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Chronicle AM: DC Council Ponders Pot, NJ Cops Get Naloxone, Denmark Funds MedMJ Research, More (10/31/14)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 20:48

Oregon's Measure 91 is getting big bucks and using innovative outreach techniques in the final days, the DC council ponders how to implement pot legalization, NYC councilmembers demand the cops quit targeting minority men for pot busts, Denmark funds research on medical marijuana (but not underground trolls!), and more. Let's get to it:

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

Last Minute Contributions Boost Oregon's Measure 91. The Drug Policy Action Network, the lobbying and campaign arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, has contributed another $250,000 to the Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative campaign as the clock ticks down toward election day. That means Drug Policy Action has now donated $1.74 million of the $3.9 million raised by the campaign. The campaign is also getting a boost from pot legalization supporter US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has made an in-kind contribution of $40,020 to help pay for TV ads.

Oregon's Measure 91 Campaign Using Innovative "Did They Vote?" Website. The campaign is using DidTheyVote.org, a web site that allows voters in the state to log on and see if their Facebook friends have voted. If the friends haven't voted, people using the web site can "nudge" them to do so. "Check to see if your Facebook friends turned in their ballots! It takes 60 seconds. If it appears the elections office hasn’t received your friends’ ballots yet, you can give them a little nudge by sending them a reminder message," the web site explains. The web site is a project of the progressive non-profit group Our Oregon.

Sacramento Federal Court Hearing on Marijuana Scheduling Ends. In a groundbreaking federal court hearing, US District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento has heard five days of evidence around whether marijuana is properly classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Doctors and scientists made a strong case that marijuana does not belong in Schedule I. The judge issued no immediate ruling, but instead requested extensive briefs from the parties involved. She could rule on the issue two months from now or more. Click on the link to get some flavor of the discussion.

Five NYC Councilmembers Accuse NYPD of Continuing to Target Minority Men for Pot Arrests. Five black or Latino city council members today sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton charging that the NYPD continues to single out young men of color for marijuana arrests. "This is not an abstract issue for us," the letter said. "We approach this issue not just as lawmakers but also as young men of color whose lives and behavior are directly affected by the NYPD’s practices. The NYPD continues to target people who look like us, and we know from our own experiences and those of our peers that these racially skewed arrests create distrust between young men of color and the police." The letter was signed by Councilmen Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn), and Donovan Richards (D-Queens). While arrests have declined from the 50,000 in 2011 to some 29,000 last year, minority men are still the primary target, the councilmen said.

DC Council Holds Hearing on Moving Toward Legalization. With the marijuana possession and cultivation initiate Measure 71 heading for an apparent victory at the polls on Tuesday, the DC city council is moving to address how to tax and regulate legal marijuana in the District. The council's Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and its Committee on Finance and Revenue held a joint hearing Thursday to begin to lay the groundwork. Click on the link for more details.

Medical Marijuana

New York US Representatives Ask Justice Department to Let State Import High-CBD Medical Marijuana for Sick Kids. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday, they called on the Justice Department to find a way to let the state import medical marijuana to be used by severely ill children. The governor this year moved to allow some access to medical marijuana, but the state program will not be in full effect for more than a year. That's too long to wait, the lawmakers said. "Every day makes a difference for children with these severe disorders. Given this urgent public health need, we urge you to allow New York the ability to import finite and strictly controlled amounts of cannabidiol,"they wrote.

Harm Reduction

Every Cop Car in Mercer County, New Jersey, To Be Armed With Overdose Reversal Drug. Police departments in Mercer County (Trenton) are now armed with 600 naloxone (Narcan) opiate overdose reversal kits. Beginning tomorrow, every patrol vehicle in the county will have one, as will every detective vehicle and detention center. Police in the state have begun carrying the drug since Gov. Chris Christie (R) ordered it made available throughout the state following successful pilot programs in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Officials said naloxone had saved 325 lives in the state so far.  

International

Britain's Cameron Stands Firm: No Drug Policy Review. Facing an insurrection over drug policy from the junior partners in his governing coalition, the Liberal Democrats, after a Home Office report found no obvious link between tough drug laws and drug use levels, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is stubbornly refusing to consider any changes to Britain's drug policy. "I don’t think anyone can read that report and say it definitely justifies this approach or that approach, but the evidence is what we’re doing is working," Cameron said, citing falling levels of drug use. "I don’t believe in decriminalizing drugs that are illegal today. I’m a parent with three children; I don’t want to send out a message that somehow taking these drugs is OK or safe." In a sign of the depth of the discord between the coalition partners, Cameron's statement also included a zinger aimed at the Lib Dems: "The Lib Dem policy would see drug dealers getting off scot-free and send an incredibly dangerous message to young people about the risks of taking drugs."

Denmark to Fund Medical Marijuana Research. The Danish government agreed Thursday to distribute at least $6 million for health research that will include research on medical marijuana. The funding is part of a broader agreement to fund socially relevant research. Strangely enough, the Danish newspaper article linked to above ends by noting that "no additional funds were set aside for the study of underground trolls."

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US IL: McCarthy Airs Crime Concerns About Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Chicago Sun-Times, 31 Oct 2014 - Superintendent Highlights Growing Problems That Come With the OK of Marijuana Sales Medical marijuana won't be a prelude to legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois if Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has anything to say about it.
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US OR: OPED: Regulating Marijuana for Adult Use Is Sound Policy

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
The Bulletin, 31 Oct 2014 - Colorado is approaching the first anniversary of legally regulated recreational marijuana for adults. The implementation of our new laws has gone smoothly overall, providing an excellent example for other states to follow. Our success has made it clear that when marijuana is regulated like alcohol, it can decrease crime, help fund schools and drug education programs, and keep money out of the hands of criminals and cartels. Voters in Oregon should look to our experience and success as they make their decision on Measure 91 on their ballot November 4th. Since Coloradans overwhelmingly approved our marijuana legalization law in 2012, initial indicators have been very encouraging. Millions of dollars are no longer being spent to criminalize thousands of citizens. Instead, the state is adding millions of dollars to its coffers, primarily to fund public school construction and drug prevention programs for young people.
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UK: Cameron And Clegg Split Over Drugs Policy

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
The Guardian, 31 Oct 2014 - Prime Minister Rejects New Call for Decriminalisation Lib Dems Condemn Tories' 'Backward-Looking View' David Cameron yesterday set his face against a change in UK drugs policy after the Liberal Democrat crime-prevention minister Norman Baker hailed a Home Office-commissioned report finding "no obvious" link between tough laws and levels of illegal drug use.
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US DC: Column: Just Vote No On Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 31 Oct 2014 - On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to take the next giant leap in the pro-marijuana movement by approving ballot measures that call for legalizing recreational use. It's not too late to vote no.
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US CA: Editorial: Pot Growers Take Slate Mail To A New Low

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 31 Oct 2014 - It's the silly season of the election. It's the season of the slate mailers, which we're still amazed is an industry that survives. They're so close to fraud, but those rules are set aside when politics are in play. Slate mailers are mass mailings, sent out by for-profit companies, that seem to link local candidates and issues to better known candidates and on-paper institutions that seem to be established political organizations
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US OR: OPED: Decriminalizing Marijuana Would Protect

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Capital Press, 31 Oct 2014 - Illegal marijuana grows are damaging our national forests. Legalizing marijuana will help stop that from happening. In 32 years working for the U.S. Forest Service, I have seen the Northwest's national forests face various threats, from the eruption of Mount St. Helens to the drought of 1977. Today, our forests face a threat that generates wildfires, deforestation, pollution and wildlife poisoning: illegal marijuana grow operations tied to international drug cartels. In both 2010 and 2011, law enforcement found over 90,000 of their marijuana plants in Oregon's national forests, and thousands more doubtless escaped detection. Our national forests face an epidemic of marijuana cultivation from the Siskiyou to the Wallowa-Whitman.
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UK: Cameron Slaps Down Clegg Over Calls to Relax the Drug Laws

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Daily Express, 31 Oct 2014 - DAVID Cameron ruled out relaxing Britain's drug laws yesterday, despite Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Tory MPs calling for a review. The Prime Minister said the current approach was working and decriminalising "recreational" drugs use would send out the wrong message to the nation's children.
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UK: I Don't Want My Children to Think Drugs Are OK, Says

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Daily Telegraph, 31 Oct 2014 - DAVID CAMERON is refusing Liberal Democrat calls to review the Government's drugs policy, warning that as a parent he does not want to send out the message that taking illegal substances is "OK or safe". The Prime Minister insisted that the current approach to drugs was having an impact as abuse was falling, following a major Coalition row sparked by a Home Office report backed by the Lib Dems that suggested easing laws on hard drugs would not increase the number of users. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday attacked the Tory party's "facile" and "frightened" approach to drugs after Downing Street distanced itself from the report. Mr Cameron said yesterday that changing Britain's drugs policy would be "dangerous".
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UK: What Happens If You Decriminalise Drugs

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Daily Telegraph, 31 Oct 2014 - You'd Expect Drug Use to Go Up - But, Surprisingly, a Major Report Has Found That Sometimes It Actually Drops. A man lies on the floor in a squalid bedsit, a rubber rope tied around one arm, a needle in his hand. The door bursts open and two armed police officers run in. They take in the scene and swiftly find a bag of powder. What should they do next? The answer depends on the country they're in.
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US HI: Housing Law Aids Marijuana Patient Renters

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 31 Oct 2014 - Medical marijuana advocates are applauding a new law that aims to improve housing protection by voiding provisions in state rental agreements that had allowed a tenant's eviction based on their status as a registered medical marijuana patient. Act 60, enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year, takes effect Saturday.
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Chronicle AM: Cops for Pot Legalization, British Drug Policy Squabble, Afghan Opium Warning, More (10/30/14)

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 20:52

Cops raise their voices in support of marijuana legalization initiatives, the US government's Afghanistan watchdog slams our drug policies there, Louisiana bans a synthetic cannabinoid and Russia wants to do the same, Britain's Lib Dems and Tories are going at each other over drug policy, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Cops Come Out in Support of Oregon Measure 91. Some 30 former police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges have come out in support of the Measure 91 legalization initiative. The campaign held a press conference with some of them yesterday and released a letter from them. "Treating marijuana as a crime has failed,"they said. "Arresting and citing thousands of people in Oregon and elsewhere for marijuana-related crimes is a distraction to law enforcement and a misuse of taxpayer resources. The time and money spent should go to make our communities safer. Police resources should be focused on violent criminals, thieves and criminal cartels."

Former Seattle Police Chief Campaigns for Alaska's Measure 2. Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper is hitting the hustings up north to garner support for the Measure 2 legalization initiative. The Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) member has also been making the rounds in Anchorage, appearing on talk radio shows and other media in support of the measure. He is attempting to counter opposition to the measure from the likes of the Alaska Association of Police Chiefs.

Vermont Sets Public Hearing on Marijuana Policy. The state government has set a November 12 date for a public hearing that will "provide Vermonters with the ability to contribute comments for a legislatively-mandated study on the issues involved with possible legalization of marijuana production, distribution and possession in the State of Vermont." The hearing comes ahead of a mandated January report to the legislature on issues related to marijuana legalization from Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding. Click on the link for more event details.

New Synthetic Drugs

Louisiana Bans New Synthetic Cannabinoid. After more than 125 people got sick in Baton Rouge this month, state officials Wednesday announced an immediate ban on the synthetic cannabinoid MAB-CHMINACA. The state has twice before banned other synthetic cannabinoids, once in March and again in July. The compound has been sold in products with names like "Mojo," "Spice," and "Scooby Snax." Read the emergency rule here.

International

US Afghan Watchdog Warns on Opium. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko, has warned that the country's opium economy is threatening reconstruction efforts and that the US is not adequately addressing the problem. Anti-drug efforts have "largely fallen off the Afghan agenda," he said in a quarterly report released today. Sopko also criticized the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs for "wasting" more than $7 billion on failed drug control policies. "There is nothing that they have said to me or my staff that would indicate that there's any idea of how to improve the situation," he said in an interview ahead of the release of the report. "Has anyone had their job performance -- in the State Department, Department of Defense or [US]AID -- affected by the fact that they failed over the past 13 years to do anything on counternarcotics? No." The report itself is worth a read.

British Drug Policy Squabble. The junior and senior partners in Britain's governing coalition are going after each other in an increasingly nasty fight over drug policy occasioned by a new Home Office report on new synthetic drugs. The report found "there is a lack of clear correlation between tough drugs laws and levels of abuse." Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg hammered the Tories as being "frightened" of drug reform and having "a totally misplaced, outdated, backwards-looking view" on drug policy. Conservatives shot back that the Lib Dems were using the report for "naked political posturing" and accused the party of pursing "a dangerous and irresponsible" agenda of decriminalization. Get more details by clicking the links.

INCB Meets in Vienna. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) began its 111th session today in Vienna. At the opening, board President Dr. Lochan Naidoo stressed his concerns about insufficient access to medicines containing narcotic or psychotropic drugs and noted the obligation of treaty parties to ensure access to such medicines to ensure treatment and prevent pain and suffering.

Russian Government Submits Bill to Ban Synthetic Cannabinoids. President Vladimir Putin today submitted to the State Duma a bill to ban the sale and use of synthetic cannabinoid products. The bill names the cannabinoids as dangerous substances, bans their use, and gives the Federal Drug Control Agency authority to create a registry of such banned substances. The agency reports that more than a thousand users of the drugs have been hospitalized in the last year and 40 have died.

Austrian Neos Party Supports Marijuana Legalization. A neoliberal political party that has just won its first seats in parliament has come out in support of legalization. The Neos (or New Austria) Party embraced the position at its party conference this past weekend.  "We support self- responsibility and liberty. Legalization makes sense", party leader Mat Strolz said Tuesday. The Neos are the first part to embrace legalization in the wake of a parliamentary citizens' initiative that has so far gathered more than 27,000 signatures, making it the third most popular in Austrian history. It's not just new fringe parties that are considering the issue. The leaders of the governing coalition, the Social Democrats, will vote on legalization at their party convention next month. 

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US FL: Marijuana Vote Is Kryptonite For Politicians

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 30 Oct 2014 - For many politicians in Florida, the medical marijuana issue has become election kryptonite. While Florida's two leading gubernatorial candidates have had little trouble discussing their vision for the Sunshine State, neither Charlie Crist nor Gov. Rick Scott has gushed over Amendment 2 - an issue that could have widespread ramifications for the state and influence a national debate on medical marijuana.
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Chile: First Marijuana Planted For Medical Use In Chile

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
The Virgin Islands Daily News, 30 Oct 2014 - SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - A Chilean municipality planted the country's first medical marijuana on Wednesday as part of a pilot program aimed to help ease the pain of cancer patients. The 850 seeds were imported from the Netherlands, and oil extracted from about half of the plants will be given to 200 patients selected by a municipality in the capital of Santiago and by the Daya Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors pain-relieving therapies.
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US OR: Editorial: Here's Why Stakes Are So High for Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Albany Democrat-Herald, 30 Oct 2014 - Will Tuesday's election prove to be a turning point for marijuana legalization efforts across the United States? Or will it mark a substantial setback for advocates of legalized pot? Three measures to legalize the use of recreational marijuana including Oregon's Measure 91 are on the ballot across the country. (The other measures are in the Alaska and Washington, D.C.; the D.C. measure hasn't drawn nearly the sort of publicity that has accompanied the Oregon and Alaska measures.)
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UK: Eleven Countries Studied, One Inescapable Conclusion - the

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
The Guardian, 30 Oct 2014 - Home Office Fact-Finders Reveal Long-Delayed Report Legalisation Policies Do Not Result in Wider Use The Home Office comparison of international drug laws, published today, represents the first official recognition since the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act that there is no direct link between being "tough on drugs" and tackling the problem.
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UK: Editorial: Official: Tough or Tender, Drugs Policy Does

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
The Guardian, 30 Oct 2014 - No party ever won or lost an election because of its drug policy. Yet it is a subject that strikes fear in the hearts of most politicians and leaves them deaf to demands for a review or reform. They are locked in the old wisdom that if drug use is harmful the best way of tackling it is punishment, too timid to examine the facts or challenge conventional thinking - even though a significant number of ministers in both past and present cabinets, including the prime minister, admit that they have experimented with drugs themselves. Only the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has consistently argued that policy should be based on an examination of what works.
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UK: Punitive Drug Laws Are Failing, Says Minister

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
The Guardian, 30 Oct 2014 - Home Office Study Finds No Evidence That Harsh Sentencing Curbs Illegal Use There is no evidence that tough enforcement of the drug laws on personal possession leads to lower levels of drug use, according to the government's first evidence-based study.
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UK: Drug Abuse: Is Britain Ready To Grow Up?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Independent, 30 Oct 2014 - First Commons Debate for a Generation Offers Rare Chance for Honest Discussion Suppressed Home Office Report Casts Doubt on Current Punitive Approach A punitive approach to drug abuse including locking up addicts fails to curb levels of addiction, a Home Office study warns today, as MPs stage the first Commons debate on drugs legislation in a generation.
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UK: Column: This Opportunity For Reform Must Not Be Wasted

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Independent, 30 Oct 2014 - The long-delayed report released by the Home Office highlights how its own approach to drugs is not based on evidence. In particular, the report which looks at the effectiveness of other countries' drug policies concludes that harsh penalties for drug users have no effect on levels of drug use. That punitive drug laws have a deterrent effect is a key assumption underpinning both the UK's approach and prohibitionist drug policy more broadly. The report says: "We did not in our fact-finding observe any obvious relationship between the toughness of a country's enforcement against drug possession, and levels of drug use in that country."
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