds - Science Daily

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:40

Science Daily

Legalized medical cannabis lowers opioid use, study finds
Science Daily
We're just observing what changes when medical cannabis laws are enacted, and we see big reductions in opiate use." The researchers examined all common prescriptions opiates, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone and fentanyl. Because ...
Opioids prescribed less in states where medical marijuana legal, studies findThe Guardian
Getting too high? Canadian marijuana stocks skyrocket, raising bubble fearsMarketWatch
Cannabis Investors Could Reap A Pot Of Gold, Says AnalystForbes
CTV News -Toronto Star -Globalnews.ca
all 342 news articles »
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The verdict's in: From marijuana to murder in a Durham parking lot - Durham Herald Sun

Google - Cannabis - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 14:46

Durham Herald Sun

The verdict's in: From marijuana to murder in a Durham parking lot
Durham Herald Sun
He said Farley took the lead in setting up the drug deal after he asked her to connect him to a marijuana source. Clayton reached out to Farley late that afternoon., asking if she could help connect him to a source to buy two ounces of marijuana, he ...

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What It's Like for an American Drug Reformer to Go to a Country with a Compassionate System

Alternet - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 13:27
Click here for reuse options! Who knew governments could actually do good things in the realm of drug policy?

The American activists couldn't wrap their heads around it. Sitting in a dingy office in a nondescript building in central Lisbon, they were being provided a fine-grained explanation of what happens to people caught with small amounts of drugs in Portugal, which decriminalized the possession of personal use amounts of drugs 17 years ago.

The activists, having lived the American experience, wanted desperately to know when and how the coercive power of the state kicked in, how the drug users were to be punished for their transgressions, even if they had only been hit with an administrative citation, which is what happens to people caught with small quantities of drugs there.

Nuno Capaz was trying to explain. He is vice chairman of the Lisbon Dissuasion Commission, the three-member tribunal set up to handle people caught with drugs. He had to struggle mightily to convince the Americans that it wasn't about punishment, but about personal and public health.

"The first question," he explained, "is whether this person is a recreational user or an addict."

If the person is deemed only a recreational user, he may face a fine or a call to community service. If he is deemed an addict, treatment is recommended—but not required.

"But what if they don't comply?" one of the activists demanded. "Don't they go to jail then?"

No, they do not. Instead, Capaz patiently explained, they may face sanctions for non-compliance, but those sanctions may be little more than a demand that they regularly present themselves to a hospital or health center for monitoring.

In a later hallway conversation, I asked Capaz about drug users who simply refused to go along or to participate at all. What happens then? I wanted to know.

Capaz shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing," he said. "I tell them to try not to get caught again."

Welcome to Portugal. The country's low-key, non-headline-generating drug policy, based on compassion, public health, and public safety, is a stark contrast with the U.S., as the mind-boggled response of the activists suggests.

Organized by the Drug Policy Alliance and consisting of members of local and national groups working with the drug reform organization, as well as a handful of journalists, the group spent three days in the country last month seeing what an enlightened drug policy looks like. They met with high government officials directly involved in creating and implementing drug decriminalization, toured drug treatment, harm reduction, and mobile methadone maintenance facilities, and heard from Portuguese drug users and harm reduction workers as well.

The Portuguese Model and Its Accomplishments

They had good reason to go to Portugal. After nearly two decades of drug decriminalization, there is ample evidence that the Portuguese model is working well. Treating drug users like citizens who could possibly use some help instead of like criminals to be locked up is paying off by all the standard metrics—as well as by not replicating the thuggish and brutal American-style war on drugs, with all the deleterious and corrosive impacts that has on the communities particularly targeted for American drug law enforcement.

Here, according to independent academic researchers, as well as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Monitoring Center of Drugs and Drug Abuse, is what the Portuguese have accomplished:

  • Drug use has not dramatically increased. Rates of past year and past month drug use have not changed significantly or have actually declined since 2001. And Portugal's drug use rates remain among the lowest in Europe, and well below those in the United States.
  • Both teen drug use and problematic drug use (people who are dependent or who inject drugs) have declined.
  • Drug arrests and incarceration are way down. Drug arrests have dropped by 60 percent (selling drugs remains illegal), and the percentage of prisoners doing time for drug offenses has dropped from 44 percent to 24 percent. Meanwhile, the number of people referred to the Dissuasion Commission has remained steady, indicating that no "net-widening" has taken place. And the vast majority of cases that go before the commission are found to be non-problematic drug users and are dismissed without sanction.
  • More people are receiving drug treatment—and on demand, not by court order. The number of people receiving drug treatment increased by 60 percent by 2011, with most of them receiving opiate-substitution therapy (methadone). Treatment is voluntary and largely paid for by the national health system.
  • Drug overdose deaths are greatly reduced. Some 80 people died of drug overdoses in 2001; that number shrunk to just 16 by 2012. That's an 80 percent reduction in drug overdose deaths.
  • Drug injection-related HIV/AIDS infections are greatly reduced. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of new HIV cases shrank from nearly 1,600 to only 78. The number of new AIDS cases declined from 626 to 74.

"We came to the conclusion that the criminal system was not the best suited to deal with this situation," explained Capaz. "The best option should be referring them to treatment, but we do not force or coerce anyone. If they are willing to go, it's because they actually want to, so the success rate is really high. We can surely say that decriminalization does not increase drug usage, and that it does not mean legalizing drugs. It's still illegal to use drugs in Portugal, it's just not considered a crime. It's possible to deal with these users outside the criminal system."

Dr. Joao Goulao, who largely authored the decriminalization law and who is still general director for intervention on addictive behaviors—the Portuguese "drug czar"—pointed to unquantifiable positives resulting from the move: "The biggest effect," he said, "has been to allow the stigma of drug addiction to fall, to let people speak clearly and to pursue professional help without fear."

They Take the Kids!

The American activists know all about fear and stigma. And the cultural disconnect—between a country that treats drug users with compassion and one that seeks to punish them—was on display again when a smaller group of the activists met with Dr. Miguel Vasconcelos, the head psychologist at the Centro Taipa, a former mental hospital that now serves as the country's largest drug treatment center.

As Dr. Vasconcelos explained the history and practice of drug treatment in Portugal, one of his listeners asked what happened to drug users who were pregnant or had children.

"They take the kids," Vasconcelos said, smiling. But his smile turned to puzzlement as he saw his listeners reacted with disappointment and dismay.

For the Americans, "they take the kids" meant child protective services swooping in to seize custody of the children of drug-using parents while the parents go to jail.

But that's not what Vasconcelos meant. After some back and forth, came clarity: "No, I mean they take the kids with them to treatment."

Once again, the Americans, caught firmly in the mind-set of their own punishing society, expected only the worst of the state. But once again, light bulbs came on as they realized it doesn't have to be like that.

Now that cadre of activists is back home, and they are going to begin to try to apply the lessons they learned in their own states and communities. And although they had some abstract understanding of Portuguese drug decriminalization before they came, their experiences with the concrete reality of it should only serve to strengthen their desire to make our own country a little less like a punitive authoritarian one and bit more like Portugal.

 

 

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Gun Violence Debate Needs to Include Police Militarization and Drug Prohibition Violence

Alternet - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 12:05
We won't stop the killings until we address all of the causes.

On March 14, thousands of students walked out of school to protest gun violence, demanding legislators enact more stringent gun control in the U.S.  Later that night in Rio de Janeiro, Marielle Franco, a Brazilian city council member and a vocal critic of Brazil’s militarized law enforcement, was assassinated.

Four days later, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot and killed by the Sacramento police. While news outlets and social media made note of these murders, the national conversation instead largely focused on the March for Our Lives protest that took place the following weekend. As the media continued to cover the responses to the March for Our Lives, news broke that the two officers responsible for the murder of Alton Sterling would not be facing charges for their use of lethal force that left yet another black father dead. In the span of two weeks, the country was engrossed in the discussion of gun control and gun violence, yet there was very little discussion of the main victims of gun violence: people of color.

Communities of color (primarily black and Latinx communities) face increased gun violence at the hands of both community members and the police ostensibly charged with protecting them. While these communities were addressed by some of the courageous students at March for Our Lives, the solutions presented—stricter background checks and weapons bans—are ultimately ineffective for these vulnerable communities, as they only address a small percentage of the victims of gun violence. A more complete attempt at a solution must address the war on drugs, its role in militarizing the police and the effect it has had on communities of color.

Consider historical precedent. During Prohibition, the supply of alcohol was illegal, yet demand remained, causing the rise of an illicit market. Given the illegality of that market, ensuring some sense of justice fell to individuals rather than police and rule of law. As a result, the country witnessed an increase in organized crime, violence and murder—all directly stemming from the prohibition of alcohol, which effectively decreased with the 21st Amendment. The war on drugs has had the same path, with the exact same results, but more dire consequences. We have seen decades of remarkable gun violence, in Miami, LA, Chicago and even internationally, all in the name of the illicit drug market. The current response by the powers that be to this violence, faced largely by black and brown people, benefits neither from learning from history or understanding community need. Instead of calling for an end to this failed drug war, the main driver of gun violence, or reevaluating the legal status of drugs in our society, our government has responded through the militarization of law enforcement.

First, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 authorized the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, providing a monetary incentive for anti-drug policing. Then, the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990 authorized the Department of Defense to transfer military equipment to law enforcement agencies, for use in so-called “counterdrug activities.” This was further catalyzed by Bill Clinton’s creation of the Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033 Program), which further armed law enforcement with surplus military equipment. For decades, law enforcement has been affected by this feedback loop, making drug policing both the rationale for and result of more militarization of our local police departments.

Providing local police departments with military grade weapons and equipment in order to fight the drug war has resulted in police who look like soldiers patrolling communities that feel like combat zones. Furthermore, in spite of the reality of nearly uniform rates of drug use and sales across racial lines, black and Latino communities are policed for drug activity at a disproportionately higher rate compared to their degree of engagement in drug activities. It then comes as no surprise that black and Latino individuals suffer higher rates of gun violence at the hands of the police without any justice. In this drug war, the propaganda motivating the police soldiers features enemies painted as black and brown.

During wartime, propaganda is an effective, arguably essential, tool, particularly wielded by the media. In the case of the war on drugs, the media’s stigmatization and dehumanization of black and brown people have had the strongest effect on the war. For decades, the media has focused on black and Latino communities when warning of the horrors of drugs. Drug use became a racial issue, with people of color being labeled crackheads, thugs and drug dealers. This has not changed, even in the wake of the “gentler” drug war.

Thanks to centuries of racism and slavery, in conjunction with decades of racist drug war rhetoric, people of color are deemed criminals first, people second. The same cannot be said for white offenders. On February 14, a former student went to his former high school in Parkland, Florida and carried out one of the deadliest school shootings, killing 17 people, most of them students. Little over a month later, Stephon Clark fit the description (young black male) of a suspect accused of breaking car windows and was pursued on foot by two Sacramento police officers.

Today, the Parkland shooter, having confessed to the shooting, is sitting in jail awaiting his day in court. He was safely apprehended and arrested by the police without the use of any force, while Stephon Clark is dead, a victim of immediate lethal force. We can hope for some justice in this case, but if history is of any indication, neither officer will see their own days in court. For black and Latino people, every day is a struggle to prove their own humanity, as victims of community gun violence and as victims of state-sanctioned murder, both of which are permitted and committed by the war on drugs.

This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog.

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