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1 US MA: Psychedelic Mushrooms Earn Serious 2d Look From ScienceMon, 17 Jul 2006
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Cook, Gareth Area:Massachusetts Lines:135 Added:07/17/2006

Psychedelic mushrooms have been a stubborn part of the nation's drug problem for decades, offering their users a potentially dangerous, and decidedly illegal, way to warp their consciousness. Now government-funded scientists have found that the active ingredient in the mushrooms could be a powerful tool for scientific research, and they say it should be explored as a potential treatment for depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

In a paper published last week, scientists at Johns Hopkins University say that a single dose of psilocybin routinely brings about positive psychological changes that can last for months. This lasting effect is surprising and mysterious, the scientists said, but seems to be the result of what they call powerful drug-induced "mystical experiences" that include a feeling of the sacredness and oneness of the universe. More than two-thirds of the volunteers described their session with the drug -- several hours in a laboratory, under close monitoring -- as one of the most meaningful and spiritually significant events in their life, on a par with the birth of a child or the death of a parent.

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2 US OR: Editorial: Test Employees For DrugsMon, 17 Jul 2006
Source:Bulletin, The (Bend, OR)          Area:Oregon Lines:52 Added:07/17/2006

It should be a no-brainer for employers to have a drug-testing policy. In Central Oregon, if a company doesn't, it's asking for trouble.

Central Oregon job applicants test positive for drugs more often than workers in other parts of the state. In 2005, about 8.4 percent of job applicants tested in Central Oregon had tested positive for drugs, according to the testing company Oregon Medical Laboratories. The state average is 6.3 percent. Most test positive for marijuana but the next most common drug is methamphetamine.

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3 US PA: The Science Of Psychedelic MushroomsMon, 17 Jul 2006
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:41 Added:07/17/2006

What makes some mushrooms more psychedelic than others? Researchers at Johns Hopkins University think they know.

A plant alkaloid called psilocybin mimics the effect of serotonin on brain receptors and provides what the researchers called a "primary mystical experience" that may lead to overall positive changes in behavior.

While researchers hailed the discovery as a new way to approach hallucinogenic compounds, they cautioned that the chemical should not be handled lightly.

"Even in this study, where we greatly controlled conditions to minimize adverse effects, about a third of subjects reported significant fear, with some also reporting transient feelings of paranoia," said study leader Roland Griffiths of Hopkins. "Under unmonitored conditions, it's not hard to imagine those emotions escalating to panic and dangerous behavior."

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4 US NY: OPED: Setting Kingpins FreeSun, 16 Jul 2006
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Snyder, Leslie Crocker Area:New York Lines:111 Added:07/17/2006

IN 2004, the New York State Legislature finally enacted changes to the draconian Rockefeller drug laws that imposed long mandatory sentences on major and minor drug dealers. The goal of these changes (later supplemented by further minor reform last year) was to prevent first-time nonviolent offenders -- especially low-level dealers and addicts selling to support their drug habits -- from serving unreasonably lengthy jail sentences.

The new law, the Drug Law Reform Act, reduced penalties, eliminated life sentences and afforded more plea-bargaining options, among other things.

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5 US CA: OPED: Jail Won't Cure Drug UsersMon, 17 Jul 2006
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Fratello, Dave Area:California Lines:101 Added:07/17/2006

Proposition 36 Mandated Treatment To Overcome Addiction. A New Law Turns That Notion On Its Head.

SIX YEARS AGO, voters approved Proposition 36, reshaping overnight the state's policy toward addiction. Now, nonviolent drug users get treatment, not jail. But last week the governor signed a misguided bill that puts jail back into the equation. If the law takes effect, drug users who relapse even once during Proposition 36 treatment will be punished with two to 30 days in jail.

Those changes are likely to be struck down. Late last week, a judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of the law while a challenge is being litigated. California's Constitution guarantees that Proposition 36 can be changed only in a manner that is consistent with its purposes and voters' intent, and the new law fails those tests.

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6 US CA: Bill's Authors Are Trying To Rope In Support For HempMon, 17 Jul 2006
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Skelton, George Area:California Lines:149 Added:07/17/2006

AB 1147 is not the biggest bill of this legislative session, but it is one of the most intriguing -- and most fun.

Start with its purpose: to legalize the growing of hemp, a cousin of marijuana -- both members of the notorious cannabis family.

Then proceed to the bill's joint authors, a pun that's unavoidable.

One is a liberal San Francisco Democrat, Assemblyman Mark Leno; the other a conservative Irvine Republican, Chuck DeVore.

If nothing else, this bill shows it is possible for two legislators of diametrically opposite ideologies to acknowledge some common ground and work together to change public policy.

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7 US CA: No Medical Cannabis At Fishermans WharfSat, 15 Jul 2006
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:California Lines:35 Added:07/17/2006

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marijuana cannot be sold alongside the cracked crab and souvenirs of Fisherman's Wharf, the San Francisco Planning Commission decided late Thursday.

On a vote of 4 to 2, the commission denied the Green Cross, one of scores of cannabis clubs authorized to dispense medical marijuana to patients who have a doctor's prescription, a permit for a storefront near the wharf, a popular tourist destination.

The owners of the Green Cross said they would appeal, despite strong opposition to their proposal from merchants of Fisherman's Wharf and neighborhood residents.

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8 US CT: A Connecticut Mayor Enforces Self-Imposed Penalties ForSat, 15 Jul 2006
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Cowan, Alison Leigh Area:Connecticut Lines:139 Added:07/17/2006

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Through two and a half hours of questioning at the latest "Ask the Mayor" session here, a buoyant John M. Fabrizi was eager to talk about the brand-new $390,000 fire engine that federal money just bought for his strapped city. Or the new animal shelter his administration was building. Anything but what was on the top of people's minds: his recent tearful admission that he had used cocaine and abused alcohol since taking office in 2003.

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9US DE: Minner Signs Needle Exchange, Credit-Counseling BillsMon, 17 Jul 2006
Source:News Journal (DE) Author:Jackson, Patrick Area:Delaware Lines:Excerpt Added:07/17/2006

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner today signed into law a controversial bill allowing a pilot needle exchange program in Wilmington.

She also signed a bill aimed at protecting consumers from fly-by-night credit-counseling services.

Minner said she hopes the needle exchange program will cut down on the state's HIV/AIDS infection rates and the long-term health care costs associated with the disease.

In addition to providing drug users with clean needles on a one surrendered, one given basis, the program will provide HIV testing, health counseling and information on drug treatment programs.

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