Belgium: Courtcase against the Belgian Cannabis Social Club Trekt Uw Plant iniated

Belgium  -   On Friday 9 January 2009, the local court of Antwerp, Belgium, initiated the courtcase against the Belgian Cannabis Social Club Trekt Uw Plant (Draw Up Your Plant) and 4 of its members. Based on the plant seed action during the Worldwide Marijuana March in Antwerp on Saturday 3 May 2008, they are being accused of "apology of drug use". Trekt Uw Plant commented: “We categorically deny these accusations.

Legal regulation of the cultivation of cannabis for personal use will lead to a healthier use of cannabis. Adulteration of cannabis with other substances to make the product heavier, a typical practice of the illegal market, will no longer occur. Besides, if consumers can grow their cannabis by themselves or in association, the price will considerably be reduced and smoking or vaporising pure cannabis (without mixing it with tobacco) will become an option. 

Belgium: Courtcase against the Belgian Cannabis Social Club Trekt Uw Plant iniated.

As far as we know nobody ever issued a complaint against us because of the fact that he or she would have been encouraged by us to use cannabis. This courtcase seems more to be politically motivated. Apparently, the Antwerp legal authorities are aiming to stop us no matter how. In fact, freedom of speech is the real issue at stake here. Because of the fact that it is impossible to condemn us in the heart of the matter (cannabis cultivation for personal use) the Antwerp legal authorities now try to silence us in this way. According to this principle every journalist, scientist or politician who talks about cannabis and refers to the ministerial guideline can be brought to court.”

New Zealand: Concerns over “chemical cannabis”. 

New Zealand  -  The chemical compound JWH-018, sold as Spice or Dream, was recently banned in Austria and was this week outlawed in Germany after tests showed it affected the brain like THC, the natural psychoactive substance contained in cannabis, but was four times stronger. 

Drug agencies in New Zealand are calling for it to be classified as a restricted substance, giving health authorities some control over its sale and promotion. They say the Government now has the legislation to protect consumers from unspecified and untested chemical substances and should employ it faster. Drug Foundation director Ross Bell said JWH-018 should be listed as a restricted substance. 

New Misuse of Drugs Act regulations meant the Health Minister could place a substance on a restricted list, allowing authorities some control. Controls included restrictions on things such as its sale at licensed premises, petrol stations and places where children could gather, as well as restricting sales to those aged over 18. The product must also be clearly labelled as a restricted substance and include contact details for the National Poisons Centre, Bell said.

USA: The Arizona Supreme Court to Decide Whether There Is A Religious Right To Possess Marijuana. 

Without comment, the justices granted to hear the arguments of Daniel Hardesty who contends the First Amendment protections of free exercise of religion entitle him to use marijuana as a "sacrament" of his church. 

Both a trial judge and the state Court of Appeals rejected those arguments. If the high court decides otherwise, it would be the first time in Arizona that judges have concluded there is a legal defense for those who use marijuana. 

USA: The city of Palm Springs is poised to become the first and only place in Riverside County to allow medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives

The Palm Springs City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday to create a draft ordinance allowing medical marijuana collectives and operatives. Councilwoman Ginny Foat and Councilman Lee Weigel voted no, saying they disagree with some of some ordinance details. 

The law would: - allow only two collectives in the city's industrial areas; - prohibit the establishments within 1,000 feet of each other and within 500 feet of schools, churches, public playgrounds or parks, youth centers and residential areas;  - allow collectives and cooperatives to grow medical marijuana on the premises. The council will consider the new ordinance, and if approved, will take effect 30 after the vote. The city has six dispensaries operating illegally and another was waiting for the council's vote. 

City Manager David Ready suggested a lottery to choose which two collectives will be allowed to operate in the city. "I am in favor of having a small number ( of collectives )," Councilman Rick Hutcheson said.  "It gives a great deal of security to patients because there is strength in numbers." Weigel said the number of collectives should be limited to less than three.  Instead, he said there are seven in the city and another three waiting in the wings. "( I am afraid ) the collectives will grow like weeds ( without a limit )," Weigel said.  "I don't think we've got 10 coffee shops in the city."

USA: Medical marijuana ID cards are coming to Sacramento County (California).

Residents can apply for cards starting today. Applications are accepted by appointment only with Sacramento County Vital Records. 

Appointments will be from 9 a.m.  to 4 p.m.  Wednesdays and Fridays. To download an application form, visit the Sacramento County Public Health Department's Web site at or visit the Sacramento County Vital Records office, 7001 East Parkway, Suite 650, from 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m.  Monday through Friday.

USA: Mendocino County (California) medical marijuana advocates have proposed that pot production be regulated through land-use requirements in the county's general plan, saying it would legitimize growers and generate income for the county. 

But Mendocino County supervisors have no intention of taking up the issue. "I put that in the ridiculous category," Supervisor John Pinches said Thursday. The case for medical marijuana zoning was submitted in a letter to county supervisors by former Supervisor Norman deVall on behalf of the Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. 

The board "believes that normalizing legitimate growing of medical marijuana for the benefit not only of patient-growers, collectives and cooperatives but also for the county is overdue," wrote de Vall, a planning and land use consultant. By law, land use permits can recover only the actual costs of regulation.  Unless the federal government joins California in legalizing medical marijuana, it cannot legally be taxed. Requiring growers to take out a permit to cultivate their marijuana would be asking them to incriminate themselves and place the county in jeopardy, said Supervisor David Colfax. "The county can't put itself in the position of permitting the growing and possession of marijuana," he said.

The Greenish Warbler

January 15th 2009

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