There are currently about 40 million cigarette smokers in the U.S.,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Given
that cigarette use is in decline, marijuana use could become more
prevalent than cigarette use in just a few years' time.
A new Gallup poll out Monday finds that the percentage of American
adults who say they currently smoke marijuana has nearly doubled over
the past three years.
[continues 361 words]
America's drug policies are largely misguided.
Many people, from common citizens to seasoned politicians, are aware
of this, and have sought to change these laws in response to the
needless incarceration of indulgers and addicts and, as a
consequence, an ever-expanding population of prison inmates - the
largest in the world.
However, the ethos of the War on Drugs has, since the early 1970s,
remained a powerful motivation for lawmakers and justice officials to
maintain the status quo.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as of Jan. 30, 2016, the
U.S. prison population was made up in large degree of drug offenders,
with 46.6 percent of all inmates having been incarcerated for such
offenses. The second-largest group of inmates by offense, classed
under "Weapons, Explosives, Arson," made up just 16.9 percent.
[continues 651 words]
Boston (AP) - Massachusetts' highest court on Wednesday cleared the
way for a November ballot question on legalizing small amounts of
recreational marijuana, but it ordered changes in the wording of the
question's title and the brief statement that explains the measure to voters.
The justices, in a unanimous opinion, said the current title and
statement were "clearly misleading," though otherwise found no reason
to disqualify the proposal from the ballot.
The ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court came hours before
supporters of legalized pot turned in more than 25,000 additional
certified voter signatures to the secretary of state, well above the
10,792 needed to assure a spot on the ballot.
[continues 346 words]
On June 20, The Day published a guest commentary by Jim Spellman of
Groton, "Stopping heroin at the source," which contended that "two
appropriate recommendations have been offered to counter the heroin
crisis - treat it as an epidemic and counter it as a village."
Left unclear was who determined that these are the two appropriate
recommendations in all of Connecticut.
But, on his first point, I will agree that the heroin crisis in our
state should be treated as an epidemic.
[continues 501 words]
Bernie Sanders is turning to marijuana to bolster his credentials in
California ahead of the crucial Democratic primary there.
The Vermont senator told a rally in Santa Monica that he would vote
yes on an initiative proposed for the November ballot in the state
that would legalize the drug. In Riverside, he told more than 1,000
people that the 40-year U.S. war on drugs has unfairly targeted
minorities, He told more than 5,000 people in San Bernardino on
Tuesday that as a senator he has worked to remove marijuana from
Washington's list of the most dangerous drugs.
For Sanders, the 475 delegates at play in the June 7 California
primary are crucial for his attempt to close the gap with
front-runner Hillary Clinton before the convention.
- - Bloomberg
Across the United States, heroin and other drug users have died in
alleys behind convenience stores, on city sidewalks and in the
bathrooms of fast-food joints - because no one was around to save
them when they overdosed.
An alarming 47,000 American overdose deaths in 2014 has pushed
elected leaders from coast to coast to consider government-sanctioned
sites where heroin users can shoot up under the supervision of a
doctor or nurse who can administer an antidote if necessary.
[continues 325 words]
Concord, N.H. (AP) - The growing number of patients who claim
marijuana helped them drop their painkiller habit has intrigued
lawmakers and emboldened advocates.
Some are pushing for cannabis as a treatment for the abuse of opioids
and illegal narcotics like heroin, as well as an alternative to painkillers.
It's a tempting sell in New England, hard hit by the painkiller and
heroin crisis. But there's a problem: There is very little research
showing marijuana works as a treatment for the addiction.
Advocates for medical marijuana argue a growing body of scientific
literature supports the idea. But the research falls short of
concluding marijuana helps wean people off opioid painkillers and heroin.
Columbus, Ohio (AP) - An experimental epilepsy drug made from
cannabis plants grown in England is complicating the medical
marijuana debate in hospitals and statehouses.
Epidiolex is a nearly pure extract of cannabidiol, or CBD, with
little of the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that gets traditional pot
users high. CBD products are the current rage in medicinal pot
products, and activists fear that if the maker of Epidiolex manages
to get FDA approval it could undercut the political momentum of the
medical marijuana movement.
[continues 355 words]
Hartford (AP) - Proponents of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut
urged state lawmakers on Tuesday to act quickly and capitalize on the
"novelty factor" of possibly becoming the first New England state to
allow recreational use of the drug.
Tracy Helin, of Middletown, who is registered to use the state's
medical marijuana program to relieve cancer symptoms, warned
legislators who attended an informational hearing on legalization
that time is of the essence. Recreational marijuana legalization is
being considered in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont.
[continues 374 words]
The Governor's Prevention Partnership announced Monday that it has
formed a statewide coalition to prevent the legalization of
recreational marijuana in Connecticut.
Along with the Connecticut Association of Prevention Professionals
and others, the partnership urged lawmakers to "consider the best
interests of young people in the debate over legalization," according
to a news release.
"Parents especially need to understand that marijuana is very harmful
and addictive," said Jill Spineti, president and chief executive
officer of the partnership. "Marijuana has a significant negative
impact on a child's physical and mental health, development and
[continues 143 words]
Providence (AP) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is
hosting a forum on marijuana regulation and policy that will focus on
learning from states that have legalized the drug.
Tuesday's forum at Brown University will include speakers from the
marijuana industry group the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Production.
Representatives from states where marijuana is legal will also speak,
including a representative from the city of Denver, another from the
Washington attorney general's office and a researcher from the
Washington State Institute on Public Policy.
[continues 54 words]
Hartford (AP) - Even though two bills legalizing the recreational use
of marijuana in Connecticut failed this session, proponents are
seeking to keep the issue alive by holding a public informational
meeting on the subject.
Reps. Juan Candelaria and Toni Walker, both Democrats from New Haven,
are seeking input on the pros and cons of marijuana legalization from
experts and members of the public. The hearing is scheduled for
Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building. It will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
[continues 381 words]
Old Lyme - As speakers at a community forum Thursday evening shared
their or their loved ones' stories of recovering from heroin
addiction, they were met with a standing ovation by more than 100 attendees.
The forum at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, organized by the Community
Action for Substance Free Youth under the Lymes' Youth Service
Bureau, focused on treatment and prevention of opioid addiction.
Parker Rodriguez told the audience that he grew up with a loving
family in Lyme. At age 12, he had his first drink and went on to
experiment with drugs.
[continues 582 words]
In the April Harper's Monthly, author Dan Baum argues convincingly
for legalizing all drugs.
He reveals that the "War on Drugs" was a sham from the start. The
late, disgraced John Ehrlichman, Nixon's chief counsel, told him its
real purpose was to discredit and harass enemies: antiwar hippies
(marijuana) and blacks (heroin). Nixon's cynical war isn't merely an
abject failure; it's created violent illegal trafficking, cost
billions, and destroyed countless lives.
Almost everyone, including new "drug czar" Michael Botticelli, knows
criminalizing drugs hasn't worked. The only sensible solution is to
legalize, shifting the billions saved from enforcement and
incarceration to regulation and treatment. Now-nonexistent taxes
gained by legalizing could boost overstressed municipal, state and
[continues 89 words]
Sharon Johnson calls herself an addict, although she's been sober for
three years now. She started by smoking pot and eventually moved to
crack cocaine. Her daughter has tried heroin and "I believe I'm going
to pull her out of the gutter someday," Johnson laments.
Johnson has seen firsthand the ravages of drug abuse reflected in a
national Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
poll. Whether it's alcohol or illegal drugs such as heroin and
cocaine, a majority of Americans say it's a problem and that more
needs to be done to address it.
[continues 180 words]
Officials Embracing Tactic to Fight Addiction
Washington - Federal officials are encouraging generic drugmakers to
develop painkillers that are harder to abuse, the latest in a string
of steps designed to combat abuse of highly-addictive pain drugs like
codeine and oxycodone.
The Food and Drug Administration published draft guidelines outlining
testing standards for harder-to-abuse generic painkillers. The agency
already has approved five brand-name opioid pain drugs which are
designed to discourage abuse. The current version of OxyContin, for
example, is difficult to crush, discouraging abusers from snorting or
dissolving the tablets to get high.
[continues 473 words]
The state legislature should pass a law legalizing the use of
marijuana for patients under 18. Children who have no other options
should not be denied this medicine.
The worst pain a parent can imagine is the loss of a child. Almost as
devastating is to watch a child suffer. If the suffering continues
for a long time, or repeats over and over again, the helplessness is
agonizing for parents, who would do anything to stop it.
Parents of children who suffer multiple seizures a day, and with
those episodes, a constant risk of further disability and death, are
asking the Connecticut General Assembly to legalize the use of
marijuana for patients under 18. For some children it offers relief
from the brutal cycle of seizures that make school and play
impossible and may steal the ability even to walk and talk.
[continues 475 words]
Montville Girl Had Moved to Maine for Access to Drug
Montville - Just last week, Susan Meehan was in Hartford telling
legislators that she left Connecticut to give her daughter, Cyndimae,
a better life.
But Cyndimae Meehan's life ended Sunday as she napped in her father's
arms in Augusta, Maine. She was 13.
The former Montville resident moved to Maine with her mother two
years ago, as part of the family's fight for access to medical cannabis.
Medical marijuana is not approved for pediatric use in Connecticut,
but Cyndimae needed it to treat her Dravet syndrome, a rare form of
epilepsy. "She was a happy kid, she really was," Susan Meehan said
Tuesday. "In between seizures, she had a smile on her face."
[continues 732 words]
Linda Lloyd doesn't want to leave her home in Pawcatuck, where her
6-year-old son, Henry, attends "the best school ... he could possibly
attend" and has a support network of family and friends close by.
"Please don't force me to move out of state and leave my home in
order to give my son a fighting chance," Lloyd told the state
legislature's Public Health Committee during a hearing earlier this month.
Lloyd, testifying for the first time at the General Assembly, was
among eight parents and more than 20 others supporting legalization
of medical marijuana for their children and others with debilitating
seizure disorders and other conditions that have not responded to
[continues 1031 words]
Norwich - If they're still breathing, there's hope.
When somebody overdoses on heroin and is treated in the emergency
room at The William W. Backus Hospital, they speak to an outreach
worker before they leave.
It's one of the steps members the Norwich Heroin Task Force,
comprising social services agencies, health care providers, police
and others are taking as they try to get a handle on the growing
number of heroin- and opiate- addicted residents in the region.
More than 120 people attended a forum on the growing public health
crisis Thursday, with presentations from social workers, doctors,
addiction specialists and parents of addicted children.
[continues 869 words]