GTTF testimony draws link back to drugs looted from Baltimore pharmacies in 2015 riot after Freddie Gray funeral

On Thursday, a Baltimore bail bondsman said a member of the city’s Gun Trace Task Force arrived at his home with two trash bags full of looted prescription drugs amid the April 2015 riots and looting.

The testimony on Thursday, in which Donald C. Stepp said Sgt. Wayne Jenkins made near-nightly trips to Stepp’s county home to drop off drugs, adds an additional layer to our understanding of the looting of pharmacies and businesses in the hours after Freddie Gray’s funeral.

GTTF testimony draws link back to drugs looted from Baltimore pharmacies in 2015 riot after Freddie Gray funeral – Baltimore Sun

Dirty, corrupt cops stealing and selling drugs.
No wonder Baltimore is such a shit show!

Family of opioid-addicted Vermont mother, 30, sues police over her death

Video of Linsenmeir after her arrest shows her asking for water and telling police that it felt like her chest was caving in and that she was in pain.

‘I might need to go the hospital,’ she said.

Instead of being taken to the hospital, Linsenmeir was taken to the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center, the family says. 

The family says she repeatedly told staff there she was sick and needed medical help but was told ‘the situation was her own fault for using drugs’.

Family of opioid-addicted Vermont mother, 30, sues police over her death | Daily Mail Online

mmmhmmm, a culture that allows police to be self-righteous kills.

Man arrested for smoking marijuana while in court for marijuana charge

Boston, 20, was in court Monday in Wilson County, Tennessee, facing a simple marijuana possession charge, according to Wilson County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Scott Moore. But as he stood to face Judge Haywood Barry, he began expressing his views on why weed should be legalized.

And to amplify his point, he reached into his jacket and slipped out a single marijuana cigarette. He then pulled out a box of matches and, you guessed it, lit it up.

Man arrested for smoking marijuana while in court for marijuana charge – CNN

impressive.

Santa Cruz decriminalizes magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics

The Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that makes investigating and arresting people 21 and older for using or possessing psychoactive plants and fungi among the lowest priorities for law enforcement.

Tuesday’s resolution doesn’t necessarily make it legal to use or possess natural psychedelics, but it does mean that the city won’t be using resources to investigate or arrest people for doing so. People could still face penalties for the sale or cultivation of those substances.

Santa Cruz decriminalizes magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics – CNN

hmmm

The medications that change who we are – BBC Future

We’re all familiar with the mind-bending properties of psychedelic drugs – but it turns out ordinary medications can be just as potent. From paracetamol (known as acetaminophen in the US) to antihistamines, statins, asthma medications and antidepressants, there’s emerging evidence that they can make us impulsive, angry, or restless, diminish our empathy for strangers, and even manipulate fundamental aspects of our personalities, such as how neurotic we are.

…One reason medications can have such psychological clout is that the body isn’t just a bag of separate organs, awash with chemicals with well-defined roles – instead, it’s a network, in which many different processes are linked.

For example, scientists have known for a while that the medications used to treat asthma are sometimes associated with behavioural changes, such as an increase in hyperactivity and the development of ADHD symptoms.

…The list of potential culprits includes some of the most widely consumed drugs on the planet, meaning that even if the effects are small at an individual level, they could be shaping the personalities of millions of people. 

…Mischkowski’s own research has uncovered a sinister side-effect of paracetamol. For a long time, scientists have known that the drug blunts physical pain by reducing activity in certain brain areas, such as the insular cortex, which plays an important role in our emotions. These areas are involved in our experience of social pain, too.

…The results revealed that paracetamol significantly reduces our ability to feel positive empathy – a result with implications for how the drug is shaping the social relationships of millions of people every day.

…But Golomb’s most unsettling discovery isn’t so much the impact that ordinary drugs can have on who we are – it’s the lack of interest in uncovering it. “There’s much more of an emphasis on things that doctors can easily measure,” she says, explaining that, for a long time, research into the side-effects of statins was all focused on the muscles and liver, because any problems in these organs can be detected using standard blood tests.

The medications that change who we are – BBC Future

Not sure why this would be surprising or counter-intuitive.

Waking the Giants: Progressive DAs

His office has ended bail payments for nonviolent offenders; reduced the supervision of parolees; decriminalized marijuana possession; opened a sentencing review board to evaluate past cases and sentences; pushed for safe-injection sites to lessen the rate of opioid overdose; and diverted low-level drug offenses, some gun violations, and some prostitution cases from criminal prosecution to addiction treatment or other social-service programs. Krasner’s office has also given priority to reforming the police force, reportedly compiling a list of officers with a history of abuses like violence, racial profiling, or civil-rights violations.

…Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore have gained national attention for the reforms their new DAs have enacted.

Krasner and other DAs are at work remaking a criminal-justice system focused on fairness, rehabilitation, and community. They are providing admirable examples of how to resist Trump’s politics of fear.

Waking the Giants | Commonweal Magazine

hmmm

Sen. Shaheen named 2019 ‘beer champion’ for brewery support

Shaheen was selected for her leadership in championing policies that provide tax relief for all brewers and beer importers and encouraged free trade.

…New Hampshire is home to 116 breweries, and the beer industry helps create 13,000 jobs in the state.

Shaheen cosponsored the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S. 362) to provide permanent excise tax relief to America’s brewers and beer importers, ensuring they have the resources to reinvest in their businesses, hire new employees and continue to innovate and create America’s favorite beers. She also cosponsored the Aluminum Pricing Examination (APEX) Act (S. 1953) to allow more oversight and investigation into the aluminum market, providing transparency and stability brewers need to can their beer for consumers.

Sen. Shaheen named 2019 ‘beer champion’ for brewery support – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH

hmmm

Pfizer CEO gets 61% pay raise—to $27.9 million—as drug prices continue to climb

As drug giant Pfizer Inc. hiked the price of dozens of drugs in 2017, it also jacked up the compensation of CEO Ian Read by 61 percent, putting his total compensation at $27.9 million.

…The 61 percent raise comes after a string of separate reports noting drug price increases by Pfizer. In January, FiercePharma reported an analysis finding that Pfizer implemented 116 price hikes just between …December 15 [2017] and January 3 [2018.]

…Additionally, Pfizer had increased the prices of 91 drugs by an average of 20 percent in just the first half of 2017.

…In June of 2016, Pfizer raised the list prices of its medicines by an average of 8.8 percent. That followed an average 10.4 percent raise in list prices in January of that year.

Pfizer CEO gets 61% pay raise—to $27.9 million—as drug prices continue to climb | Ars Technica

hmmm

Marijuana Banking Bill Passes House in Historic Vote | National News | US News

The legislation, if ultimately made into law, would protect financial institutions and ancillary firms that serve marijuana businesses from criminal prosecution and other consequences – a long-awaited move that would provide stability and security to the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.

…The bill moved out of the House Financial Committee in March and was sponsored by more than 200 lawmakers at the time of the vote. It is backed by a slew of national banking groups, including the American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, which have pushed Congress to act on the issue for some time. The National Association for State Treasurers, a bipartisan group of more than 30 state attorneys general, and the governors of 20 states have urged Congress to pass the bill.

Marijuana Banking Bill Passes House in Historic Vote | National News | US News

hmmm

Hawaii becomes 26th state to decriminalize marijuana – ABC News

Under the new law, people caught with small amounts of marijuana will no longer face a misdemeanor charge that had been punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Now people caught with 3 ounces or less of weed can still be hit with a citation carrying a $130 fine, but no jail term.

…While Ige took a hands-off approach to decriminalizing pot, he vetoed two other marijuana bills passed by the legislature.

He struck down legislation that would have made it legal for people to transport medical cannabis from island to island, and another bill that would have created an industrial hemp licensing program.

Hawaii becomes 26th state to decriminalize marijuana – ABC News

hmmmm

A new kind of rehab uses human connection to treat addiction — Quartz

The tagline for SeekHealing, the nonprofit she launched in 2018, is “Rethink Rehab.” It is far more radical than a typical addiction-recovery program. Funded by state health organizations and private donations, it’s one of a growing number of initiatives around the world aimed at tackling loneliness, social isolation, and deep-rooted disconnection by helping people develop critical social skills and offering a safe place to practice them, as well as a menu of ways to meet connect, interact, build trust, and give back.

…There’s a growing realization that supply is only part of the problem. Widespread loneliness and despair—from losing jobs to automation and trade, to mental health problems and a dearth of adequate opportunities—drive people to seek the relief that opioids and heroin seem to offer.

…They do not have to aim to be sober, only to improve their relationship with the substance which is causing them harm.  The program refers to addiction as bonding, since we bond to substances or behaviors …when we can’t bond to one another. Relapse is “returning to patterns one is trying to avoid.”

…Listening training, a core educational component of the program, aims to undo the transactional way many people converse—with an intent to fix, solve, be clever, or respond quickly. Instead, the goal is to actually listen without judgement. This creates the conditions which allow the types of interactions that flood the brain with natural opioids and make us feel good.

…Aside from listening training, the calendar is packed with ways of building connection muscles, meeting people, doing things, and learning. There are Sunday meet-ups in West Asheville and connection practice meetings in which facilitators encourage vulnerability and substantive conversation. There are pick-up basketball games, Reiki workshops, art therapy, and Friday night emotional socials (“no substances; no small talk”).

“The whole project is a playground of different ways to help people feel connected in this intentional, non-transactional way,” says Nicolaisen.

…A lack of strong social connection disrupts the balance among the brain circuits that use these feel-good chemicals produced by close relationships. When we are really hungry, Wurzman says, we will eat anything. “Similarly, loneliness creates a hunger in the brain which neurochemically hyper-sensitizes our reward system,” she says.

…“We need to practice social connective behaviors instead of compulsive behaviors,” she says. It is not enough to just teach healthier responses to cues from the social reward system. We have to rebuild the social reward system with reciprocal relationships to replace the drugs which relieve the craving.

“Our culture and communities either create environments that are either full of things that cause addictions to thrive, or full of things that cause relationships to thrive,” Wurzman says.

…SeekHealing offered something those programs couldn’t: access to a world that is not defined by addiction, but connection to others. “I am interested in things I never thought I would be interested in— growing plants, art, poetry,” he says. “Not the violent things I grew up with. I am always looking for new ways to grow.”

He has been sober for one year, and says he now gives way more than he takes—something he notes is remarkable for an addict, who has spent most of his life taking.

…“The epidemic is not to drugs—the epidemic is the loneliness and the pain and the feeling that you can’t belong anywhere,” he says. 

…“Even people who are still using, once they start making connections, the chance of them staying alive, and not OD-ing, and moving into greater levels of service, to maybe using medicine-assisted treatment, and becoming productive members of society increases.” Rather than limit recovery to those who are ready for abstinence, the theory goes, try giving help to those who aren’t ready yet, but may become so. This falls under the approach known as harm reduction, defined by the National Harm Reduction Coalition as “a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with risk-taking.”

…There’s funding for emergency care, which gives anyone at risk of overdosing, whether because they are recently out of detox or because they have had a major negative life event, free access to counseling, acupuncture, work with a program manager, body work, and Lyft rides to the center. No drug tests are required.

…She had been thinking about how to help people heal through real connection and communication—not just because there was such a dearth of services for care after rehab, but also because a lack of social connection affects everyone, and drives people to whatever substance they can find to sate the hunger they feel: Screens, social media, porn, shopping, alcohol, Adderall, heroin.

…She’s a big believer in the importance of rituals and the need to find non-religious ways for those who are not religious to have them. Rituals, she says, are a fundamental human thing, bringing people together. 

A new kind of rehab uses human connection to treat addiction — Quartz

sounds promisingly logical.

Former FDA commissioner says feds need to regulate marijuana – POLITICO

He acknowledged challenges, including cumbersome DEA requirements and the fact that the only federal source of research marijuana, in Mississippi, grows low-quality product and authorizes few researchers to use it, leading researchers to sue for better access.

“These are addressable challenges. Congress can take specific action to enable easier access to cannabis that’s appropriate for medical research,” Gottlieb said. “Ultimately, we need to move past the social stigma around cannabis and address these complex public health and regulatory issues objectively.”

Former FDA commissioner says feds need to regulate marijuana – POLITICO

hmmm

Illinois is going to expunge marijuana convictions from 800,000 criminal records

The state’s new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which takes effect in 2020, allows people to automatically receive clemency for convictions up to 30 grams of cannabis. Those convicted with larger amounts, from 30-500 grams can petition a court to have the charge lifted.

The bill defines expunge to mean to “physically destroy the records or return them to the petitioner and to obliterate the petitioner’s name from any official index or public record, or both.” But it doesn’t require the physical destruction of circuit court files.

The bill also includes a “social equity program,” which makes it easier for those with marijuana convictions to get business licenses. The program also allocates $12 million for startup businesses related to cannabis, as well as funding for job training programs in the state’s cannabis industry, the Marijuana Policy Project says.

The state’s Department of Agriculture and its community college board are creating pilot programs to get people ready to work in the newly legal industry, and the state will require them to focus on enrolling the low income students into those programs.

Illinois is going to expunge marijuana convictions from 800,000 criminal records – CNN

hmmmmm