Taking inspiration from the West, India’s women and child development minister, Maneka Gandhi, has voiced her support for legalising marijuana in the country.
In a meeting of a group of ministers (GOM) who are studying a new policy on drugs, 60-year-old Gandhi suggested that legalising the drug for medicinal purposes could be beneficial in India, too.

“(In) some of the developed countries like the US, marijuana has been legalised, which ultimately results in less drug abuse,” Gandhi said, according to the minutes of the meeting accessed by the Press Trust of India (PTI). “The possibility of the same may be explored in India.”
“…marijuana should be legalised for medical purposes, especially as it serves a purpose in cancer (treatment),” Gandhi told PTI.

More than half of the states in the US and some 16 countries around the world including Argentina and Australia currently allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, particularly for treating chronic pain, nausea after chemotherapy, epilepsy, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
But in India, cannabis consumption and production are governed by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Under this law, the consumption of cannabis could lead to a jail term of six months or a fine of Rs10,000, while illegal production and cultivation can be punished with a jail term of up to 10 years.

Nevertheless, cannabis still dominates India’s illicit drug trade. Last year, the country seized over 182,622kg of ganja and 2,489kg of hashish. India also produces one of the most expensive types of hashish in the world, the famed Malana cream, which is known for its high oil content and intense aroma. A total of 11.66 grams, sells for over $250 in Amsterdam and over Rs4,000 ($62) in India.

This isn’t the first time that a politician in the country has voiced support for legalising marijuana. In November last year, Dharamvir Gandhi, a Member of Parliament and a former member of the Aam Aadmi Party, introduced a private bill to legalise cannabis by permitting the “authorised and monitored sale of soft drugs” and to “legitimise cultivation, production, possession, manufacture, sale, transport, and inter-state export, import, use and consumption of such soft drugs.” And much before that, in 2015, senior parliamentarian Tathagata Satpathy, too, sought a change in the law , calling the ban on cannabis “elitist.”

Source July 31: qz.com

A medicinal cannabis farm under construction in Queensland has opened its doors for the first time to offer an exclusive glimpse of its top-secret operation. Medifarm, based on the state’s Sunshine Coast, has a rare licence granted by the Federal Government to cultivate, produce and manufacture medicinal cannabis.When the farm is up and running, it will produce cannabis oil for Australians with medical conditions.

Strict security arrangements are in place to make sure the location of the farm is not compromised. Founder Adam Benjamin said security was paramount when growing such a controversial crop. “We offered our security solutions which really focused on no diversions — which means if there was a potential threat out there, or even product that moves from the farm into distribution, it needs to at all times be tracked and accounted for,” he said. “So senior police, senior military personnel were brought in to advise, and we think we got it right.”

It is the first time an Australian medicinal cannabis farm has allowed the media to visit.
Non-disclosure forms had to be signed before reporters were taken in a convoy to the site.
Farm staff also undergo stringent checks before they are allowed to work there.

“All staff and all future staff go through a checklist, including Australian Federal Police background checks,” Mr Benjamin said. While exact security arrangements cannot be discussed, the site is guarded 24/7. But Mr Benjamin conceded there was always the potential someone could stumble across its location. “We are doing this on Earth, so there is the potential,” he said. “If someone was to find out, we believe our security measures and our counter measures will be right — it’s very James Bond … but we came to market through the law and we’re going to continue through the law.”

-Hope first crop ready early next year 
The farm is currently under construction with greenhouses still being built.
But it is hoped the first crop will be planted later this year.
From there, the company is aiming to harvest four times a year, which could help thousands of people. “Here we believe that what we are growing could service 5,000 patients,” Mr Benjamin said. “Potentially in Queensland, you’re looking at 100,000 patients who could gain benefit from this as a medicine.”We will have products cultivated and ready for distribution in the first quarter next year.”

Source: july 31 – Cannabis Club Australia

The Cannabis Industry in the Netherlands could be falling behind that of other countries in the world. NUBusiness speaks in a series of summer interviews with Dutch entrepreneurs who are extra busy in the summer. This week: coffeeshop owner Paul Wilhelm (54). He had movie stars Brad Pitt and Matt Damon as customer, and wanted to open a Cannabis Experience.

Recently Wilhelm fears that the Netherlands will start to run behind on cannabis developments. ‘Growing cannabis should be legalised’, he finds.

Wilhelm was 22 years when he opened up his first coffeeshop. Together with his best friend Jeroen Hamersma in 1985 he started coffeeshop Tweede Kamer in Amsterdam, which is currently still open. All their childhood the two spent time in coffeeshops of others. First as customers and later behind the counter. “We thought: we should start one of your own”, Wilhelm reflects back. ‘In those days you could only buy bags of 10 guilders or 25 guilders. We introduced the scale behind the bar, so customers could decide how much they wanted to spend. We cut it at the bar ourselves and weighed it in front of the customer. You could smell it and you could feel it’.

Tweede Kamer

It was a great success and quickly Tweede Kamer grew to be a kind of living room where people met and had political discussions. Exactly what Wilhelm and Hamersma had aimed for with the name of their shop.

Wilhelm just started that year with a study at the social academy. This gave quite some peculiar situations. ‘In the break time i bought five kilos of weed and sat with that in class’, Wilhelm explains, ‘I had a big bag between my legs. A sports bag. I noticed that I had to choose between my studies and my business’. He chose for the cannabis industry and left the social academy after the first year.

Dampkring

While in the eighties there was a mood of no future in coffeeshops, Wilhelm did not experience that. For the coffeeshops there were hardly any rules, so being an entrepreneur in this industry was relatively easy. You didn’t need an official permit’, Wilhelm explains, ‘and because of that Amsterdam had about four to six hundred coffeeshops in these days. The police did some controls occasionally, but forced closures never happened, according to Wilhelm: ‘Such a control we used to call a raid. The police took all your stuff, but that same night you just got new stuff’.

The climate in the industry in the eighties was very different than nowadays, Wilhelm states: ‘The criminality did not hit the sector and there were lots of relaxed hippies. They went on holiday and took a kilo of Indian hash with them back to pay back their holiday’, he remembers. ‘It really were cannabis lovers, these were there in that time. Now you see more like a kind of car salesmen in the sector. People do it more for the money nowadays’.

Nederweed

For the cannabis lovers Wilhelm and his companion came with original products. So Wilhelm introduced the so called “Oranjebud”. ‘It was grown in Dutch greenhouses’, Wilhelm explains. ‘We could sell this a few years only at our shop in the city. It was the cheapest and best Nederweed, as a consequence there were big queues in front of the shop.

Because their coffeeshop only was 25 square meters, the entrepreneurs started a second coffeeshop in 1993: Dampkring. Aiming at tourists since from that moment. Also here they treated the hash and weed as true lovers. ‘We actually always treated this product like wine’, Wilhelm says. ‘You have many different kinds of cannabis, various grow methods and everything has it’s own smell and taste’.

Ocean’s Twelve

Dampkring which in the mean time has a second location named coffeeshop amsterdam – reached a true cult status among international tourists. Also with the American director Steven Soderbergh, who knocked on Wilhelms door in 2004. Soderbergh was looking for a location to shoot some scenes for his movie Ocean’s Twelve and had his eyes on Dampkring.

‘He thought Dampkring stood for freedom’, Wilhelm knows. ‘Steven was an American from different times. When he was young, you immediately went to prison for a year if you smoked weed. Steven said that he always came to Dampkring when he was in Amsterdam. He loved the diversity of your public. Black, white, young, old, everybody does their thing. The freedom to buy cannabis, he found that genius’.

Five long days the team of Soderbergh they took their shots in the Dampkring. Wilhelm all had them on his premisses: Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, George Clooney and so on. ‘They were smoking all the time’, Wilhelm smiles. ‘Ocean’s Twelve turned out to be the worst of a series of three. That had probably everything to do with it’.

Cannabis Experience

Wilhelm had big plans in 2015. Together with other coffeeshop entrepreneurs he wanted to open up a so called Cannabis Experience at an area in Westpoort, Amsterdam-West. In a big  complex not only eight coffeeshops with a drive in had to arise, but also an exposition-space, a gift shop and a test laboratory. ‘Think of the Heineken Experience, but than for cannabis’, Wilhelm explains. “We wanted to open a educational visiting centre with the purpose to learn people as much as possible about hemp and cannabis. We wanted 3D-glasses and touch screens.’

The city part agreed after some time. The cannabis entrepreneurs were very pleased and expected about 200.000 till 500.000 visitors per year. The police was afraid that the public safety would come at stake and decided to block the plan.

Education

Still Wilhelm repeats: education about cannabis is important. ‘You don’t want things to go wrong and users who faint. That’s why he will start a campaign directed towards undergraduates. Ín the end I do sell drugs, so I want to take my responsibility for society’. He wants to publish flyers, posters and a brochure with tips for responsible use. Also there should be a information website. ‘Providing information on cannabis is not against the law’, Wilhelm says, ‘That only goes for advertising’.

With his campaign Wilhelm wants to explain users when or when not to use cannabis. ‘Don’t do it if you have to do homework, for example’. Also he advices to restrain form cannabis during working hours and also not to use all day long. Only do it if it adds something. As an example with going to a concert or if you play music. Or do it if you go to a superheroes movie with special effects, but not if you go to a French intellectual movie. Than you fall asleep and forget what the movie was all about’.

Going out

That things can go wrong with cannabis, Wilhelm experiences once in a while in his coffeeshops. Over courage users use too much weed or hash, than they collapse and as it is called ‘go out.’ For this we have made a protocol’, he explains. ‘We bring this visitor outside, so they can get some fresh air. Also sometimes we give them something to eat or to drink’.

Wilhelm is never stoned in his coffeeshops. He may me a cannabis lover himself, but smoking he only does in the evening once in a while. In the past he did smoke cannabis while working in his coffeeshops, but that did not always work out. ‘I’ve had inconvenient situations, like with a fight in my coffeeshop and a raid from the police. You notice that you react different than when you’re sober, you loose the oversight in the situation.’

Bad name

Wilhelm finds it much harder to be a cannabis entrepreneur in 2017 than in the eighties. ‘It’s gotten more difficult to get good products’, he says. ‘In about fifteen years the romance has disappeared from the cannabis industry’.

‘All cannabis lovers and little home growers have stopped more or less, because the risk is too big for them. If you have a grow room in your house, you risk jail time. The people with green fingers and passion fort he product have been filtered out of it.’So he has become more careful with who he does his business. Regularly he has to say ‘no’ to cannabis traders. They offer a ‘good product’, he says, but for a far too low price. He doesn’t trust that. ‘Often they have a grin face and than you think: no i shouldn’t do that.

Controls

Also with the controls it’s not got easier. ‘The regulations has become so strict. As a minimum you get checked twice a year by a horeca-intervention team. Then the police, the tax-office and sometimes the customs office also drop by’. These are severe controls, the entrepreneur knows. ‘Often they come with a ten man force. And your shop has to close down for two hours sometimes. Also the visitors get checked. If you don’t have your things in order, you’ll get a warning. With a second warning you have to close down your shop for a week and the fourth time you lose your licence’.

Uruguay

Wilhelm is afraid that the Netherlands in the longer run will lose its competition position in the field of cannabis. In the mean time Uruguay is running ahead at the subject of regulation of cannabis growing. Where it became totally legal recently. Also in the American states of  Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, California, Massachusetts and Nevada the majority of inhabitants voted fort he legalisation of marijuana.

Cannabis Industry

The entrepreneur pleas for complete legalisation of cannabis growing. ‘Because the growing is still completely illegal there is a lack of valid ingredients formation in coffeeshops’, Wilhelm states.

‘Cannabis does not only contain THC, but about 56 other active substances. I want to be able to tell clients exactly what the concentration is of all these substances, so i can better inform them about the risks. Now i cannot do that, and as a consequence cannot uphold reasonable demands from a healthcare perspective’.

The forbid on the growing is ‘does not fit this era anymore’. Wilhelm: ‘Gay marriage, euthanasia and prostitution were once also forbidden, but that is past history already. When will the growing of cannabis finally become legal?’

Source: July 29 nu.nl

Visitors to Switzerland are usually attracted by the promise of picturesque chalets and mountain hikes. But now they could have another, more unlikely, reason to pay a visit: cannabis.

A Swiss supermarket has become the first major chain in the world to start selling cannabis cigarettes. Coop Cooperative shoppers can now grab a pack of the cigarettes along with their artisan chocolate and Gruyère cheese.

Cannabis with less than 1 per cent THC is legal in the country – that’s higher than the 0.2 per cent legal limit in most other European countries. The cigarettes also contain a high level of the other component found in hemp and marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD).

These CBD-rich cigarettes have a mellow effect and are thought to be useful in treating pain and panic attacks.

Coop introduced the cannabis cigarettes in a handful of its stores earlier this month, and have already sold out. It is now extending the sales to its 700 stores across Switzerland.

“We were surprised by the large demand,” said a representative of The Coop. “We already offer several hemp products like hemp ice tea and beer. There is a demand for hemp products because of its unique smell and taste. That’s why we also decided to offer CBD-cigarettes to our customers.”

The “Heimat” cigarettes are made by Swiss company Koch & Gsell, which claims they’re the first cigarette containing cannabis to be sold in a normal supermarket.

“We are still overwhelmed by the interest in our cigarettes,” said marketing director Björn Koch. “People from around the globe contacted us about our new cannabis cigarette. The empty shelves at Coop show that people here in Switzerland seem to like the product.”

Sarah Roloff from Switzerland Tourism doesn’t expect the cigarettes to have a serious effect on tourism to the country. “The primary travel motivation of tourists who come to Switzerland is the beauty of nature and its landscapes and this will remain so in the future,” she said.

Source: july 28 – Telegraph.co.uk

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) – Marijuana aficionados lined up at pharmacies across Uruguay on Wednesday to be among the first in the South American nation to legally buy pot as a law regulating its sale took full effect.

Customers sniffed pungent green buds and grinned as they showed off blue-and-white envelopes containing the plant, which is now available as part a 2013 measure that made Uruguay the first nation to legalise a cannabis market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase.

Patients were greeted with low prices (about $1.30 per gram, compared to $5-15 grams in legal American states) but limited selection and low potency. Only two strains are initially available: One is an indica, called Alpha I, with 2% THC and 7% CBD; the other is a sativa, Beta I, with 2% THC and 6% CBD.

Santiago Pinatares, a 35-year-old construction worker, braved freezing temperatures in the capital, Montevideo, as he waited outside one of the 16 pharmacies authorised to sell marijuana. He said he has been smoking cannabis since age 14 but had no choice but to buy on the black market until now.

“To be able to buy it legally is a huge breakthrough,” he told The Associated Press. “Uruguay is at the forefront of the world on this.”

Some customers declined to comment saying they didn’t want their families or employers to know they were buying marijuana.

Authorities say nearly 5,000 people have registered as consumers allowing them to buy up to 40 grams per month using fingerprint recognition. About two-thirds of them live in Montevideo.

90 cents of each $1.30 gram goes to the two businesses chosen to cultivate marijuana.

The rest is split between the pharmacies and the government, which will use its share to fund prevention programs. The marijuana comes in packages emblazoned with a seal of authenticity and warnings about the drug’s effects. Most of the country’s estimated 1,200 pharmacies also decided not to register to sell, stoking a debate over how the drug should be distributed. Experts attributed delays in the implementation of the pioneering plan to the fact that no other country had attempted such an ambitious endeavour.

“There was a lot of hard work to finally come to this day,” drug czar Diego Olivera said. “It is a challenging and complex project, and today we have taken a step forward.”

Source 20 July: leafly.com

“The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” Dr. Dustin Sulak

It’s becoming increasingly clear that stimulating and supporting your endocannabinoid system is another way to improve your brain and mental health. But you don’t need to smoke marijuana to do this. There are a number of other options, and this articles explore them.

–  But first, what exactly is your endocannabinoid system?
Well, your body actually creates its own cannabinoids, similar to those found in cannabis. And these naturally-occurring cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors within your body and brain. You can think of these receptors like little “locks”, and your body’s cannabinoids fit naturally into these locks like “keys”. Together, they make up your endocannabinoid system, which can influence your appetite, pain, inflammation, sleep, stress responses, mood, memory, motivation, reward, etc.

There are two main cannabinoid receptors – cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2).
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and impact a number of neurotransmitters, including GABA, glutamate, dopamine and serotonin. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mostly found within the immune system and blood cells. However, it’s important to note that some CB1 receptors are still located outside the brain, and some CB2 receptors can be found within the brain. So, there is some overlap.

According to Martin A Lee (from cbd project) cannabinoid receptors are more abundant in the brain than any other type of neurotransmitter receptor.

There are three different types of cannabinoids that can activate these receptors in your body:
-Phytocannabinoids – plant-derived cannabinoids (eg THC & CBD)
-Endocannabinoids – these cannabinoids are produced naturally within the body. Anandamide is the main endocannabinoid in your body. It can be found in humans, but also many other animals and plants. It binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors and has similar effects as THC. 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is another critical endocannabinoid in your body that also binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
-Synthetic cannabinoids – made in a lab

Some researchers are convinced that when your body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), you’re more likely to develop these diseases. They’ve even coined the term “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency” to describe the problem

You can stimulate and support your endocannabinoid system naturally, which can lead to a number of brain and mental health benefits:

Less stress and anxiety
Improved mood and increased feelings of pleasure and optimism
Better focus and concentration
Less hyperactivity
Deeper sleep
Fewer headaches and migraines
Reduced inflammation

So without further ado, here are different ways to stimulate and support your endocannabinoid system naturally;

-Cold exposure has been shown to increase endocannabinoid levels. Researchers have also found that cold exposure significantly increases the density of CB1 neurons.

-Male and female sex hormones also stimulate and support the endocannabinoid system. Both testosterone and estradiol have been shown to up regulate CB1 receptors. Estradiol also increases the synthesis and release of the endocannabinoids (anandamide), which activates CB1 receptors.

-Drinking coffee is another way to stimulate and support your endocannabinoid system. Researchers believe that the cannabinoid system is involved in the psychoactive properties of caffeine. Regular caffeine consumption has been shown to enhance the activation of CB1 receptors by endocannabinoids.

-Olive oil has numerous health benefits, particularly because of its strong anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also been shown to upregulate CB1 receptors.

-Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active cannabinoids in cannabis. It is not psychoactive but has a wide range of medical applications. Research shows that CBD enhances the expression of CB1 receptors in the brain. It also increases levels of 2-AG by preventing it from breaking down.

-Most people know dark chocolate is rich in multiple antioxidants, such as flavonols and polyphenols, which reduce oxidative stress. And it includes other compounds that slow down the breakdown of anandamide, increasing the amount of anandamide that stimulates your endocannabinoid system.

As you can see, there are many different ways to stimulate your endocannabinoid system besides smoking cannabis. And supporting this important system can lead to a number of brain and mental health benefits.                                                              (Source: Jordan Fallis)

Source 20 July: optimallivingdynamics.com

A majority from the city council wants the ability to grow cannabis for medicinal use in the Westland.

There is a big chance that the upcoming coalition parties will but the item of medicinal cannabis on the table after the city council elections of 2018. A few weeks ago Piet Vreugdenhil (Christian Democrat) and Maxim van Ooijen (Liberal Democrat) already plead for growing weed. The alderman Theo Duijvestijn declared that the college already is talking about this behind closed doors. Being completely open about it is not possible, ‘it’s too soon to be concrete about this’ he stated.

‘It is not to be denied that many of our inhabitants benefit from medicinal cannabis oil’, according to liberal-democrat delegate Maxim van Ooijen. ‘The mayor of Tilburg has put up some rules to regulate medical home growing. I would like to adopt that, but we should see if we could make up a model for Westland for that’.

Majority
A Majority of the parties in the city council looks to agree with that. Remmert Keizer, chairman of CityInterest Westland, also thinks that medical cannabis users could be helped more accurate: ‘People almost feel like a criminal. If the use is medicinal, i think nobody can be against it’ Growing for recreational use or a coffeeshop looks one step to much. ‘We are prepared to think about that. Look if you do it like in Zwijndrecht (where a non-commercial coffeeshop was founded) also care that you organize the growing, but we are not that far yet’.

Considerate Westland would preferably see the weed growing on a professional basis. In a greenhouse with a licence, like the one in Groningen. ‘We as a city council do not decide that’, chairman Peter Duijsens told. ‘That’s why we should plea that the State-government allows a wider licence-policy. Of course under strict conditions’

Also the chairman of LPF-Westalnd, Dave van der Meer, says he cannot oppose if it helps people and reliefs pain. ‘But growing for recreational use, that does not make us very enthusiastic’.

Source 19th July: ad.nl

Last week the region of Catalonia in north-east Spain passed a law enabling a network of co-operatives to legally oversee the legal use, distribution and cultivation of cannabis.The move by the Parliament of Catalonia is the most dramatic cannabis law change yet in Spain, where similar reforms have been enacted in the Navarra and Basque Country regions.

The law got to parliament thanks to a popular citizen’s legislative initiative that attracted 67,500 signatures, in excess of the 50,0000 required to get the proposal debated.
It means that in Barcelona, Spain’s second city, and along most of the country’s eastern coast, from the Costa Brava in the north to the Costa Blanca in the south, ganja can be smoked, supplied and grown without getting fined or jailed, as long you have joined your local cannabis club.

VICE UK interviewed with Amber Marks, a barrister and criminal law expert at Queen Mary University London, who published on the legal minutiae around Spanish cannabis clubs.

VICE: Hi Amber, can you tell me why this law was needed in Catalonia?
Up until now cannabis clubs in Catalonia have been operating in a grey area of law, because the Spanish supreme court has repeatedly refused to clarify the dividing line between social supply and criminal supply in the context of cannabis social clubs. It has repeatedly said that this is a task for the legislature and that the court will decide guilt on a case-by-case basis. The minority judgments in these cases all pointed out that this was unsatisfactory on account of the uncertainty created. The legislature of Catalonia has taken action by stipulating the parameters for lawful social supply in the context of cannabis social clubs.

What exactly does the new law say?
It provides a statutory regulation for the operation of cannabis social clubs, which are basically private members clubs that supply cannabis cultivated on behalf of their members. The law acknowledges the right of citizens to consume cannabis and the right of cannabis users to get information on the quality and strength of the cannabis consumed.
Cultivation, supply and consumption must all take place in private. No forms of advertising are allowed. Membership is restricted to adults who are already cannabis consumers and potential members must be sponsored by another member to join. Clubs must keep a register of members and limit the amount cultivated for each member to 60 grammes a month maximum for those aged over 21 and 20 grammes a month maximum for those aged 18 to 21. These maximums do not apply to therapeutic use.

You said this law was one of most progressive in Europe. How does it compare to say, Amsterdam?
In the Netherlands, coffeeshops are tolerated within certain parameters, for example not selling to minors, limiting the amount sold to each customer. But there is no recognition of human rights or consumer rights there – it is purely for the purposes of harm reduction. Within the national framework in the Netherlands, local governments choose how to implement the criteria.

There are other countries in which neither personal consumption nor cultivation for personal consumption are criminal offences, but none with a regulatory regime for the supply and consumption of cannabis. The practice in many European countries in which personal consumption is not a criminal offence is to not prosecute low-level supply.
The Catalan law is the first to explicitly treat personal consumption and regulated social supply as one and the same. It is the first to justify the legislation as a means of protecting consumer rights and the constitutional rights to equality, personal autonomy, and development of the personality. The law makes specific provision for the transportation of cannabis cultivated, for its packaging and hygienic storage and for the testing of the product.

How does it change things on the ground for the average cannabis user, seller and grower?
Possession of drugs for personal consumption is not a criminal offence in Spain, neither is cultivation for personal use. But possession of cannabis in public is punishable by a large fine. It is a criminal offence to sell cannabis in the street.
Most people here get their supply from the clubs. The word “buy” is not used because it is a collective cultivation, so it is paid for by being a member of clubs. The law should mean that cannabis consumers can rely on their clubs staying open and that they will be provided with reliable information on the type and strength of the cannabis supplied to them by the club. It should mean that those cultivating and transporting cannabis on behalf of an association are not prosecuted for doing so and that those operating cannabis clubs do not risk arbitrary prosecutions with arbitrary outcomes.

Three years ago there was a problem with cannabis clubs allegedly being used to make large amounts of money on the cannabis market? How will this be tackled?
There is yet to be any conviction of any cannabis club for money laundering, and most clubs have been paying taxes. The law is very clear that clubs are not-for-profit associations and that all monies generated from the supply of cannabis to members must go back into clubs. There will always be people who break the rules, but this law will assist the enforcement of the law by clarifying what the law actually is and by making the operation of the clubs more transparent.

What does the Catalonian law mean in the global context of drug law reform?
There is a growing recognition amongst governmental organisations and courts around the world that the criminalisation of cannabis consumption and supply does not protect public health and is in many ways detrimental to it and that it amounts to a disproportionate interference with civil liberties.

Do you think UK will follow suit Amber?
Yes. It’s just a question of how and when.

Source: July 7 vice.com

As more and more of the world continues to legalise cannabis every day, some sterner countries are finally starting to take notice. Smoking cannabis is highly frowned up in Japan culture, but one starlet is working to change the stereotypes and bring medical cannabis to an entire nation.

Actress turned activist
Saya Takagi has lived her life as a popular Japanese actress staring in a variety of television shows and movies. In recent years, Takagi has taken on an entirely new role as a politician, working towards cannabis reform for her entire country. Now, she’s hoping to reach her challenging goal yet – a seat in Japan’s Upper House, a powerful level of the country’s government.

Takagi decided to run for the Upper House because she believes it will give her the opportunity to finally bring cannabis to Japan’s forefront. Her ultimate goal is to sway other council members to see the medicinal benefits at hand and vote to repeal the cannabis control law.

Necessary reform
Due to the ridiculously strict cannabis laws in Japan, there has been no government studies of the plant or it’s medical properties leaving only speculation and criminalisation of the life-saving herb. If the cannabis control laws were lifted, or even modified, researchers could begin independent studies to reveal solid evidence of the many medical benefits. Japan’s government would have to take the irrefutable proof under some type of consideration.

As has already happened in more than half the United States, once the medical benefits are fully realised, Japan can begin to reform and regulate cannabis laws to allow for medical use. As more and more ailments are treated with cannabis, Japan will begin to realise what many other nations already have: cannabis not only has the power to enhance life, it has the power to restore, replenish and save the life of someone who might have otherwise lost their battle.

Source July 13: herb.co

The number of ‘coffeeshops’ in the Netherlands is continuing to fall but the closure rate has slowed, new official figures show. Last year there were 573 outlets licensed to sell cannabis, 18 fewer than two years earlier and 41 less than the number in 2012. The figures showed that Amsterdam accounts for 173 of all coffeeshops, or 30% of the total. Rotterdam had 40 outlets, The Hague 36 and Utrecht 10. Amsterdam had one coffeeshop for every 4,907 residents, a far higher concentration than any of the other 102 municipalities which license cannabis cafes.

Source: July 4 dutchnews.nl