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Trump declares national emergency over drug overdoses
 
President Trump declared a national emergency concerning the drug overdose epidemic in America. The president pledged to spend billions of taxpayer dollars in a public-private partnership with the pharmaceutical companies to develop non-addictive painkillers. Trump also vowed that America will be a "drug-free society" and that taking drugs "is not a victimless crime." Harkening back to the views of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Trump outlined a vision of stopping drug abuse before it starts by teaching children to just say no. Trump promised "really tough, really big, really great ads" to convince children and adults that using drugs is "very bad." Trump's remarks were echoed by his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who spoke to the Heritage Foundation shortly before the president's announcement. 

The founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics Inc., was arrested today and charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy to profit by using bribes and fraud to cause the illegal distribution of a Fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain. John N. Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, Ariz., a current member of the Board of Directors of Insys, was arrested this morning in Arizona and charged with RICO conspiracy, as well as other felonies, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law. Kapoor, the former Executive Chairman of the Board and CEO of Insys, will appear in federal court in Phoenix today. He will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston at a later date. Insys infamously donated $500,000 to the campaign opposed to the legalization of marijuana in Arizona, the only state of five that voted on the issue in 2016 that did not pass. Earlier this year, Insys was given the green light by the DEA to begin development of their own Schedule II synthetic cannabinoid medicine.

The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing an obscure 1972 regulation reported by Marijuana Moment earlier this month that appears to allow air transportation of state-legal marijuana. The move comes after regulators in Massachusetts said they are considering using the rule as a basis for getting cannabis to and from Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Enacted just two years after the founding of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, the 1972 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule banning pilots from operating aircraft with illegal substances on board specifies that it "does not apply to any carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by any Federal or State agency." An earlier, 1969 version of the regulation did not contain the clause protecting state-legal activity.

Medical marijuana patients in Arizona are once again confused about the legality of cannabis extracts following the latest court ruling the finds they are not. Navajo County Superior Court Judge Dale Nielson wrote, "The court reads that AMMA language of 'any mixture or preparation thereof' as making reference to the dried flowers of the plant and as such, without further definition, or information that cannabis can be extracted from a 'dried flower,' the court cannot find that this would include cannabis." Nielson explained that "cannabis," under Arizona criminal law, is "the resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin." An exception is given for "oil or cake" made from pot seeds or stalks. The AMMA, on the other hand, contains no definition for "cannabis."

In an interview with former NBA player Al Harrington, ex-NBA commissioner David Stern said he is in favor of removing marijuana from the league's list of banned substances. "I'm now at the point where, personally, I think [marijuana] probably should be removed from the ban list," Stern said, as reported by Sports Illustrated. "I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal." Stern, who served as commissioner from 1984-2014, said his policies were appropriate at the time. "Some of our players came to us and said [players] were high coming into the game, so we began tightening it up," he said. However, the 75-year-old said he realizes the perception of marijuana has changed. "It's a completely different perception," Stern added. "I think we have to change the Collective Bargaining Agreement and let you do what is legal in your state."

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