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News in Brief- January 6, 2019

News in Brief- January 6, 2019

State medical pot tests cause conflict of interest concerns

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's only operating medical marijuana grower is concerned about the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry's plan to test the crop itself instead of using third-party laboratories.

The president of licensed grower GB Sciences Louisiana, John Davis, tells The Advocate that the new regulatory scheme complicates procedures such as appealing contested test results.

Marijuana grown by the state's two approved producers is supposed to be tested by an independent laboratory to ensure the crop's safety. But the state agriculture department says all laboratories that responded to its request for proposals failed to meet state requirements, leaving it to temporarily conduct the tests.

The law allowing medical marijuana in Louisiana was passed in 2016, and Davis says the greater than two-year delay in solving the laboratory issue is concerning.

Information from: The Advocate,


New Orleans: lowest number of killings in 47 years

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans logged the lowest number of killings in 47 years during 2018, but an analyst notes that the murder rate remains among the nation's highest.

The 145 homicides in the city in 2018 marked the lowest total since 116 in 1971. It also marked the second drop in a row: from 174 in 2016 to 157 in 2017 and 145 last year.

The murder rate is about 37 per 100,000 residents. That's at best fourth-highest and might be No. 3, crime analyst and City Council consultant Jeff Asher told The New Orleans Advocate. St. Louis and Baltimore have the highest rates, and either Detroit and New Orleans or will be next, he said.

It would take a further significant reduction for New Orleans to drop to No. 5, he said.

Asher also noted that while 2018 saw the fewest murders in New Orleans since 1971, the city had a lower murder rate in 1985, when there were 152 slayings and more than 500,000 residents.