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1 Canada: Cannabis Debate: Legal Pot Is Far Safer For Youth ThanMon, 16 Apr 2018
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Elrod, Matthew M. Area:Canada Lines:108 Added:04/18/2018

Some remain skeptical the proposed Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) will achieve one of its primary objectives: protecting youth from cannabis-related harms. Some feel the minimum age should be higher than the minimum age for alcohol, worried that those under 25 seem more vulnerable to dependence and health problems linked to long-term, heavy use.

Critics of the proposed minimum age may be overlooking another primary objective: displacing the black-market. Young adults aged 18 to 24 represent one third of the market. The act attempts to strike a balance between keeping marijuana away from minors and cash away from criminals.

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2 US NY: Nixon: Support For Legalizing Marijuana Use A Racial IssueWed, 11 Apr 2018
Source:Charlotte Observer (NC) Author:Carola, Chris Area:New York Lines:79 Added:04/16/2018

A week after telling two interviewers her support for legalizing recreational use of marijuana in New York was revenue-based, Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon said Wednesday that it's now foremost a racial justice issue for her.

The "Sex and the City" star posted a 90-second video on YouTube in which she stated that it's time New York joined eight other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

"There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me, it comes down to this: we have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity," Nixon said.

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3US RI: Healing Church Believers Flout Federal Law As They SmokeTue, 03 Apr 2018
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Ellis, Rebecca Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:04/06/2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Anne Armstrong, 58, knows exactly how many joints she has smoked at Providence's Roger Williams National Memorial -- 153, all rolled with "kosher" marijuana harvested in the backyard of her West Greenwich home.

As "deaconess" to The Healing Church, a cannabis-centered Catholic sect that boasts about a dozen members, Armstrong believes smoking in the park is a religious obligation, the equivalent to a sip of wine at Communion.

Anointing members with hashish-infused oil and blowing a shofar so it billows marijuana smoke are, likewise, ceremonial duties. (It should be noted that Armstrong refuses to use the word marijuana, which she calls racist slang. She prefers to refer to the plant as cannabis, spice, or hemp.)

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4 US MA: Mass. Pot Business Applications Strong On First Day OfTue, 03 Apr 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:90 Added:04/03/2018

In just the first day of accepting preliminary applications, the Cannabis Control Commission said 23 companies and entrepreneurs had submitted requests for expedited licensing, and another 167 were in the process after the agency launched its online licensing system Monday.

"Yesterday was a seminal day in the thus-far-brief history of the commission," said Steve Hoffman, the agency's chairman. "There were probably a large number of people that didn't think we'd be ready on April 2 to start accepting applications," but the agency's regulations were in place on time last month and its system worked smoothly, he added.

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5 US MA: Recreational Marijuana Licensing To Begin MondaySun, 01 Apr 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:113 Added:04/03/2018

On Monday at noon, decades of debate all come down to this: a click of a computer mouse by a state technology contractor.

With that, the Massachusetts state government's system for legal pot use will blink to life, and businesses can begin applying for licenses to grow, process, and sell cannabis to adults 21 and older.

The behind-the-scenes milestone will not have an immediate impact on consumers. But it does mark the beginning of a process that regulators expect will lead to the debut of recreational pot sales in July.

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6 US OH: Editorial: There Is No Magic Solution For The Opioid CrisisWed, 21 Mar 2018
Source:Blade, The (Toledo, OH)          Area:Ohio Lines:72 Added:03/25/2018

President Trump's proposal to invoke the death penalty for drug traffickers is an idea that is, in the practical scheme of things, unworkable. It is also probably unconstitutional and obviously simplistic. It is a gimmick, not a policy.

We need a policy.

The president likes dramatic gestures for difficult problems - a ban on all potential terrorists, a big wall next to Mexico, a 25-percent tariff on steel. This is not an altogether bad instinct. We need strong, decisive leaders and criminals need to fear punishment.

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7 US: Death Penalty For Drug Dealers Is Not A New IdeaWed, 21 Mar 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Linskey, Annie Area:United States Lines:151 Added:03/22/2018

WASHINGTON - President Trump's plan to use the death penalty on drug dealers has all the hallmarks of his favorite policies: It could fit on the front of a baseball cap. It is a proven applause line. It appeals to a conservative base.

But, like so many of Trump's slogans-turned-policy, it's dredged from a bygone era and lacks clear evidence showing it would be effective.

Using an obscure federal provision to bring capital cases against dealers, the concept that Trump enthusiastically backed during a visit to New Hampshire this week, fits within the framework of some of his other cornerstone ideas: Build the wall, Launch trade wars, Arm teachers. To some critics in the mainstream, though, the ideas are impractical, imprecise, or just dangerous.

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8 US CA: Pot and Justice: Stark Contrasts In 2 CitiesSun, 18 Mar 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Fuller, Thomas Area:California Lines:207 Added:03/22/2018

OAKLAND, Calif. - When officers burst into Rickey McCullough's two-story home in Oakland a decade ago they noted a "strong fresh odor of marijuana." Mr. McCullough had been growing large amounts of marijuana illegally, the police said. He was arrested and spent a month in jail.

A few weeks ago the city of Oakland, now promoting itself as a hub for marijuana entrepreneurs, awarded Mr. McCullough, 33, a license to sell marijuana and the prospect of interest-free loans.

Four hundred miles to the south, in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, Virgil Grant, 50, straddles the same two worlds, but with a different outcome. He was a marijuana dealer in the 1990s whose customers are said to have included rap stars like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac, and he spent more than eight years in prison on marijuana convictions. But his vision of starting a marijuana dispensary in his hometown was dashed in January when the residents of Compton voted decisively to ban marijuana businesses from city limits.

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9 US PA: Millennials Bear The Brunt Of Pa. Marijuana ArrestsMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Goldstein, Chris Area:Pennsylvania Lines:103 Added:02/28/2018

Philadelphia is evolving into a safe haven for cannabis consumers even as arrests increase across Pennsylvania. Newly-elected District Attorney Larry Krasner announced Thursday that he would drop any marijuana possession cases brought to the court by police.

A 2014 decriminalization ordinance allowing tickets caused common weed arrests to decline by more than 85 percent. Still, I reported last year that hundreds of racially disparate cases were still being brought to Philly courts each year for less than 30 grams of buds.

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10 US MD: Legalizing Marijuana, Other Pot Proposals Await Action InMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Dresser, Michael Area:Maryland Lines:131 Added:02/28/2018

Pot is hot for Maryland lawmakers in Annapolis this year.

The General Assembly is considering more than two dozen bills on marijuana -- or cannabis, as the substance is called when used as a medicine.

For marijuana enthusiasts, full legalization for recreational purposes is at the top of the wish list. Bills in both the House and the Senate would put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to let voters decide whether to replace prohibition with a system of regulated sales and taxation.

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11CN QU: Government Urged To Repeal Drug LawsWed, 21 Feb 2018
Source:Montreal Gazette (CN QU) Author:Fidelman, Charlie Area:Quebec Lines:Excerpt Added:02/26/2018

Protesters carrying signs saying "Injustice is fatal!" laid dozens of white carnations next to a coffin on the steps of Montreal City Hall Tuesday, each representing a life lost to a drugoverdose.

A coalition of community groups, crisis workers, activists and drug users held a demonstration demanding the government repeal drug laws that marginalize drug users.

They also held a moment of silence - joining several vigils held simultaneously across Canada. The opioid crisis claimed nearly 3,000 lives in 2016, and the estimated death toll last year is pegged at 4,000 people.

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12 Canada: OPED: The Strange Language Of CannabisSat, 10 Feb 2018
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Robertson, Kate Area:Canada Lines:155 Added:02/15/2018

If, five years ago, someone had asked me how I felt about cannabis, I'd assume they were a cop. Even the term "marijuana" - a word believed to be brought to the United States by Mexican migrant workers before the Prohibition era, which was later used to promote racist anti-pot messaging - was a red flag to discreet and casual users such as myself.

Weed, cheeba, ganja, sticky-icky, dank nugs - terms the community has appropriated from Rastafarians, West Coast hippies, rappers and Indian yogis: These are the words that would have communicated familiarity and, therefore, acceptance of the habit. But what do you call it now that Canada has developed a sophisticated legal medical program and is close to passing its recreational cannabis legislation? Well, from black-market producers to young workers in illegal dispensaries to the burgeoning, optimistic legal industry: We've all agreed to say cannabis.

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13 CN ON: Editorial: Push Pot Bill Through SenateSat, 10 Feb 2018
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON)          Area:Ontario Lines:81 Added:02/15/2018

The ongoing effort in the Senate to derail the passage of the Liberal government's bill to legalize marijuana is not an exercise in sober second thought, as its Conservative proponents claim, but an attempt to obstruct democracy. The Trudeau government should use the tools at its disposal to push this important legislation through the Upper House.

Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and C-46, which would tighten rules on impaired driving related to marijuana use, have been before the Senate since the Commons passed them in late November. And they may languish there forever if the government does not invoke so-called time allocation, a tool for curtailing debate that the Liberals have largely eschewed.

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14 CN BC: Criminal Records Could Sink Pot EntrepreneursThu, 08 Feb 2018
Source:Georgia Straight, The (CN BC) Author:Lupick, Travis Area:British Columbia Lines:122 Added:02/12/2018

An unusual aspect of Canada's soon-to-be-legal cannabis market is that the activists who led the legalization movement may find themselves excluded from the industry for which their efforts paved the way.

Vancouver activists like Jodie and Marc Emery and dispensary pioneer Don Briere, for example, have criminal records for possessing and selling marijuana. Now those criminal records could be used against them in federal and provincial licensing systems that are under development to decide who gets to cultivate and sell recreational cannabis.

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15CN BC: $20m To Aid B.C. First Nations Battling OD CrisisFri, 09 Feb 2018
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Harnett, Cindy E. Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:02/09/2018

B.C. has announced $20 million over three years for First Nations communities struggling with the drug-overdose crisis that's disproportionately affecting Indigenous communities.

The funding will be administered by the First Nations Health Authority, which delivers services in partnership with First Nations communities. It is part of $322 million announced in last September's budget update.

About 1,400 people died of illicit drug overdoses in the province last year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Indigenous people are five times more likely to experience an overdose than the general population and die at a rate three times greater, said Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions.

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16 CN ON: Column: Racially Biased Power Play With Legal PotSat, 03 Feb 2018
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Paradkar, Shree Area:Ontario Lines:122 Added:02/07/2018

"Entrepreneurial" is one of the terms used to describe a bunch of Canadian bootleggers who found varying success in the illicit running of alcohol to the U.S. about a century ago.

They are portrayed as swashbuckling adventurers who dared to defy laws that banned alcohol, laws that in retrospect were not only archaic but perhaps misplaced and costly. They are fondly posited as cheeky and rebellious, the forerunners of a liberal era of alcohol-infused pleasures.

It was legal in Canada to produce alcohol - prohibition was lifted by the 1920s - while Americans still faced a ban. That illicit trade was the building blocks on which Canadian distilleries, the suppliers of that booze, made a fortune. The histories of the Bronfman family (who owned Seagram) and the Corbys, among others, are just a Google search away.

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17 CN ON: What's Next For Cannabis Crime?Sat, 03 Feb 2018
Source:Daily Press, The (CN ON)          Area:Ontario Lines:138 Added:02/06/2018

Lawyers contemplate class action to push government into cannabis amnesty

OTTAWA - At Anthony Morgan's law office, the calls keep coming: Parents of young black men hoping their son's marijuana possession charge will be wiped clean when the country legalizes the drug this year.

The Liberal government has talked about granting amnesty for past marijuana crimes, but isn't likely to move until after the new cannabis regime comes into effect this summer.

For black communities across the country, that's not soon enough - and frustrated lawyers in Toronto are now considering lighting a fire under the feds with a class-action lawsuit.

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18 CN NS: Column: Dope? Nope!Fri, 02 Feb 2018
Source:Amherst News (CN NS) Author:Graham, Sheila Area:Nova Scotia Lines:139 Added:02/06/2018

Sometimes so little is going through my head that if Ralph were to say something, I'd actually have room to listen to him.

Those few times that's happened also seems to be my week to write an article which then leaves me scrambling.

Other times, I start the article only to be sideswiped by some event making me set it aside and start over. Such as todays.

I am an old fogey when it comes to the decriminalization of marijuana.

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19US CA: Ca Marijuana Crimes Easier To Clear From Records Under BillFri, 02 Feb 2018
Source:Fresno Bee, The (CA) Author:Koseff, Alexei Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:02/05/2018

When California voters legalized recreational weed in 2016, they made the law retroactive, allowing residents to petition to overturn or reduce old convictions for possession, cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

But it is a difficult and expensive legal procedure, advocates say, and many people are not even aware they are now eligible to clean up their records. State courts received 4,885 petitions in the first 11 months after Proposition 64 passed, while the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance found more than 460,000 arrests for marijuana offenses between 2006 and 2015 alone.

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20 CN AB: Ready To Challenge TrudeauThu, 01 Feb 2018
Source:Metro (Edmonton, CN AB) Author:Maimann, Kevin Area:Alberta Lines:66 Added:02/03/2018

Group to ask about opioid crisis at town hall

Edmontonians will line up at MacEwan University on Thursday in hopes of getting face time with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Moms Stop the Harm, a group of parents who have lost children to drug overdoses, plans to have 10 to 15 members at the town hall to challenge the PM on the opioid crisis.

"It's very upsetting for us how silent he has been on this issue," said group member Petra Schulz. "There are thousands of Canadian families like ours that are mourning the loss of a loved one, and the prime minister has not even spoken on the issue in the house."

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