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1 US: Column: The Crisis In Americaas Crime LabsSun, 16 Jul 2017
Source:Ottawa Sun (CN ON) Author:Malkin, Michelle Area:United States Lines:105 Added:07/17/2017

Junk science endangers lives. Forensic junk science in the hands of overzealous prosecutors, ignorant police detectives and reckless experts threatens liberty.

There is a crisis in America's government-run crime labs - and it's not just the result of a few rogue operators. The problem is long-festering and systemic.

In April, Massachusetts state crime lab chemist Annie Dookhan made national headlines after investigations and lawsuits over her misconduct prompted the state's Supreme Judicial Court to order the largest dismissal of criminal convictions in U.S. history.

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2 US FL: Desperate For Help, Heroin Addicts Get 'Hijacked' To FloridaFri, 23 Jun 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Lubrano, Alfred Area:Florida Lines:208 Added:06/23/2017

Alfred LubranoWest Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos dials a number for a local addiction treatment center that he suspects has been illicitly re-routed to a Florida facility. His own phone number was "hijacked" in such a manner.

Alfred Lubrano works for the enterprise team. Previously, he wrote about poverty, and before that, he was a feature writer and columnist.

Last September, West Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos made a jarring discovery: His patients were disappearing.


Philly and Conrail to clean up 'heroin hellscape'

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3 US MD: Maryland General Assembly Ethics Committee Hires SpecialFri, 20 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:140 Added:01/21/2017

Del. Dan K. Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat, speaks to reporters on the last day of the Maryland General Assembly's 2016 session. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Special counsel hired for ethics investigation into Baltimore County Del. Morhaim's cannabis work.

The General Assembly ethics committee that's investigating Del. Dan K. Morhaim's work with a medical cannabis company has hired a special counsel to assist with the review.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who on Friday disclosed the hiring of the special counsel, said the action underscores the serious nature of the investigation.

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4 US DC: Outside Lawyer To Review MD Lawmakers Marijuana BusinessFri, 20 Jan 2017
Source:Washington Post (DC)          Area:District of Columbia Lines:72 Added:01/21/2017

[photo] Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County) (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun)

The Maryland General Assembly has hired outside counsel to aid its ethics investigation of a state lawmaker who championed medical marijuana while having a business relationship with a prospective dispensary, a spokesman for the Senate president confirmed Friday.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said on the floor of the legislative body that the ethics committee had recently tapped an outside lawyer to help on a matter.

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5 US CA: City Devastated By Oxycontin Use Sues Purdue Pharma, ClaimsThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ryan, Harriet Area:California Lines:159 Added:01/19/2017

[photo] A bottle of Oxycontin pills. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

A Washington city devastated by black-market OxyContin filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against the painkillers' manufacturer Thursday, alleging the company turned a blind eye to criminal trafficking of its pills to "reap large and obscene profits" and demanding it foot the bill for widespread opioid addiction in the community.

The suit by Everett, a city of 100,000 north of Seattle, was prompted by a Times investigation last year. The newspaper revealed that drugmaker Purdue Pharma had extensive evidence pointing to illegal trafficking across the nation, but in many cases, did not share it with law enforcement or cut off the flow of pills.

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6 US CT: City Devastated By Oxycontin Use Sues Purdue Pharma, ClaimsTue, 17 Jan 2017
Source:Hartford Courant (CT)          Area:Connecticut Lines:181 Added:01/17/2017

[graphic] This motion graphic shows how OxyContin flowed out of Los Angeles.

A Washington city devastated by black-market OxyContin filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against the painkiller's manufacturer Thursday, alleging that the company turned a blind eye to criminal trafficking of its pills to "reap large and obscene profits" and demanding it foot the bill for widespread opioid addiction in the community.

The suit by Everett, a city of 100,000 north of Seattle, was prompted by a Times investigation last year. The newspaper revealed that drugmaker Purdue Pharma had extensive evidence pointing to illegal trafficking across the nation but in many cases did not share it with law enforcement or cut off the flow of pills.

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7US NY: Cuomo Proposes Decriminalizing MarijuanaThu, 12 Jan 2017
Source:Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY) Author:Spector, Joseph Area:New York Lines:Excerpt Added:01/12/2017

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making another pitch for the state to decriminalize possession of some marijuana.

Cuomo quietly included the proposal in a 380-page State of the State message that he provided late Wednesday to the state Legislature.

"The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York state, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety," is on Page 191 of Cuomo's message.

The idea will again stoke a debate in Albany after the issue gained prominence in 2012 -- when the Democratic governor first made the push to decriminalize possession of marijuana.

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8US CA: Pot Dispensaries Are Already -- Illegally -- SellingSun, 08 Jan 2017
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Staggs, Brooke Edwards Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/09/2017

Though Prop. 64 legalized recreational marijuana, businesses aren't allowed start selling it until the state establishes a licensing system.

A security guard enters a shop with a sign posted that reads PROP 64 FRIENDLY! in Compton on Wednesday. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The online ad for Green Light District -- a pot shop in a brick office building 5 miles from Disneyland -- was clear: Anyone 21 years and older was welcome to buy weed with only a "valid ID."

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9 US TN: Agriculture Secretary Wants 'aggressive' Solutions ToFri, 30 Dec 2016
Source:Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN) Author:Nelson, Kristi L. Area:Tennessee Lines:154 Added:12/30/2016

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, left, talks with US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack and audience members during a town hall meeting on how to deal with the opioid addiction in Appalachia on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center on in Abingdon, VA. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture talks about opioid addiction during a town hall meeting with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center on Thursday, June 30, 2016 in Abingdon, VA.(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

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10 US IL: Duterte Threatens To Throw Corrupt Officials Out Of AThu, 29 Dec 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:98 Added:12/29/2016

- -- and says he's done it before

In his latest controversial statement, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his bloody anti-drug war that has killed thousands, threatened to throw corrupt officials out of a helicopter, saying he has done it before, to a kidnapper, and won't hesitate to do it again.

"I will pick you up in a helicopter to Manila, and I will throw you out on the way," Duterte said in Tagalog in front of a crowd in the Camarines Sur province Tuesday, according to GMA News. "I've done it before. Why would I not do it again?"

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11 US CA: What Makes Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, WhoWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Marquez, Bullit Area:California Lines:175 Added:12/29/2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at a military ceremony in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at a military ceremony in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. (Bullit Marquez / Associated Press)

He has compared himself to Hitler, called President Obama a "son of a whore," and overseen a wave of extrajudicial violence that has left thousands of people dead.

Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines' 71-year-old president -- a former city mayor with a level gaze and an aura of casual dishevelment -- passed his 100th day in office Oct. 8, and despite his profanity and repeated calls to violence, he is the country's most popular leader in recent memory.

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12 US OH: Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Cocaine SentenceSat, 24 Dec 2016
Source:Blade, The (Toledo, OH) Author:Provance, Jim Area:Ohio Lines:109 Added:12/26/2016

COLUMBUS - In a case closely watched by law enforcement statewide, a sharply divided Ohio Supreme Court on Friday said prosecutors must prove the weight of the actual cocaine - and not fillers - to get stiffer sentences in drug busts.

For Rafael Gonzales, 58, convicted in Wood County in 2012 of first-degree felony cocaine possession, the 4-3 decision means his 11-year sentence could be slashed to one.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, writing for the majority, said state law's definition of "cocaine" does not provide for fillers such as baking soda.

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13 US NJ: Prosecutors Fight to Keep Secret Informant in NJTue, 23 Aug 2016
Source:Trentonian, The (NJ) Author:Avilucea, Isaac Area:New Jersey Lines:126 Added:08/25/2016

TRENTON - Ed Forchion wants to film a reality show chronicling the impact of the country's so-called War on Drugs on his life.

He has a couple titles in mind: "The War on NJ Weedman." Or perhaps even better, "Marijuana Martyr."

Forchion pointed to prosecutors' desire in a drug case in Trenton that could land him in prison for years to protect the identity of a confidential informant who allegedly purchased weed from him several times at his downtown city business.

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14 US NJ: 'Weedmobile' Destroyed, Weed Advocate CriticizesTue, 16 Aug 2016
Source:Trentonian, The (NJ) Author:Avilucea, Isaac Area:New Jersey Lines:144 Added:08/16/2016

TRENTON - Marijuana activist Ed Forchion gave a famous Los Angeles graffiti artist $300 cash, an ounce of weed and an expensive bong to paint a political statement on the side of his "Weedmobile" in 2008.

The provocative portrait showed NJ Weedman blowing smoke into Uncle Sam's face. The van would later become a rolling billboard for Forchion's Trenton restaurant and pot temple, capturing in cartoonishly large candor his pro-marijuana views and disdain for New Jersey's "hypocritical" drug laws.

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15 US CA: Drug Agent's Arrest Throws Out, Weakens Some CasesFri, 12 Aug 2016
Source:Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA) Author:Vaughan, Monica Area:California Lines:89 Added:08/14/2016

D.A.'S Offices Dealing With Fallout

About a dozen felony marijuana-related criminal cases have been thrown out or reduced to misdemeanors - the fallout of the December arrest of a Yuba-Sutter drug task force agent.

Christopher "Mark" Heath's career as a Yuba County sheriff's deputy came to an abrupt end when he resigned from his position of 12 years soon after he was arrested in Pennsylvania on suspicion of trafficking more than 200 pounds of marijuana. The effects of his arrest sent ripples through the Yuba-Sutter criminal justice system, some of which have yet to be worked out.

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16 US NJ: NJ Weedman, Attorney Attack Police, ProsecutorsFri, 12 Aug 2016
Source:Trentonian, The (NJ) Author:Avilucea, Isaac Area:New Jersey Lines:133 Added:08/12/2016

TRENTON - Marijuana legalization activist Ed Forchion and his attorney took turns bashing police and prosecutors for alleged perjury and gamesmanship and demanded the resignation of the county's top law enforcement official during an impromptu news conference outside criminal court Thursday.

Wearing a burgundy pinstripe suit, Forchion, known as NJ Weedman, took a hit from a bong and handed out jury nullification pamphlets following his first appearance in Mercer County Superior Court.

He railed against the tactics of Trenton Police and Acting Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri and discussed how his attorney, Edward Heyburn, was at a disadvantage to argue his case in court without a crucial sworn affidavit of probable cause.

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17 US NJ: Indicted NJ Weedman Hopes Prosecutor Takes 'AssWed, 10 Aug 2016
Source:Trentonian, The (NJ) Author:Foster, David Area:New Jersey Lines:106 Added:08/10/2016

TRENTON - Facing an 11-count indictment on drug charges, Ed Forchion, aka NJ Weedman, is not breaking a sweat.

In fact, the pro-marijuana activist has challenged acting Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri to take the lead on the case.

"I'm ready for it," Forchion said Tuesday shortly after learning of the indictment. "I really hope that Prosecutor Onofri presents this case and takes this ass whooping himself."

Onofri announced Tuesday in a press release that a grand jury returned the indictment charging the 52-year-old with numerous drug offenses stemming from a raid on April 27 at his restaurant and pot temple directly across from City Hall on East State Street.

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18 US DC: Editorial: 'I Will Really Kill You'Fri, 05 Aug 2016
Source:Washington Post (DC)          Area:District of Columbia Lines:79 Added:08/05/2016

The New President of the Philippines Unleashes a Surge of Extrajudicial Killings of Drug Dealers and Users.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, the new president of the Philippines, is overseeing exactly what he pledged in his campaign: a terrifying surge of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers, users and criminals. From the day after he was elected, May 10, to Aug. 4, by a local account, there had been 571 killings, most of them simple executions by police and vigilante groups.

Mr. Duterte promised to "shoot to kill" and eliminate drug dealing in the country in six months. In fact, he is killing the rule of law, and that could undermine Philippine democracy.

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19US CA: Despite Protests, Supervisors Approve Restrictive PotWed, 27 Jul 2016
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Hecht, Peter Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:07/28/2016

Nevada City - Faced with furious protests by marijuana advocates, Nevada County supervisors on Tuesday approved a restrictive plan to allow limited outdoor marijuana growing in a Sierra Nevada county long known for its cannabis culture.

In June, voters in the county of 100,000 residents roundly rejected a sweeping ban imposed by supervisors on outdoor marijuana farms and commercial cultivation. Measure W, which would have reinforced an ordinance passed by the board in June, went down by a 59 to 41 percent margin.

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20 US MA: New Trials Possible for Those Convicted in Dookhan DrugThu, 21 Jul 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Ellement, John R. Area:Massachusetts Lines:108 Added:07/21/2016

The state's highest court said Wednesday that people convicted on drug charges in cases that involved a disgraced state chemist, Annie Dookhan, can seek new trials.

Last year, the Supreme Judicial Court gave special permission to people to undo their pleas if they had pleaded guilty to drug charges in Dookhan-related cases. On Wednesday, it ruled that the same protection must be extended to some defendants who went to trial.

"Regardless whether a defendant pleads guilty to a drug offense or is found guilty at trial . . . the evidence is still potentially tainted by Dookhan's misconduct," Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants wrote for the court. "The taint is still attributable to the government [because] it may be impossible for the defendant to prove [their] case . . . was actually tainted by Dookhan's misconduct."

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