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Support Growing for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

MPP Blog - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 14:21

There has been a tremendous groundswell of support for medical cannabis in Kentucky this year, and the legislature is finally beginning to listen. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee began considering testimony in support of HB 166, a bill that would make Kentucky the 30th state to pass an effective medical cannabis law. A similar bill, SB 118, has already generated quite a bit of discussion in the Senate.

Patients who are struggling with serious medical conditions in Kentucky have already waited far too long for legal protections and safe, legal access to cannabis. The current legislative session is scheduled to end in mid-April, so it’s time for representatives and senators to demonstrate strong leadership on the issue.

If you are a Kentucky resident, please email your representatives and senators right now and urge them to support medical cannabis legislation in 2018.

The post Support Growing for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Michigan: Voter Support Grows For Proposed Adult Use Initiative

NORML Blog - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 14:05

More than six in ten Michigan voters endorse a proposed statewide ballot initiative legalizing the adult use and sale of cannabis.

According to polling data compiled by the EPIC-MRA polling research firm and commissioned by Michigan NORML, 61 percent of voters say that they would vote yes on the measure “if the election were held today.” That percentage is up four percentage points from last year, and is an increase of 11 percent since 2014.

Commenting on the statewide polling, MINORML Board member Brad Forrester said: “I’m not surprised. These results are the product of Michigan NORML’s effective advocacy for the past several years.”

Michigan NORML is a member of The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is backing the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

In November, proponents turned in more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot. State officials must certify a total of 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters in order to place the initiative on the November 2018 ballot.

Marijuana law reform advocates are continuing to gather signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Missouri and Utah. Proponents of a medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota have turned in their signatures and are awaiting a review by the Secretary of State’s office.

In Oklahoma, voters will decide on June 26 whether or not to approve State Question 788 — a broad-based initiative that permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients at their sole discretion. NORML endorsed State Question 788 in January.

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Texas Primary Voter Guide

MPP Blog - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 14:11

Primary Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, March 6, and voters’ choices will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Texas. As sweeping change continues around the country, Texans should take a close look at whether candidates will stand for sensible marijuana policy reform.

We’ve done some of the work for you. If you haven’t voted already, please check out our Texas Voter Guide to see where the candidates appearing on your ballot stand on cannabis reform. For more information, including where you can cast your ballot, check out the state’s website here.

If we want to stop the criminalization of cannabis consumers in Texas and allow medical cannabis, it’s crucial that supporters of cannabis reform make their voices heard in Texas politics.

The post Texas Primary Voter Guide appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Study: Cannabis Effective At Treating Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

NORML Blog - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:38

Cannabis therapy mitigates symptoms of the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia and is associated with a reduction in the use of other prescription drugs, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. An estimated 3 to 6 million Americans are afflicted by fibromyalgia, which is often poorly controlled by standard pain medications.

Israeli investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis in a cohort of 26 patients with fibromyalgia. They reported that medical cannabis treatment “was associated with significant favorable outcomes in every item evaluated,” such as reductions in pain and increases in energy.

Most patients also reduced their use of conventional prescription drugs, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, during the trial period. Nearly half of the participants (46 percent) reduced their prescription drug intake by more than 50 percent during the study. Several patients were also able to return to work following the initiation of cannabis therapy.

Researchers concluded, “Medical cannabis treatment had a significant favorable effect on patients with fibromyalgia, with few adverse effects.”

Prior trials evaluating the use of either whole-plant cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids have similarly shown efficacy in patients with the disease. A summary of these prior studies is available here.

The abstract of the study, “Medical cannabis for the treatment of fibromyalgia,” is online here.

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Thanks, Illinois Libertarians

DrugWarRant - Sat, 03/03/2018 - 12:38

Just finished a wonderful speech for the Illinois Libertarian Convention luncheon. Really attentive and engaged audience — particularly the three little children in the front row, who asked all sorts of very good questions (“Why do you need a tank in a small town?” “When the SWAT team comes, do they give you a chance to explain whether you have drugs or not first?” “If marijuana can be used for medical things, why did they say it was so bad?” “Did the police officer who shot that lady go to jail?”) and one of them gave me a drawing he made!

The title of the talk was “The Drug War’s Assault on Liberty.”

And I included a bunch of “Guitherisms,” which seemed to be well received, and lightened things up a bit.

Thanks couch-mates for your suggestions, and welcome any Illinois Libertarians who have arrived here based on my talk. If you have any questions from the talk that you didn’t get to ask, please feel free to ask them in comments.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/2/18

NORML Blog - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 12:15

Welcome to the March 2nd edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

First, I want to bring your attention to the dedicated activists lobbying in conjunction with Arizona NORML! Activists in Arizona lobbied state lawmakers in the capital on Monday 2/26 in favor of a bill that would require testing for potency and health and safety as well as certifications for independent testing labs.

Also at the state level, Massachusetts regulators agreed to delay considering proposed rules allowing marijuana social use areas and delivery services until a later date after receiving intense pressure over those license categories from state officials. But they also decided that when the Cannabis Control Commission does authorize the services, initial licenses will only be available to people with past drug convictions or who live in neighborhoods with high drug arrest rates. The commission also agreed to place caps on marijuana farmers and determined a threshold for how much marijuana product they have to sell.

New Jersey lawmakers are set to begin holding hearings on marijuana legalization this month, with the first one scheduled for this Monday March 5th at noon by the Assembly Oversight Committee. On the other hand, several NJ lawmakers are still skeptical about legalization. A survey of lawmakers suggests that marijuana legalization legislation would be defeated if a vote were held now.

On a brighter note, Arkansas regulators announced the winners of medical cannabis cultivation licenses, and Alaska raked in its biggest monthly haul in marijuana taxes, with just over $1 million collected in January. Proponents of a Missouri ballot initiative effort to legalize and regulate medical cannabis statewide reached a milestone by surpassing over 200,000 signatures, although they only needed 160,000.

Several marijuana related legislation died this week after failing to be voted on before crossover deadlines. These include legalization and medical expansion measures in Arizona, Georgia, West Virginia, and Kansas.

At a more local level, Denver, CO approved its first social use marijuana license, allowing vaping and edibles in a Lincoln Park coffee shop. Additionally, The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution supporting a state Senate bill that seeks to create a state-chartered bank that could be used by the marijuana industry.

Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

Your highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

Click here to e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

New Hampshire

The Legislature is considering HB 656, which would legalize and regulate the personal use of marijuana by those 21 and older.

The bill also allows the cultivation, possession, and use of hemp, and calls for retail sales and generation of state revenues through taxation, as well as authorizes the licensing of marijuana wholesale, retail, cultivation, and testing facilities.

Update: The House Ways and Means Committee may kill HB 656 even though it already passed the full chamber, and despite A February 2018 UNH Granite State poll finding that 56 percent of adults support the amended version of this bill. They’re having a full committee work session on 3/12 at 1pm.

NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

Maine

Lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to amend a key provision of the state’s voter-initiated adult use marijuana law.

Under existing law, adults may legally cultivate as many as six mature marijuana plants on their property. Lawmakers are suggesting halving this amount. NORML opposes this law change.

To date, legislators have refused to enact provisions in the 2016 law permitting for the licensed commercial production and retail sale of cannabis. As a result, adults may only obtain marijuana via home cultivation. Further, no data has been presented indicating that this provision is either being abused or that home-cultivated marijuana is being diverted into the criminal market.

Other changes recommended by lawmakers include: banning any social use establishments and significantly increasing the proposed excise tax on wholesale marijuana products.

ME resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to oppose this effort and implement the will of the people

Tennessee

State Representative Jeremy Faison (R) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R) have introduced legislation, SB 1710 and HB 1749 to establish a limited medical marijuana access program in Tennessee.

The measure permits qualified patients to possess marijuana-infused oil products, as well as other non-herbal forms of cannabis, from state-licensed dispensaries. Both patients and physicians would be required to participate in a state registry.

Update: Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee Dr. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) signed on as co-sponsors to the Medical Cannabis Only Act on 2/26. The following day, the House Criminal Justice subcommittee voted 4-3 to approve HB 1749, with House Speaker Harwell casting the tie-breaking vote. HB 1749 is on the Criminal Justice Committee’s calendar for 3/7/18. SB 1710 is still posted in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical cannabis access

Georgia

House Bill 764 seeks to expand Georgia’s limited medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.

The measure would permit for the first time patients with post traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain the option to engage in CBD therapy.

Update: HB 764 passed the House by a 145-17 vote, and now awaits action in the Senate.

GA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical CBD expansion

Idaho

HB 410 is pending to provide “for the lawful use and possession of Cannabidiol Oil (CBD), if prescribed by a (licensed) practitioner.” Similar legislation, HB 577 is also pending.

Update: HB 577  passed the House by a 59-11 vote on 2/28, and now awaits action in the Senate. HB 410 is still posted in the House Health and Welfare Committee.

ID resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD access

Hawaii

HB 1893 is pending, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence. HB 1893 was heard by the House Health and Human Services Committee on 2/15, and then approved with amendments, and passed on to the Judiciary Committee.

Update: HB 1893 was heard by the House Judiciary committee on Thursday, and then was approved unanimously 8 to zero.

HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of this effort

Indiana

House Bill 1214 is pending, further clarifying the legal status of CBD products in the state of Indiana for specific patients.

Despite the passage last year of limited language permitting certain patients to possess CBD, law enforcement has continued to take punitive action against those providing CBD products, and some officials have continued to questioned their legality. Passage of these measures will eliminate this legal confusion and greatly expand CBD access.

Update: HB 1214 was approved by the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee after it was heard on 2/27.

IN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in favor of greater CBD access

Maryland

House Bill 698 seeks to expand the state’s nascent industrial hemp pilot program.

The bill would “authorize and facilitate the research of industrial hemp and any aspect of growing, cultivating, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, transporting, marketing, or selling industrial hemp for agricultural, industrial, or commercial purposes.”

Update: HB 698 was approved by the House Environment and Transportation Committee with amendments on 2/26. The amendments were adopted and it passed the third reading by a 136-1 vote on 3/1.

MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of industrial hemp

 

Additional Actions to Take

New Hampshire

House Bill 1476 is pending,  to permit qualifying patients to cultivate small quantities of cannabis for their own therapeutic use.

Under the state’s existing medical marijuana program, patients are mandated to obtain cannabis from only a limited number of state-licensed dispensaries. Those who cultivate for themselves may be guilty of a felony offense.

Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee approved HB 1476 by a 13-8 vote on 2/23.

NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of home cultivation

Virginia

SB 726 and HB 1251, both introduced by Republican lawmakers, would permit doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A oils to any patient they believe would benefit.

Under present law, only a neurologist may recommend cannabis oils, and only for patients with intractable epilepsy.

Update: HB 1251 is already on Governor Northam’s desk awaiting his signature. SB 726 passed the House 96-0 on 2/28.

VA resident? Click here to email Gov. Northam urging him to sign these bills into law

Alaska

House Bill 376 was recently introduced, to establish a state bank that will help assist in financial matters related to marijuana businesses. It’s currently pending in the Labor and Commerce Committee.

Activities of the bank would include helping “marijuana-related businesses make deposits and to help other financial institutions receive deposits from marijuana-related businesses.”

AK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of banking options for cannabis businesses

Check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

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Cannabis Access Consistently Linked With Lower Opioid Use: Studies

NORML Blog - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 12:26

Patients routinely reduce or eliminate their use of prescription opiates following the use of medical cannabis; two recently published studies reaffirm this relationship.

In the first study, published by the Minnesota Department of Health, investigators assessed the prescription drug use patterns of 2,245 intractable pain patients participating in the state’s medical cannabis access program. Among those patients known to be taking opiates for pain upon enrollment in the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.” The findings are similar to those of registered patients in other states’ medical cannabis programs, including Illinois, Michigan, and New Mexico, among others.

In the second study, Israeli researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis in a cohort of over 1,200 cancer patients over a period of six months. Ninety-six percent of patients “reported an improvement in their condition.” Nearly half of respondents reported either decreasing or eliminating their use of opioids during the treatment period.

A third recently published clinical trial provides insight into explaining this relationship. Investigators from the United States and Australia and assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis and sub-therapeutic doses of oxycodone on experimentally-induced pain in a double-blind, placebo-controlled model. Researchers assessed subjects’ pain tolerance after receiving both substances separately or in concert with one another. While neither the administration of cannabis nor oxycodone alone significantly mitigated subjects’ pain, the combined administration of both drugs did so effectively.

Authors determined, “Both active cannabis and a low dose of oxycodone (2.5 mg) were sub-therapeutic, failing to elicit analgesia on their own; however, when administered together, pain responses … were significantly reduced, pointing to the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis.” They concluded, “Smoked cannabis combined with an ineffective analgesic dose of oxycodone produced analgesia comparable to an effective opioid analgesic dose without significantly increasing cannabis’s abuse liability.”

The new studies add to the growing body of research finding that cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, opioid-related drug treatment admissions, and opioid-related overdose deaths.

Additional information regarding the association between cannabis and opioids is available from NORML’s fact-sheet here.

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Neil Woods on the ‘American’ drug policy

DrugWarRant - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 11:19

There’s a nice video, published by Business Insider UK of former undercover police officer Neil Woods (chairman of LEAP UK) talking about drug policy. Can’t embed the video, but here it is on Facebook.

Neil Woods: In the UK we used to lead the world in drug policy. It was called the British system, and it was a fairly simple premise – if someone has a problem with drugs, they get medical help.

That British system was destroyed by American moral imperialism. American foreign policy insisted that everyone follow their lead in how to deal with drugs, and that meant criminalising people.

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Texas coach doesn’t want Colorado athletes

DrugWarRant - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:22

Even as we progress, there are always some of these neanderthal throwbacks who show up:

Texas college baseball coach: Stay home, Colorado high school potheads

Actual email written from Texas Wesleyan baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat to a prospective student:

“Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”

The university has disassociated itself with his comments.

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Speech Prep

DrugWarRant - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 14:08

Couch friends: As I’ve mentioned before, I will be the luncheon speaker at the 2018 Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention this Saturday.

I’ve got a number of points I’m looking to cover, based on past presentations I’ve given, but I’m always looking for ways to punch it up.

What’ve you got? In particular, what’s the best data out there that would be of interest to those advocating political positions in Illinois right now, either regarding public perception/priorities or the state’s pressing issues, where drug policy reform could be a winner? (Or national interests that would affect Illinois.)

What would you want to hear me talk about?

Thanks!

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The answer is ‘no’

DrugWarRant - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 13:23

CBS News Moneywatch brings it up: Should employers keep testing workers for pot?

According to executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which favors eliminating marijuana preemployment screening, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified applicants who don’t smoke weed at a time when unemployment is at a 17-year low.

“While it is good policy to ban drugs and alcohol in the workplace, what workers do after hours — as long as it does not impair the company’s operations or productivity, or otherwise do harm — should not have any bearing on how workers are viewed by their employers,” Andrew Challenger, a vice president at the firm, said in a press release.

It’s really time to end this practice that has been more about profits for drug-testing companies than workplace safety. Finally, companies are starting to realize that their most productive workers are those who feel valued and respected, and may not be those who mindlessly turn their entire lives over to the Corporation.

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Open Thread

DrugWarRant - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 13:00

Sorry for my absence from the couch recently. I’ve been taking a bit of a break to deal with other things.

I’m currently the musical director for a wonderfully bizarre production: “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” by Anne Washburn at Illinois State University.

I’m also working on musical direction for the delightfully complex “Floyd Collins” by Adam Guettel and Tina Howe at Heartland Theatre.

On March 3, I’ll be the Luncheon Speaker at the 2018 Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention, speaking about the Drug War and talking about DrugWarRant.com.

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Legalizing Marijuana May End the Opioid Crisis, Say Scientists

DrugSense Blog - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 12:28
As we reported previously, scientists from the University of New Mexico have been studying how access to marijuana may help alleviate the opioid crisis, declared a national emergency by President Trump. Their study has now been published in the journal PLOS One, with the researchers concluding that there is “clinically and statistically significant evidence” that […]
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Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:14
The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain. Study: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0187795
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Federal marijuana legislation clears House of Commons, headed for the Senate

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:11
MPs passed the Liberal government’s bill to legalize cannabis Monday evening, sending the legislation down the hall to the Senate for further study and debate. The legislation was largely supported along partisan lines, although it secured the support of the NDP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The final vote was 200 MPs in favour, […]
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More Evidence of Tragic Pot Ignorance

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 17:41
A long article in last Friday's New York Times detailed a remarkable saga of the monumental greed, stupidity, and ineptitude that characterize both sides of the illegal drug markets Richard Nixon created in 1970 with his spiteful Controlled Substances Act.

It recounts the improbable rise and fall of a huge multinational cannabis business that was created by a French-Canadian entrepreneur named Jimmy Cournoyer. Jimmy started with marijuana grown in western Canada and arranged to have it ferried east by Hells Angels, then across the Saint Lawrence by Mohawk Indians from Upstate Hew York, using either speed boats or snowmobiles depending on the weather.

From there it was trucked down to the lucrative urban markets that have long existed in New York City's environs. Cournoyer, whose greed is apparently without limits and whose organizational skills are considerable, somehow managed to cobble together a veritable UN of criminal helpers:"a company of criminals that came to include Native American smugglers, Hells Angels, Mexican money launderers, and a clothier turned cocaine dealer" plus others almost too numerous to mention.

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Debunking the false "Drugs abd Alcohol" mantra

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 18:16
Mark Kleiman is a Professor of Public Policy at UCLA; he has long specialized in drug policy and has achieved a position of considerable prominence by claiming to be a moderate, while really taking a position that fully supports our lunatic drug war. Ironically, he came to my attention early in my own career as an activist opposing it. As I've mentioned before, it was an Op-ed on meth that Kleiman– then at Harvard– co-authored with psychiatrist Sally Satel in 1995 that brought him to my attention. While I've yet to meet Dr. Klieman, I've kept track of his maddeningly disingenuous position on American drug policy over the years and have marveled at how uninformed it is– particularly on the subject of marijuana. In a nutshell, he takes Richard Nixon's Controlled Substances Act seriously and thus considers use of marijuana and alcohol to be synergistic, while– in fact they are antagonistic, a common error stressed ad nauseam by "antidrug" ads on TV that inevitably link "drugs and alcohol"

In fact, chronic pot smokers do not drink much. The late Dr. Tod Mikuriya published about a "substitution" effect; what my more recent interrogation of users uncovered was the mechanism by which that happens. It's first necessary to reject another false assumption: the "age of consent" at which youngsters are allowed to drink (21) or use tobacco (18) legally are observed by most. To the contrary, the more emotionally troubled pubescent teens are, the more they feel impelled to experiment with drugs. Alcohol and tobacco are usually the first two because they are both "legal' and thus more available, but cannabis has been a close third since the Sixties.

Although exact figures are hard to come by, it's no secret that most youngsters start experimenting with cigarettes and alcohol at age twelve, or even younger. What my data show, however, is that the most common consequence of becoming a repetitive pot user is that interest in alcohol is quickly reduced and those who were already smoking cigarettes begin trying to quit. Rather than a "gateway" into drug use, cannabis is a gateway out of problematic use.

The reason has to do with the most obvious therapeutic effect of inhaled cannabis on those who respond to it: it's a feeling of "relaxation," that comes from feeling more comfortable in one's own skin.

As it turns out, the same provocative factors that operate in childhood to impel prepubescent youngsters to try drugs lead them to try the most available first: cigarettes and alcohol since 1900 and before, and cannabis since the early Sixties.

Unfortunately smoking is the quickest way for any psychoactive agent to reach the brain and watching youngsters smoke is an almost universal turn-off for adults. For that reason, even after cannabis is "legalized," a more acceptable delivery system will have to be found for it to become as accessible as will be needed.

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The Long Term Efects of a Police Shooting

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:30
My voluntary editing of an online newsletter devoted to America’s “Drug War,” for the four years between 1997 and 2001 provided me with an intense education in the injustice that had become so intrinsic to American policy shortly after passage of Richard Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While the policy had never been an intelligent response to the problems posed by addiction, Nixon’s contribution literally turned what had been disaster into a global catastrophe so progressive that it ranks high on the list of imminent dangers now threatening our feckless species; many of which may have seemed like good ideas at the time.

My antipathy toward police had its beginning with the shooting of a 22 year old African immigrant named Amodou Diallo in the Bronx by four NYC policemen on February 4, 1999, when they riddled him with 19 shots– simply because he ran from them to seek refuge in the vestibule of his apartment. Diallo had reason to run; he was black; an illegal immigrant from Guinea who was making a precarious living as a street vendor. He was also unarmed. The cops were all white and in civilian clothes. They were members of an elite Street Crime Unit that had been created by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (and was subsequently disbanded because of multiple charges of excessive force). At the time, the story of Diallo’s slaying enraged so many citizens that all four shooters were arrested and charged with murder. After a motion for change of venue was granted, the trial was moved to Albany and all four were acquitted. Only one– Kenneth Boss– remained on the force but was forbidden to carry a gun. That restriction proved so intolerable that he sued the City three times to have it rescinded.

Finally, in 2012 his persistence was rewarded and his right to carry a gun was restored by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Of considerable interest to me was the reference to Ms Diallou's friend, Ms Bah, whose mentally disturbed 28 year-old son had been shot by NYC police in a setting that was eerily similar to their killing of Amadu Diallo in 1999.

Is there a pattern to these fatal shootings? What a stupid question. The only ones who doubt it are red state Republicans, police officials, and overbearing meat heads like Sean Hannity.

Doctor Tom
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A Suspicious New Claim

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:41
This morning, a new claim was made on behalf of Officer Darren Wilson, the man who killed an unarmed black teen named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that has provoked a degree of unrest and interest that is almost unprecedented. In brief, it's the unsubstantiated claim that Officer Darren Wilson, the policeman named as Brown's killer, sustained an orbital blow-out fracture just before he shot Brown. If so, it would be powerful mitigation of the claim that the shooting was either unprovoked or motivated merely by the theft of a box of cigars.

Blow out fractures are well known; they are produced by direct trauma to the eyeball and its surrounding bony orbit. They are often complicated by troublesome double vision (diplopia) from the herniation of a small fat pad that supports the eyeball and which usually requires surgical correction. Such an injury would constitute such a powerful rebuttal of the claim that Wilson's killing of Brown was either unprovoked or motivated merely by the theft of a box of cigars that its delayed release is- at the very least– highly suspicious.

A blowout fracture would also be expected to produce a black eye, noticeable misalignment of the eyeballs and x-ay evidence of a fracture, all of which are objective and, by themselves, would have at least mitigated the growing unrest.

Given the abundant evidence that similar shootings of young males by US police have become remarkably common, further developments in this case should continue to be of great interest. To see a list of this month's shootings, simply clicking on "August" in the drop-down menu for 2014 will reveal the known details on the 46 such events (including Michael Brown's) that have been listed so far this month. Most of the HTML links to media sources are live.

Doctor Tom
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