Jamaica Decriminalizes Marijuana In Small Amounts
Category: News | Posted on Wed, February, 25th 2015 by THCFinder
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Marijuana has been pervasive but illegal in Jamaica for decades, consumed as a medicinal herb, puffed as a sacrament by Rastafarians and sung about in the island's famed reggae music.
After many years of dialogue about the culturally entrenched drug, and emboldened by changes to drug laws in U.S. states, Jamaica's Parliament on Tuesday night gave final approval to an act decriminalizing small amounts of pot and establishing a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry.
The historic amendments pave the way for a "cannabis licensing authority" to be established to deal with regulating the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes. Both houses of Jamaica's legislature have approved the legislation.
And in a victory for religious freedom, adherents of the homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement can now freely use marijuana for sacramental purposes for the first time on the tropical island.
The law makes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana a petty offense that could result in a ticket but not in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises would be permitted.
Tourists who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad will soon be able to apply for permits authorizing them to legally buy small amounts of Jamaican weed, or "ganja" as it is known locally.
Peter Bunting, the island's national security minister, said the legislation does not mean Jamaica plans to soften its stance on transnational drug trafficking or cultivation of illegal plots. Jamaica has long been considered the Caribbean's largest supplier of pot to the U.S. and regional islands.
"The passage of this legislation does not create a free-for-all in the growing, transporting, dealing or exporting of ganja. The security forces will continue to rigorously enforce Jamaican law consistent with our international treaty obligations," Bunting said in Parliament.
William Brownfield, the U.S. assistant secretary for counter-narcotics affairs, told The Associated Press days before the vote that "Jamaican law is of course Jamaica's own business, and Jamaica's sovereign decision." But he noted that the trafficking of marijuana into the U.S. remains against the law.
"We expect that Jamaica and all states party to the U.N. Drug Conventions will uphold their obligations, including a firm commitment to combating and dismantling criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking," he told AP in an email.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Your Brain On Marijuana Is Just Fine
Category: News | Posted on Tue, February, 24th 2015 by THCFinder
If you smoke marijuana, you will permanently lose 8 IQ points as chronic THC exposure hastens the age-related loss of hippocampal neurons. The resulting impairments in neural connectivity will degrade memory, learning, and impulse control, eventually leading to an increasing likelihood of becoming addicted to heroin.
The federal government says so, right here on the “What are marijuana’s long-term effects on the brain?” page at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Scares about marijuana’s long-term effects are as old as prohibition itself. The problem for the scaremongers is that there are plenty of older pot smokers actively debunking all the scares. Whoopi Goldberg’s in her 50s and chatting it up on The View. Cheech Marin’s in his 60s tearing through a game of Celebrity Jeopardy! Tommy Chong’s in his 70s Dancing with the Stars. Willie Nelson’s in his 80s and still On the Road Again. While they’re not rocket scientists, I don’t think anyone would call any of them stupid. Certainly nobody would have called the late Dr. Carl Sagan stupid – he was a rocket scientist and a frequent pot smoker!
The 8 IQ points nonsense derives from a study that came out of Duke University in summer 2012. Prohibitionists like Kevin Sabet, facing the prospect of two legal marijuana states, pounced on it and have beaten that talking point into the ground ever since.
The problems with the study were numerous. It only found the decline among the heaviest consumers of marijuana, which were 38 people out of 1,073 in the study. It found slight increases in IQ for moderate consumers. A follow-up study found other socioeconomic factors explained the IQ drop just as reasonably as the marijuana use. It was hardly the slam-dunk that the drug warriors wanted it to be.
Last fall, another study came out from University of London. It tracked 2,612 kids born in 1991 & 1992 and checked IQ scores at age 8 and age 15. The scientists found absolutely “no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15.” Even the heaviest pot smokers didn’t lose IQ points.
They did find, however, that alcohol consumption was predictive of losing IQ points. Ain’t it funny how you don’t see any TV ads about that? Why doesn’t Kevin Sabet ever bring up that fact?
Likewise, there are many studies prohibitionists like to seize on to justify their stereotyped perception of marijuana consumers as dullards. Most of them are studies that look at results in rats and extrapolate that to humans. Others take a look at brain scans of marijuana consumers and interpret the results. But when scientists examine actual humans who consume marijuana, they find little to no differences in cognitive function.
Read more: http://www.theweedblog.com
Holland's New Marijuana Laws Are Changing Old Amsterdam
Category: News | Posted on Mon, February, 23rd 2015 by THCFinder
The last time Derrick Bergman came to Amsterdam to buy cannabis, he did so behind a locked door with a long, thick curtain obscuring his activity from the canal-lined residential street outside, in the quiet Lastage neighborhood. The secretary of the Netherlands’s Union for the Abolition of Cannabis Prohibition, Bergman comes here to weekly gatherings of a two-month-old—and seriously clandestine—“cannabis social club” called the Tree of Life, because it’s the only place in town he can find one of his favorite strains: Super Silver Haze.
Since 1976, authorities across the Netherlands have chosen to openly ignore that cannabis use is illegal here, and they prosecute no one in possession of less than five grams of marijuana for personal use. The policy, called gedoogbeleid, is known as the “Dutch model,” and it’s why hundreds of “coffee shops” sprung up across Amsterdam and the Netherlands, luring marijuana connoisseurs from across the globe to one of the few places they could roll and smoke a joint without fear. But that’s no longer the case.
Cannabis with more than 15 percent of the THC that makes it intoxicating is now under consideration to be reclassified as one of the “hard drugs” that come with stiff penalties. The government has also forced coffee shops where marijuana is sold to choose between alcohol and pot, prompting many to choose the former. Amsterdam once played host to nearly 300 coffee shops, of more than 1,000 scattered across the country. There are now fewer than 200 in the city and only 617 nationwide. While it’s always been illegal to grow marijuana in the Netherlands, authorities passively allow coffee shops to sell weed, often pretending not to know where the shops’ cannabis comes from.
But no longer. New laws target even the smallest of marijuana growers in Holland. In the past, people could grow up to five plants without fear of retribution. In 2011, the government issued new police guidelines and declared anyone who grew with electric lights, prepared soil, “selected” seeds or ventilation would be considered “professional.” It’s a significant change, as professional growers risk major penalties, including eviction and blacklisting from the government-provided housing in which more than half of the country’s citizens reside.
The result: Coffee shops are increasingly buying buds from criminal organizations willing to absorb the risk of prosecution by growing large amounts of cannabis in shipping containers buried underground, with little regard for quality or mold abatement. “It’s amazing how bad the quality has become,” says Bergman. “And the price is up. It’s what we’ve all predicted.”
That’s why Bergman traveled from his native Eindhoven to Amsterdam on a recent Monday, both to convene with other activists and to pick up five grams (the legal limit) of Super Silver Haze. Because the club is not-for-profit, its members can focus their efforts on finding and buying the best product and providing it to their members at much better prices than the coffee shops.
Modeled after a proliferation of similar establishments in Spain, the social clubs offer a new way to subvert the harsher laws. As in Holland, cannabis is illegal in Spain, but the government doesn’t prosecute anyone for personal consumption and there’s no implicit limit on the number of plants a person can grow, meaning the government doesn’t care if you grow one plant or 15. In fact, signs point to the government not caring at all. Barcelona is developing a reputation as “the new Amsterdam,” meaning the old Amsterdam is losing out on a significant source of revenue: drug tourists.
Read more: http://www.newsweek.com
Colorado faces lawsuit from residents over legal marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Fri, February, 20th 2015 by THCFinder
DENVER (AP) — Colorado already is being sued by two neighboring states for legalizing marijuana. Now, the state faces an additional federal lawsuit from its own citizens.
Plaintiffs who oppose legal pot are appealing to federal courts to try to shut down Colorado's $800-million-a-year marijuana industry. They plan to announce details of the claim Thursday morning at the state Capitol.
The lawsuit is being sponsored by a group called the Safe Streets Alliance, which is based in Washington D.C. and opposes marijuana legalization.
Colorado is also being sued by Nebraska and Oklahoma for legalizing marijuana in 2012. In that case, Colorado has until March 27 to tell the U.S. Supreme Court why it thinks Nebraska and Oklahoma are wrong.
Marijuana Charges Dropped Against Cancer Patient Who Faced Years In Prison
Category: News | Posted on Fri, February, 20th 2015 by THCFinder
The federal government has dropped all charges against a Washington medical marijuana patient who was recently diagnosed with late-stage cancer, in a high-profile case that involves the patient and his family growing medical cannabis at their home.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice dismissed multiple federal marijuana charges against 71-year-old Larry Harvey because of his deteriorating health brought on by stage 4 cancer of the pancreas, which has begun to spread to his liver.
But Harvey's reprieve remains bittersweet. His family members, who were charged along with him, still collectively face the possibility of decades in prison.
"I'm thankful the charges against me have been dropped so that I can focus on my battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer," Harvey said in a statement. "However, if the Department of Justice truly has concerns for my well being, it will dismiss the case against my entire family. I thought the law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama was supposed to stop the DOJ from prosecuting my family, but so far, there's been little relief."
Had Harvey been convicted, he faced at least 10 years behind bars, but he may not have lived long enough to see prison, let alone serve out his sentence. The average life expectancy for a patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer is three to six months. He recently told The Huffington Post that going to prison would be a "death sentence" for him.
Harvey has a difficult battle with cancer ahead, but worries how he will fare if his family is sentenced in the case.
"My wife, Rhonda, is my sole caregiver," Harvey said Thursday. "She cooks meals for me and makes sure I take all my medicines on time. She's even been using our tractor to do all of the property upkeep herself, since I am too sick to do it anymore. If Rhonda goes to prison, I don't know who will take care of me. I will probably have to leave our home for good and move into a nursing facility."
Harvey -- along with his wife; their son and daughter-in-law, Rolland and Michelle Gregg; and family friend Jason Zucker -- grew marijuana on the property of their rural Washington home, for what they say was their own medical use. The family has maintained that its pot patch was in compliance with state law. (Washington state legalized medical marijuana in 1998.) But in 2012, state and federal law enforcers raided the Harvey home and shut down their operation.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Marijuana extracts OK'd for epilepsy treatment in Va.
Category: News | Posted on Thu, February, 19th 2015 by THCFinder
RICHMOND – Two types of medical marijuana extracts would be legal to possess and recommend for epilepsy treatment in Virginia under legislation passed by the state Senate on Wednesday and sent to the governor for his signature.
The Senate voted 37-1 in favor of HB 1445, which would allow Virginians suffering from epileptic seizures relief in the form of Cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil, two marijuana derivatives.
House Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-Williamsburg, urged passage of the bill. He said it would provide an “affirmative defense” for sufferers of intractable epilepsy. This means that if patients happened to be arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, they could produce their certificate to the courts at least 10 days before trial and walk without any charges.
A question was raised on the Senate floor about the difference between a prescription for marijuana and a recommendation, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved such medical marijuana treatments. But Norment pointed out that the bill refers specifically to recommendations and certifications from doctors rather than a prescription.
The oils, like THC-A, reportedly have anti-inflammatory qualities, among other healing properties, but without the same psychoactive effects as THC.
HB 1445 was sponsored by Del. Dave Albo, R-Springfield. The House had unanimously passed the bill on Feb. 10.
Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Burke, sponsored an identical companion bill – SB 1235. It also has been approved overwhelmingly by both the Senate and House.
The two bills now travel to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk for his approval.
If the governor signs the legislation, Virginia would join a national trend. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted various medical marijuana or decriminalization laws – and four have outright legalized recreational marijuana.
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