New York Times

Uruguay’s Marijuana Law Turns Pharmacists Into Dealers

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — The rules are a bit of a buzzkill. Drug users must officially register with the government. Machines will scan buyers’ fingerprints at every purchase, and there are strict quotas to prevent overindulgence. But when Uruguay’s marijuana legalization law takes full effect on Wednesday, getting high will take a simple visit to the pharmacy. As American states legalize marijuana and governments in the hemisphere rethink the fight against drugs, Uruguay is taking a significant step further: It is the first nation in the world to fully legalize the production and sale of marijuana for recreational use. “The great responsibility we have in Uruguay is to show the world that this system of freedom with regulation works better than …

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Massachusetts Court Rules for Woman Fired for Medical Marijuana Use

BOSTON — Massachusetts’ top court on Monday ruled that a woman who had been fired for testing positive for marijuana that she had been legally prescribed under state law could sue her former employer for handicap discrimination. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the former employer’s argument that she could not sue it for handicap discrimination because possessing marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Lawyers for the ex-employee, Christina Barbuto, said the ruling represents a major win for employees in the state and set a precedent that they said could have an impact in other states where medical marijuana is legal. Barbuto had accused Advantage Sales and Marketing of firing her after her first day of work because she tested …

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Smoking Marijuana While Black

New York City was scaling back its stop-and-frisk program even before a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the tactics underlying it violated the constitutional rights of minority citizens. It’s hard not to look at marijuana arrests today without thinking of that saga. Although the city has reduced the number of arrests for low-level marijuana possession, black and Latino New Yorkers are far more likely to be arrested for smoking in public than whites, who are just as likely to use marijuana. These arrests have virtually no public safety benefit and can cause lasting damage to people who often have had no other contact with the criminal justice system. Charges are typically dismissed if people stay out of trouble for …

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States Keep Saying Yes to Marijuana Use. Now Comes the Federal No.

In a national vote widely viewed as a victory for conservatives, last year’s elections also yielded a win for liberals in eight states that legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. But the growing industry is facing a federal crackdown under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has compared cannabis to heroin. A task force Mr. Sessions appointed to, in part, review links between violent crimes and marijuana is scheduled to release its findings by the end of the month. But he has already asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that block the Justice Department from bypassing state laws to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana. That has pitted the attorney general against members of Congress across the political …

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Nevada Rushes to Address Shortage of Newly Legalized Marijuana

The marijuana is flowing again in Nevada. A surge in demand for cannabis, newly legalized in the state, has emptied shelves and caught the industry off guard, spurring state officials into action. Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, endorsed emergency measures late last week designed to increase the flow of marijuana to the state’s 47 licensed retail outlets, some of which have had lines out the door since legal pot was made available at dispensaries on July 1. On Wednesday and Thursday, as fears of a marijuana shortage mounted, regulators announced they would issue the first two marijuana distribution licenses. Deonne E. Contine, the executive director of the Department of Taxation, said in an interview Thursday that the emergency orders, which …

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Marijuana Industry Gears Up After N.J. Candidate Backs Legalization

BELVIDERE, N.J. — Stacks of résumés from retired state troopers sit on a desk just outside the Terra Tech farm here, though the need for experienced armed security appears excessive amid the serene setting and the scent of basil and rosemary growing at the five-acre indoor farm. The troopers, however, are hoping to work for the company’s next major agricultural expansion in New Jersey: marijuana. “They told us, ‘Keep us in mind for when you guys do get that cannabis permit,’” said Mike James, the chief financial officer for Terra Tech, which owns five marijuana farms and dispensaries around the country. The march toward full marijuana legalization has percolated in the state for years and the use of the drug …

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Lawsuit Challenges Kentucky's Medical Marijuana Ban

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers. The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator. Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother. “She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney …

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Hurdles Expected for Utah's Medical Marijuana Research Law

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers balked again this year at joining more than half of all U.S. states and passing a broad medical marijuana law. Instead, they gave state colleges and other institutions a green light to study the medical impacts of the drug with the hope of having comprehensive data by next year. The move, however, glossed over the fact that the studies would likely take years, requiring scientists to navigate layers of bureaucracy that can delay and even discourage research. The slowdown is due to marijuana being considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government, meaning it’s listed along with heroin and peyote among the most dangerous drugs. No other U.S. state is taking the research-before-legislation …

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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Patients Wait Through Delays

HONOLULU — Medical marijuana dispensaries are beginning to open in Hawaii, but they’re not allowed to sell their products. Instead, the leafy medicinal greens they’ve harvested are sitting on a shelf unsold because nearly a year after dispensaries were legally allowed to open, the state has not yet certified any labs to run required safety tests. That means dispensaries such as Aloha Green on Oahu have no income despite payroll, rent and operations expenses that top $100,000 a month. “For us it’s a little frustrating, having so many people on board, but it has to be done,” said James H.Q. Lee, CEO of Aloha Green. “I’m more concerned for the patients, because people have been calling: ‘We see it online, …

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Suspect Accused of Shooting a Boy on His 5th Birthday Is Held Without Bail

The man accused of firing the bullet that struck a 5-year-old boy in the head on his birthday on Monday was ordered held without bail in the Bronx on Wednesday as the child struggled to survive. The prosecutors said the bullet had entered the boy’s brain, damaging three lobes. The doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center have operated on the boy, Jaheen Hunter, and removed bullet fragments but some remain, Assistant Bronx District Attorney Felicity Lung told Judge Julio Rodriguez of the Bronx Criminal Court. “The doctors are not able to give us whether the child will live,” she said. Ms. Lung asked that the suspect, Michael Quiles, 27, be held because of the recklessness of his actions. Mr. …

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