In the pale light of early morning, a mobile unit sits curbside in Atlanta, Georgia’s most notorious crime zone. A woman in a tattered coat shuffles up to the vehicle. She’s diabetic and carries a bag of over 300 used syringes. The people in the mobile unit are happy to accept the needles, and they offer her clean insulin syringes in exchange. Mostly volunteers, they have braved the cold to bring public health services to the neighborhood’s residents. In doing so, they are breaking the law.
Syringe exchange, the act of exchanging a used syringe for a clean one, is an accepted practice for reducing bloodborne disease transmission in much of the northern United States. Not so in the South, which has steadfastly refused to endorse syringe exchange, and the practice is more or less prohibited in all Dixie states. But despite a legal situation that is ambiguous at best and often outright hostile, 13 syringe exchange programs exist in the South. Scattered across nine states, the programs and the people who run them are as colorful as they are unexpected. A program in New Orleans runs a clandestine exchange through volunteers on bicycles, advertising their services through a circus and the local music scene. In South Carolina, a doctor, two reverends and an atheist formed an unlikely alliance to create the first syringe exchange program in their state. In North Carolina, a former drug user living with HIV and hepatitis C distributes needles from the back of his van to help others avoid his fate.
Midnight came, dozens of pot smokers descended on the Space Needle, and a large cloud of smoke headed skyward. No arrests were made and no federal officials were at the scene. A bigger crowd was expected Thursday night.
Local police weren’t even at the midnight smoke-in, partly because the state hasn’t passed a law to detail the procedure for busting people for public pot smoking.why is a new law required to simply detail a procedure to enforce an existing law?
First came marijuana as medicine. Now comes legal pot for the people.
Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war have their chance to prove it, as Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow pot for recreational use.
While the measures earned support from broad swaths of the electorate in both states Tuesday, they are likely to face resistance from federal drug warriors. As of Wednesday, authorities did not say whether they would challenge the new laws.
Pot advocates say a fight is exactly what they want.
"I think we are at a tipping point on marijuana policy," said Brian Vicente, co-author of Colorado's marijuana measure. "We are going to see whether marijuana prohibition survives, or whether we should try a new and more sensible approach."
Soon after the measures passed, cheering people poured out of bars in Denver, the tangy scent of pot filling the air, and others in Seattle...
A state owned database for people's prescription history?
What's to prevent that data from being mined and given to the companies who make the drugs? That data would be amazing for economic and marketing purposes. You would know exactly which demographic uses your drug the most and where to focus your advertising budget.
Also, do you want the government knowing you're an oxycontin addict? All government databases cross-connect in today's world because of homeland security.
Maybe I'm paranoid but I'd rather only my doctor have this info about me.