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Fentanyl Maker Donates $500,000 to Anti-Pot Legalization Campaign

Fentanyl Maker Donates $500,000 to Anti-Pot Legalization Campaign Author: Shernide Delva

A pharmaceutical company that manufactures a form of the painkiller fentanyl made a $500,000 contribution towards an anti-pot legalization campaign. Pro-marijuana reform advocates believe the company may be trying to “kill a non-pharmaceutical market for marijuana in order to line their own pockets.”

It would be hard to imagine a more controversial donor than Insys Therapeutics Inc. The company, based in Chandler, Arizona, makes a fentanyl sublingual spray called Subsys. Many argue that drug companies like Insys Therapeutics Inc., are eager to keep cannabis illegal to dominate the market with their often dangerous and addictive drugs. The donation from Insys Therapeutics Inc. makes up more than a third of all the funds raised by the group. Advocates for marijuana legalization criticized the contribution, citing a variety of legal issues around the company Insys.

Advocates for marijuana legalizations criticized the contribution, citing a variety of legal issues around the company Insys.

“[Our opponents] are now funding their campaign with profits from the sale of opioids—and maybe even the improper sale of opioids,” said J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

“We hope that every Arizonan understands that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is now a complete misnomer. Their entire campaign is tainted by this money. Any time an ad airs against Proposition 205, the voters should know that it was paid for by highly suspect Big Pharma actors.”

In addition to selling Subsys, Insys Therapeutics Inc. has developed Syndros, a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The drug received approval from the FDA in July 2016 for the treatment of AIDS and cancer patients.

Still, while the contribution is a victory for the opposition, the initiative itself remains a contest for either side to claim. A recent poll found that 50% of Arizona voters favor

While the contribution is a victory for the opposition, the initiative itself remains a contest for either side to claim. A recent poll discovered 50 percent of registered Arizona voters favor legalization, 40 percent oppose the measure, and 10 percent are undecided

Insys said in a statement that its opposition to the legalization of cannabis was “because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.”

Furthermore, there have been studies revealing some negative health effects of marijuana. Some of these studies link marijuana to a variety of side effects.

In a report from the American Medical Association, they stated:

“Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ, and use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood and psychotic thought disorders.”

Many in opposition to marijuana legalization believe the drug can be addictive for some people. Also, some worry about the easy-access child may have to the drug if legalized.

Proposition 205: The Final Verdict

On November 8, 2016, Arizona residents will vote on the ballot regarding Proposition 205:

  • A “yes” vote supports this measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.
  • A “no” vote opposes this measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.

Marijuana legalization will continue to be a hot topic across the country.  Many believe marijuana legalization would put a strain on the recovery community. Still, when it comes to sobriety, it is up to the individual to commit to the lifestyle of recovery. If you are struggling with any form of addiction, legal or illegal, we can help. Call toll-free today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Bernie Sanders Proposes Bill to End Federal Ban on Marijuana

Bernie Sanders Proposes Bill to End Federal Ban on Marijuana

Author: Shernide Delva

Marijuana reform continues to be a major topic in the presidential campaign and this week, Bernie Sanders went farther than any presidential candidate in supporting marijuana and the fight to end the War on Drugs.  Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate to propose a lift on the federal ban of marijuana. If passed, the bill would give states the right to legalize marijuana without having to go through the federal government.

The bill was introduced on Wednesday and is modeled after a previous bill proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) in 2013. It was reintroduced this year as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. The bill would remove marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list as a Schedule 1 drug.

Drugs like heroin, Ecstasy and LSD are considered schedule 1 drugs and are considered to be the “most dangerous drugs.” Bernie Sanders said during his speech at George Mason University in Virginia that he believed considering a drug like marijuana to be as dangerous as heroin is “absurd.” Bernie Sanders believes that states should be allowed to regulate the sale of marijuana the same way drugs like tobacco and alcohol are regulated and should be able to do so “without the fear of prosecution.”

Legal Marijuana: A Cash-Only Industry

As of right now, states that profit from the legal marijuana industry are not able to use the nation’s banks to do business. Nearly all the banks refuse to take money from marijuana sales or refuse to offer basic checking or credit card services in fear that they’ll be shut down by the federal government. National banks will not do business with marijuana growers, retail shops, medical dispensaries, processors and even employees out of fear of prosecution. If this bill is passed, then this will no longer be a concern.

Until then, the legal marijuana industry is forced to deal with the risks of being a cash only business.  Because marijuana remains a federal Schedule I drug, it makes it illegal for financial institutions that depend on the Federal Reserve System’s money transfer to take any proceeds from marijuana sales.

If Bernie Sander’s bill passes, retailers will have less fears about being robbed and businesses will no longer have to show up at the Washington State Department of Revenue with “boxes and suitcases” stuffed with bills to pay their taxes.

Bernie Sanders believes the bill will be a huge step forward in the movement to grow the economy and restore fairness to the justice system. The bill comes a week after Sanders first proposed reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous substance. He argued that marijuana reform is essential to reform America’s criminal justice system

“In the United States we have 2.2 million people in jail today, more than any other country. And we’re spending about $80 billion a year to lock people up. We need major changes in our criminal justice system – including changes in drug laws,” Sanders said “Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That’s wrong. That has got to change.”

A Gallup poll released last month revealed that 58 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana use. Four states have legalized recreational marijuana: Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Under the Sanders plan, people in these four states would no longer be subject to federal prosecution for using marijuana if the bill is passed.

Marijuana Reform: The Overall Consensus

Changes to states laws regarding marijuana reform have garnered a controversial reaction. It remains a heavily debated topic of discussion. Presidential candidates have varied opinions on the matter and some are unable to make solid choices in regards to their plan of action. Just last week, Donald Trump changed his view on marijuana reform again after going back and forth on his views several times. Hilary Clinton has stated that she is only in support of marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana has been shown to have a variety of health benefits. For example, a recent study showed that marijuana can help treat addiction to stimulants. In addition, many health studies have shown that marijuana is effective in helping patients suffering from cancer and other illnesses.

Still, marijuana is not proven to be 100 percent safe. It can have detrimental effects on developing brains of adolescents and some studies show it can negatively impacts memory.  Additionally, just like any other drug, marijuana can be abused and some people even develop a psychological addiction to the substance.

Ultimately, it is up to voters in states that are considering reform to make the final decision. States like Florida and Ohio have come close. Now, Nevada is in midst of voting marijuana reform. Knowing the reasons for reform can make the choice much easier.

Marijuana reform has positive and negative outcomes, but it is ultimately up to voters in states that are considering reform to make the final decision. It is important to know both sides to the argument before deciding how you personally feel. Remember, any substance, legal or not, can be addictive and if you find yourself abusing a substance like marijuana, it is very important that you seek treatmentIf you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Free and Legal Marijuana Making it to the Streets

Free and Legal Marijuana Making it to the Streets

Author: Justin Mckibben

The state of Oregon last night was ignited, and it was a little more than enthusiasm in the air at midnight as crowds gathered and counted down minutes before lighting up joints in the streets to celebrate today, July 1st, as the first official day marijuana is legal in the state.

This is all part of a growing movement that has sprouted and spread across the west coast of the United States and even popped up in the Midwest and various other areas of the nation.

At midnight hundreds of citizens in Portland, Oregon gathered on the Burnside Bridge in the downtown area and smoked up in honor of the voter approved law passed back in November.

Recreational Cannabis in Oregon

The language presented in the legislation allows for recreational use and for individuals to grow their own plants, although so far shops will not be permitted to sell marijuana. This is expected to change though by next year, despite some lawmakers saying they still seek to block retail distributors.

Regulators will start accepting business license applications in January, with stores slated for next fall. So what many growers have actually done is passed out free samples throughout the area, promoting both the reform and their product, while doing what is necessary to respect the law of the land.

According to the state Liquor Control Commission, residents are permitted to:

  • Smoke privately at aged 21 and older
  • Grow up to 4 plants
  • Possess up to 8 ounces (227 grams) at home
  • Possess 1 ounce outside home

Driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal, and public smoking is also illegal. Strangely there have been no immediate reports of any arrests last night at the Burnside Bridge, despite the very public celebration.

Still, it appears some lawmakers are trying to hold onto what little conservative restrictions they can by combating the approval or cannabis outlet stores.

Regardless it seems like the change has been welcomed with open arms by a lot of the public. Time will tell what kind of impact this revolution has on the community.

Mercy for Marijuana in Miami

Another change came on the other coast, with Florida’s largest county now deeming it unnecessary to jail small time marijuana offenders.

People now caught in Miami-Dade County in possession of small amounts of marijuana will no longer be prosecuted with jail time, but instead will receive civil citations.

A proposal was approved just Tuesday, June 30th allowing police to issue $100 civil citations for someone found to be in possession of anything less than 20 grams of marijuana. Sally Heyman, the County Commissioner insists that her measure is aimed at sparing residents caught with these minor quantities of cannabis from receiving a criminal record, and at the same time reducing the economic burden put on the criminal justice system by imprisoning these low-level drug offenders.

Now this isn’t a guaranteed get-out-of-jail-for-pot-free card. The choice to make an arrest of a citation is still at the individual officers discretion, and police officials are still in the process of developing policies to better outline the circumstances that warrant an arrest.

Laws similar to this have apparently been enacted already in 14 other states, and Florida may soon be on the list for adjusting their drug law. While the state may not be up for such radical reforms as Oregon and others just yet, it appears lawmakers are at least willing to consider the positive impact decriminalization could have on their justice system and their communities.

That being said, what about the vast recovery community in South Florida? Is it possible that legalized marijuana in any of these areas will have an impact on those trying to recover from drug or alcohol addiction? Surely every action creates a reaction, but most recovering addicts and alcoholics will tell you a program of action keeps them from temptation, whether the substance is legal or illicit.

Despite the fact that marijuana is becoming legal in many states, it doesn’t take away from the dangers of any level or drug use, especially for an alcoholic or drug addict. Understanding that no matter what way you ingest it, the effect it has on someone with addiction doesn’t change. But you don’t have to be a victim, there is help for those who still suffer. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

4 Signs the War on Drugs is Ending

4 Signs the War on Drugs is Ending

The “War on Drugs” may have been made “public enemy number one” in 1971 by then-president Richard Nixon but, the hard stance on anti-drug policies that have been implemented by administration after administration have established an American history deeply entrenched in this idea. Ever since Prohibition in 1914, and even before, there has been a position that we need to “fight” against drugs in this country. Lately, however, there have been signs that a new, progressive way of doing things is taking root. Here are 4 signs that the war on drugs is ending.

#1. The Legalization of Marijuana

Recently, Colorado and Washington State have made history by legalizing recreational marijuana – and the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world – to approve the legal regulation of marijuana. This is certainly an indication of the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in the U.S. Alcohol Prohibition repeals began at the state level in the late 1920s, which ultimately led to the repeal of federal Prohibition. In this way, Washington and Colorado are paving the way for change on a national level. It’s noteworthy to mention that 50% of Americans are now in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana.

#2. California Votes to Reform “Three Strikes” Mandatory Minimum Law

Californians are tired of their state’s severe “three strikes” law – and it shows. After nearly 20 years and spending over $20 billion, they voted overwhelmingly to reform the draconian law. Intended to get violent offenders off the street, the law mostly ended up punishing – harshly – those it was not intended to punish. Just as the state set a trend in the 1990s for harsh minimum sentencing laws, it’s possible that their latest, progressive political act will set a new trend across the country.

#3. Harm Reduction Strategies

With the latest macabre trend in drug-related overdoses across the country, states across the nation are opting more and more for what is known as harm reduction solutions. Two effective strategies that are already being enacted in order to reduce overdose deaths are: “911 Good Samaritan” immunity laws, and making available a narcotic antidote.

The 911 Good Samaritan laws make it safe for someone to report a drug overdose or bring someone who is overdosing to the hospital without fear of punishment. This law has now spread to 10 states –California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Washington State – with many others considering adopting it, too.

The narcotic antidote, naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a drug that, if given in time, shortly after an opiate overdose, can reverse the effects and restore normal breathing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report this year crediting the drug with deterring over 10,000 overdose deaths.

#4. Politicians Are Saying No to the War on Drugs

And they’re winning.

Even though vast majority of Americans seem to know that the war on drugs has failed, it has remained a “third rail” issue among elected officials because they don’t want to seem ‘soft on crime.’ This trend began to wane in 2012 with campaigning politicians speaking out against the drug war and still winning elections.

For example, Beto O’Rourke, a supporter of the legalization of marijuana, defeated eight-term incumbent Sylvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary for Texas’s 16th congressional district. Congressman Reyes was a steadfast supporter of the war on drugs and tried to use O’Rourke’s position on pot as a major issue in campaign – which obviously backfired.

Other examples:

  • In the Democratic primary for attorney general in Oregon, Ellen Rosenblum won a (surprising) victory over the favorite, Dwight Holton, in a race during which medical marijuana became a major issue.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is known to be eyeing the presidency, supports the decriminalization of marijuana.
  • Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, is also for marijuana decriminalization.

With politicians of this caliber supporting marijuana decriminalization, this is a clear indication that the political stance on the war on drugs is changing.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.




In The News: Initiative 502 Passed, Now What?

What is Initiative 502?

(As it appeared on the ballot according to

“Initiative 502: This measure would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.”

In a close win of 55 to 45, Initiative 502 has passed (in Washington and Colorado) and will now be taxed and regulated in a similar fashion to cigarettes and alcohol. Here are some things you should know about the rules and regulation of Initiative 502.

  • Adults ages 21 and up may have legal possession of marijuana.
  • Selling marijuana to minors will remain a felony.
  • Washington farmers and businesses will be allowed to apply for special licenses to grow and sell marijuana.
  • Marijuana will only be available in stores that sell no other products, are located at least 1,000 feet from schools, playgrounds, and parks, and do not display marijuana in a way that is visible to the public.
  • State employees will not be involved in growing, distributing, or selling marijuana.
  • State agencies will regulate numbers of stores per county, operating hours, security, quality control, labeling, and other health and safety issues.
  • Restricts advertising and bans advertising in places frequented by youth.
  • Prohibits public use and display of marijuana.
  • Does not allow home growing for people who are not medical marijuana patients.
  • According to the state Office of Financial Management, a new 25% marijuana excise tax, combined with retail sales and B&O tax, will generate more than half a billion dollars in new revenue each year.
  • 40% of the new revenues will go to the state general fund and local budgets.
  • 60% will be dedicated to substance-abuse prevention, research, education and health care.
  • A new marijuana DUI standard that operates like the alcohol DUI standard will be established.
  • I-502 sets a science-based limit of 5ng/ml active THC blood concentration.
  • DUI standard applies only to active THC, which drops below 5 ng/mL within a matter of hours, not the inactive metabolite carboxy-THC that can be detected days, or even weeks, after last use.
  • Police officers still need proof of impairment to make an arrest and take a driver to a medical professional for a blood draw – just like current law.
  •  I-502 does not change Washington’s medical marijuana law – patients still may grow their own marijuana.

Here are some legal points to consider made by criminal defense lawyer Steve Graham:

“1.  Pending Cases
I-502 does not mean that all pending marijuana possession charges will be dismissed.  By its terms, I-502 doesn’t apply retroactively.  However, prosecutors will be left wondering whether there is any point in continuing prosecutions of simple possessions of marijuana.  Jurors are already ambivalent about having to come to court for small, seemingly-harmless marijuana cases.  If Initiative-502 passes, jurors will really be confused about why the government is even bothering to prosecute.  However, you can expect many police officers to continue to cite people for marijuana possession right up to December 6th when the law goes into effect.

2.  Traffic Stops
The passage of I-502 will not mean the end of harassment for marijuana users.  Rather, the battleground for the war on drugs will merely shift.  If you are pulled over for traffic infractions (such as speeding or a broken tail light), you can expect an increased interest by the police in determining whether or not you are “under the influence” of marijuana.  Initiative 502 places a legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter for THC in a person’s blood.  When I first started working as a lawyer in criminal courts in 1994, “marijuana DUI” were almost unheard of.  However, I have defended more and more such cases in the last few years, and the WSP has requested 2 million dollars in extra funding just to enforce I-502′s new 5 nanogram limit.  Many of the arrests for Marijuana DUI will be based on such spurious evidence as the “green tongue” phenomenon.

3.  Medical Marijuana Cards
The passage of I-502 will likely be of some help to medical marijuana patients involved in battles over the legitimacy of their medical card.   Many people charged with possession of marijuana have out-of-state medical cards that aren’t being recognized in Washington.  Likewise many medical marijuana patients find themselves in court because their medical card was expired.  I-502 is likely to help patients fight their legal battles.  This is particularly true in more conservative jurisdictions that have been construing medical marijuana laws very narrowly.

4.   Selling Marijuana / Buying Marijuana
Pete Holmes, the city attorney for Seattle has promised that the passage of Initiative 502 will mean that “adults will be able to buy an ounce of marijuana at a retail store confident that it was produced in Washington free of herbicides pesticides, mold or other contaminants.  502 will thus be a boon to Washington agriculture.”  This will not happen in the short term, and will never occur until the federal government liberalizes its policies toward marijuana.  Despite the limited decriminalization in Washington, the possession or selling marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Anyone attempting to open up a “state-licensed” store will face overwhelming legal obstacles, and will face federal prosecution.  If you have a current pending charge for the delivery of marijuana, I-502 will likely not be of much assistance to you.

5.   Marijuana Possession at the U.S. Border
When travelers are searched at the border entering from Canada, the possession of marijuana can lead to charges in state court, and this can be an absolute nightmare for travelers.  Although it is a felony under federal law to import even small quantities of marijuana, these charges are almost always referred to State court for prosecution. With the passage of Initiative 502, the State courts will have difficulty prosecuting such cases. It is unlikely that the federal prosecutors will bother with such small amounts. People caught with small amounts of marijuana at the border will likely face a small civil penalty and will be served with papers barring the person from ever re-entering the U.S.”

Is this really the best thing for the overall health of Americans?

In my personal opinion I don’t feel that people should see the legalization of Marijuana use for patients-only or recreational use as an endorsement of marijuana as a safe drug. Marijuana like any other mood altering drug can and will be abused and people can become addicted. The legalization of marijuana is just another step taken towards desensitizing people towards the real dangers of this drug. Those using marijuana might see this as a victory gained but the real issue still remains. What about those people who become addicted, whose lives are dictated by the consumption of this drug? It’s not drastic to say that marijuana is a sinister drug that slowly sheds years off of people’s lives. Heavy users of marijuana often find themselves depressed, anxious and with low immune systems.

How do you feel about the passing of Initiative 502? Do you think marijuana will be legalized nationwide one day? Please share your thoughts.

If you or a loved one is in need of drug, alcohol or marijuana addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.

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