A new poll finds that a large percentage of Canadians say that they will smoke cannabis once the drug is legalised recreationally throughout the country. A whopping 4 out of 10, or 39% of individuals, say they will be cannabis consumers if the Prime Minister’s plan comes to pass (which it almost certainly will).

The poll was conducted by Oracle poll in conjunction with cannabis marketing consultant Colin Firth for their publication Canadian Cannabis Report: What’s the Buzz? The collaboration identified a number of interesting public sentiments from the 5,000-person sample size that is representative of Canada’s geographical and provincial makeup. They claim it is “the most detailed, comprehensive and unbiased consumer market research study ever performed for the emerging cannabis sector.We recognised a significant lack of data for this emerging industry. To date, there has not been a study of this magnitude of the Canadian people’s thoughts of the cannabis industry, both on the medical and recreational fronts,” report co-author Colin Firth said in a press release.

The poll also determined that 57% of Canadians support the Prime Minister’s cannabis law changes. Previous polls have generally shown a consistent pattern for the support of legalising marijuana, with most polls indicating that just slightly over half of all Canadians are in favour. -More interesting, a large percentage of current and potential users, 24%, believe they will replace alcohol with cannabis when it becomes legalised.

Some other interesting findings came out of the report. A vast majority of Canadians, 72%, believe that the federal government should pardon and eliminate previous convictions for simple cannabis possession. If the federal government wanted to follow one policy that has high support, pardons for simple possession would be one of them.
77% of respondents say they will buy from licensed growers, but it’s unclear how many know that it would be illegal to purchase from an illicit dispensary. It will be interesting to see just how compliant individuals will be with the new legislation, and if there will be enforcement against individuals who do not purchase from within the system.

The poll found that 63% of respondents preferred the retail model for recreational sales, and 30% prefer online shopping. Both sets of survey respondents will be happy to know that both retail sales and online sales will be permitted by Ontario and the province’s Liquor Control Board, which is controlling sales.
-The results of the poll generally find that Canadians are not unified on all aspects of legalisation—more than half want it to happen, but the figures suggest there may not be one-hundred percent compliance with the new legislation.

Source: September 14 – Newslift.co

The Drug Czar of the Federal Republic of Germany, Marlene Mortler (CSU), verbally attacked the U.S. cannabis lobby during a presentation of the government’s 2017 Drug and Addiction Report. During a recent press conference, Mortler explained that “U.S. cannabis companies are doing a great deal of business in Germany.”

The CSU-representative added that the wealthy nation of Germany was a desirable market for hedge funds — especially from the USA. According to Mortler, these investors lurk in wait for Germany to the expand the market opportunities.

She also said that since the legalisation of medical cannabis in Germany, U.S. companies have touted high expectations regarding Germany’s business potential. According to Mortler, the cannabis lobby now has more direct access to decision-makers than the alcohol or tobacco lobbies, and can effectively engage younger generations through the social media.

During the presentation of this year’s report, the Drug Czar sought out culprits to blame for her poor performance record, which showed a rise in drug-related deaths in Germany for the fourth year in a row. In her home state of Bavaria, where there are hardly any aid programs to help drug addicts, the numbers are increasing immensely.

When it comes to cannabis, Mortler is convinced that the plant’s increasing popularity is the direct result of activism and lobbying efforts. She has continuously declined opportunities to speak with cannabis activists — the “Hemp-Lobby” as she put it — ignoring any possibility of a direct exchange of factual arguments. No interviews, meetings, panels, not even a Skype-dialogue has occurred since she took the role of Drug Czar in 2013. Mortler does not talk to or with her drug policy opponents or cannabis consumers; instead, she talks about them.

In 2016, Mortler complained that Germany’s cannabis users had started a kind of digital war against her. Activists had launched “Mortler off” T-shirts, published a related Facebook page, and promoted a petition for her withdrawal on Change.org. But the CSU leader is hardly diplomatic when it comes to cannabis. She once advised the well-known German rapper Thomas D. on Facebook not to publicise his opposing opinions on cannabis, acerbically asking whether the highly reputed artist “if he has smoked too much.”

Even the former financial economist, green politician and founder of the German Hemp Association, Georg Wurth, was called a “gambler and player” by Mortler. He’s never given her a harsh word.

In Mortler’s criticism of the U.S. cannabis lobby and the situation in Colorado, the staunch cannabis opponent skates on thin ice when asserting that the consumption among young people has surged in Colorado since the state regulated cannabis. The source of her ignorance stems from the questionable figures of the “Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area” (RMHIDTA). The report does not address the Colorado Ministry of Health’s official report on the effects of legalisation. In contrast to the RMHIDTA’s alleged report of increased cannabis use among adolescents, the state’s Health Department released a study in June, finding that cannabis use among teens has not increased since legalisation and remains in line with the national average.

Mason Tvert, the current communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project in Colorado, commented on the windy figures and the work of the RMHIDTA 2016 for Vice magazine:

“It’s kind of laughable, but unfortunately it gets taken seriously by some,” Tvert said of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA report. “This is an agency that, much like the DEA, is living in the 1930s when it comes to marijuana.”

Germany Drug Commissioners also claim that today’s cannabis products are much stronger and therefore more dangerous than they were in the 1970s — this is also demonstrably wrong. In the 1970s, Europeans almost exclusively smoked hashish, which contained a  similar THC content to today’s most potent indoor flowers. The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed this fact in 2004 when the rumour of highly-potent GMO-cannabis made national headlines for the first time. Additionally, Mortler’s predecessor, Mechthild Dyckmans, confirmed those findings in 2012:

-The active substance content has fallen overall since 1997 and has not increased ever since,
-No figures are available that are older than 30 years to compare with the current ones,
-Only a short-term increase in the late 1990s could be established.
-Last but not least, highly potent cannabis is no more dangerous than the less potent varieties, as long as the consumers are aware of its THC content.

Mortler, an expert on agricultural policy, lacked drug policy experience at the time of her inauguration. Her perfidious and often difficult-to-believe tactics, just as in the “Pharmacy Review” of January 2015, may be doing more to help pro-cannabis efforts in Germany:

-PR: Would a general prohibition on advertising for alcohol and a uniformly high tax rate on alcoholic beverages prevent alcohol abuse among young people better (than the current law)?
Mortler: If you forbid everything, do you think a child says: ‘Yes, mama, you’re right.’? Our country does not want and can not ban anything. Children and young people must be convinced – through education and role models.
-PR: Do you believe in the efficiency of bans when it comes to cannabis prohibition?
Mortler: Cannabis is an illegal drug.

Unfortunately, the poor defender of Germany’s drug policy will leave office after the coming elections in October. Since the position of the Drug Officer is not very popular and has never been occupied by the same person for more than one legislative period, Mortler will likely lose the opportunity to provide such a weak case against legalisation, as she has for years. In Germany, a pseudo-liberal Drug Czar could do more to slow down the movement’s intake and influence than a drug-related hardliner with moderate stances, representing long-outdated science and facts.

Source: August 28 – Marijuana.com

The pharmacies selling pot were doing a brisk business.

After Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalise marijuana sales for recreational use last month, some of the pharmacies struggled to keep up with the demand.

Then came the stern letters from American banks.

The letters immediately sent officials in Uruguay scrambling to make sense of the Patriot Act and other American laws that could doom an essential part of their country’s new marijuana market. American banks, including Bank of America, said that they would stop doing business with banks in Uruguay that provide services for those state-controlled sales.

Afraid of losing access to the American banking system, Uruguayan banks warned some of the pharmacies over the last couple of weeks that their accounts would be shut down, potentially signalling a broader international impasse as other countries, including Canada, set out to legalise marijuana. “We can’t hold out false hope,” President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay told reporters this week, adding that his administration was trying to come up with a solution.

The snag mirrors challenges that such businesses have faced in American states that have legalised medical and recreational cannabis. Under the Patriot Act, which was passed weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it is unlawful for American financial institutions to do business with dealers of certain controlled substances, including marijuana. The provisions were designed to curb money laundering and drug trafficking.

The Obama administration indicated in 2014 that banks were unlikely to face penalties for offering services to marijuana businesses in states where the trade is legal, as long they screened accounts for signs of money laundering and ensured that customers followed state guidelines. This enabled some of the businesses to get accounts at credit unions, but major banks have largely stayed away from the expanding industry, concluding that the burdens and risks of doing business with marijuana sellers were not worth the hassle.

“Banks are businesses, and they can pick and choose who they do business with,” said Frank Robison, a lawyer in Colorado who specialises in marijuana regulation. “From a banking industry perspective, the marijuana industry might be perceived as a flea on a dog’s back.” Several pot businesses in states like Colorado and Washington — the first to legalise recreational marijuana— have opted to remain cash-only businesses. Others have found small banks willing to take a calculated risk.

But finding a workaround in Uruguay may be hard. Sales of marijuana represent a small share of business for pharmacies, which are currently the only merchants licensed to sell it, and the pharmacies say they need banking services to operate.

Similarly, bankers in Uruguay will probably find it much more important to remain in good standing with American financial institutions than to preserve the accounts of a small number of pharmacies.
The threat of losing their bank accounts has led some of the roughly 15 pharmacies that initially signed up to participate in the new market to give up on marijuana sales, said Pablo Durán, a legal expert at the Center of Pharmacies in Uruguay, a trade group. Twenty other pharmacies that were expected to join the market are holding off while the government explores solutions, he said.

The American regulations are counterproductive, supporters of the legal market in Uruguay contend, because they may inadvertently encourage, not prevent, illicit drug sales.

Fighting drug trafficking was one of the main reasons the Uruguayan government gave for legalising recreational marijuana. Officials spent years developing a complex regulatory framework that permits people to grow a limited supply of cannabis themselves or buy it at pharmacies for less than the black market rate. Lawmakers hoped that legal structure would undercut illicit marijuana cultivation and sales. “There probably isn’t a trade in Uruguay today that is more controlled than cannabis sale,” Mr. Durán said.

As a candidate, President Trump said that American states should be free to chart their own courses on marijuana, and he promised to pare back regulation in the financial sector. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, has been a sharp critic of legalisation and has compared marijuana to heroin.

Now, some members of the cannabis industry wonder whether the United States government will resolve the conflict between its banking laws and the expanding patchwork of measures to legalise recreational and medical marijuana use around the world. The guidance from the Obama administration, issued by the Justice and Treasury Departments in a pair of memos in 2014, addressed the matter domestically but not for international banking. “Uruguay may be the tip of the iceberg,” said Mr. Robison, the Colorado lawyer who specialises in marijuana regulation.

Pharmacists in Uruguay were incredulous to learn that their bank accounts could be shut down, considering the years of study and planning that preceded the start of retail marijuana sales last month. The country’s marijuana law was passed in 2013.

“We can’t understand how the government didn’t have the foresight to anticipate this,” said Gabriel Bachini, a pharmacy owner in the coastal city of Colonia.

Since sales began, the number of registered buyers in Uruguay has more than doubled. As of Aug. 15, more than 12,500 people had enrolled in a system that verifies customers’ identities with fingerprint scanners and allows them to buy up to 40 grams per month (at a price of about $13 for 10 grams, enough for about 15 joints, advocates say). Under the law, only Uruguayan citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to buy or grow marijuana.

“Demand has been very strong,” Mr. Bachini said. “People are thrilled that they no longer have to go to private homes or venture out into neighbourhoods” to get marijuana.

In emailed statements, the Treasury and Justice Departments said that their earlier guidance was still being applied. But banking and legal experts say the Trump administration has yet to lay down clear markers on this area of policy. Officials in Uruguay are hopeful that American lawmakers will pass legislation allowing banks to do business with marijuana sellers in states and countries where it is regulated. Representative Ed Perlmutter, Democrat of Colorado, introduced a bill in April that would do that, but marijuana advocates say they do not expect a prompt legislative change.

“It is ironic that laws aimed at fighting drug trafficking and money laundering have created a roadblock for a system that intends to do just that,” said Hannah Hetzer, an analyst at the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports decriminalisation of marijuana. “Uruguay is creating a legal market that displaces the illicit marijuana market.”

Mr. Bachini, the pharmacist, said he had not yet heard from his bank. But if it threatens to shut down his account, he said, he will not think twice about giving up marijuana sales.

“This pharmacy has been around for 30 years,” he said. “I’d just stop until this issue with the United States is resolved.”

Source: August 25 – New York Times

 

More info from: Mujica threatens to lock Uruguays parliament cannabis sales due to US interference https://greendorphin.com/mujica-threatens-lock-uruguays-parliament-cannabis-sales-end-due-us-interference/

The South African law banning the smoking and cultivation of dagga is racist‚ unscientific and neither rational or based on good lawmaking.

This was the testimony of Rhodes University historian Craig Paterson. His master’s dissertation probed how colonial laws criminalising dagga use came to be. He is a witness in the trial brought by Myrtle Clarke and Jules Stobbs asking that the laws banning the sale of dagga be ruled unconstitutional. Paterson’s paper finds that cannabis, or dagga, was widely used before colonial times. He told the High Court in Pretoria it was easier to ban dagga officially in 1922 than alcohol, because at the time it was only used by Indian‚ coloured and black people. He said historical evidence showed that alcohol caused more social ills and crime, but was not banned because it was used by whites.

“Alcohol was the real issue for the government‚ so we have to ask why they chose to ban cannabis, not alcohol,” Paterson said. “The only rational conclusion I could come to is [that] white people didn’t smoke cannabis [at the time].” Paterson said one of the first reasons dagga use was halted was because it affected the quality of Indian labourers’ work in 19th-century Natal.

State advocate Bogosi Bokaba SC was aggressive in his cross-examination of Paterson and said the historical reasons for the law criminalising dagga were not relevant today. He said: “It is our view that the history that you specified around dagga use is irrelevant for the issues that are involved today. Do you agree?”

Paterson said it was for the court to decide whether the history behind the laws mattered. Bokaba asked Paterson whether he agreed with the medical symptoms‚ like red eyes‚ linked to the use of dagga.

“I am not sure why I am being asked these questions as a historian‚” Paterson replied.

The court case took seven years of preparation and will last about a month.

More info on the dagga-courtcase, the ‘Trial of the Plant’ via cannabis news network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETt-dqg9unc&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

Source: August 15 – Herald Live

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

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

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