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Chronicle AM: Pregnancy and Marijuana Use, Church Group Says Decriminalize Drugs, More (6/23/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 21:15

Guidance from a doctor's group on marijuana use and pregnancy matches what activist groups think the policy should be, the Maine legislature punts on legalization, a California bill to protect patients from discrimination in access to organ transplants passes the legislature, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Doctors' Group Issues Guidance on Marijuana Use By Pregnant Women; Advocates Urge Non-Punitive Responses. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued guidance encouraging pregnant women to avoid marijuana use "[b]ecause the effects of marijuana may be as serious as those of cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption." The group also called for non-punitive treatment for pregnant pot smokers: "Seeking obstetric-gynecologic care should not expose a woman to criminal or civil penalties for marijuana use, such as incarceration, involuntary commitment, loss of custody of her children, or loss of housing... Drug enforcement policies that deter women from seeking prenatal care are contrary to the welfare of the mother and fetus." Noting that pregnant women who use marijuana have been arrested in numerous states, National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the Family Law and Cannabis Alliance are urging that non-punitive responses to cigarette smoking and alcohol use be applied to pregnant women who use marijuana. The two groups also call for more unbiased research on marijuana use during pregnancy.

Maine Legislature Rejects Legalization. Solons in both the House and Senate Monday rejected marijuana legalization bills, clearing the way for legalization initiatives next year. The House rejected LD 1380, from longtime legalization advocate Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) that would have put the issue to a popular vote, while the Senate unanimously LD 1401, sponsored by Rep. Mark Dion (D-Portland). At least two separate legalization initiative campaigns are already underway.

Medical Marijuana

US Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Takes Up CBD Tomorrow. The caucus, generally composed of old school drug warriors, will somewhat surprisingly examine CBDs, focusing on barriers to research and potential medical benefits tomorrow. The hearing is set for 9:30am Wednesday.

California Organ Transplant Bill Passes Legislature. The bill would bar health care providers from denying access to organ transplants based solely on the patient's medical marijuana use. Assembly Bill 258 now awaits the governor's signature.

New Jersey Bill to Allow Sick Kids to Use CBD Oil at School Introduced. Assemblymembers Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) and Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) Monday filed a bill that would allow children to use CBD cannabis oil at school. The bill would require parents or a designated adult to come to the school and administer the oil. The measure is Assembly Bill 4587.

Drug Policy

New England Methodists Call for Drug Decriminalization. The New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, representing some 600 congregations, passed a resolution saying that "the public policy of prohibition of certain narcotics and psychoactive substances, sometimes called the 'War on Drugs,' has failed to achieve the goal of eliminating, or even reducing, substance abuse" and called for "seeking means other than prohibition to address the problem of substance abuse." The resolution was supported by Christians Against Prohibition and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

International

British Liberal Democrats Call for Medical Marijuana, Drug Decriminalization. The Lib Dems have offered amendment to the government's psychoactive substances bill that would decriminalize drug possession and legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. "When I was a police officer, I realized that locking up drug users is simply not the answer," said party leader Brian Paddick, who offered the amendments. "We have to learn the lessons of why our current approach is failing before we make the same mistakes with new psychoactive substances as we have done with other illegal drugs."

Categories: Marijuana

US: Pot-Use Study To Analyze Sewage

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 23 Jun 2015 - The federal government is chipping in money for a three-year pilot study using sewage samples to determine levels of marijuana use in two Washington cities - research that could help answer some key questions about pot legalization, the University of Puget Sound announced. The National Institutes of Health has agreed to pay $ 120,000 so that Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor, can conduct the study, which will look at how per-capita pot use changed after Washington's first legal pot shops opened in July.
Categories: Marijuana

UK: Lib Dems Plot To Have Heroin Decriminalised

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 07:00
Daily Mail, 23 Jun 2015 - POSSESSION of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, would be decriminalised under radical plans tabled by the Liberal Democrats today. The party's push, led by ex-police chief Brian Paddick, will attempt to ambush a Government Bill to ban the sale of legal highs when it is debated by the Lords.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Feds Paying For Sewage Study Of Pot Use In 2 Cities

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 23 Jun 2015 - SEATTLE (AP) - The federal government is chipping in money for a three-year pilot study using sewage samples to determine levels of marijuana use in two Washington cities - research that could help answer some key questions about pot legalization, the University of Puget Sound announced Monday. The National Institutes of Health has agreed to pay $120,000 so that Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor, can conduct a study looking at how per capita pot use changed after Washington's first legal pot shops opened last July.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Dalai Lama on MedMJ, OH Initiative Shenanigans, First MA Dispensary Will Open, More (6/22/05)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 19:13

Ohio's political establishment gears up to block a controversial legalization initiative, the Dalai Lama supports medical marijuana, the Obama administration removes a barrier to marijuana research, Louisiana's governor rejects clemency for a man doing 13 years for two joints, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Ohio Official Says Proposed Amendment Could Block Marijuana Legalization Initiative. GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted said last Friday that an amendment to block private-interest monopolies would render the ResponsibleOhio legalization initiative invalid if the former passed. Husted and Republican lawmakers have vowed to adopt a resolution to place the monopoly amendment on the ballot. Husted said that if that amendment passes, the ResponsibleOhio initiative would be invalid, even if it also passed, and even if it passed with more votes than the monopoly amendment. The ResponsibleOhio initiative would limit commercial marijuana growing to ten specified locations, the owners of which are also the financiers of the initiative campaign.

Montana Anti-Marijuana Initiative Proposed. Billings anti-pot zealot Steve Zabawa is back at it. In 2014, he proposed an initiative saying that any federal Schedule I controlled substance (read: marijuana) "may not be legally possessed, received, transferred, manufactured, cultivated, trafficked, transported or used in Montana." It failed for lack of signatures. Now he has filed the same initiative again.

Medical Marijuana

Dalai Lama Endorses Medical Marijuana. Speaking at a an event in Guanajuato, Mexico, last week, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism said he supported the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Speaking in response to a question about legalizing marijuana, the Dalai clarified that he opposed its recreational use, but using it medicinally would be "the exception."

White House Removes Crucial Barrier to Marijuana Research. The Obama administration announced today it is ending a major impediment to marijuana research, the Public Health Service review. That hurdle, created under the Clinton administration, required all applications for marijuana research to undergo an individual review, slowing down marijuana research and making it more difficult to study than heroin or cocaine.

First Massachusetts Dispensary Approved to Sell Medical Marijuana; One Inspection Left. The Alternative Therapies Group in Salem is ready to start selling to patients after winning a temporary waiver from state testing guidelines widely viewed as too strict. The Department of Public Health has said it will reconsider the standards. The dispensary is one of four in the state that have started growing their own supply, and is the furthest along. It must still pass a final inspection before it opens its doors. Much more at the link.

Drug Testing

California Appeals Court Upholds Making Employer Pay for Emotional Distress from Random Workplace Drug Testing. The court upheld an award for the intentional infliction of emotional distress on two law office workers pressured into taking a random drug test by their employer. The employee handbook called for random drug testing for certain safety-sensitive categories, or after an accident or for probable cause, but the company compelled all employees to undergo drug testing on one day in 2011. The two plaintiffs were awarded $15,000 each in damages by the trial court, which is what the appeals court just upheld.

Law Enforcement

Philly Court Throws Out 58 Convictions Tied to Dirty Narcs. A Common Pleas Court judge last Friday reversed 58 convictions in cases linked to six former Philadelphia narcotics officers. The six were cleared of criminal corruption charges in federal court in May, but their misdeeds have tainted hundreds of cases. The Public Defender's Office is seeking reversals of 1,370 cases, and the city is facing 135 civil rights lawsuits based on the unit's behavior. Since 2013, prosecutors have refused to prosecute cases tied to the squad after numerous allegations they planted evidence, beat and robbed suspects, and falsified paperwork. Much more at the link.

Sentencing

Louisiana Governor Rejects Clemency for Black Man Doing 13 Years for Two Joints. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) last week denied a clemency petition for Bernard Noble, sentenced to 13 years in prison for two joints under the state's draconian marijuana laws. Jindal said he rejected clemency because Noble had not yet served 10 years in prison.

International

China's Wide Open Illegal Drug Chemical Factories. It's pretty darned easy to get new synthetic drugs by the pound or more from Chinese manufacturers, according to this New York Times report. Need spice or flakka or bath salts? It's just a few clicks away.

Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: OMB To Hear Appeal Against Bylaw

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:00
The Sun Times, 22 Jun 2015 - Man Challenging Siting Requirements for Medical Marijuana Production A date has been set for the Ontario Municipal Board to hear an appeal regarding an Owen Sound bylaw amendment that would allow medical marijuana production facilities in certain parts of the city.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Editorial: Glenwood's Pot Rules Can't Be A Popularity

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:00
Glenwood Springs Post Independent, 22 Jun 2015 - Any major new public policy is going to require adjustments as unforeseen consequences inevitably reveal themselves. That's happening now in Glenwood Springs as the town grapples with how to handle a boom in applications for legal marijuana operations that exposed concerns about the city's rules.
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US CA: California's Prisons Hit By Drugs

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:00
The Herald, 22 Jun 2015 - More Than 150 Inmates Have Died of Overdoses Since 2006 VACAVILLE, Calif. (AP) - California inmates are dying of drug overdoses at nearly triple the national rate and it's unclear whether the tough steps state officials took this year to stop illicit drugs from getting into prisons are having any effect, though they are prompting criticism from civil rights advocates.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Illicit Drugs 'Rampant' In California State Prisons

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:00
The Press Democrat, 22 Jun 2015 - VACAVILLE, Calif. (AP) - California inmates are dying of drug overdoses at nearly triple the national rate and it's unclear whether the tough steps state officials took this year to stop illicit drugs from getting into prisons are having any effect, though they are prompting criticism from civil rights advocates. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is spending $8 million this year on drug-detecting scanners and a new breed of drug-sniffing dogs while also employing strip searches on visitors suspected of carrying drugs.
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US PA: Forfeiture Law Under Microscope

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 07:00
Pottstown Mercury, 21 Jun 2015 - HARRISBURG - Retired Maj. Neill Franklin oversaw more than a dozen drug task forces that used civil asset forfeiture laws to seize millions in property. But by the late 1990s even Franklin, who worked for the Maryland State Police, began to think something was wrong with the system.
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US NM: OPED: Legalizing Pot Sales Makes Economic Sense

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 21 Jun 2015 - Colorado Is Making Hundreds of Millions Taxing Pot. N.M. Could, Too =93Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.=94 =AD Will Rogers
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US PA: Marijuana Drops On Police Priority List In Pa.

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 06/20/2015 - 07:00
Tribune Review, 20 Jun 2015 - The state Senate approved a bill in May that would allow residents to use of medically prescribed marijuana, but it faces a tough fight in the House. If the bill passes, Pennsylvania will join 23 states and the District of Columbia in allowing medical marijuana. As police combat an epidemic of heroin overdoses, fewer people are landing in jail in Pennsylvania for possessing marijuana, a reflection of a change in battle tactics and attitudes about the drug, experts say.
Categories: Marijuana

US NM: OPED: Save Lives, Boost Revenue Regulate Pot Like

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 06/20/2015 - 07:00
Silver City Sun-News, 20 Jun 2015 - "Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth." - - Will Rogers
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Vapour Lounges: Where a Little Dab'll Do You

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 06/20/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 20 Jun 2015 - Cafes with high-tech smoking devices make getting high a social occasion, but Vancouver says they are illegal and plans to ban them under forthcoming dispensary regulations, Mike Hager reports Neil Blake does a lap of the bar, bumping fists with friends and cracking jokes, before sidling up to a vaporizer for a "dab" of wax so concentrated with pot's psychoactive ingredient that he likens it to smoking a whole joint in one breath.
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US MA: State's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Open in

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 06/20/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 20 Jun 2015 - The state's first medical marijuana dispensary, Alternative Therapies Group in Salem, is expected to open shortly, after receiving a temporary waiver Friday that will allow it to sell cannabis that has not been fully tested for pesticides and other contaminants. The one-time waiver was granted because laboratories in Massachusetts are not yet able to complete the quality testing required by state health department rules, according to Governor Charlie Baker's office.
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Chronicle AM: Delaware Decriminalizes, Supremes Make Synthetic Convictions More Difficult, More (6/19/05)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 19:49

The marijuana reform bandwagon rolls through Delaware, federal bills on opiates and racial profiling get filed, the Supreme Court issues an interesting decision on synthetic drug sales, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Delaware Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession. With the signature of Gov. Jack Markell (D) Thursday night on House Bill 39, Delaware becomes the 20th state to either decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana or make it legal for adults. The new law, which goes into effect in six months, removes the criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce by an adult, replacing them with a civil infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine. For those between 18 and 21, a first offense would be a civil infraction, while any more would be misdemeanors. For people under 18, possession would remain a misdemeanor. Public use would be a misdemeanor punishable by a $200 fine and up to five days in jail. That includes moving vehicles, public areas, and outdoors on private property within 10 feet of street, sidewalk, or any other areas generally accessible to the public.

Missouri Cannabis Conference Next Weekend. Missouri advocacy groups Show Me Cannabis and Missouri NORML are holding a joint conference beginning next Friday in Kansas City. Click on the title link for all the details.

Heroin and Opiates

Federal Bill to Deal With Opiate Use Filed. A bipartisan group of six House members Thursday filed HR 2805 as a multi-pronged effort to grapple with opiate and heroin use. Several other bills on the topic have already been filed. This one would increase prescription monitoring requirements, create an inter-agency task to develop best practices for pain management, create a grant program to increase the number of first responders carrying the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone, and direct the drug czar's office to establish a public awareness program.

New Synthetic Drugs

Supreme Court Rules People Can't Be Convicted for Selling Synthetic Drugs If It's Not Clear They're Illegal. A unanimous US Supreme Court ruled Thursday that people cannot be convicted for selling synthetic drugs unless prosecutors prove they knew the drugs were prohibited by law. Stephen McFadden had been convicted of violating the Controlled Substance Analog Enforcement Act for selling "bath salts," and a federal appeals court ruled that trial court jury instructions saying he could be convicted if the jury found he intended the drugs for human consumption. But the Supreme Court disagreed, saying prosecutors must prove the defendant knew the substance was either a controlled substance or an analog. The case is McFadden v. United States.

Law Enforcement

Federal Racial Profiling Bill Introduced. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) Thursday filed S 1610, which would eliminate racial profiling by police officers and promote accountability for state and local law enforcement. The bill also has provisions to eliminate sentencing disparities and promote reentry programs. It has not yet been assigned to a committee.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Column: Federal Health Minister Needs To Do Her Research

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 07:00
Chilliwack Progress, 19 Jun 2015 - Health Minister Rona Ambrose needs to chill out. Her ranting last week against the Supreme Court of Canada was uncalled for. All the justices agreed that it is unconstitutional to forbid licensed medical marijuana users from possessing pot-laced products better suited to their health needs such as cannabis-infused brownies, cookies, cakes, tea, butter, tinctures, oils, salves, gel capsules, body creams, or chocolate bars. Right now, the law only allows possession of dried marijuana which can only be smoked.
Categories: Marijuana

US KS: Editorial: Pot Laws Need To Change

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 07:00
Wichita Eagle, 19 Jun 2015 - Though it's a long way from playing out in the courts, the criminal case against Shona Banda is helping make the wider case for change in Kansas' marijuana laws. At least as the public knows the facts so far, what's happening to the ailing Garden City mother defies reason and dramatically serves the cause of those advocating that medical use of marijuana be decriminalized and penalties for nonviolent drug offenses be relaxed.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: No Convictions In Pot Shop Raids

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 07:00
Vancouver Courier, 19 Jun 2015 - VPD Targeted Seven Dispensaries in 18 Months The business of investigating and prosecuting illegal marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver has yet to result in the successful prosecution of any suspects whom police arrested over an 18-month span while executing nine search warrants at city pot shops.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Canadian Youth Lead All Other Developed Nations In Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 07:00
The Record, 19 Jun 2015 - GUELPH - Marijuana is not harmless. In fact, it is potentially damaging to the developing brains of young people, a new report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse concludes. The negative effects may be long-lasting. Pot has the reputation of being a safe substance, but "The Effects of Cannabis Use During Adolescence," co-edited by University of Guelph president Franco Vaccarino, strongly contradicts that assumption.
Categories: Marijuana
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