1. The US' top drug war doctor Nora Volkow compares pot to heroin in today's Chronicle story of increased teen pot use. The Drug Czar blames medical marijuana. Reformers note teens are smoking more pot than cigarettes, because cigarette-selling is regulated. Independent researchers at RAND have warned that federal drug statistics do not meet scientific validity and are politically motivated. More news after the jump.
2. Drug warrior rhetoric about stoned driving took a hit today on news that total road fatalities per year have dropped 22 percent since since 2005, Wall Street Journal reports. The Food and Drug Administration licenses stoned drivers under prescription Marinol, while the nation's Drug Czar blasts medical marijuana patients for the same thing. The Journal also reports deaths from distracted driving like texting rose 42 percent in that period.
3. The National Cannabis Industry Association launches from Colorado, representing the business interests of perhaps three million medical marijuana patients nationally. McClatchy DC reports "Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin called medical marijuana 'a misnomer,' adding: 'There is nothing safe about smoking. There is nothing safe about smoking an illicit product called marijuana.'”
4. “This is your brain on drugs” advertisers Partnership for a Drug-Free America has become the "Drug-Free Partnership," because their original title was laughable. “We became increasingly aware that our name was a problem. As soon as you said "Partnership for a Drug-Free America," people would say something like "Do you really think there will ever be a drug-free America?" So you were back on your heels right away.” We say, show kids the Miley Cyrus salvia video, they'll stay clean.
5. The state of Washington wants some tasty pot sales taxes, the AP reports. “My (multiple sclerosis) patients, myself and my AIDS patients, we don't have to pay sales tax on any of our other medications," said Dale Rogers, director of The Compassion Program, a nonprofit patient collective in Seattle. ... Attorney Douglas Hiatt noted that authorities in some counties continue to raid dispensaries and prosecute their operators."
6. California's 500,000 or so medical marijuana patients are saving $100 bucks by forgoing state ID cards in favor of local ones or a simple doctor's note, the Contra Costa Times reports. In 2007, the state raised its card fee from $13 to $66, saying the program needed to pay for itself. The counties add their own fees, raising the price for cards that must be renewed annually. Alameda and San Francisco counties charge $103, including the state fee. The cost is $120 in Contra Costa. ... Add a general mistrust of handing personal information to the government, and for many patients the cards aren't worth it, said Pam Willow, who oversees the card program for Alameda County.