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United Nations: Criminal Sanctions For Drug Use Are "Not Beneficial"

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 14th 2014 by THCFinder
jail-for-drug-useVienna, Austria – A key working group of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced the release of groundbreaking recommendations discouraging criminal sanctions for drug use. The Scientific Consultation Working Group on Drug Policy, Health and Human Rights of the UNODC – which includes Nora Volkow, head of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – is releasing the recommendations at the High-Level Segment of the 57th UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The working group recommendations say “criminal sanctions are not beneficial” in addressing the spectrum of drug use and misuse.
 
More than 1.5 million drug arrests are made every year in the U.S. – the overwhelming majority for possession only. Roughly two dozen countries, and dozens of U.S. cities and states, have taken steps toward decriminalization.
 
“There is simply no good basis in science, health or ethics for bringing someone into the criminal justice system solely for drug possession,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Hopefully the UN’s recommendations will help accelerate the global trend toward ending the criminalization of drug use and possession.  That certainly would make an enormous difference in the United States.”
 
Political will for a major overhaul of global drug policy has been gaining unprecedented momentum, both in the U.S. and abroad. Distinguished leaders such as Kofi Annan, Paul Volcker and Richard Branson have joined with former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Mexico, Poland and Switzerland and other members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy in calling for an end to the criminalization of people who use drugs.
 
The UN recommendations are consistent with the Global Commission and a surprisingly broad and rapidly-emerging coalition of stakeholders who are calling for drug decriminalization, including the American Public Health Association, Organization of American States, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, NAACP, Human Rights Watch, American Civil Liberties Union, and National Latino Congreso.
 

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Dispensary Worker Goes To Jail For Complying With State Law

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 14th 2014 by THCFinder
jail-for-cannabis
The marijuana industry is still very new. With so many laws still conflicting with each other, one that works in the industry can never really be sure if their freedom is at risk. It's extremely hard for those working with cannabis to feel safe, seeing as how even when the Feds say that they'll back off, they still seem to be raiding dispensaries. There were over a dozen marijuana shops that got raided in Colorado recently and the plant is now legal there. Unfortunately for Robert Duncan, a Bay Area dispensary worker, this situation happened to him first hand.
 
Duncan, who had previously worked in the television industry, received a job offer from some family friends. Since the job was getting down and dirty in the marijuana business, Duncan was reluctant to accept but finally gave in, after consulting with a lawyer about the risks of working for such a new and somewhat still illegal business. Even the lawyer's advice was that as long as Duncan complied with the state laws, he would be safe from arrest. With that information, Duncan moved to Los Angeles to work in one of the huge marijuana grow houses, spending up to 80 hours a week tending the gardens and preparing medicine for patient consumption.
 
Since his experience with marijuana was limited, Duncan had his doubts about the benefits of working in the cannabis business. As most people, he assumed that he would encounter a good amount of people who didn't really need to smoke but said that they did. But when he met with patients dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses, his attitude began to change. But while Duncan's attitude improved, a storm was brewing. On October 2011, the grow house was raided even though the operation was following every state law presented by California officials. The Feds didn't even give Duncan a reason as to why Matthew Davies (Owner of the grow house), the co-owner, and Duncan were all indicted.
 
Duncan recently surrendered to authorities and will serve a two year sentence for his helping hand in making sick people feel and get better. There are plenty of others that this has happened to as well. People are being wrongly imprisoned for just trying to help their fellow human beings. Hopefully, as the laws get more and more relaxed, the Feds will lay off of marijuana users, both recreational and medicinal. After all, it is just a plant.

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Colorado gets $2 million from marijuana taxes

Category: News | Posted on Tue, March, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
colorado-makes-millions-on-marijuana-taxes
Colorado raked in about $2 million from taxes on recreational marijuana in January, the first month it was legal to sell non-medicinal pot in the state.
State officials say the numbers came in as expected.
 
On Jan. 1, Colorado became the first state to permit the sale of recreational marijuana to anyone age 21 or older. Cannabis purchases are limited to one ounce. It's the first place in the world where marijuana will be regulated from seed to sale.
Related: How a marijuana ad went up in smoke
 
Colorado places a 15% excise tax, a 10% special sales tax and a 2.9% sales tax on recreational marijuana, in addition to application and license fees. It imposes just a 2.9% sales tax, as well as application on license fees, on medical marijuana, which was legalized by voters in Colorado in 2000.
 
When combined with taxes and fees from medicinal marijuana, the state brought in a total of $3.5 million in January from pot sales.
 
The state also taxes alcohol, which brought in about $5.1 million in taxes in December, the most recent data available from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
 
A big chunk of the funds collected from marijuana taxes will be funneled to programs aimed at keeping kids way from pot. The governor has requested funds for the prevention of youth marijuana, for treatment of substance use, regulatory oversight, and law enforcement and public safety.  To top of page

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Medical marijuana and 'the entourage effect'

Category: News | Posted on Tue, March, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
mmj-effect-entourage
CNN) -- In the early 1960s, a young postdoctoral student stumbled onto something that puzzled him.
After reading the literature on cannabis, he was surprised to see that while the active compound in morphine had been isolated from opium poppies 100 years before and cocaine isolated from coca leaves around the same time, the active component of marijuana was still unknown.
This simple observation launched his life's work.
That young Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam, is now a heavily decorated scientist, recently nominated for the prestigious Rothschild Prize. More than 50 years ago, however, he had trouble starting his scientific journey.
 
For starters, he needed cannabis to study and didn't know how to obtain it. Eventually, he obtained his research supply from friends in the police department. The young scientist was in a hurry, and didn't want to wait to cut through the red tape required by Israel's Health Ministry.
"Yes, I broke the law," he told me when I met with him in Tel Aviv last year, "but I apologized and explained what I was trying to do."
 
By 1963, he determined the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), an important component of marijuana. A year later, he became the first person to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Over the ensuing decades, Mechoulam and his team continued to isolate numerous compounds from the cannabis plant.
Their work also went a long way toward illuminating how the drug works in the brain. When Mechoulam's team identified the first known endogenous cannabinoid, a chemical actually made by the brain itself, he named it "anandamide." In the Sanskrit language, ananda means "supreme bliss," which gives us some insight into what Mechoulam thinks of cannabinoids overall.
It was halfway through our long afternoon discussion that Mechoulam, now 83, pulled out a paper he had written in 1999, describing something known as "the entourage effect."
 
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/

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Medical Marijuana Patients Face Another Attempt To Take Away Child

Category: News | Posted on Wed, February, 26th 2014 by THCFinder
taking-away-kids-for-cannabisWhen Child Protective Services removed Baby Bree from her mother’s arms in 2013 due to prejudice against medical marijuana patients, it made national news. Now a pair of Personal Protection Orders threatens to deny Maria Green access to her child from a previous marriage- and the perceived threat again surrounds the medically-recommended and state approved use of medicinal marijuana.
 
The Petitioner claims that Maria and her current husband Steve are “ringleaders of a small separatist group within the Michigan Medical Marijuana Community,” apparently because of their involvement with the national marijuana rights organization The Human Solution. Also cited: asking for court support from the community has resulted in “threats” and the Petitioner is intimidated.
 
The Greens successfully fought off an attempt to deny them custody of their child Brielle Green, known internationally as Baby Bree, by Child Protective Services. Many people were unaware that while that case was being fought there was another custody battle being waged over the parenting rights surrounding a seven-year old boy, Maria’s son from a previous marriage with Ronnie Ferguson of Davison.
 
Ferguson is the Petitioner; the parents are still engaged in that custody battle, which is being waged in Judge Beebe’s courtroom in the same building where the Green’s latest hearing will be heard.
 
The PPO filing has temporarily prevented Maria from exercising her visitation rights. Ferguson filed Motions for Ex Parte PPOs against both adult Greens on Feb. 12, 2014; 4th District Judge Thomas Wilson denied the request on the 13th. On the 17th Ferguson filed two new petitions and that filing resulted in a pair of court hearings in Jackson on Thursday, February 27.
 
To justify the PPOs, Ferguson filed on the 12th a detailed listing of what he considers reasons for the Greens to be restrained from being in his presence. Ferguson said those observers attending previous hearings insulted him. He claims Steve and Maria “believe themselves to be the spokespersons for the medical marijuana community at large,” and that the couple is “delusional.” In social media postings Ferguson admits to Steve, “I know you’re a good Dad, and I respect You for that.”
 

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California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Postponed Until 2016

Category: News | Posted on Fri, February, 21st 2014 by THCFinder
california-weedThe Los Angeles Times reported today that a deep-pocketed marijuana reform coalition including the Drug Policy Alliance had decided not to move forward this year with an initiative to legalize the weed in the Golden State. Instead, the coalition will aim at 2016.
 
That means marijuana legalization will most likely not be on the ballot in California this year. Three other legalization initiatives have been filed, but two of them appear to lack the funds to complete expensive signature gathering efforts — 504,000 signatures are needed by April 18 — and the third has yet to be cleared for circulation.
 
The coalition, which is supported by billionaire financier George Soros, and which included the late Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, had consistently argued that 2016 was more doable than this year, but filed the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act late last year after polling numbers suggested victory was within reach.
 
At the time, spokesmen said they would make a decision on whether to move forward or not around the beginning of February. Now, that decision has been made.
 
The decision to wait was a “very close” call and “one that came down to the wire,” Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis, told The Times. “We see this as a trial run or dress rehearsal for 2016,” he said.
 
Boyd and DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann told The Times in interviews Monday that they wanted more time to do outreach with elected officials, law enforcement, and public health leaders, an approach they said worked in Washington state. They also said money was an issue, and that the death of Peter Lewis had an impact.
 
“We believe the best way to go forward with any state ballot initiative is to have a strong funding base in place before launching the campaign,” Boyd said. “It is certainly true that Peter Lewis’ death made that a much more difficult process to do in the time we had.”
 

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