MEXICO CITY - Tiger cubs and semiautomatic weapons. Piles of cash and
armored cars. Fields of poppies watered to the sound of ballads
glorifying Mexican drug cartel culture.
This is the world of Cartel TikTok, a genre of videos depicting drug
trafficking groups and their activities that is racking up hundreds of
thousands of views on the popular social media platform.
But behind the narco bling and dancing gang members lies an ominous
reality: With Mexico set to again shatter murder records this year,
experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest
propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the
promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.
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In 2013, Joy Hollingsworth moved with her family from Seattle out to
the country with a plan to build a cannabis business.
Washington State had recently legalized recreational marijuana, and
Barack Obama had just been re-elected. For Ms. Hollingsworth, a former
basketball player, and her brother, Raft Hollingsworth III, a former
University of Washington student who had been growing medical
marijuana, it seemed like as good a time as any to buy a farm and turn
So began the Hollingsworth Cannabis Company, a Black-owned family
business in what has become a very white and increasingly
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In approaching Errol Morris's "My Psychedelic Love Story," it doesn't
hurt to have some familiarity with "Wormwood," the 2017 Netflix
docudrama miniseries. In it, the fabled documentarian told the story
of Frank Olson, a CIA employee who mysteriously fell to his death in
1953 nine days after being slipped LSD as part of an agency
experiment. Was he pushed or did he jump? Was hippie socialite Joanna
Harcourt-Smith being used as a CIA tool when her boyfriend, Timothy
Leary, became a government informant in the mid-'70s? And what in the
world is the connection?
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To induce dread in a paranoiac, one need only invoke two acronyms:
C.I.A. and LSD Along with a third and a fourth - U.F.O. and J.F.K. -
these were key ingredients in the alphabet soup of conspiracy theory
for more than half a century.
But. You don't have to be a paranoiac, because sometimes
dread-inducing combinations and schemes do yield horrific results. The
2017 Errol Morris-directed mini-series, "Wormwood," to which "My
Psychedelic Love Story" is a sequel of sorts, went into detail about
the C.I.A. and LSD. It showed that the cloak-and-dagger organization
and the hallucinogenic drug met up earlier than most might have guessed.
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Now that Oregon voters have agreed to end nearly all criminal
penalties for drug possession, state officials have just over two
months to set up a new recovery-focused system, a task that is
particularly complicated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Measure 110, which goes into effect Feb. 1, allows a maximum fine of
$100 for possession of drugs including heroin, cocaine and
methamphetamines along with a mandatory health assessment. The first
statewide law of its kind in the nation passed with support of 58% of
voters this month. It also mandates new recovery centers, paid for by
marijuana taxes and savings from less incarceration.
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Naomi Schaefer Riley and John Walters state that Oregon decriminalized
"small amounts of harder drugs, including cocaine, heroin and
methamphetamine" ("Legal Drugs Are Fashionable-and Treacherous for
Children," op-ed, Nov. 19) and that the passage of Measure 110 in
Oregon "lower[s] the risk and cost of doing business for drug
dealers." It's an erroneous claim. Measure 110 says that possession of
less than one gram of heroin, various low amounts of amphetamines and
less than two grams of cocaine is decriminalized. No drug dealer would
carry anything less than three times the amounts in the measure.
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MEXICO CITY - On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon stood in front
of the White House press corps and made his historic declaration of a
new type of war. "Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug
abuse," he said. "In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it's
necessary to wage a new all-out offensive."
It would be a government-wide effort, and rally the United States's
power abroad to stem the supply of drugs. Among the countries targeted
was Mexico, which was home to abundant marijuana production and had
been resistant to aerial crop spraying.
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Next year will mark 50 years since President Richard Nixon declared
drugs "public enemy number one," launching a new war on drugs that has
pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into law enforcement, led to
the incarceration of millions of people - disproportionately Black -
and has done nothing to prevent drug overdoses. In spite of the
widespread, growing opposition to this failed war, made clear yet
again on Election Day, punitive policies and responses to drug use and
possession persist. As President-elect Joe Biden and Vice
President-elect Kamala Harris prepare to take office, it is abundantly
clear that they have a mandate from the electorate to tackle this issue.
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All eyes were on Philadelphia this month, as the outcome of the
election rested in poll workers' hands. It's not surprising that the
citizens of Philly were ready for change - they've faced a
disproportionately heavy toll as a result of the current
administration's ineffective coronavirus policies. And that toll has
tragically included an increased rate of deadly opioid overdoses.
But Philly isn't alone - overdoses tragically have increased in
communities across the nation, from San Francisco to Burlington, Vt.
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OAKLAND, Calif. - In the weeks leading up to November, Iashia Kilian
felt her anxiety deepen.
She knew her vote in the swing state of Michigan could help decide who
the next president would be. She had done everything she could to help
campaign for her candidate of choice. Now, all she could do was sit
back, wait and make sure she had her favorite marijuana edibles at
"The panic, the anxious feelings, it has all been too much. I knew I
was only going to get through it with some help," said Ms. Kilian, 43,
who lives in Center Line. "I used to be the kind of person who would
judge someone, especially a mother like me, taking edibles. But you
know what? Everything happening here in this country is just too much.
The people need some help."
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One of America's greatest mistakes over the last century was the war
on drugs, so it's thrilling to see voters in red and blue states alike
moving to unwind it.
The most important step is coming in Oregon, where voters easily
passed a referendum that will decriminalize possession of even hard
drugs like cocaine and heroin, while helping users get treatment for
addiction. The idea is to address drug use as a public health crisis
more than as a criminal justice issue.
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Americans were still waiting for clarity on the presidential race
Wednesday morning. Perhaps lost in the frantic haze of election night
was the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states.
Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana all passed legislation
Tuesday permitting the possession of weed by adults, which means 15
states have legalized recreational weed or voted to legalize it.
South Dakota and Mississippi passed initiatives to allow medical
marijuana, which means 36 states permit the legal distribution of
medical weed, according to a tally by NORML, a nonprofit marijuana
public advocacy group.
Oregon became the first state in the nation to decriminalize the
possession of all illegal drugs and also legalize the use of
psilocybin-the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms-for
mental health treatment, after voters passed a pair of ballot measures
Both are the first of their kind in any U.S. state and represent the
next frontier in the relaxation of drug laws beyond marijuana.
With results from 76% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning,
59% of Oregonians approved Measure 110, the drug decriminalization
referendum, and 56% voted for Measure 109 on psilocybin therapy,
according to the Associated Press.
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43.5 per cent of study participants who used marijuana as a substitute
for alcohol decreased the frequency of their drinking.
Authorized medical marijuana patients who began using cannabis to help
reduce their drinking report experiencing a reduction or even
discontinuation of alcohol use, notes new research out of the
University of Victoria.
The finding reflects feedback from 2,102 patients registered with
Tilray, a medical cannabis research and production company in Canada.
The input was received as part of the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey
2019, which gathered details on patient demographics, patterns of weed
use and self-reported use of prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco and
illicit drugs before and after starting medical cannabis.
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Oregon has an addiction problem. Pockets of rural poverty, chronic
homelessness and cities with lots of young people have given the state
one of the highest rates of substance abuse in the nation. It is also,
because there is so little money allocated to it, one of the toughest
places to get treatment.
A proposed solution on the ballot next week would be one of the most
radical drug-law overhauls in the nation's history, eliminating
criminal penalties entirely for personal use amounts of drugs such as
heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Tax revenues from drug sales
would be channeled toward drug treatment.
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Do you have the heart to safely smoke pot? Maybe not, a growing body
of medical reports suggests.
Currently, increased smoking of marijuana in public, even in cities
like New York where recreational use remains illegal (though no longer
prosecuted), has reinforced a popular belief that this practice is
safe, even health-promoting.
"Many people think that they have a free pass to smoke marijuana," Dr.
Salomeh Keyhani, professor of medicine at the University of
California, San Francisco, told me. "I even heard a suggestion on
public radio that tobacco companies should switch to marijuana because
then they'd be selling life instead of selling death."
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A victory for the Democratic Party in next month's presidential
election would be a game changer for the cannabis industry. Despite
their reputation for overexuberance, pot investors are reacting with
Since mid-August, the 10 largest North American pot stocks by market
value are up 20%, according to Viridian Capital Advisors. This is
relatively muted compared with the 83% rally seen in the three months
before the 2016 election.
Americans have been buying a lot of pot during the Covid-19 pandemic,
which may also explain why stocks are rising. Sales in seven large
states where cannabis is legal, tracked by research company Headset,
were up 51% from January through September compared with the same
period of 2019. Consumers have had more leisure time at home and
federal stimulus money to spend. Alcohol companies have enjoyed
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YAMOUNEH, Lebanon - In a Lebanese farming village of rocky soil and
stone villas, cannabis grows everywhere.
It fills the fields that surround the village and lines nearby roads
where the army operates checkpoints. It sprouts in the weedy patches
between homes and is mixed with other colorful blooms in flower beds.
There is a cannabis crop near the mosque, and down the road from a
giant yellow flag for Hezbollah, the militant group and political
party whose leaders forbid its use on religious grounds.
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It's been fascinating to watch the debate over cannabis law reform in
New Zealand from Canada, especially the arguments based on how well or
how poorly legal regulation has been playing out in my country. It's
also interesting - and amusing - to read the sometimes apocalyptic or
pollyannaish predictions about what will happen in New Zealand if
voters endorse the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (CLCB), with
no regard for evidence from overseas.
It might have appeared out of the blue when Canada legalised cannabis
almost two years ago, but we were finally following the unanimous
recommendations of a non-partisan senate committee from 2002.
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Re "Parents' Little Helpers" (Sunday Styles, Oct. 4):
To be a Black mother is to be in a constant state of alertness when it
comes to protecting your family from the government. As a Black woman,
mother and lawyer, I am no different in that regard.
Most Black mothers wouldn't publicly label themselves a "wine mom" or
admit to smoking pot. No one remotely aware of the government's racist
practice of separating Black families for such behavior through the
so-called child welfare system would.
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