In 2012, Washington State voted to legalize marijuana. By 2014, the
world's first system for legally growing, processing and retailing
cannabis was operating.
As Canada prepares to go live with pot sales in a few months, what can
we learn from four years of practical, hands-on experience in the
western United States?
The first take-away is that all the fretting about the impact on
children and teens is largely unwarranted.
Before legalization, 17 per cent of Grade 10 students in Washington
State said they had smoked pot in the previous month. Four years of
legal doobies later, 17 per cent of Grade 10 students say they have
smoked pot in the previous month.
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Efforts to lower marijuana taxes to help the transition to California's
new legal market have suffered a setback.
A bill that would have slashed taxes on legal pot for three years to
entice people away from the black market failed to advance out of a
key legislative committee Friday.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey co-authored the bill and said the setback is a
win for the black market. The Los Angeles-area Republican says he
hopes the policy can still be passed this year. He says opponents of
the bill in the Assembly had argued it is too soon to slash the taxes
without further evidence they are driving people to the black market.
Growers and sellers of marijuana in California have complained the
taxes are too high.
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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WASHINGTON - One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the
vibrant colors. A third admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my
Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are
among the most powerful in America's arsenal. Air Force records
obtained by The Associated Press show they bought, distributed and
used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as
part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure
military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman
deserted to Mexico.
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State Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, introduced a bill this week
that would significantly increase the amount of marijuana a person
could have in his or her possession for personal use before being
charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Under Alexander's bill, a person would not be charged with a
misdemeanor unless he or she had more than 4 ounces of marijuana.
Under current law, possession of more than a half-ounce is a
misdemeanor. A person would have to have more than 16 ounces -- more
than 10 times the current limit -- to be charged with a felony.
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TORONTO - An aging construction worker arrived quietly in the
building's basement, took his seat alongside three other men and
struck his lighter below a cooker of synthetic heroin.
A woman, trained to intervene in case of an overdose, placed a mask
over her face as his drug cooked and diluted beneath a jumping flame.
He injected himself, grew still and then told of the loss of his wife
who died alone in her room upstairs - an overdose that came just a few
months before this social service nonprofit opened its doors for
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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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Charity Gates phones her contact each month to make an appointment.
When the time comes, she and a colleague drive around Denver,
collecting stacks of $20 bills she has stored in various safes since
the last delivery. She counts the cash and places it in small duffel
or sling bags, carrying up to $20,000 at a time.
She then drives to a gray two-story office building downtown and parks
on the street or in a pay lot nearby. Ms. Gates fears being robbed, so
the two dress simply to avoid attention and use different vehicles and
delivery days to vary their routine. "We hold our breath every time we
go," Ms. Gates said.
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