Doctors have linked a tragic wave of lung injuries and deaths to the
vaping of tainted marijuana concentrates. The episode reveals the
dangers created by the federal government's decadelong refusal to
challenge state laws legalizing pot and promoting risky uses of its
The Obama administration announced in 2013 that it wouldn't enforce
federal drug laws in states that had legalized pot use. The following
year, Congress started attaching legislative riders to budget bills to
prevent the Justice Department and other agencies from enforcing
federal laws banning marijuana use in the 33 states that have made
weed legal. The Trump administration has tried to reverse some of
these policies. In 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded
Obama administration guidance giving U.S. attorneys discretion not to
enforce federal drug law in states that have legalized marijuana. But the
White House has been reluctant to challenge popular state policies
directly. As a result a large pot industry has bloomed in recent years,
and a dangerous market in cannabis concentrates, such as the ones
responsible for the vaping deaths, has proliferated.
[continues 765 words]
SAN ANTONIO, Guatemala - Surrounded by green fields of potatoes, oats
and corn on his small farm, Carlos Lopez recalled the decent money he
was earning before last year, cultivating a different crop he referred
to simply as "the plant."
The plants, ones with the bright red flowers, "are worth a lot more than
these other crops," Lopez said, wearing a blue baseball hat, sitting on
a plastic chair behind his two-room, mud-splattered house.
"Amapola," said Lopez, speaking the Spanish word for poppy.
SACRAMENTO - Three years after California legalized the sale of
recreational marijuana, most voters want municipalities to permit pot
shops in their communities even though the vast majority of cities have
outlawed them, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of
Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times.
According to the poll, 68% of Californians say legalization has been a
good thing for the state, an increase in support since 2016, when 57% of
voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized growing, selling and
possessing cannabis for recreational use. The poll results come as city
and state leaders are battling in court and the Legislature over control
of California's pot market, including a dispute over efforts by
California lawmakers to force cities to open their doors to cannabis shops.
[continues 953 words]
Pauline Nordin is a trainer, model and licensed nutritionist. Earlier
this year, she replaced the frozen peas in her freezer with 2,000 cookies.
The shortbread treats are laden with cannabis-the equivalent of about
1,500 joints. Ms. Nordin, 37 years old, says she can't recover from her
punishing workouts without them. She eats two each night before turning in.
"My lifestyle is a Ferrari and my body is a well-tuned machine," she
says. "I would never do something destructive."
[continues 821 words]
The Lowell Cafe is a new restaurant and bar in West Hollywood that
will allow diners to smoke marijuana inside and out thanks to a new
license issued by the city. It's slated to open Oct. 1 and when it does,
it will be the first of its kind.
If you're imagining a giant smoky room filled with bowls of weed,
couches and lots of pizza, think again. Imagine instead a functional
restaurant with servers, plus a special air-filtration system that sucks
up and filters the smoke from people smoking weed, everywhere.
[continues 504 words]
CHICAGO - The historic hub of black culture on the south side of
Chicago called Bronzeville bears the marks of disinvestment common to
many of the city's black-majority neighborhoods.
Along the expansive South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, lines of
greystones alternate in and out of disrepair, and many of the
district's blocks that were once home to vibrant institutions -
earning it the name "Black Metropolis" - are now mottled with
overgrown, vacant lots. A census tract within the area is one of the
poorest in the city.
[continues 1617 words]
More than three-quarters of people who have developed severe lung
illness after vaping reported using THC-containing products, a new
report found, as officials continue to piece together a picture of the
The new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
76.9% of the 514 patients studied used products containing THC, the
psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in the month preceding the onset
of symptoms. More than half of the patients reported using
nicotine-containing products, while 36% said they only used of products
with THC and 16% reported exclusive use of
[continues 406 words]
Several marijuana products have been identified as possible culprits in
the mysterious epidemic of serious lung illnesses that has sickened more
than 800 people who use vaping devices and e-cigarettes to inhale THC or
nicotine, or both.
Health officials said on Friday that the products include THC-filled
vaping cartridges labeled "Dank Vapes," as well as some other illicit
brands that people bought from friends or family or on the street.
But officials said Dank Vapes appeared to be a label that THC sellers
can slap on any product and is not a specific formulation or a single
product. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
[continues 1071 words]
Having lost a son to heroin use, I want to ask the following of the
candidates: Our "war on drugs," declared by President Nixon in 1971,
is a dismal failure. The historian Alfred McCoy wrote recently in The
Nation that "instead of reducing the traffic, the drug war has
actually helped stimulate that ninefold increase in global opium
production and a parallel surge in U.S. heroin users, from just 68,000
in 1970 to 886,000 in 2017." Drug deaths reached 192 a day in 2017,
with many of them between the ages of 12 and 25. That is a silent
Parkland =85 every day. What is your solution to this catastrophe?
SYDNEY, Australia - Australia's capital on Wednesday became the first
jurisdiction in the country to legalize the recreational possession and
cultivation of marijuana, a move that runs counter to federal laws that
can carry prison terms for personal use of the drug.
Passage of the measure, which came after months of debate over policy,
legal and health issues, echoed efforts in the United States, where more
than 10 states have legalized recreational use of marijuana even as it
remains illegal under federal law.
[continues 655 words]
The city of Chamblee is the 11th local government in Georgia to
decriminalize the possession of marijuana.
The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday night
eliminating the possibility of jail time and severely reducing the
fine for possessing one ounce or less of weed. An adult caught with
marijuana by a Chamblee police officer will be cited and fined $75 for
their first offense, according to the ordinance. That charge can be
paid online and a court date isn't required.
[continues 61 words]
BASRA, Iraq - Hussein Karim sold his three cars, he sold the land
where he planned to build a house, and he spent his savings - several
thousand dollars - all on his crystal meth habit.
He is one of thousands of meth addicts in Iraq, a country where drug
problems have been rare. But growing addiction here is the most recent
manifestation of how the social order has frayed in the years
following the American invasion in 2003.
Mr. Karim, 32, now lives in a windowless room with his wife, his three
children and his disabled brother.
[continues 1572 words]
In highlighting Seattle's new approach to drug possession, Nicholas
Kristof makes a compelling case that it is past time to adopt a public
health approach to addiction, but he is too narrow in his conclusions.
When we view the war on drugs strictly though the lens of drug
possession, we fail to include people who need help the most: those
who have committed crimes driven by their addiction and/or mental
health disorder and who face incarceration as a result (crimes
including D.U.I., theft, property crimes). These individuals
desperately need treatment but are not eligible for diversion via
programs like LEAD, which typically only address drug possession.
[continues 96 words]
Tobacco products, which kill almost 500,000 people per year, are
legal, and still advertised to a limited extent. Alcoholic beverages,
which kill about 88,000 people annually, are not only legal but also
widely advertised. Many of the opioid deaths are a result of
accidental overdoses because users are unaware of just how much drug
is in a particular dosage they consume.
Why not legalize opioids but: sell them only from government operated
"package stores" (as alcohol still is in certain jurisdictions) so
that doses are known; have no advertising; have a massive public
health program? Accidental overdose deaths would be virtually
eliminated; the criminal drug trade would be eliminated; and, if the
tobacco-use cessation program model were followed, use would go down.
Port Jefferson, N.Y.
The writer, professor emeritus of preventive medicine at Stony Brook
Medicine, is the author of "Ending the 'Drug War'; Solving the Drug
Problem: The Public Health Approach."
Wow! Are you kidding me? This is the most fantasized assessment of
Seattle's drug epidemic I've ever seen. In actuality, we are spiraling
toward complete social meltdown here, and Nicholas Kristof thinks
we've figured out how to end the war on drugs?
As a three-decade resident of Seattle, I can tell you that from the
sprawling homeless camps ringing the city, to the bedraggled hordes of
dead-eyed addicts on Second Avenue, to the piles of human feces in
Pioneer Square, there is no progress being made to end the heroin
epidemic in this city. Whatever actions local governments are taking
only make things worse.
Seattle is becoming a wasteland of crime, refuse, excrement and
addiction. It's disgusting to watch and it gets worse every year.
Re "Ending the War on Drugs," by Nicholas Kristof (Sunday Review, Aug.
This article gives me hope that Seattle is finally doing something
about the devastation of drug use on its streets.
My son is a struggling heroin addict, and thank God is now a part of
the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, program. He completed
treatment in jail through drug court, finished work release, is now in
drug court housing and meets with his counselor at LEAD.
I know firsthand how difficult it is for families. I've walked the
streets of downtown Seattle looking for my son where drug users and
dealers hang out. I've seen them passed out with a needle hanging out
of an arm or leg. I'd ask myself, What is Seattle doing to fix this
Addicts need support. The LEAD program is good, but what about those
addicts who haven't been arrested and directed to LEAD?
Police officers can often justify a search with six words: "I smelled
an odor of marijuana."
Courts in New York have long ruled if a car smells like marijuana
smoke, the police can search it - and, according to some judges, even
the occupants - without a warrant.
But in late July, a judge in the Bronx said in a scathing opinion that
officers claim to smell marijuana so often that it strains credulity,
and she called on judges across the state to stop letting police
officers get away with lying about it.
[continues 1256 words]
CARPINTERIA, Calif.-On a recent sunny morning in this beach town near
Santa Barbara, realtor Gary Goldberg ran into Das Williams on the
street and raised a concern: A persistent skunky aroma had required
him to knock $18,000 off the sale price of a condo.
"It smelled like marijuana," said Mr. Goldberg, adding that buyers
threatened to pull out because of the odor.
Mr. Williams, a Santa Barbara County supervisor who helped craft
regulations for large cannabis farms here, assured the realtor that he
was doing everything he could to tamp down the smell. The argument
over odor is part of an acrimonious debate over how to regulate the
region's growing marijuana industry, pitting farmers against some residents.
[continues 595 words]
"New Warning Against Use of Marijuana for 2 Groups" (news article,
Aug. 30) is reminiscent of coverage of pregnant women and cocaine use
that reported damage theories that were alarmist.
Critical examination would reveal that the surgeon general's advisory
focuses on associations and unspecified "risks." There's an enormous
difference between things that pose potential risks, which are
virtually everything a woman does, ingests or is exposed to during the
course of pregnancy, and actual harm to the pregnant woman and fetus.
[continues 96 words]
Since childhood, Rachael Petersen had lived with an unexplainable
sense of grief that no drug or talk therapy could entirely ease. So in
2017 she volunteered for a small clinical trial at Johns Hopkins
University that was testing psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic
mushrooms, for chronic depression.
"I was so depressed," Ms. Petersen, 29, said recently. "I felt that
the world had abandoned me, that I'd lost the right to exist on this
planet. Really, it was like my thoughts were so stuck, I felt isolated."
[continues 1258 words]
The announcement on Wednesday that Johns Hopkins Medicine was starting
a new center to study psychedelic drugs for mental disorders was the
latest chapter in a decades-long push by health nonprofits and wealthy
donors to shake up psychiatry from the outside, bypassing the usual
"Psychiatry is one of the most conservative specialties in medicine,"
said David Nichols, a medicinal chemist who founded the Heffter
Research Institute in 1993 to fund psychedelic research. "We haven't
really had new drugs for years, and the drug industry has quit the
field because they don't have new targets" in the brain. "The field
was basically stagnant, and we needed to try something different."
[continues 1127 words]
DENVER - Once a politically dangerous subject, legal marijuana has
become something of a de facto platform plank for the 2020 Democratic
candidates: All support either legalizing or decriminalizing its use,
and the differences lie in how far the candidates are willing to take
Those differences - particularly former Vice President Joe Biden's
reluctance to embrace full federal legalization and the lack of
enthusiasm that increasingly organized young marijuana activists have
for him - may play a role in determining who faces President Donald
Trump next fall, experts said.
"People from both parties are just thinking, 'Duh, we should be
legalizing this at the federal level,' " said Rachel Gillette, a
Denver-based cannabis activist and attorney. "It would be great if
they could focus on this. It's time."
Believing that I could never agree with Nicholas Kristof about
anything, I found myself gobsmacked that I agreed, writ large, with
his profile of Seattle attempting to end the war on drugs.
I don't agree with his emphasis on race and privilege, but it's about
time to completely end the war on drugs - and I say this as a former
narcotics prosecutor in Brooklyn during the golden age of crack. Only
total legalization will work. But saying drugs should be legal is not
saying that drugs are good.
We, as a nation, need to approach this as adults, and stop doing
something that hasn't ever worked well but has been doubled down on
Michael G. Brautigam
I want to thank Nicholas Kristof for bringing our attention to the
successful way Seattle's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is
addressing the interplay of drug addiction and the law. I support his
call for more "evidence-based public health interventions." At
Exponents, we also invest in evidence-based practices that employ
recovering individuals and those with the lived experience of addiction.
Recovering addicts, especially those who have benefited from a
particular treatment or process, have great value in engaging and
helping an active addict. Medication-assisted treatments are
effective, but the recovering community is an underutilized asset in
our efforts to bring this opiate epidemic under control.
The writer is co-founder and chief clinical officer of Exponents, an
organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people
affected by drug addiction, incarceration and H.I.V./AIDS.
I thought that Nicholas Kristof's article was very good in showing the
efforts of Seattle's prosecuting attorney, Dan Satterberg, to scale
back on drug prosecutions and promote treatment alternatives.
My one objection is his statement that "the war on drugs began in 1971
out of a legitimate alarm about narcotics both in the United States and
among U.S. troops in Vietnam." My book "The Myth of the Addicted Army:
Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs" detailed how the media and
politicians exaggerated the scope of drug abuse in Vietnam and created a
false moral panic about drugs that drove forward the war on drugs.
[continues 58 words]
It was 2012, and Ferrell Scott was watching television inside
Pennsylvania's Allenwood federal penitentiary when he learned that the
sale of marijuana, something he was given a life sentence for just
four years earlier, was becoming legal in two states.
Colorado had approved its recreational use, the inmate learned from
the broadcast, and so had Washington.
Scott had been struggling with depression since he was incarcerated in
March 2008. But he felt a bit of hope as he watched the framework that
had put people like him away without parole begin to crumble.
Portugal's decriminalization of drugs reduced the number of heroin
users from 100,000 to 25,000. Its drug mortality rate became the
lowest in Western Europe.
What's badly needed is to look at the real reason for criminalizing
drugs. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were aimed at
black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws in the early
20th century targeted Mexican migrants and Mexican-Americans.
The "war on drugs" was coined by President Richard Nixon. A top Nixon
aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted that it was aimed at Mr. Nixon's
two major enemies, the antiwar left and black people: Criminalization
meant that "we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their
leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them
night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about
the drugs? Of course we did."
The war on drugs had little or nothing to do with health or safety. It
was about political persecution.
Santa Fe, N.M.
In the cloudy world of travel with marijuana, what gets dispensed in
Vegas should probably get smoked in Vegas.
Marijuana tourism is booming here, as it has in Colorado, Oregon and
elsewhere. But what's allowed and what's legal at airports and hotels
can feel like a confounding set of contradictions.
Possessing limited quantities of recreational marijuana is legal in
Denver and Las Vegas, but it's illegal at the airports in those
cities. Not true in Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle, where possession
at the airport is allowed up to certain limits.
[continues 966 words]
Investment legend has it that the best money in the California gold
rush was made selling picks and shovels. Fertilizer and real estate
are equivalent bets on the volatile pot boom.
Shareholders in cannabis stocks have lost money lately. Companies that
"touch the plant"-those that cultivate and sell pot, such as Cronos
Group and Green Thumb Industries-have shed up to 50% of their market
value over the past six months, as worries grow about profitability in
the sector and the resilience of black-market sellers in legalized
states like California. Big corporate investors are among the
casualties: Tobacco giant Altria MO -0.58% 's 45% stake in Cronos is
now worth 10% less than the $1.8 billion the Marlboro maker paid for
it last December.
[continues 477 words]
It is indeed sweet victory to see the B.C. Liquor Corp. selling
In the B.C. election of 2001, I, as a B.C. Marijuana Party candidate,
was arrested at the behest of the Victoria Hillside liquor store for
campaigning for legal cannabis.
Some advice about marketing would be in order.
As a Realtor of 30 years, I can offer some pointers. Analyze the
prevailing market and emulate it. At present, in the "friends" market,
you can smell before you buy. If you don't like it, you can bring it
[continues 90 words]
Surgeon General Warns Pregnant Women and Teenagers Not to Smoke or
Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, said they may be unaware of the
health hazards posed by new, professionally grown marijuana crops.
The United States surgeon general on Thursday issued a public warning
that smoking or vaping marijuana is dangerous for pregnant women and
their developing babies.
At a news conference with other top administration health officials,
the surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said he was concerned that
pregnant women, teenagers and others were unaware of the health
hazards posed by new, professionally grown marijuana crops.
[continues 333 words]
The medical marijuana "Unity Bill" that sets up a basic legal
framework for the implementation of State Question 788 will take
Nearly three dozen other new laws will also take effect this week.
Here's a look at some of the new laws.
Also known as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection
Act, House Bill 2612 sets up a framework for regulating Oklahoma's
medical marijuana industry.
The lengthy bill that was a compromise between legislators and those
in the medical marijuana industry sets guidelines for marijuana
testing, tax collections, seed-to-sale product tracking, packaging,
employment and more.
[continues 325 words]
The legalization of marijuana as a medicine in 33 states, 11 of which
allow its use as a recreational drug, has made weed a dynamic American
industry, among the economy's fastest-growing sources of new jobs.
California alone, with $3.1 billion in projected marijuana sales for
this year, has a legal market as large as that of any country on the
Entrepreneurs grumble nonetheless. Not since Ronald Reagan ran for
president have American newspapers been so full of anecdotes about
heroic jobs-creating businessmen stymied by regulation.
[continues 902 words]
Even as states across the country have legalized marijuana,
potentially opening the door to a multibillion dollar industry, the
impact of marijuana criminalization is still being felt by people -
mostly black and Hispanic - whose records are marked by low-level
convictions related to the drug.
But on Wednesday, New York began the process of expunging many of
those records, as part of a new state law to reduce penalties
associated with marijuana-related crimes, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew
M. Cuomo confirmed.
[continues 780 words]
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection warned Friday against
the purchase of electronic cigarette cartridges containing THC or
other cannabis or altered e-cigarette products that are sold "off the
So far, 215 possible cases of vaping-related lung illness have been
reported in 25 states, CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said
in a statement, "and additional reports of pulmonary illness are under
investigation." The Washington Post reported Thursday that state and
federal investigators have 354 cases currently under review.
[continues 52 words]
SEATTLE -- Five years after Washington launched its pioneering legal
marijuana market, officials are proposing an overhaul of the state's
industry rules, with plans for boosting minority ownership of pot
businesses, paving the way for home deliveries of medical cannabis and
letting the smallest growers increase the size of their operations to
become more competitive.
Liquor and Cannabis Board Director Rick Garza detailed the proposals
-- part of what the board calls "Cannabis 2.0" -- in an interview with
The Associated Press. It's an effort to picture what the legal
marijuana market will look like over the next five years, after
spending the past five years largely regulating by reaction as the
difficulties of building an industry from infancy absorbed the
[continues 818 words]
SEATTLE - On gritty streets where heroin, fentanyl and meth stride
like Death Eaters, where for decades both drugs and the war on drugs
have wrecked lives, the city of Seattle is pioneering a bold approach
to narcotics that should be a model for America.
Anyone caught here with a small amount of drugs - even heroin - isn't
typically prosecuted. Instead, that person is steered toward social
services to get help.
This model is becoming the consensus preference among public health
experts in the U.S. and abroad. Still, it shocks many Americans to see
no criminal penalty for using drugs illegally, so it takes courage and
vision to adopt this approach: a partial retreat in the war on drugs
coupled with a stepped-up campaign against addiction.
[continues 2455 words]
Canada has been at the forefront of cannabis research, education and
regulation for the past 2 decades, yet uncertainty remains about how
the drug should be used in medicine. Physicians lack evidence-based
information and formalized training about cannabis, which stems, in
part, from the drug's previously illegal status that hindered
research. Among the public, however, many perceive cannabis as a
natural and safe medical treatment. Patients increasingly seek advice
about cannabis from physicians, request prescriptions or experiment
with cannabis for medical problems on their own. However, physicians
must adhere to good medical practice regardless of public pressure and
provide counselling to patients based on up-to-date knowledge and
evidence. Now that cannabis is legal in Canada more research should be
forthcoming, but the evidence base remains weak.
[continues 887 words]
The bare, dusty ground is littered with rusty blades and crack pipes.
The area reeks of urine and garbage.
At least three times a day, Charly Roue is drawn to this neighborhood,
one of the most sordid in Paris, always following the same ritual.
After panhandling tens of euros at cafes not far from some of the most
popular tourist spots, he heads to the northern edge of the city,
where he can buy crack cocaine at La Colline, or the Hill, France's
largest open-air market for crack.
[continues 1108 words]
Contrary to Joe Fries' editorial "Abstinence works best" (Courier,
Aug. 16), Rhode Island treats addicted prison inmates with methadone,
buprenorphine and naltrexone. Like methadone, buprenorphine is an
opioid agonist, or replacement opioid. Naltrexone is an opioid
antagonist that blocks opioid receptors.
The benefits of opioid substitution therapy are well-established, in
and out of prison. It reduces crime, prevents overdoses and the spread
of infectious diseases, denies profits to criminal gangs, allows
addicted individuals to function normally within their families, jobs,
and communities, and gets them off the hamster wheel of raising money
by hook or by crook to pay criminal gangs for illicit opioids of
unknown potency and purity.
[continues 176 words]
A group of Colorado researchers recently studied how cannabis use
affects athletes and found a possible role between the plant and pain
The study, "Cannabis use in active athletes: Behaviors related to
subjective effects," looked at cannabis use patterns and its effects
in a community-based sample of adult athletes. According to the
study's authors, there had been no previous academic research done on
cannabis use's subjective effects for adult athletes.
"There was not a lot of research on how weed helps," explains Dr.
Joanna Zeiger, one of the researchers who conducted the study for
Canna Research Group. "Athletes typically don't sleep well and are
anxious, so we wanted to see what percentage of them use cannabis,
their patterns of use, and what the effects are."
[continues 429 words]
More than half of all Canadians believe drug treatment should focus on
abstinence, rather than opioid replacement therapies, according to
poll results released this week.
Research Co. found 57% of those surveyed were in favour of programs
that aim to get people off drugs entirely, rather than programs that
supply people with free dope to help keep them healthy and out of trouble.
It's unclear from the results if people's attitudes towards drug
treatment are shifting, but it's clear that a majority of the
population supports an approach that doesn't enable addicts.
[continues 235 words]
A year after medical marijuana became legal in Oklahoma, state
lawmakers and marijuana advocates seem to have found a balance in
implementing State Question 788 and moving the industry forward into
the near future.
Sweeping legislation -- the result of a major compromise between
legislators and cannabis advocates -- to regulate the medical
marijuana industry will go into effect later this month.
Meanwhile, there are whispers of an initiative petition to put the
question of legalizing recreational marijuana to a statewide vote,
which could shake up Oklahoma's fledgling marijuana industry and the
new regulatory framework.
[continues 795 words]
Re: "Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster," column,
Lawrie McFarlane's verdict is premature. Legal regulation in Canada
isn't analogous to legalization in Colorado, for among other reasons,
Colorado allows advertising and initially allowed edibles and extracts
with inadequate labelling, packaging and dose limitations.
Yes, emergency-room visits from adverse reactions spiked in Colorado
following legalization, but this was due in part to inexperienced
tourists from prohibitionist states, and consumers feeling more
inclined to seek help once they no longer feared arrest. Panicked
patients are typically discharged (the wiser) on the same day, with no
lasting ill effects. Such visits remain far less common and severe
than visits related to alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco.
[continues 101 words]
Re: "Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster," column,
In his opinion piece on cannabis legalization, Lawrie McFarlane cites
a short-term increase in the numbers of adolescents visiting emergency
rooms for cannabis in Colorado - a jurisdiction with a commercialized
approach to cannabis legalization - as evidence that Canada's much
more restrictive public health-oriented approach to legalization has
However, as scientists who have carefully considered how to best
measure the public-health impacts of cannabis legalization, we would
suggest a thorough and ongoing analysis of Canadian data is needed to
understand the effects of the new regulatory landscape. Although
cannabis-related hospital visits should be a priority, we also need to
ask important questions about underlying causes: if we see an
increase, how much is due to increasing use among youth, and how much
could be related to shifting trends in products/modes of
administration (e.g., a shift towards high-THC concentrates, increased
[continues 114 words]
Claire Alcindor's fourth pregnancy last year was the hardest. The only
way she could keep food down was by smoking marijuana, which also helped
with her depression.
She was living in Maryland, in a location where marijuana is legal, but
still worried "people would think I'm a bad mom" - or worse. Friends
warned Child Protective Services might start investigating her. But it
seemed worth the risk, especially given the reported effects of some
prescription nausea and depression drugs.
"I needed to eat, I needed to stay alive and survive this pregnancy,"
says Alcindor, who now lives in Las Vegas.
[continues 1527 words]
It's becoming increasingly obvious that legalizing marijuana
consumption was a colossal public-health blunder.
A good part of the evidence comes from south of the border, where
several states legalized pot much earlier than Canada. This has
allowed time for robust scientific follow-up - follow-up that is
beginning to reveal a frightening picture.
Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2012, and recreational use in
2014. One result is that emergency hospital visits by adolescents with
marijuana-related symptoms have jumped from 84 a year in the pre-legal
era, to 500 in 2018.
[continues 557 words]
Drug laws should be designed to minimise damage. This might sound
obvious. But the UK's drug laws - along with those of most other
countries - arguably do not have this effect. Indeed there is a
strong argument that in many respects the blanket prohibition, under
criminal statutes, of substances from cannabis to heroin along with
the myriad synthetic substances now widely used to mimic their
effects, does more harm than good.
This is not a novel point of view. Drug experts in the UK and around
the world have been pointing out the flaws and inconsistencies in
current policies for ages, with former Colombian president, Juan
Manuel Santos, among those who have argued for a new approach focused
on human rights and public health. In the UK, polls show a majority
supports liberalisation of the law on cannabis, following the example
of countries including Portugal. But since this shift in public
attitudes has so far been ignored by the Home Office, which instead
brought in a sweeping ban on so-called "legal highs"=9D in 2016, this
week's call for reform by a cross-party trio of MPs is refreshing.
[continues 302 words]
The Canadian cannabis industry is booming.
From giant industrial operations such as Canopy Growth to smaller
cannabis retailers, to an array of cannabis "lifestyle"=9D brands and
"cannabis brand consultancy"=9D firms, the industry is a lucrative fronti
for those seeking wealth in a rapidly growing market.
And oh, is there wealth to be had. Canadians spent $1.6-billion on
legal weed in 2018 - double the total spent on medical cannabis the
year before - despite the fact that non-medical cannabis was legally
available only after Oct. 17. Statistics Canadaa's National Cannabis
Survey from the first quarter of 2019 found that use of non-medical
cannabis has increased among men and people aged 45 to 64. The survey
reported that 646,000 people tried cannabis for the first time in the
prior three months, half of whom were aged 45 or older.
[continues 1623 words]
New York has decriminalised the use of marijuana - becoming the 16th
US state to do so.
The move, which would make possession of a small amount of the drug a
violation rather than a felony, was signed into law by governor Andrew
The measure also demands that criminal records of offences linked to
low-level marijuana cases either be marked as expunged, or destroyed -
an apparent reflection that in the past communities of colour suffered
unduly from different application of the law.
[continues 231 words]