State Likely To Ban Marijuana-Like Drug
Possession of "spice," a synthetic drug that mimics marijuana, will probably become a separate offense in the state code.Numerous state legislators--including both Sen. Edd Houck, D Spotsylvania, and Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford--had submitted bills to outlaw the drug, which is sold legally in convenience stores and gives users a high similar to marijuana. Fredericksburg police said last fall that use of spice had increased dramatically in 2010 Users have been known to suffer tremors, seizures, vomiting and more serious health effects such as unconsciousness and coma, authorities say.
More than a dozen states have already made it illegal. The Senate bills seeking to ban spice in Virginia were heard in a subcommittee Thursday. A big question during the debate, Houck said, was whether spice should be classified as a Schedule 1 substance, or whether a separate and new offense should be created. Both he and Stuart think the subcommittee will lean toward the latter.
"There are unintended consequences" to making a drug a Schedule 1 drug, Stuart said. The subcommittee decided to have staff look at all the bills and combine them into one that would cover the concerns expressed during Thursday's hearing. Stuart believes the end result will look more like his bill, which differed from many of the others in that it was aimed at "imitation marijuana," rather than trying to list the chemical compounds that would be banned. Once compromise language is settled upon, Houck said, he believes the measure will pass. "I think everybody understands there's a problem," he said. "We are going to address it."
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Cannabis Fields Torched In Morocco
Early January, in Taounate, a little village in the Moroccan mountains of the Kif region, almost eight tons of cannabis was seized in three farmers’ homes. Last June, right after the Bab Berred revolt, three helicopters dropped pesticides on plantations in the region to burn the fields. As the political will to eradicate the production of the illegal crops grows, observers say there are few measures to help the region’s inhabitants as they lose their main source of income.
“Eradication should not precede economic development or even accompany it,” said Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, a research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, and author of several books on the geopolitics of illicit drugs. “It should come afterward and only in case of necessity. Alternative development never had the expected success. It lacked political will, financial resources, persistence and it was flawly designed.” Morocco, the world’s leading producer and exporter of kif (the dried bud of the female marijuana plant), according to the United Nations, has for decades tolerated the illegal production of cannabis that allows an entire region to survive.
More than 70 percent of European countries in 2008 claimed that Morocco was their prime source of cannabis (either directly, or via Spain or the Netherlands), according to the most recent figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. These countries have pressured Morocco to take action to significantly reduce its production of the drug.
Lawmakers In Montana Hear Medical Marijuana Testimony
On Friday more than 100 people came to testify at the capitol building in Helena, Montana on the subject of medical marijuana and its patients. Citizens from all areas of the political spectrum came to let lawmakers know what they think as the politicians decide on how best to regulate the state’s cannabis industry.
From those who feel the medical marijuana law never should have been passed to those patients and activists who think its the best thing that ever happened to them, the session produced many opinions and one thing is for certain: stricter regulations are coming to medical marijuana in Montana. There is a perception that the system is “out of control” and that is where politicians shine. They will push each other down to build up the “crisis” then “solve” it.
It remains to be seen how far Montana lawmakers will take these regulations; there is even a chance for a vote to repeal the law altogether. That would be completely unacceptable and must not be allowed to happen. Spread the word, and if you live in Montana, get on your representatives.
Police: Business cards led to drug bust
NEW YORK, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- New York police said they arrested two men accused of running a high-end cocaine and marijuana business they advertised with business cards.
Investigators said an informant found the business cards advertising the drug-dealing services of Thomas Zenon and Miguel Guzman in a New York University dorm, and undercover officers made 12 buys during a three-month period, the New York Daily News reported Friday.
Police said Zenon and Guzman, who were arrested Wednesday, had more than 200 customers in the Manhattan borough. The men were scheduled to be arraigned on drug charges Friday.
Officers said Guzman was en route to a delivery when he was arrested Wednesday and was holding 16 grams of cocaine, more than $1,600 cash and four cellphones. Zenon was arrested at a restaurant with more than $600 in addition to 20 bags of marijuana found in his car.
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