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1 US MO: Poisoned Synthetic Marijuana In Missouri, Other StatesTue, 10 Apr 2018
Source:Kansas City Star (MO) Author:Schwers, Kaitlyn Area:Missouri Lines:63 Added:04/11/2018

More than 100 people in five states, including Missouri, have been treated in the past month for "serious unexplained bleeding" believed to be linked to inhaling fake marijuana laced with rat poison, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Illinois alone has reported 107 cases, and three people have died, the state's Department of Public Health said Monday. People have been hospitalized for coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose and bleeding gums.

Elsewhere, two people have been hospitalized in Indiana, one in Maryland, one in Wisconsin and one in Missouri.

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2 US OH: Ohio Health Officials: Synthetic Marijuana Laced With RatFri, 06 Apr 2018
Source:Columbus Dispatch (OH) Author:Neese, Alissa Widman Area:Ohio Lines:64 Added:04/11/2018

State health officials issued a public warning Friday about a severe bleeding outbreak in the Midwest that has been linked to synthetic marijuana contaminated with a rat poison ingredient.

No cases have been reported in Ohio as of Friday.

A total of 94 people have exhibited symptoms in the past month in other states.

Most were in Illinois, which has reported 89 cases, including two deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases also have been reported in Missouri, Wisconsin and Maryland, and there is a suspected case in Pennsylvania.

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3US RI: Healing Church Believers Flout Federal Law As They SmokeTue, 03 Apr 2018
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Ellis, Rebecca Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:04/06/2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Anne Armstrong, 58, knows exactly how many joints she has smoked at Providence's Roger Williams National Memorial -- 153, all rolled with "kosher" marijuana harvested in the backyard of her West Greenwich home.

As "deaconess" to The Healing Church, a cannabis-centered Catholic sect that boasts about a dozen members, Armstrong believes smoking in the park is a religious obligation, the equivalent to a sip of wine at Communion.

Anointing members with hashish-infused oil and blowing a shofar so it billows marijuana smoke are, likewise, ceremonial duties. (It should be noted that Armstrong refuses to use the word marijuana, which she calls racist slang. She prefers to refer to the plant as cannabis, spice, or hemp.)

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4 US IL: Synthetic Pot Leaves 2 Dead And Dozens Hospitalized In ChicagoMon, 02 Apr 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Malagon, Elvia Area:Illinois Lines:96 Added:04/03/2018

Two people have died and 56 sickened in the Chicago area and central Illinois after using synthetic pot, popularly known as K2 and Spice, state officials said on Monday.

Over the weekend, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that one person had died after using synthetic cannabinoid products, but on Monday the state agency announced that a second person had also perished. Generally, those sickened by the drug have been hospitalized for internal bleeding as well as blood coming from the ears, eyes and mouth.

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5 CN ON: Talking Pot A What It Will Mean When It's LegalSat, 25 Nov 2017
Source:Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON) Author:Monteiro, Liz Area:Ontario Lines:130 Added:11/29/2017

KITCHENER - At gatherings with family and friends, it's common for people to sit and chat as they enjoy a glass of wine.

Drinking alcohol is legal and regulated by the government, but too much of it causes impairment and your long-term health could be at risk.

The same could be said for marijuana.

The now illicit drug will soon be legal, regulated and sold by the government. Smoking it daily could lead to a dependency, healthcare professionals say.

But the stigma associated with dope smoking remains.

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6 Canada: Eat Your GreenWed, 06 Sep 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Mintz, Corey Area:Canada Lines:224 Added:09/08/2017

Fledgling entrepreneurs are trying to get started in the edible marijuana business in advance of next summer's promised legalization. As Corey Mintz reports, they have all the stresses of any other food business, as well as other, more unique concerns

Buying and selling marijuana in Canada is currently a very grey market - - almost legal but with a shrug emoji attached. Along this legally nebulous frontier, no one has more of an uphill battle than the makers and distributors of edible products.

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7CN QU: Column: Little Packets Of TroubleSat, 22 Jul 2017
Source:Montreal Gazette (CN QU) Author:Schwarcz, Joe Area:Quebec Lines:Excerpt Added:07/25/2017

So-called bath salts, other street drugs are not a safe way to seek pleasure

When someone offers a tiny packet of "bath salts" for sale with a price tag somewhere between $30 and $50, you know that it is not meant to be sprinkled into a bathtub. These "bath salts," commonly available in head shops, online and even in some convenience stores, may sport a label declaring "not for human consumption," but they are clearly designed to cater to the insides of the body rather than the outside.

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8 Canada: Panel Provides Guidelines For 'Lower-Risk' Cannabis UseFri, 23 Jun 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Picard, Andre Area:Canada Lines:115 Added:06/23/2017

Group advises users to avoid holding breath, suggests alternatives to smoking

How do you minimize the health impacts of marijuana in a country where it is legal to smoke - or otherwise consume - the drug?

As Canada approaches full legalization on July 1, 2018, a blue-ribbon panel of experts has provided an evidence-based answer to that thorny question and, on Friday, they will release a set of "lower-risk cannabis-use guidelines."

The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is essentially a list of practical tips for current and potential marijuana smokers.

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9US CA: Rancho Cordova Couple Wins Big At The Emerald Cup CompeitionSun, 15 Jan 2017
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Macias, Chris Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/15/2017

What is cannabis topical oil? And why is this Rancho Cordova couple so good at making it?

The runner-up in the "topicals" division at December's Emerald Cup cannabis competition in Santa Rosa had a familiar name attached to it: Lavender Epsom Salts by Whoopi & Maya, a company co-founded by comedian Whoopi Goldberg.

Chelsea Dudgeon and Newell Taylor of Rancho Cordova didn't have the same kind of name recognition with their product, which also provides pain relief from cannabis via skin absorption. But these partners in business and romance were equipped with something better: the winning formula.

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10 UK: Column: Look Out! They're Sneaking Up on You With aSun, 28 Aug 2016
Source:Mail on Sunday, The (UK) Author:Hitchens, Peter Area:United Kingdom Lines:79 Added:08/28/2016

THE most sinister thing I have heard all year was this week's revelation that British government doctors secretly sought to drug troublesome teenagers in the 1960s and we have only just found out. One of the pills they wanted to use was called Haloperidol. Its side effects include incurable lifelong twitching, delirium and rigid muscles.

This plan was stopped, but another worrying substance, Beclamide, was given to boys at a Yorkshire 'Approved School' (a state-inspected home for troubled teens). Neither the boys nor their parents were told of this experiment.

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11 US DC: OPED: The Post Office's Drug ProblemFri, 05 Aug 2016
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:McCaul, Michael Area:District of Columbia Lines:80 Added:08/05/2016

The House of Representatives recently passed a number of bills designed to combat the epidemic of dangerous drugs sweeping across the United States. No congressional district has been spared from this problem, and people are dying at an alarming rate from the use of fentanyl, bath salts, flakka, K2, Spice and other synthetic drugs. But lawmakers failed to act to close a major entry point for these terrible drugs into the United States: the global postal system.

Anyone with a laptop, wireless access and a credit card can order these poisons over the Internet from abroad and have them shipped directly to their home through the U.S. mail. This is not a new problem - Congress has held extensive hearings on this issue, starting as far back as 2000. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 340 million packages enter the United States through the international mail stream, with little or no electronic manifest data associated with them. Our federal law enforcement agencies have no way to perform risk assessments on incoming postal shipments before they arrive and are forced to manually screen millions upon millions of postal parcels in an attempt to intercept these deadly drugs.

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12 US AZ: Column: Spice Is Not So NiceThu, 04 Aug 2016
Source:Tucson Weekly (AZ) Author:Meyers, Nick Area:Arizona Lines:92 Added:08/04/2016

The Legal Synthetic 'Weed' That Kills

As any republican with truly conservative beliefs will tell you, government intervention leads to negative consequences. In the case of prohibition, it leads to black markets that, without the option of regulation, create more harmful scenarios than their potentially legal analogues.

There is perhaps no greater example of this in our current events than that of marijuana prohibition and the consequent market for a dangerous synthetic called "spice."

It's the same argument the right often uses to keep their fingers tightly wrapped around the triggers of their beloved assault rifles: "If you make it illegal, then only criminals will have them leaving law-abiding Americans in a dangerous situation."

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13 US NY: Surge in Overdoses From a Drug: 130 In Three DaysFri, 15 Jul 2016
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Nir, Sarah Maslin Area:New York Lines:134 Added:07/15/2016

Almost as soon as the young man crouching on a trash-strewed street in Brooklyn pulled out a crumpled dollar bill from his pocket and emptied its contents of dried leaves into a wrapper, he had company. A half-dozen disheveled men and women walked swiftly to where the young man was rolling a cigarette of a synthetic drug known as K2 to wait for a chance to share.

The drug has been the source of an alarming and sudden surge in overdoses - over three days this week, 130 people across New York City were treated in hospital emergency rooms after overdosing on K2, almost equaling the total for the entire month of June, according to the city's health department. About one-fourth of the overdoses, 33, took place on Tuesday along the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick, the same Brooklyn neighborhoods where, despite a heightened presence of police officers, people were again openly smoking the drug on Thursday.

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14 US NY: 33 Suspected Of Overdosing On Synthetic MarijuanaWed, 13 Jul 2016
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Rosenberg, Eli Area:New York Lines:114 Added:07/14/2016

There is a word that local residents and workers use to describe a group of drug users whose presence they say has grown around a busy Brooklyn transit hub: zombies. What was once a few familiar faces has turned into a tribe of strangers, walking around, staggering and looking lost, in the throes, it is believed, of the ill effects of K2, a synthetic drug that officials in New York have been working hard to eradicate.

The problem in the neighborhood has gotten to be such that a manager of an urban farm nearby, tired of the smoke wafting onto the property, posted two hand-painted wooden signs with a simple message: "No Smoking K2."

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15 US MA: Editorial: SJC Going To PotThu, 07 Jul 2016
Source:Boston Herald (MA)          Area:Massachusetts Lines:52 Added:07/07/2016

The state's highest court in its latest ruling took it upon itself to actually rewrite the title and the summary that will inform voters about the impact of a ballot question to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in this state.

Now, silly us, but you'd think if something needed that much rewriting to adequately explain it, well then maybe it shouldn't be on the ballot at all - that maybe something so flawed at the petition-signing stage should have to start from scratch.

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16US CA: S.D. Council Looks to Outlaw 'Spice' SalesTue, 14 Jun 2016
Source:San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Author:Wheaton, Daniel Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:06/14/2016

More San Diegans are getting high off of spice and causing medical emergencies as a result.

Since October, 911 calls relating to spice have been on the rise. In February, there were 200 emergency medical services calls, more than double the previous month, according research by the San Diego Association of Governments.

Spice, also known as K-2, is synthetic marijuana made of herbs or some other smokable substance that is sprayed with chemicals that cause a high.

Spice is sold with the label "not intended for human consumption," so it isn't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, compounds are often changed, allowing manufacturers to create the drug despite laws attempting to ban it.

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17 UK: Ban Will Not Stop Supply, Drugs Adviser WarnsWed, 08 Jun 2016
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:Gayle, Damien Area:United Kingdom Lines:41 Added:06/09/2016

The ban on legal highs will not lead to the disappearance of spice and other synthetic cannabis-like drugs because they are so profitable to dealers, a senior government drugs adviser has warned.

Prof Harry Sumnall, a member of the Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said the economics of producing the substances - often collectively dubbed "spice" - versus that of growing traditional cannabis made them an appealing proposition.

Sumnall said the ingredients were easily available online. "We were making some in the lab the other day. Very, very easy to do, pretty much shake and bake. Really easy to make, highly profitable, these drugs aren't going anywhere."

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18 UK: PUB LTE: Rehabilitation Should Trump PunishmentWed, 08 Jun 2016
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:Collins, Jon Area:United Kingdom Lines:32 Added:06/09/2016

Everyone from the chief inspector of prisons to prisoners themselves is now expressing concerns about the impact that new psychoactive substances are having on prisoners, prison officers and the efficacy of the prison system (Prisoners reveal regular 'spice' habit has tripled, 1 June). Current approaches to addressing their use are not working, and the situation is getting worse.

HMP Forest Bank, however, is taking a fresh approach. Using the principles of restorative justice, it is encouraging those prisoners who are using spice and other so-called "legal highs" to face up to the impact of their behaviour on their fellow prisoners and on prison staff.

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19US AK: In the Wake of Anchorage's Spice Crisis, Many Are BackSun, 29 May 2016
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Andrews, Laurel Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:05/30/2016

On Dec. 1, 2015, Dalon White woke up in the hospital, unsure how he got there. The last thing he remembered was smoking a "stick" of Spice he'd bought for $5 in downtown Anchorage.

"Next thing you know, the world's spinning and I was falling over," White said.

White, then 21, was charged with a crime that day, but he didn't realize it. He faces a misdemeanor drug charge, one of about 50 that have been issued since Anchorage criminalized Spice six months ago.

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20 US TN: OPED: There's Something Missing From Our Drug Laws:Sun, 22 May 2016
Source:Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) Author:Piper, Bill Area:Tennessee Lines:101 Added:05/23/2016

Congress and President Obama are under pressure to reschedule marijuana. While rescheduling makes sense, it doesn't solve the state/federal conflict over marijuana (descheduling would be better). But more important, it wouldn't fix the broken scheduling system. Ideally, marijuana reform should be part of a broader bill rewriting the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act created a five-category scheduling system for most legal and illegal drugs (although alcohol and tobacco were notably omitted). Depending on what category a drug is in, the drug is either subject to varying degrees of regulation and control (Schedules II through V) - or prohibited, otherwise unregulated and left to criminals to manufacture and distribute (Schedule I). The scheduling of various drugs was decided largely by Congress and absent a scientific process - with some strange results.

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21 UK: Legal Highs Brought Low As Councils Employ Banning OrdersWed, 11 May 2016
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:Wilding, Mark Area:United Kingdom Lines:180 Added:05/14/2016

Critics Say Antisocial Behaviour Powers Are Already Criminalising Vulnerable People, Ahead of All-Out Ban

It's just before 11.30am on a Friday morning and I'm standing in Lincoln's city square. With me are police officers Andy Balding and Joel Dowse, an antisocial behaviour officer at Lincoln council. We're on the lookout for socalled legal highs synthetic substances that have similar effects to illegal drugs but have not yet been banned by legislation.

We scan the square for anything suspicious. Everything looks in order, but I'm assured it hasn't always been this way. Balding points to a line of benches overlooking the river. "Along here used to be really bad," he tells me. I hear stories about groups of people on legal highs terrorising shopkeepers and falling unconscious in the street. Right now, all I can see is an elderly man peacefully contemplating the river.

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22 UK: Warning Over Rise Of Danger Drugs In PrisonMon, 02 May 2016
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:Sample, Ian Area:United Kingdom Lines:110 Added:05/02/2016

Synthetic Cannabis Has 'Devastating Impact' On Jails, Says Chief Inspector

Synthetic cannabis is having a "devastating impact" in British prisons and making it difficult for normal life to continue in some facilities, the chief inspector of prisons has warned.

Sold as "spice" and "black mamba", synthetic cannabis has been blamed for deaths, serious illness and episodes of self-harm among prisoners. Some prison officers have reported falling ill from exposure to the fumes.

High demand for the compound has fuelled more severe problems in the prison system than officers have faced from any other drug, with prisoners racking up greater debts and suffering worse bullying and violence, Peter Clarke told the Guardian. "Prison staff have told me that the effect on individuals and prisons as a whole is unlike anything they have seen before," said Clarke, who took up the post in February.

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23US CO: OPED: What's Missing in Drug Laws: ScienceSat, 30 Apr 2016
Source:Denver Post (CO) Author:Piper, Bill Area:Colorado Lines:Excerpt Added:04/30/2016

Congress and President Obama are under pressure to reschedule marijuana. While rescheduling makes sense, it wouldn't fix the broken scheduling system. Ideally, marijuana reform should be part of a broader bill rewriting the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act created a five-category scheduling system for most legal and illegal drugs (although alcohol and tobacco were notably omitted). Depending on what category a drug is in, the drug is either subject to varying degrees of regulation and control (Schedules II through V) - or completely prohibited (Schedule I). The scheduling of various drugs was decided largely by Congress and absent a scientific process - with some strange results.

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24US AK: OPED: Federal Drug Act Needs a Rewrite Based onFri, 29 Apr 2016
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Piper, Bill Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:04/29/2016

Congress and President Obama are under pressure to reschedule marijuana. While rescheduling makes sense, it doesn't solve the state/federal conflict over marijuana (de-scheduling would be better). But more important, it wouldn't fix the broken scheduling system. Ideally, marijuana reform should be part of a broader bill rewriting the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act created a five-category scheduling system for most legal and illegal drugs (although alcohol and tobacco were notably omitted). Depending on what category a drug is in, the drug is either subject to varying degrees of regulation and control (Schedules II through V) -- or completely prohibited, otherwise unregulated and left to criminals to manufacture and distribute (Schedule I). The scheduling of various drugs was decided largely by Congress and absent a scientific process -- with some strange results.

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25 US CA: SN&R Marijuana Expert Ngaio Bealum's Favorite StrainsThu, 14 Apr 2016
Source:Sacramento News & Review (CA) Author:Bealum, Ngaio Area:California Lines:107 Added:04/14/2016

SN&R's pot expert Ngaio Bealum on his favorite strains from the past year

I smoked a bunch of weed this year. I don't mean in the usual "I'm a stoner. I smoke weed. Duh." kind of way. I mean in the "Oh my goodness, I have been invited to be a judge at two cannabis competitions. I need to step my game up." kind of way.

This is going to sound odd, and I sometimes giggle at the thought, but it's a bit of a strange feeling when you have to smoke weed for your job. Like, for real. Testing 60 different strains in a week (as I did at the Denver High Times Cannabis Cup) or more than 200 strains in a month (see the Emerald Cup Outdoor Organic Cannabis Competition) was a tough, but great, gig. It did wonders for my palate-and my tolerance levels.

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26US CA: Column: How Public Policy Contributed to FentanylSat, 09 Apr 2016
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Smith, Erika D. Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:04/09/2016

Pills Have Led to Overdoses Across Sacramento, Central Valley

Authorities Suspect Traffickers From Mexico Are to Blame

With Legal Weed Flourishing in U.S., Cartels Focusing on Opioid Addicts

Dr. Angella Barr spends her days in East Sacramento, talking to an ever-growing group of people who are "sick and tired of being sick and tired." Opioid addicts who have hit rock bottom.

She helps housewives who've developed a tolerance to prescription painkillers, but are terrified by heroin. She helps college students who have already turned to the illicit drug. And the IV drug users who wear long-sleeves because they don't want to be judged by their track marks.

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27US FL: Small Amount Of Pot Can Still Lead To ArrestFri, 01 Apr 2016
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Fox, Geoff Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:04/01/2016

4 Criteria Must Be Met to Receive Only a Citation

TAMPA - A new law allowing Tampa police the option of issuing civil citations for those possessing small amounts of marijuana takes effect today. But don't be fooled. The new ordinance does not mean that everyone found with up to 20 grams of weed - about three-quarters of an ounce - will automatically avoid arrest.

For instance, if you get pulled over while driving and smoking marijuana, your vehicle will still likely get searched - thanks to the lingering smell, also known as probable cause - while you sit, handcuffed, in the back of a patrol car.

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28 UK: Column: Lib Dems Call For Drugs ReformThu, 10 Mar 2016
Source:Birmingham Post (UK) Author:Walker, Jonathan Area:United Kingdom Lines:130 Added:03/11/2016

LIBERAL Democrats say there's a case for setting up cannabis shops allowing people to buy the drug in their local high street.

But how many people in the West Midlands take cannabis or other drugs - - and is drug use rising or falling?

Here's what the official figures tell us about drug use in the West Midlands.

In the West Midlands, 6.9 per cent of the population aged 16 to 59 say they have taken cannabis at least once last year. That's about one in 15 people. It's about the same as the national average.

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29 US DC: Athletes Defend Their HighThu, 03 Mar 2016
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Bieler, Des Area:District of Columbia Lines:159 Added:03/03/2016

The District recently marked the first anniversary of its legalization of recreational marijuana. And as the city is home to so many fitness minded people, it's likely that at least a few of them are wondering whether it makes sense, or whether it's even safe, to incorporate pot into their exercise regimens.

Given the long-standing illegality of marijuana, there is not a large body of evidence about its effects on the human body. However, I spoke with a professional athlete who offered his own large body as testimony to the benefits of engaging in physical activity while stoned.

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30 US OR: Column: How To Ruin Valentine's Day-with Weed!Thu, 11 Feb 2016
Source:Portland Mercury (OR) Author:Jardine, Josh Area:Oregon Lines:80 Added:02/11/2016

IT'S VALENTINE'S DAY, which can be difficult for single people. (Who are only alone because something is wrong with them. WHAT? I'm right. You know I'm right. Think of all your single friends, and name two who aren't that way because of a deep, twisted, untreatable inner flaw. Yikes.)

But even for those of us who are happily coupled-and don't hate-there are expectations forced upon us that this has to be the most romantic, multi-orgasmic holiday of the year, right after Arbor Day or when a new dispensary opens down the block.

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31US KY: Ky's Drug Efforts Turn Back To SyntheticsFri, 01 Jan 2016
Source:Courier-Journal, The (Louisville, KY) Author:Wynn, Mike Area:Kentucky Lines:Excerpt Added:01/01/2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky's evolving battle with drug abuse will continue into the 2016 General Assembly as lawmakers intensify efforts against synthetic drugs that can slip into communities via the Internet, wreaking sudden havoc.

The legislature has enacted at least four bills targeting synthetics since 2010 and is seeking to amp up penalties for traffickers next year following an outbreak in Lewis County of the toxic synthetic drug called "flakka."

"They are no less dangerous than anything else out there, and in many cases, more dangerous," said Van Ingram, head of the state Office of Drug Control Policy. "It seems to pop up in a certain community and makes a run for a short time. Then it fizzles out there and shows up somewhere else."

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32 US HI: Overdose Deaths Low In IslesMon, 21 Dec 2015
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI) Author:Essoyan, Susan Area:Hawaii Lines:115 Added:12/22/2015

A Nonprofit Group Has Ranked Hawaii No. 6 for the State's Rate of Fatal Substance Use

We don't have nearly the extreme kind of heroin epidemic that you see on the mainland. ... What we most commonly see kids overdose with in Hawaii is still alcohol poisoning." Colleen Fox Director of adolescent programs, Hina Mauka

Hawaii has the sixth-lowest rate among the states of youth dying from drug overdoses, but the figure is trending upward across the country, according to a new report from the Trust for America's Health.

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33 CN ON: Teen Pot Use Is Sky-High, Says New SurveyThu, 10 Dec 2015
Source:Ottawa Sun (CN ON) Author:Bay, Julienne Area:Ontario Lines:68 Added:12/11/2015

More Ontario students report using cannabis than tobacco, a survey released Wednesday shows.

About 21% of Grade 7 to 12 students in Ontario say they used cannabis during the past year, according to the survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The usage was higher among older students; 37% of Grade 12 students reported using pot, while the report called marijuana use among seventh graders as "negligible".

On the other hand, almost 9% of students also reported smoking tobacco -- a level that has remained static for several years following a steady decline over the last couple of decades.

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34 US WA: Column: Reefer Madness 2.0Wed, 09 Dec 2015
Source:Seattle Weekly (WA) Author:Stusser, Michael A. Area:Washington Lines:119 Added:12/09/2015

The "Just Say No" campaign kept me off drugs.

NOT! Still, I appreciate Nancy Reagan for using ignorant scare tactics to at least try to keep kids like me away from the Devil's Lettuce. Drugs are for adults, and having a dialogue about that notion is important.

The conversation does not, however, require a sizzling egg to represent your brain on drugs.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education campaigns, aka DARE, were all the rage in the 1980s and '90s, sucking up hundreds of millions of tax dollars on TV spots, branded backpacks, stickers, and even cartoons featuring Daren the Lion. At its peak, the program was deployed in 75 percent of American schools, with police officers leading classroom discussions and assemblies that students absolutely loved-not because of the content, but because it got us out of math class.

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35US CA: Spice Drug Sickens 16Mon, 30 Nov 2015
Source:San Diego Union Tribune (CA)          Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:12/01/2015

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO - Sixteen people in downtown San Diego were sickened by a synthetic drug called spice on Saturday, authorities said.

It was the second weekend for multiple overdoses in the downtown area. Last Sunday, paramedics treated eight people, one as young as 13.

Police were investigating to find out where the drug, a popular form of synthetic marijuana, came from. It is illegal in California.

There were more than 10 calls to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department involving 16 ill patients between 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, fire spokesman Lee Swanson said.

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36 US CO: Marijuana Tourism's Reach ExpandsSun, 29 Nov 2015
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Marcus, Jon Area:Colorado Lines:143 Added:11/29/2015

DENVER - Every seat filled, the little tour bus navigates the busy streets of booming Denver, whisking its passengers to a glassblowing demonstration. Or they can choose a painting class. Or a cooking lesson. Or visit a farm.

If this sounds like a comparatively unexciting way to see the Mile High City, look closer. Or, better yet, take a whiff.

This party bus is filled with smoke and happy people, and smells like an art-school dorm. The tattooed glassblower is crafting high-priced bongs and pipes. The cooking class is for gourmands who want to flavor their cuisine with an herb you probably don't have in your spice rack. The painters' creativity is whetted by weed. And the farm is the 40,000-square-foot "cultivation facility" of one of Colorado's top cannabis producers.

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37 US MD: OPED: Real Danger In Fake DrugsWed, 11 Nov 2015
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Wen, Leana Area:Maryland Lines:94 Added:11/11/2015

Baltimore Moves to Eradicate Synthetic Drugs in the City As Emergency Room Visits Rise

When you think about drugs that ultimately lead people to the E.R., the first things that come to mind might be heroin, cocaine or prescription drugs. However, there is another dangerous set of substances that are sending thousands to hospitals across the country: synthetic drugs.

As an emergency physician, I have treated high school students who came in unresponsive and needed breathing tubes to stay alive. I have seen teens hallucinating and suffering seizures. I have attended to adults who sustained long-term brain, heart and kidney damage because of these harmful drugs.

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38 US AK: LTE: Alaska Can Overcome Threat Posed by SyntheticTue, 10 Nov 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Parker, Nicholas Area:Alaska Lines:39 Added:11/11/2015

Spice has turned numerous Alaskans into the unbelieveable, into what most consider fiction: zombies. Obviously, this shouldn't be taken literally, but still seriously. The users are in a zombie-like state due to the locally-available synthetic drug. Its effects are life-impacting, engraving life long impairments into the smoker's mind and body. From the violent and aggressive behavior that startles spectators to the high blood pressure that kills, Spice in Alaska has affected the lives of far too many. For example, between July 31 and Aug. 13, the Anchorage Fire Department made about 110 medical emergency runs related to Spice.

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39US AK: Anchorage Assembly Criminalizes Sale and Possession ofWed, 11 Nov 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Andrews, Laurel Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:11/11/2015

Possessing and selling the synthetic drug Spice is now a crime in Alaska's largest city, as the Anchorage Assembly unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday evening making "illicit synthetic drugs" illegal.

The crowd clapped as the tally appeared on a large screen in the Assembly chambers.

The ordinance contains broad language that covers both Spice (synthetic cannabinoids) and bath salts (synthetic cathinones). The possession and sale of both is now a misdemeanor crime.

"Not everything will be covered by this ordinance," city prosecutor Seneca Theno told the Assembly, but "this is as broad as we can do right now."

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40US AK: Monday May Have Been Worst Day Yet in Anchorage SpiceWed, 21 Oct 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Andrews, Laurel Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:10/21/2015

Spice-related medical emergencies spiked again Monday in Anchorage, with the fire department saying it might have made the most transports in one day since Spice emergencies increased this summer.

On Tuesday morning, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced that his administration would be introducing an ordinance that would make the sale and use of Spice a crime and impose penalties far steeper than what is currently on the books.

Erich Scheunemann, assistant chief of emergency medical service operations, said records show around 30 people were taken to hospitals Monday for suspected use of Spice, "tentatively ... the most pickups since mid-July," he wrote.

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41US AK: Efforts to Stamp Out Heroin and Other Drugs DominateSun, 18 Oct 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:DeMarban, Alex Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:10/18/2015

Fears that heroin, meth, Spice and other drugs are flooding into rural Alaska has prompted local efforts to staunch the trafficking, and dominated discussions at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention that wrapped after three days on Saturday.

The drug abuse has reached "epidemic" levels in the Dillingham region and elsewhere, officials said, but they added that there are no solid numbers on use.

"It's all anecdotal," said Ralph Andersen, chief executive of the Bristol Bay Native Association. "But we see people who are messed up. In villages it's easy to know when people are normal and when they're not."

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42US AK: Unable to Stem Spice Crisis, Anchorage Asks Feds forSun, 04 Oct 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Andrews, Laurel Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:10/05/2015

On a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon in downtown Anchorage, two men leaned against the outside wall of Bean's Cafe. Their eyes were closed, mouths open, arms hanging limp. Their heads and torsos swayed side to side as employees gathered nearby. An ambulance was on the way.

"Once I see their eyes roll back in their heads, I always call 911," said Andre Boyd, a monitor at the nonprofit, who on Wednesday made the call that brought medics to the agency within minutes. The two men had smoked the synthetic drug Spice, Boyd said.

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43 US VA: PUB LTE: Get On Board With Marijuana ReformSun, 06 Sep 2015
Source:Charlottesville Daily Progress (VA) Author:Werth, Lennice Area:Virginia Lines:54 Added:09/06/2015

I understand the concern about the artificial marijuana called "spice," detailed in The Daily Progress story "Police concern about 'spice' rises" (Aug. 31, print edition; Aug. 30, online).

The reason people use fake marijuana is because the real stuff is illegal or because they might be trying to get through a drug test for their employment or the criminal justice system. If it were not for these situations, there would be no such thing as "spice."

The reason doctors don't know what they are dealing with is that the law plays catch-up with these substances. By the time the latest thing becomes illegal, something new and potentially more dangerous has taken its place.

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44US AK: Keep The Cannabis In The TrunkWed, 26 Aug 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Kelly, Devin Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:08/26/2015

Anchorage Assembly Extends Open-Container Laws to Pot

Anchorage drivers will soon be required to keep marijuana in the trunk of their cars, with the city Assembly voting Tuesday night to expand local alcohol beverage open-container laws to include marijuana.

The new open-container restrictions were among a set of marijuana-related ordinances unanimously adopted by the Assembly Tuesday night. The others covered the use of a fake ID or other fraudulent means to buy marijuana; the inclusion of marijuana in existing laws that prohibit minors from driving under the influence; and the further definition and restriction of the personal cultivation of marijuana.

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45US AK: As Spice Use Continues to Plague Anchorage, Few AnswersSat, 15 Aug 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Andrews, Laurel Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:08/16/2015

On Friday afternoon, a crowd gathered around a man struggling to sit upright outside Bean's Cafe in downtown Anchorage. Emergency responders, employees and clients of the soup kitchen circled around the man as he swayed unsteadily on a bench.

It was the second medical call related to the synthetic drug Spice at Bean's Cafe that day, client services supervisor Tracy Saakvitne said as she watched the scene unfold.

A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived. The man was led away, his body limp and his head rocked forward. Two responders flanked him, one on either side, and held him upright.

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46 US AK: PUB LTE: Legal Pot Can End 'Spice' UseSat, 15 Aug 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Sarno, Lindianne Area:Alaska Lines:44 Added:08/15/2015

In the Aug. 9 Alaska Dispatch News, we read "NYC sees surge in synthetic pot use, with dire consequences." Synthetic marijuana is a deadly yet legal substance that preys on ignorant populations, such as New York's homeless. "The cheap knock-off weed is spiked with unknown chemicals that are supposed to mimic the more mellow effects of pot," but has caused "a spike in emergency room visits in New York City (and Anchorage) by users suffering from high blood pressure, hallucinations, hot flashes and psychotic meltdowns that can turn violent or deadly." The cannabis coalition consensus is, unknown leaf sprayed with chemicals, ugh. What herb is the leaf? What are the chemicals? We don't know. We wouldn't smoke synthetic anything. Only an ignorant cannabis-deprived soul, desperate for relief from poverty and misery, would stoop so low as to try synthetic marijuana.

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47 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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48 US NM: Staying Clean Is The AimSun, 09 Aug 2015
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Yodice, James Area:New Mexico Lines:478 Added:08/09/2015

School Districts Take Pre-Emptive Strikes in an Attempt to Steer Students From Drugs and Alcohol

The misconception is easy to have, and often it leads to the wrong conclusion: Only teenagers in big cities can lay their hands on drugs.

"You can get drugs anywhere," said Billy Burns, the athletic director at Logan High, a school in a remote area of eastern New Mexico with about 85 students in grades 8-12. "If you believe the hearsay, a small town is just like a big town. We have the same problems."

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49US AK: Spice Blamed for Dozens of Hospitalizations in AnchorageThu, 06 Aug 2015
Source:Alaska Dispatch News (AK) Author:Hanlon, Tegan Area:Alaska Lines:Excerpt Added:08/06/2015

Anchorage police said Wednesday that at least 30 people were taken to the hospital over the past four days with serious health problems related to using Spice, an illegal designer drug.

In response to the recent increase in Spice-related hospitalizations, police released a statement Wednesday afternoon asking people to contact them with any information on the source of the synthetic drug banned by local laws and a state law.

Lisa Sauder, the executive director of Bean's Cafe, said Wednesday that a stream of ambulances responded throughout the day to the downtown soup kitchen that provides meals and social services for homeless people.

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50 US MA: City Council To Consider Synthetic Marijuana BanWed, 05 Aug 2015
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Ransom, Jan Area:Massachusetts Lines:103 Added:08/05/2015

At 5 a.m. when Pamela Vasquez would arrive at the Citgo gas station in Fields Corner where she works, it was no surprise to see a line of people there, anxiously waiting.

But they weren't looking to fuel up their cars or buy snacks or scratch-offs from the Quick Mart.

Instead, they were there to purchase what is called synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, spice, crazy monkey, and Scooby snacks, a designer drug that does not actually contain marijuana but is made-up of a variety of plants sprayed with chemicals, according to Boston police and the Centers for Disease Control. It is often marketed as incense or potpourri.

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