Disney actress and pop singer Miley Cyrus been caught smoking yet another "suspicious" cigarette, continuing to fuel rumors of her drug use. While vacationing in Miami, Florida, the 20-year-old star was seen on a hotel balcony, inhaling and puffing smoke from what appears to be a blunt. Days earlier, Cyrus appeared in a new song called, “Ashtrays and Heartbreak,” with the rap artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion) who is well known for his love of cannabis. The song is packed with drug references, such as: "Tonight there's gonna be a lot of smoke in the air,” and "Now my buzz is gone, I need to re-up on reality." In February, a photo surfaced on Instagram that seemed to depict Cyrus smoking a hold-rolled cigarette, with the caption: “High as f***.” At the time, she denied having an Instagram account, but skirted the pot issue. “Why is everybody trippin?" she wrote on Twitter, "My timeline is blowing up. Everything's all good in my life just in a creative space right now.” The actress was seen smoking legal herb salvia from a bong in a 2010 YouTube video that went viral. “I'm not perfect," the actress told Marie-Claire shortly after the incident, "I made a mistake... I'm disappointed in myself for disappointing my fans.” Later that year, when presented with a Bob Marley cake on her 19th birthday, Cyrus said: “You know you're a stoner when your friends make you a Bob Marley cake, You know you smoke way too much f***ing weed!”
- Thousands Rally for Pot Legalization at Hash Bash [USA Today]
- Drunk Driving Arrests Becoming Rare in Boston [Boston Globe]
- Iran Bars Drunk Saudi Diplomat From Leaving [PressTV]
- Texas Football Player Hit With Drunk-Driving Charge [NBC Sports]
- Marijuana Cookies Can Really Ruin Dinner Service [Gothamist]
- Idaho Police Investigate Slayings at Pot House [ABC News]
- Would You Give A Junkie $500k? Pals Concerned Over Cat Marnell’s Mega Book Deal [Radar]
A man in Bristol, England has been forced off the roads for a full year on charges of driving “high on drum and bass." Police were alerted to the erratic driving of deliveryman Aaron Cogley, 25, who ran two red lights and took a turn so sharp the van “rocked on its chassis” and “cut up” (cut off) another driver. But a breathalyzer test revealed Cogley was completely sober. “When asked about it he said he was listening to drum and bass and was in a hurry,” said the prosecutor. His defense attorney argued that his client “was carried away because of the intoxicating effects" of the music, which is known for its fast beats and heavy bassline. The judge described drum and bass as “intoxicating for some. Very irritating for others.” Cogley pleaded guilty to driving "under the influence" and was sentenced to 80 hours unpaid work, a 12-month driving ban and a $92 fine.
Hip hop artist and activist Timmy Grins hits the bar scene to rap about addiction and recovery, aiming to reach those who might need to hear his message the most. As part of his tour "LAST CALL 30 MICS 30 NIGHTS," the recent New York transplant is performing in Brooklyn bars every single night in April to promote Alcohol Awareness Month. Grins, 34, is a recovering alcoholic with 12 years sober. And while he doesn't push recovery on anyone, he hopes the message in his music might reach people who are in trouble. "If there's someone sitting in the dark, I'm going to go out there and tell them it's okay," he tells The Fix. Rapping about his own addiction also helps him keep his own recovery on track, by reminding him what it was like. "It keeps me vigilant," he explains, "One wrong move, and you can fall right back to where you were."
Grins says he hit bottom after receiving his third DWI in his early twenties; he then got sober with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA "was the only think I could think of," he tells us. And eventually it worked: "I used to count the days," he says, "Then, after a year, it just all got to be okay. I realized, this is just who I am." Grins wrote the song "Last Call" about the crisis leading up to his sobriety, with the mission to "help those that are ready to be helped, and encourage those that are not, to reconsider their options." The song became a YouTube sensation in 2010, earning him an invitation to the audience of the Oprah Winfrey Show as a guest of honor. But he says the driving force behind his performing is getting to speak to people who were moved by his message. "Last night, a guy game up to me after my show at The Five Spot," he tells us, "'He goes, 'My brother, I really, really needed to hear that.' I said, 'Thank you. And that's what I needed to hear from you.'"
Washington DC’s first legal marijuana store is preparing to open this spring—just seven blocks from the US capitol. The Metropolitan Wellness Center, which will sell pot, pipes and THC-infused baked goods, is set to open its doors to licensed medical-pot users in an estimated two to eight weeks, along with two other dispensaries in the District. “The second we get the green light, we're open," says founder Mike Cuthriell. Getting to this point has been no easy feat; Cuthriell has spent two years preparing, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment, and submitting an application that was almost 300 pages long. "I created manuals on how to smoke a bowl, how to pack and smoke cannabis [from a pipe], because that was part of my education material [for patients],” he explains. "I created job descriptions for the people that were going to work there. I created all my financials." Cuthriell, who works in education technology, was first inspired to open the store after talking to a terminally ill coworker in 2010. He discovered that DC had recently begun approving marijuana sellers—if they were willing to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops. Cuthriell was willing. He says he "literally put 500 to 1,000 hours into it in the first year and a half." And now, the dispensary just waits for the Department of Health to approve an application process for medical marijuana patients. Cuthriell is not biding his time, saying: “Every day we’re asking the department when this is coming.”
The Scientology-affiliated rehab Narconon continues to come under fire. Its flagship location in Oklahoma has had seven patient deaths since 2005, three of them between November 2011 and July 2012. An exposé last August on NBC show Rock Center with Brian Williams investigated the three most recent deaths; tonight the same show features the former president of the facility and a former executive at a Narconon facility in Michigan accusing Narconon organizations across the country of engaging in non-existent treatment and deceitful marketing techniques. "Narconon preys on vulnerable people. That's part of the sales techniques," says Lucas Catton, who stepped down as President of Narconon's Arrowhead facility in Oklahoma in 2004.
Catton and his former colleague Eric Tonorio accuse Narconon of hiring recent college graduates to be counselors, without any formal drug treatment training or instruction on how to treat patients addicted to drugs and alcohol. The rehabs reportedly spends thousands of dollars on "Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor" certificates for its staff from an organization called the Pita Group, Inc., which was created by Kent McGregor, a contractor for Narconon’s Arrowhead facility. Both Tenorio and Catton now describe Narconon's methods of treatment—such as spending five hours per day in a sauna for 30 straight days—as "pseudo-science." Both men arrived at Narconon as patients in the mid-'90s and eventually became Scientologists, at one point crediting the program with helping them get sober.
Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith has sent an email to NBC News that denied Tenorio and Catton's accusations, claiming that only a small percentage of Narconon patients join Scientology and that only 25% of staff are Scientologists. He also provided a 2011 statement from Catton that thanked the facility for saving his life, while the Church of Scientology released video statements made by Tenorio in 2008 and Catton in 2009 thanking Narconon for turning their lives around. Despite that, Catton maintains, "Everything [at Narconon] was dedicated toward the purpose of advancing Scientology's aims."