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1US CA: This Man Will Spend Life In Prison For A Marijuana ConvictionMon, 10 Sep 2018
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Staggs, Brooke Edwards Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:09/10/2018

Barbara Tillis isn't sure when she'll get to see her son, Corvain Cooper, again.

Every few months for the past four years, Tillis, has driven five hours with her husband, daughter and Cooper's oldest daughter, making the trip from Rialto to the federal prison in Atwater, near Merced. They'd spend the day visiting and chatting, and guards would let each family member give Cooper exactly one hug. When the visit was over, they'd reluctantly pile into the car and drive home.

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2 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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3 Canada: Pot Exec Vows To Fund Court ChallengeWed, 07 Mar 2018
Source:Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB) Author:Israel, Solomon Area:Canada Lines:156 Added:03/10/2018

Investment firm head says he'd spend $25,000 to fight cannabis-impaired driving provisions

As experts warn of flaws with the cannabis-impaired driving provisions of Bill C-46, a high-profile Canadian cannabis industry executive has vowed to bankroll a future court challenge against that aspect of the proposed law.

Chuck Rifici, the CEO of cannabis industry investment firm Wheaton Income Corp., and the former chief financial officer of the Liberal Party of Canada, said he would commit up to $25,000 to fund such a challenge.

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4 CN ON: Column: Racially Biased Power Play With Legal PotSat, 03 Feb 2018
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Paradkar, Shree Area:Ontario Lines:122 Added:02/07/2018

"Entrepreneurial" is one of the terms used to describe a bunch of Canadian bootleggers who found varying success in the illicit running of alcohol to the U.S. about a century ago.

They are portrayed as swashbuckling adventurers who dared to defy laws that banned alcohol, laws that in retrospect were not only archaic but perhaps misplaced and costly. They are fondly posited as cheeky and rebellious, the forerunners of a liberal era of alcohol-infused pleasures.

It was legal in Canada to produce alcohol - prohibition was lifted by the 1920s - while Americans still faced a ban. That illicit trade was the building blocks on which Canadian distilleries, the suppliers of that booze, made a fortune. The histories of the Bronfman family (who owned Seagram) and the Corbys, among others, are just a Google search away.

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5 CN ON: OPED: The Kids Will Smoke Pot AnywayWed, 17 Jan 2018
Source:Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON) Author:DeGroat, Maxwell Area:Ontario Lines:102 Added:01/17/2018

Health Canada's consultation with Canadians on the regulation of marijuana is down to its final days. But what exactly does the government wants us to comment on?

Do officials want us to question the stated objectives? Or perhaps they want us to ask why they're being dishonest about their consultation process?

We're in the middle of an opioid crisis that has already killed thousands of Canadians and will likely kill thousands more. That clouds this conversation.

Yet our experience with other drugs and even ordinary consumer products tells us that government regulations to protect public health by ensuring product safety and quality control are extremely important.

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6 CN NS: 'We Need To Prepare'Tue, 14 Nov 2017
Source:Cape Breton Post (CN NS) Author:Jala, David Area:Nova Scotia Lines:121 Added:11/14/2017

Police chief warns CBRM to plan ahead for marijuana legislation

Once the federal government legalizes cannabis, it may or may not be OK to smoke marijuana while walking down the street.

According to Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac, it is far too soon to predict exactly how the new regulations will affect the consumption, availability, distribution and enforcement of cannabis products and their use here in Cape Breton.

"There are still so many unanswered questions, but like it or not, agree with it or not, cannabis is coming and we need to prepare for it as a municipality," McIsaac said during a recent address to Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillors at city hall.

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7 CN BC: Tougher Charges For Fentanyl Dealers Not The Answer: ExpertsThu, 19 Oct 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Woo, Andrea Area:British Columbia Lines:117 Added:10/20/2017

Health and legal experts are urging caution about the idea of charging fentanyl dealers with manslaughter, saying such a move would do little to deter sellers and could instead punish those who are already struggling with substance-use disorders.

B.C. Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth mentioned the idea to reporters at an unrelated event last week, saying it was raised at a recent meeting of federal and provincial public safety ministers.

"We strongly believe that if you're dealing fentanyl, you're dealing death, and you should be facing much more severe penalties such as manslaughter charges," Mr. Farnworth said.

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8 CN NF: Editorial: Clock's TickingMon, 16 Oct 2017
Source:Gulf News, The (CN NF)          Area:Newfoundland Lines:74 Added:10/20/2017

It must have been a busy meeting. A couple of weeks ago, Canada's federal and provincial justice and public safety ministers met in Vancouver for two days of meetings. They talked about delays in the criminal system and reforms to the Criminal Code over mandatory minimum sentencing provisions. About changes to the bail system and simpler and faster court proceedings.

They talked about national security legislation and the safety of Canadians, about the legalization of marijuana and the nuances of home cultivation, and the health and safety effects of the drug, both on adults and the particular risks for young people. There was discussion about changing the rules on drunk driving to make it easier for police officers to require drivers to submit to breath testing, and on and on.

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9 CN NF: Editorial: Clock's TickingTue, 10 Oct 2017
Source:Telegram, The (CN NF)          Area:Newfoundland Lines:75 Added:10/10/2017

It must have been a busy meeting. A couple of weeks ago, Canada's federal and provincial justice and public safety ministers met in Vancouver for two days of meetings. They talked about delays in the criminal system and reforms to the Criminal Code over mandatory minimum sentencing provisions. About changes to the bail system and simpler and faster court proceedings.

They talked about national security legislation and the safety of Canadians, about the legalization of marijuana and the nuances of home cultivation, and the health and safety effects of the drug, both on adults and the particular risks for young people.

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10 US: More People Were Arrested Last Year Over Pot Than For All CrimesTue, 26 Sep 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Ingraham, Christopher Area:United States Lines:79 Added:09/27/2017

In 2016 more people were arrested for marijuana possession than for all crimes the FBI classifies as violent, according to 2016 crime data released by the agency on Monday.

Marijuana possession arrests edged up slightly in 2016, a year in which voters in four states approved recreational marijuana initiatives and voters in three others approved medical marijuana measures.

These figures should be regarded as estimates, because not all law enforcement agencies provide detailed arrest information to the FBI. But they do show that the annual number of marijuana arrests is down from their peak in the mid-2000s and stands at levels last seen in the mid 1990s. Marijuana use, particularly among adults, rose during this time.

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11CN ON: OPED: How To Heal The Scars Of Our War On DrugsFri, 01 Sep 2017
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Peirce, Jennifer Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:09/06/2017

The legalization of cannabis and rapid scale up of supervised-injection sites - as well as community-led initiatives, such as the site set up by Overdose Prevention Ottawa in Lowertown this month - have thrust Canada back into the limelight of global drug policy. Against the backdrop of a national overdose crisis and a fracturing of global consensus on drug prohibition, these are welcome changes. Yet they only begin to chip away at the drug policy challenges facing Canada.

Canada's policy community remains divided about how best to tackle the overdose crisis. As the death toll mounts, should we invest more in law and order approaches, treatment, harm reduction or some combination?

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12 US: Sessions: Drug Overdoses Are 'The Top Lethal Issue' In The U.S.Tue, 29 Aug 2017
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Moreno, Ivan Area:United States Lines:43 Added:09/01/2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called drug overdose deaths "the top lethal issue" in the U.S. and urged law enforcement and social workers to "create and foster a culture that's hostile to drug use."

Sessions spoke to the annual conference of the National Alliance For Drug Endangered Children. He said preliminary data show nearly 60,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016, the highest ever.

"Our current drug epidemic is indeed the deadliest in American history. We've seen nothing like it," said Sessions.

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13 US MA: Baker Proposes Manslaughter Charge For Drug DealersWed, 30 Aug 2017
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Ransom, Jan Area:Massachusetts Lines:138 Added:08/30/2017

Seeking to crack down on the suppliers behind the state's lethal opioid crisis, Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday filed a broad legislative package that would create a new manslaughter charge for drug dealers whose product causes a death.

Under Baker's plan, dealers would face a mandatory minimum of five years for selling any drugs that result in a fatality.

"When illegal drug distribution causes a death, laws that were designed to punish the act are inadequate to recognize the seriousness of the resulting harm," Baker wrote in a letter to state lawmakers in support of the legislation. "In order to ensure that accountability, this legislation establishes enhanced penalties that directly target those who cause death by illegally selling drugs."

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14CN ON: OPED: Canada Should Decriminalize All DrugsTue, 15 Aug 2017
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Spratt, Michael Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:08/17/2017

Jailing addicts does nothing to stop substance abuse, says Michael Spratt.

Last week, Ottawa's medical officer of health, Dr. Isra Levy, pledged Ottawa Public Health's support for "new evidence-based approaches" to combat the problems caused by illegal drugs including - wait for it - decriminalization.

City Coun. Mathieu Fleury said, "It's a crazy thought, but it's a crazy thought that might actually have some merit."

Fleury should be commended. Where Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson had cast off the shackles of evidence-based thinking to stand against the city's first safe consumption site, Fleury's open mindedness is a breath of fresh air.

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15US WI: Column: Mills: It's Time To End The War On DrugsFri, 11 Aug 2017
Source:Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Author:Mills, Emily Area:Wisconsin Lines:Excerpt Added:08/11/2017

I grew up in the 1980s, back when the "Just Say No" campaign was in full swing. I remember being prepared to fend off relentless peer pressure to do drugs, evil strangers offering what was not actually candy, and so forth. Then I grew up, and almost none of the scenarios I'd been taught in D.A.R.E. ever really came to pass.

I still avoided drugs, mostly because of a combination of a good home life and an over-analytical brain. It wasn't as if drugs weren't around, though. I watched too many of my friends experiment with everything from speed to acid. No one ever pressured me to try it. It was simply there if you wanted to dive in.

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16 CN MB: Defence Promises Appeal In Mandatory Sentencing CaseThu, 27 Jul 2017
Source:Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB) Author:May, Katie Area:Manitoba Lines:122 Added:08/01/2017

Judge 'troubled' but forced to lock up single mother of four children

PLANS to appeal a mandatory minimum sentence as unconstitutional are on the horizon for a Winnipeg mother who is now behind bars despite the judge's declaration that justice would not be served by locking her up.

Sandra Dignard, 37, was taken into custody Wednesday to start serving her two-year federal prison sentence for smuggling drugs into Stony Mountain prison five years ago. She tearfully said goodbye to her young son and pleaded with other relatives to take good care of all four of her children before sheriff's officers led her away, out of view of her family.

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17 US: Pot Is Legal In Some States, But Not OthersTue, 04 Jul 2017
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Wolfson, Andrew Area:United States Lines:186 Added:07/05/2017

On a cool, rainy day, more than 200 people crowd under a tarp in the parking lot of Big Mama's Restaurant, bidding on bicycles, air rifles and marijuana posters to raise money to support a jailed local legend.

They have a lot of work to do, because Cornbread Mafia leader Johnny Boone, captured in Canada and returned to Kentucky after eight years as a fugitive, faces life in prison if convicted on his third strike, for growing 2,421 marijuana seedlings on a farm. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana is legal for recreational or medicinal purposes, or both. But the federal government, while giving a virtual free pass to growers in states where marijuana is legal, continues to seek long mandatory minimum penalties against defendants in Kentucky and other states where it is not.

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18CN BC: Court Tosses Mandatory Sentencing LawMon, 19 Jun 2017
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC) Author:Mulgrew, Ian Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:06/19/2017

The B.C. Court of Appeal has struck down as cruel and unusual punishment the six-month mandatory jail sentence for growing between six and 200 marijuana plants for the purposes of trafficking.

The high court decision, which echoed previous rulings that denounced as unconstitutional other former Tory tough-on-crime provisions, underscored the new federal Liberal administration's tardiness in fulfilling promises to review such laws.

The decision pointed out that sea-changes in social attitudes, to which the Conservative government seemed oblivious, must be taken into account and "energize" Charter interpretations.

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19 US: PUB LTE: Small-Time Dealers Get Long Sentences TooSat, 03 Jun 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Angelos, Weldon Area:United States Lines:33 Added:06/03/2017

In Heather Mac Donald's "Mandatory Minimums Don't Deserve Your Ire" (op-ed, May 26) about mandatory minimum sentences (MMS), she writes that 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentences are only given to large-scale traffickers. In 2004 I was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison for selling $1,000 worth of marijuana while possessing a firearm. The judge who sentenced me called my punishment "unjust, cruel and even irrational" and compared it to the much shorter federal sentences given to repeat child rapists, murderers and even some terrorists.

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20 US: PUB LTE: Mandatory Sentences Often Hit The MinnowsSat, 03 Jun 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Ring, Kevin Area:United States Lines:39 Added:06/03/2017

Under federal law, anyone convicted of selling just five grams of methamphetamine-the weight of a nickel-is subject to a mandatory five-year prison term. Get caught buying or selling a second time, no matter how many years after your first offense, and you will be subject to a 10-year mandatory prison sentence.

Ms. Mac Donald may pretend that mandatory sentences are reserved for the likes of El Chapo, but the truth is mandatory sentences are more often used against low-level offenders. Ninety-three percent of people who receive federal mandatory minimums played no leadership role in their crimes. There are lots of minnows and few sharks.

There are simply no studies that show mandatory sentences reduce drug crime. Every dollar wasted on mandatory minimums is one that would be better invested in proven anticrime strategies like hiring more police officers and expanding substance abuse treatment.

Kevin Ring

President

Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Washington

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