Once again, we are reminded of the unintended consequences created by
the demand for illegal drugs in this country and the destruction it
has caused to democracy and good government in Central and South
America ("Rewriting History in Bolivia-and Mexico," by Mary Anastasia
O'Grady, Americas, March 29).
The demand for illegal drugs in this country fuels drug trafficking,
human trafficking, drug wars, murders, official corruption, electoral
fraud and finances the repression of democracy.
While the "woke" in this country lay blame on previous generations for
societal ills and offer to atone for perceived transgressions from the
pursuit of capitalism, they risk hypocrisy by neglecting criticism and
blame toward those in this country who have created the demand for
illegal drugs and the resulting mayhem south of our border and in our
The hard-core user, the recreational user, the experimental user and
the onetime user contribute to the demand. The user is found in every
strata of our society, in every profession and, yes, even among the
Teenagers are more likely than young adults to become addicted to
marijuana or prescription drugs within a year after trying them for
the first time, according to a new study by the National Institute on
The new report, published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA
pediatrics, adds to mounting evidence showing adolescents are more
vulnerable to substance use disorders than young adults, increasing
the need for early screening and drug prevention education, health
"We know that young people are more vulnerable to developing substance
use disorders," said Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA director and lead author of
the study analysis. "Though not everybody who uses a drug will develop
addiction, adolescents may develop addiction faster than adults."
Researchers at the NIDA, a part of the National Institutes of Health,
analyzed data from the nationally representative National Surveys on
Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services from 2015 to 2018.
PHOENIX - When Arizonans voted to legalize recreational cannabis in
November, it seemed plausible that sales would begin sometime in the
But on Jan. 22, less than three months after the vote, the Arizona
Department of Health Services started quickly approving applications,
allowing dispensaries to sell cannabis to adults 21 and older
"It was kind of like ripping a Band-Aid off," said Jennifer Matarese,
the president of a management company that runs Local Joint in
Phoenix. Like many other dispensaries in Arizona, Local Joint has been
serving medical patients for years; the legalization of recreational
cannabis has led to a rapid rise in demand.
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After years of stalled attempts, New York State has legalized the use
of recreational marijuana, enacting a robust program that will
reinvest millions of dollars of tax revenues from cannabis in minority
communities ravaged by the decades-long war on drugs.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the cannabis legislation on Wednesday, a
day after the State Legislature passed the bill following hours of
debate among lawmakers in Albany.
New York became the 15th state to legalize the recreational use of
cannabis, positioning itself to quickly become one of the largest
markets of legal cannabis in the nation and one of the few states
where legalization is directly tied to economic and racial equity.
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State lawmakers finalized a deal on Thursday to legalize recreational
marijuana in New York, paving the way for a potential $4.2 billion
industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs and become one of
the largest markets in the country.
Following several failed attempts, lawmakers in Albany struck an
agreement with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to legalize cannabis for adults 21
and older, a move that officials hope will help end years of racially
disproportionate policing that saw Black and Hispanic people arrested
on low-level marijuana charges far more frequently than white people.
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For years, Harry B. Lebowitz spent the cocktail hour at his home in
Delray Beach, Fla., sitting in his backyard overlooking a lake and
smoking a joint while his partner relaxed with her vodka and club soda.
Mr. Lebowitz, 69, a mostly retired businessman, qualified for a state
medical marijuana card because he suffered from anxiety, sleep apnea
and back pain. He credits cannabis with helping to wean him off
several prescription drugs.
Then came Covid-19, heightening both his anxiety and his boredom. "It
was like the world stopped," Mr. Lebowitz said. "We're all suffering
from some form of PTSD, all of us."
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Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon announced the members of the state's newly
formed Psilocybin Advisory Board this week. Why does Oregon need an
official board to offer advice about the active ingredient in magic
mushrooms, you ask? Because Oregon is about to become the first state
in the country to try to build a support infrastructure through which
psychedelic mushrooms can be woven into everyday life. This framework
is different from what we've seen before: not legalization, not
medicalization, but therapeutic use, in licensed facilities, under the
guidance of professionals trained to guide psychedelic experiences.
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WASHINGTON - In February, the Biden administration signaled that past
marijuana use would not necessarily disqualify a person from
employment by relaxing longstanding policies that have barred some
past users of the drug from working in the White House.
The change was seen as a way to open the door for younger talent from
parts of the country where marijuana has been legalized, but it took
only a few weeks for the new guidelines to be publicly tested.
On Friday, responding to a news report in The Daily Beast that said
dozens of young staff members had been pushed to resign or had been
reassigned to remote work based on their past marijuana use, Jen
Psaki, the White House press secretary, confirmed that some employees
had been sidelined but said that it applied to fewer people.
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Dan Shapiro was the first person I knew to use medical marijuana. As a
junior at Vassar College in 1987, he was being treated for Hodgkin's
lymphoma with potent chemotherapy that caused severe nausea and
vomiting. When Dan's mother learned that smoking marijuana could
relieve the distressing side effect, to help her son, this otherwise
law-abiding woman planted a garden full of the illegal weed in her
Connecticut back yard.
Decades later, marijuana as medicine has become a national phenomenon,
widely accepted by the public. Although the chemical-rich plant
botanically known as Cannabis sativa remains a federally controlled
substance, its therapeutic use is now legal in 36 states and the
District of Columbia.
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Texas has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the
country, with sales allowed only by prescription for a handful of conditions.
That hasn't stopped Lukas Gilkey, chief executive of Hometown Hero
CBD, based in Austin, Texas. His company sells joints, blunts, gummy
bears, vaping devices and tinctures that offer a recreational high. In
fact, business is booming online as well, where he sells to many
people in other states with strict marijuana laws.
But Mr. Gilkey says that he is no outlaw, and that he's not selling
marijuana, just a close relation. He's offering products with a
chemical compound - Delta-8-THC - extracted from hemp. It is only
slightly chemically different from Delta 9, which is the main
psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
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ALBANY, N.Y.-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he would
amend his proposal to regulate and tax recreational marijuana in hopes
that the drug could be legalized as part of the state budget due by
The amended proposal would allow for delivery services and reduce the
penalty for people who unlawfully sell marijuana to a person under the
age of 21. It would also add specificity to a social-equity fund that
the Democratic governor said would help revitalize communities that
have been most harmed by the war on drugs. He said the amendments
reflected conversations with lawmakers.
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Voters in four states last year approved the recreational use of
marijuana. That is likely to launch a land rush there for warehouses
and retail properties.
Similar measures in other states have sparked heated competition for
these types of real estate. Owners have been able to charge as much as
three times market rates when selling or renting to businesses
involved in the cultivation, distribution, processing or sale of
cannabis, according to brokers, landlords and cannabis industry executives.
Landlords can charge this pot premium because properties typically
have to meet a range of local restrictions to qualify, such as being a
certain distance from churches or schools.
[continues 612 words]
No more than five players have been suspended for violating the NBA's
and National Basketball Players Association's marijuana policy in the
past four seasons.
The issue isn't if NBA players do or don't use marijuana. It's just
that players don't have serious issues with violating the policy.
After not conducting random testing for marijuana to finish the
2019-20 season inside the bubble near Orlando, Florida, the league is
not doing random testing for marijuana this season.
It's time the NBA and NPBA permanently altered their policy on
marijuana and stopped penalizing players for using it.
Regarding Sally Satel's review of "Drug Use For Grown-Ups" by Carl L.
Hart, neuroscientist and professor of psychology at Columbia
University (Bookshelf, Jan. 14): I'm a 44-year-old male who is 15
years into a 25-year sentence for shooting a man four times in a
cocaine deal that went sideways. I've been selling and using drugs
since I was 12 years old. All three of my uncles are dead from
opiate-related deaths. My childhood best friend overdosed from heroin
in 2017. Setting aside the arguments that include freedom of choice
and putting a dent in the profits of drug cartels, I attempt to look
at drugs in a more nuanced way.
[continues 113 words]
Jason White has created dazzling advertising and marketing campaigns
for Nike and Disney, the World Cup and Olympic Games, to name a few.
But when the Georgetown alumnus told his parents he was exiting
Apple-owned Beats by Dre for the cannabis industry, the announcement
landed with a thud. "What they heard was, 'You're going to sell weed,'
" the 44-year-old said, laughing.
White is now chief marketing officer at Curaleaf Holdings Inc., which
says it is the world's largest provider (by revenue) of legal medical
and recreational cannabis. While some liken legal pot to a gold rush,
White - who is African American and Cuban - talks of repairing
communities harmed by the war on drugs. "Some are very wary of
cannabis, having seen people arrested and their voting rights taken
away," he says. "But as cannabis has become more mainstream, others
don't see harm, but opportunity. I want to use this platform to help
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For decades, nitrous oxide has been widespread at raves and music
festivals, used as a quick buzz. The drug doesn't have the death toll
of the opiate disaster or the widespread popularity of marijuana, but
it's widely sold - legally - all over the country, though its
consumption outside medical facilities is illegal in many states.
But the inhalant's use and misuse seems to be on the rise, fueled by
the stress and isolation of the coronavirus pandemic. It's also in the
spotlight this week after the death of Tony Hsieh at 46, the former
chief executive of the online shoe empire Zappos, in a house fire in
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In a referendum in November, Oregon became the first state to
decriminalize the possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine,
methamphetamine and LSD. The move was inspired by a 2001 law in
Portugal that removed incarceration as a penalty for drug possession.
To judge by "Drug Use for Grown-Ups," Carl Hart welcomed this news,
which came too late for him to mention in his provocative and
enlightening book. He opens with the announcement: "I am an
unapologetic drug user."
Mr. Hart, a professor of psychology and a neuroscientist at Columbia
University, asserts that "recreational drugs can be used safely to
enhance many vital human activities." He bases his claim on decades of
research on the behavioral and physiological effects of drugs in
humans, coupled with his personal use. Thanks to drugs, he says, "I am
a happier and better person." He asks that we think about drugs in a
more nuanced way, even at a time when opioid abuse is still headline
news. Thus his book represents a calculated risk-namely, that by
portraying drug use as so potentially rewarding for responsible users,
it may inadvertently seduce non-grown-ups into hazardous use.
[continues 808 words]