Major Groups Call For UN To Respect Countries That Legalize Marijuana Or Other Drugs

Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 6th 2015 by THCFinder

united nations drug reformAs the United Nations prepares for the first comprehensive review of global responses to drug problems in nearly two decades, a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations is pushing for the international body to respect countries that move away from prohibition.

“Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations,” the groups write in a new letter being released today.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are among the signatories. Also notable are a number of organizations devoted to health policy and AIDS services.

The letter’s release is timed to a United Nations “High-Level Thematic Debate on the World Drug Problem” taking place in New York on Thursday, May 7, in preparation for a UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) scheduled for April 2016. Advocates believe that countries should take the UNGASS as an opportunity to pursue a range of reforms to global drug policy, including revising provisions of the UN Drug Conventions that threaten to stand in the way of reform. The Obama administration has taken the stance that countries should be free to pursue different kinds of systems under the treaties — including legalization — but has also opposed treaty reform, a stance which advocates have questioned.

“The administration’s call to respect countries’ right to try regulation rather than prohibition is a positive step for drug policy, as are other reforms the US has sought internationally,” said David Borden, executive director of, who coordinated the sign-on letter. “But it doesn’t make sense to oppose having a discussion within the UN about modernizing the treaties to reflect that.”

The coalition has called for the UN to appoint a “Committee of Experts” to study treaty reform, a common UN procedure for addressing issues of interest.



Italian Army Hopes to Undercut Street Dealers by Growing Pot

Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 5th 2015 by THCFinder

The Italian army has unveiled its first successful marijuana crop.

On Thursday, the Corriere della Sera news website published photos of the military-run pharmaceutical plant in Florence where the cannabis is being grown in a secure room. The site also houses drying and packing facilities and is expected to churn out 220 pounds of pot annually, according to the BBC.

"The aim of the operation is to provide users with a product that is not always easily available on the market, at a more competitive price," Colonel Antonio Medica, the director of the facility, told Italian news outlets.

The initiative was announced last September as a means to drive down costs of medical marijuana and undercut street dealers.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Italy since 2007, but its prohibitive costs have deterred most from participating in the program. Because there have been no licensed producers of medicinal pot in the country, those who do have prescriptions have to purchase their cannabis from abroad.

According to, prices can reach up to 40 euros ($45) per gram for imported medical marijuana, which has led many patients to seek out street dealers. The government hopes to take away business from these illegal sources with this new grow operation.

"We're aiming to lower the price to under 15 euros ($17), maybe even around 5 euros ($5.60) per gram," Medica said.



Washington Group Is Challenging New Medical Marijuana Law

Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 5th 2015 by THCFinder

washington medical marijuana senate bill 5052Last month Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5052 into law. SB 5052 made a lot of changes to Washington’s long established medical marijuana program. Some of those changes included:

  • Requires every medical cannabis dispensary in the state to close by July 1st, 2016 forcing patients to purchase from recreational cannabis outlets (despite most cities in the state prohibiting them) or rely on the black-market.
  • Reducing patient possession limits from twenty ounces, to three, and their cultivation limits from fifteen plants, to six. Patients caught possessing between three and twenty four ounces, or caught growing between seven and fifteen plants will be committing class C felonies once the law takes effect, and could be imprisoned for up to 5 years.
  • Patients will be required to join a patient database, or only be allowed to possess an ounce, and cultivate four plants.

A group in Washington is hoping to challenge the new law in the form of a citizen’s referendum. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

A Washington State group is looking to challenge newly minted regulations that roll the state’s medical marijuana market into its heavily regulated recreational cannabis program.

The group hopes to gather enough signatures to get a referendum in front of voters that would unravel the new law. A spokesman for the proposal – dubbed Referendum 76 – said the regulations limit access for patients who use MMJ to treat various ailments.

The new law – which the governor signed April 27 – will essentially eliminate the state’s mostly unregulated medical marijuana industry and force existing MMJ businesses to get licenses under the recreational cannabis program or close down.

Senate Bill 5052 is rough for Washington medical marijuana patients, and medical marijuana industry members to say the least. I’m curious to see how many medical marijuana dispensaries stay open anyways. That’s what is happening in California, and for a long time happened in Oregon before Oregon passed a comprehensive medical marijuana dispensary bill. With prices still very high at recreational stores, I’d imagine more patients will go to the black market than convert to purchasing recreational marijuana in the event that there is a massive wave of dispensary closures across the state.



Despite Federal Law, Colorado Pot Shops Are Accepting Credit Cards

Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 4th 2015 by THCFinder

While the cannabis industry has been touted as a “cash-only” enterprise since medical marijuana was first legalized in California nearly 20 years ago, recent reports indicate that the recreational sector has become fed up with handling massive stacks of cash and have since established a clever method for accepting credit cards payments.

Colorado pot shops have struggled for the larger part of the past year to adhere to federal statutes in an attempt to avoid provoking the DEA from sending in a team to shut them down. Part of this challenge has been conducting legal pot sales, which generate about $14 million per month, without the use of financial institutions.

Even though former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder devised a set of rules in 2014 that would supposedly allow banks to work with marijuana businesses without the risk of prosecution, there have not been many willing to take a chance on these threatening endeavors because no changes to federal policy have been set in stone. Marijuana remains listed a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which has prevented retail pot shops and banks from getting into bed together. It seems that no one is interested in being sent to prison for money laundering.

However, a recent investigational report by FOX31 in Denver found that almost half of the state-licensed dispensaries (47 percent) operating in Colorado admit they are willing to accept MasterCard or Visa payments. This discovery does not suggest that financial institutions are now welcoming the cannabis industry with open arms, but rather, it seems that pot shops have devised a clever and seemingly legal scheme to throw the hounds of the drug war off their scent.

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Congress Will Not Allow VA Doctors to Discuss Medical Marijuana with Patients

Category: News | Posted on Sun, May, 3rd 2015 by THCFinder

Congress simply refuses to give in on the issue of allowing American veterans safe access to medical marijuana.

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives gathered on Capitol Hill to hash out the details of an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which would have allowed physicians working with the Veterans Administration to recommend medical marijuana to their patients.

Unfortunately, while most Democrats stood in support of the proposal, aimed at preventing VA funds from being used to support a prohibitionary stance, the opposing forces of the Republican majority were enough to ensure the amendment had no chance of making it out alive. The measure failed in a vote of 213-210.

Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, the lawmaker who introduced the amendment, said he was disheartened by the congressional decision. Although the measure would have allowed VA physicians to discuss marijuana as a potential treatment option, he explained, it would not have given them the authority to write prescriptions for the herb. The goal of the amendment was to simply allow veterans and the doctors overseeing their care to work together in determining whether medical marijuana could be used as an alternative to prescription medication.

Although 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana programs, veterans living in those areas are restricted from participating because federal law prevents physicians working at the VA from even discussing the possibility of cannabis as a treatment option, much less offer a recommendation. A favorable congressional vote, however, would have at least opened up the issue for debate, benefiting  thousands of veterans.

The latest statistics from the Veterans Administration find that 30 percent of the men and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression—two common afflictions for which medical marijuana has been found to effectively alleviate symptoms.

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California State Assembly Passes Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Bill

Category: News | Posted on Sun, May, 3rd 2015 by THCFinder

california marijuanaThe California State Assembly passed AB 258, The Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, yesterday by a vote of 52 to 8. The bill is authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization.

Medical cannabis patients in California are routinely removed from the organ transplant waiting list if they test positive for cannabis use – even legal doctor-recommended medical cannabis. However, medical research has shown that there is no significant difference in survival rates between medical cannabis patients and non-users who receive an organ transplant.

“Today, I am proud to stand with my Assembly colleagues in support of AB 258, a common sense measure that will protect the lives of legal medical cannabis patients,” said Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). “With this legislation, California can insure that its residents are provided a fair assessment of their eligibility as an organ transplant recipient.”

AB 258 will reduce unnecessary suffering and preventable death by prohibiting anyone in the organ transplant process from determining the recipient of an organ transplant based on the potential recipient’s legal medical cannabis use, unless a doctor has determined that medical cannabis use is clinically significant to the transplant process.

Norman Smith lawfully used medical cannabis as part of his treatment for liver cancer. He was removed from the Wait List by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after testing positive for medical cannabis use in 2011. Program policies required that he test negative for medical cannabis for six months before requesting a new place on the list. Sadly, Mr. Smith died before he could be placed back on the list, a tragic and avoidable loss of life.

Unfortunately, Mr. Smith is not alone. Toni Trujillo was denied a life-saving kidney transplant at Cedars-Sinai the following year based on her cannabis use, which the transplant center called “substance abuse.” Yami Bolanos, 58, is an eighteen-year liver transplant survivor, who was warned that she would be ineligible for a re- transplant by the same doctor at UCSF that recommended her medical cannabis use. Richard Hawthorne, another patient in need of a liver, was denied a transplant by Stanford Medical School last year, despite a friend offering to be a donor.

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