New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have approved medical marijuana, but he says he is "not inclined to allow" children to use the drug for medical purposes. "I'll have the health commissioner look at it, report back to me, but I don't want to mislead people either, I'm not inclined to allow them to have it," he said at a press conference on Monday. "[Christie's] simply concerned about the public policy implications of minors having access to legal marijuana," said Michael Drewniak, Christie's spokesman. "He views it as a slippery slope where we need to be very careful, though he understands where the regulations currently stand." The comments were a response to a question concerning Vivian Wilson, a toddler from Scotch Plains, NJ with a severe and rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Currently, patients under the age of 18 are allowed to participate in the state's medical marijuana program, but only with the approval of a pediatrician, a prescribing physician, and a psychiatrist. Vivian's parents, Brian and Meghan Wilson, are still seeking a psychiatrist's approval before they can get medical pot for their daughter, who they say cannot be helped with traditional medication. "People just don't like to hear about marijuana and kids," said Vivian's father. "It kills me when people say, 'Oh, we don't know the side effects and it kills brain cells.' Well, she's already killed brain cells on these [prescription] drugs. The seizure have killed brain cells."
Governor Christie has been accused of attempting to "sabotage" the state's medical marijuana program, but he said he is willing to move forward. "I want New Jersey to be a compassionate state," he said Monday, "and for people who this is your only option to get pain relief, for those who are terminally ill, [and] are chronically ill, we've authorized it." New Jersey is the 14th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but Christie has been cautious about ensuring that only the "truly sick and suffering" have access to legal marijuana. "I am not going to allow New Jersey to become a California or a Colorado where someone can fake a headache and get a bag of pot on every corner," he said. "So I'm very concerned, if we go down this slope of allowing minors to use this, where it ends."
Young people—both girls and boys—are developing eating disorders in increasing numbers, according to a UK study published in BMJ Open. Based on the numbers of patients attending general practitioners, medical experts found that one in ten teenage girls has an eating disorder. The highest rates of new cases were among girls ages 15 to 19 and boys ages ten to 14. The data also showed that there was a 13% jump in new cases diagnosed each year between 2003 and 2009. “Modern society exerts pressure for children and young people to be perfect, to look perfect and be high achievers,” says study researcher Dr. Nadia Micali of the Institute of Child Health, University College in London. “Boys are starting to suffer as girls did in the past. It’s a mix of genes and environment, nature and nurture, but the reality is we don’t know enough about what causes eating disorders yet.” While diagnoses of anorexia and bulimia have stayed mostly consistent, there has been a “significant increase” in other eating disorders, including binge eating. Micali says that doctors are becoming more aware of eating disorders, which could partially explain the increase in diagnoses, but she adds: “I suspect these figures are an under-estimate, with many not going to their GP with symptoms that are just as bad.” Studies done in the US have found similar data, with research suggesting that 80% of 10-year-old girls have already dieted at least once, and 70% of 6- to 12-year-old girls want to lose weight. The rate of development of new eating disorder cases in the US has been increasing steadily since 1950.
Sixteen people have been busted in what authorities are calling a "Palestinian cigarette-smuggling ring," and three of them allegedly have ties to terrorists, reports the New York Daily News. The NYPD and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took down multiple distributors transporting cheap, contraband cigarettes from North Carolina to Virginia, in a massive "buttlegging" operation that made a supposed $22 million over the past 17 months. The lucrative business is "better than selling drugs," one defendant said on tape. The distributors were aided by resellers who sold the contraband cigarettes around New York and accomplices who, instead of turning tax revenue over to the state and city, allegedly funneled the money to terrorists. City Hall estimates that half of the cigarettes sold in NYC are illegal and New York has just about given up on enforcing tax laws, which means hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue have been lost. However, most smokers are still paying the full taxable amount on their cigarette packs—so where does the tax money go? The Daily News has no doubt: It's "flowing unimpeded into a dark underworld...and every time [smokers] light up, they could be pumping money into Hamas. Or Hezbollah. Or Al Qaeda." One of the busted bootleg smugglers reportedly had financial links to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving life for a plot to blow up city landmarks; another lived in the same building as the main fund-raiser for Hamas; and a third was "a confidant" of the gunman who opened fire on a van of school boys on a Brooklyn Bridge ramp in 1994, killing a student. No wonder Mayor Bloomberg wants cigarettes out of sight.
A 21-year-old college student had to be rescued yesterday off a Colorado mountain after she reportedly ingested mushrooms and "freaked out." Thirty-five total rescue personnel were dispatched to the mountain in Chautauqua Park after a 911 call was received that a female hiker was "high on mushrooms and in distress." Taylor Powers, a University of Colorado undergrad, was located by a park ranger who reported that she had “removed all of her clothing and was being restrained” by two of her hiking companions. Her meltdown forced rescuers to handcuff her before transporting her to a local hospital, where she was treated and released last night. She has been cited for unlawful consumption of a controlled substance, and “further charges are pending against others involved.” Powers' Facebook page includes photos of her hiking and skiing, but no comments on the incident. This is not the first time a hiker's drug use has warranted a rescue mission: Earlier this year, officials in Orange County, California launched a $160,000 search-rescue operation to find two teenagers who had used meth and gotten lost in the woods.
Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, has passed away from bile duct cancer at age 74. Manzarek founded The Doors with Jim Morrison in the '60s, and helped the band become one of the most successful rock and roll acts of its time. The band eventually fell apart after Morrison's death in 1971, following his epic battle with alcoholism and addiction. Manzarek continued to play in other bands, and will be remembered as one of the most notable keyboard players in the history of rock and roll. He was also an ardent advocate of marijuana legalization. At a conference of marijuana advocacy group NORML in 2008 (video below), the keyboardist recalls getting high during the first recording session with The Doors, and muses on God, outer space, and the effects of marijuana on the time/space continuum. "Years, days, they don't matter. Time is an ephemeral thing," he says, "Time is some sort of Judeo-Christian construct, that has nothing to do with smoking marijuana. Smoking marijuana puts you into a timeless state in which you are kind of revolving with the planet in its eternal rotation around the sun...what's great about marijuana is that it opens the doors to perception."
- Honduran Victims of US Drug War Still Await Justice [Al Jazeera]
- Jon Bon Jovi: Daughter's Heroin Overdose was "My Worst Moment as a Father'' [Fox News]
- Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Push For Hemp Legalization In Senate Fight [Huffington Post]
- Americas Coalition Puts Marijuana Legalization Up for Discussion [New York Times]
- Finally, a Toothbrush That Shoots Caffeine into Your Mouth [TIME]
- One in 10 Teens Using "Study Drugs" But Parents Aren't Paying Attention [Science Daily]
- Former Yahoo! Employee Killed After Falling From Roof During San Francisco's Booze-Infused 'Bay to Breakers' Party [Daily Mail]