Bulgaria: Pensioners grow cannabis for cash

There's a new trend in southern Bulgaria: instead of growing tomatoes in the back garden, many people are planting cannabis instead.

In the tiny village of Dolna Ribnitza near the border with Greece, police recently seized 1.5 tons of cannabis after being given a tip-off. Behind a high fence, housed in three greenhouses covering an area of about 2,000 square meters (21,528 square feet), pensioners Stefan and Slavka Trentschevi were growing marijuana. Slavka told the police that she needed the money for a hip operation. It's well known in the village that there are numerous cannabis plantations in the nearby woodlands.

The residents smile benignly and say the drug is just as widely grown as tomatoes, but with one crucial difference: with cannabis, you earn more money. People pay up to 30 leva (15 euros/$21) per gram on the black market. That gives an impressive end price of 15,000 euros per kilo. Stefan and Slavka Trentschevi are not alone. Increasingly, it's older people who are resorting to cannabis gardens, in an attempt to boost their miserly pensions.

Police chief Dunkin is speechless. "They can't be growing cannabis because of poverty! Here in this region people rely on growing vegetables." But you can't sell a kilo of vegetables for a five-figure sum. Dunkin says in most cases, the pensioners are only a link in a well-organized criminal chain of producers, suppliers and sellers. He says older people take the blame so the real criminals get away without being punished.

Science: An important step -

US National Cancer Institute updates its website by confirming for the first time successful cancer treatments with medical cannabis.

Cannabis Science, Inc., a pioneering US biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, is pleased to report a government released update on cancer treatments using medical cannabis. The websites cancer.gov page 1, summarizing how the treatment of cancer with cannabinoids goes beyond the simple treatment of symptoms and side effects by exhibiting possible direct antitumor activities: “In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.”

Robert Melamede, Ph.D., Cannabis Science’s CEO stated, “As we’ve previously reported, one of the most interesting findings that has emerged since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (marijuana like compounds produced by humans, and all vertebrates) is that cannabinoids have profound cancer-killing and anti-metastatic properties. There is strong scientific support, demonstrated in tissue culture and animal studies, of the potent cancer killing properties of cannabinoids for such deadly cancers as glioma, lung cancer, breast and prostate cancer, leukemias and lymphomas, and as well as skin cancers.

USA/New Jersey: With New Jersey in need of an economic boost, medical marijuana advocates say the state should not overlook the lift the drug can provide when it's expected to become legally available at the end of the year.

The newly minted medical marijuana law will allow New Jersey to begin cashing in on what is a nearly $2 billion market for states with similar laws, Thomas Leto, president of the U.S. 

Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce, said at a news conference Wednesday.  Leto speculated there will be a surge of new New Jersey residents - those exiting neighboring states, such as New York, where the drug isn't legal.

September 6th 2011

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