drug war

This Week in Psychoactives - 5.10.19

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CANNABIS

  • Debunking Reefer Madness: New Study Says Weed Doesn’t Actually Cause Psychosis (MERRY JANE)

  • Top Congressional Democrats Announce Bill To Federally Deschedule Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • Study: 80 percent of cannabis users say weed helps their workouts (Fox 8)

  • New Zealand Government Releases Details Of Marijuana Legalization Referendum (Marijuana Moment)

  • China Cashes In on the Cannabis Boom (The New York Times)

  • Illinois Governor Announces Plan to Legalize Marijuana (TIME)

  • THC-Blood Levels Can’t Be Determined Postmortem, Research Finds (Leafly)

  • Cannabis Users Have Worse Sperm Health Than Tobacco Smokers, Study Finds (MERRY JANE)

  • North Dakota: Governor Signs Law Reducing Marijuana Possession Penalties (NORML)

  • The First Arkansas Medical Marijuana Dispensary Just Got Its License (Leafly)

  • TSA to Travelers: We’re Not Looking for Your Weed (MERRY JANE)

  • Louisiana House Unanimously Approves Bill to Allow CBD Sales (Leafly)

  • Cannabis Industry Work Costing U.S. Veterans Their Retirement Pensions (Forbes)

  • The Great White Shortage: Canada May Soon Run Out of CBD (MERRY JANE)

  • Alabama Senate Approves Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • Workers Are Smoking Weed More Than Ever, So Employers Are Dropping Drug Tests (MERRY JANE)

  • California Cannabis Market Not Tracked or Traced as Promised (Leafly)

  • Marijuana Patients Are Ditching Benzos for Weed, Study Says (MERRY JANE)

  • The Feds Prosecuted Even Fewer Marijuana Trafficking Cases In 2018 (Marijuana Moment)

  • Ohio May Become First State to OK Medical Marijuana for Depression and Insomnia (MERRY JANE)

  • Federal Agency Clarifies Rules On Adding CBD To Alcoholic Beverages (Marijuana Moment)

  • American Accused of Growing Weed in Myanmar Faces 10 Years in Prison (MERRY JANE)

  • Texas House Votes To Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Program (Marijuana Moment)

  • The Science Behind Combining Cannabis And Caffeine (Benzinga)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

  • Denver Voters Approve Measure To Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms (Forbes)

  • California Activists Take First Steps To Decriminalize Psilocybin Mushrooms Statewide (Marijuana Moment)

MDMA

  • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD may have benefits beyond reductions in clinical symptoms (PsyPost)

  • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD: study design and rationale for phase 3 trials based on pooled analysis of six phase 2 randomized controlled trials (Springer Link)

  • Consider This Before Self-Medicating With MDMA (The Wall Street Journal)

AYAHUASCA

  • Health Canada allows more religious groups to import ayahuasca (Global News)

  • Ayahuasca and the Twelve Steps: An Anonymous Friendship (Chacruna)

  • The Problem With Ayahuasca (Thrive Global)

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • CDC traces unexplained bleeding outbreak to synthetic cannabinoids (Healio)

KETAMINE

  • Former Playboy Model’s Killer Was ‘Out Of His Mind’ On Ketamine During The Brutal Slaying, Lawyer Says (Oxygen)

OPIOIDS

  • Opioid overdose deaths decline when pharmacists can dispense naloxone (Reuters)

  • Study: Naloxone Prescriptions Low Despite Deadly Opioid Crisis (U.S. News and World Report)

  • Federal Court Rules Inmate Must Have Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment (Reason)

  • Narcan, the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug, is scarce in N.J. cities that need it most (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • AHN Researcher Working To Develop Longer-Lasting Naloxone For Opioid Overdoses (WESA)

  • Inside Elizabeth Warren's $100 Billion Policy Plan to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic (Fortune)

  • White patients far more likely to get popular addiction treatment prescription, study finds (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Report: nurses who carry naloxone denied life insurance coverage (WKBW)

  • Louisiana prisons pilot addiction-fighting implants for inmates; lack of FDA approval draws criticism (The Advocate)

  • Deputy and two firefighters hospitalized after fentanyl exposure (WDBO)

COCAINE

  • Feds: A popular drug from the disco era is making a deadly return (NBC News)

  • The mums who took cocaine during play dates (BBC)

  • FLASHBACK: Bernie Asks Group Of Young Children: ‘Anyone Ever Seen Cocaine?’ (The Libertarian Republic)

METHAMPHETAMINE

  • Meth Abusers At Risk For Little-Known But Potentially Deadly Disease (NBC 7 San Diego)

TOBACCO

ALCOHOL

  • Alcohol use soaring worldwide: The average adult now consumes about 1.7 gallons of pure alcohol per year (USA Today)

  • These policies were supposed to stop pregnant women from drinking. A new study says they’re hurting babies. (Vox)

  • One in five harmed by others drinking alcohol over past year, survey finds (The Guardian)

  • The War On Alcohol: Is This Prohibition 2.0 (Forbes)

KRATOM

  • The Debate Over Kratom, An Opioid-Like Plant Legal In Massachusetts (CBS Boston)

  • Oxford Police proposes ban on Kratom products (The Oxford Eagle)

  • How Cannabis and Kratom Can Help With Addiction Recovery (Civilized)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • 1,000-Year-Old Pouch Contains Traces of 5 Ancient Psychoactive Drugs (Inverse)

  • Mexico’s President Proposes Drug Decriminalization With Legal Supply Via Prescription (Marijuana Moment)

  • Feds Dismantled the Dark Web Drug Trade—but It's Already Rebuilding (WIRED)

  • Berlin park designates 'pink zone' areas for drug dealers (The Guardian)

  • Drug-testing device gives false positives on poppy seeds, CBD oil, says Vancouver lawyer (CBC)

  • Overdose In An Arizona Prison? Get Ready to Pay Up. (The Appeal)

  • Where Philadelphia stands on supervised-injection sites, per two polls (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Houston Police Shot Man Killed in Fraudulent Drug Raid at Least Eight Times (Reason)

Think Wilder is reader-supported. If you enjoyed this week’s update, please consider helping out by becoming a patron, making a one-time donation, or sharing this post with a friend. Thank you for your support.

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychoactives" does not censor or analyze the news links presented here. The purpose of this column is solely to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.


On the Monday following each edition of “This Week in Psychoactives,” I post a “Last Week in Psychoactives” video recap to my YouTube channel. After that is done, I retroactively add the video to the corresponding blog post. Here is this week’s video recap:


Berlin Park Designates ‘Pink Zone’ Areas for Drug Dealers

Kate Connolly, writing for The Guardian:

Drug dealers in Berlin are to be given designated spaces in a city centre park to carry out transactions, leading to criticism that authorities have capitulated to criminal gangs.

For years there has been a heated debate about Görlitzer Park, a popular meeting point in the trendy southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg, which has been attracting an ever increasing number of drug dealers. Local people said they were reluctant to let children and pets roam free there.

After repeated attempts by police to clear the dealers failed, the park manager declared areas where they should be allowed to operate, identified by spray-painted pink boxes.

Cengiz Demirci said the pink zones would mean that visitors to the park – known locally as Görli – were no longer intimidated by groups of dealers, typically men operating in gangs, who crowd the entrance.

What a peculiar approach.


Mexico’s President Proposes Drug Decriminalization With Legal Supply via Prescription

Kyle Jaeger, writing for Marijuana Moment:

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and members of his administration have often talked about removing criminal penalties for certain drug offenses and diverting people suffering from addiction into treatment programs. And that’s exactly what he proposed in the new plan, which was submitted to the nation’s Congress and is expected to inform future legislation. […]

The document says it is time to “renounce the claim” that addiction can be combated through prohibition and to instead “offer detoxification treatments” to people with addiction “under medical supervision,” and calls for money that’s currently used to enforce anti-drug laws to be used instead to fund treatment programs. […]

It also suggests providing consumers with a “supply of doses with prescription,” indicating some form of legal distribution of currently prohibited drugs.

It’s amazing to see Mexico’s President endorsing a plan like this, and my hope is that these harm reduction-based approaches to drug policy reform will start sprouting up more and more as the public learns how effective they are.


This Week in Psychoactives - 5.3.19

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CANNABIS

  • Oregon Has So Much Weed It’s Temporarily Freezing Cannabis Production (MERRY JANE)

  • 'Getting Worse, Not Better': Illegal Pot Market Booming in California Despite Legalization (The New York Times)

  • Cannabis cafes may appear in Alaska this summer (KVTA)

  • New Report Says an Adult-Use Cannabis Industry Could Provide $4 Billion for New York State (Leafly)

  • North Dakota: Lawmakers Pass Language Reducing Marijuana Possession Penalties (NORML)

  • Illegal Toronto Dispensary Finds Legal Loophole to Keep Doors Open (Leafly)

  • Ontario Pharmacists Must Now Complete Mandatory Cannabis Education Course (High Times)

  • In Florida, You Can Purchase Cannabis Through a Drive-Thru (Forbes)

  • Las Vegas Will Finally Get Weed Bars and Consumption Lounges (MERRY JANE)

  • Hawaii Legislature Sends Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Governor’s Desk (Marijuana Moment)

  • Iowa: Lawmakers Approve Medical Cannabis Expansion Legislation (NORML)

  • The Feds Officially Banned CBD From Booze (MERRY JANE)

  • Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says Senate won't pass bill to lower penalties for marijuana (The Texas Tribune)

  • Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Isn’t ‘Dead’ In Texas, Key Senate Chairman Clarifies (Marijuana Moment)

  • Why medical cannabis is still out of patients’ reach—an essay by David Nutt (The BMJ)

  • UK law on medicinal cannabis changed six months ago – what have we learned? (The Conversation)

  • Massachusetts Gives Cannabis Delivery the Green Light (Leafly)

  • Bills Allowing Marijuana Deliveries And Tasting Rooms Head Toward Colorado Governor’s Desk (Marijuana Moment)

  • New Hampshire: Lawmakers Advance Legislation Permitting Patients to Home Cultivate (NORML)

  • Washington: Lawmakers Pass Legislation Facilitating Expungement Of Past Marijuana Convictions (NORML)

  • Wisconsin City Officials Trying to Stop Church From Distributing Cannabis (High Times)

  • Trump Administration Opposes Bills On Medical Marijuana For Military Veterans (Marijuana Moment)

  • Facebook's New A.I. Tech Can Distinguish Weed From Fried Broccoli (MERRY JANE)

  • Florida Is the Nation's Fastest-Growing Medical Marijuana Market (Miami New Times)

  • New Brunswick Considering Privatization After Cannabis NB Loss (Leafly)

  • This Mom Entrepreneur Is Developing Medicinal Cannabis to Treat Kids With Autism (CT Post)

  • Harvard and MIT Receive $9 Million Donation to Expand Cannabis Research (MERRY JANE)

  • 7Investigates: Marijuana Anonymous (WHDH)

  • Bill To Legalize Marijuana Sales Approved By Vermont House Committee (Marijuana Moment)

  • Where Presidential Candidate Michael Bennet Stands On Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

LSD

  • Once An Alcoholic, I Lost My Desire To Drink After Taking LSD (Reset.me)

  • Air station sailors facing LSD charges (Navy Times)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

  • Denver Could Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms on Tuesday (Leafly)

  • Decriminalize Nature! Interview with Matthew Kahl about the Denver Psilocybin Ballot Measure (Psychedelic Times)

  • 'It makes me enjoy playing with the kids': is microdosing mushrooms going mainstream? (The Guardian)

  • A Growing Movement Wants To Loosen Laws Around Psilocybin, Treat Mushrooms As Medicine (KUNC)

  • The First Psychedelic Mushroom Con Was a ’Shroom School for the Serious (Dallas Observer)

  • The Magic of Mushrooms (Psychology Today)

  • Psilocybin Helped Me Process The Sudden Deaths of My Mom and Close Friend (Reset.me)

MDMA

  • Local Non-Profit Pushes for Medical Use of MDMA (KNWA)

  • Otago rates high on MDMA use (Otago Daily Times)

  • Drug researcher says MDMA shouldn't be included in wastewater testing (Newstalk ZB)

  • MDMA: Why it's 'impossible' to know how the drug affects you (BBC)

  • Boy, 13, died after taking 'Donkey Kong' ecstasy tablets (Mirror)

AYAHUASCA

  • Meet the Person Serving Ayahuasca to Inmates in Brazil: An Interview with Edilsom Fernandes (Kahpi)

  • How the "Ayahuasca Diet" Can Maximize Your Psychedelic Experience (MERRY JANE)

MESCALINE

NOVEL PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • Illegal drug lab manufacturing synthetic cannabis explodes in Texas; four injured (The GrowthOp)

NITROUS OXIDE

  • Researchers use nitrous oxide to unravel rapid function of antidepressant mechanisms (News-Medical.Net)

  • Ohio University expels fraternity chapter after student's death (The Athens News)

  • Whippits don’t belong in smoke shops (Los Angeles Times)

KETAMINE

  • Team finds ketamine alleviates acute pain during ambulance rides (Medical Xpress)

  • Visions to Heed: Ketamine’s Breakout In Psychedelic Therapy (Psychedelic Support)

  • Costa Rica Sees Growing Demand for Ketamine, Synthetic Drugs (Insight Crime)

  • Columbia Ketamine Program helps patients with treatment-resistant depression (Healio)

PCP

  • Were Cast and Crew on the Film ‘Titanic’ Sickened by PCP-Laced Seafood Chowder? (Snopes)

  • Man Allegedly High On PCP Attempts To Grab OKC Officer's Gun (KWTV)

  • HPD: Man tosses PCP out car window while leading Houston police on chase (Chron)

OPIATES/OPIOIDS

  • Fentanyl use could end the opium era in Mexico: 'the only crop that paid’ (The Guardian)

  • NJ has naloxone 'deserts' in opioid hotspots (Futurity)

  • UK online pharmacies accused of 'aggressive' tactics to sell opiates (The Guardian)

  • Missouri students push for opioid overdose antidote in dorms (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • “Liquid Handcuffs”—A Documentary to Free Methadone (Filter)

  • Drug-Injection Sites Are Battleground in Fight Against Opioid Overdoses (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Why Aren’t More People Taking Naloxone Overdose Reversal Training? (Observer)

  • 5 things responsible for the opioid crisis — besides Big Pharma (Deseret News)

COCAINE

  • Cocaine deaths up in US, and opioids are a big part of it (Lowell Sun)

METHAMPHETAMINE

  • As Meth Use Surges, First Responders Struggle To Help Those In Crisis (NPR)

CAFFEINE

  • Caffeine, an alternative for traditional solar cells (The Asian Age)

  • Consumers are drinking more caffeinated beverages nationwide, study finds (Consumer Affairs)

  • Why do people love coffee and beer? It's the buzz, not the taste, study finds (NBC News)

  • Researchers study connection of adolescent caffeine consumption and substance abuse (Medical Xpress)

  • This Portland Coffee Brand Is Creating Zero Waste Cafes (Forbes)

  • Coffee Shops Build Employee Loyalty, According to Science (Inc)

  • Ask the Pharmacist: Caffeine is a natural option for ADHD (Marco News)

TOBACCO

  • A Device That Heats Tobacco, But Doesn't Burn It, Can Now Be Sold in the U.S. Here's What to Know About IQOS (TIME)

  • Why Big Tobacco and Big Vape love comparing nicotine to caffeine (The Verge)

  • US lawmakers push bipartisan bill to raise the federal minimum buying age for tobacco to 21 (CNBC)

  • AHA backs federal efforts to raise tobacco sale age to 21 (Cardiovascular Business)

  • Doctors Speak On Proposal to Raise Tobacco-Buying Age (Spectrum News 1)

ALCOHOL

  • The Average Person In New York City Spends More Than $120000 On Alcohol In A Lifetime (The Daily Caller)

  • Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Deaths Rise Sharply (KUNM)

  • New York City bans alcohol ads on city property (ABC News)

  • A Brewery in Peru Ran For Centuries, Then Burned After One Epic Ancient Party (Discover Magazine)

  • More than 15 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse (KMOX)

  • Deprogramming From AA—When a Fellowship Resembles a Cult (Filter)

  • State lawmaker pushing to ban powdered alcohol in Texas (KVII)

  • Has new alcohol law changed drinking habits? (BBC News)

  • Texas lawmakers consider earlier Sunday alcohol sales: “This is freedom” (The Takeout)

  • No Amount Of Alcohol Is Safe During Pregnancy: Study (Tech Times)

  • Hangover-free alcohol could be on store shelves in next 5 years (Fox 13 News)

  • Yes, Buying Alcohol Is Still Illegal in Parts of the U.S. (The Daily Beast)

KRATOM

  • Gov. Ducey signs bill regulating the sale of kratom products in Arizona (KTAR)

  • Bill to Criminalize Kratom in Louisiana Under Consideration (Big Easy Magazine)

  • Herbal supplement kratom is tied to more US deaths (Fox5NY)

KHAT

  • Farmers raise concerns over high levies on khat transport (The Standard)

DATURA

  • Scientists examine the ethnobotanical uses of stramonium (Phys.org)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Scientists want to give psychedelics to people in vegetative states (Rooster)

  • Teens tune out zero tolerance of substance-use talk: UBC study (Vancouver Sun)

  • Cocaine, ketamine and banned pesticides found in UK river wildlife, study reveals (The Independent)

  • World-first Centre for Psychedelics Research launched in UK (New Atlas)

  • Profound experiences linked to mental health benefits (The Hub at Johns Hopkins University)

  • Australia's second pill testing trial in Canberra 'overwhelmingly successful' (SBS)

  • New Study: Syringe Service Providers Could Have Prevented the Scott County HIV Outbreak (Filter)

  • Police drug detection dogs encourage festivalgoers to preload, study finds (The Guardian)

  • Former Philly officer sentenced to 9 years for selling drugs stolen by corrupt Baltimore police squad (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • 6 months old and still unauthorized, ‘Church of Safe Injection’ expands (Bangor Daily News)

  • Make America Trip Again (Current Affairs)

  • Getting 'California Sober' Showed Me a Kinder, Gentler Way to Do Drugs (Broadly)

  • Why does the psychedelic community keep platforming abusers? (The Psychedelic Scientist)

  • Sri Lanka President Uses Easter Attacks to Fuel Duterte-Inspired Drug War (Filter)

  • El Paso County residents turn to Denver or Pueblo for clean syringes (Colorado Springs Independent)

  • Teen drug-dealing convictions up two-thirds in five years in England and Wales (The Guardian)

  • Life-saving needle exchange started with a UM med student. Now it’s legal statewide. (Miami Herald)

  • How the World’s Oldest Drug Checking Service Makes High-Risk Pills “Unsellable” (Filter)

  • A Guide to Starting a Community Psychedelic Integration Circle (Psychedelic Support)

  • Why Worldwide Drug Policy Progress Is Driven From the Ground Up (Filter)

  • Why 'Microdosing' LSD & Other Hallucinogens May Be The Saving Grace For People With Severe Depression & Anxiety (YourTango)

  • Psychedelic Communities, Social Justice, and Kinship in the Capitalocene (Kahpi)

  • The government won’t pay for research into psychedelic drugs. Cody Swift will. (KNKX)

Think Wilder is reader-supported. If you enjoyed this week’s update, please consider helping out by becoming a patron, making a one-time donation, or sharing this post with a friend. Thank you for your support.

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychoactives" does not censor or analyze the news links presented here. The purpose of this column is solely to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.


On the Monday following each edition of “This Week in Psychoactives,” I post a “Last Week in Psychoactives” video recap to my YouTube channel. After that is done, I retroactively add the video to the corresponding blog post. Here is this week’s video recap:


Illegal Pot Market Booming in California Despite Legalization

Thomas Fuller, writing for The New York Times:

In the forests of Northern California, raids by law enforcement officials continue to uncover illicit marijuana farms. In Southern California, hundreds of illegal delivery services and pot dispensaries, some of them registered as churches, serve a steady stream of customers. And in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco, the sheriff’s office recently raided an illegal cannabis production facility that was processing 500 pounds of marijuana a day.

It’s been a little more than a year since California legalized marijuana — the largest such experiment in the United States — but law enforcement officials say the unlicensed, illegal market is still thriving and in some areas has even expanded.

“There’s a lot of money to be made in the black market,” said Thomas D. Allman, the sheriff of Mendocino County, whose deputies seized cannabis oil worth more than $5 million in early April.

Legalization, Sheriff Allman said, “certainly didn’t put cops out of work.”

California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has declared that illegal grows in Northern California “are getting worse, not better” and two months ago redeployed a contingent of National Guard troops stationed on the border with Mexico to go after illegal cannabis farms instead.

California’s legal cannabis market isn’t doing so hot.