Limbaugh Checks into Rehab

This week, a report about a cannabis café opening in New Brunswick; the Liberal Canadian government seems poised to decriminalize cannabis soon; Rush Limbaugh admits serious addiction to painkillers and checks himself into rehab; and the US Supreme Court upholds doctors' rights to discuss medical marijuana options with their patients.

October 8 -- Canada‚s Brunswickan reports: It's Friday evening and, like many business owners in Canada, Lynn Wood is hard at work in the store she owns with husband Jim. However, unlike many businesses in Canada, or any in New Brunswick for that matter, Saint John's Cannabis Cafe allows people to smoke marijuana, and has recently announced that they will begin selling it as well.

For several months the Woods have allowed paying customers to enjoy marijuana at the cafe, which also sells hemp clothing, but the recent announcement has brought the small Canterbury Street location into the spotlight. Lynn Wood said that all the media coverage the cafe has received of late -- it has also been featured by Rolling Stone and the Canadian Press -- has taken them a bit by surprise. "We've gotten a lot of attention before we were ready for it," she said.

Despite the announcement, there has been no immediate reaction from the police, who haven't visited since May, when five people were arrested on two separate occasions. However, Sergeant Pat Bonner of the Saint John Police says they are still monitoring the establishment.

"If [Jim Wood] is selling [cannabis] to people then he will be charged with trafficking," Bonner said.

October 9 -- Alberta's Red Deer Advocate reports: The Liberal government, brushing aside objections by some of its own backbenchers, is moving to speed up passage of controversial legislation to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana. House leader Don Boudria served notice Wednesday that he intends to refer the bill for early committee study, after just three hours of debate in the full Commons.

The official referral will come Thursday. It will put the bill in the hands of an all-party special committee that is already on record -- in a report delivered last year -- as favouring decriminalization in principle.

October 20 -- Newsweek reports: Rush Limbaugh has always had far more followers than friends.

Bombastic and clowning on air, shy and bumptious off it, Limbaugh could count on 20 million "Dittoheads" and talk-radio fans to tune in five days a week. But it's hard to find many people who really know him. He was a lonely object of mass adulation, socially ill at ease, at least occasionally depressed and, for the past several years, living in a private hell of pain and compulsion.

In the end, he was betrayed by his own housekeeper. Law-enforcement sources tell Newsweek that Limbaugh's exposure as a pain-pill addict began when Wilma Cline, 42, who had worked at Limbaugh's $30 million Florida estate from 1997 to July 2001, showed up at the Palm Beach County state attorney's office late last year eager to sic the cops on her former boss. Her motive remained murky, but her story -- how she had met Limbaugh in parking lots to exchange sandwich bags filled with "baby blues" (OxyContin pills) for a cigar box stuffed with cash -- was luridly damning.

Between July 2001 and June 2002, Cline delivered enough pills to Limbaugh "to kill an elephant," she told the National Enquirer, the supermarket tabloid that broke -- and paid for -- Cline's story. She gave e-mails and ledgers to the cops showing that Limbaugh had purchased more than 30,000 hydrocodone, Lorcet and OxyContin pills, the Enquirer reported.

Law-enforcement sources confirmed the basic facts of the Enquirer story to Newsweek. Limbaugh protested that the stories contained "inaccuracies and distortions," but last Friday, his vast listening audience heard that resonant, righteous, morally certain voice admit that he had become an addict and was entering rehab.

October 14 -- Reuters reports: On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling that the government cannot revoke the federal prescription licenses of doctors who recommend medical marijuana to sick patients. Without any comment, the justices rejected a Bush administration appeal of the ruling that bars the government from punishing and from even investigating a doctor's conduct because of a recommendation that a patient use marijuana.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson.

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