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Chronicle AM: MA Legal MJ Bill Heads to Gov, DOJ Restarts Forfeiture Sharing, More .... (7/20/17)

Heroin (STDW) - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 20:01

Massachusetts lawmakers approve the legal marijuana bill, the Justice Department officially resurrects "adoptive sharing" for asset forfeitures, Gallup says more Americans have smoked pot than ever, and more.

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

Gallup Poll Has Number Who Say They've Used Marijuana at All-Time High. Some 45% of American adults have tried marijuana, according to Gallup. That's an all-time high, and it's more than ten times the number (4%) who admitted smoking pot in 1969, the first year Gallup asked the question. About 12% said they currently use marijuana.

Massachusetts Legislature Approves Compromise Legalization Bill. The House and Senate both approved a compromise measure to implement marijuana legalization Wednesday. House Bill 3818 now heads to the desk of Gov. Charlie Baker (R), who is expected to sign it. The bill increases taxes from 12% to up to 20%, and would allow authorities in localities that didn't vote in favor of the legalization initiative to ban pot businesses without a popular vote.

Medical Marijuana

Texas Bid to Expand Medical Marijuana Defeated. An effort to expand medical marijuana in the state was stopped by the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday. Rep. David Knoll (R) had tried to add an amendment to a special session bill authorizing the Texas Medical Board and other agencies, but the amendment never got enough support to come up for a vote.

Asset Forfeiture

Justice Department Brings Back Aggressive Asset Forfeiture Policy. As Attorney General Sessions vowed earlier this week, the Justice Department on Wednesday formally unrolled a revamped "adoptive forfeiture" policy that will allow state and local law enforcement agencies to hand drug cases over to the feds to ensure that the cops get the great bulk -- 80% -- of the proceeds from seizures, in many cases doing an end-run around state asset forfeiture law. The program was halted by then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2015 after a rising outcry over abuses. The move was praised by law enforcement but criticized by civil rights groups and even some members of Congress.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Rhode Island Governor Signs Package of Bills to Fight Opioid Epidemic. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) Wednesday signed into law three bills aimed at the state's opioid problem. One allows law enforcement to access an electronic prescription database without a warrant, one requires doctors to discuss the risks of addiction with patients when prescribing opioids, and one expands the kind of drugs that can be electronically prescribed. "Every Rhode Island community has been touched by this crisis, and I'll take every step I can to fight back," Raimondo said in a signing statement.

Harm Reduction

California Safe Injection Site Bill Awaits Senate Floor Vote. A bill that would allow supervised injection sites in the state has already passed the Assembly and has now been approved by both the Senate Health Committee and the Public Safety Committee. Assembly Bill 186, sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) now awaits a Senate floor vote. If the bill passes, it will go back to the Assembly for concurrence, and then to Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM: Dark Web Drug Sales Site AlphaBay Busted, Owner Kills Self in Jail, More... (7/14/17)

Heroin (STDW) - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 19:46

AlphaBay is history, Nevada moves to ease its legal pot shortage, the White House opioid commission misses a deadline -- again -- and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Nevada Regulators Approve Emergency Measures to Ease Pot Shortage. The state Tax Commission voted Thursday to let the Department of Taxation to again determine whether limiting marijuana transport licenses to licensed alcohol distributors would result in a shortage of legal marijuana distributors. If the department does make that determination, it could then award transport licenses to previous medical marijuana distributors. "When businesses operate we get the tax revenue and that's what the state wants," testified Deonne Contine, director of the Department of Taxation. "We need to do everything we can to get more distributors licensed so these businesses can continue operating."

Industrial Hemp

Utah Regulators Give Initial Approval for Hemp Research Grows. The state Agricultural Advisory Board on Thursday gave initial approval to a new rule that would allow limited marijuana cultivation for research purposes. The rule would allow anyone with a permit to grow industrial hemp. State universities are already able to cultivate hemp for research purposes under the 2014 federal Farm Bill, but this rule now expands who can grow the plant. The rule is open for public review through the summer and if finalized, would allow the state to begin issuing permits next January.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

White House Opioid Commission Again Misses Deadline. The president's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), will miss a second deadline for filing an interim report. Under a Trump executive order establishing the commission, the panel had until June 27 to file its interim report, but failed to do so and said it would on July 17. Now, in a notice printed in the Federal Register Friday, the commission said it would reschedule its July 17 call until July 31, again missing its deadline. The commission has until October 1 to issue a final report.

Law Enforcement

Dark Web Giant AlphaBay Busted, Owner Hangs Himself in Thai Jail. AlphaBay, one of the largest drug sales websites on the Dark Web, has gone dark. It wasn't, as some suspected, a scam and rip-off by the owners, but the result of a joint law enforcement operation by police in Canada, the US, and Thailand. Canadian citizen Alexandre Cazes, identified as AlphaBay's owner, was arrested July 5 in Thailand, where he owned three luxurious homes. He was found hanged in a Thai jail cell Wednesday.

Categories: Heroin

US OH: Heroin, Cocaine Are Cheap, Potent And Widely Available

Heroin (MAP) - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 07:00
Columbus Dispatch, 13 Jul 2017 - Heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs remain widely available throughout Ohio, often at bargain prices, a new state report reveals. If that isn't bad enough, the quality of the drugs is "is really good, too good. We've lost 12 friends in the past year (to overdoses)," said one respondent in the just-released Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network Report. The semi-annual statewide report of drug availability trends is done by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Categories: Heroin

US PA: How I Loved And Lost My Fiance - A Heroin Addict

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 12 Jul 2017 - Chris and I were texting Dec. 11, 2016, when at 3:50 p.m. he went silent. I assumed it was because we were arguing. We were always arguing, ever since his addiction had taken over his life. The signs were there: The man who would write beautiful songs on his guitar became sluggish and angry. He wouldn't spend time with the people who lifted him up and instead sneaked out to see those who enabled his addiction. He stopped going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and group therapy.
Categories: Heroin

US MI: 87 Pounds Of Heroin Found In Raid Of Novi Apartment Complex

Heroin (MAP) - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 11 Jul 2017 - Investigators found more than 87 pounds of suspected heroin Monday during a raid at a Novi apartment, according to a federal criminal complaint. DEA agents and the Oakland County Narcotics Investigation Team entered the Brownstones apartment complex unit shortly after 9:30 a.m. on the 42200 block of Joyce Lane to find three men inside, along with eight bricks of a light-brown substance on a table in plain sight, according to the complaint from special agent Michael Reamer in U.S. District Court.
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM: IL Passes Forfeiture Reform, House Heroin Task Force Proposals, More... (6/28/17)

Heroin (STDW) - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 19:57

Utah's new medical marijuana initiative is exposing fissures between the LDS leadership and membership, an asset forfeiture reform bill sits on the desk of Illinois' governor, a bipartisan House heroin task force releases its proposals, and more.

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

Utah Poll Has Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. Just days after the Utah Patient Coalition took initial steps to put an initiative on the November 2018 ballot, a poll it sponsored showed that 73% of Utah voters support the initiative, with only 20% opposed. Support came from all demographic groups, including active Mormons, 63% of whom said they were in favor.

Mormon Church Opposes Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative. The powerful Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) has come out in opposition to a medical marijuana initiative filed this week by the Utah Patients Coalition. The church acknowledged ongoing interest in medical marijuana and said it supported further research but argued that approval of medical marijuana should come after "the FDA approval process that all other drugs must go through before they are prescribed to patients."

Asset Forfeiture

Illinois Legislature Passes Asset Forfeiture Reform. The legislature last Friday gave final approval to an asset forfeiture reform measure, House Bill 303, that raises the standard of evidence for seizures from probable cause to a preponderance of the evidence and bars seizures of under $500 in most drug cases. The bill does not, however, require a criminal conviction before a seizure can occur -- a sop to prosecutors and law enforcement groups who lobbied for that provision to be dropped. The bill now awaits action from Gov. Bruce Rauner (R).

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

House Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Releases Proposals. A bipartisan group of House members released a raft of proposals Tuesday aimed at fighting the nation's drug problems as "an American issue," not a partisan one. The package of bills from the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force includes increased funding for drug-screening gear at the border, studies on the effects of synthetic drug use, greater flexibility for use of health savings accounts, and creation of treatment centers for infants exposed to opioids during their mothers pregnancy.

International

Georgia Parliament Takes Up Drug Decriminalization. The Parliamentary Health Committee has introduced a bill to decriminalize the possession of all drugs that was developed by the National Drug Policy Platform, a grouping of more than 40 NGOs. The bill would annul the country's much-criticized strict 2007 drug law, as well as making changes to at least 10 criminal and administrative laws. The core principle behind the bill is to shift the country's drug policy away from a criminal justice approach, treating drug use instead as a public health issue. Earlier this month, parliament gave initial approval to marijuana decriminalization. Both pot decrim and broader drug decrim should be addressed during parliament's looming autumn session.

Categories: Heroin

US FL: Desperate For Help, Heroin Addicts Get 'Hijacked' To Florida

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 07:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 23 Jun 2017 - Alfred LubranoWest Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos dials a number for a local addiction treatment center that he suspects has been illicitly re-routed to a Florida facility. His own phone number was "hijacked" in such a manner. Alfred Lubrano works for the enterprise team. Previously, he wrote about poverty, and before that, he was a feature writer and columnist.
Categories: Heroin

US MD: Maryland's Heroin Fight Turns To Educating Students From

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 19 Jun 2017 - In the ongoing battle to stem the heroin and opiate epidemic in Maryland, the newest focus is a state law that mandates teaching students in elementary schools through college about the dangers of the drugs. Public schools are tweaking drug-education lessons and colleges are preparing sessions for incoming students to comply with the Start Talking Maryland Act, which becomes law July 1.
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM: Federal CARERS Act Refiled, RI Legalization Commission Bill Advances, More... (6/15/17)

Heroin (STDW) - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 20:27

A bipartisan group of senators reintroduce the CARERS Act to protect medical marijuana in the states, marijuana legalization is keeping legislators busy in the Northeast, New York GOP senators want more drug war to fight opioids, and more.

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

Massachusetts Legal MJ Rewrite Bill Delayed By Errors, Concern at High Tax Rates. House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) has postponed a vote on the legislature's rewrite of the marijuana legalization law approved by voters last fall after errors in the drafting of the bill and the high tax rate proposed -- 28% -- drew protests from Democratic lawmakers. "I think there are certain things that we have to clear up, so because of that, I think it's important that with a bill of this mag that we try to get it right or close to right this first time, so I'd rather do that than try to rush it through," DeLeo said, adding that there was a consensus among Democrats on the basics of the bill.

New Jersey Legalization Bill Gets Hearing Monday. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Monday morning on Senate Bill 3195, which legalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana and sets up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. The Drug Policy Alliance has expressed "concern" that the bill "does not include essential components to create a fair and equitable marijuana market in New Jersey." Such legislation must include polices to repair past harms to minority communities, DPA said.

Rhode Island Legalization Study Commission Bill Passes House. A bill that creates a legislative commission to study marijuana legalization -- instead of just legalizing it -- passed the House Wednesday night. House Bill 551A now heads to the Senate. Regulate Rhode Island, the main advocacy group for legalization, has said it will not participate in the commission, which it describes as a delaying tactic.

Medical Marijuana

Bipartisan Bill to End Federal Prohibition of Medical Marijuana Reintroduced in US Senate. US Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) reintroduced a bill Thursday that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also signed on to the legislation as original cosponsors. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (or CARERS) Act of 2017 would allow individuals and entities to possess, produce, and distribute medical marijuana if they are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It would also open up avenues to medical marijuana research and allow physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where it is legal. The bill also proposes excluding cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, from the federal government's definition of "marijuana."

Kentucky Lawsuit Challenges State's Medical Marijuana Ban. Three Kentuckians who say they have used marijuana to ease health problems have filed a lawsuit in state court charging that banning medical marijuana violates their constitutional privacy rights. The suit names as defendants Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and Attorney General Steve Beshear (D).

Rhode Island Governor Proposes Medical Marijuana Expansion. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has proposed a budget amendment that calls for "no less than six licensed compassion centers" and increased licensing fees that would generate $1.5 in revenues for the state's general fund. There are three existing dispensaries, which would each be allowed to open one more store front, plus the three additional ones proposed.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

New York Republicans Want More Drug War to Fight Opioids. A Republican Senate task force says that adding funding for addiction treatment is good, but that it's time to increase heroin penalties "to get dealers off the street." The senators are proposing charging dealers with murder if one of their customers dies and increasing penalties based on the weight of the drugs sold. Assembly Democrats rejected the idea, calling the approach one that's been "tried and failed." The Assembly killed a similar approach last year.

Categories: Heroin

CN BC: Addiction Experts Urge Medical Heroin Expansion

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 27 May 2017 - VANCOUVER - Addiction experts from five European countries say their experience with prescription heroin programs have provided overwhelming evidence to suggest Canada should expand its one clinic in the midst of a deadly opioid crisis. Researchers from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada held a symposium in Vancouver on Friday to share lessons they've learned from multiple clinical trials and years of treatment.
Categories: Heroin
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