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1 US MA: Massachusetts Marijuana Retailers May Soon Get Final Go-AheadSun, 09 Sep 2018
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Young, Colin A. Area:Massachusetts Lines:95 Added:09/12/2018

BOSTON - A handful of the marijuana businesses granted provisional licenses have informed the Cannabis Control Commission they are ready to be inspected, one of the final steps before retail sales of marijuana, approved by voters almost two years ago, can begin.

CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said late last week the agency is working to schedule inspections for two or three provisionally licensed businesses. Hoffman said the inspections are expected to take place "over the next week, plus or minus."

He said it's possible the CCC could vote at its next meeting, Sept. 20, to issue a final license if a business passes its inspection and fulfills other requirements by then.

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2 US NJ: N.J. To Resume Minor Marijuana Prosecutions, But AG Asks ForWed, 29 Aug 2018
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:New Jersey Lines:73 Added:08/29/2018

Prosecutors in New Jersey cannot unilaterally decriminalize marijuana possession in their jurisdictions, the state attorney general announced Wednesday, but they are being encouraged to use their discretion with people charged with low-level cannabis crimes.

State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal issued a guidance memo to the Garden State's prosecutors, asking them to carefully consider the repercussions of a marijuana conviction on the lives of people charged with simple possession.

He asked prosecutors to weigh the "collateral consequences" a conviction might have on a defendant's ability to find work, remain in school, and receive government loans, housing, and licensing. Grewal also requested prosecutors to take into account age, circumstances of arrest, immigration consequences, and adverse familial consequences.

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3 US FL: Fake Weed Seen As A Public Health DangerTue, 21 Aug 2018
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Stobbe, Mike Area:Florida Lines:55 Added:08/21/2018

A decade after first appearing in the United States, fake weed is seen as a growing health danger.

Some marijuana smokers turned to it because it is relatively cheap and not detected in routine drug testing. Dozens of people in New Haven, Conn., went to the hospital this week after overdosing on a batch of synthetic marijuana.

A look at the issue:

While states have moved to legalize traditional marijuana, fake pot has become a public health threat. Synthetic marijuana is a mind-altering drug made by taking plant material and spraying it with chemicals that can mimic the high from marijuana. It is sold under names like K2, AK47, Spice, Kush, Kronic, and Scooby Snax.

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4 US IL: Chicago Cops Pointed Guns At Children While Raiding The WrongWed, 15 Aug 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Briscoe, Tony Area:Illinois Lines:121 Added:08/15/2018

Chicago police officers pointed their guns at two young children while executing a search warrant at the wrong address, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court.

Gilbert Mendez is suing the city, saying police used excessive force when officers rammed their way through the front door of his McKinley Park apartment last November, according to court documents. The officers had intended to raid the apartment of Mendez's upstairs neighbor, who was suspected of drug possession. But Mendez, his wife, Hester, and two children Jack, 5, and Peter, 9, were alarmed when police officers barged in with guns drawn, the suit says.

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5US LA: Guns Or Marijuana? Some Patients Will Have To Make The ChoiceFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA) Author:Clark, Maria Area:Louisiana Lines:Excerpt Added:07/31/2018

As Louisiana's medical marijuana program takes shape some patients might have to make a difficult choice: keep their gun ownership rights or participate in the program.

Louisiana is one of 30 states that have approved medical marijuana laws in some form. Although the state's nine dispensaries won't open until later this year, patients who qualify for medical marijuana under Louisiana law may be surprised to learn that federal law restricts their ability to purchase a gun if they use marijuana.

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6 US PA: A 'Game-Changer' For Pa. Medical Marijuana Flower Goes On SaleFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:112 Added:07/31/2018

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania are bracing for a surge in new customers when vaporizable "flower" -- the most popular and recognizable form of cannabis -- goes on sale on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

"We're expecting 300 to 400 patients at our Abington store the first day," said Chris Visco, co-founder of TerraVida Holistic Centers. "People will likely be in line at 8 a.m. We're hiring an extra security guard and an extra valet parking person. This is a game-changer."

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7 US: 'Marijuana Is A Gift From God'Sun, 29 Jul 2018
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Lee, Kurtis Area:United States Lines:218 Added:07/29/2018

An LDS missionary passes by the Salt Lake Temple at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Voters this fall in Utah will cast ballots on a measure that would allow medical marijuana. (Isaac Hale / For The Times)

Brian Stoll faced a dilemma as his wedding day approached. For more than a year, he had been smoking marijuana to treat severe back pain, but to remain in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and get married in the temple, he had to stop using pot.

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8 US NJ: Oped: Pressing Pause On Pot ConvictionsSun, 29 Jul 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Fulop, Steven M. Area:New Jersey Lines:111 Added:07/29/2018

JERSEY CITY - Every city in America knows that it's a bad idea to prosecute low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenses. It wastes scarce municipal resources and does nothing to enhance public safety. What's more, even though whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates, blacks are more harshly punished for it.

That's why, on July 19, marijuana offenses were effectively decriminalized in Jersey City, New Jersey's second most populous city.

Prosecutors treated every marijuana case that day as a violation instead of a misdemeanor, unless driving under the influence was involved. We told our prosecutors to ask for no more than a $50 fine, or just five hours of community service if the defendant couldn't pay that fee. Instances like the absence of any public nuisance or a low likelihood of re-offense would warrant outright dismissal. We also stressed the importance of diverting people with an obvious drug addiction toward social services.

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9 US: Editorial: Repeal Prohibition, AgainFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:United States Lines:75 Added:07/28/2018

The federal government should follow the growing movement in the states and repeal the ban on marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflictingA great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

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10 US: How To Help Babies Born To Opioid-Addicted Mothers? Keep ThemFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Bowen, Alison Area:United States Lines:142 Added:07/27/2018

Jessica King's daughter was in the intensive care unit. The newborn was twitching, and doctors were monitoring her for symptoms such as vomiting and sweating.

King, 35, felt devastated to see her daughter this way. She was also gutted by guilt that her actions had put her there.

"I just remember thinking, 'I'm either going to let this consume me, the guilt and the shame, or I'm going to move on, and I'm going to keep trying to do the next right thing,'" said King, who battles with opioid addiction, which can include heroin, fentanyl and prescription pain relievers like oxycodone.

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11 US: Public Faith In Marijuana Outpaces Medical Research, Study FindsWed, 25 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Haydon, Ian Area:United States Lines:119 Added:07/25/2018

Despite limited evidence, Americans have an increasingly positive view of the health benefits of marijuana. Nearly two-thirds believe pot can reduce pain, while close to half say it improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a new online survey of 9,003 adults.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, that have legalized medical marijuana. But scientists say hard data on the health effects of pot -- both positive and negative -- are largely missing. Because marijuana is considered an illicit drug by the federal government, research has been scant, though there are efforts underway in Pennsylvania and nationally to remedy that.

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12 US NJ: Editorial: Like Jersey City, Murphy's AG Takes The High GroundWed, 25 Jul 2018
Source:Bridgeton News (NJ)          Area:New Jersey Lines:81 Added:07/25/2018

Jersey City's mayor is planting himself at the forefront of a national movement to stop destroying people's lives for having a little marijuana.

Steven Fulop is firmly on the right side of this issue, and Gov. Phil Murphy's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, is not fighting him on it -- once again demonstrating that he is not just concerned with law and order, but justice.

Grewal has been receptive to reform efforts in general, creating a statewide team to investigate wrongful convictions, for instance, after a bungled murder case in Passaic County.

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13 US NJ: Report: New Jersey Puts Temporary Hold On Marijuana CasesTue, 24 Jul 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Shipkowski, Bruce Area:New Jersey Lines:60 Added:07/24/2018

New Jersey's attorney general has announced an immediate adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal courts statewide until at least September.

The decision was included in a letter state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent Tuesday to municipal prosecutors in the state. It asked them to seek an adjournment until September 4 -- or later -- of any matter "involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court," a move that will allow the attorney general's office time to develop "appropriate guidance" for prosecutors.

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14 US PA: Pa. report: Legalizing Marijuana Could Generate $580 MillionThu, 19 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:72 Added:07/19/2018

Legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in Pennsylvania could generate more than $580 million in tax revenue for the state, said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in a report issued Thursday morning.

"Pennsylvania's budget challenges are now a consistent factor in all state policy decisions," said DePasquale. "Taxing marijuana offers a rare glimmer of fiscal hope, providing a way to refocus the state budget process away from filling its own gaps."

Last year, the state faced a shortfall of more than $2 billion.

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15 US: Marijuana Bills Increasingly Focus On Social JusticeThu, 19 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Quinton, Sophie Area:United States Lines:207 Added:07/19/2018

State lawmakers and advocates pushing to legalize marijuana this year aren't just touting legalization as a way to raise tax revenue and regulate an underground pot market. They're also talking about fixing a broken criminal justice system and reinvesting in poor and minority communities that have been battered by decades of the government's war on drugs.

The focus on justice and equity has sharpened over time, longtime pot advocates say, as it's become clear that such issues should be addressed and that doing so won't alienate voters -- most of whom, polls consistently show, support legal marijuana. Civil rights groups also have raised their voices in legalization discussions.

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16 US NJ: Marijuana Bills Increasingly Focus On Social JusticeThu, 19 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) Author:Quinton, Sophie Area:New Jersey Lines:213 Added:07/19/2018

Chris Alexander, policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, advocates for marijuana legislation at the state Capitol in Albany, New York. Supporters say the bill would promote social justice and equity.

State lawmakers and advocates pushing to legalize marijuana this year aren't just touting legalization as a way to raise tax revenue and regulate an underground pot market. They're also talking about fixing a broken criminal justice system and reinvesting in poor and minority communities that have been battered by decades of the government's war on drugs.

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17 US: Oped: The CDC Director's Deeply Personal Reason For FightingWed, 18 Jul 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Bever, Lindsey Area:United States Lines:109 Added:07/18/2018

One of the nation's top public-health officials has explained why the fight against the opioid epidemic is so personal to him.

At a conference in New Orleans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield Jr. opened up about his family's experience with opioids, saying that one of his adult children nearly died of an overdose of cocaine mixed with fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin, according to the Associated Press.

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18 US NJ: New Jersey, Feeling Marijuana's Pull, Frets Over LegalizationTue, 17 Jul 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Corsiniti, Nick Area:New Jersey Lines:168 Added:07/17/2018

SECAUCUS, N.J. - Tucked inside a nondescript commercial warehouse here sits a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation. A custom filtration system feeds a proprietary cocktail of nutrients into a hydroponic, two-level farming system. Two pallets of crops are harvested every day, and the 15,000 square feet will eventually yield two tons of marijuana per year.

And it's all legal.

Opened just a few weeks ago, Harmony Dispensary is the latest site in New Jersey to provide marijuana for medical use, a program that has expanded greatly since Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, was sworn in. More than 10,000 patients have enrolled since he took office in January, bringing the total to about 25,000. And on Monday, Mr. Murphy's office announced it was seeking up to six new applicants for medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

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19 US MA: Worcester Banks On Potential Revenue From Adult-Use, MedicalSat, 14 Jul 2018
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Kotsopoulos, Nick Area:Massachusetts Lines:225 Added:07/14/2018

WORCESTER - Moments after the Board of Health unanimously voted Monday night to issue the city's first license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary, many of those in attendance began to applaud.

It was a modest celebration of sorts - for the representatives of Good Chemistry of Massachusetts Inc., which was awarded the first license, public health officials and members of the Board of Health - as it culminated what was a long process that began more than 5= years ago.

Soon after Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum question in 2012 to legalize marijuana for medical use, Good Chemistry began scoping out potential sites for a dispensary in the city.

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20 US FL: Marijuana Advocates Promote Education Amidst GrowingSat, 14 Jul 2018
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Santana, Marco Area:Florida Lines:83 Added:07/14/2018

A budding medical marijuana industry has slowly been gaining acceptance in Central Florida as lawmakers consider regulations and the number of approved dispensaries grow.

But as medicinal solutions land most of the support, advocates say it's only a matter of time before full legalization lands on the table.

At the Orlando Marijuana Expo, a workshop and advocacy event Saturday at UCF, attorney Carrie McClain said the piecemeal approach to legalization would not be effective but has helped build some momentum.

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