Drug War Chronicle #1093 - April 15, 2020

1. Girl Who Inspired CBD Movement Dies of Complications from Suspected Coronavirus Illness

The girl who became the poster child for CBD has died of complications from suspected coronavirus illness.

2. Action Alert: You Can Legalize Psychedelic Therapy in Oregon This Year

Oregon's IP 34 will legalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms in psychotherapy. But the campaign needs your help.

3. Medical Marijuana Update

The DEA no longer considers Epidiolex a controlled substance, the girl who was the poster child for CBD has died of suspected coronavirus complications, and more.

4. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

In this time of shut downs and social distancing crime is way down. That includes drug-related corrupt police activity. But one California badge-tarnisher found an innovative way to get in trouble.

5. Idaho MedMj Campaign Suspends, House Moves to Quash Vaping, More... (4/3/20)

A group of US senators is seeking to include marijuana businesses in an emergency loan program, Idaho activists suspend signature gathering for their medical marijuana initiative campaign, a leading member of the House Oversight Committee seeks to ban the distribution of e-cigs, and more.

6. Mexico's Drug Wars Set Bloody Record, ND Legalization Init Suspends Campaign, More... (4/6/20)

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a deleterious impact on state-level efforts to get marijuana legalization on the November ballot, Mexico's prohibition-related violence sees a record number of deaths, and more.

7. Vaping Illness More Rare in Legalization States, DEA Adjusts Drug Quotas for COVID-19 Care, More... (4/7/20)

The DEA takes positive steps on a couple of fronts, and more.

8. Charlotte's Web Girl Dies of Possible COVID Complications, Mexican Cartels Provide Food in Pandemic, More... (4/8/20)

The young girl behind Charlotte's Web and the CBD movement has died of complications from suspected COVID-19, Mexican drug cartels are handing out food to the poor in the midst of the pandemic, and more.

9. AMA Releases Recommendations for Opioid Use Disorder, Pain During COVID-19, More... (4/9/20)

The AMA makes some progressive recommendations on dealing with opioid use disorder and pain in the time of pandemic, Massachusetts recreational pot retailers sue to become "essential" businesses, and more.

10. Virginia Decriminalizes MJ Possession, Some Indiana Cops Won't Administer Naloxone, More... (4/13/20)

Virginia decriminalizes marijuana possession, Maine again delays sales of it, and more.

11. Ohio Okays Curbside Medical Marijuana Pickup, DEA Seized More Plants But Did Fewer Busts Last Year, More... (4/14/20)

The DEA continued with its futile pursuit of marijuana eradication last year, a former Amazon worker wins a victory in a court battle over being fired for medical marijuana use, and more.

1. Girl Who Inspired CBD Movement Dies of Complications from Suspected Coronavirus Illness

Colorado girl Charlotte Figi, whose struggle with a severe form of epilepsy inspired a whole movement around the use of CBD and changed attitudes toward medical marijuana, has died at the age of 13. Although she did not test positive for COVID-19, she had been hospitalized for symptoms consistent with the viral infection which her entire family had. She died of complications after her bout of illness.

Charlotte Figi. Rest in Peace. (Facebook)
Figi's passing was announced last Tuesday on the Facebook page of her mother, Paige Figi: "Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love," read the message posted by a family friend.

In recent weeks, Paige Figi's Facebook page saw posts detailing an illness that hit the whole family with the all-too-familiar symptoms of fever, coughs, and difficulty breathing. Charlotte was hit particularly hard and had to be hospitalized.

On her Facebook page, Paige Figi wrote that although Charlotte tested negative for the virus, she had been treated on a COVID-19 ward "using all the medical protocols put in place" and was treated as "a likely COVID-19 case."

She was released from the hospital last Sunday but suffered seizures two days later and was readmitted to the hospital. She died the same day.

Charlotte had suffered from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, and suffered hundreds of seizures, both large and small, every day. Standard pharmaceutical treatments didn't help, and as her condition deteriorated her parents looked for alternatives.

They heard about cannabis oil and with the help of Colorado Springs dispensary owner Joel Stanley and his brothers, who had developed a CBD-rich strain of marijuana, they were able to effectively treat Charlotte. Her seizures dramatically reduced, and her condition improved markedly.

The Stanley brothers named their product Charlotte's Web in a nod to the spirited little girl.

Her success story helped change the world when CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta grew entranced by the girl's progress and made her story a key part of a 2013 documentary in which he notably changed position and endorsed medical marijuana.

Clips of a happy, healthy, playful Charlotte, her seizures suppressed by CBD, inspired hundreds of families enduring similar medical issues with their children in marijuana prohibition states to move to Colorado to get access to CBD. With Charlotte as the smiling face of CBD, the embrace of the drug swept the country. For many states including much of the south, it was their first step toward medical marijuana. Today 47 states have laws that allow for CBD products.

Charlotte is gone, but her legacy lives on.

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2. Action Alert: You Can Legalize Psychedelic Therapy in Oregon This Year

In this time of crisis and disruption, advocates of all kinds are figuring out how best to continue their missions. Many good efforts have been postponed – this issue of Drug War Chronicle notes two state initiative campaigns forced to wait for another year.

That's not the case with Oregon's IP 34, which will legalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms in psychotherapy for people who urgently need it. Research at top universities like UCLA and Johns Hopkins shows that psilocybin therapy can help people suffering from depression, anxiety and trauma, enabling people to process traumatic experiences and break destructive patterns. IP 34 was developed with the help of mental health experts. It will provide access to this therapy to adults who can safely benefit.

IP 34 is also part of the next stage of drug policy reform, which seeks to broaden decriminalization, medical use and personal use efforts to include more drugs than marijuana. The prospect that psychedelic reform could advance in November is a light glimmering right now, in a time that's mostly dark.

You can make this happen. The campaign has gathered more than 128,000 signatures, but it needs 17,000 more by July 2nd. Fortunately, Oregon law allows for online petitioning. If you're an Oregon voter, you can sign it online. If you live or at least know people who live in Oregon, you can join the volunteer team.

If you're an Oregon voter, download a copy of the petition to sign and mail in. The campaign can also send a volunteer to pick it up. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions the campaign provides on how to correctly sign and print it.

Whether you vote or live in Oregon, you can help get the petition to people who do. Fill out the campaign's volunteer form to let them know you want to help, and in the meanwhile post and circulate this announcement and the campaign's web site.

I hope you will join us in helping this important effort. You can learn more about the promise held by psychedelic psychotherapy from an informative post by David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

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3. Medical Marijuana Update

The DEA no longer considers Epidiolex a controlled substance, the girl who was the poster child for CBD has died of suspected coronavirus complications, and more.

National

DEA Relaxes Rules for Only Federally Approved Drug Derived from Marijuana. The DEA on April 6 notified GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Epidiolex, which is derived from CBD, that it no longer considers the drug a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The change is effective immediately. Epidiolex remains a prescription medication, but now, doctors who prescribe it do not have to be in the DEA's drug monitoring program.

Colorado

Charlotte Figi, Colorado Girl Who Inspired CBD Movement, Dies of Possible Coronavirus Complications at Age 13. Charlotte Figi, the namesake for Charlotte's Web CBD products, died last week of complications from suspected coronavirus, her family has reported. Figi suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy, which left her suffering from hundreds of small and large seizures a day. Pharmaceutical treatments proved ineffective, and her parents then turned to CBD products, which reduced her seizures dramatically and allowed her to be weaned off anti-epileptic medications. "Charlotte is no longer suffering," reads a post on the family's Facebook page. "She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love."

Idaho

Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Suspended Because of Coronavirus Pandemic. An effort to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in November is over. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition announced April 2 that it is suspending its signature gathering campaign because of the coronavirus pandemic. It only had until May 1 to turn in signatures, so the suspension marks the effective end to the effort this year.

New Jersey

Worker Fired by Amazon for Medical Marijuana Wins Key Decision in Federal Court. A former Amazon warehouse worker who sued in New Jersey state court after being fired for using medical marijuana has won a preliminary victory. Amazon had responded to the lawsuit by moving to have the case heard in federal court, where the worker had little chance of winning since marijuana remains prohibited under federal law. But late last week, the federal court allowed the worker's request to remand the case back to state Superior Court.

Ohio

Ohio Okays Curbside Pickup for Medical Marijuana Sales. The state has determined that medical marijuana dispensaries are "essential" businesses during the coronavirus crisis and are being allowed to sell their products via curbside pickup. The state Board of Pharmacy approved a temporary guideline to allow the practice last week. While a Cleveland-area dispensary is the first to implement curbside service, all dispensaries in the state have been cleared to do so as well.

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4. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

In this time of shut downs and social distancing crime is way down. That includes drug-related corrupt police activity. But one vindictive California badge-tarnisher found an innovative way to get in trouble. Let's get to it:

A Ventura County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday for ordering a woman he jailed for suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance to take a drug test, then discarding the test when it came back negative, leaving her to sit in jail for several more hours until a second drug test conducted by another deputy also came up negative. Deputy Richard Barrios, 27, is charged with destroying evidence and filing a false crime report. He's book been booked and released until a June 10 court date.

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5. Idaho MedMj Campaign Suspends, House Moves to Quash Vaping, More... (4/3/20)

A group of US senators is seeking to include marijuana businesses in an emergency loan program, Idaho activists suspend signature gathering for their medical marijuana initiative campaign, a leading member of the House Oversight Committee seeks to ban the distribution of e-cigs, and more.

Vaping is again under attack amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Eleven Senators Ask for Marijuana Businesses to Be Included in Federal Loan Program. Eleven US senators have sent a letter to the leadership of the Appropriations Committee asking that they include a provision to allow marijuana businesses access to federal loan services in a pending annual spending bill. Led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), the senators wrote that the committee should "include report language prohibiting the Small Business Administration (SBA) from denying loan applications" to "cannabis firms as part of the fiscal year 2021 spending bill for Financial Services and General Government and Related Agencies." SBA services that marijuana companies should be eligible for include the Loan Guarantee Program, Disaster Assistance Program and Microloan Program, the group said.

Medical Marijuana

Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Suspended Because of Coronavirus Pandemic. An effort to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in November is over. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition announced Thursday that it is suspending its signature gathering campaign because of the coronavirus pandemic. It only had until May 1 to turn in signatures, so the suspension marks the effective end to the effort this year.

Vaping

House Oversight Committee Requests FDA ban on E-Cigarettes. In a letter signed by Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chair Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the House Oversight Committee asked the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday to ban the distribution of e-cigarettes because of their potential impact on the coronavirus pandemic. The virus's main target is the lungs. "The FDA has both the authority and an obligation to start enforcing the law against all e-cigarettes in order to protect the public health. Vaping will add to the stress on our hospitals as more people take up intensive care beds and require ventilators and other critical equipment," Krishnamoorti wrote.

International

Japan Saw Record Number of Pot Busts Last Year. Some 4,321 people were arrested in marijuana cases last year, up by 743 over the previous year. That is the sixth consecutive year of rising marijuana arrests in the insular nation. Involvement by young people was on the rise, police said, with the number of teens jumping more than four times and the number of people in their 20s more than doubling.

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6. Mexico's Drug Wars Set Bloody Record, ND Legalization Init Suspends Campaign, More... (4/6/20)

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a deleterious impact on state-level efforts to get marijuana legalization on the November ballot, Mexico's prohibition-related violence sees a record number of deaths, and more.

Mexico's black market drug trade is generating violence at record levels. (Creative Commons)
Arizona Initiative Campaigns Ask State Supreme Court to Okay Electronic Signature Gathering. Several campaigns to put initiatives on the state's November ballot, including the Smart and Safe Arizona Act marijuana legalization initiative, asked the Supreme Court last Thursday to allow electronic signature gathering because the coronavirus pandemic has made in-person petitioning all but impossible. The campaign has already gathered some 320,000 raw signatures and only needs 237,645 valid voter signatures, but wants the ability to gather more to have a larger cushion.

North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Campaign Falls Victim to COVID-19. The Legalize ND marijuana legalization initiative campaign announced last Thursday that it has suspended its signature gathering efforts because of the coronavirus pandemic. "Due to the virus all of our major avenues for signature collection have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed and going door to door is not safe for both those knocking and those getting knocked," the group said. "Businesses will continue to collect, but we don't want to create another vector for the coronavirus. As a result, at this time if something major doesn't change we will not be able to make the 2020 ballot."

International

Mexico Hit All-Time High in Murders in March. Mexico reported 2,585 homicides -- largely driven by drug prohibition-related violence -- during the month of March, the highest monthly figure since records began in 1997. The surge in killings came as state and federal officials shifted resources into confronting the coronavirus pandemic. "It's business as usual [for drug cartels] with a risk of further escalation, especially if at some point the armed forces are called away for pandemic control," said Falko Ernst, senior Mexico analyst at the International Crisis Group. Violence has been especially intense in the central state of Guanajuato, with cartel gunmen blockading streets, torching businesses, and engaging in shootouts with security forces.

Mexico Cartel Clash in Chihuahua Leaves 19 Dead. The state government of Chihuahua said Saturday that 19 people had been killed in a gun battle between suspected drug cartel hitmen. Local media reported that the clashes were between groups linked to the Juarez Cartel and the rival Sinaloa Cartel. Police found 18 bodies Friday evening at the site of the battle in the municipality of Madera. A wounded man also found at the scene died later of his injuries.

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7. Vaping Illness More Rare in Legalization States, DEA Adjusts Drug Quotas for COVID-19 Care, More... (4/7/20)

The DEA takes positive steps on a couple of fronts, and more.

The DEA did something good this week. (dea.gov)
Medical Marijuana

DEA Relaxes Rules for Only Federally Approved Drug Derived from Marijuana. The DEA on Monday notified GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Epidiolex, which is derived from CBD, that it no longer considers the drug a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The change is effective immediately. Epidiolex remains a prescription medication, but now, doctors who prescribe it do not have to be in the DEA's drug monitoring program.

Vaping

Study Finds Vaping-Related Lung Injury Less Common in Legal Recreational Marijuana States. A new analysis published by JAMA Network Open finds that the severe lung illness linked to vaping is more common in states where consumers don't have access to legal recreational marijuana. The disease, known as e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI), has been most strongly linked to black market marijuana vaping products. "Our results are suggestive that those in recreational marijuana states may be less likely to purchase illegal marijuana products on the black market," said Dr. Alex Hollingsworth, assistant professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and coauthor of the JAMA Network Open study. The study found that legal recreational marijuana states averaged 1.7 EVALI cases per million population, while medical marijuana-only states averaged 8.8 cases per million and prohibition states averaged 8.1 cases per million.

Drug Policy

DEA Takes Steps to Allow Increased Production of Controlled Substances for COVID-19 Care. The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Tuesday that it is increasing Aggregate Production Quotas available to pharmaceutical manufacturers for the production of controlled substance medications that are in high demand due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. DEA will also approve increases in imports of medications necessary for patients on ventilators. The agency increased the quotas by 15% for certain substances needed for the treatment of COVID-19, including fentanyl, morphine, hydromorphone, codeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and certain controlled substance intermediates which are essential to their production. DEA will also increase the APQ for methadone to ensure that opioid treatment programs have sufficient supplies to treat patients suffering from opioid use disorder. In addition, DEA is increasing the authorized amounts of certain schedule III and IV controlled substances that may be imported into the United States, including ketamine, diazepam, midazolam, lorazepam, and phenobarbital, which are also necessary to treat patients on ventilators.

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8. Charlotte's Web Girl Dies of Possible COVID Complications, Mexican Cartels Provide Food in Pandemic, More... (4/8/20)

The young girl whose story named Charlotte's Web and launched the CBD movement has died of complications from suspected COVID-19, Mexican drug cartels are handing out food to the poor in the midst of the pandemic, and more.

Boxes of food for the Mexican poor, provided by drug cartels. "The Gulf Cartel in support of Ciudad Victoria." (Facebook)
Medical Marijuana

Charlotte Figi, Colorado Girl Who Inspired CBD Movement, Dies of Possible Coronavirus Complications at Age 13. Charlotte Figi, the namesake for Charlotte's Web CBD products, has died of complications of suspected coronavirus, her family has reported. Figi suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy, which left her suffering from hundreds of small and large seizures a day. Pharmaceutical treatments proved ineffective, and her parents then turned to CBD products, which reduced her seizures dramatically and allowed her to be weaned off anti-epileptic medications. "Charlotte is no longer suffering," reads a post on the family's Facebook page. "She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love."

Harm Reduction

NIDA Warns on Coronavirus Implications for People with Substance Use Disorders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is warning the research community studying coronavirus to "be alert to the possibility that it could hit some populations with substance use disorders (SUDs) particularly hard. Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape. People with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use disorder may also be vulnerable due to those drugs' effects on respiratory and pulmonary health. Additionally, individuals with a substance use disorder are more likely to experience homelessness or incarceration than those in the general population, and these circumstances pose unique challenges regarding transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. All these possibilities should be a focus of active surveillance as we work to understand this emerging health threat."

International

United Kingdom to Hand Out Methadone Without a Prescription to Those Already Receiving It. As a response to the coronavirus crisis, pharmacists in Great Britain are being allowed to hand out a range of strong medicines, including methadone, without a prescription for the duration. The Home Secretary had asked the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to consider the risks of lifting restrictions on certain drugs, and the council decided to recommend the course of action despite voicing concerns it could lead to an increase in drug abuse. "The measure would rely on the professional judgment of pharmacists, who will be working outside the scope of their usual practice," the council said. "Without adequate support and guidance for the healthcare professionals affected by the proposed legislative change, there is a risk that pharmacists struggling to follow best practices could inadvertently lead to an increase in drug misuse and diversion. This is a particular risk for patient groups requiring opioid pain medicines, e.g. for palliative care or for opioid substitution therapy (OST). Additionally, whilst it will be necessary for the government to publicly announce in an emergency that these measures are to apply, common knowledge of the applicability of this measure may increase the risk of the misuse and diversion of controlled drugs."

Mexican Drug Cartel Gives Out Food to the Poor Amid Pandemic. Members of the Gulf Cartel are delivering boxes of food to poor families in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, and members of Los Viagras are handing out food to poor families in the western state of Michoacan to help them deal with the disruptive consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The drug traffickers have reportedly delivered food to at least 200 families. In Tamaulipas, boxes containing basic foodstuffs such as oil, breakfast cereal, and canned goods appeared with labels saying "Gulf Cartel in support of Ciudad Victoria."

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9. AMA Releases Recommendations for Opioid Use Disorder, Pain During COVID-19, More... (4/9/20)

The AMA makes some progressive recommendations on dealing with opioid use disorder and pain in the time of the pandemic, Massachusetts recreational pot retailers sue to become "essential" businesses, and more.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact drug policy. (CDC)
Marijuana Policy

Massachusetts Recreational Marijuana Retailers Sue Governor to Become Essential During Pandemic. Five in-state recreational marijuana dealers have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Charlie Baker (R) in a bid to get their businesses deemed "essential" and allowed to open during the coronavirus pandemic. Baker had declared them non-essential and ordered them shut down until at least May 4. The stores are seeking an injunction to allow all 43 of the state's recreational retailers to reopen. Baker has argued that because the state is the only one in the region that allows recreational sales, open pot shops would draw customers from other states, undercutting social distancing measures. "Significant numbers of the customers who procure cannabis at recreational marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are not from Massachusetts," he said.

Harm Reduction

AMA Releases Recommendations for Opioid Use Disorder, Pain During COVID-19. The American Medical Association (AMA) has released policy recommendations to help meet the needs of patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) and chronic pain. The recommendations aim to sustain "harm reduction efforts in communities across the United States." First, the AMA called for medications used in the treatment of addiction, as well as treatments for overdoses to be deemed essential services to ensure that patients with OUD continue to have access to care. This designation can improve access to crucial medications that may be difficult to obtain in cities with formal shelter-in-place or quarantine orders. They also suggested that criminal justice measures, such as drug testing, counseling, and reporting requirements, be curtailed to ensure that patients do not lose public benefits or become incarcerated. Second, the AMA urged policymakers to increase protections for patients with pain disorders by waiving limits on prescriptions for controlled substances. For patients with chronic pain, they suggested waiving testing and in-person counseling requirements for refills, allowing consultation via telephone, and offering home delivery options for medications. Finally, the AMA raised the question of harm reduction. To prevent overdoses and quell the spread of infectious disease, the AMA proposed that policymakers reduce barriers to accessing critical supplies by designating harm reduction organizations as essential services. They also advocated for assistance designated for harm reduction organizations to maintain adequate availability of naloxone in affected communities.

International

Ontario Allows Marijuana Delivery and Curbside Pick-up from Authorized Retail Stores During COVID-19. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is authorizing cannabis retail stores in Ontario to offer delivery and curbside pick-up services. This new temporary measure is the result of an emergency order introduced Thursday by the Government of Ontario to help fight against the illegal cannabis market. The order will last for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension if the government's Emergency Order on business closures is extended.

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10. Virginia Decriminalizes MJ Possession, Some Indiana Cops Won't Administer Naloxone, More... (4/13/20)

Virginia decriminalizes marijuana possession, Maine again delays legal sales of it, and more.

The Virginia legislature passed the marijuana decriminalization bill. Now, Gov. Northam has signed it. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Maine Officials Delay Rollout of Legal Marijuana Sales, Cite Coronavirus. More than three years after voters approved marijuana legalization, the commencement of legal recreational marijuana sales has been delayed once again. Officials in the Office of Marijuana Policy said last Friday that an anticipated spring launch for sales is now "simply unrealistic," given the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The office said a new timetable for opening won't be available until after public health experts have provided guidance about when it is safe. In nearly all other legal marijuana states, pot shops are considered "essential services" and remain open, albeit typically for curbside sales or delivery only.

Virginia Decriminalizes Marijuana as Governor Signs Package of Criminal Reform Bills. Over the weekend, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a package of criminal justice reform bills, including House Bill 972, which decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana and limits fines to $25. Other reform measures signed into law include one that raises the threshold for felony theft, another that ends the suspension of drivers' licenses for people who haven't paid fines, another that raises the age at which a juvenile can be tried as an adult, another that ends drivers' license suspension for non-driving related offenses including drug offenses, among others.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Cops Quit Administering Naloxone, Citing Coronavirus Fears. At least two Indianapolis-area police departments, including the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, have suspended administration of naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication because of concerns over possible transmission of the virus to responding officers. Instead, police will leave overdose reversal to emergency medical service first responders. The move comes despite no evidence to support such fears. The state's medical director of emergency medical services warned on March 27 that: "Intranasal administration is not likely to be aerosol-generating as the aerosol is created by the device with the drug going inward and not the patient sneezing or coughing outward until after the administration is complete."

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11. Ohio Okays Curbside Medical Marijuana Pickup, DEA Seized More Plants But Did Fewer Busts Last Year, More... (4/14/20)

The DEA continued with its futile pursuit of marijuana eradication last year, a former Amazon worker wins a victory in a court battle over being fired for medical marijuana use, and more.

The DEA eradicated more pot plants last year than in 2018, but busted fewer grows and made fewer related arrests. (DEA.gov)
Marijuana Policy

DEA Seized More Pot Plants Last Year but Arrested Fewer People for Growing. According to a new annual report from the DEA, the agency seized more than four million plants last year, a more than 40% increase over 2018. But the number of indoor grows raided actually decreased by about 10%, suggesting that the DEA was raiding bigger grows rather than expanding enforcement efforts. And most of the seized plants -- 3.1 million of them -- came from California, where the agency seized only 1.8 million in 2018. And related arrests declined by 15%, from 5,600 in 2018 to 4,700 last year.

Medical Marijuana

Worker Fired by Amazon for Medical Marijuana Wins Key Decision in Federal Court. A former Amazon warehouse worker who sued in New Jersey state court after being fired for using medical marijuana has won a preliminary victory. Amazon had responded to the lawsuit by moving to have the case heard in federal court, where the worker had little chance of winning since marijuana remains prohibited under federal law. But late last week, the federal court allowed the worker's request to remand the case back to state Superior Court.

Ohio Okays Curbside Pickup for Medical Marijuana Sales. The state has determined that medical marijuana dispensaries are "essential" businesses during the coronavirus crisis and are being allowed to sell their products via curbside pickup. The stat Board of Pharmacy approved a temporary guideline to allow the practice last week. While a Cleveland-area dispensary is the first to implement curbside service, all dispensaries in the state have been cleared to do so as well.

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Permission to Reprint: This issue of Drug War Chronicle is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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