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1 US NC: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California HealthcareThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Charlotte Observer (NC) Author:Doyle, Michael Area:North Carolina Lines:50 Added:01/19/2017

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.

In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.

He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as Escalon.

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2 US NC: Pew Research Center Poll Finds Two-thirds Of Cops ThinkThu, 12 Jan 2017
Source:Charlotte Observer (NC) Author:Ingraham, Christopher Area:North Carolina Lines:72 Added:01/12/2017

A Pew Research Center survey of nearly 8,000 police officers finds that more than two-thirds of them say that marijuana use should be legal for either personal or medical use.

The nationally representative survey of law enforcement, one of the largest of its kind, found that 32 percent of police officers said marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use only. Another 30 percent said that marijuana should not be legal at all.

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3 US NC: Sen. Thom Tillis Won't Seek Re-election If Bills Don't PassWed, 30 Nov 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:Douglas, William Area:North Carolina Lines:116 Added:12/05/2016

Tillis says he may not return if bills like sentencing changes aren't passed Senate

WASHINGTON - Sen. Thom Tillis said Wednesday that he may not seek re-election in 2020 unless a sweeping overhaul of the nation's prison sentencing system is passed.

Tillis, R-N.C., has sought to make revamping the nation's criminal justice system one of his signature issues since arriving in Washington in 2015, leaning on his experience in pushing through North Carolina's Justice Reinvestment Act when he was state House speaker in 2011.

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4 US NC: LTE: Justice FailsSat, 05 Nov 2016
Source:Star-News (Wilmington, NC) Author:Jackson, Fred Area:North Carolina Lines:43 Added:11/08/2016

I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of the child killed in the recent senseless car crash. I can'€™t imagine your grief.

Here'€™s a summary of facts the StarNews reported about the driver charged in this incident:

2010 Convicted on impaired driving charge

2012 Convicted on Level 2 (severe) DWI charge. Released from prison in less than 6 months, probation revoked.

Currently faces charges for 10/15/2016 attempted breaking and entering, for a prior drug possession and for two prior counts of driving with revoked license.

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5 US NC: LTE: Drugs And ViolenceTue, 20 Sep 2016
Source:Star-News (Wilmington, NC) Author:Cox, Charles Carrington Area:North Carolina Lines:38 Added:09/22/2016

All the nationwide rhetoric over lamentable black-on-black killings and lives matter doesn't ever seem to highlight the obvious reality that most of the shootings are drug-turf related. Every gang protects its square blocks and guns down intruders, unfortunately putting innocent people in the crossfire no matter where. If the Russians or Mexicans carved out turf and gunfire erupted, the conversation would revolve around white on brown killings, for instance.

Decades ago I read about a supposedly true event in a New York county where Latinos and whites had installed themselves in a poor town where virtually all industries had closed. The underfunded city and county police couldn't cope with them.

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6 US NC: Editorial: DEA Should Ease Marijuana RatingTue, 16 Aug 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)          Area:North Carolina Lines:38 Added:08/16/2016

Those who argue against the mass legalization of marijuana say it's dangerous and can lead to more addictive drugs. But that hasn't been the experience of all who casually smoked pot in their younger years and then let it go. And, some in the medical field believe marijuana can relieve side effects of chemotherapy, ease the pressure associated with glaucoma and help with minor maladies.

Thus, the Drug Enforcement Administration's decision to stay with a 46-year-old law categorizing marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, a serious drug with no medical value, seems unreasonable. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from people who have used it for medical reasons, and even as a "recreational" drug, is pot really more harmful than alcohol? That's a difficult argument to make.

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7 US NC: PUB LTE: Legalize DrugsSun, 07 Aug 2016
Source:Star-News (Wilmington, NC) Author:Mason, Roger Area:North Carolina Lines:39 Added:08/08/2016

Are you tired of hearing about the "opioid epidemic" ? Me too!

As long as we have a "war on drugs" and draconian drug laws, we will continue to have drug epidemics. The answer is as simple as it is shocking to most people...legalize all drugs for all adults.

Anyone who commits any crime while under the influence of any drug (including alcohol) would get doubled penalties. People might not realize all drugs were legal in America for 137 years until the nefarious and evil Harrison Narcotics Act.

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8 US NC: OPED: Who Profits From Keeping The Drug War Going? LawFri, 05 Aug 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:Benavie, Arthur Area:North Carolina Lines:97 Added:08/06/2016

As our country mourns the deaths of eight police officers and a series of African-Americans killed during encounters with police, the question we all ask is, how can we stem this horror? One way would be to end the war against nonviolent drug users.

More than 1.2 million Americans are arrested every year for simply possessing an illicit substance. It is widely recognized that the war disproportionately punishes African-Americans and is responsible for millions of confrontational interactions between law enforcement and blacks. Many of these anger-producing and potentially violent contacts would not take place without the drug war.

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9 US NC: OPED: Turning A Corner In Fighting Drugs, Mental IllnessTue, 24 May 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)          Area:North Carolina Lines:64 Added:05/24/2016

They studied the state's mental illness and drug abuse problems for 10 months and came up with 32 pages of recommendations.

The important part can be summed up in four words: more treatment, less jail.

What the 24 members of the Governor's Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse found is the wisdom they could have gleaned - and probably did - from any jailer: At least 80 percent of the people behind bars got there through some combination of substance abuse and mental illness. Early intervention and treatment could halt a lot of criminal careers.

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10 US NC: Editorial: Helping Addicts, Not Jailing ThemMon, 16 May 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)          Area:North Carolina Lines:54 Added:05/16/2016

Nashville - North Carolina's Nashville, 45 miles east of Raleigh - has a police chief who is changing the way law enforcement deals with drug addicts, who might ordinarily be arrested and put away.

Chief Thomas Bashore has seen the consequences of drug abuse, and he's come to see that conventional law enforcement solutions, meaning arrest and imprisonment, don't seem to come to a constructive end. Addicts go in for a while, come out, get reacquainted with drugs, go back in.

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11 US NC: PUB LTE: Time for N.C. to End the Prohibition onTue, 09 Feb 2016
Source:Asheville Citizen-Times (NC) Author:Fraley, George Area:North Carolina Lines:41 Added:02/09/2016

It's reported our teachers are underpaid and other state employees are having issues with pay and health insurance.

Of course, Raleigh is bemoaning a lack of funds.

Let's see... we all want better paying jobs, better health care, better education - hey, I've got an idea; maybe it's time for N.C. to end the prohibition on cannabis.

While legalization may produce some challenges in the future, the problems with keeping pot illegal - the racial disparities in pot-related arrests and the black market that funds criminal groups around the world for instance are far, far worse.

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12 US NC: Editorial: Right Move For Wake To Give Sheriff MoreMon, 11 Jan 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)          Area:North Carolina Lines:40 Added:01/12/2016

Donnie Harrison may figure that, having been sheriff of Wake County since 2002, the Wake Board of Commissioners ought to respect his opinion and follow his recommendations without much question. To some degree, Harrison is right. But it would have been good if the sheriff, seeking more money to expand his drugs and vice unit, had offered up a few more specifics on arrests and seizures and had produced a report on drug busts and Mexican drug cartels he cited in justifying his request for funding.

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13 US NC: OPED: We Know How To Win The War On DrugsSun, 03 Jan 2016
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:Allen, Danielle Area:North Carolina Lines:133 Added:01/06/2016

Contrast what has happened since 1964 with tobacco, on the one hand, and marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other banned substances, on the other

We can compare the effects of choosing a public-health paradigm or a criminalization paradigm for dealing with addictive substances

The progress against smoking has been steady and impressive, but ita??s an altogether different tale with banned substances

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In January 1964, the Beatles first broke onto the Billboard chart with a??I Wantto Hold Your Hand.a?? By June, Ringo Starr had collapsed from tonsillitis and pharyngitis. In January, the surgeon general announced that scientists had found conclusive evidence linking smoking to cancer and launched our highly successful 50-year public-health fight against tobacco. In August, the North Vietnamese fired on a U.S. naval ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the public phase of the Vietnam War. Alongside an accelerating deployment of conventional troops would come their widespread use of marijuana and heroin. By 1971, cigarette ads had been banned from radio and television, the surgeon general had called for regulation of tobacco, and cigarette smoking had begun its long decline. The impact of drug use among troops and returning veterans provoked President Richard M. Nixon to declare a war on drugs.

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14 US NC: Law Freeing Drug Antidote For Public Use Has SavedSat, 26 Dec 2015
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:McDonald, Thomasi Area:North Carolina Lines:103 Added:12/27/2015

DURHAM - Officials with a statewide non-profit dedicated to reducing drug overdose deaths say a law passed by the General Assembly in 2013 has resulted in hundreds of lives saved from drug overdoses.

The N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to reducing drug overdose deaths, says that since Aug. 1, 2013, naloxone has saved the lives of more than 1,500 people who were overdosing on heroin or other opioid drugs. The agency has partnered with about 40 police departments across the state to train officers and provide the agencies with drug overdose prevention kits.

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15 US NC: PUB LTE: 'War on Drugs' A WasteMon, 30 Nov 2015
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:Phares, Gail S. Area:North Carolina Lines:37 Added:12/01/2015

I agree with Jorge Castaneda's Nov. 12 column "Mexico's marijuana legalization could ease drug war." It is time to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs not only in Mexico but here in the United States. This terrible war has caused thousands to be killed in Mexico, and Mexican society has been ripped apart.

I have visited both Mexico and Colombia as a Witness for Peace. The war on drugs has caused extreme pain and suffering in Colombia as well as in Mexico. Now over five million Colombians have been displaced by the U.S. funded "war on drugs."

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16 US NC: Industrial Hemp Poised to Become NC's Newest Legal CropThu, 29 Oct 2015
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:Campbell, Colin Area:North Carolina Lines:163 Added:10/31/2015

Legalization Bill Will Become Law Unless Mccrory Vetoes

Spring Hope Has One of the Only Hemp Processing Plants in the Country

Supporters Battle Stigma: 'We're For Rope, Not Dope'

Farmers in North Carolina are likely to wake up Saturday morning with a new option for growing crops: Industrial hemp production is expected to become legal at the stroke of midnight.

Lawmakers passed the legalization legislation in September, in the final days of the session. The proposal hadn't previously been made public, and some conservative groups worry that questions about the plant's connections to its cousin, marijuana, didn't get answered.

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17 US NC: OPED: Let's Prepare to Help NC Prisoners Released UnderThu, 29 Oct 2015
Source:News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) Author:Roesch, Erin Area:North Carolina Lines:60 Added:10/30/2015

It costs approximately $80 a day to house a person in a North Carolina prison. With over 37,000 people serving time in our state, officials have understandably prioritized reducing prison populations with considerable gusto over the past decade. While many of those efforts have been successful, the effect of one particular change has yet to be seen - that of the U.S. Sentencing Commission's unanimous decision to reduce the sentencing guidelines for most federal drug trafficking charges beginning Sunday.

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18 US NC: The Disproportionate Risk Of Driving While BlackSun, 25 Oct 2015
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:LaFraniere, Sharon Area:North Carolina Lines:638 Added:10/25/2015

An Examination of Traffic Stops and Arrests in Greensboro, N.C., Uncovered Wide Racial Differences in Measure After Measure of Police Conduct.

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Rufus Scales, 26 and black, was driving his younger brother Devin to his hair-cutting class in this genteel, leafy city when they heard the siren's whoop and saw the blue light in the rearview mirror of their black pickup. Two police officers pulled them over for minor infractions that included expired plates and failing to hang a flag from a load of scrap metal in the pickup's bed. But what happened next was nothing like a routine traffic stop.

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19 US NC: PUB LTE: The New Jim CrowFri, 14 Aug 2015
Source:Star-News (Wilmington, NC) Author:Vlasits, George Area:North Carolina Lines:37 Added:08/14/2015

The op/ed on mass incarceration (StarNews, Aug. 8) points out the fact that the United States jails people at a much higher rate than even China or Russia. It states that this is due to the war on drugs and "tough-on-crime" policies, and that black males are imprisoned at more than six times the rate of white males. All true, but what it fails to add is that mass incarceration has created a new class of millions of "untouchables" (prisoners and those who have served their time), who are denied basic rights and who can be legally discriminated against. Once you enter the system, you become part of a permanent underclass -- poor, powerless and mostly black and brown.

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20 US NC: An Innocent Beginning For Synthetic MarijuanaMon, 10 Aug 2015
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:McCoy, Terrence Area:North Carolina Lines:241 Added:08/10/2015

UNICORPORATED JACKSON COUNTRY, N.C - The chemist who unwittingly helped spawn the District's synthetic drug epidemic is a hard man to find. His phone numbers are listed under his wife's name. Strangers who call his laboratories at Clemson University are told he doesn't return messages.

To find him, you must travel deep into the Smoky Mountains and take a road that winds into the clouds. There, atop a mountain, you will discover a stooped, elderly man padding about a house cloaked in mist.

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