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Chronicle AM: Afghan Opium is Booming, American Legion Wants MedMJ Research, More... (5/22/17)

We're starting to see 2018 marijuana legalization initiative action getting underway, an Ohio Supreme Court justice calls for freeing the weed, the American Legion wants the feds to get out of the way of medical marijuana research, Afghanistan has a bumper opium crop, and more.

In Afghan fields, the poppies grow. (UNODC)
Marijuana Policy

Arkansas Attorney General Sends Marijuana Legalization Initiaitve Back to Be Reworked. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) has rejected a proposed marijuana legalization initiative from Larry Morris of West Fork, saying that it is "ambiguous" and nearly identical to a later proposal from Mary Berry of Summit. Rutledge suggested that Morris and Berry work together.

Minnesota Lawmaker Files Bill for Legalization Constitutional Amendment. State Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) introduced House File 2714 on Saturday. The bill proposes a constitutional amendment to allow people 21 and over to buy and grow marijuana for personal use. The bill was filed with just a couple of days left in the session, and Liebling doesn't expect it to pass this year, but "it's time to get the conversation going," she said. Liebling is also seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination next year, and marijuana legalization is one of her campaign planks.

Nevada Marijuana Edibles Regulation Bill Advances. The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 344 last Friday. The bill has already passed the Senate. It would require edibles to be sold in single servings in nondescript packaging and be child-proofed. The legislature is rushing to get the bill passed before retail marijuana sales are set to begin on July 1.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Calls for Marijuana Legalization. Justice William O'Neill, the only Democrat to hold statewide office in the state, says it is time for the Ohio to legalize marijuana. The potential gubernatorial contender said in a speech that he not only wants to free the weed, but also to free nonviolent marijuana offenders from prison. "The time has come for new thinking," O'Neill said in his prepared remarks. "We regulate and tax alcohol and tobacco and imprison people for smoking grass."

South Dakota Legalization Initiative Signature Gathering Gets Underway. Supporters of a marijuana legalization initiative began signature gathering over the weekend after the attorney general's office okayed petitions for circulation. This initiative would legalize the possession of any quantity of marijuana by adults. Organizers have until November 6 to come up with approximately 14,000 valid voter signatures.

Medical Marijuana

American Legion Asks Trump to Allow Research for Vets. In a recent letter to the White House, the conservative veterans' group asked for a meeting with Trump son-in-law and key advisor Jared Kushner, "as we seek support from the president to clear the way for clinical research in the cutting edge areas of cannabinoid receptor research," the letter said. "We are not asking for it to be legalized," said Louis Celli, the national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion. "There is overwhelming evidence that it has been beneficial for some vets. The difference is that it is not founded in federal research because it has been illegal."

Utah Republicans Reject Resolution Supporting Medical Marijuana. At its annual convention over the weekend, the Utah Republican Party overwhelmingly rejected a resolution in support of medical marijuana, defeating it by a margin of 70% to 29%. The Republican-controlled legislature has refused to enact a full-fledged medical marijuana law, and now the state GOP has made it clear it intends to stick to its guns. Advocates could undertake an initiative campaign next year in the face of legislative indifference or hostility.

International

Bermuda House Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill. The House of Assembly has approved an opposition bill that would decriminalize up to a quarter-ounce (7 grams) of marijuana. The bill still needs approval by the Senate and the governor's signature. If that happens, it will go into effect on June 30.

UN Says Afghanistan Opium Cultivation Up 10%. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that illicit opium poppy plantings had increased by 10% last year, with potential opium production up 43%, to 4,800 metric tons. UNODC estimated that opiates accounted for 16% of the country's GDP and more than two-thirds of the agricultural sector. Opium production also provided labor for 235,100 full-time workers and accounted for more than half of the family income of poppy growers. The illicit economy is fueling insecurity, violence and insurgency among other problems to discourage private and public investment in Afghanistan, UNODC said.

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opium

It never ceases to amaze me how cannabis cultivation is applauded and opium cultivation reported like a crime?While the abuse of opiates is far more devastating than the abuse of cannabis.Actual opiates are far less abused than cannabis and the real abuse of opioids,products of Big Pharma are the real problem here.Opiates were totally legal and used as medicine for thousands of years.Just like cannabis.Opiates were banned,not because of any health concerns,but as an attack on the Chinese communities.Something Canada has apologised for,the US has not.People can use opiates daily with no damage to their health.The problem comes from adultrants,access, and the legalities of possession.People who use cannabis multiple times daily are no different than addicts to opium.They also suffer no health defects from their drug use.Only when these substances are copied, chemically are they a problem.Pure opium,heroin(morphine) are totally benign to the human body.Extensive research was carried out in strict hospital settings in England in the 1960's.It was only discontinued when the US put pressure on the Brits to switch addicts to methadone.An opioid copy that has harmful effects on both the liver and the kidneys.Which has been increased with the advent of Methadose, another narcotic copy,although not a heroin copy this time.America has been in charge over every step of the increase in opium production in Afghanistan.Most of this drug ends up in Russia and Iran, both enemies of the US.The drug that ends up in Europe and NA is heavily cut with Fentanyl.If there's so much heroin being produced, why is all the heroin cut with Fentanyl?This is obviously all very politicized.Afghanistan makes less from it's opium production than it needs for it's national budget.Yet the production has risen,steadily, since the US invasion and expultion of the Taliban,who had almost eliminated illegal opium production.Someone in the US is very invested in this production of opium.For a country that's behind the anti drug hysteria that's been spread all over the world,from American shores,this doesn't seem to add up?Of course neither does the US national policy making cannabis a stage one drug with zero medical use?Hardly a sane policy in a country where legal cannabis is available in more states than not.

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