This is Zazzz, thought to be the country’s first identity-verifying marijuana vending machine. It was unveiled this month in Avon, Colorado, and it can check a purchaser’s identity before dispensing a product from an array of available items, including edibles and pre-rolled joints.
Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

This is Zazzz, thought to be the country’s first identity-verifying marijuana vending machine. It was unveiled this month in Avon, Colorado, and it can check a purchaser’s identity before dispensing a product from an array of available items, including edibles and pre-rolled joints.

Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

An uneasy love for “Breaking Bad” in Albuquerque

"Breaking Bad," the wildly popular television series that came to an end last year, brought the city of Albuquerque to the world’s attention, not only bringing the city revenue during its filming, but sparking a deluge of tourism related spending.

Shops sell through bags of candy made to look like the meth cooked in the show, t-shirts and hats bearing references to the series and there was even an obituary printed for a character in the Albuquerque Journal.

But there’s a darker side to the show’s popularity. There’s a reason “Breaking Bad” was set where it was: Albuquerque is known as the meth capital of the Southwest.

Law enforcement officials and social service agencies question such an attitude in a state that has one of the nation’s highest rates of overdose deaths from prescription medications. In 2008, when the series began, one-third of all criminal cases in Bernalillo County were connected to meth use, sales or related crimes.

Today, “Breaking Bad” tours pass county drug detox centers filled with addicts.

Read the full story in our latest Column One feature right here.

Photos: John Glionna / Los Angeles Times

If you go to somebody’s house it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff. It is like drinking coffee when you’re sleepy, but ice is so much better.

Obama administration bolsters new marijuana laws

New laws in Washington and Colorado allowed for the recreational use of marijuana, sparking an inevitable conflict with federal laws banning the controversial drug. But in an announcement today, the Department of Justice said that it will allow those laws to remain on the books.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll be turning a blind eye to the growing marijuana industry in the two states:

A department official stressed, however, that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and that U.S. prosecutors will continue to aggressively enforce the law against those who sell marijuana to minors and to criminal gangs that are involved in drug trafficking.

Read the details over at Politics Now.

Photos: Elaine Thompson, Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

It’s time for finals - but what are kids using to help them study?
A new study has found that while 12% of teenagers have taken stimulant medication intended for those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder for non-medical purposes, just 1% of parents think that’s the case, regardless of whether that use is for last-minute studying or recreation.
So why the concern about students using such drugs?

Use of stimulant medication by children without ADHD can lead to acute exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms, and — if an adolescent becomes addicted and goes into withdrawal — to confusion and psychosis.

Plus, there’s still no scientific consensus on whether medication intended for ADHD actually improves academic performance.
Read more via Science Now.
Photo: Keith Beaty / Toronto Star

It’s time for finals - but what are kids using to help them study?

A new study has found that while 12% of teenagers have taken stimulant medication intended for those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder for non-medical purposes, just 1% of parents think that’s the case, regardless of whether that use is for last-minute studying or recreation.

So why the concern about students using such drugs?

Use of stimulant medication by children without ADHD can lead to acute exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms, and — if an adolescent becomes addicted and goes into withdrawal — to confusion and psychosis.

Plus, there’s still no scientific consensus on whether medication intended for ADHD actually improves academic performance.

Read more via Science Now.

Photo: Keith Beaty / Toronto Star

Setting the groundwork for profitable legalization
As more and more states alter their marijuana policies, from decriminalizing the possession within preset restrictions, allowing its use for medicinal purposes to outright legalization, entrepreneurs are increasingly seeing green.
Ken VandeVrede, chief operating officer at Terra Tech, a hydroponic equipment maker, is among those bracing for the flood gates to open:

"We can scale this thing very, very quickly. When hemp and cannabis become legal, we’re ready to rock and roll."

And things aren’t exactly quiet on the investment side of things. From Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of the Seattle private equity firm Privateer Holdings

"More and more people see the inevitability. They see that the Berlin Wall of cannabis prohibition is going to come down."

Read more, and learn about the possible involvement of Wall Street in the marijuana industry, here.
Photo: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Setting the groundwork for profitable legalization

As more and more states alter their marijuana policies, from decriminalizing the possession within preset restrictions, allowing its use for medicinal purposes to outright legalization, entrepreneurs are increasingly seeing green.

Ken VandeVrede, chief operating officer at Terra Tech, a hydroponic equipment maker, is among those bracing for the flood gates to open:

"We can scale this thing very, very quickly. When hemp and cannabis become legal, we’re ready to rock and roll."

And things aren’t exactly quiet on the investment side of things. From Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of the Seattle private equity firm Privateer Holdings

"More and more people see the inevitability. They see that the Berlin Wall of cannabis prohibition is going to come down."

Read more, and learn about the possible involvement of Wall Street in the marijuana industry, here.

Photo: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Recommended read: What to do with $175,000 in weed found in your back yard

A crazy tale from former Times reporter Mack Reed, who discovered a drug-stuffed duffel stowed in a vault under a backyard hot tub. 

factoidlabs:

imageI am standing chest-deep in a dank, muddy concrete-lined hole in Silver Lake, staring eye-level into a duffel bag full of high-grade drugs.

It smells strongly of marijuana - despite the fact that someone sealed it tightly into jars, Ziplocs and professionally vacuum-sealed pouches before…

test reblogged from factoidlabs

 Drug users’ union in San Francisco part of growing movement: Some members are clean, but most are not. They have joined together to work for decriminalization and battle disease, injury and death among users.
Photo: Lydia Blumberg said she felt a weight lift the minute she walked into her first union meeting of the San Francisco Drug Users Union. Credit: David Elliott Lewis

Drug users’ union in San Francisco part of growing movement: Some members are clean, but most are not. They have joined together to work for decriminalization and battle disease, injury and death among users.

Photo: Lydia Blumberg said she felt a weight lift the minute she walked into her first union meeting of the San Francisco Drug Users Union. Credit: David Elliott Lewis

How a major bust created a cartel monster: Colombian cartels settled a pay dispute with Mexican smugglers after a giant 1989 drug raid in Sylmar. And that made Mexican gangs bigger, richer and much more deadly.
Photo: Sept. 29, 1989: Investigators from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms look over boxes containing 20 tons of cocaine worth more than $2 billion seized at a Sylmar warehouse. Also found was almost $10 million in cash. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press

How a major bust created a cartel monster: Colombian cartels settled a pay dispute with Mexican smugglers after a giant 1989 drug raid in Sylmar. And that made Mexican gangs bigger, richer and much more deadly.

Photo: Sept. 29, 1989: Investigators from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms look over boxes containing 20 tons of cocaine worth more than $2 billion seized at a Sylmar warehouse. Also found was almost $10 million in cash. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press

$100 million in PCP seized: Stunned officials find 130 gallons of the dangerous drug in Los Angeles and Culver City — enough for 10 million doses.
You with the green gloves? Not enough layers.
Photo:   Investigators look at evidence after nearly $100 million worth of PCP was seized in Los Angeles and Culver City. Two suspects were arrested. Credit: L.A. IMPACT

$100 million in PCP seized: Stunned officials find 130 gallons of the dangerous drug in Los Angeles and Culver City — enough for 10 million doses.

You with the green gloves? Not enough layers.

Photo: Investigators look at evidence after nearly $100 million worth of PCP was seized in Los Angeles and Culver City. Two suspects were arrested. Credit: L.A. IMPACT

Reblogging this in case you didn’t see it because of the Tumblr outage.
latimes:

Turn on, tune in and get better? Hallucinogens and other street drugs are increasingly being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses, such as helping patients deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic pain, depression and even terminal illness.

A drug can’t be dismissed because of a dangerous reputation or colorful history, Bedi said, if trials demonstrate that it is safe and can benefit patients.

Photo:      UCLA psychiatrist Charles Grob led a team that found psilocybin improved the mood of patients with “existential anxiety” related to advanced-stage cancer. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Reblogging this in case you didn’t see it because of the Tumblr outage.

latimes:

Turn on, tune in and get better? Hallucinogens and other street drugs are increasingly being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses, such as helping patients deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic pain, depression and even terminal illness.

A drug can’t be dismissed because of a dangerous reputation or colorful history, Bedi said, if trials demonstrate that it is safe and can benefit patients.

Photo: UCLA psychiatrist Charles Grob led a team that found psilocybin improved the mood of patients with “existential anxiety” related to advanced-stage cancer. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

test reblogged from latimes

Turn on, tune in and get better? Hallucinogens and other street drugs are increasingly being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses, such as helping patients deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic pain, depression and even terminal illness.

A drug can’t be dismissed because of a dangerous reputation or colorful history, Bedi said, if trials demonstrate that it is safe and can benefit patients.

Photo:      UCLA psychiatrist Charles Grob led a team that found psilocybin improved the mood of patients with “existential anxiety” related to advanced-stage cancer. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Turn on, tune in and get better? Hallucinogens and other street drugs are increasingly being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses, such as helping patients deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic pain, depression and even terminal illness.

A drug can’t be dismissed because of a dangerous reputation or colorful history, Bedi said, if trials demonstrate that it is safe and can benefit patients.

Photo: UCLA psychiatrist Charles Grob led a team that found psilocybin improved the mood of patients with “existential anxiety” related to advanced-stage cancer. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Dirty Money

The Times has a new series of occasional reports on money laundering practices and the drug war.

Mexico seeks to fill drug war gap with focus on dirty money: The evolving anti-laundering campaign could change the tone of the Mexican government’s battle by striking at the heart of the cartels’ financial empire, analysts say.

International banks have aided Mexican drug gangs: Despite strict rules, some banks have failed to ‘know their customer’ or ask about the source of large amounts of cash, allowing billions in dirty money from Mexico to be laundered.

U.S. blacklisting seems to have little consequence in Mexico: Washington employs sanctions in an effort to deter money launderers and others who serve drug traffickers, but evidence shows that being put on the ‘kingpin designation list’ doesn’t cause hardship.

Indian ‘Shadow Wolves’ stalk smugglers on Arizona reservation: They work for the federal government — and also to protect sacred lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation along the border with Mexico.

The Shadow Wolves work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. To join the special unit, each officer must be at least one-quarter American Indian and belong to a federally recognized tribe.

Photo:   Kevin Carlos follows hoof prints he suspects were left by drug smugglers. Credit: Brian Bennett / Los Angeles Times

Indian ‘Shadow Wolves’ stalk smugglers on Arizona reservation: They work for the federal government — and also to protect sacred lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation along the border with Mexico.

The Shadow Wolves work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. To join the special unit, each officer must be at least one-quarter American Indian and belong to a federally recognized tribe.

Photo: Kevin Carlos follows hoof prints he suspects were left by drug smugglers. Credit: Brian Bennett / Los Angeles Times

Children with high IQs more likely to use drugs as teens, adults

The results may seem surprising at first glance, but the researchers noted that they do fit some established patterns. “High-IQ individuals have also been shown to score highly on tests of stimulation seeking and openness to experience,” they wrote, and it could be that “illegal drugs are better at fulfilling a desire for novelty and stimulation.”