Chronicle AM: Bratton Blames MJ for Prohibition Violence, Opioid Prescriptions Decline, More... (5/23/16)

Bill Bratton misses the point on prohibition and violence, Nebraskans will have to wait for medical marijuana, Fentanyl is displacing heroin in Vancouver, and more.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

New York City's Top Cop Blames Marijuana Legalization -- Not Prohibition -- for Black Market Violence. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Sunday criticized states that have legalized weed because there is violence around the black market in his city, which hasn't legalized weed. "Here in New York, the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around the issue of marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in use of heroin now in the city," Bratton said. "Interestingly enough, here in New York City most of the violence we see -- violence around drug trafficking -- is involving marijuana and I have to scratch my head as we are seeing many states wanting to legalize marijuana, and more liberalization of policies."

Medical Marijuana

No Medical Marijuana Initiative for Nebraska This Year. Cornhusker medical marijuana advocates have decided to delay a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot until 2018. They cited the late start this year and the expense involved.

Rhode Island Senate Approves Adding PTSD to List of Qualifying Conditions. The Senate last Friday unanimously approved a bill that will add PTSD to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana. The bill now heads to the House.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Opioid Prescriptions are Falling for the First Time in 20 Years. Two reports from health information providers show that opioid prescriptions have declined in recent years. IMS Health reported a 12% decline in opioid prescriptions nationally since 2012, while Symphony Health Solutions reported an 18% drop during those years. IMS said prescriptions have fallen in 49 states, with only South Dakota showing an increase. The figures could have implications not only for overdose and addiction rates, but also for pain patients. "The climate has definitely shifted," said Dr. Daniel B. Carr, the director of Tufts Medical School's program on pain research education and policy. "It is now one of reluctance, fear of consequences and encumbrance with administrative hurdles. A lot of patients who are appropriate candidates for opioids have been caught up in that response."

International

In Vancouver, Heroin Has Been Displaced by Fentanyl. The synthetic opioid has been identified in half of all drug overdoses in the city this year, which is on track to exceed last year's drug overdose toll. Advocates for drug users in the city's Downtown East Side say there's no more heroin on the street after it has been pushed out by the cheaper and more potent Fentanyl. "Traditionally, heroin comes in about four different colors,"said the longtime drug advocate Hugh Lampkin of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, describing a bland palette of beiges, browns and blacks. "Well now you're seeing multiple colors, like colors of the rainbow: green and pink and orange and white... Right away, when you see these colors that's a pretty good indicator that it's fentanyl that you're doing. The people who are controlling the supply, they're passing off what should be heroin as fentanyl because of the close proximity of the high."

Afghans Celebrate Bumper Opium Harvest. Hundreds of laborers from across the Pashtun heartland gathered in Naqil, Uruzgan province, to harvest a bumper crop of opium poppies and celebrate with after-work games in a festival-like atmosphere. "This is the only time of the year to make money," said Afzal Mohammad, who came all the way from Kandahar, standing amid chest-high poppy stalks nearby. "People work here for about 15 days and then are jobless for the rest of the year."

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The anti-cannabis

The anti-cannabis legalization sentiment among some law enforcement personnel (police, district attorneys, etc) is not surprising. When asked why so many police organizations are lobbying against marijuana law reform, retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing said: "It's money. In many states, the city government expects police to make seizures, and they expect these seizures to supplement their budgets." "The only difference now compared to the times of alcohol prohibition is that, in the times of alcohol prohibition, law enforcement—the police and judges—got their money in brown paper bags. Today, they get their money through legitimate, systematic programs run by the federal government. That's why they’re using their lobbying organizations to fight every reform." Legalizing cannabis would greatly cut into their income, be it from cash seizures, asset forfeitures, federal grants, etc. It would also take away a common excuse to do a warrantless search. Many cops try to justify their anti-cannabis stance by falling for the rampant, unfounded anti-cannabis propaganda that continues to plague this nation. If you would like to hear what honest, knowledgeable, reasonable cops have to say about the drug war in general, please visit: LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - http://www.leap.cc/ - 'Cops Say Legalize' "LEAP envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement." "LEAP’s goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology and (2) To restore the public’s respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcements involvement in imposing drug prohibition."

Bill Bratton STFU

From the streets of NYC where I've spent much of my life a heroin connoisseur and homeless, like for real, prostituting, starving, rub my knee steve, LES, lorimer, marcy ave, UFC, Power 2012, king kong, 1000, breaking bad (which sucks), purple label (also sucks) tap out, sticky etc etc etc etc etc let me sat the commish is a MOEON and an idiot and ignorant and GUILTY BEYOND EVERYTHING as a war criminal and he, just like every single complicit politician, 90% of the police, 98% of the FBI and 100% of the DEA deserve to do life in prison or face execution. Their enforcement of policies have executed my loved ones and they need to pay for it the only way blood can be paid for, with blood. Bill Bratton thinks there's something ironic about a lack of violence amongst heroin users or something? What's ironic about this? You do dope or pain pills, you feel happy and great and right and normal and not anything remotely aggressive or violent or anything whatsoever at all and in fact the notion is BEYOND absurd. For those of you who are reading this from any location other than NY let me tell you that right now in NYC there's major investigations going on and it involves the Mayor and organisations affiliated with the mayor as well as a corruption scandal with the NYPD and top ranked NYPD officers. The stories have been front page news for a few weeks over here and a recent NY Daily News front page called for Bratton to resign so amidst this he's trying to deflect the attention onto something else WELL GUESS WHAT A HOLE WE'RE TIRED OF BEING ABUSED BY YOU AND YOURS. WE'RE DONE BEING JUNKIE DOOR MATS! They will bust you Bratton and you WILL go down. End of story.

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