A new mother is suing her Pennsylvania hospital for accusing her of drug use when she failed a drug test for eating poppy seed bread.
“I just delivered and it's supposed to be this beautiful, wonderful, happy time and I'm being accused of something that's completely ridiculous," Rachel Devore, 31, told The Associated Press. "To be accused of physically and purposely harming your child is a very tough accusation to swallow.”
Tough, indeed. Poppy seeds are notorious for causing people to fail drug tests since opiates like heroin are made from them. Devore was baffled about her failed test until she was eating the same kind of bread a few weeks later—and saw the seeds.
When Devore’s urine test—taken without her knowledge or consent—returned an “unconfirmed” result, the Magee-Women's Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center referred her case to Allegheny County's Office of Children, Youth and Families, beginning an investigation the Devores called “highly intrusive.”
Just hours after giving birth, a nurse took a urine sample from Devore’s newborn and monitored it for withdrawal. A CYF investigator made Devore sign a “safety plan” and agree to surrendering parental rights to her husband if she failed another drug test. The CYF continued to visit the Devores’ home and recommend random drug tests in the future.
All for eating a slice of bread.
“It's hard, especially when you had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. I took steps to be that good mom and they are accusing me of doing something that is just heartbreaking. It's hard,” Devore said.
Devore is suing the medical center for defamation and violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.
"The Devores are very, very fortunate that CYF didn't take their baby away and UPMC knows that risk exists whenever they make one of these reports," said Devore’s lawyer, Margaret Coleman.
The CYF eventually did rescind its requirement of further drug tests, but the case has not been officially closed.
The owner of a Colorado barber shop has instituted a new rule refusing service to customers who smell like pot, citing complaints from customers.
“I feel that it’s my right to make the statement,” said shop owner Hugo Corral of Hugo’s Barber Shop in Greeley. "It’s the same thing as no shoes, no service."
Corral says he personally supports the marijuana industry, but he understands that some of his customers find the lingering smell unpleasant, especially children.
“A mother calls and says, 'Hey, we can’t go in there anymore because we don’t want it to smell like marijuana when my child’s sitting there waiting,'” said Corral.
One customer, Diana Flores, called the rule “a good move.”
But Corral has faced some neighborhood opposition for the sign he posted, which reads: “Please do not come in if you smell like marijuana, there are families with kids who don't want to smell it. This is a business not your house, thank you."
Angry pot advocates have threatened him with lawsuits, bashed him on social media and vandalized his storefront.
“People ripping the sign off, I’ve had to clean spit off my front door,” he described.
A local attorney told CBS Denver that Corral has the right to turn down customers reeking of reefer, as pot smoking is not a constitutionally protected right like race, religion, or gender.
Doctors and medical experts are alarmed by reports of a new opiod that is five to 10 times stronger than Vicodin, with one ER doctor calling the pill “a drug dealer’s dream.”
“This is now putting a new drug on the market where one pill will kill a child,” Dr. Jim Keany of St. Joseph’s Hospital told CBS LA. "I am really concerned about the safety of the pediatric population."
The new drug, Zohydro, contains no protective ingredients like acetaminophen or Tylenol, as most painkillers do.
“Other drugs are mixed with Tylenol and nobody wants to inject all that Tylenol because they know it will wipe out their liver,” Keany said. "So the fact that this has no Tylenol, it’s the perfect drug of abuse for drug users."
Drug manufacturers have one small warning up on their website.
“Zohydro can cause opioid abuse even if you take your dose correctly as prescribed,” the Zohydro site reads.
The drug makers claim that Zohydro is intended to help patients with severe and chronic pain without damaging the liver.
Natalie Costa, producer of a documentary film about drug abuse called Behind the Orange Curtain, called the drug “heroin in pill form.”
“We are sitting on an explosion that’s about to happen,” she said. “It is far more dangerous than anything we have on the market right now.”
More than 40 experts came together to write a letter to the Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to take the drug off the market.
“In the midst of a severe drug addiction epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid,” the experts wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
“It will kill people as soon as it’s released,” stated Andrew Kolodny, president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
Three third graders in Sonora, Calif., were caught smoking marijuana in the boys’ bathroom of their elementary school.
Another student found the two eight-year-olds and one nine-year-old lighting up and told an adult.
The pot apparently came “from several sources.” The boys did not appear high when they were busted and didn’t seem to know how to use the smoking device.
The kids were taken to the police for questioning and then released to their parents. Local police chief Mark Stinson told Reuters that the tykes are the youngest pot perpetrators he’s ever encountered.
In California, minors under 12 are rarely prosecuted. The boys could be subject to juvenile justice proceedings.
“The first step is we have to determine whether they knew right from wrong,” Stinson said.
“[I’m] shocked. To be in third grade and have their own pipe,” parent Linda Rodriguez told KTXL-TV. “I think they should be expelled, but I also think they should follow it further to where they found [the drugs].”
The incident was confirmed by district superintendent Leigh Shampain, who declined to make any further comments. But both Shamplain and the police chief worry that increased access for minors could be a consequence of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.
"It's something to think about,” said Stinson.
After announcing that he would run for a fourth term, California Gov. Jerry Brown spoke out about legalizing marijuana in the state. He said legalization isn't beyond the realm of possibility, but he fears that too many "potheads" could compromise the state.
Speaking with “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, Brown said that California’s medical marijuana policies were “very close” to those of Colorado and Washington, and that he’d “really like those two states to show us how it's going to work.”
But the governor also said he worried about the "tendency to go to extremes."
"If there's advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?" he asked. " The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."
California is no exception in the national shift towards legalization. A December 2013 Field Poll showed that 55 percent of Californians support legalizing pot, the first majority since 1969, when tracking of public opinion on the issue began. As it is now, “medical marijuana” is easily accessible in the Sunshine State.
California voters have credited Brown with the decline in crime and increase in investments in infrastructure. 60 percent of voters approve of his governing, according to a January poll.
Canna Care, a Christian medical marijuana dispensary, is taking on the IRS to claim back a tax penalty of nearly $1 million. The dispensary and advocacy group was saddled with the penalty under a statute meant to target illegal drug traffickers.
Lanette and Bryan Davies are a husband-and-wife team who run the Canna Care and Crusaders for Patient Rights in Sacramento. The dispensary and community group combines pot with prayer and serves a wide clientele. Now they’re fighting for their right to operate as a normal business without being subjected to crippling federal taxes.
The feds refused to accept the $2.6 million in tax deductions that the nonprofit claimed — and charged it an additional $875,000 in taxes under 280E, a tax code from the Reagan administration that allows the federal government to penalize businesses that sell a controlled substance, even if the substance is legal on the state level.
“The tax law is grossly unfair,” tax attorney Robert Wood told TIME. “Whether you think dispensaries are a good idea or not, if they’re lawful businesses under state law, they should be able to deduct their business expenses like anybody else.”
Lanette Davies agreed.
“The idea isn’t to have dispensaries not pay taxes,” she told The Huffington Post. “We’re just asking that dispensaries pay a tax that is reasonable.”
The IRS offered to settle the debt for $100,000, but the couple refused the offer, which Lanette Davies called “buying protection money.” Instead, the Davies are taking the IRS to court. The trial began this week at the U.S. Tax Court in San Francisco.
“I feel really confident and really good about the whole experience,” Lanette Davies told the Huffington Post about her hopes for the trial. “Of course I’m hoping for a favorable verdict, but we were able to bring forward some really important facts that need to be heard within our federal courts.”
Two otherwise healthy German men reportedly died from medical complications after smoking weed.
"To our knowledge, these are the first cases of suspected fatal cannabis intoxications where full post-mortem investigations (...) were carried out," researchers wrote in an article about the bizarre case published in Forensic Science International.
The men, ages 23 and 28, probably had underlying health conditions. An autopsy showed that the younger man had a serious heart problem that had not been detected, while the older man had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. The men may have lost their heartbeat while lying down due to cannabis’ effect of increasing the user’s heart rate or blood pressure.
“We assume that these are very rare, isolated cases," Dr. Benno Hartung, one of the study’s authors, said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He advised against drawing wider conclusions about the potentially fatal effects of marijuana.
Jost Leune, head of German Association for Drugs and Addiction, criticized the study in the English-language German news source The Local.
“Cannabis does not paralyze the breathing or the heart,” said Leune. “Deaths due to cannabis use are usually accidents that are not caused by the substance, but to the circumstances of use.”
Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop Cites Satirical Headline About Marijuana Overdoses During Legalization Debate
A DailyCurrant hoax headline was convincing enough to fool Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop, who argued against legalizing marijuana by pointing out that the evil weed had killed 37 the first day it was legalized in Colorado.
"The first day of legalization, that's when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana," Pristoop testified at Tuesday's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. "I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths."
The source he cited was headlined “Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization” and contained a “quote” by a Denver doctor.
“’It's complete chaos here,’ said a fictional Dr. Jack Shepard, billed as chief of surgery at St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver by the article. "‘I've put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute,’” the Daily Currant wrote.
The joke seems to have gone over the police chief’s head.
Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, who proposed the legalization bill, was the buzzkill.
"Unless you have some other source for this, I'm afraid I've got to spoil the party here," Raskin said. "Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the DailyCurrant and the Comedy Central website."
Pristoop then tried to cover his tracks.
"If it was a misquote, then I'll stand behind the mistake," Pristoop said. "But I'm holding on to information I was provided."
Pristoop later apologized for his misquote.
“After conducting additional research, it appears that was not accurate at all," Pristoop told the Capital Gazette after the debate. “I believed at the time that was accurate.”
The police chief stood by his stance against legalizing the drug in Maryland.
"But I don't think it takes away from the other facts we presented,” Pristoop said. “I'm guilty of being a human being. I tried really hard to present verified facts.”
The Annapolis Police Department issued an statement on its Facebook page apologizing for the inaccuracy but quoted Pristoop as saying that the mistake “does not take away from the other facts presented in opposition to legalization or the good work of the Maryland Chiefs and Maryland Sheriffs Associations."
Paramedics assisting a Louisiana man who had been shot in the buttocks discovered that he was hiding something.
The Times-Picayune reports that deputies were dispatched to a home in Marrero when someone reported a shooting. At the residence, Akili Bailey, 20, was sitting in a chair with gunshot wounds to his buttock, leg, and foot, according to police reports. Treon Florant, 21, was lying on the grass with bullet wounds to his neck, leg and knee.
Both men were taken to the hospital and stabilized. It was there that a doctor found an unexpected surprise when treating Bailey’s buttock wound — a small bag containing 2.5 grams of cocaine, which he had been holding between his clenched cheeks.
According to the arrest report, paramedics at the scene said that Bailey refused to get up and was "clenching his buttocks together," which they assumed to be a result of his injury.
Bailey was booked for cocaine possession and Florant on warrants issued in January for firearm charges relating to drug activity or violence.
Both victims refused to answer questions about the shooting. An investigation is ongoing.
Source: The Times-Picayune
In Colorado, where pot dispensaries now outnumber Starbucks Coffee shops in the capital, tax revenues from marijuana have exceeded expectations.
Officials estimate that the 12.9 percent tax on recreational pot will bring in $98 million in state revenue next year of $610 million in total sales. That figure is significantly higher than the $70 million that had been expected.
Gov. John Hickenlooper wrote in his budget proposal with the estimates that he plans on spending $99 million next year on substance abuse prevention – money that would come out of the marijuana tax revenues.
$45.5 million would be used for youth prevention, $40.4 million for substance abuse treatment and $12.4 million for public health.
The governor wrote that "this package represents a strong yet cautious first step" for regulating the marijuana market.
The marijuana wave has come with its own safety concerns. Since 2009, when medical marijuana became widely available in the state, the number of children who required medical treatment for accidently ingesting marijuana, usually through food that contained the special ingredient, has spiked. Others are concerned about regulating products that contain marijuana.
Barbara Brohl, Colorado's marijuana czar, said that safety regulations are being put in place.
“We plan to, between June and September of this year, require mandatory testing of products,” she told CBS.
Marijuana advocates recognize that the tax revenue is a large part of the nationwide shift in attitudes towards legalization.
"Voters and state lawmakers around the country are watching how this system unfolds in Colorado, and the prospect of generating significant revenue while eliminating the underground marijuana market is increasingly appealing," said Mason Tvert, a Colorado activist who works for the Marijuana Policy Project.
While legalization has made marijuana far more widely available, it’s also increased the price.
“You could buy a quarter ounce for $30 to $35 even up to five years ago and today I just got an eighth and paid almost $60,” Colorado resident and pot smoker Julie Miller told news station KTVI.