6. CHRONICLE AM: OH WILL VOTE ON LEGALIZATION, ME WELFARE DRUG TEST
PROGRAM FINDS ONE USER, MORE (8/13/2015)
Ohio could be the next state to legalize marijuana, a union boss gets
busted for taking bribes from dispensaries, "fake weed" is the subject
of repression in Boston and New York state, Maine's welfare drug test
program finds a single drug user, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/aug/13/chronicle_am_oh_will_vote_legali
7. CHRONICLE AM: WY MEDMJ INIT UNDERWAY, DOJ INVESTIGATING POLICE
KILLING OF SC TEEN, MORE (8/14/2015)
CBD cannabis oil goes on sale in England, a medical marijuana initiative
is getting underway in Wyoming, the Justice Department will look into
the police killing of teenager Zach Hammond in a small-time marijuana
bust, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/aug/14/chronicle_am_wy_medmj_init_under
8. CHRONICLE AM: WHITE HOUSE FOCUSES ON HEROIN, PERU COCA TENSIONS RISE,
CO POT SALES HIT RECORD, MORE (8/17/2015)
It's big bucks for the Colorado marijuana industry (and the state's tax revenues), there's more initiative news, the White House takes on
heroin, Peruvian coca farmers are feeling the pinch of eradication, and
9. CHRONICLE AM: UTAH SWAT RAIDS ALMOST ALL DRUGS, BOLIVIA REDUCES COCA
GROWING (AGAIN), MORE (8/18/2015)
A Wisconsin tribe may legalize marijuana, Ohio foes line up against the legalization initiative there, more Washington state dispensaries will
be forced to close, a Utah SWAT reporting law shows what those squads
are up to -- and it isn't hostage situations or "active shooters" --
Bolivia has reduced coca growing for another year in a row, more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/aug/18/chronicle_am_utah_swat_raids_alm
These new (to the recreational drug market) substances mimic the effects
of currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines,
or ecstasy. The states and Congress have rushed to address the drugs by prohibiting them, but that has proven to be a game of cat and mouse,
with innovative chemists and manufacturers replacing banned drugs with
new variants faster than politicians can act.
"In recent years, lawmakers have moved to ban wave after wave of NPSs,
only to see more emerge," said Grant Smith, deputy director of national
affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org). "All
50 states have passed laws against synthetic cannabinoids and
cathinones, and federally, there are 26 unique compounds under Schedule
I. And the DEA, which has legal authority to criminalize drugs administratively, has banned more than two dozen. These laws take time,
which allows manufacturers to create new compounds."
Not only is the prohibitionist reflex ineffective, it arguably increases
the harms associated with the use of these drugs. But to ignore them or
ban them aren't the only policy choices, and some advocates are calling
for these novel substances to instead be controlled and regulated. One
model they point to is New Zealand, which instead of banning "legal
highs," moved to regulate them in 2013.
New Psychoactive Substances
Before turning to policy options, though, it's worth a moment to figure
out just exactly what we're talking about when we talk about "new
synthetic drugs," and why maybe that isn't the best term to use to
describe these substances.
In a conference call organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, which
advocates for regulation over prohibition, Earth and Fire Erowid, the administrators of the Erowid (https://www.erowid.org) drug information
web site -- "Documenting the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives" -- tried to bring some rigor to a domain where science
too often gets lost in the distortions of moral panic.
"Synthetic drugs is a term used to imply scary new street drugs," said
Earth Erowid. "But nearly all pharmaceutical drugs are synthetic,
whether they're cannabinoids, opioids, stimulants, or sedatives. You
don't want to use the phrase 'synthetic drugs' unless you're talking
about every pharmaceutical developed over the past 50 years."
"A more accurate and appropriate term is "new psychoactive substances,"
he said. "That's the standard term in Europe."
NPSs can be grouped into some general categories, based on the effects
they seek to replicate, the Erowids said:
Replacement Cannabinoids. Sometimes sold as powders, sometimes sprinkled
on herbal blends. These are not cannabis, but new synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists. The specific compounds include JWH 018 and AB-PINACA,
among many others. Several of these have been associated with death and
serious medical complications.
Replacement Euphoric Stimulants. These include cathinones like
methedrone, MDPV ("bath salts"), and Alpha PDP ("flakka"), as well as
compounds related to Ritalin.
Replacement Psychedelics. The best known are the NBOMe series
("N-Bomb"). They are often distributed on blotters, and many people who
think they're buying LSD are getting this. The NBOMe class has been
linked to about 20 deaths.
Replacement Dissociatives. These are PCP-like chemicals, including
various ketamine variants and methoxetamine.
Replacement Opioids. These include chemicals such as AH 7921 and U4770.
The deaths and other adverse reactions that have been linked to NPSs
have occurred under regimes of either prohibition or its opposite -- no regulation. "Legal highs" were just that, NPSs yet to be banned but
lacking any sort of reliable labeling or quality control. Many formerly
"legal highs" are now illegal, but the harm continues, and new NPSs
continue to come on the market, legal until the politicians get to work.
"There's a reason for that, said Earth Erowid. "People are looking for
legal replacements for illegal drug effects," he explained. "Most people
simply want a stimulant or a psychedelic, and they're willing to try
anything if it's legal."
"That may hold true for "fake marijuana" users than other NPS users,"
said Joseph Palamar, an assistant professor in the Department of
Population Health at New York University's Langone Medical Center.
"Synthetic marijuana users have different profiles from other NPS
users," he said "They are resorting to using it as a legal replacement
for marijuana as a means of avoiding arrest, especially minorities.
Other NPS users, especially clubbers and ravers, may be taking them unwittingly, Palamar added, pointing a finger especially at "Molly,"
which is supposed to be pure MDMA in powder form, but often isn't.
"Molly is the biggest system of unintentional NPS use that ever came
around," said Palamar. "A lot of the drug users, especially Molly users,
are unknowingly taking NPSs.
(The Erowids helpfully pointed out that there are a number of web sites
where users can submit their Molly for testing, including one they run
at EcstasyData.org (http://www.ecstasydata.org).)
There are other options for dealing with NPSs beyond the extremes of prohibition on the one hand and laissez-faire on the other. In some
cases, it may be politically feasible to simply legalize the currently prohibited drug they are imitating.
Roger Goodman, chairman of the Washington state House Public Safety
Committee and senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said that
legalizing weed is a start.
"By legalizing marijuana, we have no problem with synthetic marijuana,"
said Goodman. "No one wants to use that. We have a rational regulatory approach. Prohibition is in the past for us. Marijuana is a good first
step for us. We know better than to impose prohibition and outlaw any particular substance."
Legalizing marijuana more widely could put a real dent in the synthetic cannabinoids market, but there is no immediate prospect for legalizing
drugs such as meth, cocaine, and the psychedelics and putting a dent in
the market for other NPSs that way. That means if we're not going to
prohibit them and we're not going to ignore them, we're going to have to regulate them.
That's what New Zealand did with its 2013 law, which transformed
unregulated "legal highs" into regulated "legal highs" sold with labels
at established stores. Drug makers were required to submit their
products for testing and labeling before they could be approved for
"I really look to the New Zealand law," said Goodman. "It provided for licensing and testing, and it got rid of the criminal actors. It seemed
like a very rational way to go."
"That model would encourage manufacturers to make safer products," DPA's
But, alas, the New Zealand law is no more. It was overturned and
with a more prohibitionist retrenchment a year later amidst complaints
that drug users were getting high and hanging around the dope shops like
winos in front of liquor stores. That is a lesson for legalizers (or regulators) here. Not only are progressive drug reforms difficult to
enact, they also sometimes require a strong defense.
bliss -- Cacao Powered... (-SF4ever at DSLExtreme dot com)
bobbie sellers - a retired nurse in San Francisco
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of cacao that the thoughts acquire speed,
the thighs acquire girth, the girth become a warning.
It is by theobromine alone I set my mind in motion."
--from Someone else's Dune spoof ripped to my taste.