Major Rights Group Calls for Decriminalization of All Illicit Drugs
Since the federal government insists on treating American’s drug problem through incarceration rather than treatment, law enforcement agencies all across the nation are having a field day locking people up for drug possession every 25 seconds, a rate that surpasses arrests for all violent crime, according to the latest report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.
That means most days there are around 137,000 people sitting in jail because they were caught in possession of an illegal substance. The report finds that most of these folks, many of whom cannot afford bail, are being forced to reside in county jails while they wait, sometimes months, to appear before a judge to answer to the changes.
DEA Withdraws Emergency Kratom Ban
In an unprecedented move, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has posted a notice in the Federal Register stating that it is withdrawing its plans to ban kratom using emergency scheduling powers. The DEA instead is opening a public comment period ending December 1st. The official notice indicates that comments received by the DEA will be considered – along with formal input from the Food and Drug Administration – before a determination is made about scheduling kratom. The DEA’s proposed ban onkratom, a medicinal plant used for millennia in Southeast Asia and currently used by millions in the U.S., was anticipated to go in effect as early as September 30.
Utah Governor Candidate’s Wife to Be Charged After Mailing Pot
It turns out that pot will be on the ballot even in Utah this November.
But it won’t be a reform bill. Rather, Donna Weinholtz, wife of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz, will be charged with possession of pot after authorities found she’d tried to send herself marijuana through the mail—and then discovered two pounds of it in their Salt Lake City home.
Needless to say, marijuana is illegal in Mormon-dominated Utah.
Federal prosecutors took a pass on the case, but now Tooele county prosecutors say they will proceed.
It’s a tangled tale.
DEA Opts Against Ban on Plant Some Call Opioid Alternative
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration has reversed a plan to temporarily ban a plant that some users suggest could be an alternative to powerful and addictive opioid painkillers.
In a notice set to be published Thursday in the Federal Register Thursday, the agency said it was withdrawing its plan to add two psychoactive components of the plant, known as kratom, to the list of the most dangerous drugs.
Advocates urging the DEA to leave kratom off its list of controlled substance have argued that it can be used as a nonaddictive painkiller or can help wean people off other, addictive pain medications. Some lawmakers also complained that the DEA wasn’t being transparent in its effort to ban the plant.
SF Cops Will Get Assist From Mental-Health Professionals
While it has long been the responsibility of law enforcement to handle situations involving people under the influence of drugs, which often has a violent outcome, the city of San Francisco is taking a more progressive approach to crisis incidents by employing a team of mental-health professionals to accompany police on these types of emergency calls.
Earlier last week, city officials announced the formation of a new five-member mental heath squad called the Crisis Intervention Specialists team, which will be deployed whenever police get called to deal with people who may be suffering from some kind of mental episode or under the influence of mind-altering substances.
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