A New York State Republican assemblyman who opposed medical marijuana legislation at every turn was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The police found the marijuana after they pulled him over for speeding.
A statement released shortly after the March 2013 incident, law enforcement officials reported that state police discovered Steve Katz had a “small bag” of marijuana on him.
A New York State Trooper said that the 59-year-old assemblyman had been driving 80 miles per hour in 65 mph zone. He noticed the marijuana and took Katz into custody, charging him with possession before he was finally bailed out.
Katz had voted against the legalization of medical marijuana back in June.
The New York Times noted that the Republican assemblyman also sits on New York’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.
Katz said that this was merely an “unfortunate incident” during a press conference.
“This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency,” Katz said to reporters. “I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest.”
The Los Angeles Times revealed back in 2007 that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made millions of dollars each year from companies blamed for many of the same social and health problems the Foundation seeks to address.
The LA Times investigation revealed the Gates Foundation’s humanitarian concerns are not reflected in how it invests its money. In the Niger Delta — where the Foundation funds programs to fight polio and measles – the Foundation has also invested more than $400 million dollars in companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Chevron. These oil firms have been responsible for much of the pollution many blame for respiratory problems and other afflictions among the local population.
The Gates Foundation also has investments in sixty-nine of the worst polluting companies in the US and Canada, including Dow Chemical. It holds stakes in pharmaceutical companies whose drugs cost far beyond what most AIDS patients around the world can afford. Other companies in the Foundation’s portfolio have been accused of transgressions including forcing thousands of people to lose their homes; supporting child labor; and defrauding and neglecting patients in need of medical care.
With an endowment larger than all but four of the world’s largest hedge funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is easily one of the most powerful charities in the world. According to its website, the organization “works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.” So how do the investments of the foundation’s $36 billion investing arm, the Gates Foundation Trust, match up to its mission? We dug into the group’s recently released 2012 tax returns to find out.
The Gates Foundation did not respond to Mother Jones’ requests for comment; however, its investment policy says the the trust’s managers “consider other issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive the foundation’s work.”
former hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical businessman has purchased the rights to a 62-year-old drug used for treating life-threatening parasitic infections and raised the price overnight from $13.50 per tablet to $750.
According to the New York Times, Martin Shkreli, 32, the founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased the rights to Daraprim for $55 million on the same day that Turing announced it had raised $90 million from Shkreli and other investors in its first round of financing.
Daraprim is used for treating toxoplasmosis — an opportunistic parasitic infection that can cause serious or even life-threatening problems in babies and for people with compromised immune systems like AIDS patients and certain cancer patients — that sold for slightly over $1 a tablet several years ago. Prices have increased as the rights to the drug have been passed from one pharmaceutical company to the next, but nothing like the almost 5,500 percent increase since Shkreli acquired it.
Worrying that the cost of treatment could devastate some patients, Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai asked, “What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?”
According to Shkreli, Turing will use the money it earns to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis, with fewer side effects.
“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” Shkreli explained, saying that many patients use the drug for far less than a year and that the new price is similar to other drugs used for rare diseases.
Shrkeli also defended his small pharmaceutical company saying, “It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this.”
This is not the first time the fledgling pharmaceutical executive has come under scrutiny.
He started the hedge fund MSMB Capital while in his 20’s and was accused of urging the FDA to not approve certain drugs made by companies whose stock he was shorting.
In 2011, Shkreli helped form Retrophin, which also acquired old drugs and immediately raised their prices. Retrophin’s board fired Shkreli a year ago and has filed a complaint in Federal District Court, accusing him of using Retrophin as a personal fund to pay back angry investors in his hedge fund.
As for Shrkeli’s claim that he will put the excess profits back into research, doctors say that isn’t needed in this case.
“I certainly don’t think this is one of those diseases where we have been clamoring for better therapies,” said Dr. Wendy Armstrong, professor of infectious diseases at Emory University in Atlanta.
In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Chip Englander, Campaign Manager for Rand Paul’s 2016 Presidential run. Luke asks the important question of a secret meeting that took place between Rand Paul and Bill Gates, which shifted Rand’s position to support and say GMO’s are safe. (more…)
(nytimes)Yeast is an incredible organism—you can thank it for booze!—and thanks to the marvels of modern genetics, we’ve made it incredibly versatile. Just a month after announcing a method for hacking yeast to produce narcotics, researchers just announced that the creation of yeast that produces THC and cannabidiols.
You’re probably thinking this will yield a whole new industry of beer that will get you high, but the scientists’ focus is much more, well, scientific. (EDITORS NOTE: weed-infused beer already exists.) The THC- and cannabidiol-producing yeast could prove integral to developing more clinical applications for the compounds. The pharmaceutical industry is eager to get its hands on a more efficient method for synthesizing yeast for drug research. After all, the fact that cannibis, the best producer of these chemicals, remains illegal in many parts of the world.
“This is something that could literally change the lives of millions of people,” Kevin Chen, chief executive of Hyasynth Bio, told The New York Times. The newly engineered yeast could not only enable scientists produce THC and cannabidiol more easily but also help them understand how the compounds work.
There’s still work to be done, though. Researchers have been working on synthesizing THC and cannabidoils for years, and the latest breakthrough involves yeast that use precursor molecules to product small amounts of the chemicals. Ideally, they’d use simple sugars, as bioengineers have already done with opiate-producing yeast strains.
Inevitably, scientists say, the real challenge is to come up with a method that works better than cannabis plants themselves. “Right now, we have a plant that essentially the Ferrari of the plant world when it comes to producing the chemical of interest,” explains Dr. Jonathan Page. “Cannabis is hard to beat.”
(CounterCurrentNews) Bolivia — After the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was kicked out of Bolivia, the country was able to drastically reduce the amount of coca (cocaine) produced within its borders. According to data released by the United Nations, cocaine production in the country declined by 11% in the past year, marking the fourth year in a row of steady decrease.
It was just seven years ago that the DEA left Bolivia — and only three years after that, progress was finally made. The strategy employed by the Bolivian government may be a surprise to many prohibitionists because it did not involve any strong-arm police state tactics. Instead, they worked to find alternative crops for farmers to grow that would actually make them more money.
“Bolivia has adopted a policy based on dialogue, where coca cultivation is allowed in traditional areas alongside alternative development [in others],”Antonino de Leo, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s representative in Bolivia, told VICE News.
“It’s not only about making money off a crop. In the old fashioned alternative development approach, we substitute one illicit crop for a licit crop. It’s about a more comprehensive approach that includes access to essential services like schools, hospitals, and roads in areas that traditionally have been hard to reach,” Leo added.
There are unfortunately still harsh laws against drug trafficking in Bolivia, but these have been active since the height of the drug war and have had no effect on the recent decline in production. Bolivian president, Evo Morales — a former coca farmer himself — has been less heavy handed since the DEA left the country, a move that allowed the government to develop alternatives for the struggling farmers instead.
The drug war is one of the most misunderstood subjects in mainstream political discourse, even among people who are sympathetic to the plight of responsible drug users. It is rare for someone to come out and say that all drugs should be legal, but in all honesty, this is the only logically consistent stance on the issue. To say that some drugs should be legal while others should not is still giving credence to the punishment paradigm and overlooking the external consequences of drug prohibition — or prohibition of any object, for that matter.
As I explained in an earlier article, there are many external factors that are affected by the drug war that many people don’t take into account. That is because when you carry out acts of violence, even in the form of punishment, you then create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the bounds of the original circumstance to affect many innocent people down the line. The list in my previous article delves into those external factors to illustrate how drug users and non-users alike would be a lot better off if prohibition ended immediately.
The list includes the following advantages of full legalization:
(1) Reduce violent crime
(2) Improve seller accountability and drug safety Advertisement ? (3) Reduce drug availability to children