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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: India's First MedMJ Research Grow License, Filipino Drug War Slammed, More... (8/21/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 20:48

Philippines bishops and citizen demonstrators alike take aim at Duterte's lethal drug war, the US Civil Rights Commission takes aim at the Trump administration's embrace of federal civil asset forfeiture, and more.

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

Arkansas Gets First Dispensary Application. The state Department of Finance and Administration reported that it received its first medical marijuana dispensary application last Friday. The state will issue up to 32 licenses for dispensaries, but the deadline for applications is September 18.

Asset Forfeiture

US Civil Rights Commission Criticizes Trump/Sessions on Asset Forfeiture. As part of a multi-pronged critique of the Trump administration, the Civil Rights Commission issued a statement condemning Attorney General Sessions' decision to reverse Obama-era policy and return to full-throated embrace of civil asset forfeiture. "The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, by unanimous vote, strongly disagrees with the Department of Justice’s recent decision to expand federal participation in the practice of civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture, defined as the taking of property by law enforcement without a criminal conviction, was sharply curtailed by the Department in 2015. Efforts to limit the practice have bipartisan support," the commissioners noted in its statement. The commission issued similar statements criticizing the administration's stances on voting rights and transgender people in the military.

Harm Reduction

Washington King County NIMBY Anti-Safe Injection Site Initiative Qualifies for Ballot, But Maybe Not for November Election. An initiative that aims to block safe injections from being set up in Seattle's suburban King County has qualified for the ballot, county officials confirmed last Thursday. But because county officials were slow to get around to counting signatures, it missed a deadline for appearing on the November ballot, and now, the Metropolitan King County Council will have to decide whether to put the measure, known as Initiative 27, on the November ballot or delay it until a February election. Initiative supporters have said they fear it will be too late by February.

International

India Issues Its First Medical Marijuana Grow License. The Indian government last week issued its first license to grow medical marijuana for research purposes. The license went to the Council of Scientific and Medical Research, which will collaborate with the Bombay Hemp Company. The two groups seek to develop marijuana-based drugs.

Philippine Bishops Speak Out on Duterte's Bloody Drug War. With an uptick in Duterte's war on drugs leaving 81 dead in four days last week, Filipino bishops are raising the alarm. Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos said most of the killings in his diocese were "extrajudicial killings" and wondered why the police had to kill so many so fast. “We do not know the motivation of the police why they had to do the killings in one day, maybe to impress the President who wanted more," he told Vatican Radio. Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Kalookan diocese said just as people were labeled "communists" before killing them in the last century, now being labeled a "drug suspect" leads to the same result. "I don’t know of any law in any civilized society that says a person deserves to die because he or she is a “drug suspect," Bishop David said.

Hundreds Demonstrate in Manila Over Drug War Killing of Teenager. Protestors gathered at the People Power monument in Manila Monday to demand an impartial investigation of drug war killings. The death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos at the hands of narcotics police last week was "a tipping point" for demonstrators, they said. “He has become a central figure because his death is the only one that has evidence [against the police]," Shamah Bulangis, secretary general of Akbayan Youth, told the Inquirer. "It gives us more balls to say that this government is corrupt in its war on drugs."

Uruguay Legal Marijuana Faces Banking Problem. Some banks in Uruguay are refusing to do business with pharmacies that sell legal marijuana because they say it would put them in conflict with international financial laws. And the problem could get worse since a government official last Friday warned banks that they ran the risk of violating laws that ban handling money tied to the marijuana trade. 

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: BC Calls for Radical Opioid Response, 2nd MI MJ Init, More... (8/17/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 20:41

BC health officials present some revolutionary recommendations for dealing with the opioid crisis, Alaska officials defend marijuana legalization, a second Michigan legalization initiative is okayed for signature gathering, and more.

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

Alaska Officials Defend Legalization in Letters to Sessions. Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth have sent two letters to Attorney General Sessions defending their state's marijuana law and the wishes of state voters. Their letters are a response to a letter Sessions sent to governors of legalization states in July. "Marijuana regulation is an area where states should take the lead," they said in the first letter, dated August 1. "We ask that the DOJ maintain its existing marijuana policies because the State relied on those assurances in shaping our regulatory framework, and because existing policies appropriately focus federal efforts on federal interests," they said in the second letter, dated August 14.

Second Michigan Legalization Initiative Gets Okay for Signature Gathering. The state Board of Canvassers on Thursday approved a second marijuana legalization initiative for signature gathering. The initiative, from a group called Abrogate Prohibition Michigan, would end "all prohibitions on the use of cannabis in any form by any person" and specify that no taxes could be imposed. Another group, MI Legalize, is already halfway through the signature gathering phase for its initiative, which envisions legalization, taxation, and regulation.

Los Angeles Gets a Cannabis Czar. The city council voted on Wednesday to approve Cat Packer as executive director of the city's newly fashioned Department of Cannabis Regulation. Packer is a former Drug Policy Alliance state policy coordinator for California. She was also a campaign coordinator for Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform, part of the Prop 64 campaign. She will be charged with rolling out regulations for legal marijuana in the city.

Harm Reduction

Washington King County Initiative to Ban Safe Injection Sites Likely Won't Make Ballot. A measure to ban safe injection sites in Seattle's suburban King County is unlikely to be on the November ballot. Petition organizers handed in sufficient signatures on time, but it took two weeks for the petitions to get from the King County Council clerk to King County Elections, so the initiative has missed an August 1 deadline to be certified for the ballot. It could go on the ballot in a February special election, but initiative sponsors say they fear it will be too late to prevent safe injection sites by then.

International

British Columbia Health Authorities Call for Revolutionary Approach to Opioid Crisis. The BC Center for Disease Control has issued a set of recommendations for dealing with opioid use and overdoses that includes providing users with drugs they can take home with them and allowing people to grow their own opium. The current approach to addiction is backwards, BCCDC Executive Medical Director Mark Tyndall told the Globe and News: "We strongly advise people to stop using street drugs, and if they can't do that, then we offer them… Suboxone or methadone, and if that doesn't work, we basically tell them to go and find their own drugs even though there is a very real possibility of dying," he said. "What we should be doing -- especially in an environment of a poisoned drug supply -- is to start with access to uncontaminated drugs so at least people don't die, then move on to substitution therapy and eventually recovery."

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: City Will Open 3 Injection Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 15 Aug 2017 - T.O.'s top doc says move is in response to opioid crisis Toronto's will open three "interim" supervised injection sites this week. Dr. Eileen da Villa, the city's chief medical officer of health, confirmed Monday that the opening of the three sites has been accelerated in response to the opioid overdose crisis.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Toronto Rushes To Open Interim Supervised Drug-Use Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 15 Aug 2017 - After a wave of overdose deaths, Toronto public health officials are scrambling to open interim supervised drug-use sites, including one in a harm-reduction clinic near Yonge-Dundas Square that could be operating within days. The move, announced by the city's medical officer of health on Monday, comes after volunteer front-line workers and activists set up a controversial pop-up supervised drug-use site in an east-end park. The group, calling itself the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance, says the city has been dragging its feet in responding to the opioid crisis.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: City To Open Interim Safe-Injection Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 15 Aug 2017 - Move follows weekend opening of unsanctioned site in Moss Park After an unsanctioned safe-injection site opened in a downtown park over the weekend, Toronto Public Health has announced it will open an interim site where people can shoot their drugs in a safe environment.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Crackdown On Opioids Fuels Heroin Increase

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 07:00
London Free Press, 14 Aug 2017 - The deadly painkiller fentanyl, thrust under a spotlight by a rare warning by three health agenices and city police, isn't the only dangerous street drug raising eyebrows in London. Heroin is also showing up, in levels-those who work with addicts say they haven't seen before.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Advocates Renew Call For City To Act On Overdoses

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 12 Aug 2017 - People on the frontlines of the opioid overdose crisis say they know exactly what needs to be done to save lives and tackle the "public health emergency." Build safe affordable housing, expedite the opening of the safe injection sties, expand the distribution of overdose-reversing naloxone and drug-testing kits, and increase funding for harm-reduction staff positions.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Harm Reduction Workers Want Action On Toronto Opioid 'Crisis'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 07:00
The Record, 12 Aug 2017 - TORONTO - Harm reduction workers in Toronto are calling for the immediate opening of interim safe injection spaces and social housing with a focus on helping drug users as the city deals with a spike in opioid overdoses. The demands were among a list of measures issued by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and other advocacy groups on Friday, as they called for a declaration of a public health emergency over the issue and asked for the wide distribution of drug testing kits in the city.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Advocates Call For Interim Drug-Use Sites In Toronto

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 12 Aug 2017 - The city is also being urged to declare a public-health emergency amid a string of overdoses and suspected related deaths Harm-reduction workers in Toronto are calling for the immediate opening of interim supervised drug-use spaces and social housing with a focus on helping drug users as the city deals with a spike in opioid overdoses.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Street Drugs 101: A Primer

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 07:00
London Free Press, 12 Aug 2017 - As deadly fentanyl fuels a public health crisis, Free Press reporter Jennifer Bieman reveals what you should know about common London street drugs Forget the old adage that what you don't know, can't hurt you. When it comes to street drugs, what you don't know can kill you.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: CA Judge Rules for Growers, CT Judge Rules for Patient, More... (8/11/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 19:55

Federal judges stuck up for California marijuana growers and a Connecticut medical marijuana patient, another Seattle suburb goes NIMBY on safe injection sites, and more.

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

California Federal Judge Blocks Prosecution of Marijuana Growers. A federal district court judge in San Francisco ruled on Tuesday that federal prosecutors cannot move forward with their prosecution of two Humboldt County pot growers because the pair was in compliance with state laws. Judge Richard Seeborg held that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment blocked such prosecutions, and the case is closed unless or until that amendment expires.

Nevada Opens Up Marijuana Distribution Rights. The state Department of Taxation concluded Thursday that there weren't enough liquor distributors who wanted to transport marijuana to pot shops and decided to open the business up to other potential distributors. "The capacity of only liquor wholesalers to serve the market seems lacking," said Deonne Contine, executive director of the tax department, in remarks reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I think the evidence is fairly clear today that this market needs to be opened up," she said.

Medical Marijuana

Connecticut Federal Judge Rules Employee Not Hired Because of Medical Marijuana Can Sue. A federal district court judge in New Haven ruled on Tuesday that a woman who was using medical marijuana in compliance with state law can sue an employer who rescinded her job offer after she tested positive for marijuana. The woman had previously disclosed her medical marijuana use and had quit her former job when, one day before she was supposed to begin her new job, the company notified her it was rescinding the offer. The ruling echoes one last month in Maine's Supreme Judicial Court, and may signal the beginning of judicial recognition of the employment rights of medical marijuana users.

Arkansas Hasn't Seen Any Grow or Dispensary Applications Yet. With the state halfway through its application period for medical marijuana grow and dispensary licenses, state officials said Friday that they had yet to receive any applications, but they weren't worried. "We are not concerned, as we understand the applications require detailed and specific information that will take time to complete," Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin told the Associated Press. "Applicants are likely performing their due diligence to provide quality applications." The deadline for applications is September 18.

Harm Reduction

Another Seattle Suburb Rejects Safe Injection Sites. The city council in south suburban Federal Way voted Tuesday night to ban safe injection sites in the city. The vote comes after a King County task force recommended opening two safe injection sites in the county, which includes Seattle. Another Seattle suburb, Bellevue, approved a similar NIMBY ban just days ago. One safe injection is set for Seattle; the other is supposed to open in one of the suburbs.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Niagara On Track For Record Fentanyl Deaths

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 07:00
The Niagara Falls Review, 11 Aug 2017 - The number of Niagara residents dying from fentanyl related overdoses is on track to hit a record high this year, according to data provided by Niagara Regional Police. Police say officers have responded to 15 fatal opioid overdoses since Jan. 1, with 10 of them involving fentanyl. Police responded to 12 fentanyl related fatal overdoses in all 2016.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Site Eyed For Supervised Drug Use

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 07:00
Lethbridge Herald, 10 Aug 2017 - ARCHES identifies former downtown area nightclub as a future medically-supervised drug consumption site A former downtown area nightclub has been pegged as the location for a future medically-supervised drug consumption site. ARCHES Lethbridge, a harm reduction agency, made the announcement on Wednesday that it had filed an application on July 31 with Health Canada to establish the services at the site formerly known as Pulse Nightclub. The facility requires a federal exemption to allow drug use inside the building.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Trump Wants More Drug War to Fight Opioids, New Pot Poll, More... (8/9/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 20:15

A new Quinnipiac poll has support for marijuana legalization at a record high, Trump calls for a return to tough drug war policies to fight opioids, Hawaii gets its first dispensary, and more.

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

Quinnipiac Poll Has Record 61% for Legalization. A new Quinnipiac poll has support for marijuana legalization at 61%, the highest figure ever reported by Quinnipiac and up two points since February. Support was above 50% for all demographic groups except Republicans (37%) and people over 65 (42%). The poll also found that fully three-quarters (75%) of respondents thought the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it is legal. Support for medical marijuana was even higher a near-unanimous 94%.

Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Gets First Dispensary. Maui Grown Therapies opened for business on Tuesday in Kahului. It's the first dispensary in the state to be permitted and open its doors. The store was only open for a couple of hours Tuesday, with the owners saying they were doing a "soft opening." A second dispensary, Aloha Green, was set to open in Oahu on Wednesday.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Trump Wants More Drug War, But No State of Emergency for Opioid Crisis. President Trump said Tuesday that a stronger law enforcement is necessary to fight the opioid crisis and criticized the Obama administration for prosecuting fewer drug offenders. He also critically highlighted shorter average sentences for drug offenders under Obama and advocated for abstinence-based drug treatment. But he did not act on a recommendation from his opioid panel headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) that he declare a national state of emergency.

Harm Reduction

Seattle Suburb Votes to Ban Safe Injection Sites. The Bellevue City Council voted Monday night to ban safe injection sites even though none had been proposed for the city, the second-largest in Kings County after Seattle. Members said the vote was driven by fears the site could hurt development of a homeless center now being planned. But it is also a sign of broader objections to such facilities in the area and comes after the Metropolitan King County Council voted in July not to spend money setting up sites unless a locale's elected officials first approved it. Safe injection supporters said that vote effectively kills any sites outside the city of Seattle.

International

Tillerson Offers to Help Duterte Fight Drugs -- If Philippines Leader Changes Tactics. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday and told him the US would provide anti-drug assistance if he would rein in his brutal tactics. Tillerson obliquely noted harsh criticisms of the Philippines' bloody drug war by human rights groups and others and suggested the US could help find more suitable tactics. Duterte was noncommittal.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Secret Safe Injection Site in US City, VT "Blue Ribbon" MJ Panel, More... (8/8/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 20:25

The body representing state legislatures again calls for marijuana reforms, Vermont's governor is about to empanel on commission to study legalization issues, a safe injection site has been operating secretly in a US city for the past three years, and more.

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

National Conference of State Legislatures Urges De-Scheduling Marijuana. The National Conference of State Legislatures has approved a resolution calling for marijuana to be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. The resolution approved on Monday specifically references access to banking, saying such a move would result in "… enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses." This marks the third year in a row the conference has passed a resolution on marijuana, going a bit further each time. In 2015, it resolved that federal laws should be amended to allow states to set their own pot policies, and last year, it resolved that marijuana should be down-scheduled.

Vermont Governor About to Convene "Blue Ribbon Commission" on Legalization. Gov. Phil Scott (R) says he will shortly convene a commission to study issues around marijuana legalization, but it looks like his emphasis will be on how to detect marijuana impairment in drivers rather than examining models for legalization. Earlier this year, Scott vetoed a legalization bill, citing concerns about driving and youth, and he says now that he will not sign a bill that doesn't have stringent standards on impaired driving.

Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Split on Decriminalization. Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam sent a letter Monday to the State Crime Commission, which is studying decriminalization, in support of the notion. That position contrasts with Republican nominee Ed Gillespie, who says he opposes legalization or decriminalization, but is open to exploring reforms to ensure that penalties are commensurate with the offense committed. Polling shows a majority of Virginians favor decrim. Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra, meanwhile, says just tax and legalize it.

Medical Marijuana

Indiana Republican Will File Medical Marijuana Bill to Fight Opioid Overdoses. State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) says he plans to file a medical marijuana bill in a bid to combat opioid abuse. He said he was acting after hearing from constituents. "People telling me their personal stories, how they've been helped by this product, how far behind Indiana is on this issue," he told the Indianapolis Star. "That right there, we have a responsibility to at least investigate it and determine the facts, and if there is something positive out there, we have to pursue that."

Asset Forfeiture

Arizona Asset Forfeiture Reforms Go Into Effect Wednesday. A new law limiting civil asset forfeiture reform goes into effect Wednesday. House Bill 2477 does not end civil asset forfeiture, but raises the standard of proof necessary for seizures from "a preponderance of the evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence."

Harm Reduction

Underground Safe Injection Site Has Been Operating in a US City for Three Years. In a report released Tuesday, two researchers revealed that they've been studying an unpermitted safe injection site in operation since 2014. They reported that no one died while using drugs at the site and that two overdoses were reversed by staff members administering naloxone. The report comes as pressure to authorize such sites is mounting, with lawmakers in states like California and New York and cities including San Francisco, Seattle, and Ithaca, New York, backing such efforts.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org"s lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: OPED: Drug Addicts Are Not 'Thugs'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 08 Aug 2017 - Any overdose death is a tragedy. It's a preventable death and I consider it my duty as mayor to ensure that the City of Toronto is doing everything it can to help prevent those tragedies. Each person who dies from an overdose is someone's son, daughter, friend or loved one. They are human beings and they should not be abandoned by society due to a particular addiction.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Rethink Before Decriminalizing Drugs

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 07 Aug 2017 - If half a dozen deaths in Toronto last week were likely attributable to fatal opioid-related overdoses, how many do you think would have died if those drugs were legal? Fewer? I don't see the logic in that. Easier access to drugs and no criminal liability wouldn't discourage use, surely. And we're not talking here about a mild mind-bending substance such as pot, which is to become decriminalized in Canada next year. Still stupid - dumb-downing of the populace . . . but it is the consensus will of the nation - because we seem to be just fine with the stupefying effect of "recreational" marijuana and hash despite all the evidence of young lives going off the rails when teenagers toked to the gills lose interest in school and sports and healthy activities. There is a domino effect to falling in thrall with drugs. If you haven't experienced that reality in your own family, then you're lucky, that's all. Or maybe the people you love aren't part of that sub-sect physiologically and psychologically susceptible to addiction. Most users - 90 per cent, according to the literature - will never be addicted, but 10 per cent strikes me as a really high casualty demographic, no pun intended, and the legalization argument gives those lost souls short shrift.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Hypocrisy At Its Most Vile

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 06 Aug 2017 - Mihevc misses the irony in his drug stance When the truth came out about then-mayor Rob Ford's crack cocaine use in late October of 2013, 26-year NDP councillor Joe Mihevc quickly joined the queue of councillors and media pundits who savaged him.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: City Must Wake Up To Drug Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 04 Aug 2017 - Last weekend was a particularly dangerous one for opioid users in Toronto. It was so perilous, in fact, that Toronto police put out a safety alert after the city saw four drug-related deaths and 20 overdoses in just two days. Authorities believe the deaths and overdoses were from heroin laced with fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Overdose Action Plan Is A Waste Of Time, Money

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 04 Aug 2017 - Wrong-headed! Coun. Joe Cressy must have been licking his lips with glee Thursday. The recent spike in opioid overdoses in the city would garner him more media - and the NDPer just loves media attention especially when he can blather on about the fact that more public money is needed for (insert affordable housing, bike lanes here), or, as he claimed Thursday, the "escalating drug crisis."
Categories: Harm Reduction
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