drugs

Marijuana legalization outperforms Senate winners in Michigan, Missouri

Measures legalizing marijuana in Michigan and Missouri garnered more votes during Tuesday’s midterms than Senate candidates elected in either state. Michigan voted to legalize recreational marijuana by casting over 2.34 million ballots Tuesday in favor of a measure, Proposal 1, that will allow adults to possess, buy and grow limited amounts of the plant for personal use, as well as pave the way for the state to implement a system for regulating and taxing retail sales. The measure, which makes Michigan the tenth state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, received more votes than the Democratic winners of the state’s Senate race, incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and the state’s attorney general race, Dana Nessel, as first reported Thursday by Marijuana Moment, a cannabis news site. Ms. Stabenow and Ms. Nessel received roughly 2.2 million and 2 million votes, respectively. A measure legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri, meanwhile, Amendment 2, was passed by a margin of 65.5 to 34.5 upon approved by over 1.5 million votes. Similarly the measure outperformed both the winner of the state’s Senate race, Republican candidate Josh Hawley, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. They received over 1.2 million and 1.1 million votes, respectively. Utah voted to legalize medical marijuana as well Tuesday, but the measure, Proposition 2, received roughly 70,000 votes less than the winner of the state’s Senate race, Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Marijuana Moment noted. A fourth state to consider marijuana legalization Tuesday, North Dakota, ultimately rejected the effort by a margin of roughly 60-40. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, though 33 states and D.C. have passed legislation permitting the plant for either medicinal or recreational purposes as of Tuesday’s elections. In the nation’s capital, meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that the District will mount efforts to legalize recreational marijuana sales starting early next year. Both medical and recreational marijuana have been legal in D.C. for years, but previous efforts to establish a system for licensed and regulated sales have been halted by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats are poised to take control of the House as a result of Tuesday’s races, however, giving D.C. its best odds ever of joining the seven states that have previously passed laws permitting retail sales: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Trump signs sweeping opioids bill, says effort will make ‘big dent’ in deadly crisis

President Trump signed a mammoth opioids bill Wednesday designed to expand treatment options, fund nonaddictive painkillers and stop the flow of deadly synthetic drugs from abroad, calling it a critical piece of ongoing efforts to put a “big dent” in the crisis. The president offered handshakes all around after signing the bill in the ornate East Room of the White House, handing his pen to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, who steered the effort on his side of the Capitol. A bipartisan effort, the bill cleared both chambers by wide margins and offered a respite from partisan bickering over the Supreme Court and midterm contests. It also came hours after authorities intercepted mailed pipe bombs targeting CNN and past and present Democratic leaders. Mr. Trump told addiction survivors, law enforcement and other guests the bill capped “historic” efforts he’s taken in the last year to rein in the drug overdose epidemic, which killed a record 70,000 people in 2017. He cited indictments of Chinese nationals suspected of trafficking fentanyl, the launch of a Just Say No-style campaign against opioid use and a crackdown on doctors who wrote fraudulent prescriptions for opioids. And officials from a series of private companies, from Amazon to Facebook, shook hands with Mr. Trump while a narrator listed their efforts to combat addiction. “You won’t see the results immediately, but you’ll see the results in the future, and the very quick future,” Mr. Trump said. Dozens of lawmakers from both parties contributed to the legislative effort, which lifts cap on Medicaid funding for drug treatment, extends help to addicted mothers and empowers package inspectors to root out deadly fentanyl from China. Yet only one Democrat — Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire — was on hand for the signing, which comes less than two weeks before Election Day. A key part of the bill, the STOP Act, forces the U.S. Postal Service to collect advanced electronic data on packages entering the U.S. Private couriers such as UPS and FedEx already procure advanced data, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses to target suspicious packages that might contain fentanyl from clandestine labs in China and elsewhere. All packages from China, and 70 percent of the overall flow, must have the information available by the end of this year, and 100 percent global compliance is due by 2021. “This should cut down, almost immediately, the suspicious packages coming in from places like Mexico and China that contain illicit opioids like fentanyl,” White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said. Officials say fentanyl has become the number-one killer in the drug-overdose crisis.

Trump declares opioids from Mexico, China ‘almost a form of warfare,’ tells Sessions to sue drug makers

Calling opioids coming into the U.S. from China and Mexico “almost a form of warfare,” President Trump on Thursday urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate foreign sources of fentanyl that he said are “killing our people.” Speaking during a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump also took the unusual step of urging Sessions to file a “major” new lawsuit against opioid suppliers and manufacturers, rather than join existing lawsuits filed by states affected by the spread of the highly addictive, deadly drugs. “It’s almost a form of warfare,” Trump said, referring to the drugs he called “garbage” that are flowing into the country. “I’d be very firm on that. It’s a disgrace and we can stop it.” Trump added: “I’d also like to ask you to bring a major lawsuit against the drug companies on opiods. Some states have done it, but I’d like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opiods at a level that — it really shouldn’t be happening. … People go into a hospital with a broken arm, they come out, they’re a drug addict.” More than 1,000 lawsuits by more than a dozen states have already been filed nationwide against distributors and manufacturers in recent months amid the opioid epidemic. Earlier this week, New York sued the maker of the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin, saying Purdue Pharma has misled both patients and doctors about the dangers of their drug. In June, Massachusetts also sued Purdue and its executives, accusing the company of fueling the deadly drug abuse crisis by spinning a “web of illegal deceit” to boost profits. The lawsuit, which the state’s attorney general said was the first to call out the names of company executives in connection with opioid deaths, came as Purdue was already defending against lawsuits from several other states and local governments. Other companies involved in litigation with states include manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceuticals, as well as distributors. The suits generally involve claims that the drug makers have improperly downplayed the addictive qualities of their drugs, and that distributors have negligently handled their shipments. Sessions said he would comply with the president’s requests. “We absolutely will,” Sessions said Thursday. “We are returning indictments now against distributors from China; we’ve identified certain companies that are moving drugs from China, fentanyl in particular. We have confronted China about it … Most of it is going to Mexico and then crossing the border, unlawfully, from Mexico.” There were no signs of tension in the room, even though the attorney general has been a target of Trump’s ire in recent days.

Glad to hear..  Whatever people may think, or say, about AG Jeff Sessions, he has been a very loyal soldier in Trumps army.  For more on this article, click on the text above.

Nearly $900G in drug cash seized on plane bound for Mexico; two 19-year-olds held, authorities say

Two 19-year-old men were arrested Tuesday, accused of smuggling nearly $900,000 in suspected drug-related cash, authorities said. The suspects, identified as Joan Pablo Hoyos Avila and Rafael Gabriel Martinez Leal, each face a bulk-cash smuggling charge, for which they could get five years in prison if convicted, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Hoyos was identified as a business student at the University of the Incarnate Word, a private Catholic university in San Antonio. Acting on a tip, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents halted a private plane at San Antonio International Airport that was preparing to depart for Monterrey, Mexico, according to the newspaper. Authorities found the cash bundled inside sealed boxes aboard the plane, after asking the craft’s five occupants – including the pilot – if they had any valuables to declare, the report said. Martinez accepted full responsibility for the cash smuggling operation, according to an affidavit, while Hoyos told authorities that he had accepted cash from several individuals and stored it in his garage until Martinez was able to pick it up.

NC Police Find $90 Million in Meth Hidden in Truck Driven by Alleged Illegal Alien

Officials in Linden, North Carolina, discovered 120 gallons of liquid methamphetamine hidden inside the fuel tank of a semi truck being driven by an alleged illegal alien, reports say. Harnett County Sheriff’s officers pulled the truck over on May 19 and discovered the large amount of the liquefied drug. According to WRAL, the liquid was destined to be turned into 454 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and would have had a street value of $90.8 million. The seizure was part of a wider investigation into the trafficking of meth in the area. The truck was crewed by Raul Topete Arreola, 49, and Aquileo Perez Pineda, 48. Pineda was quickly put on an immigration hold while immigration officials looked into Arreola’s immigration status. The pair were charged with three counts each of trafficking methamphetamine and placed under a three million dollar bond.

More parents smoking pot around kids, study finds

A growing number of American parents are using marijuana when they still have children living at home, according to a new study that suggests cannabis may be complicating efforts to limit kids’ exposure to second-hand smoke. Researchers examined data collected from 169,259 U.S. adults from 2002 to 2015. During that time, the proportion of parents with children at home who said they used cannabis at least once in the past month rose from 4.9 percent to 6.8 percent. Over that same period, the proportion of parents with kids at home who smoked cigarettes declined from 27.6 percent to 20.2 percent, the study also found. “While cigarette smoking continues to decline among parents with children living at home, use of cannabis is increasing among parents and this may as a result lead to an increase in children’s exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke,” said lead study author Renee Goodwin of the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at the City University of New York. The increase in cannabis use appeared to be “disproportionately common among cigarette smoking parents,” Goodwin said by email. “Therefore we may be seeing an increase in exposure to multiple types of smoke/increased amount of smoke in a growing percentage of households with this increase in cannabis use.” With some forms of marijuana now legal in about 30 U.S. states, concern is mounting in the medical community that many people may falsely assume the drug is harmless and fail to recognize the potential harms to children who breathe second-hand smoke. “Exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with an increased risk of asthma and many other health risks for children,” Goodwin said. “There have been tremendous public health campaigns aimed at decreasing cigarette use overall and at reducing children’s exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, but no clinical or public health effort has been made to educate or inform the public about risks of secondhand cannabis smoke.” Cannabis use was almost four times more common among parents who also smoked cigarettes than among non-smokers, the current study found. Among smokers, the proportion of parents who reported using cannabis in the past month increased from 11 percent to 17.4 percent during the study period, researchers report in Pediatrics. For non-smokers, the proportion of parents who used cannabis in the past month also rose, from 2.4 percent to 4 percent. Daily cannabis use also climbed during the study period, and was more common among cigarette smokers. At the same time, the proportion of parents who said they avoided both cigarettes and cannabis also increased. The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how cigarette smoking might influence cannabis use. Another drawback is that researchers relied on parents to accurately recall and report any tobacco or cannabis use. Even so, the findings underscore how legalization of cannabis in many U.S. states may reflect and reinforce more permissive attitudes about marijuana use, said Ashley Brooks-Russell, author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “Cannabis legalization has increased the accessibility of cannabis for adults and removed many penalties for use,” Brooks-Russell said by email. “It is possible these laws also convey a sense the product is safe, or at least safer than it once was perceived.” When parents with young kids at home do choose to use cannabis, they should take precautions to do it when children aren’t around, Brooks-Russell advised. “If parents use cannabis, not only are they potentially modeling that behavior but they are likely making cannabis products more accessible in the home which could lead to either unintentional ingestion (e.g., poisonings) among younger children, or intentional experimentation and use among older children,” Brooks-Russell said.

Agreed..

Fake weed in Illinois leaves 2 dead, dozens with ‘severe bleeding’

Emergency rooms in Illinois are noticing a spike in synthetic pot users suffering from “severe bleeding,” and state health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) issued a statement on last week announcing that at least six people in northeastern Illinois had been hospitalized after using the man-made substance — also known as “fake weed,” “K2” or “spice.” On Monday, the number of cases climbed to 56, including two deaths, the health department reported. “All cases have required hospitalization for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums,” the IDPH said. “Nine of these cases have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as a rodenticide, or rat poison.” There are now cases in at least nine Chicago-area communities including Cook County, Dupage County, Kane County, Kankakee County, McLean County, Peoria County, Tazewell County and Will County. But officials believe that number will grow, as it’s possible contaminated products have been sold across the state. “Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are safe and a legal alternative to marijuana, many are illegal and can cause severe illness,” IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement last week. “The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause.” Synthetic pot is made up of hundreds of different chemicals — and their effect on the human body is unpredictable. “These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they act on the same brain cell receptors as the main active ingredient in marijuana,” IDPH explained, warning that the drug’s impact can be life-threatening. “Synthetic cannabinoid products are unsafe. It is difficult to know what’s in them or what your reaction to them will be.” Users have reported a wide range of symptoms, from bleeding gums and bloody noses to blood in the urine. Women who are menstruating have also experienced a higher than average flow. Bleeding from the eyes and ears is also possible after use, IDPH said. The bleeding that doctors have seen in recent days has been severe. “This bleeding is not expected, at least in such a significant population so quickly,” Dr. Melissa Millewich, an emergency room physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, told the Chicago Tribune. Health officials urge those who have purchased synthetic cannabinoid products within the past month — whether it was from a convenience store or a dealer — to not use the product. IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold told the Chicago newspaper that the product is banned for sale across the state, but some manufacturers alter the “molecular makeup of the products” to “get around” the law. Anyone who starts experiencing symptoms, including severe bleeding or bruising, should be taken to the hospital immediately, the IDPH said.

Or.. How about just not trying/using this so-called “fake weed” to begin with?  Just sayin’…