Colombia Decriminalizes Cocaine and Marijuana, As Latin American Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Continues

Category: News | Posted on Mon, July, 2nd 2012 by THCFinder
Colombia's Constitutional Court Friday approved the government's proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana for personal use. Anyone caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use may receive physical or psychological treatment depending on their state of consumption, but may not be prosecuted or detained, the court ruled.
Colombia's move is part of a growing trend in Latin America. After decades of being brutalized by the U.S. government's failed prohibitionist drug policies, Latin American leaders are saying "enough is enough."
Last week, the government of Uruguay announced that it will submit a proposal to legalize marijuana under government-controlled regulation and sale, making it the first country in the world where the state would sell marijuana directly to its citizens. The proposal was drafted by Uruguayan President José Mujica and his staff and requires parliamentary approval before being enacted.


Medical Marijuana Businessman in Montana Suing a Lot of People

Category: News | Posted on Fri, June, 29th 2012 by THCFinder

Jason Christ, who gained a measure of fame in Montana a few years ago with his traveling, one-day medical marijuana clinics, is now embroiled in more than a dozen lawsuits with everyone from the Missoula County Attorney’s Office to his former partners and competitors.


Jason filed 13 lawsuits in 2011, and has been involved in more than 1,300 pleadings in 25 civil and one criminal case. “The court called plaintiff a ‘difficult litigant,’ based solely on the number of pleadings, not on the merits of those papers,” read court documents.


In court papers Christ says he is beset on all sides by law enforcement and officials and the city and county have lost him income, “affected his bodily functions” and forced him to camp “down a vast network of unimproved dirt roads.”


Mr. Christ also has attempted to gain redress from the state’s Governor and Attorney General, all to no avail. “The AG has never returned the plaintiff’s calls,” says a court document.


Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said he assumes the court will dismiss the lawsuit “at some point.” It names as one defendant a “Paul” Van Valkenburg, which the county attorney said he believes is a reference to himself and “part of his (Christ’s) ineptness.”


“Basically, we disagree with all of the allegations in his complaint,” Van Valkenburg said. “And it’s just part of what we have to deal with in dealing with Mr. Christ.”


Christ is also going to trial in October for allegedly threatened employees of Verizon wireless. According to the complaint filed against him, Christ said he “was going to come down there and ‘bomb the (expletive) store.’”


Christ also says that since he is not allowed to have weapons, he is left to the mercy of the animals in the woods where he lives.


Christ wants for $1.5 million in lost business, $50 million in punitive damages, $34,000 for legal defense against frivolous lawsuits, and $26,850 as payment for defending himself.


An odd and interesting story, to say the least.




Marijuana Now the Most Popular Drug in the World

Category: News | Posted on Fri, June, 29th 2012 by THCFinder
According to a U.N. report on global drug use, cannabis was the world’s most widely produced, trafficked, and consumed drug in the world in 2010.
Marijuana boasts somewhere between 119 million and 224 million users in the adult population of the world (18 or older). And there are no signs to indicate the popularity of marijuana will fall anytime soon. Cannabis is consumed in some fashion in all countries, the report says, and it is grown in most. Though the use of the drug is stabilizing in North America, and Oceania, smoking pot is on the rise in West and Central Africa, Southern Africa, South Asia and Central Asia.
In 2010, marijuana use was most prevalent in Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. and Canada came in second, followed by Spain, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Nigeria, Zambia, and Madagascar were tied for fourth place.
(MORE: 10 Reasons to Revisit Marijuana Policy Now)
The U.N. report also noted shifts in cultural trends. Some interesting standouts: The European market is moving away from cannabis resin (hashish) and towards the herb, which is more popular in America; cannabis became Afghanistan’s most lucrative cash crop in 2010, replacing heroin; and the marijuana seed market grew immensely from 2008 to 2010, with 100 to 200 brands available online when the report was written.
The U.N. also reported that cannabis is becoming more potent in developed countries. The popularization of hydroponic cultivation, a method that uses mineral nutrient solutions to grow plants in water without soil, means marijuana is a) more likely to be grown indoors and b) stronger than traditionally grown plants.
But beware of marijuana imitations. Or imitations of any drug, really. New chemically engineered substances are popping up all across the world (see bath salts), and weed is no exception to the trend. Synthetic cannabinoids that emulate the effects of weed but contain uncontrolled products have been detected since 2008 in herbal smoking blends.


National Ban on Bath Salts, K2-like Products Continues the Folly of Prohibition

Category: News | Posted on Thu, June, 28th 2012 by THCFinder

A ban on bath salts and so-called “synthetic marijuana” products is on its way to the desk of President Obama. The bill, sponsored by Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) bans the sale of 31 chemical substances sold online, in convenience stores and in smoke shops nationwide.


But banning these products misses a much larger point, just like the bans on harder drugs does. A ban does take it out of the hands of visible businesses. These products will now “disappear” into the dark of the black market, where use will likely continue to rise.


"We have seen bath salts involved in some of the most heinous crimes in recent months," Schumer said in a statement. Multiple reports indicate violent tendencies, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts often accompany use if these man-made drugs.


But prohibition in ineffective, no matter what substance is involved. All efforts must be directed at education. People, especially teenagers, need to know how dangerous these substances are. But instead millions of dollars will flow into the DEA budget to combat this problem with guns and agents.


The continued failure of prohibition just doesn’t seem to faze many elected officials. Chuck Shumer will act like he’s fighting for the safety of kids and families, and President Obama will sign the bill for the cameras and talk about how he is fighting drug use, but’s it’s all a sham. Nothing is being fought. Drug dealers will just have more products to make money off of.


In the end the money will flow, and the better the profit margin, the more rivals will fight each other for a share of the market. This means guns, death and innocent lives destroyed.


Drug gangs don’t need more products to make money off of, kids need to hear why they should avoid these substances.




Chicago may decriminalize small amount of marijuana possession

Category: News | Posted on Wed, June, 27th 2012 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - The Chicago City Council on Wednesday is expected to vote to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, the latest U.S. city to support diminished penalties for the drug's use.
Under the proposal, police officers in the nation's third-largest city would be able to issue a written violation for possession of 15 grams or less rather than make an arrest.
Supporters of the ordinance, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the measure would help raise revenue for the city, save money and free up police to pursue more serious crimes.
More than a dozen states and several large U.S. cities have already taken similar steps.
Chicago Police Department statistics indicate that last year there were 18,298 arrests for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, according to a statement from the mayor's office. Each case involves approximately four officers - two arresting and two transporting officers - and places an additional burden on the Cook County court and jail system, the statement said.
The issue of freeing up police officers for more serious crimes is particularly pressing this year in Chicago, which has seen a 37 percent spike in its murder rate.
Fifteen states have reduced the penalty for possession of limited amounts of marijuana, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, a lobbying group working to legalize the drug.
Other cities with similar policies include Seattle, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as well as university towns like Champaign, Illinois, and Madison, Wisconsin. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.
Opponents of decriminalization say it condones drug use and results in a lost opportunity for intervention to stop it. (Reporting By Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Vicki Allen)


A Decision on a Ban on Outdoor Medical Marijuana Ads in Denver, CO Will Have to Wait

Category: News | Posted on Thu, June, 21st 2012 by THCFinder

A ban on outdoor medical marijuana advertising has been an issue in Denver for much of the spring, and now two competing ban proposals will have to come together before a city council vote in August.


Councilmember Debbie Ortega proposed a ban in May similar to one on tobacco ads, It would prevent ads from being 1,000 from schools, etc. But Medical Marijuana Industry Group director Michael Elliot says that sends a message that MMJ is something bad. The MMIG is actually pushing for a full, citywide ban.


"Such advertisements unite opposition to medical marijuana, undermine our support, and are largely responsible for the banning of MMJ businesses in Fort Collins and other jurisdictions," Elliott told Denver Westword. "As a community, we should decide whether these advertisements are doing more harm than good. Perhaps the best approach would be 'out of sight, out of mind.'"


Councilmember Christopher Herndon agrees, and will soon introduce a proposal for a full ban on outdoor ads. "I want to further legitimize the industry," he says. "And to do that, I think it's important for people to understand that this is for medical purposes -- and when you see the signage or the spinners, it gives the impression that it's more than medical."


But Councilman Charlie Brown opposes both bans, saying the only problem seems to be the “sign-twirlers” outside dispensaries, a problem that can be easily fixed.


Councilwoman Ortega will soon meet with Herndon to see if a compromise can be reached. "My hope is that we can sit down and walk through the ordinances and try and get to a place where we agree, or agree to disagree, on what a citywide ordinance would look like before [Herndon's proposal] is scheduled to go to committee on August 1," she said.






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