Reconciled Farm Bill to Include Provisions Lifting Federal Hemp Ban

WASHINGTON, DC — House and Senate lawmakers have agreed in principle to a reconciled version of H.R. 2: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill), which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp.

The hemp-specific provisions – which Senate Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) included in the Senate version of the bill, but were absent from the House version – amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce.

The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. (See page 1182, Section 12608: ‘Conforming changes to controlled substances act.’) Certain cannabinoid compounds extracted from the hemp plant would also be exempt from the CSA.

House and Senate lawmakers still need to vote on the engrossed version of the Act, which they are expected to do later this month. Passage of the bill would allow state governments, rather than the federal governments, to be the primary regulators of hemp and hempen products.

Senator McConnell previously shepherded hemp-related language (Section 7606) in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill, permitting states to establish hemp research and cultivation programs absent federal approval.

majority of states have now enacted legislation to permit such programs.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

A thick marijuana bud sits near to harvest time.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Zealand passes laws to make medical marijuana widely available (Guardian)

// Evicted tenant welcomed back as landlord revisits medical marijuana policy (Buffalo News)

// Read: Here’s The Final 2018 Farm Bill That Will Legalize Hemp (Marijuana Moment)

These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 100,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to to learn more about this very cool company!

// Line still out the door three weeks after NETA’s opening day (WWLP 22 News)

// Ohio activates first 1,000 medical marijuana cards (Springfield News-Sun)

// Michigan approves 24 more medical marijuana licenses (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Nevada awards 61 more recreational marijuana dispensary licenses (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

// Cuomo to reveal ‘green new deal’ with marijuana on state’s 2019 agenda (Crain’s New York Business)

// Chart: Significant challenges await Iowa’s new medical cannabis program (Marijuana Business Daily)

// A Struggling Desert Town Bets Its Future on Pot (New York Times)

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Teen cannabis use is not without risk to cognitive development — ScienceDaily

Although studies have shown that alcohol and cannabis misuse are related to impaired cognition in youth, previous studies were not designed to understand this relationship and differentiate whether cannabis use was causal or consequential to cognitive impairment. A new study by researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine and Université de Montréal, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that beyond the role of cognition in vulnerability to substance use, the concurrent and lasting effects of adolescent cannabis use can be observed on important cognitive functions and appear to be more pronounced than those observed for alcohol.

Beyond acute intoxicating effects, alcohol and cannabis misuse has been associated with impairments in learning, memory, attention and decision-making, as well as with lower academic performance. “While many studies have reported group differences in cognitive performance between young users and non-users, what had yet to be established was the causal and lasting effects of teen substance use on cognitive development,” said co-author and PhD student at Université de Montréal, Jean-François G. Morin. Senior author and investigator Dr. Patricia Conrod, from the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal, added that “very few studies are designed to look at this question from a developmental perspective. Our study is unique in that it followed a large sample of high school students from 7th to 10th grade using cognitive and substance-use measures. Using this big-data approach, we were able to model the complex nature of the relationship between these sets of variables.”

To understand the relationship between alcohol, cannabis use and cognitive development among adolescents at all levels of consumption (abstinent, occasional consumer or high consumer), the research team followed a sample of 3,826 Canadian adolescents over a period of four years. Using a developmentally sensitive design, the authors investigated relationships between year-to-year changes in substance use and cognitive development across a number of cognitive domains, such as recall memory, perceptual reasoning, inhibition and working memory. Multi-level regression models were used to simultaneously test vulnerability and concurrent and lasting effects on each cognitive domain. The study found that vulnerability to cannabis and alcohol use in adolescence was associated with generally lower performance on all cognitive domains.

“However, further increases in cannabis use, but not alcohol consumption, showed additional concurrent and lagged effects on cognitive functions, such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory and inhibitory control,” Conrod said. “Of particular concern was the finding that cannabis use was associated with lasting effects on a measure of inhibitory control, which is a risk factor for other addictive behaviours, and might explain why early onset cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions.” Morin added: “Some of these effects are even more pronounced when consumption begins earlier in adolescence.”

In a context where policies and attitudes regarding substance use are being reconsidered, this research highlights the importance of protecting youth from the adverse effects of consumption through greater investment in drug-prevention programs.

“It will be important to conduct similar analyses with this cohort or similar cohorts as they transition to young adulthood, when alcohol and cannabis use become more severe,” Conrod said. “This might be particularly relevant for alcohol effects: while this study did not detect effects of teen alcohol consumption on cognitive development, the neurotoxic effects may be observable in specific subgroups differentiated based on the level of consumption, gender or age.” Morin added: “We also want to identify if these effects on brain development are related to other difficulties such as poor academic performance, neuroanatomical damage, and the risk of future addiction or mental health disorders.”

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Amir K. Went All-in on His Dreams and Now is One of L.A.’s Adored Comedians

A black snap-back hat and a black hooded sweatshirt are part of Amir K’s signature style and current wardrobe as he welcomes me into his home office. Outfitted with acoustic foam and haphazard recording equipment, he’s appropriately named the space “placebo studios.” The outside rain makes it surprisingly cozy.  [Laughs] “We got a candle, we got some ambiance.” We waste no time getting settled. With nightly spots at the local clubs and headlining road gigs almost every weekend, Amir is a tough guy to pin down. Fortunately, we were able to kick back, have a chat, and hit a vape with him while pondering the depths of risk taking, making pipes out Legos, and pursuing your dreams.

One thing a lot of people struggle with is listening to their own true calling. What helped you listen to your inner compass, leave the security of a nine-to-five, and feel confident pursuing a career in comedy?

I think comedy was always there, man. My goal was to always have a career in comedy, I just didn’t know how I was going to get there.

You saw stand-up as an option for a career but never took it seriously.

When I was younger I was always the class clown, but the idea of being a comedian was pushed so far out of my mind because I was raised by immigrant parents. Their expectation, of course, was that I’d become a doctor or a lawyer.

But it’s not just immigrants. A lot of people can relate to thinking a career in the arts isn’t an option, isn’t for them, despite having aspirations to pursue one.

When you’re young, it’s such a far away dream. You don’t think it’s for you. You think other people do that. That’s sort of the mentality when you’re a kid. Coupled with parents who moved here from another country, it was just a far away thought early on. But it’s just bullshit you say to yourself growing up. I would lie to myself going to school saying “I gotta do this for my parents,” but knowing what I know now, there’s no other option. You only get one life. Why waste it unhappy, trying to appease your parents?

What helped you overcome your fear of going against what your parents wanted for you?

It was more the fear of failing. I did a couple open mics when I was 18-years-old and after I put my foot in and tested the water, I realized how awesome a career in stand-up could be. But to take the leap of going all-in was so scary. Because it’s like, “what if I’m not good enough?” and then “now what?” If I go all the way in and I’m not good enough at this, now what?

So it was knowing the alternative was something you didn’t want to do, which helped push you forward.

When the market tanked in 2007, it was a blessing in disguise for me. It pushed me to go all-in on stand-up. It was my “now or never” moment. I could try and re-up my real estate business, or I could say “fuck it,” move up to LA and go all-in. So that’s what I did in 2008. I left everything behind and moved to LA.

It’s one little thing you think sucks at the time, but it makes you go. I’m so glad I had that experience. I was 27. And you could always say “I wish I started when I was younger” but everybody has their own way. The good thing was, I came into comedy with a bunch of stuff to pull from and a bunch of life experience to talk about. So I wasn’t just an 18-year-old kid talking about jacking off.

Let’s talk about your creative process.

Usually, I’ll have a seed of an idea or character, then I’ll work with it on stage and see what comes out. And then find the beats and refine it from there. I should be a little bit more meticulous about writing my jokes down, but a lot of times I’ll just have them in my head. And when that blends with some riff and it lands, it’s dope. Ultimately, it comes down to owning your point of view and delivering it in a confident manner. When I’m all the way in my bag, it’s stream of consciousness.

When did you first smoke weed?

Weed’s been a part of my life for a minute. The first time I got high was with my cousin Ben. We weren’t related by blood, but when you’re Iranian, close friends are considered family. We would skate together all the time and one day he brought some weed. I was in fifth or sixth grade and he was a few years older. We smoked out of a pipe made of Legos. We were young and dumb. We put a tinfoil screen on the end and poked holes in it. A mixture of dirt weed, melting plastic and aluminum foil, what could be better?

I’m sure the makers of legos and your parents never thought that’s what Legos would be used for.

[Laughs] For sure. They say necessity is the mother of invention. We needed a pipe, and at that time, Legos were what we had.

What city outside Los Angeles has great pot?

Everyone thinks they have the best herb, but from my experience, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Denver, those places are good.

Do you have a favorite strain?

I tend to like sativas or sativa-dominant hybrids. I don’t stick to any one strain in particular. Anything that stimulates my brain and keeps me active, I like.

What role does cannabis play in your life today?

I smoke on a pretty regular basis. It helps me deal with anxiety and focus on the creative. I think there’s always been a cool crossover between cannabis and stand-up comedy culture. I love having friends in both industries. Like last night, I’m in the greenroom at the Comedy Store and my homies at ABX – AbsoluteXtracts – came through and laced everybody up. For the most part, we all share the same good vibe.

You can be in any city and an audience member’s going to come out with a joint after the show and ask if you want to smoke. I love that.

Follow @amircomedy and check out his site for tickets and tour dates.

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Utah Lawmakers Replace Voter-Initiated Medical Cannabis Law

Utah flag flying at state capitol

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Lawmakers voted in a special legislative session on Monday to replace the state’s voter-initiated medical cannabis access program.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill, House Bill 3001, into law that same day. The new law, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, takes immediate effect.

The former law, Proposition 2, was approved by 53 percent of voters on November 6.

Legislators announced in October their intent to rewrite the legislation, prior to its passage, after meetings with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – who opposed the bill – and other groups, including some backers of the original bill.

However, other proponents of Proposition 2, including the group TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education), have announced their intent to file a lawsuit in response to lawmakers’ decision to amend the law.

The replacement legislation significantly differs from the language that was approved by the voters. It eliminates patients’ option to home cultivate cannabis, it prohibits the dispensing of either processed flower or edible cannabis products (oils, capsules, or topicals are permitted), it narrows the list of qualifying conditions, and it significantly reduces the total number of permissible state-licensed dispensaries, among other changes.

Members of the House voted 60 to 13 in favor of the new language. Members of the Senate voted 22 to 4. The bill required two-thirds support from both chambers in order to become law.

The vote to rewrite the voter-initiated law broke down largely along party lines, with Republican lawmakers deciding in favor of the change and Democratic members largely voting ‘present.’

An alternative measure backed by members of the Democratic Caucus that sought to make only minor administrative changes to the initiative was defeated.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

A black and white shot of five vape pens laying next to one another on a white table and background.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Is a Tobacco Giant Trying to Take Over the Vape Pen Market? (Leafly)

// Salem marijuana retail store won’t take walk-ins, says they’re cash-only (MassLive)

// Senate Votes To Send Hemp Legalization To President Trump’s Desk (Marijuana Moment)

These headlines are brought to you by Sure Lock Packaging, a consumer packaging design firm specializing in the worlds of food, medical, and consumer products. Their packaging is well-designed and is available for both retail order and wholesale purchase. If you need smart packaging options for your legal marijuana products, look no further than Sure Lock Packaging!

// UK Lawmakers Reject Marijuana Legalization In House Of Commons Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// Boston councilors consider whether marijuana, liquor stores should be banned near addiction treatment centers (

// BDS Analytics Launches Industry’s First Cannabis Retail Price Index, Cannabis Consumer Sales Report (Cision PRNewswire)

// House OKs killing required arrest records for medical pot owners (Detroit News)

// Scientists search for marijuana’s holy grail – consistent highs (NBC News)

// Small cannabis growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licenses (Montreal Gazette)

// For Big Tobacco and Brewers, Grass Is Greener (New York Times)

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Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
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But newly uncovered compounds could explain different pharmacological effects — ScienceDaily

A rose by any other name is still a rose. The same, it turns out, can be said for cannabis.

Newly published research from UBC’s Okanagan campus has determined that many strains of cannabis have virtually identical levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), despite their unique street names.

“It is estimated that there are several hundred or perhaps thousands of strains of cannabis currently being cultivated,” says Professor Susan Murch, who teaches chemistry at UBC Okanagan. “We wanted to know how different they truly are, given the variety of unique and exotic names.”

Cannabis breeders have historically selected strains to produce THC, CBD or both, she explains. But the growers have had limited access to different types of plants and there are few records of the parentage of different strains.

“People have had informal breeding programs for a long time,” Murch says. “In a structured program we would keep track of the lineage, such as where the parent plants came from and their characteristics. With unstructured breeding, which is the current norm, particular plants were picked for some characteristic and then given a new name.”

Until now, the chemical breakdown of many strains has been unknown because of informal breeding.

Elizabeth Mudge, a doctoral student working with Murch and Paula Brown, Canada Research Chair in Phytoanalytics at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, examined the cannabinoid — a class of chemical compounds that include THC and CBD — profiles of 33 strains of cannabis from five licensed producers.

The research shows that most strains, regardless of their origin or name, had the same amount of THC and CBD. They further discovered that breeding highly potent strains of cannabis impacts the genetic diversity within the crop, but not THC or CBD levels.

However, Mudge says that they found differences in a number of previously unknown cannabinoids — and these newly discovered compounds, present in low quantities, could be related to pharmacological effects and serve as a source of new medicines.

“A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn’t necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains,” says Mudge. “Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community.”

Currently licensed producers are only required to report THC and CBD values. But Murch says her new research highlights that the important distinguishing chemicals in cannabis strains are not necessarily being analysed and may not be fully identified.

Murch says while patients are using medical cannabis for a variety of reasons, they actually have very little information on how to base their product choice. This research is a first step towards establishing an alternative approach to classifying medical cannabis and providing consumers with better information.

Murch’s research was recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

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Materials provided by University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. Original written by Patty Wellborn. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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America’s marijuana map: how things might change after the midterms | US news

America’s slow burn towards cannabis legalisation continues at the midterms as four states will vote on ballots featuring medicinal and recreational initiatives. Michigan and North Dakota will decide whether to make the drug legal while Utah and Missouri will vote on its medicinal uses. Polls are suggesting that all four ballots are likely to pass.

With two-thirds of Americans now pro-legalisation, it’s fair to say that attitudes have relaxed since the fears of ‘Reefer Madness’ in the late 1930s, making marijuana a rare issue where party politics don’t divide. This should result in an easy win politically to please constituents and generate a lot in tax revenue.

Despite Canada recently legalising marijuana at a national level, America is still yet to progress past the state-level. However, at the midterms, voters will be able to push America further towards its tipping point on federally legalised cannabis. Until then, here’s the current lay of the land.




















































  • These nine states and Washington DC have already legalized weed. Although Washington DC and Vermont are yet to legalise sales, you are allowed to grow and possess your own.

  • Where it’s legal for medical purposes

    Twenty-two additional states allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients who have PSTD, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, cancer or other medical conditions.

  • The states about to vote on cannabis leglisation

    These are the four states that will vote on 6 November. If they pass in Michigan and North Dakota, 1 in 4 Americans will have legal access to weed. Meanwhile, if Utah and Missouri pass their ballots, medical marijuana will accessible in over 50% of all states.

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Former President of the Philippines Reveals She Uses Medical Marijuana

The Philippines has seen a rapid reversal in attitudes towards cannabis among its political elite. President Rodrigo Duarte joked that the stuff helps him stay alert last year. On Tuesday, former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo hyped marijuana’s power to vanquish her persistent neck pain.

“As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put [on] a pain patch,” Arroyo told ABS CBN News. “But here in the Philippines I cannot do it.” Macapagal — the country’s former president — is one of the co-authors of House Bill 6517 a.k.a. the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Bill.

“I authored that bill because I believe that it can help me and many other people but there was a lot of objection to the bill from the House and from the Senate,” Arroyo told reporters. “That’s why we are just letting the legislative process take its course.”

Her neck pain bombshell may be seen as a further motivator for her fellow legislators, who are considering the bill for passage during the current congressional session.

It will not meet any resistance in the presidential palace. Duarte, well known for his horrific battle against low-level drug dealers and users at the start of his administration, recently and jocularly mentioned to the press that cannabis is what helps him make it through grueling conference schedules.

When the press, baffled by this seemingly dramatic turnaround, questioned his staff about the president’s policy views on cannabis, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “The president already made a statement that he’s in favor of limited use of marijuana… logically, then he will support… and sign any bill that would be consistent with his stand.”

Arroyo’s HB 6517 would authorize the medicinal use by qualifying adults of cannabis in all forms except flower. There has been some debate over whether the legislation is necessary. Senate president Vicente Sotto III points out that Republic Act 9165, a.k.a. the Comprehensive Dangerous Act, states that lawmakers must “achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”

In October 2017, the Philippines’ FDA disclosed that it had been receiving on average 50 applications a month for medical marijuana use. As of September of 2017, it had approved 558 applications.

Sotto is unconvinced that the current and former presidents’ revelations merited brand-new legislation with such a pre-existing framework. “There is no need to pass a law since it is allowed already,” he told the Manila Times.

The island nation’s Miss Universe Catriona Gray is among those who have spoken out in favor of legalizing cannabis. “I’m for it being used in a medical use,” she commented in the pageant’s question and answer round, before winning the crown.

Neither the existing nor proposed bill decriminalizes marijuana beyond medicinal usage — notable in a country that has seen its president launch bloody police campaigns against street-level users and dealers.

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Crackdowns on Heroin, Pain Pills Gave Rise to Fentanyl Overdose Epidemic

new report on illicit US drug markets from researchers at the University of San Francisco has found that that the spread of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid implicated in nearly 29,000 overdose deaths last year alone, is tied to enforcement-driven shortages of heroin and prescription opioids, as well simple economics for drug distributors — not because users particularly desire the drug.

Illicit fentanyl has swept through American drug markets in waves — the super strong “China white” heroin of the 1970s was actually a heroin-fentanyl mixture — most recently in the past decade after rising levels of opioid addiction and the spread of “pill mills” prompted multifaceted moves to restrict opioid prescribing.

From a drug distributor’s perspective, fentanyl is a most excellent substitute for heroin or prescription pain pills. Produced entirely in labs or chemical factories, it is far more powerful and cheaper to produce than heroin. Because it’s more potent, it is easier to smuggle — often coming into the US via postal and delivery service parcels, not by the semi load. And it doesn’t require months of growing time and period of intense peasant labor in lawless regions of weak states.

Fentanyl is typically sold deceptively — marketed as heroin or prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Xanax — and users and street-level dealers often don’t even know that the drugs they are using or selling contain fentanyl, the researchers found. Fentanyl is making its way into the supply chain at the wholesale, not the retail level. That, the researchers said, suggests that demand is not the key driver in the drug’s spread.

“Fentanyl is rarely sold as fentanyl,” said Sarah Mars, PhD, a researcher in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF. “The dealers selling fentanyl directly to the users often don’t know what’s in it. Not only is this particularly dangerous, but it also means penalizing low-level dealers isn’t going to make any difference in the fentanyl poisoning epidemic.”

According to Mars, users are split on fentanyl, which produces a more sudden and powerful high than heroin, but one that fades faster. Some said fentanyl brought back the euphoria they had lost the ability to feel with long-term heroin use, but others said they feared fentanyl and found its effects too harsh.

“Whether or not they prefer fentanyl, users don’t have any influence over what drugs are being sold,” Mars said. “Without accurate information about these drugs, they can’t make an informed choice about what they are buying. Also, very little drug slang has developed to describe fentanyl, which lends support to the notion that this is not a demand-driven epidemic.”

The presence of drugs adulterated with fentanyl is uneven, Mars said.

“Most of the illicit fentanyl has been in the Northeast and Midwest,” she specified. And that’s where opioid overdose death rates are the highest.

Another contributing factor to the fentanyl overdose toll is that it has dozens of analogs with wildly varying potency. Some, like carfentanil, are amazingly powerful, as much as 10,000 times as potent as morphine. Some are so new they have not yet been made illegal.

“We believe it’s the fluctuation in the potency of the drugs containing fentanyl that makes them so dangerous,” said Daniel Ciccarone, MD, MPH, a professor of family and community medicine at UCSF and senior author of an ongoing National Institutes of Health-funded study, Heroin in Transition. “You might have one dose that had hardly any fentanyl in it or none at all. Then, you might have one with a different fentanyl analog, of different potency, or even mixtures of multiple fentanyls and heroin.”

Here is the paradox of drug prohibition: Trying to crack down on drugs tends to lead not to less drug use but to more dangerous drugs, and in the case of opioids, tens of thousands of dead drug users. There is an inexorable logic at play: The more law enforcement comes down on a drug, the greater the tendency for suppliers to make it more potent and compact — and dangerous.

Perhaps that’s why we now see mainstream calls for a radically different approach, such as the one from Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle earlier this week. In her column “The Incredibly Unpopular Idea That Could Stem Heroin Deaths,” McArdle argues that current drug policy is only running up the overdose death toll and that we need “to start talking about ways to make safe, reliable doses of opiates available to addicts who aren’t ready to stop.”

That would involve increasing access to opioid substitutes such as methadone and buprenorphine, “but lowering the death toll may require a more drastic step: legalizing prescriptions of stronger opiates,” McArdle writes.

“Prescription heroin?” she continues. “Remember, I said you might not like the solution. I don’t like it, either — and frankly, neither do the drug policy researchers who told me it may be necessary. But when fentanyl took over the US illicit drug markets, it also got a lot of addicts as hostages. We’ll never be able to rescue them unless we can first keep them alive long enough to be saved.”

There is a better way to deal with the opioid crisis than relegating tens of thousands of American opioid users to early, preventable deaths. We know what it is. Now it’s a matter of implementing smarter, more humane policies, and that’s an ongoing political struggle — one where lives are literally at stake.

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from and was first published here.

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