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Tag: DEA

DEA Helps Investigate Prince’s Death After Prescription Painkillers Found

Prince, via Wikipedia.

Prince, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has been called to help investigate the death of pop superstar Prince after authorities allegedly found prescription painkillers when the musician died.

Newsweek reports that the drugs were found in Prince’s possession at his Paisley Park recording facility and at his home near Minnesota.

It’s still unclear whether the prescription medication played a role in the singer’s death.

The DEA is being asked to determine where the drugs came from and whether Prince had prescriptions for the medication.

Prince’s longtime lawyer L. Londell McMillan insisted the musician was “not on any drugs that would be any cause for concern.”

He said: “Everybody who knows Prince knows he wasn’t walking around drugged up. That’s foolish. No one ever saw Prince and said: ‘He looks high.’ It wasn’t what he was about.”

DEA’s Opportunity to Legalize Hemp

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The DEA announced recently a re-examination of the Schedule I classification of marijuana. This most restrictive classification is reserved for substances which have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Marijuana’s classification in the federal system is anomalous considering that 23 states have legalized it for medical purposes. The states have taken this action even though there has been limited medical research supporting that use. Older research used by legalization proponents was based on the greatly reduced psychoactive content of the substance thirty or forty years ago.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Drug Administration have made recommendations to DEA on reclassification, but these recommendations have not been made public. Advocates of reclassification argue that making it a Schedule II drug would permit more research on its benefits, if any, as a medicine. More research may well also point out the public health dangers it poses. A decision is expected at mid-year.

This review provides an excellent opportunity to re-examine the treatment of hemp as the same schedule as marijuana. There is a substantial argument that hemp should be de-classified entirely because of the host of potential legitimate uses it could have.

The hemp plant has a long history of use around the world. It was used in the Neolithic Age in China to make paper more than 10,000 years ago. Its hardy nature and versatility spread its cultivation until it became one of the most produced agricultural plants in the world. Its uses ranged widely from ropes on ships, clothing, food, and dozens of other products.

It is claimed that Columbus’s ships’ riggings, the Gutenberg Bible, the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and the first American flag were all made of hemp products. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.  During World War II hemp was used to make uniforms and for other military products. The government considered it so important to the war effort that it produced a film entitled “Hemp for Victory” in 1942.

imgres

Hemp’s industrial future crashed in 1972 with its inclusion with marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance making it illegal to grow, sell or possess. There was limited scientific understanding of the psycho-activity of Cannabis varieties in 1972 and, even if that had been known, the difference of THC content between the two was not as dramatic as it is today. The THC content of hemp is .3%. Although marijuana plants averaged about 1-2% in the 1970s, they can easily exceed 20% today. Plus research claims that hemp contains which some scientists believe has an opposing effect both pharmacologically and behaviorally to THC. But these conclusions were unknowns in the 1970s. Few believe hemp poses a risk of abuse today.

Whether it was a reasonable policy at the time to prohibit the production of hemp is subject to debate. Perhaps today’s retrospective analysis of hemp’s aborted future is exaggerated. Maybe hemp’s day was essentially done, and it would have had limited impact in a more complex world of synthetics and agri-business.

But today 30 countries in the world still allow industrial hemp cultivation, and some, like France, Great Britain and Canada, report that in the last two decades it has made a resurgence and that its industrial use having increased by several times. Canadian farmers in particular would be unhappy if their southern neighbor lifted its prohibition. Hemp enthusiasts today claim that the product has an unlimited economic future.

The Agriculture Act of 2014 made it legal for universities to cultivate hemp for research purposes. Twenty-eight states have, likewise, authorized this limited use. This research has demonstrated the utility of hemp in the production of textiles, lotions, shampoo, and many other potential purposes. As renewable energy it is said to reverse the greenhouse effect.

There are factors on both sides on the issue of whether to re-classify marijuana as Schedule II. One factor in favor is that the facilitation of more research may point out the downside to legalization. As a dozen or so of these columns have reported,   recent research supports the conclusion that regular use has serious negative health consequences, especially for young brains.

Whatever the decision on re-classification, this time provides an opportune moment for DEA to legalize hemp. It will benefit farmers, industrialists, consumers and environmentalists. And it will give DEA some much needed credibility in this confusing and often inaccurate public debate over the legalization of marijuana.

Parker: The DEA’s Opportunity to Legalize Hemp

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The DEA announced recently a re-examination of the Schedule I classification of marijuana. This most restrictive classification is reserved for substances which have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Marijuana’s classification in the federal system is anomalous considering that 23 states have legalized it for medical purposes. The states have taken this action even though there has been limited medical research supporting that use. Older research used by legalization proponents was based on the greatly reduced psychoactive content of the substance thirty or forty years ago.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Drug Administration have made recommendations to DEA on reclassification, but these recommendations have not been made public. Advocates of reclassification argue that making it a Schedule II drug would permit more research on its benefits, if any, as a medicine. More research may well also point out the public health dangers it poses. A decision is expected at mid-year.

This review provides an excellent opportunity to re-examine the treatment of hemp as the same schedule as marijuana. There is a substantial argument that hemp should be de-classified entirely because of the host of potential legitimate uses it could have.

The hemp plant has a long history of use around the world. It was used in the Neolithic Age in China to make paper more than 10,000 years ago. Its hardy nature and versatility spread its cultivation until it became one of the most produced agricultural plants in the world. Its uses ranged widely from ropes on ships, clothing, food, and dozens of other products.

It is claimed that Columbus’s ships’ riggings, the Gutenberg Bible, the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and the first American flag were all made of hemp products. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.  During World War II hemp was used to make uniforms and for other military products. The government considered it so important to the war effort that it produced a film entitled “Hemp for Victory” in 1942.

imgres

Hemp’s industrial future crashed in 1972 with its inclusion with marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance making it illegal to grow, sell or possess. There was limited scientific understanding of the psycho-activity of Cannabis varieties in 1972 and, even if that had been known, the difference of THC content between the two was not as dramatic as it is today. The THC content of hemp is .3%. Although marijuana plants averaged about 1-2% in the 1970s, they can easily exceed 20% today. Plus research claims that hemp contains which some scientists believe has an opposing effect both pharmacologically and behaviorally to THC. But these conclusions were unknowns in the 1970s. Few believe hemp poses a risk of abuse today.

Whether it was a reasonable policy at the time to prohibit the production of hemp is subject to debate. Perhaps today’s retrospective analysis of hemp’s aborted future is exaggerated. Maybe hemp’s day was essentially done, and it would have had limited impact in a more complex world of synthetics and agri-business.

But today 30 countries in the world still allow industrial hemp cultivation, and some, like France, Great Britain and Canada, report that in the last two decades it has made a resurgence and that its industrial use having increased by several times. Canadian farmers in particular would be unhappy if their southern neighbor lifted its prohibition. Hemp enthusiasts today claim that the product has an unlimited economic future.

The Agriculture Act of 2014 made it legal for universities to cultivate hemp for research purposes. Twenty-eight states have, likewise, authorized this limited use. This research has demonstrated the utility of hemp in the production of textiles, lotions, shampoo, and many other potential purposes. As renewable energy it is said to reverse the greenhouse effect.

There are factors on both sides on the issue of whether to re-classify marijuana as Schedule II. One factor in favor is that the facilitation of more research may point out the downside to legalization. As a dozen or so of these columns have reported,   recent research supports the conclusion that regular use has serious negative health consequences, especially for young brains.

Whatever the decision on re-classification, this time provides an opportune moment for DEA to legalize hemp. It will benefit farmers, industrialists, consumers and environmentalists. And it will give DEA some much needed credibility in this confusing and often inaccurate public debate over the legalization of marijuana.

Portland Press Herald: Marijuana Doesn’t Belong on DEA’s ‘Most Dangerous’ List

MarijuanaBy Editorial Board
Portland Press Herald

Consensus is growing among Maine physicians that cannabis can effectively treat some medical conditions, and the number of people seeking prescriptions is rising right along with it.

But access to medicinal cannabis is still complicated by federal guidelines that hinder research on the effectiveness of medical marijuana and hamper the development of cannabis-based medications. Federal regulators should finally remove cannabis from the most dangerous class of drugs and enable thousands of doctors and patients to benefit from policymaking grounded in evidence, not outdated fears.

Over 300 doctors and nurse practitioners in Maine certify patients to use medical cannabis. Some have a background in holistic medicine, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Gillian Graham reported this week. Others are skeptics swayed by improvements in patients who were able to trade hundreds of pills a month for medical cannabis.

Both advocates and providers say there aren’t enough caregivers willing to certify patients. Medical practices and doctors are concerned about the lack of evidence in favor of medical cannabis, as well as the lack of Food and Drug Administration approval for cannabis products, the Maine Hospital Association told the Telegram. And since health insurers don’t cover a medication unless it has the FDA’s endorsement, medical cannabis can be financially out of reach even for certified patients.

But the possibility of change is on the horizon. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced last week that it will decide by July whether to remove cannabis from its list of Schedule I drugs: dangerous substances, like heroin and LSD, without any “currently acceptable medical use.”

Of course, this status – which has been in place since 1970 – is self-perpetuating: It discourages scientists from doing the research on dosages, safety and effectiveness that’s needed for a medication to get federal approval. And it deters colleges and universities from funding studies that could be of value to millions.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Employees Seek to Prevent Release of Videos of Lap Dances at Trial

dea-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

DEA employees charged with lying during national security background checks are trying to avoid the embarrassing release of lap dances during their trial.

Civilian employees and a former officials of the DEA are accused of lying about their ownership of a trip club in South Hackensack, N.J.

Now defense attorneys are trying to prevent the government from introducing the lap dance video into evidence, the New York Times reports. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/nyregion/dea-employees-facing-trial-seek-to-bar-lap-dance-video.html

“The prejudicial effect of the videos would be colossal if they are introduced as evidence at trial,” defense lawyers argued in court papers filed on Monday.

Prosecutors want to provide evidence that the defendants used largely illegal immigrants as dancers.

The government wants to show the jury sexually graphic footage of four lap dances recorded at the club.

DEA Investigating 8 Fatal Overdoses of Fentanyl in Sacramento County

pillsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating eight fatal overdoses related to the painkiller fentanyl in Sacramento County over the past month.

“People are getting the message (about the dangers of fentanyl),” Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye told the Sacramento Bee. “The trend we are seeing is very hopeful, but people need to be careful and should not be taking pills that are not from a credible place like a pharmacy.”

Using dozens of investigators, the DEA is trying to track down the sale of the fentanyl pills, which “were masquerading” as other more mild painkillers.

“We are making progress,” said Casey Rettig, a DEA special agent based in San Francisco, who declined to offer more specifics.

The overdoses were first reported on March 23.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Plans to Soon Decide Whether to Reschedule Marijuana to Acknowledge Medicinal Benefits

MarijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For decades, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has no accepted medical use.

Now the DEA may soon decide whether to reclassify marijuana in the first half of 2016, the agency said in a letter to senators, the Huffington Post reports. 

The DEA was responding to a request by eight Democratic senators who want the federal government to conduct more research into marijuana’s medical benefits.

“DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution to these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” DEA said the 25-page letter, obtained by The Huffington Post.

Justice Department Defends Legally Questionable Eavesdropping Program

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is defending the DEA’s legally questionable, disbanded eavesdropping program that often was used by drug officials in the Los Angeles suburbs.

The USA Today reports that the Justice Department implored a judge not to toss out the wiretaps that were used in a marijuana trafficking case, despite earlier objections from government lawyers who believed the practice may have been illegal.

The Justice Department aid the wiretaps were “authorized in accordance with state and federal law.”

The surveillance was used so often that it once counted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps.

The surveillance allowed federal authorities to intercept millions of calls and text messages with a single state court’s approval.

Defense lawyers in the marijuana case said the prosecutors approved “illegal wiretaps with astounding frequency” and urged a judge to dismiss the surveillance.