Chronicle AM: Senate Kills $600 Million in Emergency Heroin Funding, UT Calls for Pot Rescheduling, More... (3/3/16)

The Utah (!) legislature has passed a resolution calling for marijuana rescheduling, there will be no pot drive-throughs in Oregon's largest city, Senate Republicans kill $600 million in emergency funding to fight heroin and opioid abuse, and more.  

"Strike Dead" brand heroin. (New Jersey State Police)
Marijuana Policy

Pot Legalization in the US Is Hurting Mexican Marijuana Exports. According to data from the U.S. Border Patrol, marijuana seizures along the US border are at their lowest level in at least a decade, with agents seizing 1.5 million pounds of pot, down from 4 million in 2009. Even government officials, such as Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) head Michael Botticelli, have suggested the decline is the result of increasing domestic production with four states have legalizing it already.

Pittsburgh Decriminalization Ordinance Being Fine-Tuned. The decrim  ordinance passed by the city council last week is on hold as city lawyers try to figure out how to impose fines on violators. The head of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Judge Jeffrey Manning, says the city can't file the citations with the court because the court must enforce state law. In the meantime, police continue to file misdemeanor pot possession charges instead of citations.

Portland, Oregon, Kills Drive-Through Pot Sales. The city council voted unanimously Wednesday to ban recreational marijuana drive-through sales, even though no one has any planned for the city. State law bans drive-through alcohol sales, but is silent on marijuana. At least one Oregon town, Gold Beach, has a drive-through slated to open next month.

Medical Marijuana

Utah Lawmakers Call for Marijuana Rescheduling. Both houses of the legislature have now unanimously approved a resolution, SCR11, which calls on the federal government to reschedule marijuana after the House approved it yesterday. The resolution now goes to the governor.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Senate Republicans Block $600 Million in Funding to Tackle Heroin and Opioids. In a 48-47 procedural vote on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (Senate Bill 524) Wednesday, Senate Republicans killed a $600 million emergency funding amendment intended to improve prescription monitoring, fund treatment and prevention, and help law enforcement fight heroin and opioid use. Nearly half ($240 million) of the funds would have gone to law enforcement. Republican critics called it "duplicative," while drug reformers scorned its law enforcement funding component.

Asset Forfeiture

Wisconsin Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Killed. Despite strong bipartisan support, a civil asset forfeiture reform bill, Assembly Bill 537, is dead, killed by fevered law enforcement lobbying and the strong opposition of a Republican committee chair. Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) refused to move the bill.  

Law Enforcement

New Jersey Lab Tech Faked Results in Drug Case, Thousands More Cases Now in Question. A State Police lab technician has been caught faking the results in a drug case, throwing into doubt more than 7,000 drug cases on which he had worked. Tech Kamlkant Shah "dry labbed" a suspected marijuana sample, meaning he ran no tests on it before writing "test results" that identified it as marijuana. He has been suspended without pay since January. Although he has only been caught "dry labbing" that one sample, all of his cases are now in doubt, prosecutors said.

International

Mexico Suffering Crisis of "Violence and Impunity," Human Rights Report Says. In a new report, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission said tens of thousands of cases of torture, disappearances, and killings go uninvestigated in Mexico, leading to a "a serious crisis of violence and impunity." More than 120,000 have been killed in the country's drug wars since 2006 and another 27,000 have disappeared.  

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Utah. Unanimously.

Utah moved quickly on legalizing high CBD non-psychoactive cannabis after its role in fighting childhood epilepsy was highlighted by refugee families moving to Colorado so the children would have access to high CBD cannabis. Today's news makes it seem like they understand that high THC cannabis is also medicine. 

If true, ! indeed!

Seems to imply some softening in their fanatical opposition to recreational use. Utah was the first state to pass a ban on cannabis, it's still not too late for them to play a leading role in undoing this grotesque violation of the sacred promise of liberty and justice for all, and stopping this grotesque assault on public health that forces people to use killers alcohol, tobacco, prescription opiates and other big pharma concoctions instead of good old safe cannabis.

Pope Francis on Mexico

Pope Francis has it all wrong when he says the Devil is punishing Mexico with violence because it is such a Christian Nation. All the prayers of all the Christians in the world can't ebb the tide of blood in Mexico or Argentina for that matter. It will only be stopped by the stroke of a pen. Is the Devil also punishing Iran where IV drug abuse has soared (thanks in part to record Afghan opium harvests)? Could he be behind the surge in methamphetamine addiction in North Korea (thanks to that Nations involvement in meth production for the black market in exchange for much needed revenue)? Perhaps the Devil is upset with young black and brown men for some reason because they face astronomically huge odds of being locked up in prison. My humble suggestion to Pope Francis (or all Christians for that matter) is get up off your knees, educate yourselves to the perils of the drug war, and work to bring an end to this terribly expensive, irrational, counterproductive and violent policy. Ask yourselves this question "When it comes to drug policy what would Jesus do?"

End drug war violence by ending Prohibition

To instantly end drug war violence in Mexico, legalize drugs.

That's a bit of an

That's a bit of an exaggeration but yes you would think the American government would want to have a regulated market, instead of putting so much money and power into the hands of drug cartels.

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