In a sign of changing times, it seems like opposing marijuana legalization is becoming dangerous for politicians—at any rate, it just cost El Paso Representative Sylvestre Reyes his job. Back in 2009, Reyes vetoed a city resolution calling for a debate on legalization, and pressured members of the city council not to overturn his veto via warnings about potential loss of federal funding. But after winning a Democratic primary last night, Beto O'Rourke—the council member responsible for pushing that marijuana resolution—has taken Reyes' seat in the House of Representatives and, presumably, a small slice of revenge. Reyes—who was first elected in 1996 and has enjoyed campaign support from both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton—made his opposition to legalization central to his re-election campaign, using the slogan: "Say NO to drugs. Say NO to Beto." That it backfired reflects a fast-changing climate: 56% of Americans now favor legal pot.
“O’Rourke’s victory demonstrates that support for drug policy reform, and even for legalizing marijuana, is no detriment to electoral success—in fact it was a key asset in his triumph,” says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Action. Earlier this month, Ellen Rosenblum found the same when she won an election to become Oregon's new Attorney General, due in part to the backing of the pro-MMJ community. "All we're asking for is a conversation," said Beto O'Rourke when his 2009 resolution was being debated. "And no important issue in the history of the United States—social, criminal, legal or otherwise—has ever been harmed by having an open discussion." The citizens of El Paso clearly want that discussion too.
The ongoing war of words between singer and rapper Chris Brown and former B2K member Raz-B shows no signs of slowing down. The two engaged in a homophobic Twitter war back in December 2010 that became so heated it even led to Brown receiving a death threat. But Raz-B is now upping the ante in his upcoming memoir. This Boy's Life, due to be released in September, accuses Brown of being gay and a drug addict. "I've never had issues with substances; even when I was at my lowest," writes Raz-B. "I always thank God I never had a serious addiction like the Weezy's [Lil Wayne] and the Breezy's [Chris Brown]." Breezy, meanwhile, continued his foot-in-mouth on Twitter syndrome by venting at the accusations before taking down the posts. But since he has over nine million followers, those briefly-posted comments have circulated fast. "Lying about somebody in a book is called defamation of character," he tweeted. "Keep feeding people bull**** and ima end up owning you and that book! RAZ B! God bless... My lawyers are handling it! Lol ima chill!" While Brown is still moving forward with his lawsuit plans, neither one of them is coming out looking too good in this battle. Time to kiss and make up?
The FDA issued a warning yesterday that rogue websites are distributing fake Adderall drugs: marketed as treatment for attention deficit disorder, the phony meds actually contain active ingredients for pain management. "Consumers should be extra cautious when buying their medicines from online sources," said the FDA in a statement. The counterfeit drugs are said to be harmful and ineffective, and consumers are cautioned to dispose of them immediately. According to the FDA, with prescriptions for Adderall on the rise, the drug is in short supply, leading more people to purchase online. The popular stimulant is made from a controlled substance that is highly addictive and commonly abused—especially by teens, college students, and—perhaps surprisingly—parents. "More adults are reportedly abusing Adderall by taking it when they're not supposed to, which is leading to the shortage,” Fox News reported earlier this month, in a profile of suburban housewives with hidden pill habits. The authentic Adderall 30 mg tablets produced by Teva are orange or peach-colored, embossed with a “30” on one side and a “dp” on the other. They're available only in a 100-count bottle marked with the code (NDC) 0555-0768-02.
For many people at the moment, it's difficult to find a job. But for companies in Ohio, it seems it can sometimes be difficult to find workers. According to a recent survey, employment agencies in The Buckeye have a hard time filling vacancies due to failed drug tests—to the point where many employers issue the test before any paper work is even completed. Across a variety of industries in the state, 25.5% of employers said they had to dismiss applications due to failed drug tests. And within the manufacturing industry, that number reaches nearly half of employers—at 47.5%, according to the survey carried out by ERC for the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County. Nationwide, the US Department of Justice estimates that drug abuse costs the American economy about $193 billion a year. Many companies across the US continue to test employees and even have random screenings—an act that some argue is unconstitutional and a violation of privacy—fueling a growing drug-testing industry that has been accused of widespread corruption.
President Obama’s pot-smoking days are being re-imagined for your viewing pleasure via a Taiwanese animation. The production company—Next Media in Asia—pulls from the upcoming, unauthorized biography by David Maraniss, Barack Obama: The Story, which hits stores on June 19. The books tells of the days when a teenage Obama, and his friends, smoked marijuana, forming “The Choom Gang” to do so. The 2-minute cartoon clip is titled Obama and marijuana: POT-us dope-smoking daze revealed, and shows the President sitting in the Oval Office, looking frustrated over the economy. From there, he begins to imagine the “Choomwagon” and his high school dope-smoking days in Hawaii. The clip ends with the First Lady glaring at her husband as he tries to straighten up. Maraniss has caused a stir by pre-releasing two excerpts from his book: one focuses on Obama’s sex life, the other on his drug use—claiming that Obama was considered the “rule maker” of the Choom Gang and that he smoked to “total absorption.” Maraniss writes, “When the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling. Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated.” He also claims that Obama was known for his pot “interceptions” when smoking a joint with friends: “He often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted 'intercepted,' and took an extra hit.” Obama’s past drug use first came to light in 1995 when the president candidly admitted to it in his autobiography Dreams from My Father, writing, “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.”
- Colombian Rebels Release Video of French Reporter [CBS]
- Study: California Isn't Using Tobacco Money for Smoking Prevention Programs [Miami Herald]
- Families of Mexican Drug War Victims Berate Candidates [BBC]
- Common Painkillers Tied to Lower Skin Cancer Risk [Chicago Tribune]
- Man 'Thrown Off Balcony' Saved by Pot Plant [NineMSN]
- Allegedly Drunk Brooklyn Woman Plows Benz Straight Through Long Island Home [Gothamist]