"Residents of two states voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, but despite an increase in public support for liberalizing drug policy, American police arrested about the same number of people last year
on pot-related charges as in 2011." [US News and World Report] — Xeni
I snapped this photo of a popular medical marijuana dispensary storefront in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles last week. To me, it represents everything bone-headed about the way LA area pot shops (which operate in a legal gray zone in a conflicting patchwork of federal, state, and local laws) market themselves.
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Federal data to be released this week through the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th year in a row. Most were accidents involving prescription painkillers: specifically, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin which are commonly prescribed for pain management, and are widely abused. Those two drugs contributed to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths, according to the report.
Not one single death in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data set was due to overdosing on marijuana.
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Daily Beast contributor David Frum thinks legalizing weed is a bad thing
: "marijuana smoking is a sign of trouble, a warning to heed, a behavior to regret and deplore," and that "young Americans deserve better than to be led to a future shrouded in a drug-induced haze." (thanks, @milesobrien) — Xeni
"They skulked in and out like criminals, shoulders hunched, heads down, declining to comment." —a NYT profile on the Garden State's first pot dispensary
. Hey, in the patrons' defense, it may be because they spooted Snookie or The Situation inside or something. — Xeni
Tom Dickinson in Rolling Stone
about the growing conflict between what voters in more and more states want (legalizing pot) and what the federal government wants (shutting down dispensaries with guns and SWAT teams of DEA agents). "While the administration has yet to issue a definitive response to the two new laws, the Justice Department was quick to signal that it has no plans to heed the will of voters. 'Enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act,' the department announced in November, 'remains unchanged." — Xeni
Medbox (MDBX), a firm that makes medical marijuana dispensing machines, says its stock "is getting way too high." Shares spiked 3,000% this week (from about $4 Monday to $215 Thursday), "prompting executives to try and dampen investor enthusiasm." The surge was caused by a MarketWatch story about how to invest in legalized marijuana.
Marijuana is currently classified in the US as a Schedule I controlled substance: no medically accepted use, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Ira Flatow's syndicated public radio program Science Friday has a segment out about next week's planned arguments to a federal appeals court by pro-pot advocacy org Americans for Safe Access, in hopes of relaxing federal restrictions.
The radio segment includes UCSF oncologist Donald Abrams, who speaks about the evidence on the medical benefits of pot.
Disclosure: I'm a cancer patient, I use pot for medical purposes, and I'm strongly in favor of legalization and easier access for seriously ill people (and honestly, who cares, everyone else too).
The NYT reports on a lawsuit filed by the City of Oakland in federal court to prevent the Department of Justice from seizing property leased to Harborside Health Center. Previous posts on Boing Boing about the facility here and here.
RT Pritchett's Ye Smokiana, from 1890, appears to a very informative "historical" and "ethnographical" study of smoking. It's illustrated with beautiful color drawings smoking implements from around the world, more specifically "pipes of all nations." Ye Smokiana is now on the auction block at eBay. Ye Smokiana (Thanks, Randall de Rijk!)
In the Los Angeles Times, a really great feature
about how the Obama administration's assault on medical marijuana dispensaries threatens one father's search for cannabidiol, which has helped reduce the severity and frequency of his 6-year-old son's seizures from Dravet syndrome
. — Xeni
David Allan Thompson, 27, was arrested for ripping off a bag of marijuana seized as evidence from the Charleroi Regional police department, in Pennsylvania. Mr. Thompson had gone to the police station on his own volition, according to reports, to "help out" cops. "Police said that back at the station, Thompson apologized repeatedly, telling police, 'I just couldn’t help myself. That bud smelled so good.' He also reportedly told police he couldn’t believe he was in trouble for 'taking a little bit of weed,' especially since he had stopped by to give them information." (MSNBC)
Michael Scherer writes
about President Obama's medical-marijuana policy and the increasing federal intervention on medical marijuana on TIME.com. For the online piece and a related magazine feature
, Scherer spoke with "nearly a dozen people" in the medical marijuana industry, three U.S. Attorneys, White House officials and local officials who oppose the federal crackdown.
Despite Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign, federal prosecutors have lost faith in the ability of state and local officials to control a booming commercial industry for a drug that is still illegal to grow, possess or sell under federal law. As a result, a once broad exemption from prosecution for medical marijuana providers in state where it’s legal has been narrowed to a tiny one.
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