heroin

New Jersey: Gov. Christie Calls Marijuana Legalization 'Beyond Stupidity'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the push for cannabis legalization “beyond stupidity,” adding that it’s “not time for use to be cool and say, ‘Pot’s OK,’” during a forum on substance abuse hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association, NJ.com reports.

“We are in the midst of the public health crisis on opiates,” Christie said during his remarks. “But people are saying pot’s OK. This is nothing more than crazy liberals who want to say everything’s OK. Baloney.”

Christie rallied against pro-legalization politicians, including Democrat Phil Murphy who is the favorite in this year’s gubernatorial campaign in the state.

“People like [Rep.] Nick Scutari and [Senate President] Steve Sweeney and Phil Murphy want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway,” Christie said in the report. “Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose.”

Democrat Scutari is the main sponsor of legalization legislation expected to be introduced in the legislature next year. Sweeney has indicated he would support the bill.

U.S.: DHS Chief Kelly Reverses Marijuana Comments

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly reversed comments he recently made on marijuana Tuesday in his first major speech since being sworn in.

Just two days before, in an interview on "Meet the Press", Kelly said that marijuana is not “a factor in the drug war.”

“Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” Kelly told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s Sunday show, saying that meth, heroin and cocaine are the three main drugs that have played a role in the U.S. drug crisis that killed more than 52,000 people in 2015.

But during his speech Tuesday, Kelly vowed that Department of Homeland Security staff would continue to investigate and arrest those involved in illegal trade of the drug and called marijuana “a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.”

"... Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books," he added.

"DHS personnel will continue to investigate marijuana’s illegal pathways along the network into the U.S., its distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law. [Customs and Border Protection] will continue to search for marijuana at sea, air and land ports of entry and when found take similar appropriate action.

U.S.: John Kelly Says Marijuana 'Not A Factor' In Drug War

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is "not a factor" in the war on drugs. He added that solving the nation's drug problem does not involve "arresting a lot of users."

Kelly appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" and discussed his work to stop the flow of drugs into the United States from Central America and Mexico. Host Chuck Todd asked whether legalizing marijuana would help or hurt his work.

"Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war," Kelly responded, adding later: "It's three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south." He said that in 2015 those three drugs, plus opiates, were responsible for the deaths of 52,000 people in the United States and cost the country $250 billion.

Kelly said the solution is to lower demand in the United States.

"The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation. And then law enforcement. And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south."

U.S.: New Federal Bill Would Reschedule Marijuana As Schedule III

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new bill introduced to Congress would reschedule marijuana as a Schedule III substance, a classification it would share with Tylenol and codeine.

Two Florida congressmen, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, introduced legislation Thursday that would transfer marijuana from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications, to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

In an interview with The Cannabist, Gaets said that having marijuana on a lower rung would uphold the rights of states that have legalized the medical use of cannabis, allow for banking activities and create a clearer path for research,

“I have supported cannabis reform as a state legislator, and I want to see the people that I fought for in my state have access to a legal, high-quality product that’s been well-researched,” Gaetz said.

If it passes, the yet-to-be-named House Bill 2020 would not affect recreational cannabis businesses in operation.

U.S.: Jeff Sessions Makes New Controversial Statements About Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to make statements that upset marijuana advocates and business investors, but it is remarks he recently didn't say that has mostly interested journalists covering the marijuana industry.

In prepared remarks, Sessions had planned to repeat a line he had used earlier when addressing a group in Virginia, saying that marijuana was only "slightly less awful" than heroin. He chose not to repeat the line, however.

He did question the current situation when it comes to abiding by the Cole memo, as the Obama administration had done.

“The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states, and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” Sessions replied to a question as to whether his Department of Justice (DOJ) would sue states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

“I may have some different ideas myself in addition to that,” Sessions said, “but essentially, we’re not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades.”

According to Marijuana Business Daily, there are two main points to take away from Sessions' remarks for marijuana businesses.

U.S.: DEA Ignores Science, Refuses To Reshedule Marijuana

The DEA announced there will be no rescheduling of marijuana; it's still Schedule I.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp news

The Drug Enforcement Administration's much-anticipated decision on rescheduling marijuana came a bit early, late on Wednesday instead of Thursday as promised. Perhaps they were eager to reveal their plan -- to change nothing.

In spite of the fact that half of our 50 states in the U.S now recognize medical marijuana as a useful, beneficial substance for multitudes of people, the DEA will not reschedule the plant.

Contrary to the clear wishes of a majority of American citizens, as many recent polls have shown, the DEA will not reschedule this plant.

In total disregard of the recommendations and advice of scientists, doctors, and researchers, the DEA is not rescheduling marijuana.

It remains a Schedule I drug in the eyes of the federal government, a drug with no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD. Cocaine, methamphetamines, and opioids are classified Schedule II because they have some accepted use in medication.

"This decision isn't based on danger," DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg told NPR. "This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it's not."

Clearly it's a decision not based on science or the wishes of the American public.

Pennsylvania: Dems Become First Major Party To Back A Path To Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Democratic Party made history in Philadelphia Monday by voting to approve a national platform endorsing a "pathway" for marijuana legalization.

The platform calls for removing marijuana from the federal government's list of Schedule 1 drugs. That list includes LSD and heroin; Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous with a high potential for abuse and no medical purpose.

“The fact that one of the country’s two major parties has officially endorsed a pathway to legalization is the clearest sign we’ve seen yet that marijuana reform is a mainstream issue at the forefront of American politics,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a pro-legalization group.

“A clear and growing majority of voters want to end prohibition.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton does not back full legalization at the federal level. She has often said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states, allowing them to be “laboratories of democracy.”

Legal marijuana could see a huge expansion this year.

Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on marijuana legalization in November, and voters in Florida and Arkansas will have the opportunity to vote for medical marijuana.

Wisconsin: Bernie Sanders Says Marijuana Should Not Be A Federal Crime

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Campaigning for President in liberal Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) defended marijuana, saying it should not be a federal crime.

Sanders criticized the American War On Drugs, saying that millions of lives have been "ruined" because they got a police record, and sometimes prison sentences, for possessing marijuana, reports Tom Kertscher at Politifact.

"Today, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed in the same Schedule I as heroin," Sanders said. "That is nuts."

"Now people can argue -- although I suspect in this audience, there may not be much of an argument -- about the pluses and minuses of marijuana," Sanders said, drawing cheers from the crowd of thousands at the Alliant Energy Center. "But everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin."

Sanders then pointed out he's introduced legislation which would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act -- as in DEscheduling cannabis, not REscheduling it. (Merely moving marijuana to Schedule II would effectively hand over its control to Big Pharma.)

Maine: State Could Be The First To OK Medical Marijuana To Treat Addiction

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maine could become the first state to add addiction to its list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

A Public hearing was held on Tuesday where nearly 30 medical marijuana caregivers and patients told state regulators that marijuana eases the symptoms of opiod withdrawal and that it is a healthier alternative to prescription painkillers the can be addictive.

Joseph Legendre, 50, of Mount Vernon, fought back tears as he spoke about the pain he endured after hurting his back 26 years ago at a construction site and how marijuana finally eased that pain.

Britney Lashier, 23, of Saco, said smoking marijuana helped her break a heroin addiction she picked up in Morocco while studying in college.

"Marijuana saved my life for sure," she said.

Some other states with fewer restrictions on medical marijuana, such as California and Massachusetts. have seen instances where it has been prescribed for opiod addiction. But, according to the Maine Medical Association, Maine would be the first to specifically add opiate addiction as a qualifying condition.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Serves held the hearing in response to a petition from a caregiver. The department now has 180 days to respond.

U.S.: New DEA Leader Admits Marijuana 'Probably' Not As Bad As Heroin

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Head of the Drug Enforcement Administration Says 'I'm Not An Expert'

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's progress -- of a sort.

The new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration admitted on Tuesday that heroin "probably" is more dangerous than marijuana, an admission his predecessor, the embattled Michele Leonhart, would not make, reports Steven Nelson at U.S. News.

Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said federal DEA agents aren't prioritizing marijuana enforcement, but he's not ordered them off it.

"If you want me to say that marijuana's not dangerous, I'm not going to say that because I think it is," Rosenberg claimed. "Do I think it's as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I'm not an expert."

"Let me say it this way," he added. "I'd rather be in a car accident going 30 miles an hour than 60 miles an hour, but I'd prefer not to be in an accident at all."

Rosenberg's predecessor, Leonhart, claimed comparisons of marijuana to crack cocaine or heroin would be "subjective" and claimed cannabis is an "insidious" drug.

"This is not a matter of opinion," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "It's far less harmful than heroin and it's encouraging that the DEA is finally willing to recognize that."

California: Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested For Heroin, Oxycodone, Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The deputy police chief of Fresno, California, was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple conspiracies to distribute heroin, oxycodone and marijuana, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Keith Foster, 51, was arrested along with three other Fresno residents, according to a statement from the FBI, reports Eric M. Johnson at Reuters.

Foster had always appeared just behind the police chief at press conferences.

"It is important that we do everything we can to maintain and enhance the trust that our citizens have in us," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a "he must be kidding" kind of statement at a news conference after Deputy Chief Foster's arrest. "When things of this nature happen, it does serve to erode that trust," the Chief admitted.

"This is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, and the law enforcement profession," Chief Dyer said, report Rick Montanez, Corin Hoggard and Sontaya Rose at ABC 30.

Dyer claimed he was "just made aware" of the case" after Foster was arrested n Thursday. Federal investigators were authorized to use wiretaps on telephones.

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