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1 US MA: Legislators Send Pot Overhaul To GovernorSun, 23 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:114 Added:07/25/2017

The Democrat-controlled Massachusetts Legislature sent an overhaul of the voter-passed marijuana legalization law to Governor Charlie Baker's desk Thursday - but not before a top Republican lit into the legislation.

The Senate enacted the measure on a 32-6 vote. On Wednesday, the House voted 136-11 to move the bill forward.

Baker is expected to sign the measure, which would raise cannabis taxes from what the ballot question envisioned, merge oversight of recreational and medical marijuana, and change how cities and towns can ban pot shops.

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2 US MA: Legislature Moves Forward On Marijuana Law OverhaulWed, 19 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:71 Added:07/22/2017

The legislation proposed in Massachusetts wouldn't change the basic marijuana rights of adults that the ballot question put in place.

The Massachusetts Legislature is advancing an overhaul of the voter-passed marijuana legalization law Wednesday, when both chambers are expected to accept a House-Senate compromise bill in the afternoon.

A final Senate vote, which would send the bill to the governor, is scheduled for Thursday.

The legislation would change the legalization law passed by 1.8 million voters in November.

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3 US MA: SJC Rules Mass. Companies Can't Fire Workers Just Because TheyMon, 17 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:117 Added:07/21/2017

Massachusetts companies cannot fire employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana simply because they use the drug, the state's highest court ruled Monday, rejecting arguments from employers that they could summarily enforce strict no-drug policies against such patients.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said a California sales and marketing firm discriminated against an employee in its Foxborough office who uses marijuana to treat Crohn's disease when it fired her for flunking a drug test without first trying to reach an accommodation with her.

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4 US MA: Mass. Lawmakers Unveil Proposed Overhaul Of Marijuana LawMon, 17 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:157 Added:07/21/2017

Representative Ronald Mariano, a Quincy Democrat and the majority leader, spoke about the revisions to the marijuana law on Monday at the State House.

The Massachusetts Legislature is expected to approve a broad overhaul of the voter-approved marijuana legalization law this week after House and Senate negotiators agreed on a bill Monday that would hike marijuana taxes and change how communities can ban local pot shops.

But the compromise immediately raised the specter of a serious legal challenge, and the bill drew a rebuke from the top lobbyist for cities and towns who said, should it pass, most municipalities would have trouble implementing the law.

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5 US MA: Boston Startup Dives Into Marijuana Industry With High-TechSun, 16 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:108 Added:07/19/2017

The compact mass spectrometer shows precisely what's in marijuana.

The compact, high-tech chemical sensors made by the Boston startup 908 Devices are used by emergency responders to scan for toxins after industrial accidents, and by researchers in the pharmaceutical and energy industries to profile the composition of drugs and petroleum products.

Now, the firm has unveiled a new sensor intended to give it a foothold in a less conventional but fast-growing industry: commercial marijuana.

The sensor, dubbed the G908, is a countertop "push-button" mass spectrometer designed to identify cannabis compounds. Its designers say the device approaches the accuracy of traditional "gold standard" lab equipment but is far smaller, faster, cheaper, and easier to use.

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6 US MA: Marijuana Billboard In South Boston Causes StirWed, 12 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Conti, Katheleen Area:Massachusetts Lines:130 Added:07/14/2017

Marijuana billboard in South Boston called 'insensitive'

The advertisement was from Weedmaps, a California-based company that runs an online marijuana dispensary rating service and sells inventory software to pot shops.

While waiting at a stoplight on East Broadway in South Boston last week, Sheila Greene looked up at a billboard and was stunned. In white letters against a black background, a message read: "States that legalized marijuana had 25% fewer opioid-related deaths."

Greene was bothered by the fact that the advertisement - from Weedmaps, a California-based company that runs an online marijuana dispensary rating service and sells inventory software to pot shops - was placed in a neighborhood hard hit by opioid abuse. "I couldn't believe it was being advertised," she said.

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7 US MA: Mass. Towns Balking At Pot Shops As Beacon Hill Weighs TighterSat, 08 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Rocheleau, Matt Area:Massachusetts Lines:184 Added:07/11/2017

At least 103 cities and towns - nearly one-third of all Massachusetts communities - have placed outright bans or other restrictions on marijuana businesses since voters legalized the drug for recreational use in November, according to a Globe analysis.

And another 47 municipalities are actively considering restrictions, the review found, as local elected officials express unease about the state's venture into legalized recreational marijuana.

Most of the restrictions are temporary, intended to allow local officials time to consider where marijuana shops should be allowed to operate in their communities - if at all.

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8 US MA: LTE: Challenges To The Notion Of How We View AddictionSun, 02 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Rakatansky, Herbert Area:Massachusetts Lines:51 Added:07/05/2017

Strong motivation to seek and continue treatment makes a difference

In "Stop calling addiction a brain disease" (Ideas, June 25), Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld write of how Michael Botticelli, the drug czar under President Obama, "drew an analogy between having cancer and being addicted. 'We don't expect people with cancer to stop having cancer,' he said." Comparing addiction to progressive brain cancer is misleading. Better to compare it to diabetes. Diabetics cannot choose to lower their blood sugar. Diabetics do have a choice, however - to enter treatment and take their medications and modify their diets. Addicts have a similar choice. They can enter and remain in treatment programs. But a strong motivation is necessary. Such motivation results from the realization that an essential component of their life is at risk.

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9 US MA: LTE: We Need Clarity And Consistency In How We ApproachSun, 02 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Geller, Jeffrey Area:Massachusetts Lines:41 Added:07/05/2017

Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld do an excellent job, in "Stop calling addiction a brain disease," explaining how a unidimentional brain disease model, rather than a biopsychosocial model of addiction, birthed the opioid epidemic.

The 21st century is not the first time medicine considered addiction a brain disease. In 1889 Massachusetts built the Massachusetts Hospital for Dipsomaniacs and Inebriates in Foxborough, thinking overuse of alcohol could be cured in the same fashion as insanity was being cured at the time.

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10 US MA: LTE: Pushing Power Of Choice Makes Those Struggling WithSun, 02 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Kuban, Kaila Area:Massachusetts Lines:55 Added:07/05/2017

I cringe to think about some parent whose child is struggling with opioid addiction reading "Stop calling addiction a brain disease," and running to the mall to buy "gift cards or movie tickets" as incentives for their child to "choose" not to use.

I cringe to think about the specialists who have worked so long to change our cultural thinking around addiction sighing as these outmoded ideas about addiction-as-a-choice are given prime media play.

And I cringe to think of those who have been blessed not to have the specter of addiction touch their families reading this and thinking, "See, it's not a disease."

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11 US MA: Marijuana Do's And Don'ts For The Fourth Of JulyTue, 04 Jul 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:116 Added:07/05/2017

Independence Day is a celebration of freedom. But on this July Fourth, for the first time in more than a century, our freedoms in Massachusetts include the ability to legally buy, possess, and use marijuana.

These privileges took effect in December, after voters approved a ballot question on recreational pot use. And that measure remains the law of the land, despite state legislators' ongoing debate over a rewrite of the rules.

But it's worth remembering that this freedom is heavily qualified. So, after consulting with law enforcement experts and studying guidance issued by state officials, here are some recreational marijuana do's and don'ts.

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12 US MA: Behind Closed Doors, Lawmakers Hash Out Plan To Rewrite PotMon, 26 Jun 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:119 Added:07/01/2017

The fate of marijuana legalization, enshrined in law by about 1.8 million Massachusetts voters, is now in the hands of a half-dozen lawmakers meeting in secret.

Those legislators' first action on Monday was to kick out members of the news media, close the door, and begin their deliberations to reconcile fundamentally different Senate and House rewrites of the ballot question that legalized adult recreational marijuana's use and sale.

"We're going to ask the press to leave," said Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, the Senate's point person on pot policy.

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13 US MA: Sorting Out The Cannabis ConundrumSat, 24 Jun 2017
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Salsberg, Bob Area:Massachusetts Lines:106 Added:06/24/2017

BOSTON -- After a week of sharp divisions and heated rhetoric over the future of the state's recreational marijuana law, it's now up to a conference committee of six legislators to try and sort everything out.

On one hand, there's a House bill that infuriated pro-marijuana activists by proposing a major overhaul of the voter-approved law. On the other, a more restrained Senate bill won praise from the groups behind the November ballot question.

Democratic Rep. Mark Cusack, the House bill's lead author, suggested before the votes that the two chambers were in about 80 percent agreement on their respective approaches.

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14 US MA: Editorial: A Start, But Not A Solution, For 'Methadone Mile'Thu, 22 Jun 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:40 Added:06/22/2017

A city-run day shelter that will house the homeless along Methadone Mile.

ON A RECENT afternoon at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, a group of people tried to revive an unconscious man lying on a strip of grass. Only the white soles of the man's sneakers were visible to motorists as they waited for the light to change. Another man darted between the idling cars toward a Boston firetruck and said, "A guy over there OD'd, he needs help."

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15 US MA: Central Mass. Has Mixed Views On Marijuana Law ChangesThu, 22 Jun 2017
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Lee, Brian Area:Massachusetts Lines:148 Added:06/22/2017

On the heels of a House rewrite Wednesday of the state's adult-use recreational marijuana law, approved by voters in November, local reaction has been mixed.

Increasing the tax rate on marijuana sales from 12 percent to 28 percent and allowing local governing boards to ban or limit pot stores without asking local voters are among the more significant changes in the House bill.

On Thursday, the debate over reshaping the law shifted to the state Senate, where a more modest set of revisions to existing law appeared headed for passage.

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16 US MA: Massachusetts Medical Pot Dispensary Selling Marijuana PizzaWed, 07 Jun 2017
Source:Blade, The (Toledo, OH)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:29 Added:06/07/2017

QUINCY, Mass. - A Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensary has created a culinary delight for patients who don't want to smoke their pot or eat it in the form of sweets.

Quincy-based Ermont Inc. has been selling cannabis-infused pizza for about three weeks to rave reviews.

Director of Operations Seth Yaffe says the company has a whole range of marijuana edibles, but he wanted to offer meals that patients could eat without a lot of sugar.

The 6-inch cheese pizzas sell for $38 apiece. The tomato sauce contains 125 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. The company has sold about 200 already. Yaffe says if patients want toppings, they can add their own.

Only people with state-issued medical marijuana ID cards are eligible to buy the pies.


17 US MA: PUB LTE: Pot Winning FansTue, 14 Mar 2017
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:26 Added:03/17/2017

President Trump is ill advised to expend resources to shutdown state legal marijuana businesses ("€œPot plans moving forward despite toughtalk from Trump,"€ Feb. 27).

As Jacob Sullum points out in his column: "€œAccording to a recent Quinnipiac University survey, 59 percent of Americans think marijuana ˜should be made legal in the United States,"€™ while 71 percent "€˜oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana."€™ Among Republicans, only 35 percent favored legalization, but 55 percent opposed federal interference with it."€

Steven S. Epstein, Georgetown


18 US MA: LTE: Program Hits Home In Targeting Addicts And TheirSun, 22 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:41 Added:01/23/2017

I'd like to commend The Boston Globe for bringing attention to a new home-based program for children and families affected by the opioid epidemic ("A new program targets children of opioid addicts," Business, Jan. 16). As the article notes, parental substance use disorders present safety, developmental, and attachment-related risks to children, and this is especially so for those under 5 years of age.

Sadly, the number of children affected by parental substance use disorders in the United States has more than doubled. For example, from 1998 to 2012, cases in which children were removed from the home because of parental alcohol or substance use rose from 14 to 31 percent of all cases of children being removed.

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19 US MA: Mass. Legislation Would Sharply Curb Marijuana LawFri, 20 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:106 Added:01/21/2017

Senator Jason M. Lewis proposed legislation that would reduce the amount of marijuana people 21 years and older could possess in their home from 10 ounces to 2 ounces, and the number of marijuana plants people could grow from 12 per household to six per household.

The right of Massachusetts adults to possess and grow marijuana would be sharply curbed, and the ability of retail shops to begin selling recreational pot next year would be deeply undercut if legislation filed Friday afternoon by a key state senator becomes law.

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20 US MA: Walgreens Agrees To Better Monitor Opioid DispensingThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Freyer, Felice J. Area:Massachusetts Lines:123 Added:01/19/2017

[photo] A Walgreens in Boston.

An investigation by Attorney General Maura Healey found that some Walgreens pharmacies failed to monitor patients' drug use patterns and didn't use sound professional judgment when dispensing opioids and other controlled substances - a concern because of soaring overdose deaths in Massachusetts.

Walgreens agreed to pay $200,000 and follow certain procedures for dispensing opioids, in a settlement filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court.

"Our records show," Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said in an e-mail, "that the prescriptions in question were dispensed to patients for a legitimate medical purpose and issued by licensed practitioners," suggesting the drugs were not diverted to the black market.

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21 US MA: Mass. Legal Marijuana Law As We Know It May ChangeWed, 18 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:149 Added:01/18/2017

Will lawmakers gut key parts of marijuana law?

A marijuana joint was rolled.

Marijuana legalization advocates fear the Massachusetts Legislature, which has already delayed the opening of pot shops, will now gut several key parts of the law approved by 1.8 million voters in November.

Public comments from Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg about potential changes are setting off alarm bells among backers.

Rosenberg has raised the prospect of lawmakers sharply increasing the marijuana tax rate, lowering the 12-plant-per-household limit on homegrowing pot, and even raising the legal age for purchase, possession, and use up from 21.

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22 US MA: A New Head Start Initiative Targets Children Of OpioidMon, 16 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Pfeiffer, Sacha Area:Massachusetts Lines:87 Added:01/16/2017

In a grim indicator of the toll the opioid crisis is taking on children, a program is being launched in Massachusetts specifically to help newborns, infants, and toddlers with addicted parents.

Health officials say they believe it's the first such early-intervention program in the state to target these children, some of whom were born drug-addicted.

The government-funded initiative will pay for weekly home visits to 36 low-income families in New Bedford, a South Coast community where the number of children born with opiates in their bloodstreams is four times the state average.

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23 US MA: A New Frontier In Opioid Abuse: People Taking Drugs Meant ForSun, 15 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Allen, Evan Area:Massachusetts Lines:73 Added:01/16/2017

Law enforcement and veterinary officials are planning an outreach campaign to educate veterinarians about a new frontier in the opioid epidemic: people so desperate for drugs that they take medication that had been prescribed to pets.

"The misuse of pet medication has serious safety implications - for people and animals," said Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, in a letter that will be printed in the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association newsletter this week. "Educating people about the signs of drug misuse, available treatment resources and how to properly store and dispose of all medications is a crucial part of helping to stem the tide of overdoses and death."

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24 US MA: In Plymouth County, A Drug Program Finds Success Tackling TheSun, 15 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Carozza, Jacob Area:Massachusetts Lines:171 Added:01/15/2017

[photo] (Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe) Paul Jehle, pastor of the New Testament Church of Cedarville, shook hands with recovering addict Justin Todd at a Project Outreach drop-in center hosted by the church in Plymouth.

One in a series of occasional articles about opiate abuse and its consequences.

It took multiple applications of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, Paul Hachey of Plymouth recalled, to revive him in late September. The 38-year-old was "dead" from an OxyContin overdose for three minutes before he slipped back to life, he said.

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25 US MA: Marijuana Legalization, Opioid Crisis Come To An AwkwardSat, 14 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Pindell, James Area:Massachusetts Lines:101 Added:01/15/2017

[photo] A marijuana bud.

Across New England, two issues appear to be driving legislatures this year - - and they both have to do with drugs.

States are grappling with the emergence of marijuana legalization. But the region is also the epicenter of the opioid crisis, with overdose rates in New Hampshire among the highest in the country.

These two debates - separate, but not unrelated - transcend party. Marijuana legalization efforts have been supported by Democrats and Republicans, but none of the region's six governors fully support recreational use of the drug. On the opioid crisis as well, there is bipartisan consensus about the importance of the issue - as well as the fact there's no silver bullet to solve the problem.

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26 US MA: Holyoke Mayor Sees Future In PotFri, 13 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Miller, Joshua Area:Massachusetts Lines:160 Added:01/13/2017

Holyoke has a number of old mill buildings that Mayor Alex B. Morse believes would make an excellent location for the industry.

HOLYOKE - Vacant mill buildings along a series of canals serve as constant reminders of this impoverished city's halcyon days as the Paper City of the World. But the mayor has a distinctly 21st-century plan for the old factories.

Alex B. Morse imagines marijuana growing in them.

Morse, the 27-year-old wunderkind who has been in office for more than five years , believes his hometown is on the upswing, with the lowest rates of crime and unemployment in many years. But the city, with a poverty rate almost three times the state average, requires an infusion of industry. And the state's nascent recreational marijuana business, he says, would be a perfect fit.

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27 US MA: Opioid Death Toll Again Hits Triple Digits In WorcesterTue, 10 Jan 2017
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Foskett, Steven H. Jr. Area:Massachusetts Lines:102 Added:01/11/2017

WORCESTER - Last year was another rough year in the fight against opioid addiction, and Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. had some numbers to prove it at a forum Monday night at Worcester Technical High School.

The district attorney said there were 148 overdose deaths in Worcester County last year, and he cautioned that as toxicology test results come back, that number could still rise. He said for four years that number has been in the triple digits, and said it has impacted the cities and the suburbs. He said that in nearly three quarters of those overdose deaths, the powerful drug fentanyl played a role.

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28 US MA: Books Detail The How-To's On Cultivating PotTue, 10 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Belman, Felice Area:Massachusetts Lines:53 Added:01/10/2017

Massachusetts lawmakers have already shown they're willing to tinker with the marijuana legalization law passed by voters in November. But for now, at least, it's legal for adults 21 and older to grow marijuana plants at home: Six plants per person and 12 per household. (Note: Home growing is legal indoors only in Massachusetts.)

Curious about how to get started? The Boston Public Library has a perhaps surprising number of books about pot, including several volumes on home growing. They include:

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29 US MA: Pot Dispensaries Hit By Hack Of Sales SystemMon, 09 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:34 Added:01/09/2017

[photo] MJ Freeway, a Denver company whose tracking software is used by hundreds of marijuana companies to comply with state regulations, said its main servers and backup system each went down Sunday morning and remained offline as of Monday afternoon.

Marijuana shops across the country, including seven medical dispensaries in Massachusetts, are being affected by the apparent hack of a sales and inventory system widely used in the cannabis industry.

Two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state suggested patients delay their appointments until the system was back up or a fix is in place.

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30 US MA: State's High Court Looks At Sobriety Tests For DriversSat, 07 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Crimaldi, Laura Area:Massachusetts Lines:108 Added:01/07/2017

In a state that just legalized the recreational use of marijuana, can field sobriety tests used to determine whether drivers are drunk also be administered to demonstrate that a person is too high to operate a motor vehicle?

The state Supreme Judicial Court on Friday took up that question in a case that is being closely watched by police and advocates for marijuana legalization.

The justices also heard arguments over whether police officers can give jurors their opinion of whether a driver is drugged on marijuana.

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31 US MA: Dianne Williamson: Statistics Hid Humanity Behind DrugThu, 05 Jan 2017
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Williamson, Dianne Area:Massachusetts Lines:112 Added:01/06/2017

Maxwell Baker wanted to be a doctor. His father, a physician himself, said he would have been a great one.

"He was remarkably brilliant," said Dr. James L. Baker of Holden. "And he had compassion."

But Maxwell also had an addiction, one that he battled and managed to tame in the last two years of his life. He fell deeply in love, was taking pre-med classes in college and was filled with energy and purpose. Two days before Christmas, he told his dad that his goal was to treat addicts and educate society about substance abuse.

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32 US MA: Ten-month Old Methuen Child Revived Twice After Exposure ToThu, 05 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Levenson, Michael Area:Massachusetts Lines:122 Added:01/05/2017


Lieutenant Michael Pappalardo said the 10-month-old girl's family is cooperating with an investigation that includes state child-protection authorities.

METHUEN - A 10-month-old girl who narrowly survived after ingesting fentanyl is the latest victim of an opioid epidemic that has been blamed for hundreds of deaths in Massachusetts.

Police were called to the baby's home shortly before 12:30 p.m. Saturday when the girl was having trouble breathing. She was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital, where she stopped breathing twice and had to be resuscitated. She was later flown by helicopter to Tufts Medical Center in Boston and was listed Monday in stable condition, according to police.

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33 US MA: Millbury Voters Adopt Methadone Clinic RestrictionsWed, 04 Jan 2017
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Spencer, Susan Area:Massachusetts Lines:101 Added:01/04/2017

MILLBURY - After barely drawing a quorum of 100 voters, with an unofficial count of 108, special town meeting voters approved zoning bylaws Tuesday to restrict the location of methadone and other medication-assisted drug treatment centers and to impose a moratorium on recreational marijuana outlets until May 31, 2018.

Both articles received a two-thirds majority to pass, according to Town Moderator John M. Bartosiewicz. A vote count was not taken.

Article 3, which established a temporary moratorium on marijuana establishments and the sale or distribution of marijuana and marijuana products, was supported by the Planning Board after its public hearing on the measure earlier in the evening.

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34 US MA: $325 Plastic Bags - With Free Weed 'Gift' - Advertised OnWed, 04 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Annear, Steve Area:Massachusetts Lines:78 Added:01/04/2017

Giving away -- or "gifting"-- up to one ounce of marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, but are some people pushing the new law too far?

Days after Governor Charlie Baker signed a measure delaying the opening of recreational marijuana retail shops statewide by six months, a budding entrepreneur took to Craigslist to offer people a backdoor approach to getting their hands on some pot - one that authorities say would violate the new law.

In an ad posted to the website titled "Bud, weed, marijuana, cannabis," a person who identified himself as "Corey" listed for sale empty plastic bags ranging in price from $20 to $325. Depending on which bag is purchased, the seller promised to include a "gift" of marijuana inside.

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35 US MA: Proposed Changes To Medical Marijuana Rules Draw Fire FromWed, 04 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Lazar, Kay Area:Massachusetts Lines:115 Added:01/04/2017

Medical Marijuana advocates rallied before a public meeting on proposed changes to the rules.

Proposed changes to the state's medical marijuana program do not address problems that hamper people from registering for the program, according to patients and advocates who testified Tuesday at a crowded public hearing in Boston.

The proposals are part of a larger initiative by the Baker administration to review and update all state regulations, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which oversees the marijuana program.

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36 US MA: Warren Seeks To Ensure Bank Services For Those Doing BusinessTue, 03 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:94 Added:01/03/2017

Senator Elizabeth Warren is leading a new effort to make sure vendors working with marijuana businesses don't have their banking services taken away.

As marijuana shops sprout in states that have legalized the drug, they face a critical stumbling block: lack of access to the kind of routine banking services other businesses take for granted.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is leading an effort to make sure vendors working with legal marijuana businesses, from chemists who test marijuana for harmful substances to firms that provide security, don't have their banking services taken away.

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37 US MA: Doctors Curtail Opioids, But Many See Harm To Pain PatientsTue, 03 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Freyer, Felice J. Area:Massachusetts Lines:156 Added:01/03/2017

Doctors are being more careful with opioid prescriptions as addiction and its effects get more recognition.

More than half of doctors across America are curtailing opioid prescriptions, and nearly 1 in 10 have stopped prescribing the drugs, according to a new nationwide online survey. But even as physicians retreat from opioids, some seem to have misgivings: More than one-third of the respondents said the reduction in prescribing has hurt patients with chronic pain.

The survey, conducted for The Boston Globe by the SERMO physicians social network, offers fresh evidence of the changes in prescribing practices in response to the opioid crisis that has killed thousands in New England and elsewhere around the country. The deaths awakened fears of addiction and accidental overdose, and led to state and federal regulations aimed at reining in excessive prescribing.

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38 US MA: How A Mail-order Opioid Operation Took Root On The HighMon, 02 Jan 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Armstrong, David Area:Massachusetts Lines:189 Added:01/02/2017

LUBBOCK, Texas - Across from a sprawling cotton field, among mobile homes in varying states of decay, one stood out: a double-wide with a new, expansive metal garage and the only paved driveway on the dead-end street.

It was here that an unemployed former computer repairman with a bad back ran what a drug informant called the biggest fentanyl ring in Lubbock. All Sidney Lanier needed was a computer and an elementary knowledge of chemistry to order shipments of the potent synthetic opioid from China and turn it into a highly profitable - and dangerous - street drug.

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39US MA: Massachusetts Governor Signs Delay For Marijuana ShopsSat, 31 Dec 2016
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:Excerpt Added:01/02/2017

Action by the governor and legislature doesn't change a new law that allows adults 21 and older to possess and use limited amounts of recreational marijuana and grow as many as a dozen pot plants in their homes, but it pushes back the timetable for opening retail marijuana stores from the beginning of 2018 until the middle of that year.

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill Friday aimed at delaying by up to six months the opening of marijuana shops in the state until mid-2018.

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40 US MA: State Report Reveals Barriers To Opioid Addiction TreatmentSat, 31 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Arsenault, Mark Area:Massachusetts Lines:100 Added:12/31/2016

Lexi sat under a highway overpass where she sleeps near a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue nicknamed "Methadone Mile" in Boston last April.

Just 49-percent of adult patients who check into state-licensed residential substance abuse centers complete their treatment programs, while a substantial portion of patients walk away from treatment or relapse, according to a new state report.

And despite intense focus by advocates and government officials to cast opioid addiction as not a character problem but a public health crisis, the stigma attached to substance abuse remains "a significant deterrent to seeking care."

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41 US MA: Why A Skirmish Over Pot Legalization In Massachusetts IsFri, 30 Dec 2016
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Phillips, Amber Area:Massachusetts Lines:99 Added:12/31/2016

In November, Massachusetts voters decided to make recreational marijuana legal, allowing it to be bought and sold in stores by January 2018. But this week, state lawmakers quietly voted to delay the sale date by at least six months.

The delay has outraged some marijuana-legalization advocates, less so because they'll have to wait a few months to buy pot and more so because they feel the legislature is trying to subvert the will of the people by fundamentally changing what they voted for. A similar skirmish is happening in Maine over the minimum wage, and progressives in both states are worried that their opponents are trying to delay or even reverse their remarkable success via ballot initiatives.

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42 US MA: Editorial: Fix Pot Law, But Not In Smoke-Filled RoomThu, 29 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:53 Added:12/30/2016

THE PASSAGE OF the marijuana legalization referendum in November doesn't mean that the new law's exact language must stay frozen in amber forever. But the fact that the law was approved directly by the voters should mean that lawmakers consider changes with more caution than they showed on Wednesday, when both the House and Senate approved a six-month delay to some of the law's provisions without hearings or a formal roll-call vote.

That decision, reached in informal session and sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature, doesn't change the basic structure of the legalization law. But if approved by Baker, it would slightly delay the opening of marijuana retail stores in Massachusetts and the creation of a new commission to oversee the industry. Legislative leaders say the delay will help implement legalization effectively.

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43 US MA: How Hard Is It To Get Pot Now That It's Legal?Fri, 30 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Arnett, Dugan Area:Massachusetts Lines:160 Added:12/30/2016

Dugan Arnett wandered down Winter Street while looking for marijuana in Boston.

Call me old-fashioned, but I trusted Nancy Reagan when she urged me to Just Say No. I listened when McGruff the Crime Dog insisted that "users are losers." And when my younger sister arrived home one night back in high school smelling of the devil's lettuce, I did what any self-respecting graduate of the DARE program would do: I told my mom.

So when my boss approached me to ask if I'd be willing to go out on Thursday - the day marijuana officially became legal in Massachusetts - and attempt to buy some, it's safe to say I was caught off guard.

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44 US MA: A Closer Look At The Rare Move Mass. Lawmakers Used To DelayWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Rocheleau, Matt Area:Massachusetts Lines:79 Added:12/29/2016

Just a half-dozen Massachusetts legislators passed a controversial measure on Wednesday delaying the opening date for recreational marijuana stores in Massachusetts by six months.

How could so few legislators decide such an important issue?

The move, which took less than an hour, was extraordinary, but technically allowed.

Here's how it works.

First, keep in mind that legislative cycles in Massachusetts run on two-year calendars, beginning in odd-numbered years. So currently, we are at the end of a two-year cycle that began in 2015.

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45 US MA: Mass. Lawmakers Vote To Delay Retail Marijuana ShopsWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Tlumacki, John Area:Massachusetts Lines:117 Added:12/29/2016

A man showed the marijuana he was selling on Boston Common earlier this month.

It took less than an hour and about a half-dozen state legislators to undo the will of 1.8 million voters expressed just last month.

The House and Senate passed a bill on Wednesday delaying the opening date for recreational marijuana stores in Massachusetts by half a year - from January to summer 2018.

The extraordinary move would unravel a significant part of the marijuana law. About 1.5 million people voted against legalization on Nov. 8.

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46 US MA: Mass. Legislators Move To Delay Legal Marijuana SalesWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Murphy, Matt Area:Massachusetts Lines:100 Added:12/29/2016

BOSTON -- The process for licensing retail marijuana shops would be delayed by six months under legislation that surfaced Wednesday in the Senate before clearing both branches, the result of which could push the legal sale of marijuana, authorized by a successful ballot campaign this year, well into 2018.

The House and Senate on Wednesday morning during lightly attended informal sessions passed a bill (S 2524) amended by Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, pushing out the effective dates of several key milestones in the new law, including the dates by which the state will begin accepting applications and issuing licenses for retail pot shop licenses. The state, under the bill, would have until July 2018 to issue the first licenses for retail pot sales.

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47 US MA: Colo. Pot Problem Solver Seen As Possible Mass. RegulatorWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:McCrimmon, Cyrus Area:Massachusetts Lines:174 Added:12/28/2016

Andrew Freedman is Colorado's director of marijuana coordination.

DENVER - Marijuana legalization brought unexpected challenges to Colorado, and it was rarely clear what part of state government was supposed to solve them, or how.

Businesses were selling marijuana-infused, animal-shaped candy attractive to children. Residents growing pot at home were selling it illegally in other states. Growers were applying pesticides to cannabis plants even though none was specifically approved by the federal government for such use.

Enter Andrew Freedman, Colorado's pot czar, who is bringing together the state's bureaucracy, marijuana industry, law enforcement community, and public health advocates to fix problems no other state had faced.

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48 US MA: Synthetic Opioids Slipping Into US Via Mail, Security ExpertsTue, 27 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:MacQuarrie, Brian Area:Massachusetts Lines:145 Added:12/27/2016

Deadly synthetic opioids are streaming into the United States amid a flood of mail that arrives unscreened from abroad every day, overwhelming the Postal Service and fueling the drug epidemic gripping much of the country, security experts and Massachusetts lawmakers say.

Nearly 1 million packages a day enter the country without any advance electronic information that might flag the presence of dangerous opioids such as fentanyl, much of which is manufactured in China, said Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant Homeland Security secretary.

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49 US MA: 'Heroin Is The Worst Thing In The World'Sun, 18 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Allen, Evan Area:Massachusetts Lines:380 Added:12/18/2016

[photo] Bonnie Bruce is the mother of a Vermont woman, Tamara, who was found the day after Thanksgiving passed out from heroin in her car with her fiance and their two young children.

DORSET, Vt. - The midnight phone call woke them all up. As Bonnie Bruce struggled to understand what the police officer was saying, her 11-year-old grandson, Elias, appeared in her bedroom doorway and walked to her bedside, listening. He knew: It was about his mother.

"Wait a minute, what are you telling me?" Bonnie gasped into the phone. The coil of dread lodged hard in her gut for the past 11 years, since her daughter first shot heroin into the soft crook of her elbow, abruptly gave way. "Is she all right?"

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50 US MA: Editorial: False Promise On PotMon, 12 Dec 2016
Source:Boston Herald (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:56 Added:12/14/2016

Massachusetts voters legalized the sale and recreational use of marijuana when they passed Question 4 in November. Folks who work in the cannabis industry, who authored that legislation, want to squeeze as much as they can out of the Bay State market even if it means exploiting minority communities.

Oh, they wouldn't describe it that way. The authors of the legislation instead called for regulators to encourage "full participation" in the new industry "by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities."

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