Oregon farmers have grown three times what their customers can smoke in a year, causing bud prices to plummet and panic to set in
Matt Stangel and Katie Shepherd Wed 9 May 2018
‘People losing their life’s savings are unable to declare bankruptcy because marijuana is still a federally scheduled narcotic.’ Photograph: Henry Cromett
Arecent Sunday afternoon at the Bridge City Collective cannabis shop in north Portland saw a steady flow of customers.
Little wonder: a gram of weed was selling for less than the price of a glass of wine.
The $4 and $5 grams enticed Scotty Saunders, a 24-year-old sporting a gray hoodie, to spend $88 picking out new products to try with a friend. “We’ve definitely seen a huge drop in prices,” he says.
Across the wood and glass counter, Bridge City owner David Alport was less delighted. He says he’s never sold marijuana this cheap before.
“We have standard grams on the shelf at $4,” Alport says. “Before, we didn’t see a gram below $8.”
The scene at Bridge City Collective is playing out across the city and state. Three years into Oregon’s era of recreational cannabis, the state is inundated with legal weed.
It turns out Oregonians are good at growing cannabis – too good.
In February, state officials announced that 1.1m pounds of cannabis flower were logged in the state’s database.
If a million pounds sounds like a lot of pot, that’s because it is: last year, Oregonians smoked, vaped or otherwise consumed just under 340,000lb of legal bud.
That means Oregon farmers have grown three times what their clientele can smoke in a year.
Yet state documents show the number of Oregon weed farmers is poised to double this summer – without much regard to whether there’s demand to fill.
The result? Prices are dropping to unprecedented lows in auction houses and on dispensary counters across the state.
Wholesale sun-grown weed fell from $1,500 a pound last summer to as low as $700 by mid-October. On store shelves, that means the price of sun-grown flower has been sliced in half to those four-buck grams.
For Oregon customers, this is a bonanza. A gram of the beloved Girl Scout Cookies strain now sells for little more than two boxes of actual Girl Scout cookies.
But it has left growers and sellers with a high-cost product that’s a financial loser. And a new feeling has descended on the once-confident Oregon cannabis industry: panic.
Cocaine delivered quicker than pizza in England and Scotland, according to drugs survey
The trend is matched globally with 30% of all respondents saying they could pick up cocaine within
Cocaine can be delivered quicker than a pizza in England and Scotland, according to a global drugs survey.
Some 36.8% of people surveyed in England said they could get cocaine within 30 minutes, and 37.4% in Scotland, placing them fifth and sixth in the world rankings.
This compares with 12.2% of people in England and 19.8% in Scotland who said they could get a pizza delivered in this time.
A third of those surveyed in England found that they could order cocaine quicker than pizza.
The 2018 Global Drug Survey questioned 130,000 drug users across 44 countries, including more than 5,000 in the UK, about recreational drug use and its impact on health.
The report said: “With many cities covered with CCTV cameras, traditional street dealing is becoming less attractive to many suppliers and consumers.”
“It’s not surprising that the next customer service upgrade was going to be the growth of sophisticated and rapid drug delivery services in many of our big cities.”
Drugmakers push back against lawmakers’ calls to tax opioids
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Facing a rising death toll from drug overdoses, state lawmakers across the country are testing a strategy to boost treatment for opioid addicts: Force drug manufacturers and their distributors to pay for it.
Bills introduced in at least 15 states would impose taxes or fees on prescription painkillers. Several of the measures have bipartisan support and would funnel millions of dollars toward treatment and prevention programs.
In Montana, state Sen. Roger Webb, a Republican, sees the approach as a way to hold drugmakers accountable for an overdose epidemic that in 2016 claimed 42,000 lives in the U.S., a record.
“You’re creating the problem,” he said. “You’re going to fix it.”
Opioids include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit versions of fentanyl. Public health experts say the crisis started because of overprescribing and aggressive marketing of the drugs that began in the 1990s. The death toll has continued to rise even as prescribing has started to drop.
A Pennsylvania opioid tax bill was introduced in 2015 and a federal version was introduced a year later, but most of the proposals arose during the past year. The majority of them have yet to get very far, with lawmakers facing intense pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to scuttle or soften the legislation.
Drug-makers and distributors argue that it would be wrong to tax prescription drugs, that the cost increases would eventually be absorbed by patients or taxpayers, and that there are other ways to pay for addiction treatment and prevention.
“We have been engaged with states to help move forward comprehensive solutions to this complex public health crisis and in many cases have seen successes,” Priscilla VanderVeer , a spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement. “However, we do not believe levying a tax on prescribed medicines that meet legitimate medical needs is an appropriate funding mechanism for a state’s budget.”
Two drug companies that deployed lobbyists — Purdue Pharma and Pfizer — responded to questions with similar statements.
A spokesman for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents drug distributors, said a tax would mean that cancer patients and those in end-of-life care might not be able to get the prescriptions they need.
The pharmaceutical industry has emphasized that the name-brand drug companies that make up its members already give rebates to states for drugs funded by Medicaid. Those rebates amount to billions of dollars nationwide that states could use to address opioid addiction, the trade group says.
State legislation to tax opioids comes as manufacturers and distributors are defending themselves in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking damages for the toll the overdose epidemic has taken on communities.
David Humes, whose son died from a heroin overdose in 2012, has been pushing for an opioid tax in Delaware, which did not increase funding for addiction treatment last year as it struggles to balance its budget.
“When you think about the fact that each year more people are dying, if you leave the money the same, you’re not keeping up with this public health crisis,” he said.
Humes, a board member of the advocacy group AtTAck Addiction, supports legislation that would dedicate opioid tax revenue for addiction services
For complete story go to Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. https://apnews.com/fd2ec67de61e41b584bf2d9191234741/Lawmakers-debate-opioid-taxes-as-states-grapple-with-crisis
GEORGE ON METHADONE
George Michael’s cousin claims heroin substitute in lethal cocktail of drugs and booze contributed to icon’s death
Cousin says George given methadone in a bid to calm his anxiety just days before death
EXCLUSIVE By Michael Hamilton 6th May 2018, 1:52 am
GEORGE Michael was given heroin substitute methadone in the run-up to his death, his cousin has sensationally claimed.
Andros Georgiou fears the superstar, 53, died because he took the drug plus anti- depressants, GHB and booze.
George is said to have been taking methadone to help calm his anxiety
He says George as given methadone by an associate in a bid to calm his anxiety — two days before he was found dead at home on Christmas Day 2016.
And he said the star then asked the pal for more pills, which were taken by taxi disguised as a Christmas present, to his home in Goring, Oxon.
KEVIN DUNNETT – THE SUN
George’s cousin Andros Georgiou says methadone may not have shown up in George Michael’s toxicology report
Andros, 55, accused the singer’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz of holding up the release of the will by threatening to tell secrets of his life.
And he said the star’s fortune could be £50million less than the reported £105million.
Methadone is an opioid used to treat people with a heroin dependence
Talking about the singer’s final days, Andros said: “George went to see someone, who he knew as a friend.
“This person is a former addict, and he told him about these pills and said they calmed him right down.
NEARLY 475 TONS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS COLLECTED ON NATIONAL TAKE BACK DAY
Americans dropped off nearly 475 tons of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs last month as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Posted: May. 7, 2018 3:44 PM Posted By: Zac Carlisle
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVA) – Americans dropped off nearly 475 tons of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs last month as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Law enforcement agencies set up approximately 6,000 sites across the country where people could drop off the drugs.
The day was on Saturday, April 28, but several North Mississippi agencies held their day on Friday, April 27, including the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and Tupelo police.
Lee County officers collected approximately 387 pounds.
This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to approximately 4,982 tons. For story http://www.wtva.com/content/news/Nearly-475-tons-of-prescription-drugs-collected-on-National-Take-Back-Day–481964561.html
BE BEST Whitehouse Campaign
It remains our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility and help our children manage the many issues they are facing today, including encouraging positive social, emotional, and physical habits…
Melania Trump – First Lady of the United States
The mission of BE BEST is to focus on some of the major issues facing children today, with the goal of encouraging children to BE BEST in their individual paths, while also teaching them the importance of social, emotional, and physical health. BE BEST will concentrate on three main pillars: well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.
For complete story https://www.whitehouse.gov/bebest/
Liberal’s Legal Cannabis Bill C-45 Faces Senatorial Review
By Cannabis Culture Magazine on April 30, 2018
CANNABIS CULTURE – Canadian Senators are gathered in Ottawa to determine the fate of the Liberal Government’s cannabis legalization strategy (Bill C-45). Senators from the Conservative Party of Canada, occupying 33 of 105 seats, have declared they will try to defeat the bill.
This is cause for alarm, as the Senate, for the first time in Canadian history, is compromised of more independent Senators than politically affiliated members. The Conservative faction, have hinged their argument against legalization on cherry-picked quasi-science talking points organized by American anti-cannabis think-tank SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) to sway the independent Senators to their way of thinking. The SAM authored document can be found here.
Conservative Leader of the Opposition, Senator Larry Smith, has said that they will be seeking amendments as follows:
“The Senate Conservative Caucus will be looking at making recommendations on various legislative voids, including: driving under the influence; public consumption; home grow; outdoor grow; detection of high concentration of marijuana; border crossing; lack of education campaigns; the negative impact of marijuana especially for youth under the age 25 and other major regulatory gaps. We believe possible amendments would bring greater protection to what is most important – the health and public safety of Canadian families and neighborhoods.”
You’ll notice, those on the conservative side continue to use the language of marijuana. This language is an important indicator of perspective as the “evidence” in the SAM manifesto is a recycling of debunked reefer madness logic. In SAM’s view, cannabis poses a “threat to public health” despite being unable to reference or cite ANY instances of death associated with cannabis use (with the slight exception of an uncited teen suicide statistic that fails to consider variables like alcohol, poverty or other social pressures).
Unfortunately, this rhetoric maintains a foothold amongst people who have been fed lies about cannabis for their entire life. Many of these people, on every side of the aisle, occupy Senatorial seats. So the arguments presented by SAM, as flawed as they are, could sway the vote of the under-informed.
The powerful lobbying forces of the provinces and law enforcement have their own axes to grind. These combined bureaucratic juggernauts are reeling from the potential budgetary losses and bureaucratic disarray true legalization would bring. Keep in mind, this is even after Trudeau declared more than a quarter-billion dollars to police the new regulations (how giving more money to police for enforcement equates to legalization is anybody’s guess at this point). Police have been certain to demand additional funding to enforce the new rules of “legalization” and to train police officers to use cannabis detection equipment that has been proven inaccurate, ineffective and impeachable, despite the fact government has declared their intention to charge people criminally for failing tests on such equipment.
Again, giving more money to the police to enforce the rules of “legalization” is a far cry from the picture that was painted during the previous federal election campaign.
We’ve been told this is the year cannabis would be legalized. In the 2015 election, we were told it was time to choose hope over fear. And in response, many of us voted for the Liberals. In response, the Liberals have re-ignited the flames of reefer madness, pushing pseudo-science and debunked myths about cannabis in an attempt to grab the reigns of supply, and reap the profits of legal production.
And still, this incremental move towards legal cannabis is a critical moment in the end of prohibition worldwide.
Many within the cannabis movement have taken this step on the march to a legal future for granted.
In theory, The Senate, is often billed as “sober second thought” for parliamentarians formulating legislation in Canada, in practice, a Senate seat is often used as a ceremonial “rubber stamp” position. What this means is, often the appointed Senators are called on to simply approve bills as formulated by the elected representatives of the House of Commons. There is little to no review of the contents within the laws.
This story continues to develop.
Marijuana’s dark side a reality, doctor says
© 2018-Center Post Dispatch By Teresa L. Benns
ALAMOSA— Karen Randall, M.D., an emergency room physician working at a major hospital in Pueblo, spoke to concerned citizens gathered in Alamosa Saturday about the dangers of marijuana and her experiences with marijuana cases in the ER since the drug became legal in 2012.
Randall is one of several Pueblo physicians who supported an ad recently in Pueblo news publications regarding their concerns about the dangers of marijuana to the public, especially young people. The ad listed the following disturbing drawbacks to the drug that are seldom acknowledged by cannabis lobbyists and growers.
• Marijuana products have been found to be contaminated with fungus, heavy metals, pesticides and chemicals. A study conducted by concerned officials in Calaveras County, Calif. shows the problem in their state was widespread, and because of these and other concerns, Calaveras County shut down some 200 marijuana grow operations.
• Marijuana harms the unborn child and is concentrated in breast milk.
• Marijuana can trigger violence in those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or make PTSD worse.
• Marijuana smoke is associated with lung disease and some cancers.
• Marijuana use has been shown to decrease IQ in younger users.
• Marijuana can cause mental illness and is associated with the onset of schizophrenia.
• Marijuana can cause cyclic vomiting.
• Marijuana is linked to increased driving fatalities.
• Legal marijuana brought increased use by eighth and tenth graders in Washington, according to a report by JAMA Pediatrics, Feb. 2017.
• Marijuana harms the developing adolescent and young adult brain.
These statements are backed by scientific studies performed at recognized research institutions. Randall reminded her audience at the beginning of her lecture that the marijuana grown today is not the same drug smoked by those attending Woodstock nearly 50 years ago.
In the 1960s-1970s, a marijuana joint packed about 1-3 mgs. of THC, the psychoactive element in the plant. Today the average is 18 mgs., with dab wax or “shatter” levels running at about 60 mgs. Some varieties reportedly run as high as 99.9 mgs.
Cases of psychotic episodes related to THC
Randall related her own experiences with patients who have become psychotic after ingesting marijuana. One 16-year-old with no previous history of drug use who had used pot for less than a year was admitted to the behavioral health unit. He subsequently attacked the staff and stabbed a guard. Those on duty at the time were unable to restrain him.
Only marijuana was found in his system.
After leaving the unit he went home and eventually injured family members so badly they had to be placed in the ICU for head injuries.
Another woman from out of state experienced a frightening psychotic episode with edibles while driving on I-25. A grandmother was unknowingly fed marijuana edibles by family members and was admitted to the hospital vomiting, screaming and fighting with caregivers.
Another man was charged with an act of terrorism after staging a protest when his wife was refused admission to the ER several times. The real issue, Randall said, amounted to cannabis use which she wouldn’t address.
A widely publicized incident in the Denver area where a young man was shot by police for yielding a machete was later related to THC-induced psychosis, Randall noted. She added that roughly one-third of every ER shift is now dedicated to handling drug-related incidents.
For complete article https://centerpostdispatch.com/article/marijuanas-dark-side-a-reality-doctor-says
UK: As drug abuse rises, so do knife murders. I don’t think it’s a coincidence
This is Peter Hitchens’s Mail on Sunday column
Sometimes we lose sight of what is important while we concentrate on things that are merely interesting or exciting. In any other week the murder of Sami Sidhom in an East London street would rightly have been major news. As it is, it has swiftly become background noise.
A much-loved young man, Sami was stabbed in the back in the dark in a part of our capital which, until recently, had been peaceful and safe for a century or more.
He is one of 62 killed in London already this year. Unlike most other crime statistics, violent death figures cannot be massaged or twisted. They cannot be exaggerated when the police are demanding more money, or minimised when the Government is claiming it has got on top of crime.
So we should think seriously about them. But we never do. They can’t really have much to do with police numbers. The forces with the biggest falls in numbers have not experienced the biggest rises in serious violence.
At the start of this century, knife crime rose in spite of increased police numbers. After 2008, though police numbers fell, recorded knife crime fell too.
I’d be amazed if police numbers had any effect on anything myself, as the police are almost entirely absent from the streets and, at many times and in many places, there is very little evidence that they exist at all. You might as well blame social changes in this country on falls and rises in the number of schoolteachers in Japan.
I doubt claims that nasty material on social media has encouraged violence. But two very important things have changed. One is that the violent person has no fear of serious punishment if he kills. He will probably not be caught, and if he is he will suffer nothing worse than a few years in a prison run by people like him, where the drugs he likes are readily available.
The other is that he is in some way out of his mind because of those drugs. Anyone can pick up a knife, as they are everywhere and could not possibly be banned. But hardly anyone is unhinged enough to drive a sharpened steel blade into the body of another human being.