Category Archives: Drugs

California Passed Proposition 64, Now What ?

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, California voters decided to legalize marijuana for adults over 21. In fact is was 56.04% yes and 43.96% no. You can read the bill here.

So what happens now?   California Proposition 64

Adults over 21 can possess and consume up to an ounce of pot. Adults can grow 6 plants at private residence as long as the grow area is locked and not visible to the public.

California has a government entity to oversee this, the Bureau of Marijuana Control. They are responsible for regulating and licensing marijuana businesses. There are also taxes on cultivation and sales of marijuana. Local governments are allowed to add their own tax as well. They will begin licensing on January 1, 2018.

You are not allowed to smoke in public or to drive under the influence. Edibles have to be low dose and in child proof packages. Don’t try to take it with you on a plane or cross state lines, federal laws prohibit that.

But, and its a big but, federal laws classify marijuana as a Class 1 prohibited drug. So, the new pot stores are prevented from opening bank accounts, accepting credit cards or paying their taxes electronically. Marijuana is banned in national parks and other federal lands. Since some estimates are the pot business in California will add 6 billion dollars to the states economy, the feds will want to get involved. Right now it looks like a legislative mess!

Also in the bill passed on Tuesday is the criminal penalties change. Past offenders can apply to have their records expunged and/or get out of jail if they are there on pot related charges.

Employers now have to think about their policy and how to handle the issue. Business can have a drug free workplace and let prospective employees know that even legal drug use is not ok.

For those of you that have employees that are federally regulated like truck drivers, bus drivers, pilots and train engineers, nothing changes. Federal law still maintains marijuana as a Class 1 prohibited drug.

If you need help figuring out a policy for your business call us. We can help. 530-241-2099

 

 

Heroin

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Aren’t those flowers lovely? NOPE!  They are opium poppies. Refined into morphine then chemically modified to heroin…not lovely. And 95 % of the worlds opium poppies products are from Afghanistan. Hmmmm, lets not get it to the politics of that hot potato.

Heroin is a growing issue in the small town I live in as it is all over. A local park was recently cleaned by a group of concerned citizens and they retrieved a 55 gallon trash bag filled with needles.

Well our neighbors to the north have a new idea. Canadian doctors can now legally prescribe diacetylmorphine, or pharmaceutical-grade heroin to their patients. Read CNN’s article here. The idea is that it gets the addicted person off the street, not stealing to maintain their habit and not exposed to disease thus saving the state money in law enforcement and social services.

You probably saw the story on the grandmother in the car, with her 4 year old grandson, passed out on heroin. Read that here

What do you think is the answer? Is it up to the government to fix it? And what is the bigger issue…why? Why do so many of our citizens try to fill the empty part of their soul with heroin?

Maybe we can wait and see what happens in Canada.

Painkiller Epidemic

Update: June 28,2016

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a press release today on the growing heroin problem. Read it here.

 

 

We have written a lot on this blog about illegal drugs and the problems they cause to our society. But legal drugs have started a painkiller epidemic in the United States.

 

Infographic: Heroin use is part of a larger substance abuse problem.

A study recently published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that in 2014, 15 million people used prescription drugs non medically. In other words, used the prescription medicine not as prescribed. The vast majority of those drugs were opioids or painkillers. Read the study here.

The news magazine, The Week, also had a great article that looks at the root of problem. Read their insightful story here.

There is also a doctors group working on this issue. Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has quite a bit of information on their web site. Click here for the CDC report on painkillers. They estimate the cost of non-prescription use of these drugs, like OxyContin and Vicodin, cost insurance companies $72 billion dollars a year. Guess what the insurance companies do? They pass that cost on to all of us.

David Muir of ABC News did a 1 hour in depth look at heroin use in America. Painkillers were the gateway drug in many of the stories of the road to addiction. In many cases the addict just went to a friend or relatives medicine cabinet.  These drugs have a legitimate use but need to be kept under lock and key.

It does give us hope that the entire country is having this conversation.

America can solve this problem if we work together.american-flag-star-spangled

 

Medical Marijuana

Where do you stand on medical marijuana? What kind of impact can it have on your business?

In regulated industries like railroads, airlines, and truck and bus companies, the rules are black and white. There is NO  provision for medical marijuana.

But what about other workers? The state of New Jersey has proposed a new law to protect the jobs of marijuana users. According to their assembly bill 2482, the employer would need to prove that marijuana impairs the workers ability to do their job. Right now they are just targeting “medical marijuana” but it looks like a slippery slope to us. It would be easy to add recreational use to the laws.

Sound crazy? Already a law in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota and Nevada is the employees right to use medical marijuana. The laws in each of these states differ in some ways but boil down the same. It is the employer that must prove that the user can not do the job while having marijuana in their system.
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The entire burden is on the employer. Even if you had already set up a drug testing program for your employees that states marijuana is one of the drugs tested for in your ongoing testing program, doesn’t matter! In those states, failing a drug test by having a positive for marijuana is not grounds for termination. You as the employer must prove that their job performance is affected.