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US MI: 2 Medical Marijuana Bills Stall In Michigan Senate

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 08:00
Detroit Free Press, 03 Feb 2015 - LANSING -- Supporters of medical marijuana were thrilled last year when two bills making it easier for people to buy a variety of medicinal cannabis -- including edibles -- passed the House of Representative with large bipartisan majorities. But those cheers may turn to frustration as the two bills have stalled in the state Senate with no visible sign that they'll move anytime soon.
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US CO: Colorado Deaths Fire Up Debate Over Pot Edibles

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:00
Tulsa World, 19 Apr 2014 - Candy or Cookies May Have High Doses of Marijuana's Active Ingredient. DENVER (AP) - A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.
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US CO: Deaths Stoke Worries About Pot Edibles

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:00
The Times-Tribune, 19 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marij uana-l aced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy. The two recent deaths have stoked concerns about Colorado's recreational marijuana industry and the effects of the drug, especially since cookies, candy and other pot edibles can be exponentially more potent than a joint.
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US CO: Colorado Deaths Stoke Worries About Pot Edibles

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:00
Daily Freeman, 19 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy. The two recent deaths have stoked concerns about Colorado's recreational marijuana industry and the effects of the drug, especially since cookies, candy and other pot edibles can be exponentially more potent than a joint.
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US MO: Barry County Connections Coalition To Host Town Hall

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:00
The Monett Times, 19 Apr 2014 - The Barry County Connections Coalition will host a town hall meeting, Think Again, this month in Monett. The Wednesday, April 30 discussion will center around facts and myths about underage alcohol and drug abuse. The event will feature food, prizes and games, including an impaired driving simulator.
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US MO: Edu: 4/20, America's Stoner Holiday, Explained

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:00
Vox Magazine, 19 Apr 2014 - While most Americans are observing Easter and Passover this weekend, thousands are hitting the streets of Denver and other American cities to celebrate a less traditional holiday: 4/20. The holiday is cherished by marijuana enthusiasts around the world, and this year is no different. The rallies in Denver and other Colorado cities are poised to be the biggest yet, in large part due to the legalization of marijuana in the state.
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US CA: Funds Requested To Fight Drug Pangas Off Calif.

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:00
Lompoc Record, 19 Apr 2014 - SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) - The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office wants money to fight drug-smuggling pangas that have washed ashore the central coast in recent years. Sheriff Ian Parkinson plans to ask county supervisors Tuesday to spend nearly $500,000 in federal grants to buy a response boat and other equipment.
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US CA: Sheriff to Ask Supervisors for Money to Deal With

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
The Tribune, 18 Apr 2014 - New Defender Class Response Boat Would Be Used to Take Confiscated Panga Boats to Morro Bay for Disposal During the past two years the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office has recovered 12 drug-smuggling panga boats that have landed along the North Coast, yet it does not have a way to safely and quickly remove the boats from the beach.
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US: Tracking System Nabbing Drug Dealers - and Law-Abiding

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 18 Apr 2014 - LOS ANGELES - Ken Dobson, a retired police officer, said he received quite a welcome when he landed his single-engine Cessna in Detroit two days after leaving his home in Palm Desert, Calif. Five sheriff's cars surrounded the plane and deputies got out with guns drawn. Then a helicopter arrived with four federal agents and a drug-sniffing dog.
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US WA: Editorial: Reject Pot Scare Tactics

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 18 Apr 2014 - HERE is an image from a War on Drugs time capsule: drug-sniffing dogs sticking their noses in Roosevelt High School students' lockers searching for marijuana. Washington voters in 2012 rejected a prohibitionist approach by legalizing marijuana. Policy shouldn't slip back. But the drug-dog idea, as proposed by parents in a recent Seattle Times story, reflects genuine anxiety about raising teenagers in the new world of legal marijuana. In search of the future, parents are reaching to the past.
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US IL: Medical Pot Business Won't Be Cheap

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
Chicago Sun-Times, 18 Apr 2014 - Those seeking to sell medical marijuana will need to pony up $5,000 for a nonrefundable application fee; pay $30,000 for the registration fee; and have $400,000 in liquid assets. They also will need to be able to secure a $50,000 bond. The cost to patients registering to use medical marijuana will be less than what state officials had first suggested, according to rules posted Friday by state agencies that will oversee implementation of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.
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US MS: Marijuana Extract Ok'd For Medicine

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
Commercial Appeal, 18 Apr 2014 - Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill to legalize a marijuana extract to be used as medicine under tightly controlled circumstances. House Bill 1231 becomes law July 1. Republican Bryant says he signed it Thursday, only after Bureau of Narcotics officials assured him the oil can't be used to produce a high.
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US NJ: Column: My Vape Pen And I, A Love Story

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 18 Apr 2014 - My vape pen and I maintain a mostly private relationship. Sure, I'll sometimes show my pen to a friend or share her with a close confidant. But mostly it's just she and I working through my pain. And her ability to helpme live comfortably with glaucoma makes her one of the more important figures in my day to day. When I show her to a friend, the reaction 99 percent of the time is: "Holy shit, where did you get this and how can I get me one?" They're seriously that blown away by my vape pen. And they should be. She's that amazing.
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US FL: Push For Medical Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 18 Apr 2014 - Referendum Supporters Mobilize With Election Six Months Away One of the hottest political campaigns of 2014 will kick into high gear this weekend as proponents of legalizing medical marijuana mobilize for a day of political organizing.
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I'm Denver Bound, So No Chronicle AM for Friday

Speakeasy Blog (STDW) - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:42

I'm driving from eastern South Dakota to Denver Friday in preparation for the 4/20 weekend there.

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Chronicle AM -- April 17, 2014

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 17:40

Marijuana legalization initiatives are in the news, the NCAA ponders relaxing marijuana penalties, a vaporizer company wants to drug test its workers, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

New Approach Oregon Legalization Initiative Starts Signature-Gathering. Signature gathering began today for the New Approach Oregon legalization initiative. Backers need 87,213 valid voter signatures by July 3, and they say they are confident they will get them. Another initiative, Paul Stanford's Oregon Cannabis Tax Act initiative, is already in the midst of signature-gathering.

New Approach Oregon Legalization Initiative Gets $100,000 Donation from Fragrance Heir. Henry van Ameringen, heir to a fragrance fortune, has donated $100,000 to the New Approach Oregon legalization initiative.

Alaska Legalization Initiative Campaign Challenges Opponents. In a Wednesday morning press conference, supporters of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska stood outside a downtown Anchorage office building with a giant novelty check written out to "No on 2/ Project S.A.M." for $9,015 -- the same amount of money the alcohol lobby donated to former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy during his time in office. Kennedy is the cofounder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national group that opposes marijuana legalization. The event served as a challenge to opponents of the Alaska measure -- a group collectively known as "Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No On 2" -- to show the public the science proving that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol.

Rhode Island House Panel Hears Legalization Bill. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a marijuana legalization bill. The measure, House Bill 7506, sponsored by Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence), would allow adults to possess up to one once and grow one plant, as well as establishing a system of legal marijuana commerce. The committee took no action. Click on the link to get the flavor of the testimony.

NCAA Ponders Reducing Penalties for Athletes Who Test Positive for Pot. The NCAA is mulling a proposal to reduce the penalty for a student-athlete's positive marijuana test from a full-season suspension to a half-season, according to CBSSports.com. The site's senior college football columnist, Dennis Dodd, reported that the idea, which is likely to be approved, reflects the association's view that marijuana use is not performance enhancing.

Medical Marijuana

Wisconsin Governor Signs Limited CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. Gov. Scott Walker (R) has signed Assembly Bill 726, which would allow the limited use of CBD cannabis oil as a treatment for seizures.

Major Medical Marijuana Industry Company Announces Drug Testing Program, But Not for Pot. OPenVAPE, a vaporizer manufacturer that bills itself as "the nation's largest cannabis brand," announced today that it will begin a drug testing program for employees. But the company won't test for the drug its products are designed to be used with; instead, it will only test for "dangerous drugs." Click on the link to read their press release.

Sentencing

Drug Policy Alliance Intervenes in Case of Louisiana Man Doing 13 Years for Two Joints. The Drug Policy Alliance has filed an amicus brief with the Louisiana Supreme Court in the case of Bernard Noble, who is serving 13 years in prison for marijuana possession. "Thirteen years in prison for two joints is obscene," said Daniel Abrahamson, the lead author of the brief for the Drug Policy Alliance. "The punishment is so far out of proportion to the conduct that we really can't call it 'punishment' -- it is more like torture." Louisiana has some of the toughest drug laws in the nation.

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US OK: Editorial: Treatment of Tobacco, Pot From Theater of

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00
The Oklahoman, 17 Apr 2014 - TREATMENT OF TOBACCO, POT FROM THEATER OF THE ABSURD WHEN it comes to tobacco and marijuana, public policies appear headed in contradictory directions. For years, candy cigarettes have been criticized as providing children a gateway to tobacco smoking. In similar fashion, the federal government banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes in 2009 as part of an effort to reduce youth smoking.
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US WA: Review: The Long View On Pot's Pros And Cons

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 17 Apr 2014 - As a young Army officer in 1967, Roger Roffman was the first to conduct research on pot use by soldiers in Vietnam. For Roffman, a University of Washington professor emeritus, that began a career as a marijuana researcher and dependence counselor.
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US CO: Pot Company Bans Drug Use

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 17 Apr 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Workers for one of Colorado's biggest marijuana businesses learned Wednesday they can be fired for smoking pot on the job or using cocaine any time. The policy, the first of its kind for O.penVAPE, includes random testing for drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines, but not for marijuana, company spokesman Todd Mitchem said. The two-year-old company employs more than 125 people in Colorado and sells its products in Colorado, Washington and California. The products include cartridges filled with cannabis oil and a battery-powered vaporizer that resembles a pen designed for cannabis-oil use.
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Faith Leaders Issue Easter Statement on War on Drugs, Mass Incarceration [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 23:23

A broad coalition of Christian leaders have taken the occasion of the holiest day on the Christian calendar to release an Easter statement calling for the end of the war on drugs and mass incarceration. They said they chose the Easter season to release their statement because of the spirit of the Resurrection, which Easter commemorates and celebrates.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]The statement calls for repealing laws that criminalize drug possession and replacing them with policies that expand access to effective health approaches to drug use, including evidence-based drug treatment.

It also calls for the elimination of policies that result in racially disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates and that that unjustly exclude people with a record of arrest or conviction from key rights and opportunities.

The United States is the world leader in incarceration, accounting for 25% of the global prison population while only making up 5% of the planet's population. In state prisons, drug offenders typically make up 20-30% of all prisoners, although that proportion has begun declining as nearly half the states have undertaken sentencing reforms in recent years.

But while state prison population numbers have begun a slight decline, the federal prison population continues to increase, driven in large part by the war on drugs. As of this month, there were more than 216,000 federal prisoners, with just more than half (50.1%) doing time for drug crimes, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

"The cross that faith leaders are imploring others to take up is this unjust and immoral war on drugs and mass incarceration of the poor. In particular, poor black and brown young adults whose futures are being ruined at the most critical point in their lives," said Reverend John E. Jackson of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.

"We are guided by our religious principles to serve those in need and give voice to those who have been marginalized and stigmatized by unjust policies. We cannot sit silently while a misguided war is waged on entire communities, ostensibly under the guise of combating the very real harms of drug abuse. The war on drugs has become a costly, ineffective and unjust failure," says Reverend Edwin Sanders, who is a Board Member of the Drug Policy Alliance and the Senior Servant for the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]"We are called upon to follow Jesus's example in opposing the war on drugs, which has resulted in the United States becoming the world's biggest jailer," added Sanders.

"Resurrection reality commissions and commands us to change these policies, laws and systems that rob whole communities of their most precious resource, their young. These are the ones Jesus faced betrayal, denial and desertion for. These are the ones Jesus gave up everything for. These are the issues Jesus was raised from a 3 day grave to speak truth to power to through our voices, through our crying loud and sparing not and through our organized efforts," added Jackson.

The story of the prodigal son is appropriate to ponder, said Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, Founder and Executive Director of The Ordinary Peoples Society, in Dothan, Alabama, himself a former drug war prisoner.

"The story of the prodigal son says he went out and lived a riotous life, like somebody who committed a crime or was on drugs or got incarcerated," said Glasgow. "The father of the prodigal son embraced him with open arms, but as a society, we don't do that. We incarcerate instead of trying to treat or restore. His father gave him shoes on his feet and a coat of many colors. These are things we're not doing when it comes to mass incarceration and the war on drugs."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]The struggle against the war on drugs is a fight for civil rights and democracy, said Glasgow.

"After they gave us civil rights, they came along with the drug war and took our voting rights back," he said, referring to the hundreds of thousands who have had voted rights restricted or denied after being convicted of drug offenses.

There are concrete steps to take, said several speakers.

"We want to repeal the laws that criminalize drug possession and replace them with effective approaches, and put an end to any policy that unjustly excludes people because they have a previous criminal conviction," said the Rev Michael McBride, Director of Urban Strategies, Lifelines to Healing, Berkeley, California.

"We are fighting a righteous fight and standing in solidarity in the Holy Week to call for an end to the war on drugs and mass incarceration," McBride added. "We are organizing hundreds of faith congregations across the country to build a faith and moral movement to address and redress these unjust policies. Holy Week reminds us that death does not have a final say, but that God is able to bring redemption for the worst things that happen in our lives. Mass incarceration is the civil rights issue of our generation, and the faith community is in the forefront."

"For those of us who follow Jesus, this is the time to receive his grace, but also to receive his calling," said Bill Mefford, director of Civil and Human Rights for the United Methodist Church, which has been at the forefront of the faith community's challenge to the drug war. "It is time to proclaim relief for the captives and freedom for the oppressed. Unfortunately, because we are the world's leader in incarceration, we don't have to look far," he noted.

Mefford is the chairman of an interfaith coalition working on Capitol Hill to reform the criminal justice system. It represents 35 faith organizations with millions of members.

"There are steps we can take to rescue ourselves from our own captivity," Medford continued. "We can pass the Smarter Sentencing Act as an incremental step toward justice reform that will address costly overcrowding at the Bureau of Prisons by cutting in half mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenses."

The Smarter Sentencing Act has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and awaits a Senate floor vote. It has yet to move in the GOP-controlled House.

As Holy Week looms, it is indeed appropriate to ask that rhetorical question. When it comes to dealing with drug use and the drug trade, what would Jesus do?

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