Substance Abusers May Have Difficulty Identifying Emotions
New research suggests individuals who abuse drugs have difficulty identifying emotions from facial expression. Spanish scientists from the University of Granada analyzed the relation between drug abuse and recognition of basic emotions (happiness, surprise, wrath, fear, sadness and disgust) by drug abusers. They found the abusers had trouble identifying wrath, disgust, fear and sadness by facial expression. Further, regular abuse of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine usually affects abusers’ cognitive fluency (how easy it is to think about something) and decision-making. Consuming cannabis and cocaine negatively affects working memory and reasoning. Similarly, cocaine abuse influences inhibition.
For the purpose of this study, researchers carried out a neuropsychological evaluation (with neurocognitive evaluation and emotional processing tests) of a total of 123 polysubstance abusers and 67 no-drug users with similar social and demographic backgrounds (age and schooling). The target population were individuals who consumed drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, heroin, alcohol, MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamine, and who were enrolled in two rehabilitation projects in the province of Granada.
The study revealed that 70 percent of drug abusers presented some type of neuropsychological deterioration, regardless of the type of substance consumed. Deterioration was most pronounced in working memory, but fluency, flexibility, planning, multitasking ability and interference were also affected. Dr. J.M. Fernández Serrano, a psychologist and principal investigator, thinks that the results obtained “should be employed to develop political and social policies aimed at promoting adequate rehab programs adapted to the neuropsychological profile of drug-abusers.” The research conducted at the University of Granada has been the first to study the prevalence of psychological deterioration in drug abusers enrolled in therapeutic communities.
Bill would ban synthetic marijuana in Colorado
DENVER -- Colorado may join roughly 20 other states in banning chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana.
Senate Bill 134 would ban synthetic cannabinoids which are often sold under the brand names Spice and K2.
When consumed, the chemicals mimic the effects of cannabis.
The bill’s introduction comes a week after the Air Force Academy suspended 25 cadets accused of using synthetic marijuana.
SB 134 would make synthetic cannabinoids illegal to possess or sell, and it would make no exception for people with legal clearance to use medical marijuana.
$770,000 Cannabis Crop In Sydney House
A woman has been charged with cultivating cannabis valued at more than three-quarters of a million dollars in a small town southwest of Sydney. Police searched the house on Wynyard Avenue in Rossmore on Wednesday and allegedly found seven rooms set up for cultivation of the drug.
They seized 348 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $774,000. A 39 year old woman was arrested at the scene and later charged with large commercial cultivation of prohibited plants. She was refused bail and is due to appear at Liverpool Local court on Thursday.
Marijuana Backers To GOPers: Why Not Cut The DEA Budget?
With Republicans in the House looking to cut down on spending in the next fiscal year, supporters of legalizing marijuana have a suggestion for where they should start -- the Drug Enforcement Agency's budget.
Sure, they know it's a long shot. But the Marijuana Policy Project's Steve Fox told TPM it makes a lot of sense.
"In the grand scheme of things, the entire federal budget dedicated to keeping marijuana illegal and carrying out all the enforcement measures to do so is really something that is long past its prime," Fox said.
"I'm not naive enough to think there would be such a major step, but you can just pick it apart and look at the marijuana seizures -- the amount of time and energy put into those seizures -- is really doing essentially nothing except maybe having a marginal effect on the price of marijuana," Fox said. "So all they're really doing is giving those involved in illegal marijuana dealing a little bit of price support."
Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees the DEA, issued a memo last month telling the agency (as well as the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service) to freeze hiring and curb non-personnel spending.
That came around the same side as conservative Republicans in the House said they planned deep budget cuts -- which, according to Democrats, would require the DOJ to fire 4,000 FBI agents and 1,500 DEA agents if applied across the board.
Troopers Seize 83 Pounds Of Marijuana
A man is facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 83 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $188,000 during a recent traffic stop. Troopers stopped a 2011 Kia Sorento SUV for an unsafe lane change on I-70, near milepost 8 in in Preble County at 9:28 a.m. Thursday. Troopers observed criminal indicators and a Patrol drug sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed three large bundles of marijuana, four marijuana cigarettes, and 45 prescription pills.
The driver, William J. Meyer, 38, of Rochester, N.Y., was charged with trafficking in marijuana, a second-degree felony. Other charges are possible. The suspect was incarcerated in the Preble County Jail. If convicted, he could face up to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Striking against the city!
Medical-marijuana advocates are aiming to pull a Walmart. That is, they want to collect enough signatures to avoid what they describe as a de facto ban.
When the San Diego City Councilpassed an ordinance that could have threatened the development of new supercenter stores, Walmart fought back with a signature drive to give San Diegans the chance to vote on it. Faced with a special election, the council backed down and repealed the ordinance on Tuesday.
At a meeting of the California Cannabis Coalition on Monday, attorney Jessica McElfresh said the San Diego Planning Commission’s decision last week to approve a restrictive ordinance came months faster than anticipated. Marijuana collectives and patients’ best hope, she said, is to pursue a ballot initiative—one that she co-wrote—that would enact the more flexible recommendations of theSan Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force.
The initiative, filed with the City Clerk in December, is titled “Citizens for Safe Access Ordinance,” and the coalition is establishing a political action committee, San Diegans for Patients’ Rights. They need 62,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Thenext ballot—as early as June if Gov. Jerry Brown gets his way—the coalition hopes to pressure the City Council to reject the Planning Commission’s ordinance the same way Walmart did. If the council passes the restrictive ordinance anyway, the initiative would serve to repeal and replace it.
The Planning Commission’s ordinance contains 1,000foot distance restrictions from everything from parks to universities, the limitation of collectives to a few industrial and commercial zones and a stringent permit requirement. With these rules, McElfresh expects only five or so dispensaries will exist within the city limits. Her proposed initiative contains 500- and 600-foot restrictions and allows for dispensaries in all industrial and commercial zones. This, she says, will more or less maintain the status quo.
San Diegans may yet vote on a big-box ordinance. But this time it would be big-box dispensaries.
The Planning Commission’s ordinance would cut the number of collectives in San Diego, but it would have little impact on the number of medical-marijuana consumers. As a result, San Diegans may be faced with an oligopoly of large collectives. Oakland, as a precedent, has a small number of dispensaries, but among them are the 48,000-member Harborside Health Center and the franchise weGrow, which is often referred to as the “Walmart of Weed.”
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