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1 US Editorial: Only Congress Can Keep Jeff Sessions' Reefer Madness InFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)                 Lines:81 Added:07/31/2018

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions' decision to withdraw an Obama-era directive discouraging the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized pot shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Sessions' views on drug laws.

The attorney general has every right to enforce federal drug laws as vigorously as he sees fit. But just because he can doesn't mean he should. The truth is that resuming the discredited war on marijuana would be neither a smart step nor welcome policy, and just the threat of it is a reminder of the shortsightedness of the federal government's approach to drugs.

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2 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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3 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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4 US NY: NYPD Will Start Using Summonses, Not Arrests, For MarijuanaTue, 19 Jun 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Sisak, Michael R. Area:New York Lines:91 Added:06/19/2018

A marijuana user poses a joint over some ground marijuana Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona voters were literally split evenly on the issue of allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, leaving the proposition far too close to call.

A marijuana user poses a joint over some ground marijuana Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona voters were literally split evenly on the issue of allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, leaving the proposition far too close to call. (Matt York / AP)

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5 US IL: Oped: Let's Not Forget How Wrong Our Crime Data AreFri, 25 May 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:O'Neil, Cathy Area:Illinois Lines:91 Added:05/25/2018

Legalizing marijuana makes sense for a lot of reasons, but there's one valuable thing we'll lose when police stop arresting people for smoking pot: A sense of just how misleading our crime data are.

Data on arrests and reported crime play a big role in public policy and law enforcement. Politicians employ them to gauge their success in making neighborhoods and the entire country safe. Police departments use them to determine where to deploy more officers to look for more crime. They are fed into recidivism-risk algorithms, which help judges and parole boards make decisions on sentencing and release.

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6 US: OPED: America's 150-Year Opioid EpidemicSun, 20 May 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Lawson, Clinton Area:United States Lines:129 Added:05/20/2018

After the death of her father, a prominent hotel owner in Seattle, Ella Henderson started taking morphine to ease her grief. She was 33 years old, educated and intelligent, and she frequented the upper reaches of Seattle society. But her "thirst for morphine" soon "dragged her down to the verge of debauchery," according to a newspaper article in 1877 titled "A Beautiful Opium Eater." After years of addiction, she died of an overdose.

In researching opium addiction in late-19th-century America, I've come across countless stories like Henderson's. What is striking is how, aside from some Victorian-era moralizing, they feel so familiar to a 21st-century reader: Henderson developed an addiction at a vulnerable point in her life, found doctors who enabled it and then self-destructed. She was just one of thousands of Americans who lost their lives to addiction between the 1870s and the 1920s.

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7 US NY: Marijuana Policy Change Is Said To Be ConsideredTue, 15 May 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Mueller, Benjamin Area:New York Lines:223 Added:05/19/2018

The district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn are weighing plans to stop prosecuting the vast majority of people arrested on marijuana charges, potentially curbing the consequences of a law that in New York City is enforced most heavily against black and Hispanic people.

The Brooklyn district attorney's office, which in 2014 decided to stop prosecuting many low-level marijuana cases, is considering expanding its policy so that more people currently subject to arrest on marijuana charges, including those who smoke outside without creating a public nuisance, would not be prosecuted, one official familiar with the discussions said.

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8 US NY: Making Sense Of Marijuana ArrestsMon, 14 May 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Mueller, Benjamin Area:New York Lines:103 Added:05/19/2018

If you've walked around New York City lately, there's a good chance you've smelled weed. People smoke walking their dogs in the West Village, and they smoke in apartment building lobbies in the South Bronx. They smoke outside bars and restaurants and in the park.

White people largely don't get arrested for it. Black and Hispanic people do, despite survey after survey saying people of most races smoke at similar rates.

So after a senior police official recently testified to the City Council that there was a simple justification - he said more people call 911 and 311 to complain about marijuana smoke in black and Hispanic neighborhoods - we decided to dig into the numbers the New York Police Department gave lawmakers to support that claim.

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9 US NY: Deblasio Directs Police Dept. To End 'unnecessary' MarijuanaWed, 16 May 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Mueller, Benjamin Area:New York Lines:142 Added:05/19/2018

After years of halting steps, top prosecutors and elected officials in New York City on Tuesday made a sudden dash toward ending many of the marijuana arrests that for decades have entangled mostly black and Hispanic people.

The plans, still unwritten and under negotiation, will rise or fall on the type of conduct involving marijuana that officials decide should still warrant arrest and prosecution. The changes appear likely to create a patchwork of prosecution policies across the city's five boroughs, and are unlikely to restrict police officers from stopping and searching people on suspicion of possessing a drug that is now legal in a number of states.

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10 US NY: Marijuana Cases In New York City Reveal Race GapMon, 14 May 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Mueller, Benjamin Area:New York Lines:235 Added:05/19/2018

They sit in courtroom pews, almost all of them young black men, waiting their turn before a New York City judge to face a charge that no longer exists in some states: possessing marijuana. They tell of smoking in a housing project hallway, or of being in a car with a friend who was smoking, or of lighting up a Black & Mild cigar the police mistake for a blunt.

There are many ways to be arrested on marijuana charges, but one pattern has remained true through years of piecemeal policy changes in New York: The primary targets are black and Hispanic people.

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11 US NY: Editorial: Stop-And-Frisk's Legacy In Marijuana ArrestsTue, 15 May 2018
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:New York Lines:78 Added:05/15/2018

The New York Police Department has claimed that more black and Latino people are arrested for petty marijuana offenses because complaints are more voluminous in neighborhoods where black and Latino people predominantly live. That excuse was blown apart this weekend by a Times investigation showing that the complaints about marijuana use do not fully account for the racial arrest gap - and that, when complaints were held constant, "the police almost always made arrests at a higher rate in the area with more black citizens."

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12US CA: Dianne Feinstein Drops Hard Opposition To Recreational PotTue, 01 May 2018
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Irby, Kate Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/01/2018

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a longtime opponent of legalizing recreational marijuana, now says the federal government should not interfere in California's legal marijuana market.

In comments to McClatchy Tuesday -- in the middle of a 2018 campaign for her seat in a state that has settled into the legal pot market -- the California Democrat said she was open to considering federal protection for state-legalized marijuana.

Feinstein's office said her views changed after meetings with constituents, particularly those with young children who have benefited from medical marijuana use.

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13 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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14 CN ON: Editorial: Theres No Need To Panic Over Pot Shop LocationsTue, 17 Apr 2018
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON)          Area:Ontario Lines:91 Added:04/17/2018

Two very different things, both related to marijuana, happened in Toronto last week. One mattered, and pointed to some of the challenges still ahead with the legalization of marijuana later this year. The other was the proverbial tempest in a teapot.

Allegations that workers were smoking pot on the job, forcing Metrolinx to shut down work on a section of the $5.3-billion Crosstown LRT project, was a serious matter.

But the uproar over the Toronto location for one of Ontario's first government-run pot shops, which continued this week with comments from Premier Kathleen Wynne, is way out of proportion.

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15 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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16US 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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17 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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18 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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19 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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20 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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