New York Times, 28 Dec 2019 - ROME - Growing small amounts of marijuana at home for private use is not a crime, Italy's top court has ruled, putting an end to a years-long legal dispute and adding Italy to the short list of countries to allow cultivation of recreational cannabis. A 1990s law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Italy, but conflicting court decisions, and a 2016 amendment that opened a loophole in the law, created confusion over how it should be interpreted.
Wall Street Journal, 26 Dec 2019 - A surge in vaping related lung illnesses this year caught the medical community by surprise, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting more than 2,500 lung illnesses and 54 deaths. Politicians are targeting e-cigarettes, but the CDC reported last week that marijuana is so far the greatest common denominator. This is another reminder that America is undertaking a risky social experiment by legalizing and especially destigmatizing cannabis, and the potential effects are hard to foresee or control. The same political culture that is in a fury over legal opioids, and is trying to bankrupt drug companies as compensation, seems to have no problem celebrating a drug that may be damaging young brains for a lifetime.
New York Times, 24 Dec 2019 - Baba Ram Dass, who epitomized the 1960s of legend by popularizing psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary, a fellow Harvard academic, before finding spiritual inspiration in India, died on Sunday at his home on Maui, Hawaii. He was 88. His death was announced on his official Instagram account.
Wall Street Journal, 23 Dec 2019 - Graham Saunders is a man in high demand. When U.S. cannabis companies need financing they can't find elsewhere, they turn to this Toronto banker who operates far from Wall Street. Since the spring of 2016, Mr. Saunders's team at Canadian boutique firm Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. has helped finance more than half of all pot deals in the global equity markets, raising more than $5 billion from investors, according to Dealogic.
Westword, 21 Dec 2019 - The Coffee Joint, the first establishment to hold a cannabis consumption license in Denver, is now the second pot lounge business to apply for a state social consumption license. Colorado Springs social lounge Studio A64 successfully applied for a social consumption license at the state Marijuana Enforcement Division office three hours before Coffee Joint owners Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov could beat them to it.
New York Times, 18 Dec 2019 - TULSA, Okla. - The teenager had pink cheeks from the cold and a matter-of-fact tone as she explained why she had started using methamphetamine after becoming homeless last year. "Having nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat - that's where meth comes into play," said the girl, 17, who asked to be identified by her nickname, Rose. "Those things aren't a problem if you're using."
New York Times, 16 Dec 2019 - SMITHS FALLS, Ontario - When Canada became the first major industrialized nation to legalize recreational marijuana, visions of billions of dollars in profits inspired growers, retailers and investors, sending the stock market soaring in a so-called green rush. A year later, the euphoria has vanished.
New York Times, 14 Dec 2019 - MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - The Hamblen County Jail has been described as a dangerously overcrowded "cesspool of a dungeon," with inmates sleeping on mats in the hallways, lawyers forced to meet their clients in a supply closet and the people inside subjected to "horrible conditions" every day. And that's the county sheriff talking.
New York Times, 29 Nov 2019 - LONDON - Homeless drug users in Scotland will be allowed to inject pharmaceutical-grade heroin twice a day under the supervision of medical officials as part of a new program intended to reduce drug deaths and H.I.V. infection. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, a $1.5 million facility in Glasgow that opened on Tuesday will allow a handful of drug users to receive doses of the drug alongside other treatment for their physical and psychological health, according to Glasgow City Council.
New York Times, 24 Nov 2019 - LOS ANGELES - Every Sunday, about two dozen people gather at a green cabin along the main drag of Big Bear, Calif., a small mountain town known for its namesake lake. They go there for Jah Healing Church services, where joints are passed around. April Mancini, a founder of the church, said she was drawn to the idea of cannabis as a religious sacrament back in 2013, after she met a Rastafarian who was running the place as an unlicensed medicinal dispensary.
New York Times, 17 Nov 2019 - In an effort to discourage drug use and vaping, a Catholic high school in Ohio has announced plans to begin testing its students for drugs and nicotine, joining what education professionals are calling a growing trend. Administrators at Stephen T. Badin High School in Hamilton, Ohio, said in a letter to parents this week that the drug-testing program, which they said had been shaped over the course of two years with help from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, would go into effect in January.
Wall Street Journal, 13 Nov 2019 - QUJING, China-In China, marijuana is seen as a dangerous narcotic, and possession is strictly punished. That hasn't stopped the country from trying to become a powerhouse in the fast-growing industry for cannabis products. China has grown hemp, a strain of cannabis, for thousands of years to use in clothing and traditional medicine and is one of the world's largest hemp producers. The country is using that foothold to churn out cannabidiol, or CBD, a loosely regulated chemical related to marijuana that is finding its way into products as diverse as bath bombs and pet food.
New York Times, 12 Nov 2019 - LONDON - Cannabis-based medicines were approved on Monday for use by the National Health Service in England and Wales, a milestone decision that could change the lives of thousands of patients. Three treatments using medicinal cannabis were authorized by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, a public body that provides guidance on health care practices. The decision comes a year after Sajid Javid, then the British home secretary, said that some doctors could legally prescribe the drug in special cases.
New York Times, 08 Nov 2019 - Despite bipartisan calls to treat drug addiction as a public health issue rather than as a crime - and despite the legalization of marijuana in more states - arrests for drugs increased again last year. According to estimated crime statistics released by the F.B.I. in September, there were 1,654,282 arrests for drugs in 2018, a number that has increased every year since 2015, after declining over the previous decade. Meanwhile, arrests for violent crime and property crime have continued to trend downward.
Wall Street Journal, 26 Oct 2019 - The Volstead Act prohibiting intoxicating beverages became law on October 28, 1919-a century ago this week-and came into force a few months later. Most people now agree that Prohibition was a failure, driving the alcohol industry underground, where its products became unsafe, its profits lucrative and tax-free, and its methods violent. Most countries have since taken the view that it is better to legalize, regulate and tax drink than to ban it. Today, there is a similar debate over vaping, a popular new practice prohibited or heavily restricted in many countries. Electronic cigarettes, which use heating elements to vaporize liquids usually containing nicotine, were invented in China in the early 2000s by Hon Lik, a chemist looking for a way to satisfy his nicotine addiction without dying of lung cancer as his father had. Nicotine itself is far less harmful to smokers than the other chemicals created during combustion. Heavyweight studies confirm that there are much lower levels of dangerous chemicals in e-cigarette vapor than in smoke and fewer biomarkers of harm in the bodies of vapers than smokers.
Metro Times, 22 Oct 2019 - Last year, after the vote to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in Michigan was certified, people lined up outside provisioning centers with the expectation that they would be allowed to buy some in those locations - - only to find that a state medical certification was still required. Nearly a year later, folks are still wondering when they'll be able to walk into a store and buy some weed.
Miami New Times, 22 Oct 2019 - For the past three and a half months, marijuana has essentially been decriminalized in Miami. After Florida legalized hemp July 1, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced it would no longer prosecute most minor marijuana charges because the substance is virtually indistinguishable from hemp. Nevertheless, the City of Miami Beach has passed a municipal ordinance to discourage people from smoking weed in public. At a meeting last week, city commissioners unanimously voted to outlaw public smoking of marijuana and hemp.
New York Times, 21 Oct 2019 - The sports industry's embrace of cannabis products is continuing to evolve as U.S.A. Triathlon has become the first national governing body of an American sport to make a sponsorship deal with a company that sells products containing cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is a nonintoxicating compound that, like the intoxicating compound THC, is found in varying amounts in hemp, a legal cannabis plant. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances. THC and scores of other cannabinoids remain on the banned list, but by removing CBD, WADA opened the door for elite athletes to use and endorse CBD products.
New York Times, 21 Oct 2019 - SAN FRANCISCO - For years, a divisive debate has raged in the United States over the health consequences of nicotine e-cigarettes. During the same time, vaping of a more contentious substance has been swiftly growing, with scant notice from public health officials. Millions of people now inhale marijuana not from joints or pipes filled with burning leaves but through sleek devices and cartridges filled with flavored cannabis oils. People in the legalized marijuana industry say vaping products now account for 30 percent or more of their business. Teenagers, millennials and baby boomers alike have been drawn to the technology - no ash, a faint smell, easy to hide - and the potentially dangerous consequences are only now becoming evident.
Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct 2019 - SACRAMENTO - Gov. Gavin Newsom led the campaign to legalize marijuana in California three years ago but has since angered some in the industry by refusing to allow pot in hospitals and outlawing its use on tour buses and in limousines. Newsom took the action on tour buses and hospitals as he signed several other bills in the last few weeks that will ease pot restrictions, including measures waiving taxes on cannabis provided for free by charities to people with serious health problems and allowing parents to provide medical marijuana products such as oils, creams and pills to their sick children on K-12 school campuses.