Source: The Australian
POLICE have seized more than $8 million worth of cannabis during an eight-month investigation targeting a Melbourne drug syndicate.Operation Plexel began in February and culminated in the search of 32 properties in Melbourne's western suburbs over the past two months.
Police charged 33 people with a total of 179 offences including cultivating, trafficking and possessing a drug of dependence, after raids on houses in St Albans, Sunshine, Hoppers Crossing, Delahey, Deer Park and Roxburgh Park.
Source: Media Newswire
Professor Tibor Harkany led an international collaboration of scientists whose findings suggest that smoking cannabis while pregnant may affect brain development of the unborn child. The researchers' discovery followed the study of naturally occurring molecules in our bodies called endocannabinoids that act in the same way that cannabis does in our bodies.
Source: Khaleej Times Online
Around 20 tonnes of cannabis in 25 lorries were seized on Sunday in the Bekaa region of eastern Lebanon, a security services official told AFP.
“Twenty-five lorries carrying about 20 tonnes of cannabis were seized on Sunday at Deir al-Ahmar” as part of an anti-drugs operation launched on Thursday by the security services, the official said.
Three other vehicles loaded with a total of more than two tonnes of drugs were seized on Saturday in the same operation, along with equipment for processing hashish, he said.
Five men involved in a £2million cannabis factory racket have been jailed for a total of 17 years. More than 2,300 plants were seized in police raids at seven rented houses, which had been secretly converted into "industrial scale" cannabis factories, equipped with sophisticated watering and lighting systems.
The electricity meters at the factories – which presented a huge risk of fires in residential areas – were bypassed to avoid thousands of pounds in bills.
Khai Trong Le (30), described as "a top end manager" was jailed for six years at Leicester Crown Court yesterday. He was assisted by Vietnamese illegal immigrants Dan Dinh (26) jailed for four years, and Hoa Hoang (41) jailed for three years and nine months.
Source: Silver City Sun-News (USA)
Author: Sam Conn
A paralyzed Silver City woman who is being evicted from her apartment for growing medical marijuana is getting attention from the American Civil Liberties Union.
"We are watching this issue very closely," said Peter Simonson, New Mexico ACLU executive director. "It is our intention to make sure that people are able to use medical cannabis as they would any other legal medication."
Bobbie Wooten, 47, received a three-day notice to move out of her apartment Tuesday following a random inspection of her Silver Cliff apartment. The inspector found two marijuana plants growing in a controlled environment in Wooten's bathroom.
Source: NIS News
Exports of Dutch cannabis have an annual value of over 2 billion euros, the police estimate.
Police Commissioner Max Daniel, who leads the national battle against cannabis-growing, says that over 80 percent of cannabis grown in the Netherlands is destined for export. Every year, over 500 tonnes of cannabis crosses the border, worth 2 billion euros - and this is a conservative estimate, according to Daniel.
In the Netherlands, adults are allowed to buy, possess and use small quantities of cannabis. Licensed cafes, the so-called 'coffee shops', are permitted to sell the drugs. It is however illegal for them to buy cannabis, as its cultivation is forbidden.
Source: Kent Online
Author: Martin Jeffries
A giant cannabis factory which could have netted more than £1million every year has been uncovered in a Kent town. KentOnline was given access to the five-storey building in Hawley Street, Margate, where at least 1,000 plants were being cultivated.
Police have described it as one of the biggest cannabis factories ever discovered in Thanet.
Source: The Canberra Times
Clandestine cannabis growers in the Netherlands net 2billion euros ($A3.9billion) a year equivalent to almost half the country's income from the horticultural sector.
The senior police officer who heads the Dutch agency charged with combating cannabis-growing, Sergeant Max Daniel, said significant demand from England, Belgium, Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic countries fuelled production.
Police investigations said about 500 tonnes of Dutch cannabis were exported each year.
Source: NIS News
Smoking cannabis on the street will attract a fine in Rotterdam's Feijenoord district from 1 November. Smoking a joint on the street is already forbidden in the district, but there has not been any penalty for infringements until now. From 1 November, action will be taken. Those caught will be fined 50 euros, though minors will only be fined 25 euros, according to the police.
The police have announced that everyone who smokes dope will be fined. According to a spokesman for the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) however, there must be a question of nuisance before officers can write a ticket.
A drive-through customer at a fast food restaurant Monday offered something green to pay for his meal, but it wasn’t cash, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
A McDonald’s cashier called 911 at 12:22 a.m. Monday after Shawn Alexander Pannullo, 27, of the 4800 block of Second Street, Vero Beach, wanted to trade some marijuana for food, according to the arrest affidavit.
Source: Digital City
Author: Hunter Walker
Dutch 101 for beginners: a coffee shop isn't where you get a caffeine fix. Coffee shops in the Netherlands are places where you can buy and smoke marijuana legally.
I would never advocate the usage of drugs under normal circumstances, but I visited one of these "coffee shops" and sampled their wares on a recent trip to Amsterdam. Of course, it was all strictly for research purposes.
I was accompanied on my investigation by a fellow travel writer. My colleague and I asked several locals for their coffee shop recommendations and they all suggested a place called Dampkring. We tried to find it, but after a few minutes of searching, we grew impatient and randomly walked into a coffee shop/internet cafe named "Freeworld." I didn't see anyone using laptops at Freeworld, but I did see people who looked half asleep sitting in booths and benches all around the shop.
Source: The Herald Sun
Author: Darren Devlyn and Erica Thompson
CHANNEL 9 is assembling a top-notch cast for its Underbelly prequel. It is believed Peter O'Brien, of Neighbours, The Flying Doctors and hit mini-series Day of the Roses, has agreed to play late Sydney underworld figure and racing identity George Freeman.
Matthew Newton, who declined a role in the original Underbelly, is tipped to play drug lord Terry "Mr Asia" Clark. The show's producer is locked in negotiation with several potential cast members in the lead-up to the filming next week of the series, which tells the tale of organised crime groups that stemmed from Griffith's drug trade in the 1970s and '80s.
Others actors in contention for key roles are Andrew McFarlane as anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay and Roy Billing as marijuana magnate Robert Trimbole.
A 61-year-old man has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply 3.06 tonnes of cannabis resin with a street value of approximately £10 million.
Unemployed Gerard John Dutton, 61, of Saddlemakers Lane, Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk, set up two false companies in order to facilitate the importation of two separate loads of cannabis and admitted the charge at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday 8 October.
The charge was a result of Operation Cromer, an investigation run by the Met's Project Team, which spent seven months identifying an organised criminal network involved in importing and supplying cannabis from southern Spain.
Author: Carl Brown
A DISABLED MAN who claims to use cannabis to alleviate constant pain and nausea will launch a High Court challenge to his prosecution for growing the drug.
Edwin Stratton, 43, of Leyton High Road, suffers from hypersensitivity caused by coeliac disease, which causes an allergy to gluten protein found in wheat.
His condition is so severe that the mere smell of bread is enough to make him severely ill. Mr Stratton says he found cannabis relieved his symptoms more effectively than prescription drugs, so he started to grow his own plants rather than buy from dealers.
Source: NIS News
Over half the magistrates in the Netherlands consider cannabis should be legalised. So reports Vrij Nederland weekly, following a survey among the judiciary.
The leftwing weekly interviewed 489 judges, 140 prosecutors and 22 judges in training. Over half (52 percent) were in favour of decriminalising 'soft drugs' (cannabis, hash). Over one in ten (12 percent) even want possession, dealing in or use of 'hard drugs' (cocaine, heroin, XTC) no longer to lead to criminal prosecution.
Nearly half the respondents (48 percent) consider that anti-terrorism measures have been tightened up too much. Judges in particular are also concerned about the privacy of citizens (41 percent). Ten percent even believe the Netherlands is on the road to becoming a police state. Simultaneously, the Netherlands has become less safe, 49 percent believe.
Author: Anna Chalmers
CANNABIS products could soon be used legally for medical purposes, after an application by a leading drug company to market a liquid version for pain relief.
Medsafe is considering whether to allow the marketing and sale of cannabis spray, Sativex, after an application from its British maker.
It comes as the Government faces increasing pressure from some patients and scientists to legalise cannabis use to alleviate chronic pain for accident victims and some sufferers of multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Cannabis is a class C drug and cannabis preparations are class B drugs, but the Medicines Act allows the drug to be used with ministerial approval.
Source: The Advertiser
Author: Doug Robertson
POLICE are vowing to end South Australia's reputation as the nation's cannabis capital by unleashing a series of raids on hydroponic stores and "grow houses". Seizing on laws to come into force this month, police will target hydroponic stores they believe may be smuggling cannabis interstate.
The laws ban the possession of about 30 types of hydroponic equipment – including industrial-strength lights, exhaust fans, plant bud strippers and carbon filters – unless the owners can prove they are being used to grow vegetables.
In an interview with The Advertiser, drug investigation branch officer in charge Detective Superintendent Linda Fellows said police believed some of the equipment sold at more than 50 metropolitan hydroponic stores was used to grow cannabis.
Author: Paul Krassner
Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine is an important and accessible book -- not heavy on academic jargon, but rather lively and engaging, like a true detective novel -- with a broad appeal to those interested in the medical potential of cannabis, an end to the drug war and grass roots activism. I asked the co-authors, Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, how working on the book changed them.
WENDY CHAPKIS: "I certainly was one of those people who thought that 'medical marijuana' was probably mostly a way for Americans to get around ridiculously punitive drug laws. It seemed like a reasonable strategy to me. But the very first time I walked into a WAMM [WoMen's Alliance for Medical Marijuana] membership meeting, looked around the room and saw people who were ghostly white and frail, people in wheelchairs, people huddled in small groups talking about a WAMM member who needed round the clock care, I realized that medical marijuana was no 'ruse.' These were very ill people. And, as I started doing interviews, the stories of the medicinal properties of pot blew me away.
Author: Duncan Campbell
A report on cannabis prepared for next year's UN drug policy review will suggest that a "regulated market" would cause less harm than the current international prohibition. The report, which is likely to reopen the debate about cannabis laws, suggests that controls such as taxation, minimum age requirements and labelling could be explored.
The Global Cannabis Commission report, which will be launched today at a conference in the House of Lords, has reached conclusions which its authors suggest "challenge the received wisdom concerning cannabis". It was carried out for the Beckley foundation, a UN-accredited NGO, for the 2009 UN strategic drug policy review.
There are, according to the report, now more than 160 million users of the drug worldwide. "Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," according to the report. "Historically, there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone."
Source: Fraser Coast Chronicle
Author: Anne-Louise Brown
A police drug sting at Hervey Bay has stopped an estimated $200,000 worth of cannabis hitting the streets of the Fraser Coast.
In an investigation that crossed state borders, Hervey Bay police were able to intercept a 44-year-old man picking up a package from the Torquay post office about 3.15pm on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day police had received a call from police in Brisbane who had found a Hervey Bay bound package at the airport containing 3.2kg of cannabis. It had been sent from South Australia.
NEW South Wales cannabis crusader Peter Till has failed in his last-ditch attempt to appeal against two convictions for drug possession.
The colourful character from Nimbin, in northern NSW, was barefoot and clad in a sarong when he fronted the Court of Appeal in Brisbane today to plead for an extension of time to lodge an appeal.
Mr Till wanted to appeal against convictions for possession of a dangerous drug. One of the convictions related to an incident in which he tried to carry two cannabis plants into the Brisbane Magistrates Court last year.