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1 US AZ: Lawsuit Seeks To Keep Recreational Marijuana Off AZ BallotWed, 22 Jul 2020
Source:Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ) Author:Fischer, Howard Area:Arizona Lines:126 Added:07/25/2020

PHOENIX - Foes of legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana in Arizona are trying to keep the issue from going to voters in November.

Legal papers filed in Maricopa County Superior Court contend the legally required 100-word description misled people into signing the petition to put the issue on the ballot. Issues range from the definition of "marijuana" to how the law would affect driving while impaired.

The lawsuit comes as a new survey Tuesday finds widespread support for the proposal a=80" with more than 6 out of every 10 likely voters saying they will support it if it is on the ballot. Pollster Mike Noble of OH Predictive Insights said the query of 600 likely voters found that just 32% say they're definitely opposed.

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2 CN AB: PUB LTE: Harm Reduction Still An Effective StrategyWed, 22 Jul 2020
Source:Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)          Area:Alberta Lines:45 Added:07/25/2020

Like myself, I suspect many citizens of Lethbridge were alarmed by the finding of misappropriated funds within ARCHES, and the subsequent withdrawal of provincial funding to their supervised consumption site (SCS). As an RN who has worked for a number of years in harm reduction, I am reeling for our clients and their families in terms of how this will impact them.

One thing is clear - the inappropriate management of funds within one agency does not refute decades of empirical research behind the effectiveness of harm-reduction interventions in mitigating drug-related health and social issues. This financial audit was not intended to evaluate the effectiveness of harm-reduction services provided to people who use drugs. To conflate findings of financial mismanagement with lack of effectiveness in harm reduction would only further exacerbate drug-related health issues.

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3CN SK: Criminalization Of Simple Drug Possession Has Had 'DevastatingWed, 22 Jul 2020
Source:StarPhoenix, The (CN SN) Author:James, Thia        Lines:Excerpt Added:07/25/2020

Criminalization of simple drug possession has had 'devastating effect,' says AIDS Saskatoon director

A Saskatoon police spokeswoman said city police generally lay drug possession charges as a result of an investigation into something else.

Criminalization of possession of illicit drugs for personal use has had a "devastating effect," says the AIDS Saskatoon's executive director.

Jason Mercredi said he fully supports a call by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police on the federal government to decriminalize simple possession of illicit drugs for personal use. The CACP made the call last week after issuing its findings in a report.

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4 US CA: When California Declared War On Cannabis GrowersWed, 22 Jul 2020
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Niekerken, Bill Van Area:California Lines:118 Added:07/25/2020

As state law enforcement played whack-a-mole with illegal marijuana fields, local communities protested the "invading army."

Driving through Humboldt County last winter, I heard radio ads for help harvesting and selling cannabis crops, as well as for products geared toward commercial cultivation. But less than 40 years ago, the same area was one of the main battlefields of California's war on pot growers.

By the late 1960s, the three counties of the Emerald Triangle had developed a reputation for growing a high-quality product. Demand grew rapidly, and prices skyrocketed, fueling greater production. In 1983, after several unsuccessful attempts to cut down production, the state started the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP.

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5 New Zealand: Oped: Opinion As Well As Science Informs Policy AdviceThu, 23 Jul 2020
Source:Otago Daily Times (New Zealand) Author:Boden, Joe Area:New Zealand Lines:109 Added:07/25/2020

Prof Joe Boden, of the University of Otago, provides a view from inside the expert panel on cannabis ahead of this year's cannabis referendum.

A year ago several New Zealand academics, me included, were invited to join the expert panel on cannabis by the Prime Minister's Chief Science Adviser, Prof Juliet Gerrard.

With the referendum on the legalisation of cannabis planned for this year, the Prime Minister had asked Prof Gerrard to assemble the panel in order to present research on cannabis, cannabis-related harm and cannabis law reform to New Zealanders in an accessible manner.

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6 CN BC: Are More B.C. Tokers Finally Looking To Legal Cannabis OverFri, 24 Jul 2020
Source:Victoria News (CN BC) Author:Wadhwani, Ashley Area:British Columbia Lines:51 Added:07/25/2020

A recent poll suggests 51 per cent of British Columbians are buying all product legally

B.C. has had a difficult road to getting cannabis users interested in purchasing from legal retailers over their neighbourhood dealer, but a recent poll suggests that the province may finally be winning the battle over bud.

A Research Co. poll released earlier this month found that 51 per cent of B.C. respondents who have consumed cannabis in the past six months have bought all of their products from licensed retailers. That's an 18-point increase from a similar survey conducted in October 2019.

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7 Canada: Oped: Tough-On-Crime Anti-Drug Moralizing Does A DisserviceSat, 25 Jul 2020
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Schultz, William Area:Canada Lines:118 Added:07/25/2020

If the idea of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of illicit drugs once sounded radical, the coalition of people who now espouse the idea would certainly seem to be strange bedfellows.

On July 9, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police called on the federal government to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit drugs; B.C. Premier John Horgan asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do the same in a Jul. 20 letter. Benjamin Perrin, the top criminal justice adviser in Stephen Harper's "tough-on-crime" administration, recently wrote a book in support of decriminalization, and major publications, including The Globe and Mail, have published editorials urging the same.

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8 US CA: California Weighs Steep New Fines To Combat Illegal CannabisMon, 20 Jul 2020
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:McGreevy, Patrick Area:California Lines:141 Added:07/25/2020

SACRAMENTO - Alarmed that unlicensed cannabis sellers continue to dominate California's pot market, state lawmakers are moving toward imposing steep new fines on businesses that provide building space, advertising platforms and other aid to illicit operations.

Those who provide assistance to illegal pot sellers would face civil fines of up to $30,000 per day under legislation approved unanimously by the state Assembly that is now pending in the Senate. A final vote on the proposal is expected sometime after lawmakers return to Sacramento this month.

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9Canada: Editorial: National Post View: Listen To The PoliceWed, 22 Jul 2020
Source:National Post (Canada)          Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:07/22/2020

Listen to the police

Let's talk about decriminalizing all drugs

We're having a national conversation about policing and criminal justice. Examining our drug laws is a natural extension of this debate

More than nine years ago, writing about the war on drugs, this editorial board encouraged the government of then-prime minister Stephen Harper to get bolder with decriminalizing cannabis.

"By any reasonably broad metric," we wrote then, the war on drugs "has been an abysmal failure. According to estimates by the UN - by no means a liberal organization when it comes to drug policy - worldwide consumption of opiates rose 34.5 per cent from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27 per cent, and cannabis by 8.5 per cent. In achieving that abject failure, tens of thousands of people have been killed."

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10 US CA: L.A. To Dismiss 66,000 Pot CasesFri, 14 Feb 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Mai-Duc, Christine Area:California Lines:92 Added:02/14/2020

Largest such move in California comes amid nationwide push for criminal-justice reform and relaxing drug laws

Los Angeles County will vacate nearly 66,000 marijuana convictions dating back to the 1960s, part of a growing national effort to reduce drug convictions.

The move, announced Thursday by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, will dismiss convictions for tens of thousands of individuals, the majority of whom are black or Latino.

"As a result of our actions, these convictions should no longer burden those who have struggled to find a job or a place to live because of their criminal record," Ms. Lacey said in a press conference Thursday.

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11 US: PUB LTE: Give Marijuana Tax Revenues To The HarmedThu, 13 Feb 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Papillion, Natalie Area:United States Lines:38 Added:02/13/2020

Using cannabis tax revenues to plug local budget holes has been an effective talking point in advancing marijuana-legalization proposals across the country ("Cities Look to Marijuana Taxes for Help," U.S. News, Feb. 5). However, it is vital that lawmakers also use these cannabis tax revenues to fund programs that serve the individuals whose lives and communities have been destroyed by the misguided, racially biased policies of America's war on drugs. Decriminalization and expungement bills don't go far enough.

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12 US: PUB LTE: Cities Want To Use Pot As A Cure-AllThu, 13 Feb 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Anderson, Byron Area:United States Lines:24 Added:02/13/2020

Give Marijuana Tax Revenues to the Harmed We have a moral imperative to try to right the wrongs of the war on drugs. We should start by investing in the very communities it harmed.

It is a sad day when cities and states use pot to entice residents from states that haven't legalized it to help pay for their irresponsibly designed and funded pensions and fixing their pot holes.

Byron Anderson

Saratoga, Calif.

[end]

13 US: Cities Look To Marijuana Taxes For HelpWed, 05 Feb 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Gillers, Heather Area:United States Lines:127 Added:02/05/2020

South Beloit, Ill., faces steep bills to fund its firefighter and police pensions and repave its cracked streets. Now, Mayor Ted Rehl has a plan to help cover the shortfall: marijuana.

South Beloit, less than a mile from the Wisconsin state border, will welcome its first cannabis dispensary later this year. Recreational cannabis became legal in Illinois on Jan. 1 but remains illegal in Wisconsin. The Illinois town hopes to collect roughly $1 million a year in taxes on marijuana purchases, mostly by Wisconsinites.

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14 US: PUB LTE: No Vape Disease From Legal Marijuana In CaliforniaMon, 27 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Gieringer, Dale Area:United States Lines:39 Added:01/27/2020

Kevin Sabet has it backward in "How Legal Weed Shops Feed the Vaping Crisis" (op-ed, Jan 21). Here in California, not a single case of vape disease has been traced to a legal, state-regulated source, according to the state Bureau of Cannabis Control. Rather, the source of the problem is illicit manufacturers of contaminated goods on the underground market.

Contrary to Mr. Sabet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention never examined the safety of state-regulated vapes. Rather, it attributed 16% of vape disease cases to so-called "commercial" sources, loosely defined to include all "dispensaries, vape or smoke shops, stores and pop-up shops" regardless of their legality. In California, illicit pot outlets outnumber legal ones by over 2 to 1, no thanks to burdensome taxes, regulations and local and federal bans on legal outlets.

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15US: Weed At WorkTue, 21 Jan 2020
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Jones, Charisse Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:01/21/2020

From makeup and oils to capsules for stress relief, cannabis-based goods are flowing into the marketplace. But while they may not get you high, they can still cause you problems at work.

Cannabidiol or CBD has been showing up in a widening array of goods. That's because federal legislation in 2018 deemed that hemp - one of its sources - was not an illegal controlled substance.

But your job could be in jeopardy if one of those products, which are largely unregulated, contains THC, the same compound that causes marijuana users to get high.

[end]

16 US: OPED: How Legal Weed Shops Feed The Vaping CrisisTue, 21 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Sabet, Kevin Area:United States Lines:80 Added:01/21/2020

State-sanctioned marijuana shops are contributing to the rise in lung illnesses and deaths at a higher rate than previously believed.

Proponents of the marijuana industry have dismissed the "pot vaping crisis," with its deaths and lung injuries, as an aberration of the illicit market. Legal pot, they say, is regulated and thus not to blame for the recent spate of problems. Victims and families who came forward to warn about purchases made at state-licensed shops were lambasted by legalization advocates. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against using all marijuana vaping products, industry insiders questioned their motives and called the warnings conspiracy theories.

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17US CA: Marijuana On The Job: Some New Twists In Drug TestingFri, 17 Jan 2020
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Phomicinda, Watchara Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/18/2020

Three years after recreational marijuana was legalized in California, it still casts a cloud over most job applicants.

Many employers in the state still require drug screening as a prerequisite for hiring someone, experts in the hiring field say. And while recreational use and possession are allowed for people 21 and older, failing a drug test can still prompt an employer to toss a resume into the reject pile.

But with 11 states now legalizing recreational marijuana use, there are new perspectives that might be giving workers something of a break.

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18US MN: Minnesota Study Links Pot Use In Pregnancy To Infant HealthFri, 10 Jan 2020
Source:Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author:Olson, Jeremy Area:Minnesota Lines:Excerpt Added:01/13/2020

Researchers hope the findings counter recent trends of mothers using marijuana for pregnancy-related nausea symptoms.

Researchers in Minnesota and Iowa have found greater risks of social and emotional problems in infants whose mothers consumed marijuana during pregnancy.

Using results of a developmental screening tool for 1-year-olds, the researchers found that 9.1% of babies from marijuana users were at risk, compared to 3.6% of babies whose mothers didn't consume the drug while pregnant.

Researchers said the size of that gap was surprising, along with screening results showing that 8% of mothers tested positive during pregnancy for the presence of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, said Dr. Elyse Kharbanda, lead researcher of the study from the HealthPartners Institute in Bloomington, Minn. Researchers from the universities of Minnesota and Iowa co-authored the study, which was published in the Journal of Perinatology.

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19US: Marijuana Psychosis Treatment Tough To Find For Young PeopleTue, 07 Jan 2020
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Donnell, Jayne O' Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:01/07/2020

When Garrett Rigg moved from a "transitional living program" facility near Chicago last month into a group home, it was a major milestone for the 27-year-old, who traveled 1,000 miles from his home in Denver to get treatment after a cannabis-induced psychotic break five years ago.

Rigg had to leave his hometown because it lacked suitable long-term treatment, according to his mother, Connie Kabrick. The three marijuana dispensaries at the intersection a half block from her home are the reason why she says he can't move

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20 US: LTE: The Harms Of Marijuana Are IgnoredTue, 07 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Madejski, Thomas J. Area:United States Lines:33 Added:01/07/2020

Regarding your editorial "The Vaping-Marijuana Nexus" (Dec. 26): Tobacco, marijuana and vaping companies mislead the public on the clear harms associated with wider use of today's higher-THC-content marijuana and inhaling substances other than clean air. Opponents of expansion of marijuana availability acknowledge concerns about disparate enforcement of drug laws. But the costs to society from legitimizing the addiction industry far outweigh the benefits.

Meanwhile, proponents of recreational marijuana push the false narrative of a tax windfall for governments and improved safety for users while ignoring the harms: mental-health issues, addiction, acute and chronic lung disease, domestic violence and more.

Dr. Madejski was president of the Medical Society of the State of New York from 2018 to 2019.

[end]

21 US: PUB LTE: The Gateway Theory Is A JokeTue, 07 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Nostrand, David Allan Van Area:United States Lines:23 Added:01/07/2020

"Is Marijuana Fueling a Public-Health Crisis?"

The statistic from your editorial, that "95% of heroin and cocaine users report first using pot," doesn't prove much. Remember, 99% of criminal motorcycle-gang members started by riding bicycles.

David Allan Van Nostrand

Boca Raton, Fla.

[end]

22 US: LTE: We Still Need To Learn More About CannabisTue, 07 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Cobert, Barton Area:United States Lines:33 Added:01/07/2020

As a physician specializing in drug safety, I agree that "pot is more dangerous than people realize, and Americans should pause on the rush to legalize until we understand how much medical and social harm it is doing."

The safety profile of cannabis is largely unknown. The states and localities that have legalized marijuana have focused on the quality of marijuana products, but haven't required anyone to systematically report side effects. That needs to change. Since today's marijuana products are four to five times more potent than past products, old data understates the safety issues.

I fear that the marijuana story is a slow-moving train wreck. We're witnessing widespread use of largely unregulated and untested products which may be toxic in themselves as well as adulterated or counterfeited.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

[end]

23 US: PUB LTE: The Majority Agree With Policy ReformTue, 07 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Armentano, Paul Area:United States Lines:37 Added:01/07/2020

One in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside some place where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. Many of these latter programs have been in place for the better part of two decades.

Were the societal impacts of these policies not preferable to those associated with criminal prohibition, or as dire to public health as some critics suggest, then support for marijuana policy reform would be rapidly declining. Instead, the opposite is true.

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24US: The Human Cost Of Marijuana Is So HighMon, 06 Jan 2020
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Donnell, Jayne O' Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:01/06/2020

I've covered things that injure, sicken and kill kids and adults for more than 30 years. From auto safety to medical errors, I've competed to break stories on the latest deadly defect or health policy change, most recently on electronic cigarettes.

In late August, I added vaping-related lung illnesses to the beat. Last month, I added marijuana, psychosis and other mental illness.

It's a pretty solitary place to be.

We reporters covered the heck out of vaping lung illnesses starting in August. Once it became clear the culprit was THC and not nicotine, however, the news media seemed to lose interest, said former Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb at a breakfast event I attended in early November.

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25 Bolivia: Coca Growers Face New HostilityFri, 03 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Otts, John Area:Bolivia Lines:131 Added:01/03/2020

SHINAHOTA, Bolivia-During nearly 14 years as president, Evo Morales pampered the Chapare, the coca leaf-growing jungle region of central Bolivia where he got his start in politics.

Mr. Morales expelled U.S. antidrug agents and promoted the health benefits of the coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, which is legal and chewed by many indigenous people. His socialist government built a paper mill, an airport, and a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in the region. In turn, the farmers gave Mr. Morales, the head of a federation of coca growers, their fervent support.

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26US Il: Legal Weed Sales Begin In IllinoisThu, 02 Jan 2020
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Hauck, Grace Area:Illinois Lines:Excerpt Added:01/02/2020

It's a new year and, for Illinois, a new era of recreational marijuana.

Weed dispensaries across the state opened their doors before sunrise Wednesday, welcoming long lines of customers - some who had been waiting since 4 a.m.

"Cheers to lighting up the start of 2020!" one dispensary, Sunnyside, wrote on its Facebook page.

Under Illinois law, anyone over 21 with a valid state ID or driver's license can purchase recreational marijuana from licensed retailers.

[end]

27 US IL: Legal Weed In IlinoisThu, 02 Jan 2020
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:701 Added:01/02/2020

Illinois started off the new decade by embarking into the world of recreational marijuana, where people can buy the intoxicating plant legally and without a prescription.

Across the Chicago area, thousands lined up - some before dawn - for a chance to buy marijuana legally for the first time. The day featured long lines, a few glitches - and lots of happy customers.

"It's history, so it's worth the wait," Damien Smith of Maywood said as he left MedMen dispensary in Oak Park with a bag of cannabis products after waiting in line for about four hours.

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28 US: LTE: The Consequences Of LegalizationThu, 02 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Bensinger, Peter Area:United States Lines:40 Added:01/02/2020

Your editorial "The Vaping-Marijuana Nexus" (Dec. 26) is a wake-up call for parents and politicians. Marijuana isn't harmless. Nor is it legal under federal law, and for good reason. It contains more than 460 different chemicals and, as the editorial board points out, it's four to five times more powerful than the marijuana of the 1970s, '80s or '90s.

Extensive scientific research has documented serious harm to brain development for teenage regular users, major consequences for pregnant and nursing mothers and significant impairment for drivers and others performing sensitive tasks. Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, leads the nation in use by 12-to-17-year-olds. Meanwhile, the gangs and drug dealers are cheering because their sales have skyrocketed, selling to minors and others at lower prices than dispensaries can offer.

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29 US: LTE: The Marijuana Experiment Is A FailureThu, 02 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Luti, William Area:United States Lines:47 Added:01/02/2020

The editorial board is right to take a stand and tell the truth about marijuana. The grand marijuana human experiment in the "legal" states, abetted by an addiction-for-profit industry and politicians hungry for tax revenue, has taken a cruel toll.

By any objective benchmark, the experiments have failed: emergency-room visits, driving fatalities, calls to poison control, youth use and suicidal ideation have increased since legalization. Overproduction and black-market sales have collapsed the legal revenue streams, which are insufficient to cover the societal harms caused by high-potency THC.

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30 US: PUB LTE: Prohibition Is The Problem, Not MarijuanaThu, 02 Jan 2020
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Singer, Jeffrey A. Area:United States Lines:45 Added:01/02/2020

It is difficult to keep track of the fallacies and straw men in your reefer madness rant. Start with the obvious: The federal ban on cannabis makes it impossible for legal, federally regulated e-cigarette makers to develop and market safe THC cartridges for vaping. Consequently, most THC cartridges are dangerous bootleg products sold on the black market. Federal legalization would lead to improved product safety for which manufacturers would be held accountable.

The reason unlicensed dispensaries are flourishing in California relates to the state's exorbitant taxes and burdensome regulations. This isn't the case in Colorado and Washington, where an oversupply of legal cannabis outlets has driven prices down so much that state-based growers turn to California's black market in search of profits.

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31US IL: Illinois Sees First Legal Sales Of Recreational MarijuanaWed, 01 Jan 2020
Source:Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)          Area:Illinois Lines:Excerpt Added:01/01/2020

CHICAGO - The sale of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal Wednesday in Illinois to the delight of pot fans - many who began lining up hours early at dispensaries.

About 500 people were outside Dispensary 33 in Chicago. Renzo Mejia made the first legal purchase in the shop shortly after 6 a.m., the earliest that Illinois' new law allowed such sales.

"To be able to have (recreational marijuana) here is just mind-boggling," Mejia told the Chicago Sun-Times after buying an eighth of an ounce called "Motorbreath."

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32 US CA: California Attempts To Revive Compassionate Cannabis ProgramsWed, 01 Jan 2020
Source:San Francisco Examiner (CA) Author:Kreidler, Mark Area:California Lines:153 Added:01/01/2020

For years, Richard Manning knew what he needed to cope with his physical pain, rage and PTSD - much of which he traced to a career-ending knee injury he suffered while on a domestic security detail with the Marines.

Cannabis may not have been a cure-all, but it was the closest thing he'd ever had to one.

Manning, a resident of Elk Grove, Calif., didn't have enough money to buy the daily amount of cannabis he needed, but he was able to get it through a network of charitable donors spawned by the Compassionate Use Act, a 1996 California law that allowed marijuana to be used for medical purposes.

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33US CA: Marijuana: 6 Things To Watch For In California In 2020Mon, 30 Dec 2019
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Agro, Nick Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:12/31/2019

As California enters its third year of legal recreational cannabis sales, many expect upcoming new laws, high-profile court cases and major criminal justice reforms to shake up the industry.

Marijuana advocates are wary after a challenging second year, but most also are hopeful that changes in 2020 will put them in a better position a year from now.

"We always knew it would be an uphill battle," said Robert Flannery of Dr. Robb Farms, a cannabis cultivation company based in Desert Hot Springs. "But there are very few people who are not generally optimistic about the cannabis industry."

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34 Italy: Growing A Little Marijuana At Home Is Not Against The LawSat, 28 Dec 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Momigliano, Anna Area:Italy Lines:100 Added:12/28/2019

ROME - Growing small amounts of marijuana at home for private use is not a crime, Italy's top court has ruled, putting an end to a years-long legal dispute and adding Italy to the short list of countries to allow cultivation of recreational cannabis.

A 1990s law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Italy, but conflicting court decisions, and a 2016 amendment that opened a loophole in the law, created confusion over how it should be interpreted.

The country's highest court appears to have settled at least part of the question, writing in a one-page statement of its findings that "at home, small-scale cultivation activities are to be considered excluded from the application of the penal code."

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35 US: Canada Banker Is Pot's Money ManMon, 23 Dec 2019
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Monga, Vipal Area:United States Lines:251 Added:12/27/2019

Graham Saunders is a man in high demand.

When U.S. cannabis companies need financing they can't find elsewhere, they turn to this Toronto banker who operates far from Wall Street. Since the spring of 2016, Mr. Saunders's team at Canadian boutique firm Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. has helped finance more than half of all pot deals in the global equity markets, raising more than $5 billion from investors, according to Dealogic.

The king of pot financing presents himself in business meetings as a banker from another era, sporting pinstripe suits, monogrammed cuff links and slicked-back hair. He drives a Bentley, has a collection of expensive watches, and answers to his high-school nickname, "Sudsy." Mr. Saunders, 51, has become so identified with cannabis that he has a jacket with marijuana leaves printed on it.

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36 US: Editorial: The Vaping-Marijuana NexusThu, 26 Dec 2019
Source:Wall Street Journal (US)          Area:United States Lines:96 Added:12/26/2019

A surge in vaping related lung illnesses this year caught the medical community by surprise, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting more than 2,500 lung illnesses and 54 deaths. Politicians are targeting e-cigarettes, but the CDC reported last week that marijuana is so far the greatest common denominator.

This is another reminder that America is undertaking a risky social experiment by legalizing and especially destigmatizing cannabis, and the potential effects are hard to foresee or control. The same political culture that is in a fury over legal opioids, and is trying to bankrupt drug companies as compensation, seems to have no problem celebrating a drug that may be damaging young brains for a lifetime.

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37 US: Baba Ram Dass, Proponent Of LSD Turned New Age Guru, Dies At 88Tue, 24 Dec 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Martin, Douglas Area:United States Lines:198 Added:12/24/2019

Baba Ram Dass, who epitomized the 1960s of legend by popularizing psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary, a fellow Harvard academic, before finding spiritual inspiration in India, died on Sunday at his home on Maui, Hawaii. He was 88.

His death was announced on his official Instagram account.

Having returned from India as a bushy-bearded, barefoot, white-robed guru, Ram Dass, who was born Richard Alpert, became a peripatetic lecturer on New Age possibilities and a popular author of more than a dozen inspirational books.

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38 US CO: Denver, Colorado Springs Pot Lounges First To Apply For StateSat, 21 Dec 2019
Source:Westword (Denver, CO) Author:Petrovic, Nina Area:Colorado Lines:67 Added:12/21/2019

The Coffee Joint, the first establishment to hold a cannabis consumption license in Denver, is now the second pot lounge business to apply for a state social consumption license.

Colorado Springs social lounge Studio A64 successfully applied for a social consumption license at the state Marijuana Enforcement Division office three hours before Coffee Joint owners Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov could beat them to it.

Studio A64 could not be reached for comment, but Tsalyuk and Merkulov say the opportunity to apply for a state license is a big step for all cannabis businesses. "This is bigger than us. It's just a bigger step in the industry," Tsalyuk explains. "It opens the door to do something different and plan ahead for the next year."

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39US: Pot, Psychosis Link Real, Doctors WarnMon, 16 Dec 2019
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Hughes, Trevor Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:12/20/2019

Early one morning in March, Madison McIntosh showed up on his day off at the Scottsdale, Arizona, driving range and restaurant where he worked. The 24-year-old sat in his car until the place opened, then wandered around all day, alternating between gibberish and talk of suicide as co-workers tried to keep him away from customers.

When he was still there 12 hours later, the manager contacted McIntosh's father in Las Vegas, who called police and rallied other family members states away to converge at the young man's side.

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40 Canada: Pot in Canada: Legal, But Not ProfitableMon, 16 Dec 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Austin, Ian Area:Canada Lines:196 Added:12/20/2019

SMITHS FALLS, Ontario - When Canada became the first major industrialized nation to legalize recreational marijuana, visions of billions of dollars in profits inspired growers, retailers and investors, sending the stock market soaring in a so-called green rush.

A year later, the euphoria has vanished.

"No one wants to invest in it now," said John-Kurt Pliniussen, a professor of marketing at the Smith School of Business at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

That is because those who have invested have generally lost money. During the first year after legalization, the value of shares in Canada's six largest marijuana companies tumbled by an average of 56 percent, according to stock price data.

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41US GA: Mayor Wants To Restrict Access To Pot RecordsTue, 17 Dec 2019
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Kass, Arielle Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:12/20/2019

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms wants to restrict public access to people's criminal records for convictions of less than an ounce of marijuana - an executive action announced Monday that she said was "in keeping with our commitment to meaningful criminal justice reform."

The administrative order requires city officials - specifically the chief operating officer, city attorney, solicitor and chief judge of the Municipal Court - to establish a standard process by which people can apply to have those court records made off-limits to everyone except law enforcement by Feb. 1.

[continues 51 words]

42 US OK: A Call To Action As Deaths Rise From Meth UseWed, 18 Dec 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Goodnough, Abby Area:Oklahoma Lines:204 Added:12/18/2019

TULSA, Okla. - The teenager had pink cheeks from the cold and a matter-of-fact tone as she explained why she had started using methamphetamine after becoming homeless last year.

"Having nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat - that's where meth comes into play," said the girl, 17, who asked to be identified by her nickname, Rose. "Those things aren't a problem if you're using."

She stopped two months ago, she said, after smoking so much meth over a 24-hour period that she hallucinated and nearly jumped off a bridge. Deaths associated with meth use are climbing here in Oklahoma and in many other states, an alarming trend for a nation battered by the opioid epidemic, and one that public health officials are struggling to fully explain.

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43 US TN: Drug Crisis Ravages Rural America And Fills Its JailsSat, 14 Dec 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Oppel, Richard A. Area:Tennessee Lines:197 Added:12/14/2019

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - The Hamblen County Jail has been described as a dangerously overcrowded "cesspool of a dungeon," with inmates sleeping on mats in the hallways, lawyers forced to meet their clients in a supply closet and the people inside subjected to "horrible conditions" every day.

And that's the county sheriff talking.

Jail populations used to be concentrated in big cities. But since 2013, the number of people locked up in rural, conservative counties such as Hamblen has skyrocketed, driven by the nation's drug crisis.

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44US: Crack vs Heroin: 2 Races, 2 ResultsFri, 13 Dec 2019
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Mullen, Shannon Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:12/13/2019

Dannis Billups' addiction nightmare began with an actual nightmare when he was about 4 years old. His daddy sat him on his knee and gave him a half-can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer to soothe him.

In the 1980s, he joined the "family trade," a young black man peddling crack cocaine on the streets of Newark, New Jersey, profiting from other people's addiction and pain.

Within a few years, he became his best customer. His life became a never-ending ride on the criminal justice carousel: arrests, jail, probation and then back in the system for another spin, some two dozen times, on and off the ride he went.

"They would never offer you treatment," said Billups, now 53. "They would just lock you away and forget about you."

[end]

45US: Kratom Is Widely Available In Gas Stations, Despite Experts'Sat, 07 Dec 2019
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Robinson, Kevin Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:12/07/2019

There's not much solid data about how widespread the use of a psychoactive plant called kratom is in the U.S.

But if what Dr. Marvin Seppala is seeing in addiction treatment centers all over the country is any indication, use of kratom isn't just on the rise; it's becoming normalized.

"What we're seeing is regular use of it, especially in adolescents and young adults," said Seppala, chief medical officer at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and a 2018 CivicCon speaker. "It really fits in with alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. It's legal, so it's really easy for kids to get a hold of, and they'll try it to see what it does to them."

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46US: Recreational Weed Is Taking HoldMon, 02 Dec 2019
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Hauck, Grace Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:12/02/2019

Two Midwestern states are breaking into the recreational marijuana market, and dispensaries are expecting huge crowds.

Legal weed sales began Sunday in Michigan, where a handful of dispensaries in Ann Arbor planned to be open for business. The landmark moment in the state's cannabis industry comes amid a temporary ban on the sale of vaping devices in Michigan as health officials investigate the causes of vaping-related lung illnesses nationwide.

In Illinois, where officials are grappling with a lack of racial equity in the cannabis industry, sales are expected to begin New Year's Day.

The states are the 10th and 11th nationwide to allow recreational marijuana sales.

Thirty-three states allow the sale of marijuana for medical use, which Michigan legalized in 2008, followed by Illinois in 2013.

[end]

47 UK: Glasgow Tries To Fight Drug Abuse By Prescribing HeroinFri, 29 Nov 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Schaverien, Anna Area:United Kingdom Lines:131 Added:11/29/2019

LONDON - Homeless drug users in Scotland will be allowed to inject pharmaceutical-grade heroin twice a day under the supervision of medical officials as part of a new program intended to reduce drug deaths and H.I.V. infection.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, a $1.5 million facility in Glasgow that opened on Tuesday will allow a handful of drug users to receive doses of the drug alongside other treatment for their physical and psychological health, according to Glasgow City Council.

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48 US CA: Passing The Plate, And The PotSun, 24 Nov 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:John, Arit Area:California Lines:295 Added:11/24/2019

LOS ANGELES - Every Sunday, about two dozen people gather at a green cabin along the main drag of Big Bear, Calif., a small mountain town known for its namesake lake. They go there for Jah Healing Church services, where joints are passed around.

April Mancini, a founder of the church, said she was drawn to the idea of cannabis as a religious sacrament back in 2013, after she met a Rastafarian who was running the place as an unlicensed medicinal dispensary.

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49 US OH: Ohio School To Drug Test All Its StudentsSun, 17 Nov 2019
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Taylor, Derrick Bryson Area:Ohio Lines:100 Added:11/17/2019

In an effort to discourage drug use and vaping, a Catholic high school in Ohio has announced plans to begin testing its students for drugs and nicotine, joining what education professionals are calling a growing trend.

Administrators at Stephen T. Badin High School in Hamilton, Ohio, said in a letter to parents this week that the drug-testing program, which they said had been shaped over the course of two years with help from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, would go into effect in January.

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50 China: China Says No To Marijuana But It Lets Cannabis BloomWed, 13 Nov 2019
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Yang, Stephanie Area:China Lines:127 Added:11/13/2019

QUJING, China-In China, marijuana is seen as a dangerous narcotic, and possession is strictly punished. That hasn't stopped the country from trying to become a powerhouse in the fast-growing industry for cannabis products.

China has grown hemp, a strain of cannabis, for thousands of years to use in clothing and traditional medicine and is one of the world's largest hemp producers. The country is using that foothold to churn out cannabidiol, or CBD, a loosely regulated chemical related to marijuana that is finding its way into products as diverse as bath bombs and pet food.

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