Hunter Biden, the younger son of Vice President Joe Biden, has been discharged from the US Navy for a positive result for cocaine on a routine drug test. Ensign Biden’s Navy career ended after just ten months as an officer when he was administratively discharged in February of this year. His father, Vice President Biden as a Senator in the 1980s was one of the leading proponents of the strict “War on Drugs” legislation of the Reagan Administration. Biden coined the term “drug czar” to describe the position of director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy that Biden created. The push for the use of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes, RICO statutes for the prosecution of drug dealers, the IRS 280E code that thwarts legal marijuana businesses, and just about every evil of the drug war you can think of owes its genesis to Senator Joe Biden.
States with medical marijuana laws saw decreases in suicide rates as well as a drop in drunken driving, particularly among young men, said Ben Hansen, a University of Oregon economics professor who spoke with Portland business leaders Thursday. Researchers looked at the first five years after medical marijuana was introduced in 17 states and found an average 5 percent drop in suicide rates. Among men 20 to 29 years old, rates fell by an average of 11 percent. Youth consumption generally did not climb in states with medical marijuana laws. Hansen, in his own work, researched traffic fatalities in Oregon and 16 other states with medical marijuana laws and found an average 8 percent drop within the first five years of the laws’ implementation. The number of drunken driving fatalities dropped by 13 to 15 percent. The decreases were largest among young men, he said.
A new University of Delaware poll that finds 56 percent of Delawareans support legalization of marijuana use. The university polled 902 Delaware adults between Sept. 10 and 22, finding just 39 percent opposed to legalization. Delawareans older than 60 and self-identified conservatives were the only groups to express deep opposition, while young adults and liberals drove the support. Support for legalization crossed racial and geographic boundaries, with poll respondents in all three counties saying they back legal marijuana. Of course, public support does not always accurately predict political support. Gov. Jack Markell remains opposed to full legalization of the drug, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. Legislation introduced earlier this year by state Rep. Helene Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat, would have allowed Delawareans to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, without regulating and taxing sales of the drug. Facing political opposition, that bill was scrapped.
A Grand Rapids doctor has admitted he certified medical-marijuana patients and caregivers without providing medical evaluations. In some cases, Dr. Gregory Kuldanek met with groups of prospective patients and caregivers in restaurants and signed certifications around a common table. He even signed certifications without the patients present. The allegations are contained in a plea agreement Kuldanek signed that calls for him to plead guilty to conspiracy to manufacture fewer than 50 marijuana plants. He is among 10 arrested for allegedly growing marijuana in homes and apartments in Kent County. Among the requirements to properly issue a card are that the physician has a bona fide relationship with the patient and that there is complete and full assessment of the patient’s history. The doctor also has to determine that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and is likely to receive therapeutic benefit from marijuana.
Pennsylvania efforts to create a medical marijuana program have been vaporized, for now. The state House of Representatives is unlikely to take up the measure passed in September by the House, with only one voting day remaining in the 2013-14 session, according to a spokesman for House Republican Majority Leader Mike Turzai. House leaders have too many questions, and want to hold at least two hearings. “No, there is no intention of bringing that legislation up for a vote,” the spokesman, Steve Miskin, said Thursday. The state Senate voted 43-7 on Sept. 24 to pass its medical marijuana legislation — SB 1182 — that would legalize vaporized and edible cannabis for medicinal use. It needed to be approved in the House before going to Gov. Tom Corbett for his consideration. Gov. Corbett has always opposed any effort to legalize medical marijuana.