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Chronicle AM: Beto, Bernie Talk Criminal Justice Reform; FDA Oks Ketamine for Depression, More... (3/6/19)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1058)

Democratic presidential contenders begin staking out criminal justice reform positions, yet another poll has a national majority for marijuana legalization, the FDA approves ketamine for depression, and more.

Bernie Sanders talks criminal justice reform, but he's not the only Democratic doing so. (
Marijuana Policy

Quinnipiac Poll Has Strong Support for Legalization. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday has support for marijuana legalization at 60% nationwide, with only 33% opposed. An even larger number of respondents (63%) said old marijuana arrest records should be expunged.

Texas Decriminalization Bill Gets Hearing. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held a hearing Monday on House Bill 63, which would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) has been pushing the issue since 2015. No vote was taken.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia House Approves CBD Access Bill. The House on Tuesday approved HB 324, which would allow for the sale of CBD cannabis oil to patients through dispensaries. The state legalized CBD cannabis oil for medicinal use in 2015, but there is no legal way to buy, sell, or obtain it. This bill would fix that. It now heads to the Senate.

Hawaii Will Allow Out of State Patients to Obtain Medical Marijuana. As of Tuesday, people with medical marijuana recommendations from other states are able to purchase medical marijuana while in the state. Officials said the change will ensure that visitors and part-time residents can get their medicine.

New Mexico Temporarily Boosts Plant Limits for Producers. The state health department issued an emergency rule last Friday to temporarily boost the number of plants producers can grow. The rule lifts the maximum from 450 plants to 2,500 plants through the end of August. The department will initiate a rule-making process to determine what the final plant count should be. The move comes amidst concerns over lack of supply.


FDA Approves Ketamine for Depression. The Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription treatment for depression that is derived from ketamine. The new treatment, called esketamine, is a nasal spray developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and will be sold under the brand name Spravato. The approval comes even as the FDA acknowledges that ketamine's anti-depressant properties are not well understood. Ketamine is an old anesthetic but has also been used as the club drug Special K in recent years.

Drug Policy

Beto O'Rourke Calls for Broad Drug, Criminal Justice Reforms. The Democratic presidential contender called for marijuana legalization and a "criminal justice system that is more fair and that urgently puts our country closer to the words written above the highest court in our land: equal justice under law" in an email to supporters this week. He also lambasted "the new Jim Crow" and the "school to prison pipeline," he said disproportionately targeted black children. He also called for an end to cash bail and the use of private prisons.

Bernie Sanders Calls for an End to the War on Drugs. In campaign rallies last weekend in Brooklyn and Chicago, the Vermont senator called for legalizing marijuana and ending the war on drugs, while calling for the need to address racial disparities in the emerging legal marijuana industry. "No more war on drugs that has destroyed so many lives," Sanders. "When we talk about criminal justice reform, we are going to change a system in which tens of thousands of Americans every year get criminal records for possessing marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive went to jail for destroying our economy in 2008," he said. "No, they didn't go to jail, they got a trillion dollar bailout."


Colombia Coca Farmers Clash with Police. Farmers in Cordoba province's Alto Sinu region who are returning to coca cultivation after two years of waiting for economic and security assistance that never arrived clashed with riot police as they protested the national government's failure to support the shift to substitute crops. They said they had been left no choice but to go back to coca. Coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia has reached an all-time high, having risen to 171,000 hectares in 2017 from 48,000 in 2013.

(This article was prepared by's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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


Dain Bramage (not verified)

"Beto O'Rourke Calls for Broad Drug, Criminal Justice Reforms."

"Bernie Sanders Calls for an End to the War on Drugs."


...And on the Republican side?  DEATH PENALTY!!  That's what you get, snowflake!!

Here is what Trump recently tweeted:

".....considered to be the worst and most dangerous, addictive and deadly substance of them all. Last year over 77,000 people died from Fentanyl. If China cracks down on this “horror drug,” using the Death Penalty for distributors and pushers, the results will be incredible!"

Trump tweeted in support of using the death penalty for drug dealers.

From CNN.Com:

Trump was praising the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping for criminalizing fentanyl, but he also took the step of making clear he has no problem with China's government killing "pushers" of the drug, which has also helped fueled the opioid crisis in the US.
It's not the first time Trump has spoken admiringly of other countries' use of the death penalty for drug dealers. He's mooned after the Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte's liberal use of execution for drug dealers, meted out by mobs, even though it's drawn international concern about the rule of law.
In March he suggested during a White House summit on the opioid epidemic that the death penalty for drug dealers be imported to the US.
"Some countries have a very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty, and they have much less of a drug problem than we do," Trump said.
He repeated the sentiment a few weeks later during a speech in New Hampshire, which has been hard hit by the opioid crisis.
"If we don't get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time," Trumptold the audience in Manchester, New Hampshire. "And that toughness includes the death penalty."
Not long afterward, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo calling for prosecutors to seek "capital punishment in appropriate cases" and cited various laws that allow for the death penalty for drug-related offenses, including a 1994 law explicitly allowing the death penalty for drug crimes.
Thu, 03/07/2019 - 7:15am Permalink
Kickback (not verified)

Where do I even start ? Democrats now have the House . Where is the Bill to remove Cannabis from the Federal Drug Schedule ? I hear about this and that . Democrats say this and that . Where is the vote on the Bill ? Democrats only know one thing , the Lie . Lie and Lie , until the next Election . Promise this and that and deliver on nothing . Republicans have a Reefer Madness base percentage to still deal with . It amazes me . How many Dumbasses does it take to wage a War against a Plant ? Astonishing ! 

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 1:47am Permalink
Dain Bramage (not verified)

In reply to by Kickback (not verified)

Kickback, you seem bad at thinking.

There is only ONE party in power willing to legalize it, and that is the Democratic Party.

So, to blame the Democrats for the fact that Republicans won't go along with them is pure idiocy.

You're the Trumpanzee, Kickback!  If you want to help, bring your people!  Blaming Democrats at this point is childish.  Like Trump: a big, lying, crying, man-baby.

Kickback, I have read some of your previous posts.  You didn't used to be this simple minded.  You used to call Trump out for the lying scumbag he truly is.  What happened to you?

Trump done infected your brain, Son.  Get you some brain bleach, quick!!

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 5:35am Permalink
Dain Bramage (not verified)

Here's a poll:

Question: I support marijuana legalization because...

A) Marijuana prohibition is unjust, inhumane, and founded on lies.

B) My "white privilege" entitles me to legal weed.

C) I look out for Number One.

D) No, I do not support marijuana legalization.

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 6:42am Permalink
Dain Bramage (not verified)

In reply to by Dain Bramage (not verified)

Democrats represent answer "A."  Marijuana prohibition is unjust, inhumane, and founded on lies.

Republicans represent answers "B", "C", and/or "D".  Republicans either oppose legalization entirely, or they are in it to exploit the artificial price support structure that marijuana prohibition represents, which makes them part of the problem, not part of the solution.  Stopping the arrests is the goal here; not making money.

Republicans SUCK ASS.

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 6:54am Permalink
Dain Bramage (not verified)


The one thing we appear to agree on -- and I do say "appear" because appearances can be deceiving -- is that lies are bad.

So let's start there.  

If you agree with that much, that lies are bad, then there is no way you haven't noticed the fact that Trump is a pathological liar, and that the Republicans in Congress have entirely capitulated to Trump in their oversight responsibilities as demanded by their oath of office.  

This has created a national crisis which eclipses the marijuana legalization issue, because marijuana legalization efforts hinge on a functioning democracy; and when democracy itself is at risk, we have more existential problems to solve first.

If you respect Truth, you will admit that much, regardless of your political stripe.

If you want respect yourself, you must earn it: let's hear you agree with the above.

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 7:21am Permalink
Dain Bramage (not verified)

Let's consider the fact that Kickback is employing Trump tactics of deception: 

1. False equivalency between Democrats and Republicans (also known as "both-siderism": for example, Trump equating killer Nazis with their outraged protesters.)

2. Classic Trumpian projection, like calling Democrats liars ("No puppet.  No puppet.  You're the puppet!")

3. Lies, like saying Democrats are blocking Trump from signing marijuana legalization legislation (Ha! Bullshit.)

4. Ignoring the facts: Trump and the Republicans oppose marijuana legalization, and Trump supports the death penalty for drug dealers.

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 9:11am Permalink

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