If Utah chooses to legalize medical marijuana, it may face a new worry: rabbits who eat the plant and get high.
That's according to Matt Fairbanks, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He testified if front of a Utah Senate panel last week about his experience working to eradicate outdoor marijuana grows in the state.
The Washington Post reports that Fairbanks spoke of encountering "rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana."
The agent said the animals started acting funny. "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone," Fairbanks said.
Illegal marijuana grow operations can be harmful to the environment. As Fairbanks mentioned in his testimony, growers who aren't regulated might use pesticides or chemicals that end up in the water supply, among other concerns.
As for the rabbits, didn't they always seem a little high-strung anyway?
Violent crime in New York City rose dramatically in the first two months of this year and Police Commissioner William Bratton thinks he knows part of the reason: marijuana.
Homicides rose by 20 percent and shootings by nearly 25 percent in January and February, Newsday reported. Bratton said the spike is partly because of marijuana, "a seemingly innocent drug that is being legalized around the country."
Reefer madness (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The commissioner said the increase in violent crime wasn't related to the city dropping its stop and frisk program.
"It is ironic that in a city which is a transfer point for huge amounts of drugs . . . heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens, that one drug [that] is actually the causal factor in so much of our shootings and murder is marijuana," Bratton said. "We just see marijuana everywhere when we make these arrests, and get the guns off the street."
For the first time in Florida, a jury acquitted a marijuana grower on the basis he needed the drug for medical purposes.
Jesse Teplicki, 50, didn't hide his marijuana use from Florida jury deciding whether to send him to jail for growing cannabis. When he took the stand at the trial, he even said he had smoked pot earlier in the day to treat nausea.
The jury sided with him, rejecting a felony charge that could have landed him five years in prison.
Voters in Florida nearly legalized medical marijuana in November, but it fell short of a 60 percent threshold needed for passage. The legislature is expected to take up the issue this year.
Now we know why they call it the Garden State.
New Jersey activists in favor of marijuana legalization plan to gather outside the statehouse in Trenton for a "Million Joint March" later this month.
According to the group's Facebook page, 321 people have signed up for the act of protest, which is slated for March 21. The coalition says that they've organized smoke outs twice before and no one has been arrested.
Fighting with fire (Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.