PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A joint operation of the United Nations and the Haitian National Police busted a major drug smuggling operation in the country.
U.N. peacekeepers based in Haiti, called MINUSTAH, and national police forces raided three suspected sites, including an old unused nightclub operated by international criminal groups running an illicit drug trafficking operation in the country. The raid resulted in the confiscation of more than 110 pounds of cannabis, the United Nations reported.
Source: New Scientist
Author: Andy Coghlan
WHAT should we do to minimise the harm cannabis can cause to the health and welfare of users and to society at large? The answer, according to a report by a group of prominent academics and government advisers, is to change the law to allow the state to prepare and distribute the drug for recreational use.
This controversial proposal comes from a commission assembled by the Beckley Foundation, a British charity dedicated to exploring the science of psychoactive substances. "The damage done by prohibition is worse than from the substance itself," says Amanda Feilding, the founder of the Beckley Foundation.
The Beckley commission's ideas will be aired in March at a meeting in Vienna, Austria, of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The UNCND will report to a meeting of the UN general assembly later this year that will set international policy on drug control for the decade to come.
Author: Dr. Phillip Leveque
Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Pharmacologist, Toxicologist and Physician.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Some may dislike and shudder at such a name. Marijuana Leveque. I don’t. I have been called much worse – Quack, snake oil salesman. In Italy I’m Dr. Pot, here I'm "most dangerous man in Oregon", etc.
After I saw “REEFER MADNESS” six times – I was forced to do so as a pharmacology instructor in medical school - I had to monitor the class to prevent them from laughing out loud or leaving the room. Even Judge Francis Young of the DEA said it was the safest drug ever found by man. “REEFER MADNESS”, my foot!
2008 has been an unusual year for me. Now on Salem-News.com I have about 46 articles and about 26 video segments, and at least 300 on Google.
Source: Arcata Eye
Author: Jason Browne
Your [medical cannabis] ordinance does not address ways of distinguishing between direct access gardens, where cannabis is grown for specific patients, and gardens that have paperwork on the wall but really just sell the cannabis. It also does nothing to ensure that gardeners who take advantage of patients or forge documents are punished. It certainly does nothing to reduce the price of cannabis either.
In regards to fire safety, you could have just stipulated that gardens must either comply with the load-capacity of the existing electrical output of the building, or that they modify the building, according to codes, to accommodate larger usage. Limiting the amounts of cannabis that patients may grow is in direct conflict with California’s Health and Safety Code, the Guidelines of our Attorney General’s Office, and with more than one high court ruling. It’s also mean spirited to punish qualified patients for the actions of black-market growers!
The stipulation that prevents your local dispensaries from procuring cannabis at various locations is also in conflict with our Attorney General’s guidelines. Collectives and Cooperatives are SUPPOSED to receive all their cannabis from within their membership, just as they may only dispense cannabis to their members.
Source: The New York Times
Author: Claudia Driefus
A Conversation With Mahmoud A. Elsohly
Q. WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE MARIJUANA PROJECT DO?
A. Though cannabis had been used by man for thousands of years, it wasn’t until 1964 that the actual chemical structure of the active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — was determined. That stimulated new research on the plant.
At this laboratory, which began in 1968, we often investigate marijuana’s chemistry. We also have a farm where we grow cannabis for federally approved researchers. Our material is employed in clinical studies around the country, to see if the active ingredient in this plant is useful for pain, nausea, glaucoma, for AIDS patients and so on. For these tests, researchers need standardized material for cigarettes or THC pills. We grow the cannabis as contractors for the National Institute on Drug Abuse — NIDA. And the only researchers who can get our material are those with special permits. We have visitors at the building now and then who ask, “Oh, do you give samples?” We say, “No!”
Source: The Earth Times
Kabul - Soldiers discovered 2.5 tons of cannabis inside a classroom in southern Afghanistan, while four militants were killed elsewhere in the country, officials said Sunday. The plants were found in a school in the Arghestan district of Kandahar province on Friday, the US military said in a statement.
"The building contained an estimated two-and-a-half tons of marijuana and a large room filled with marijuana seeds," it said.
"No students or faculty were at the schoolhouse at the time of the discovery. The school's furniture had been taken out of the classrooms and left in the courtyard," it said. "The amount of rust on the furniture indicated the school may not have been used for its intended purpose for a prolonged period of time."
People with five cannabis plants in their home will not be prosecuted, no matter how much cannabis the plants produce, the appeal court in Den Bosch has ruled.
The police have for years maintained a policy of not considering five plants at home an offence, because they can be seen as ornamental plants or for personal use of cannabis and not for commercial cultivation. The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) did not consider those criteria relevant in this case because 6,712 grams of cannabis was found in the home of the suspects, a couple from Uden.
The policy of toleration, created by jurisprudence and OM directives, also specifies that someone may not have more than 30 grams of cannabis at home, as well as the five-plant limit. According to the appeal court, however, it says nowhere that there is a limit to the size of the harvest of the five tolerated cannabis plants. A citizen can therefore rely on the possession of five plants not leading to prosecution.
Source: Salem-News .com
Author: Dr. Phillip Leveque
Those of you who read my articles on the Web know that almost nothing surprises me anymore. I said almost nothing!
Last week I saw the final TV show of Boston Legal which I thoroughly enjoy. In this show Alan Shore was pleading before the U.S. Supreme Court to get a new drug released for Denny Crane to treat his Alzheimers disease.
The Boston Legal episode is based around the Supreme Court's 2005 6-3 decisiom that the Bush administration can block the cultivation of medical marijuana for personal use, because of what the justices saw as "broader social and financial implications". (see: Supreme Court allows prosecution of medical marijuana)
In the show last week, the opposing attorney was against the release of the new drug because it hadn’t gone through the FDA clinical testing. Marijuana was brought up as a comparison. One of the judges said that this was a poor comparison because “there are many drugs far better than cannabis/marijuana”. I nearly fell out of my chair.
Author: Scott Thill
December has been an interesting month for marijuana, or cannabis as it is known to scientists and all too few others. To kick off the month, the U.S. Supreme Court decided against reviewing a California state appellate court ruling arguing that its medical marijuana law trumped federal law. That, in effect, set the stage for better implementation of medical-marijuana law in not just California, but every state that has one, while also reminding local police that the job of enforcing federal drug policy is, in fact, not its job.
Two days later, the oldest stash of cannabis ever found was unearthed from a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi desert, aptly reminding humankind and its ass-backwards politicians that pot has been around a lot longer than lobbyists. If the eye-candy archaeological slideshow didn't fully illustrate the value of such a stash, the scientists did.
"As with other grave goods, it was traditional to place items needed for the afterlife in the tomb with the departed," explained Ethan Russo, lead author of the Journal of Experimental Botany paper that announced the find.
Source: Ventura County Reporter
Author: Michael Meyer
After years of delay, Ventura County has fully complied with the state mandated “Medical Marijuana Program Act”, which changes the way the county and its municipalities regard medical cannabis and the estimated 10,000 seriously ill patients who require it.
Indeed, as early as December 7, an intrepid Web voyager could find her way to a page on the Ventura County Public Health site titled “Medical Marijuana Program.” The ordinary-appearing page provides information for qualified Ventura County medical cannabis patients regarding how to obtain the state-issued Patient’s ID Card.
County compliance with Senate Bill 420 has taken too long, yet we thank the Board of Supervisors for finally doing the right thing. The Patient’s ID Card, which provides patients with extended protection in law enforcement encounters, is one of a number of rights and privileges guaranteed patients by the Medical Marijuana Program Act of 2004. Importantly, the law assures patients safe and local access to medicine. For the vast majority of patients, safe and local access means acquiring medicine through a dispensing collective with a “storefront” operation. According to the attorney general’s “Guidelines” on medical cannabis, issued during August 2008, collectives must operate on a “not-for-profit” or “non-profit” basis. Additionally, a collective must be a “closed-circuit” — all medicine must be cultivated by the collective exclusively for its members. No illicit marijuana may enter the medical supply stream, and no medical cannabis may enter the black market.
Source: Mercury news
Author: Genevieve Bookwalter
SANTA CRUZ -- The city's first medical marijuana dispensary is hoping to build a new kitchen for its two pastry chefs so they can bake pot brownies, cookies and truffles in a controlled space at its shop.
Lisa Molyneux, owner of Greenway Compassionate Relief Inc. in Harvey West, is slated to ask the city Planning Commission on Thursday to approve plans for a new, 430-square foot commercial kitchen. Now, the two chefs rent a commercial kitchen, which Molyneux said she can't watch as closely as if she had her own.
"We're just doing our best to keep ahead of the curve and make sure everything is above board, made in a clean facility and controlled," Molyneux said.
The medical edibles sell for anywhere between $5 and $20, Molyneux said, depending on the strength of the drug inside. Treats include simple snacks like peanut butter to creations from one pastry chef who "just does chocolate," Molyneux said.
Author: Ben Leach
A state Senate committee will discuss legislation today that would make New Jersey the 14th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
If Senate Bill 119 eventually is signed into law, patients with debilitating illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, would have access to marijuana to relieve their pain if prescribed by a doctor.
The bill is sponsored by state Sens. Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Union, Somerset, Middlesex, and Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic. The legalization of marijuana - considered the single most abused illicit drug in the United States by the National Institute on Drug Abuse - for medicinal purposes already has happened in 13 other states, most recently Michigan.
Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide
The Postbank is closing down accounts held by people running 'coffee shops', the outlets which are allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis products. A bank spokesman says facilitating the trade in marijuana and hashish can no longer be considered responsible.
From now on, the bank will screen new customers to check that they are not involved in the drugs trade. In a related move, sex establishments and prostitutes will only be allowed to remain with the Postbank if the have permits for their activities.
Author: Loraine Burger
When asked what his reaction was to watching Question 2 pass on election night, Alex Arsenault simply answered “joy.” The treasurer of the UMass Cannabis Reform Coalition (CRC) and senior psychology student said he knew it would pass because the polls had been in favor for the question far ahead of time. He was surprised, however, that it had passed at such an overwhelming majority at 65 percent. Arsenault was most excited for how much the dynamic at UMass and across the state would change.
The CRC started up in 1990 with the goal of decriminalizing marijuana, making it the oldest student-run drug reform group in the country. After 19 years of campaigning and rallying, the group’s original objective was finally accomplished. Question 2 on the Massachusetts ballot stated the following:
“This proposed law would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties, to be enforced by issuing citations, and would exclude information regarding this civil offense from the state’s criminal record information system. Offenders age 18 or older would be subject to forfeiture of the marijuana plus a civil penalty of $100. Offenders under the age of 18 would be subject to the same forfeiture and, if they complete a drug awareness program within one year of the offense, the same $100 penalty.”
On Nov. 4, Question 2 passed, and is waiting for approval from the governor’s office. The CRC, which includes about 80 students, spent a year collecting signatures to get the issue of decriminalizing marijuana on ballot. The rest of the time the group spent campaigning. Their ultimate goal now is to legalize marijuana, but they are also focused on raising marijuana awareness issues and educating students about their legal rights in regards to drugs.
Source: The Sentinel (UK)
GRANDFATHER Gerald Tyler has been jailed for nine months after converting his garden shed into a cannabis factory.
Police found more than a kilo of cannabis resin with a street value of £1,175 after raiding the 55-year-old’s home in Shemilt Crescent, Bradeley.
They also found six 2ft-high cannabis plants, scales, digital scales, a cannabis grinder and a cannabis grower’s magazine, as well as the mini cannabis factory. Robert Price, prosecuting at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, said: “It was foil lined and temperature regulation was in place, with specialist lighting and a timing system.”
Tyler told police he had been growing cannabis all his life, and said he was asked to hold the five-and-a-half blocks of cannabis resin found in a kitchen drawer by an un-named man for one day. He admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply on the basis he had agreed to look after the blocks of cannabis for one day.
Source: The Herald Sun
Author: Sarah Wotherspoon
POLICE seized about $500,000 worth of cannabis plants and cultivating equipment during an early morning raid in Melbourne's west today.
A man and a woman, both aged in their 30s, were arrested and are being questioned by police following the raids on two homes opposite each other in Pilbara Crt, Kings Park.
About 150 cannabis plants and a large amount of equipment used for cultivating the plants, including fans, filters and heaters, were seized during the raid.
Source: The New Straits Times Online
SHAH ALAM: "Please, please" pleaded Muhamed Tariq Sadaquah Abualjadeil in the High Court yesterday, minutes before he was to be sentenced. His counsel, Gurbachan Singh, who was delivering his mitigation plea, shrugged off his client several times, then gave in and told judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad that Tariq "had stomach problems and needed to ease himself".
Syed Ahmad adjourned sentencing for 15 minutes, saying he could use the time to prepare the judgment.
When the court resumed Syed Ahmad sentenced the 21-year-old student from Saudi Arabia to 12 years' jail and three strokes of the rotan for possessing 2.57kg of cannabis at the entrance of Cyber Heights Villa, Dengkil, Sepang, at 1am on Nov 18, 2006.
He pleaded guilty to the reduced charge. He was initially charged with trafficking in the drug. Syed Ahmad sentenced Tariq to another three years' jail and 10 strokes of the rotan on a second charge of possessing 43.5g of cannabis at the same time and place.
Author: Judy Harrison
The Rev. Kevin Loring, head of the Temple of Advanced Enlightenment, proposed Monday night that his church join with Bangor police and city officials to develop a plan to distribute medical marijuana to residents who have prescriptions for cannabis.
Maine allows marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes if prescribed by a physician. As part of its community outreach work, church members would like to be able to distribute marijuana in the Bangor area to people who have been advised to use the drug but cannot obtain it legally.
Loring’s preliminary proposal, presented during the public portion of the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, generated questions from just one councilor — Hal Wheeler. He asked Police Chief Ron Gastia his reaction to the Temple’s suggestion that police officers accompany them when they distribute the drug.
The police chief said that he did not think his department had the resources to spare an officer for the kind of activity Loring was proposing.
“I also have some concerns about the department getting involved,” Gastia said. “I’d suggest that they turn to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. There are specific criteria that must be met for people [to use marijuana legally]. I don’t believe the police should oversee it, especially if volunteers are doing it.”
Source: NineMSN News
NSW police have stopped 20 drug-affected drivers and charged more than 300 people with drink driving offences in a statewide operation. Police described Operation Raid as Australia's biggest drink and drug driving operation.
So far, more than 90,000 breath tests have been carried out in the south and western regions of NSW in the lead up to Christmas. A 47-year-old Broken Hill man was allegedly found with almost two kilograms of cannabis in his car on the Barrier Highway at Broken Hill on December 3.
HAMILTON, Ohio -- Former NBA player Corie Blount was charged with felony drug possession after authorities saw him pick up a package they knew contained marijuana, then found more marijuana at his home, the Butler County sheriff said Friday.
Deputies watched as the U.S. Postal Service delivered a package containing 11 pounds of marijuana to a Liberty Township address northwest of Cincinnati on Thursday. When the 39-year-old Blount picked up the package, agents followed him to his home and served search warrants on the home and the address where the package was delivered, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said.
At Blount's home, deputies found a second 11-pound package of marijuana, and another package containing about 7 pounds of marijuana, Jones said.
Author: Tammy Stables Battaglia
Getting high was the furthest thing from their minds as some of Michigan's first legal medical marijuana users lined a Southfield waiting room Thursday. But they all shared one thing: pain.
"I pray it helps the pain like they say," said diabetic cancer patient Renee Collinsworth, 48, of Croswell. She is hoping to dull the pain from a 1986 motorcycle accident in Ferndale. "It's not all about smoking it, either." Michigan became the 13th state to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat debilitating illnesses after voters approved it in November. A licensed physician must grant approval before patients can use the otherwise illegal drug.
The patients waiting in the Southfield office either wouldn't or couldn't get approval from their regular doctor. So they were at the opening of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation Medical Clinics' new location in Southfield. THCF Medical Clinics, a nonprofit headquartered in Oregon, employs seven doctors in eight states solely to sign off on medical marijuana use.
Author: Byron Kerman
It's "the stoner Super Bowl," "marijuana fantasy camp" and "a playground for adults." It's the 2007 annual High Times Cannabis Cup competition and festival, and whatever the attendees call it in the commemorative DVD, it looks like the kind of fun that makes an American weed smoker drool in envy at the unenforced laws of Amsterdam.
You know the look you get on your face when you're high and happy as a kid skipping over a lawn sprinkler? Everyone has that look in this DVD.
It might have something to do with the prodigious amounts of high-powered weed in bongs, pipes, vaporizer bags, joints, huge "hand-grenade"-sized buds, oversized 100-gram joints, and so on, throughout the documentary. Footage of baristas showing off the many, many different selections available in Amsterdam's pot cafes is, to the persecuted smoker, like dropping off a bulimic at a cheesecake factory. Holy shit. Gotta go to Holland. (One Cannabis Cup notable says of his first time buying weed at an Amsterdam café, "I almost cried. I was like, ‘This is how it can be!'")
High Times readers are well acquainted with those close-up photos of fat, fuzzy indica-looking buds shot through with red veins. Well, in the DVD you can almost smell the goodness as the competition judges pass around monster buds for inspection.
Supreme Court says legal cannabis is not pre-empted by federal law.
(OAKLAND, Calif.) - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a landmark decision yesterday in which California state courts found that its medical cannabis law is not preempted by federal law.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Garden Grove v. Superior Court means that federal law does not prevent state and local governments from implementing medical cannabis laws adopted by voters or state legislatures. In short: the group Americans for Safe Access, says federal law does not override state law on medical cannabis.
Yesterday’s decision follows three years of strategic legal work by Americans for Safe Access in a California case involving the return of wrongfully confiscated medicine, says Steph Sherer, the Executive Director of ASA.
Source: ABC News
The last elected member of the Australian Democrats has served her final day in the South Australian Parliament. Sandra Kanck has resigned after 15 years in the Legislative Council, but hopes she will not be the last MP for the party.
Ms Kanck says she would not be retiring before her term is up if there were no hope of a Democrats candidate being elected at the next SA election in early 2010.
Source: ABC News
New South Wales Police arrested 51 people on drugs charges at yesterday's Global Gathering music festival in Sydney's Moore Park. Police working with drug dogs seized cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamines, ketamine, LSD and the prescription drug valium.
Five people were charged with supplying a prohibited drug, including a 35-year-old Ashfield woman who police allege was in possession of a large quantity of drugs. Thirty-five others were issued with court attendance notices for possession, while 11 received cannabis cautions.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal to decriminalise cannabis by a clear majority in a nationwide referendum, Swiss news agency ATS reported.
Switzerland is the heaviest user of cannabis in Europe according to a recent study but the proposal to decriminalise the drug failed to win popular support in the majority of cantons, ATS said.
In anticipation of a "no" vote, the Pro Juventute youth group along with the Federation of Swiss Youth Clubs and teachers unions has called for a fresh approach to young cannabis users, the NZZ am Sonntag weekly newspaper reported.