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81US CA: Are You Getting Marijuana Delivered To You? If So, It'sFri, 16 Mar 2018
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Branan, Brad Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:03/16/2018

Unlicensed marijuana delivery companies are operating across Sacramento County, drawing the ire of legal pot retailers and warnings from state and local regulators.

Regulators cite concerns about the delivery companies not paying fees and taxes and selling weed that hasn't been tested for pesticides or other possible toxins. They say the companies are threatening the financial viability of legal retailers who must pay those costs in a new legal marijuana market that started in California on Jan. 1.

In Sacramento County, about 200 marijuana delivery services were advertising Friday on the website Weedmaps.com. Only one jurisdiction in the county, the city of Sacramento, has plans to allow cannabis delivery services, and it has yet to issue permits. In the interim, city pot czar Joe Devlin has told delivery companies to register with city, and eight have done so.

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82 US PA: Ex-Pennsylvania Narcotics Agent To Plead Guilty In MoneyTue, 13 Mar 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:74 Added:03/16/2018

A former Pennsylvania narcotics agent will plead guilty to conspiring to launder money from a seizure of nearly $1.8 million in illicit drug proceeds in 2014, federal court records show.

By pleading guilty Timothy B. Riley, a retired state attorney general's office agent, could be sent to prison for up to 20 years and fined up to $500,000, according to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.

Federal authorities charged Riley, 48, of Philadelphia, on Feb. 23 with accepting three cash payments totaling $48,000, which he knew was stolen from a drug dealer. Riley then deposited the money and used it in financial transactions, according to David Freed, U.S. attorney of Pennsylvania's Middle District.

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83 US HI: Heroin Use Skyrockets On Kauai After Prescription CrackdownMon, 12 Mar 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)          Area:Hawaii Lines:60 Added:03/16/2018

LIHUE - Kauai police have seen an increase in the use of black tar heroin over the last two years.

The Kauai Police Department seized less than a gram of black tar heroin in 2015. But in 2017, the department seized a total of 526 grams, the Garden Island reported Sunday.

The department has already amassed 80.8 grams this year, said Bryson Ponce, Kauai Police Department's Investigative Services Bureau assistant chief.

Ponce said the increase is a serious concern because heroin use is linked to violent crime.

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84 US MD: Editorial: Untangling The Knot Of Md. Medical PotMon, 12 Mar 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:137 Added:03/16/2018

A bill in the Maryland General Assembly had sought to add more black firms to the state's regulated medical marijuana industry.

Instead it might end up favoring existing players -- nearly all of whom are white-owned companies.

A bill in the Maryland General Assembly had sought to add more black firms to the state's regulated medical marijuana industry.

Instead it might end up favoring existing players -- nearly all of whom are white-owned companies.

Given how much the Legislative Black Caucus has complained about the lack of minority-owned firms among Maryland's medical marijuana growers and processors, it may seem crazy that the legislation designed to address the issue that just passed overwhelmingly in the House could lead to more white men getting licenses.

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85 US PA: How Marijuana Patients Could Lose Their Jobs In PhillyWed, 14 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:95 Added:03/14/2018

Pennsylvania's recently launched medical marijuana program may have unintentionally created a minefield that employers and patients across the state have only begun to navigate:

Patients who use marijuana could end up losing their jobs as a result.

At a fact-finding hearing in Philadelphia City Council on Wednesday, a panel of lawyers, business interests, and medical professionals hashed over the murkier employment issues stirred up by the law.

The upshot: Patients currently have few -- if any -- workplace protections. And until a lawsuit is filed, it's unlikely that patients will know how strong those protections might be.

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86 US PA: Legalized Pot In New Jersey - Not So FastFri, 09 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:Pennsylvania Lines:156 Added:03/13/2018

When New Jersey State Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced a 62-page bill and primer on how to legalize marijuana almost one year ago, he chuckled when asked if it had a prayer of passing.

The legal sale of recreational marijuana had not yet begun in any other East Coast state, and yes, Chris Christie, the Republican governor at the time, had threatened a veto.

The bill, Scutari insisted, would give lawmakers time to digest and debate the issue so that a palatable package would be "ready for the next governor."

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87 US: Is This The End Of The Pre-Employment Drug Test?Sun, 11 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Greenfield, Rebecca Area:United States Lines:112 Added:03/13/2018

Employers are struggling to hire workers in tightening U.S. job market. Marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., meaning more than one in five American adults can eat, drink, smoke or vape as they please. The result is the slow decline of pre-employment drug tests, which for decades had been a requirement for new recruits in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance.

As of the beginning of 2018, Excellence Health Inc., a Las Vegas-based health care company with around 6,000 employees, no longer drug tests people coming to work for the pharmaceutical side of the business. The company stopped testing for marijuana two years ago. "We don't care what people do in their free time," said Liam Meyer, a company spokesperson. "We want to help these people, instead of saying: 'Hey, you can't work for us because you used a substance,'" he added. The company also added a hotline for any workers who might be struggling with drug use.

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88 US: Federal Prosecutors Won't Take On Small-Time Pot CasesSat, 10 Mar 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)          Area:United States Lines:55 Added:03/13/2018

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors won't take on small-time marijuana cases, despite the Justice Department's decision to lift an Obama-era policy that discouraged U.S. authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today.

Federal law enforcement lacks the resources to take on "routine cases" and will continue to focus on drug gangs and larger conspiracies, Sessions said. The comments come after the Trump administration in January threw the burgeoning marijuana legalization movement into uncertainty by reversing the largely hands-off approach that prevailed during the Obama administration, saying federal prosecutors should instead handle marijuana cases however they see fit.

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89 US CT: Legislative Committee Will Consider Bill Legalizing MarijuanaTue, 13 Mar 2018
Source:Hartford Courant (CT) Author:Ormseth, Matthew Area:Connecticut Lines:105 Added:03/13/2018

The idea's been floated before, but recreational marijuana's backers have so far been unable to convince the Land of Steady Habits to legalize a new one.

The legislature's General Law Committee will weigh a new bill legalizing the retail sale of marijuana at a public hearing. The hearing, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed until Thursday because of the snowstorm.

The bill, No. 5458, would allow people 21 or older to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from a retailer or "marijuana lounge," where customers would smoke or consume their purchase on-site. Anyone 21 or older would also be allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use.

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90 US IL: Editorial: An FBI fable: The Case Of The Cannabis CandidateThu, 08 Mar 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:61 Added:03/10/2018

There's a lot of truth-bending in political campaigns. Remember then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's false assertion in 2015 that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks? Or how about Hillary Clinton's tall tale in her 2008 campaign that on a trip to Bosnia, "I remember landing under sniper fire. aE& We just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." That, too, didn't happen.

Benjamin Thomas Wolf's Pinocchio moment is also a doozy.

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91 US KY: Kentucky Lawmakers Urged To Say No To Medical Marijuana BillTue, 06 Mar 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Brammer, Jack Area:Kentucky Lines:83 Added:03/10/2018

FRANKFORT -- Four law enforcement officials and a doctor urged state lawmakers Tuesday to say no to a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.

For more than an hour, opponents of House Bill 166 told members of the House Judiciary Committee the ills they see in it.

Their predictions about passage of the measure included an increase in crime, creation of trafficking problems along the state's borders, an enhancement of economic and social costs, temptations of children to use marijuana and uncertain physical outcomes over long-term usage.

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92 US NJ: New Jersey Lawmakers Weigh Legalizing MarijuanaMon, 05 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:New Jersey Lines:97 Added:03/10/2018

TRENTON -- The first New Jersey legislative hearing on the legalization of marijuana held since Gov. Murphy took office -- after he promised his support -- unfolded Monday before more than 100 people.

More than a dozen experts traveled from as far as Colorado and Massachusetts to office advice on legalization, a topic gaining traction after Murphy, a Democrat, replaced Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican adamantly opposed to it, in January.

Several lawmakers are working on legalization bills, but none has come up for a vote and some legislators say they are trying to get a consensus.

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93 US KY: Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill Shelved By House CommitteeWed, 07 Mar 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Brammer, Jack Area:Kentucky Lines:69 Added:03/10/2018

FRANKFORT -- Kentucky lawmakers shelved Wednesday a controversial bill to legalize medical marijuana, but supporters of the measure pledged to continue their fight.

Some backers of House Bill 166 were in tears after the House Judiciary Committee voted 14-4 to "pass over" the measure. That's a procedure to put off voting on the bill until a later date.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, said it's doubtful the proposal will be revisited in this year's legislative session but "anything is possible."

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94 US KY: Oped: It's Time To Legalize Medical Marijuana In KentuckyWed, 07 Mar 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Lundergan, Alison Area:Kentucky Lines:115 Added:03/10/2018

For years, Kentucky veterans have approached us with a question that has no good answer: "Why are my comrades in other states able to treat PTSD and pain with medical cannabis while I cannot?"

Frustrated and confused, these men and women struggle daily with the effects of post-traumatic stress triggered by the horrors of war and chronic pain from injuries suffered in combat.

One is Eric Pollack whose PTSD became so unbearable that he nearly became part of a depressing statistic. In Kentucky, the veteran suicide rate is 10 percent higher than the national average.

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95 US: States Mull 'Sanctuary' Status For Marijuana BusinessesMon, 05 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Bohrer, Becky Area:United States Lines:118 Added:03/09/2018

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, some states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.

Just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Jan. 4 that federal prosecutors would be free to crack down on marijuana operations as they see fit, Jesse Arreguin, the mayor in Berkeley, California, summoned city councilman Ben Bartlett to his office with a novel idea.

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96 US: For All Their Risks, Opioids Had No Pain-Relieving AdvantageTue, 06 Mar 2018
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Kaplan, Karen Area:United States Lines:112 Added:03/09/2018

For years, doctors turned to opioid painkillers as a first-line treatment for chronic back pain and aches in the joints. Even as the dangers of addiction and overdoses became more clear, the drugs' pain-relieving benefits were still thought to justify their risks.

Now researchers have hard data that challenges this view.

In the first randomized clinical trial to make a head-to-head comparison between opioids and other kinds of pain medications, patients who took opioids fared no better over the long term than patients who used safer alternatives.

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97 US: Trump Officials Study Death Penalty For Drug Dealers In OpioidFri, 09 Mar 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Zezima, Katie Area:United States Lines:127 Added:03/09/2018

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is studying new policy that could allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers, according to people with knowledge of the discussions, a sign that the White House wants to make a strong statement in addressing the opioid crisis.

President Donald Trump last week suggested executing drug dealers as a way to make a dent in opioid addiction. Opioids killed nearly 64,000 people in 2016, and the crisis is straining local health and emergency services.

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98 US CA: Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Kratom Hits San Diego AreaSat, 03 Mar 2018
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Sisson, Paul Area:California Lines:115 Added:03/08/2018

A San Diego County resident is among 40 people nationwide to become infected with salmonella bacteria linked to kratom, the controversial tropical herb that many have begun using to treat opioid addiction despite an import ban from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, a 44-year-old, whose gender and city of residence were not released, became ill in January.

Testing performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that symptoms were caused by the same subspecies of the salmonella bacteria that has now produced cases in 27 states.

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99 US: Oped: Balance On Cannabis May Lead To Answers On OpioidsSat, 03 Mar 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Hill, Kevin P. Area:United States Lines:89 Added:03/08/2018

The United States is the midst of an opioid crisis. Ninety Americans die each day from opioid overdoses on prescription opioids, heroin, or fentanyl, and Massachusetts has not been spared. Many states are using the best available tools to battle the crisis, with an eye on developing better science and policy to put an end to the crisis. As more states implement either medical or legalized recreational cannabis policies, they should consider whether cannabis can play a role in the opioid crisis.

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100 US PA: Your Taxes Pale Beside What Marijuana Businesses PaySat, 03 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:135 Added:03/08/2018

You think your taxes are high?

For medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States, they can be stratospheric. Cannabis retailers face an effective tax rate of up to 85 percent, and that won't be reduced by the new tax law.

Most mainstream businesses pay effective tax rates of about 15 percent to 30 percent.

"It's a burden," said Chris Visco, co-owner of TerraVida Holistic Centers, which opened one of Pennsylvania's first medicinal cannabis shops on Feb. 17 in Sellersville. "People think that we're getting rich. It's really not the case. The profit margins are going to be really narrow after taxes. And you have to still pay local and state taxes."

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