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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: IL Senate Approves Decrim, MedMJ Extension; Ex-Cincy Police Chief Endorses Pot Init, More (5/22/15)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 19:03

Midwest marijuana news dominates today, with the Illinois Senate approving decriminalization and medical marijuana extension bills, a prominent Ohio law enforcement figure endorsing a legalization initiative and the state attorney general rejecting another one, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Illinois Senate Passes Decriminalization Bill. The state Senate Thursday approved House Bill 218, which would decriminalize the possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana, replacing the possibility of jail time and a criminal record with a maximum $125 fine and no criminal record. The bill has already cleared the House, but will not go to the governor's desk until sponsors get some additional cleanup language approved.

Former Cincinnati Police Chief Endorses Ohio Legalization Initiative. Former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher has come out in favor of the controversial ResponsibleOhio pot legalization initiative. "Our state spends over $120 million per year to enforce marijuana prohibition, even though we all know these laws do not work," Streicher said. "Law enforcement should instead be able to spend their time and their resources cracking down on the real criminals." ResponsibleOhio is the midst of a signature-gathering campaign to qualify for the November 2015 ballot. It needs more than 300,000 approved voter signatures to qualify, but says it has 320,000 raw signatures right now and aims to gather 800,000 by the July deadline.

Ohio Attorney General Rejects Language for Third Legalization Initiative. Attorney General Mike DeWine Thursday rejected the ballot summary language for a third statewide legalization initiative, the Ohio Cannabis Control Amendment from Ohioans to End Prohibition. Two other initiatives, from ResponsibleOhio and Better for Ohio, have already been approved and are in the signature-gathering phase. Now, Ohioans for Prohibition will have to gather another 1,000 signatures and resubmit modified language if it wants to move forward.

Medical Marijuana

Illinois Senate Approves Extension of Medical Marijuana Program. The state Senate voted 33-16 Thursday to approve House Bill 3299, which would extend the program by two more years. The measure has already passed the House and is headed for the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), but it's unclear if he will sign it. He has said he didn't think the program should be extended until it's been fully evaluated -- but it hasn't even really started.

Nebraska Legislature Approves CBD Cannabis Oil Study Bill. The state Senate Thursday gave final approval to Legislative Bill 390, under which the University of Nebraska Medical Center would study the effectiveness of CBD in treating epileptic seizures. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) now has five days to act on the bill.

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Local Collective Garden Bans. The state Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Thursday that the city of Kent can ban medical marijuana collective gardens. The decision upheld lower court rulings allowing cities to impose bans via zoning regulations. The case was Cannabis Action Council v. City of Kent.

Drug Testing

Maine Committee Rejects Governor's Food Stamp Drug Testing Bill. The legislature's Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-5 on party lines to reject LD 1407, Gov. Paul LePage's (R) bid to impose drug testing on food stamp recipients. That doesn't mean the bill is dead, though; it is still likely to be debated in the House, and the question will be whether the Democrats can hold their caucus together in opposition.

Harm Reduction

North Carolina Jail Becomes First in South to Offer Naloxone to Released Inmates. The Durham County Detention Facility last month began distributing overdose reversal kits to inmates being released in a bid to cut the overdose rate among the newly freed whose tolerance to opiate drugs has been reduced by the jail stays. The formerly incarcerated are more than a hundred times more likely to die of drug overdoses in the first two weeks after their release than the general population.


Iceland Support for Marijuana Legalization Doubles, But Still Low. Nearly one quarter (24.3%) of Icelanders now support marijuana legalization, up from 12.7% in 2011, a new survey finds. Men were more supportive than women (31% v. 16%), and the youth were more supportive than older cohorts, but even among people under 30, support was only at 43%.

Categories: Harm Reduction

US IN: HIV Outbreak Spurs Indiana To Ok Needle Exchange

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 22 May 2015 - INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana approved a yearlong needleexchange program Thursday for a county at the center of an HIV outbreak that prompted a new state law allowing such programs. State health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams' approval for Scott County includes a public-health emergency declaration that will allow it to operate a needle exchange through May 24, 2016. The southeastern Indiana county has operated a temporary needle-exchange since early April under executive orders Gov. Mike Pence signed in response to the largest HIV outbreak in state history.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US: Defense Says Drug Site Reduced Users' Risks

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 19 May 2015 - The already novel criminal case against Ross W. Ulbricht, the recently convicted founder of the website Silk Road, has taken yet another unusual turn. Mr. Ulbricht could face life in prison when he is sentenced on May 29 in Federal District Court in Manhattan for his role in running Silk Road, a once-thriving black market for the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other drugs. And although prosecutors have not yet said what length of sentence they will seek for Mr. Ulbricht, 31, they have told Mr. Ulbricht's lawyers that they intend to introduce evidence of six overdose deaths attributable to drugs bought from vendors on Silk Road, according to a recent defense filing.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US PA: Getting The Word Out On Hepatitis C, Treatment

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 May 2015 - Every year, hepatitis C kills significantly more Americans than HIV. Yet the liver-attacking virus doesn't get nearly the popular respect, or trigger the same fears. That understated reputation will be both a help and a hindrance as the public health community tries to control the spread of the virus. New cases of hepatitis C rose 150 percent between 2010 and 2013 nationwide, and even more in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US VA: 'We've Been a Dismal Failure': VA. Police Veterans on

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 07:00
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 13 May 2015 - Galax Police Chief Rick Clark Jr. has been in law enforcement for about 40 years, long enough to make observations about effective crimefighting policies. Locking up drug addicts is one policy that has not worked out so well, said Clark, who is serving on the Governor's Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse that met Tuesday in Richmond.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Almost Legit

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 05/08/2015 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 08 May 2015 - Found a smoker the other day. He was outside the safe injection site, trying to make like he was toking up, but since when do joints come with filters? "Tobacco Police! Freeze!" I said, but he bolted - for about half a block before running out of breath and taking a knee. Not a lot of drawn-out foot chases with smokers. OK, Victoria isn't quite at the point where tobacco is illegal, though it's getting there. As of this spring, the region's smoking ban is being extended to parks, playgrounds and public squares. The no-smoking zone around doorways and air intakes has gone from three metres to seven, effectively making it illegal to smoke on most downtown sidewalks. As of April 1, the only place it will still be legal to light up is the old leper colony on Bentinck Island.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US WA: Column: Come Over To The Green Side

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Weekly, 06 May 2015 - When deciding what you think about marijuana legalization, it's important to ask, "What's in it for me?" The most recent Pew Research Center poll shows that a majority of Americans nationwide, 53 percent, now support the legalization of cannabis. I'm actually surprised it's that low, but then again, I'm a marijuana columnist.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Puerto Rico Okays MedMJ, TX Pot Bills Killed, NV Harm Reduction Bill Moves (5/4/15)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 05/04/2015 - 22:02

The Supreme Court wants to know what the Obama administration thinks about that lawsuit over Colorado's pot law, a Hawaii dispensary bill is back from the dead and being considered today, a Nevada harm reduction bill advances, a federal drug defelonization bill is introduced, and more.

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

Supreme Court Asks For Obama Administration Position on Suit Over Colorado Pot Law. The US Supreme Court today asked for the administration's views on the lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado's marijuana legalization law. This signals that the high court is taking an interest in the case.

Arkansas Attorney General Rejects Wording of Legalization Initiative. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge last Friday rejected the proposed popular name and ballot title of a proposed legalization initiative. "The Arkansas Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Amendment" did not mention any limits on industrial hemp or medical marijuana use, Rutledge said. Petitioners can submit a revised initiative.

Puerto Rico Governor Signs Executive Order Legalizing Medical Marijuana. Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla Sunday signed an executive order legalizing medical marijuana. The move comes after years of discussion in the US island territory.

Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Dispensary Bill Back from the Dead. Negotiations over the dispensary bill, House Bill 321, collapsed last Friday, but after drama over the weekend, a Senate and House conference committee is set to reconsider the bill today. Sixteen of 25 senators had asked for reconsideration after conference committee chair Sen. Josh Green refused to agree to a final version of the bill. Senate President Donna Mercado then threw him off the committee, and Kim and House Speaker Joseph Souki sent out a letter late Friday saying the bill would be reconsidered today. Click on the link for all the juicy details.

Illinois Advisory Board Votes Against Adding Anxiety and Diabetes. The board has rejected adding anxiety and diabetes to the list of qualifying conditions and diseases, but is still considering whether to add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

ACLU to Sue Over Firing of Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Patient. The ACLU of Rhode Island says it plans to file a complaint against an employer who refuses to hire medical marijuana patients, even though it is legal in the state. Lawsuits challenging the firing of medical marijuana users have been turned away in California and Michigan.

Harm Reduction

Nevada Assembly Approves Bill With 911 Good Samaritan, Opiate Overdose Reversal Drug Provisions. The lower house voted last Friday to approve Senate Bill 459, a harm reduction bill containing both provisions allowing greater access to the opiate overdose reversal drug, naloxone, and provisions that would reduce -- but not remove -- penalties for those who report drug overdoses. The Senate has already approved it, but it needs one last vote there after changes in the Assembly. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) supports the bill.


Federal Drug Defelonization Bill Filed. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has filed HR 2153, which would make certain federal drug offenses misdemeanors and eliminate the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, the House Energy Committee, and the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Australia: Column: We Must Show Some Balls In War On Drugs

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 05/03/2015 - 07:00
The Sunday Telegraph, 03 May 2015 - THE emotional circus surrounding the executions of Bali Nine drug masterminds Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is wrong on so many levels. One lowlight was the grandstanding 11th hour intervention by a group of actors telling Tony Abbott to "show some balls".
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Federal Pot Banking Bill, OK Okays CBD Oil, IN Needle Exchange Approved, More (4/30/15)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 04/30/2015 - 22:09

Seventeen congressmembers introduced a federal marijuana banking bill, CBD cannabis oil gets approved in Oklahoma, medical marijuana advances in Louisiana, Indiana approves needle exchange programs, and more.

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

Federal Marijuana Banking Bill Filed. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and 16 bipartisan cosponsors yesterday introduced the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act (HR 7076), which would allow marijuana businesses to open bank accounts. The bill would provide banks with a "safe harbor" so they can offer accounts to such businesses without fear of federal retaliation.

Rhode Island House Committee Hears Testimony on Legalization Bill. The House Judiciary Committee yesterday heard testimony on House Bill 5777, the marijuana regulation, taxation, and legalization bill from Rep. Thomas Slater. No vote was taken; the bill was held for further study. Click on the title link for more hearing details.

Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Governor Signs CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) today signed into law House Bill 2154, also known as Katie and Cayman's Law. It allows for the use of CBD cannabis oil by children suffering from epileptic seizures and sets up a study program.

Louisiana Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Senate Committee Vote. Only a year after overwhelmingly rejecting a similar bill, the Senate Health Committee Wednesday unanimously approved a medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 143, sponsored by Sen. Fred Mills, Jr. (R-Parks). The bill is set for a Senate floor vote next week. The bill does not allow for smoked marijuana; only marijuana processed into oils.

New Synthetic Drugs

North Carolina House Votes to Ban New Synthetics. The House voted unanimously today to add more compounds to the state's list of illegal drugs. House Bill 341 adds the NBOMe (N-bomb) compounds to the list. The drugs are described as similar to LSD. The bill now heads before the Senate Rules and Operations Committee.

Texas House Approves Bill Giving Cops More Power to Move Against Synthetics. With no debate and on a voice vote, the House Wednesday approved House Bill 1212, which would give law enforcement greater ability to move against synthetic drug manufacturers. A final vote of approval was expected today, and then the bill moves to the Senate. Similar legislation is already moving in that chamber.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Legislature Approves Needle Exchange Programs. Faced with an HIV outbreak in one southwestern county, the legislature last night approved a bill allowing for the establishment of needle exchange programs throughout the state. Gov. Mike Pence (R) says he will sign SEA 461.


Canada Supreme Court to Take Up Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing. The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear an appeal of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses in the case of R v. Lloyd. Lloyd was arrested carrying small amounts of heroin, crack, and meth, and was subject to a one-year mandatory minimum sentence, but the Provincial Court found that sentence to be cruel and unusual. The BC Court of Appeal overturned the Provincial Court and increased his sentence. Now, the Supreme Court will decide if the sentence violates Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: A Voice in the Senate Who 'Led the Way'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 04/29/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 29 Apr 2015 - Described as an authoritative public servant, parliamentarian leaves behind a legacy of political achievements for the federal Tories For much of his life, Senator Pierre Claude Nolin was a model of Tory partisanship. He was campaign strategist for Brian Mulroney and Jean Charest. He helped Stephen Harper win the 2006 election. He was a leader in the backrooms of conservative politics in Quebec for three decades. Yet, during the short time he was Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Nolin tried to loosen the partisan shackles that constrain his colleagues. And, as a parliamentarian, he followed the directives of his heart even when they were at odds with those of the Conservative leadership.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Indonesia Executes Eight Drug Smugglers, OR MedMJ Regulation Bill Advances, More (4/28/15)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 21:02

A Maine legalization initiative is moving, an Iowa medical marijuana bill is not, Indiana prosecutors oppose needle exchanges, Indonesia ignores world opinion to execute eight drug smugglers, and more.

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

Maine Legalization Initiative Campaign Getting Underway. State officials signed off today on an initiative petition from Legalize Maine, one of two groups planning a 2016 legalization initiative there. Another group backed by the Marijuana Policy Project is also planning on seeking approval for a petition drive.

Medical Marijuana

Colorado Bill Allowing Probationers, Parolees to Use Medical Marijuana Heads to Governor's Desk. The bill, House Bill 1267, passed the Senate on a 34-1 vote Monday and has already passed the House.

Iowa House Speaker Reiterates He Will Block Medical Marijuana Bill. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) has repeated that he will not allow a medical marijuana bill to be considered this year. Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), the sponsor of Senate File 484, had said Monday that the House had a "moral obligation" to consider the bill, which has already passed the Senate. But Paulsen said he didn't understand what Bolkcom meant and that the carefully drawn bill was "virtually a recreational use bill." The session ends May 1.

Oklahoma CBD Cannabis Oil Study Bill Heads to Governor's Desk. The bill, House Bill 2154, passed the House 85-5 today for final approval after it had been modified in the Senate. Now, it's up to Gov. Mary Fallin (R) to sign it.

Oregon Bill to Regulate Medical Marijuana Advances. A bill that puts new limits on medical marijuana growers is moving. The measure, an amendment to Senate Bill 844, is expected to be approved a House-Senate marijuana committee tomorrow. It would limit current growers to 96 plants, new growers to 48 plants. It would limit current residential growers to 24 plants and new ones to 12 plants. But it would also bar cities and counties from banning dispensaries and growing and processing operations.

Harm Reduction

Faced With HIV Epidemic, Indiana Prosecutors Still Say Needle Exchanges are Bad Public Policy. The Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys today told the legislature that needle exchanges are bad public policy because "hard core drug addicts don't care enough to get clean needles" and because such programs "would keep many users out of the criminal justice system," where they could be forced to seek drug treatment. Gov. Mike Pence (R) has instituted an emergency needle exchange program in Scott County, where HIV cases have been popping up on a daily basis, and the legislature is considering whether to allow them statewide.


Indonesia Executes Eight Drug Smugglers By Firing Squad. Ignoring international protests, Indonesian authorities today (Wednesday Indonesian time) executed eight convicted drug smugglers at Besi Prison on Nusakambangan Island. Among them were Australian, Brazilian, and Nigerian nationals and one Indonesian citizen. A Filipina woman, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, was spared at the last minute.

Colombia Health Ministry Calls for Suspension of Coca Crop Spraying. The ministry is recommending that the country quit using the herbicide glyphosate to spray coca groups. It cites a recent report from the World Health Organization that reclassified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." Nearly three million acres of land in the country have been sprayed with the stuff in the past three decades. No word yet on whether President Santos will heed the recommendation.

Categories: Harm Reduction

US MA: OPED: A United Front In The Opioid Battle

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 28 Apr 2015 - LAST MONTH, one North Shore community was rattled by the news of six heroin overdoses, three of those resulting in death, in just 48 hours. Sadly, this is just more evidence indicating that we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The numbers are staggering. Figures that will be released Tuesday estimate there were 1,008 deaths from opioid overdoses in the Bay State in 2014, a 33 percent jump from 2012. Opioids kill more people in Massachusetts than car accidents and guns combined.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Feds Should Get Off Their High Horse Over Drug Use

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 07:00
Metro, 27 Apr 2015 - Rona Ambrose doesn't want Vancouver to discuss regulating medical marijuana dispensaries at Tuesday's city council meeting - as she made eminently clear in a stern letter to Vancouver's Mayor Robertson, who may have paused to wonder what the honourable health minister may have been smoking when she wrote it. We shouldn't be surprised the federal government wants to harsh Vancouver's mellow. The Conservatives have been against Vancouver's progressive drug policies since Insite - North America's first safe-injection site - opened 10 years ago. But that didn't stop us from continuing the fight and becoming international leaders in saving lives through a harm-reduction model.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: How Drug Treatment Court Rescued Her From The Streets

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 27 Apr 2015 - Restorative justice advocates say alternative to incarceration is more effective for addicts Most of Kathy Middleton's interactions with police have taken place in cheap motels and crack houses..
Categories: Harm Reduction

US: Michael Botticelli Is a Drug Czar Who Knows Addiction

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 26 Apr 2015 - BALTIMORE - Six recovering substance abusers sat in an inner-city treatment center, sharing their stories. When Michael's turn came around, he spoke of his former drug of choice, alcohol, and mentioned the night years ago when he drove drunk on the Massachusetts Turnpike, caused an accident and was arrested before passing out. Michael then pulled out a picture of a friend's brother who recently died from mixing prescription painkillers with alcohol. He described his grief and visceral connection with the struggles of substance abusers in recovery.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US MA: Column: What Price Is Too High For A Miracle Drug?

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 26 Apr 2015 - Naloxone isn't magic, but its power to rescue a heroin user from the brink of death can certainly seem miraculous. The anti-overdose drug, also known by the brand name Narcan, is easy to administer and has saved thousands of lives. First responders are often awestruck at how swiftly it can revive a dying addict. "It's just incredible," the deputy fire chief in Revere marveled in a public-radio interview last year. "There's somebody who's on the ground who's literally dead. They have no pulse. Sometimes they're blue, sometimes they're black. And you administer this stuff and sometimes in a minute or two or three, they're actually up and talking to you."
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Vancouver Mayor Waves Off Health Minister's Warning

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 04/25/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 25 Apr 2015 - Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has rejected a warning from the federal Health Minister to scrap a proposal to regulate marijuana dispensaries. The proposal would create a new class of business licence for the operations while imposing hefty fees and restricting where they can be located.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: Feds Concerned Over Marijuana Zoning Rules

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 24 Apr 2015 - VANCOUVER - The federal government is telling the City of Vancouver it does not have the authority to legitimize pot with its proposal to regulate "illegal" medical marijuana dispensaries. Health Minister Rona Ambrose sent a letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson on Thursday saying she was "deeply concerned" by the city's plans to discuss regulation at an upcoming council meeting.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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