Despite being legal in 17 states, medical marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, leaving dispensaries without a bank to deposit their earnings into. Some Colorado lawmakers are now seeking to change that by proposing a bill to found the Medical Marijuana Financial Cooperative, which seeks to provide banking services to the currently cash-only industry. Banks fear that if they provide financial services or support to growers, they may face charges of drug racketeering or money laundering. "Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financing laws," says US Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole in a memo—scaring away the last few small banks still willing to work with medical marijuana providers. Without banks, growers are left with huge piles of cash and huge piles of pot, making them and their cash-carrying customers ripe targets for robbery. "They've got bags of pot, bags of cash. It's a bad combination," says Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver, one of the bill's sponsors. Though Steadman believes there's practically no hope for the initiative a present, he feels a start must be made in trying to protect the cash-rich industry.
- Whitney Houston Drug Probe Likely to Include Doctors [LA Times]
- Texas Death Row Drug Stocks Run Low [The Guardian]
- Sugar Trade Association Official: Regulating Sugar Like Alcohol is "Foolishness" [The Daily Iberian]
- Whitney Houston Funeral Set For Saturday; No Memorial [USA Today]
- Addict Smoking 15 Joints a Day Told to Quit or Face Prison [Halifax Courier]
- Facebook May Help You Butt Out [YorkRegion]
- Naked Texas Cowgirl Arrested After Slow-Speed Police Chase [Smoking Gun]
There's little help for women with substance abuse problems in Kashmir, India, despite the increasing prevalence of addiction, especially among the young. In recent years, Toluene abuse has become widespread among college age women in Kashmir due to its easy accessibility. Toluene is a chemical found in paints, petrol, varnishes, lacquers, paint thinners, adhesives, glues, rubber cement and shoe polish, that can be inhaled to get high. But when they want to get clean, females find that inpatient help is unavailable. Women from Indian Kashmir can go to a single addiction center in Srinagar for a consultation or for medication—but the center doesn't admit female addicts. As Dr. Areeb Malik of the center says, “We prescribe medicines to female addicts but they are never kept under complete supervision which is most important for de-addiction.” So most women never return for follow-ups and many who may have begun “glue sniffing” for fun, or due to peer pressure or social stresses, are at greater risk of prolonged use, and of graduating to drugs such as opiates. According to the 2008 UN International Drug Control Program survey, 4,000 of the 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir are women. The survey also found that of the 70% of students in Kashmir who have taken drugs, 26% are female.
A Pennsylvania man who apparently killed his girlfriend in a drunken fight over beer and noodles will soon stand trial for homicide. Keith Allen Kruel, 38, and his 40-year-old girlfriend, Tina Marie Ohler, had come home after a night of barhopping when the fight happened. According to Kruel's testimony to police, Ohler, angry there was no beer left in the house, took a swing at him and missed. She then agreed to make noodles for him while he rested on the couch, but threw the bowl at the wall in anger when he told her he no longer wanted to eat them. Kruel reacted by pushing her into a door jamb and kicking her on the ground. Police found blood on two doorways and various places on the carpet. "It was a horrific scene. There was a significant amount of blood, and this woman was beaten to death. She died from trauma from the beating," says Trooper Stephen Limani. Ohler was on her knees and wheezing, but refused Kruel's offer to call an ambulance, so he went to sleep. Emergency services were called later when she was found not breathing. Ohler's mother, Noreen Wolfe, says Kruel beat her daughter throughout their ten-year relationship and that he deserves the death penalty. "She doesn't deserve what she got," said Wolfe. "I hope he gets the chair. He is a mean, nasty person and I don't want no one else going through this."
Responding to a barrage of media attention spurred by the January 31 publication of The Fix's new ebook, Courtney Love has launched a bitter Twitter counter-attack, blaming a mountain lion for killing her daughter's cat, and savaging a host of her attorneys and associates for allegedly leaking sealed deposition papers that Frances filed against her in 2009. The depositions, published in Courtney Comes Clean—which is written by Fix editor-in-chief Maer Roshan and is the first in a series Fix e-books published by Barnes and Noble's Sterling Publishing Co, Inc—include never-before revealed allegations by Frances Bean Cobain in support of a temporary restraining order still in effect against Love. In a sworn statement, Frances, then 17, exposed the toll Love's alleged addictions to prescription pills were having on their turbulent relationship. She claimed that Love's hoarding of fabrics and refuse had killed her cat, and that her scattered pills caused the death of her dog.
In an angry statement published in last Saturday's New York Post, Love's lawyer, James Janowitz, fumed that the details of the deposition were completely false, and threatened The Fix with a lawsuit if he discovered that the sealed deposition papers were illegally obtained. (Roshan insists that he received the depositions from a source close to the singer, and did not violate any privacy prohibitions.)
Among other revelations in the book was the existence of Love's two dueling Twitter accounts, dubbed by friends as "Good Courtney" and "Bad Courtney." Good Courtney, published under the Twitter handle @Courtney, is written by a press-friendly employee, hired by Love's management to serve as a friendly counterpoint to her more hostile Twitter rants. But the real Courtney still holds forth on a private account, @Cbabymichelle, where she rails against a host of enemies and her "cloying" Twitter counterpart at @Courtney.
Days after the book appeared, @Cbabymichelle maintained a strange silence. But she was soon back to fighting form. "I'm a kitty killer!" she tweeted. "Who puts such an unjudged piece of trash in a madman's hands?" Outraged by the allegations, she accused a wide number of associates of leaking the documents, including Chelsea Handler, the girlfriend of Courtney's ex, hotelier Andre Balasz. More surprisingly, another of her targets was lawyer Jim Janowitz, who had risen to her defense in the Post. Eventually, however, she decided the culprit was one of Frances' lawyers.
But Love reserved her greatest outrage for the charges that she'd killed her daughter's cat. Denying that the pet had died in a pile of her belongings, she claimed that it had actually been killed by a mountain lion who roamed down from the Hollywood Hills. ("It was a mountain lion that killed Peabody!!") Moreover, she continued, the cat, Peabody, belonged to her, not to Frances.
Despite Janowitz's dire warnings, no legal action has so far been taken against Roshan or The Fix. Responding to the threatened charges, Frank Dehn, an attorney for The Fix, was nonplussed. "I'm not sure who they want to take action against but presumably it's not us, since we have a first amendment right to publish what we learned about her. Her daughter's testimony was part of a judicial proceeding, and our reportage merely added nuance and detail to a profile of a complex and fascinating woman who has long lived her life in public view."
As anyone who’s ever watched Scarface knows, one ironclad commandment of dealing drugs is: Don’t get high on your own supply. Of course, that proved difficult for Tony Montana—and the same goes for anesthesiologists, who, even though they make up only three percent of all doctors, account for 20-30% of addicted doctors. Why? For one, they have access, having learned the ins and outs of the dispensing systems which regulate the powerful substances—including fentanyl and sufentanil, respectively 100 and 1,000 times stronger than good-old morphine—which they employ to knock out patients going under the knife. Having learned the system, these highly trained medical professionals can figure out how to subvert it, diverting certain amounts of drugs for their own use by ginning up sham records, or reporting viable drug doses as broken or wasted—meaning they can then pocket the doses. Another reason is stress—keeping a patient alive during major surgery is no short order—and yet another is simple, if deadly, curiosity. In an educational video series about drug abuse in anesthesia called Wearing Masks, one anesthesiologist addict in recovery recalls having thought, “It can’t hurt me to inject two or three cc’s. I want to try it once, just once. Maybe twice.”