OXFORD, Miss. - The only reason 73-year-old Elvy Musikka still has
her sight, she says, is she's been smoking pot for 30 years.
"In 1975, my doctor told me if I didn't start using marijuana, I'd go
blind," said Musikka. "Shortly thereafter I found out that, indeed,
it was the only thing that would help me with my glaucoma."
Musikka is one of four people still enrolled in the federal
government's Investigational New Drug program, which allows a small
number of patients to use medical marijuana grown at the University
of Mississippi. The program stopped accepting new participants in
1992. Those already in the program are allowed to continue receiving
their prescriptions. At its peak, the program provided pot for 30 patients.
[continues 709 words]
Area Experts Weigh in on Marijuana Debate
If you could entirely get rid of one drug, which would it be?
This question was posed to a law enforcement officer with more than
30 years of experience at a recent drug prevention conference in
Columbus. Mentor Municipal Court Judge John Trebets, who runs the
Lake County drug court, was in attendance.
"In my head, I'm yelling out 'Heroin!' " Trebets said. "Then he looks
out and says if he could get rid of one drug it would be marijuana."
[continues 655 words]
'POT' GROWERS FIND NATIONAL FORESTS ROOMY
WELDON, Calif. - A few minutes after 4 a.m., agents in camouflage
cluster in a dusty California field in Kern County. "Movement needs
to be slow, deliberate and quiet," the team leader whispers. "Lock
and load now."
They check their ammunition and assault rifles, not exactly sure who
they might meet in the dark: heavily armed Mexican drug traffickers,
or just poorly paid field workers camping miserably in the brush.
Twenty minutes later, after a lights-off drive for a mile, the agents
climb out of two pickups and sift into the high desert brush.
[continues 1584 words]
Central Wisconsin political observers say the vote to legalize
marijuana in two states could eventually affect Wisconsin.
Lawmakers will be watching to see what happens in Colorado and
Washington, where residents voted to lift long-standing bans on
recreational marijuana use, said state Rep. Scott Krug, R-Rome, who
represents Wisconsin's 72nd Assembly District, and changes in this
state might be possible.
Krug, who previously served as the Wood County Drug Court
administrator, said Wisconsin should put more of a focus on drug
addiction treatment than the current legal system does.
[continues 490 words]
Police Chief Orlando Martinez De Castro Said Mayor Philip Stoddard
Doesn't Understand The Rules For The Money, Which Comes From Seizing
The Assets Of Alleged Criminals.
South Miami's mayor is accusing the police chief of using money meant
for crime-prevention to pay for an awards dinner. But the chief says
he followed the law just as he has been doing during his long career
in law enforcement.
Every month, around 100 guests, sometimes more - mostly police brass
from different departments in Miami-Dade County - meet to recognize
an officer of the month. The departments take turns covering the
costs. Some dinners have been known to cost about $4,000, and some
have been held at places like the Rusty Pelican in Virginia Key.
[continues 749 words]
Marijuana is poised to make a big splash in Colorado business after
the passage of Amendment 64, allowing its legal sale and consumption.
A series of events in 2013 will determine just how big the industry may become.
Before retail stores open, state officials will apply licensing
standards and excise-tax rates. Local governments also will decide
whether they will impose sales taxes or prohibit retail sales in
The industry's financial impact could be significant, based on early
[continues 159 words]
Student's Addiction Came Early; Escape Almost Elusive
In a cramped bathroom stall at Edward Cary Middle School, Mariela and
her crew passed around a binder and a school badge to divide the
lines of powder.
Jeff Lautenberger/staff Photographer Mariela, who has shared her
experiences on television, has replaced drugs with education. She is
pursuing an associate of applied science degree at Eastfield College
in Mesquite in hopes of becoming a substance abuse counselor. She
expects to graduate in May.
[continues 3263 words]
Re "Pot farms take dirty toll," Dec. 23
Some years back I purchased a copy of biologist George Wuerthner's
guide "California's Wilderness Areas: Mountains and coastal ranges."
As a Southern California native, I was not familiar with geographic
locales outside my immediate area, so reading the volume and looking
at the beautiful color photos instilled an incredible sense of
fascination with California's far north and its incredibly rich
biodiversity and unspoiled splendor. It made me realize that pristine
areas of the state, untouched by humans, still exist.
[continues 99 words]
Mass Incarceration Has Gone Too Far and Helped Little, Critics Say
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Stephanie George and Judge Roger Vinson had quite
different opinions about the lockbox seized by police from her home
in Pensacola, Fla. She insisted she had no idea that a former
boyfriend had hidden it in her attic. Vinson considered the lockbox,
containing a half-kilogram of cocaine, to be evidence of her guilt.
But the defendant and the judge fully agreed about the fairness of
the sentence he imposed in federal court.
[continues 1812 words]
Legalization Strategy In Colorado Paves The Way For Pot In Other
Just days after guiding a Colorado marijuana-legalization initiative
to an unprecedented victory, longtime Denver marijuana activist Mason
Tvert scored another win: a new job.
Tvert is now the communications director for the Marijuana Policy
Project, the national lobbying group that is the parent organization
for Tvert's SAFER Colorado and was the main funder for Colorado's
"I'm simply in a new role there, where I will be able to work on these
issues around the nation," Tvert said.
[continues 930 words]
Over the past several weeks, I have spoken with hundreds of voters
regarding the issue of medical marijuana, many of whom voted "Yes" on
Question 3, all of whom now believe the law is vague and subject to
They worry that marijuana will become readily available to those
without legitimate medical needs, yet not comfortably accessible by
those who may benefit from its medical use. All have expressed a
desire to ease the suffering of those with debilitating conditions,
but want to do so in a responsible, rational manner.
[continues 612 words]
WORCESTER - The Worcester Housing Authority - through a pilot program
expected to begin early next year - will ease its rules to allow some
recovering substance abusers with lengthy criminal records to obtain
local public housing.
WHA officials said the program, "New Beginnings," will initially
provide four men working to turn their lives around with a chance at
"Each day, we balance the need to keep our (WHA) communities safe and
secure with the need to give people a second chance," WHA Executive
Director Raymond V. Mariano said.
[continues 515 words]
Study Suggests Some Are Taking It as a Substitute for Prescription
Drugs and Alcohol
Three quarters of medical cannabis consumers report using it as a
substitute for prescription drugs, alcohol, or some other illicit
substance, according to survey data  published in the journal
Addiction Research and Theory.
An international team of investigators from Canada and the United
States assessed the subjective impact of marijuana on the use of licit
and illicit substances via self-report in a cohort of 404 medical
cannabis patients recruited from four dispensaries in British
[continues 439 words]
Last month, Massachusetts joined 17 other states in legalizing the use
of marijuana for medical purposes, acting on a large body of evidence
scientific and anecdotal that it is useful in treating a wide range
of illnesses. Even some who led the opposition to the ballot question
agreed marijuana has legitimate medical applications.
That puts the state not only in opposition to federal law, which
considers possession of marijuana for any purpose a criminal offense,
it presents a conflict on a matter of fact. For 40 years, marijuana
has been classified as a Schedule I drug, which is defined as having
no medical application.
[continues 372 words]
A crop harvested by the Chinese 8,500 years ago has provoked
contemporary debate. Legalization of industrial hemp is being touted
as a economic shot in the arm for Kentucky and elsewhere in America.
At the same time, industrial hemp is being criticized by law
enforcement as a way to hide illegal marijuana.
Meanwhile, local lawmakers and local law enforcement officials have no
desire to see Kentucky allow medical marijuana, the subject of a
pre-filed bill in the Kentucky General Assembly, which begins Jan. 8,
meets for four days, then comes back into session in February for a
[continues 1222 words]
Seven years ago, Durham resident Chad Sanders lost his sister, Shelly,
to drug overdose. Shelly had been using drugs with a friend in her
dorm room when she became unresponsive. Her friend, recently released
from jail on parole, did not call 911 for fear that he could be
arrested for drug possession.
Shelly didn't make it through the night.
Unfortunately, Shelly's story is far too common. Drug overdose
deaths have surpassed automobile deaths as the leading cause of
accidental death in the United States. In North Carolina, antiquated
laws and practices lead to over 1,000 preventable overdose deaths each
year. It's time we do something about it.
[continues 632 words]
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, has plans to resurrect
a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes
Some advocates of repealing or relaxing Pennsylvania's anti-marijuana
laws recently told the Associated Press they were encouraged by
referendum votes to legalize recreational use of the drug in Colorado
and Washington state.
Leach, who sponsored one of two medical-marijuana bills that died in
committee during the just-ended legislative session, said the
referendums results will help pave the way for similar measures in
other states. Leach said he intends to resurrect his bill to allow
marijuana use for medical purposes and will also sponsor a bill to
decriminalize the drug.
[continues 742 words]
The Rev. Al Sharp's Saturday oped on why patients deserve medical
marijuana flies in the face of science and the official opinions of
the very associations that represent the patients identified.
Marijuana is not medicine.
The Food and Drug Administration decides what is safe and effective
medicine and has determined marijuana is neither safe nor effective.
The World Health Organization, American Society of Addiction Medicine
and the National Institute on Drug Abuse all oppose making marijuana
available as medicine.
Mr. Sharp mentioned two patients with multiple sclerosis, but the
Society for Multiple Sclerosis opposes marijuana as medicine, and so
does the American Cancer Society. Marijuana has 60 percent more
cancercausing agents than a cigarette.
[continues 192 words]
California, 17 other states and the District of Columbia have placed
their residents in legal jeopardy over the sale and possession of
marijuana for medical purposes. Now two of those states - Washington
and Colorado - have done the same for recreational use. It's time for
Congress to either adopt a more federalist approach to marijuana
laws, or to reiterate that the plant is an illegal controlled substance.
Washington and Colorado voters approved pot-possession initiatives in
last month's elections. But the marijuana story that created the most
election buzz this year was the endorsement of Mitt Romney by the
creator of the comic strip "Dilbert," Scott Adams. It was a "firing
offense," Adams wrote, for President Obama to put "an American
citizen in jail for 10 years to life for operating medical marijuana
dispensaries in California where it is legal under state law."
[continues 462 words]
Mothers On Oxycodone Give Birth To Drug-Dependent Babies; 'It's
SARASOTA, Fla.: Hospitals around the country are confronting an
unsettling consequence of the prescription-pain-pill epidemic: a surge
in the number of babies born dependent on drugs such as oxycodone.
One recent morning a 12-day-old girl lay writhing in the neonatal
intensive-care unit at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Erin Weatherwax, a
nurse, tried to console the newborn by holding her against her chest
and patting the baby's back. She placed the girl in a motorized swing
that made cricket sounds. But the infant continued to squirm, unable
to sleep more than a few minutes at a time.
[continues 1019 words]