User: flenvcenter Topic: Environmental Health-Independent
Category: Drugs
Last updated: Apr 20 2014 20:53 IST RSS 2.0
 
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The 11 Stupidest Arguments Against Legalizing Marijuana 20.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
A version of this story was first published in February. Nearly 80 years ago, the feature film "Reefer Madness" hit theaters, projecting demonstrably false anti-marijuana propaganda all over the big screen. In today's era of legal medical and recreational cannabis, the tone of this movie is often mocked. But drug warriors are still employing many of the same hysterical arguments to prop up their campaign against weed. When it comes to public opinion, it's becoming clear that anti-pot crusaders are losing the battle. Recreational marijuana is for sale in Colorado, it’s coming to Washington sometime soon and a number of states have considered legalization measures this legislative session. In all, 20 states have passed laws allowing the medical or recreational use of marijuana, and with a majority of Americans now in favor of legal weed for the first time in U.S. history, the momentum is on marijuana's side. As more states move toward reforming pot laws, many anti-weed groups have clung to the same tired ...
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Friday Talking Points - Our 4/20 Acronym Contest Challenge 19.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Three hundred of these columns? To coin a phrase... far out, man. We'll get to patting ourselves on the back in a bit, but first we'd like to propose a party game for this weekend's big 4/20 festivities across the land. So put this in your (metaphorical) pipe and smoke it. The rules for this contest are pretty simple. First, you've got to picture a day in the future when the Weed Wars are completely over, with marijuana reform having won the biggest victory of all: a complete change in the federal government's viewpoint. Not just rescheduling, but descheduling, in other words. The feds throw in the towel and decide to treat marijuana not as a dangerous and illegal drug, but as a regulated vice like tobacco and alcohol. In other words, total victory for the reformers. OK, got that image in your mind? Here's where you need to get creative. If marijuana is descheduled, what would happen to it, in terms of the federal government? Well, they would take it away from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the ...
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Colorado Deaths Stoke Worries About Pot Edibles 19.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
DENVER (AP) — A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy. The two recent deaths have stoked concerns about Colorado's recreational marijuana industry and the effects of the drug, especially since cookies, candy and other pot edibles can be exponentially more potent than a joint. "We're seeing hallucinations, they become sick to their stomachs, they throw up, they become dizzy and very anxious," said Al Bronstein, medical director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. Studies are mixed about whether there is any link between marijuana and violence. Still, pot legalization opponents said the deaths are a sign of future dangers. Twenty-six people have reported poisonings from marijuana edibles this year, when the center started tracking such exposures. Six were children who swallowed ...
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State Will No Longer Make Sick People Choose Between Medical Marijuana And Guns 18.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Illinois regulators have dropped proposed medical marijuana restrictions that would have required gun owners to choose between their weapons and their weed. The change was revealed when the Illinois Department of Public Health formally filed rules for the state's medical cannabis pilot program -- the strictest in the nation -- after months of public feedback. Stricken from rules originally proposed in January is language requiring legal gun owners (and their caregivers) to relinquish their Firearm Owner Identification cards before joining the state's medical marijuana registry, and banned medical marijuana patients from owning firearms . That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that Illinois residents can legally mix the two. Federal law still bars gun ownership to anyone who uses marijuana or other controlled substances. “Under federal law, anyone who is using marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use... is considered an unlawful user,” Thomas ...
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These 13 People Were Killed By The War On Drugs. Their Lives Were The Cost Of Prohibition. 18.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
This story was first published in April 2013.

America's long drug war has produced countless tragedies, ruined lives and led to parentless children, as well as the deaths of drug warriors, nonviolent offenders and innocents. As marijuana advocates and drug policy reformers around the nation celebrate 4/20, take a look at 13 stories of people whose lives were cut short by the drug war.

Investigative reporter Radley Balko is author of the forthcoming book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces.



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Innovation Earth: This Technology Could Make Red Lights Obsolete And Boost MPG By 30 Percent 18.4.2014 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Every weekday, I take a six-mile drive through Mid-City Los Angeles to pick up my daughter from preschool. There are no fewer than 20 stoplights along the way, and my trek takes 30 minutes in each direction. But lately, that drive has been taking even longer. Ten minutes into a typical trip, I've already had to honk my horn three times to nudge traffic along. No, I am not an aggressive driver. But I have become a frustrated one, bearing witness to a disturbing trend that seems to be growing with every passing day: Texting at stoplights. Never mind that it's against the law in California . Or that it's dangerous: Nearly 20 percent of crashes are attributable to distracted driving, killing nine people and injuring more than 1,000 in the US every day. (If you think harm is limited to when the vehicle is in motion, you've never seen a bleary-eyed texter step on the accelerator after being jolted into action by the cacophony of horns behind him. Admittedly, I've been that bleary-eyed person on occasion. I can ...
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What Do Prosecutors and District Attorneys Say About 911 Good Samaritan Laws? 16.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
With the drug overdose epidemic still raging, 911 Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access laws are sweeping the country as states struggle to seek solutions that can turn back the tide of deaths. Currently, 18 states have implemented naloxone laws, 14 have medical amnesty laws on the books, and many more have introduced bills to their general assemblies. But while law enforcement, public health advocates, and people directly affected by drug overdose are front and center in these debates, state prosecutors and district attorneys also play a critical role in advocacy efforts -- often for, but sometimes against, these laws. Within the legislative system, associations of prosecutors and district attorneys carry a lot of clout and their support for a bill can be essential to its passage. Case in point, in 2009 overdose prevention advocates in Washington state helped introduce a 911 Good Samaritan bill, but it quickly encountered opposition from the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the ...
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Martin O'Malley Explains What It Will Take For Him To Run For The White House 15.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON -- Gov. Martin O'Malley refuses to stay put. The Maryland Democrat is barnstorming the country, in the midst of a productive legislative session that culminated in the state legislature's passage of a minimum wage hike and the signing of a marijuana decriminalization bill on Monday. O'Malley appeared at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in New Hampshire in November. He laced into Wisconsin Republicans during an appearance before the state Democratic Party's Founders Day Gala over the weekend. And he's been booked to address the Clark County Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner on May 2 in Las Vegas. The foundation is certainly being set for a 2016 presidential run. And O'Malley isn't completely coy about the fact that he has an eye on the White House. In an interview with The Huffington Post on Monday, the governor said that he is preparing for a possible run regardless of whether or not Hillary Clinton -- the prohibitive favorite -- jumps in. "I don't think it is a matter of my convincing as it is ...
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If We Build It, Will They Come? Drug Treatment and the Affordable Care Act 15.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Congress has provided us with a historic opportunity to reduce the demand for illegal drugs. The law requires health insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare, to cover treatment for substance abuse disorders. It will make drug treatment more available than ever before. The U.S. government estimates that illicit drug use costs more than $193 billion annually in crime, health care and loss of income. More effective treatment will likely save money as well as lives. The question is, will greater availability of drug treatment bring more problematic drug users into treatment? If we build it, will they come? President Obama's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) estimates there are 23.1 million drug users in need of treatment; historically, only 10 percent of them ever access these services. Health insurance will eliminate one of the barriers. Others remain. For most addicts drug treatment is identified with the criminal justice system and viewed as a ...
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Friday Talking Points -- Happy 50th, Civil Rights Act Of 1964! 12.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
We have some "old business" to take care of here, first, before we begin. Last week, the subtitle of this column was " And Counting ," which referred to the 7.1 million signup figure reached by the Obamacare exchanges. Our point was for all Democrats to always tack this phrase onto any stat quoted about Obamacare, to make a very basic point. We're happy to report that one week later, the official number has now changed . Which means the new slogan is: "Obamacare signups: 7.5 million. And counting." OK, enough of that, let's get on with the week that was. Tax time is right around the corner, and the I.R.S. is in the news again, and not in a good way . Seems due to a clause someone (nobody will admit to it) in Congress tacked on to a bill awhile back, the federal government can now go back further than 10 years to collect unpaid debts. Doesn't sound so controversial, until you hear what "unpaid debts" really means to them: some ancient overpayment from the government (on Social Security, for ...
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Marijuana Supporters Worry Colorado Bills Target Pot-Using Parents 10.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Bills recently introduced in the Colorado Senate may criminalize what's now the legal use and cultivation of marijuana by parents, according to some marijuana advocates. SB-177 and SB-178 , introduced this month, seek to standardize the definition of a "drug-endangered child" for health and social services providers, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. But marijuana advocates said the language of the bills has them deeply concerned. "I know there’s a lot of fear out there, but in this case it’s unfounded," state Sen. Linda Newell (D), cosponsor of the bills with Sen. Andy Kerr (D), told The Huffington Post. "We’re not targeting anybody." Newell said the bills have been in development for nearly 10 years -- long before Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and a few years after medical marijuana was legalized in 2000. "I am chair of the mental health caucus and the children’s caucus and my biggest push the last couple of years has been suicide prevention, because Colorado is one ...
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HUFFPOST HILL - Looks Like John Cornyn Will Have To Find A New Texas-Themed Bar 9.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Steny Hoyer clarified that he has never smoked pot, so we'll have to find another explanation for that half-grin he's always flashing. Eric Holder wished Louie Gohmert luck with his asparagus, but Steve King's cantaloupes didn't get a shoutout. And corporations, including Koch Industries, are donating to GOP candidates despite reaping millions from Obamacare -- maybe they're frustrated by the reception on their Obamaphones? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, April 8th, 2014: KOCH INDUSTRIES LOVES OBAMACARE - Charles Babington: "Several big corporations have reaped millions of dollars from 'Obamacare' even as they support GOP candidates who vow to repeal the law. This condemn-while-benefiting strategy angers Democrats, who see some of their top congressional candidates struggling against waves of anti-Obamacare ads partly funded by these companies. Among the corporations is a familiar Democratic nemesis, Koch Industries, the giant conglomerate headed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. ...
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Uruguay To Give Medicinal Marijuana To Prisoners 9.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Prisoners in the jails of Uruguay will be able to use marijuana if a doctor says it will benefit their health.

Uruguay's drug czar Julio Calzada told The Associated Press on Tuesday that any inmates with doctors' orders will be prescribed marijuana to their improve physical or mental health. Meanwhile, social development minister Daniel Olesker told a medical marijuana symposium in Montevideo that medicinal pot will be incorporated into the country's public health system, alongside acupuncture and homeopathic remedies.

Calzada says his agency needs two more weeks to complete the regulations for the government's legal marijuana market, which he now expects to issue between April 20 and 25. He says the actual rollout won't be until the end of the year.
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Rocky Mountain High Or Reefer Madness? Legal Pot In Colorado Comes With Risks 7.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
This story was co-published with The Cannabist I walked through clouds of marijuana smoke Friday night to get to the Denver Nuggets basketball game. The sweet smell lingering in the air reminded me less of a family event and more of the time I saw AC/DC on "The Razor's Edge" tour at the old McNichols Sports Arena. I grew up in Colorado, but it's been a while since I lived in the state. When I returned for a recent conference, I found that a place settled by the Gold Rush is now mad about reefer. In 2012, Colorado voters became the first in the nation to approve recreational pot use. The good times rolled out Jan. 1, when stores started selling it. I've never tried pot, but I graduated from the University of Colorado 2014 Boulder, which is famous for its annual "4/20" public pot parties . At CU, you can practically get a contact high walking to class. But I saw more public pot use in my two-day visit to Lower Downtown Denver than in years spent at Boulder. It's supposed to be illegal to smoke or consume ...
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Heroin's Effects Crawl Across America 6.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
In and around Cleveland, heroin-related overdoses killed 195 people last year, shattering the previous record. Some Ohio police chiefs say heroin is easier for kids to get than beer. In Missouri, admissions to treatment programs for heroin addiction rose 700 percent in the past two decades. In Massachusetts, state police say at least 185 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in the state since Nov. 1, and the governor has declared a public health emergency. With heroin use rising across the U.S., The Associated Press queried state health departments, medical examiner's offices and law enforcement agencies across the nation for statistics related to use, overdoses and treatment to obtain a more detailed picture of the problem on the ground. While some states reported few changes, others pointed to heroin as a significant public health concern. A look at some state-specific findings: — CALIFORNIA: California has seen an increase in heroin addicts seeking treatment since fiscal year 2006-2007, as ...
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States Revolt Against Controversial New Painkiller Zohydro 4.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
BARRE, Vt. (AP) — State officials fighting a well-publicized battle against heroin and prescription drug abuse are revolting against a powerful new painkiller that law enforcement and public health officials fear could worsen an already acute drug problem. On Thursday, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin announced an emergency order that would make it harder for physicians to prescribe a new class of drugs that includes Zohydro. Many feel the extended-release pill is prone to abuse, because it's not tamper resistant and contains up to five times more of the narcotic hydrocodone than previously available in other pills. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug last fall and it hit the market last month. Shumlin didn't go as far as Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who last week ordered an outright ban on prescribing and dispensing Zohydro until it is marketed in a form that is difficult to abuse. But Shumlin and Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen both questioned the FDA approval. "It's not like ...
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Alcohol Is A Bigger Danger To Health And Society Than Marijuana, Americans Say 4.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
By a wide margin, Americans believe that alcohol is more dangerous to a person's health and to society in general than marijuana, according to a Pew study released Wednesday. When asked whether marijuana or alcohol would be more harmful to personal health, if marijuana were as widely available as alcohol, 69 percent of Americans said alcohol is more dangerous, while only 15 percent said that marijuana is more dangerous. Fourteen percent said both or neither are more dangerous. Respondents showed more trepidation when asked to consider marijuana's potential effects on society as a whole, but a strong majority still believed that alcohol is the more harmful substance. Sixty-three percent of those polled said alcohol is more dangerous, with 23 percent saying marijuana is more dangerous and 11 percent responding that both or neither are more harmful. Here's a look at the data breakdown from Pew: From heart disease to liver disease to elevated cancer risks , excessive alcohol consumption can indeed be ...
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If Politicians Really Want To Save Money, These Initiatives Actually Cost Less Than Doing Nothing 3.4.2014 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
For many lawmakers, particularly in today's austerity-obsessed political environment, the only way to save a dollar is to not spend that dollar. But if politicians really want to reduce government spending, there are more than a few areas where funding today can save millions of taxpayer dollars tomorrow. Besides being sensible policy initiatives, the following investments can also cost us less overall than doing nothing. 1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have found that investing in policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would ultimately save more in externalized health and environmental costs than the price associated with actually implementing the regulations. A November report by the Office of Management and Budget estimated that every ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere costs the U.S. government $37 in diminished agricultural productivity, damage caused by rising sea levels and poor human health conditions related to climate change. Others argue that $37 per ton is ...
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Navigating Medical Marijuana in the Mainstream: Advocates Return to D.C. This Weekend 2.4.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Plotting a course forward for state and federal policy on medical cannabis is the agenda for patients, parents, medical professionals and other stakeholders gathering in Washington, D.C., this weekend at Americans for Safe Access’ second annual National Unity Conference . Legal access to medical cannabis has been supported by the American public for decades, and it is the law in 20 states and the District of Columbia, but this issue can be complex, and successfully navigating it requires a clear understanding of where we’ve been, what we know, and where we want to go.   The facts about medical cannabis are frequently counterintuitive. On the medical side, cannabis stimulates appetite (so much that everyone knows the slang name for the effect), but those who use it are on average thinner and have less of a chance of getting diabetes… because it helps regulate insulin . The smoke contains tars similar to tobacco, but there is no link to lung cancer among even the heaviest users… because it has a protective ...
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Parents Argue Medical Marijuana Helps These Kids Avoid A 'Death Sentence' 27.3.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Parents Argue Medical Marijuana Helps These Kids Avoid A 'Death Sentence'
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