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Legal Marijuana

2/20/13 1:52pm

Colorado Could Soon Welcome Pot Tourists

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Could Colorado become the new Cancun?
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Tourists may soon be able to buy marijuana in Colorado, if a state task force gets its way. A group made up of lawmakers, law enforcement officials and pot activists agreed yesterday that the state's constitutional amendment on marijuana condones use by any adult over 21—even those who live out of state. If lawmakers approve the recommendation, anyone who visits the state would be allowed to buy and smoke pot. "Imposing a residency requirement would almost certainly create a black market for recreational marijuana in the state," says Rep. Dan Pabon, a member of the task force. To keep potential dealers at bay and protect relationships with neighboring states, there will likely be a purchasing cap (possibly as low as an eighth of an ounce) and the drug must remain in Colorado. "Marijuana purchased in Colorado must stay in Colorado," says Pabon. "We could attract greater federal scrutiny and displeasure of our neighbors [if marijuana were to travel between states].” Even with the restrictions, pot tourism would likely pump major cash into the state's economy. 

On February 28, the state Legislature and Department of Revenue will consider whether or not to approve the task force's recommendation. Many potential tourists are optimistic, including Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the pot advocacy group NORML. "Colorado (and Washington) will quickly supplant Amsterdam and Jamaica as American cannabis consumers' chosen vacation haunts," St. Pierre tells The Fix. He adds: "Colorado is already a major tourist destination, and I can't wait to go fly fishing out there again, but instead of having a fine Colorado-brewed ale at the end of the day, I'm going to consume fine Colorado-cultivated cannabis."

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By Chrisanne Grise

Internet Addiction

2/20/13 12:33pm

Study: Getting Offline Is Like Coming Down off Ecstasy

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Many people just can't stop. Photo via

Internet addicts who go cold turkey face a "comedown" similar to that experienced by drug users in withdrawal, a new study finds. Researchers at Milan and Swansea Universities examined the internet use and subsequent mood changes and anxiety levels of 60 participants, average age 25. They found that those who got offline after periods of heavy internet use reported a negative mood change, possibly prompting them to get back online to remove these negative feelings. Professor Phil Reed of Swansea University's College of Human and Health Sciences compares this experience to people withdrawing from illegal drugs, like ecstasy. “Although we do not know exactly what Internet addiction is, our results show that around half of the young people we studied spend so much time on the net that it has negative consequences for the rest of their lives," says Reed. Internet addiction is not currently recognized as a psychiatric disorder in the US (although it is now official in the UK), but Reed says that could soon change. “What the American Psychiatric Association have done is flag it up as a potential problem that requires further investigation," he tells Time. "That’s the first step in it becoming a true disorder in its own right.”

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By Ben Feuerherd

celebrity rehab

2/20/13 11:11am

Dr. Drew Defends Celeb Rehab After Five Deaths

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Dr. Drew says he is no Dr. Death. Photo via

Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew is no longer on the air, but Dr. Drew Pinsky is now under fire after country singer Mindy McCready's suicide last Sunday made her the fifth of the show's former cast members to pass away. '80s pop star Richard Marx even compared the addiction specialist to notorious "death doctor" Jack Kevorkian. "I think 'Dr' Drew Pinsky should change his name to Kevorkian. Same result,' Marx tweeted yesterday. He deleted the tweet several hours later, writing: 'I went too far with the Kevorkian crack. It is, however, my opinion that what Dr. D does is exploitation and his TV track record is not good." Pinsky addressed McCready's suicide and the show's supposed "curse" last night on CNN, where he denied that the show was directly responsible for any of the cast member deaths. "One of my hopes was, in bringing Celebrity Rehab out, was to teach people how dangerous addiction was," said Pinsky. "If I was doing a show on cancer there would not be much surprise when my cancer patient died. In fact, we'd celebrate a few years of good quality life. People don't understand that addiction has virtually the same prognosis."

However, the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists several key principles for a successful recovery that Celebrity Rehab failed to implement, namely that "Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical." Many have also accused Dr. Drew of succumbing to the same "fame addiction" that he has claimed often contributes to celebrity substance abuse. Whether or not the show played a contributing factor in the deaths, chemical dependency counselor and Celebrity Rehab mentor Bob Forrest said that Marx's outburst was unhelpful, and attacking Dr. Drew only distracts from the real issues at hand. "Regardless of your feelings about how we do it with the TV show, calling Dr. Drew 'Dr. Kevorkian,' what kind of dialogue is that?" he said. "It's a good headline. We're going through a growth spurt in terms of who we are as a country. I really feel there's something going on in America beyond Mindy McCready's death."

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

2/20/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: February 20, 2013

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The Duchess visited Hope House rehab in
South London today. Photo via

By The Fix staff

drug dogs

2/19/13 5:44pm

Drug-Sniffing Dog Wins Supreme Court Case

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Aldo went above and beyond his job
description. Photo via

If a dog sniffs out drugs, it can result in arrest for possession—but what if the dog is mistaken, and instead finds the raw ingredients for meth which aren't, technically, drugs? This was the case heard by the Supreme Court, today, who ruled unanimously in favor of a Florida cop's use of a drug-detection dog, who did a little work outside of his job description during a routine traffic stop. The officer, William Wheetley, had pulled over a nervous driver who had an open beer when Aldo, a retired drug detection dog, alerted him to the presence of drugs. "The record in this case amply supported the trial court's determination that Aldo's alert gave Wheetley probable cause to search the truck," wrote Justice Elena Kagan. The search did not turn up any drugs—revealing the dog's mistake—but Wheetley did find the raw ingredients for manufacturing meth (which can not be sniffed), and arrested the driver. Florida's Supreme Court demanded Aldo's hit/miss record to be released to determine whether the search was warranted, but the US Supreme court overturned this ruling, with Justice Kagan writing that the search was justified given "the totality of the circumstances." Aldo was not present at the hearing.

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By Bryan Le

celebrity Rehab

2/19/13 4:31pm

Mindy McCready "Left Rehab Too Soon"

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McCready died on Monday, at age 37.
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The ex-boyfriend of country singer Mindy McCready, who committed suicide last Sunday at her Arkansas home, says her death might have been prevented if she had remained in rehab. McCready was found dead on Monday, just days after leaving rehab, where she was involuntarily admitted a week before. Although the singer had threatened suicide earlier this month after her fiancé David Wilson took his own life and she lost custody of her two sons, she was allowed to leave the program after less than a day, says her ex Billy McKnight. "That was a big mistake on the part of whoever released her," says McKnight, who is father to their eldest child Zander. "She was in a terrible state of mind. She doesn't perform anymore. She wasn't working. She has two kids and her fiancé was just killed," he says. "There's no way she should be out by herself in a lonely house with nothing but booze and pills. That was a really, really bad mistake, and the end result is tragic."

McCready, whose 1996 debut album Ten Thousand Angels sold over two million copies, was a former cast member on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. DrewDr. Drew Pinsky said in a statement that he was "deeply saddened" by her death, and that he had urged her to get help. "When I heard she was struggling, I did reach out to her and urged her to go to take care of herself, get in a facility if she felt she needed," he said. "Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing so and what people would think if she, God forbid, took care of herself. And this to me is the most distressing part of this story. She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn't have to go down like this." McCready is the fifth Celebrity Rehab alumni to pass away from causes related to substance abuse, following former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, Real World cast member Joey Kovar, Rodney King, and TV star Jeff Conaway.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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