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1 US: In These States, Past Marijuana Crimes Can Go AwayMon, 20 Nov 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Quinton, Sophie Area:United States Lines:172 Added:11/23/2017

Stateline, a project of the Pew Charitable Trusts, provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.

When Californians voted to legalize marijuana last year, they also voted to let people petition courts to reduce or hide convictions for past marijuana crimes. State residents can now petition courts to change some felonies to misdemeanors, change some misdemeanors to infractions, and wipe away convictions for possessing or growing small amounts of the drug.

"We call it reparative justice: repairing the harms caused by the war on drugs," says Eunisses Hernandez of the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group that helped write the California ballot initiative.

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2 US NY: Racial Disparity Found In Local Marijuana Arrests, Study SaysTue, 14 Nov 2017
Source:Buffalo News (NY) Author:Fairbanks, Phil Area:New York Lines:107 Added:11/14/2017

In just three years, the number of marijuana arrests in Buffalo dropped by more than half.

At the same time, the overwhelming majority of people arrested continued to be people of color.

A new study, released Tuesday, found 86 percent of the people arrested for marijuana possession in Buffalo during the five year-period ending last year were black or Hispanic.

In Erie County, people of color accounted for 77 percent of all marijuana possession arrests over the same five-year period, according to the study.

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3 US CA: Hundreds Applied To Be On California's Pot Advisory CommitteeThu, 05 Oct 2017
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:McGreevy, Patrick Area:California Lines:37 Added:10/05/2017

With just three months left to draft new rules for marijuana sales in California, the state on Wednesday appointed a panel of industry members, health experts, law enforcement officials and union leaders to provide advice during the effort.

The 22-member Cannabis Advisory Committee will help the Bureau of Cannabis Control develop regulations on the cultivation, transport, testing and sale of medical and recreational marijuana, with state licenses scheduled to be issued starting Jan. 2.

"These individuals represent the diverse backgrounds of California and the cannabis industry and have the necessary experience to make the committee successful," said Dean R. Grafilo, director of the state Department of Consumer Affairs. He said hundreds of people applied for the panel.

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4 US CA: L.A. Is Set To Be A Hot Market For Marijuana SalesMon, 25 Sep 2017
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Reyes, Emily Alpert Area:California Lines:182 Added:09/27/2017

The idea of alarms critics of the marijuana industry, who argue that such venues would become a nuisance and drag down property values.

The idea of alarms critics of the marijuana industry, who argue that such venues would become a nuisance and drag down property values.

Los Angeles lawmakers are laying the groundwork for what is widely expected to be one of the hottest markets for marijuana in the country, one that could bring more than $50 million in taxes to city coffers next year.

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5 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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6 CN ON: Advocates Renew Call For City To Act On OverdosesSat, 12 Aug 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Powell, Betsy Area:Ontario Lines:92 Added:08/15/2017

People on the frontlines of the opioid overdose crisis say they know exactly what needs to be done to save lives and tackle the "public health emergency."

Build safe affordable housing, expedite the opening of the safe injection sties, expand the distribution of overdose-reversing naloxone and drug-testing kits, and increase funding for harm-reduction staff positions.

At a news conference Friday beside a laundromat in a hardscrabble section of downtown Toronto, community health workers, drug users and anti-poverty activists were also united in their call to end the criminalization of drug use.

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7 US NY: Report Reveals 'Safe House' Where Heroin Users Shoot Up UnderTue, 08 Aug 2017
Source:New York Post (NY)          Area:New York Lines:92 Added:08/08/2017

NEW YORK -- A safe haven where drug users inject themselves with heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States for the past three years, a report reveals.

None were known to exist in the US until the disclosure in a medical journal, although several states and cities are pushing to establish these so-called supervised injection sites, where users can shoot up under the care of trained staff who can treat an overdose if necessary.

In the report released Tuesday, two researchers said they've been evaluating an underground safe place that opened in 2014. As a condition of their research, they didn't disclose the location of the facility -- which is unsanctioned and potentially illegal -- or the social service agency running it.

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8 Uruguay: Getting High In Uruguay Now Means Just A Stop At TheWed, 19 Jul 2017
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Londono, Ernesto Area:Uruguay Lines:181 Added:07/22/2017

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - The rules are a bit of a buzzkill. Drug users must officially register with the government. Machines will scan buyers' fingerprints at every purchase, and there are strict quotas to prevent overindulgence.

But when Uruguay's marijuana legalization law takes full effect on Wednesday, getting high will take a simple visit to the pharmacy.

As American states legalize marijuana and governments in the hemisphere rethink the fight against drugs, Uruguay is taking a significant step further: It is the first nation in the world to fully legalize the production and sale of marijuana for recreational use.

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9 US CA: Editorial: Safe Injections Centers Are Not Opium DensSat, 24 Jun 2017
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Rycroft, Rick Area:California Lines:96 Added:06/24/2017

Government-sanctioned and supported "supervised injection centers," where addicts can bring their illicitly obtained drugs and shoot up with little fear of arrest or a fatal overdose, have been in service in Europe for decades.

There's only one in all of North America, though. It's in Canada -- a Vancouver, Canada, center called Insite. Research found that after the center opened in 2003 fatal drug overdoses decreased by 35% in the nearby community. Earlier this month Canadian officials authorized injection centers in Montreal, Toronto and other cities.

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10 US: Oped: Marijuana Legalization Must Be Fair And EquitableMon, 19 Jun 2017
Source:Herald News (West Paterson, NJ) Author:Scotti, Roseanne Area:United States Lines:97 Added:06/19/2017

New Jersey is gearing up for an intense campaign for marijuana legalization. Senate Bill 3195 and Assembly Bill 4872, which would legalize marijuana in New Jersey, have been introduced by state Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Union, and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer.

The Drug Policy Alliance commends the sponsors for their leadership on this issue and we will be working with them to ensure that the final legislation contains provisions missing from the bill that are essential to establishing a fair and equitable marijuana market and repairing the disproportionate harm that marijuana prohibition has inflicted on communities of color. To highlight the need for these provisions, the Drug Policy Alliance is releasing a short video, made in collaboration with Brave New Films, which explores the current and historical impacts of marijuana prohibition on communities of color. The video features racial and social justice advocates from across New Jersey.

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11 US MD: U.S. Government Won't Reclassify Marijuana, Allows ResearchFri, 13 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Tribune, Area:Maryland Lines:127 Added:01/14/2017

[photo] Marijuana plants are seen nearly ready for harvest at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill., on Sept. 15, 2015. (Seth Perlman, AP)

The Obama administration has decided marijuana will remain on the list of most-dangerous drugs, fully rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it will allow more research into its medical uses.

The decision to expand research into marijuana's medical potential could pave the way for the drug to be moved to a lesser category. Heroin, peyote and marijuana, among others, are considered Schedule I drugs because they have no medical application; cocaine and opiates, for example, have medical uses and, while still illegal for recreational use, are designated Schedule II drugs.

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12US NY: Cuomo Proposes Decriminalizing MarijuanaThu, 12 Jan 2017
Source:Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY) Author:Spector, Joseph Area:New York Lines:Excerpt Added:01/12/2017

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making another pitch for the state to decriminalize possession of some marijuana.

Cuomo quietly included the proposal in a 380-page State of the State message that he provided late Wednesday to the state Legislature.

"The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York state, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety," is on Page 191 of Cuomo's message.

The idea will again stoke a debate in Albany after the issue gained prominence in 2012 -- when the Democratic governor first made the push to decriminalize possession of marijuana.

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13US CA: Landmark Study: Marijuana Is Effective Medicine, But HasThu, 12 Jan 2017
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Downs, David Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/12/2017

Marijuana and its derivatives can be effective medicines for treating pain, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms and other conditions, but cannabis is not harmless, and more research is needed, the nation's top scientists concluded in a landmark review of research released Thursday.

The nonprofit National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued their report, "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids," summarizing the current state of evidence for the efficacy of medical marijuana and recommending new studies.

The 395-page report will stand as the most official medical review of the botanical drug, which an estimated 8 percent of Americans used in the last month.

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14 US PA: Past Approach To Crack Addicts Harsher Than Today's HeroinMon, 12 Dec 2016
Source:Reporter, The (Lansdale, PA) Author:Yates, Riley Area:Pennsylvania Lines:378 Added:12/14/2016

Officials, former inmate contrast the emphasis on treatment vs. incarceration

When Leola Bivins was first sent away for dealing drugs, she was a 22-year-old high school dropout with a 2-year-old daughter at home.

Addiction was the center of the life she knew in East Stroudsburg, where she was born and raised, she recalled recently. Bivins' mother was a heroin addict - she eventually died of an overdose - and seemingly everyone around her was either selling drugs or abusing them, Bivins said.

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15US CA: Buzzkill: Pot Legalization Rollout Is SlowMon, 12 Dec 2016
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author:Krieger, Lisa M. Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:12/12/2016

Amid celebration at Emerald Cup fest, there is angst about regulatory future

SANTA ROSA - Amid the euphoria of this weekend's famed Emerald Cup weed fest, there was this creeping buzzkill: the glacial rollout of legalization.

Right when it seems like "The Great Pot Moment" is upon us, it turns out there are a lot of really tough regulatory issues to resolve first, according to government and industry experts who sketched out all the thorny challenges at the two-day conference, competition and harvest celebration at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. And implementation of commercialization could be delayed a year until 2019, said insiders.

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16 US: If The Doctor Orders Marijuana, Will Insurers Pay?Wed, 23 Nov 2016
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Meier, Barry Area:United States Lines:147 Added:11/23/2016

Early this year, a disabled former automobile body worker named Greg Vialpando explained to lawmakers in New Mexico how medical marijuana helped his chronic back pain.

State legislators were considering a bill backed by workers' compensation insurers that would have exempted them from paying for medical marijuana. But Mr. Vialpando and another patient described how smoking the drug let them escape years of stupor caused by powerful prescription narcotic drugs known as opioids.

The lawmakers ended up dropping the bill, and Mr. Vialpando's expenses for buying marijuana are covered by insurance.

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17 US: It's Clear Why Support For Legalizing Marijuana Is At An All-TimeSat, 22 Oct 2016
Source:Business Insider (U.S.) Author:Berke, Jeremy Area:United States Lines:148 Added:10/22/2016

Support for weed legalization in the US recently hit an all-time high, but looking at the industry, it's been a long time coming.

Sixty-percent of Americans - up from 35% in 2005 - now support legalization, according to a Gallup poll from Wednesday.

In addition, legal marijuana is on the ballot in five states in November, support among likely voters is well above 50% in in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. Arizona, the fifth state with recreational marijuana appearing on the ballot, is polling at around 50% in support of legalizing.

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18US CA: Column: Try Social Justice For The Best Buzz Of AllMon, 10 Oct 2016
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Garofoli, Joe Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:10/11/2016

DENVER - Many Californians will vote to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use Nov. 8 because - hell, yeah! But many of the rest of us are hoping for a longer, deeper high from legalization. We're hoping it brings some social justice.

That benefit of legalization, I fear, is being a bit oversold in California. Ask Candi CdeBaca. Legalizing pot hasn't started to solve decades of inequities in her neighborhood because not enough people there have made social justice a priority.

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19US CA: Column: DEA Marijuana Reclassification Behind ScheduleSat, 03 Sep 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Rodriguez, Sal Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:09/03/2016

On August 11, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its rejection of petitions to reschedule marijuana, an unsurprising, but disappointing, decision.

Currently designated a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the prohibition of marijuana has long been a central component of the vast web of federal, state and local government entities devoted to combating (certain) drug use.

Alongside drugs like heroin and LSD, marijuana is in the most restrictive category of federal drug regulations. Officially, the DEA rejected calls to reschedule marijuana "because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision and it has a high potential for abuse."

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20 US NY: In Expansion, State's Medical Marijuana Program WillTue, 30 Aug 2016
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:New York Lines:137 Added:08/30/2016

ALBANY - Moving to address complaints about New York's new medical marijuana program, the state's Health Department is making substantial changes to expand access to the drug, including allowing home delivery, quite likely by the end of September.

The program, which saw its first dispensaries open in January, has struggled to gain broad traction in the medical community and with potential patients. Advocates for the medical use of marijuana have said the program, allowed by a 2014 law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was too restrictive, and its regulations too cumbersome to fulfill its mandate.

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