Croatia: High court allows the medical use of cannabis in post 
traumatic stress disorder of war veterans

Croatia: Croatian war veterans are allowed to use cannabis in post traumatic stress disorder according to a decision by the high court of the Balkan country. The court was reacting to the appeal of a veteran, who has grown cannabis in his backyard for personal use and was conficted to a prison sentence of one year by a lower 

The man is now free. He was using cannabis as efficient drug against post traumatic stress disorder, from which suffer many former soldiers in the war against Yugoslavia (1991 to 1995), the judgement says. Experts estimate that about 18,000 Croatian veterans suffer from such stress disorders, among them depression, personality changes and a tendency to self-mutilation. Nearly 1,700 veterans 
have committed suicide since the end of the war.

Europe: Nice People Take Drugs, Says British Advocacy Group.

In a bid to jump-start a campaign to move Britain toward more sensible drug policies, the drug reform advocacy group Release is posting advertisements saying "Nice People Take Drugs" on the sides of passenger buses. It is time to shift the debate, the group says. The group notes that more people in Britain have smoked pot than voted for the governing Labor Party in the last election and that more than one-third of adults in England and Wales have used an illegal substance.

Europe: Nice People Take Drugs, Says British Advocacy Group

It also notes that more than one million British citizens used Class A (the most serious class) drugs last year. Although Britain down-scheduled marijuana from Class B to Class C in 2004, the Labor government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown returned it to Class B last year. Britain remains mired in a marijuana panic, with tabloid newspapers trumpeting skunk scare stories and the British constabulary busting pot growers on a more than daily basis. In addition to pot, Britons also enjoy their heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy, reporting high use levels of all three drugs.

The country's heroin users are thought to account for a high proportion of property crimes. But the British government has remained immune to a rising chorus of calls for a more effective drug policy. It is time for a new approach, the group said. "Nice People Take Drugs" will advance that effort by beginning to counter the decades of propaganda that caricature and demonize drug users. "It will challenge politicians who use their ineffective 'tough on drugs' stance for political expedience.

It will start a debate about the kind of drug policy that this country wants to see. The UK does not want drug laws that benefit massive drug cartels and are convenient for politicians, but ones that deal sensibly and maturely with drugs and make our society a safer place for our children."

Canada I: Medicinal pot grow op busted.
A Langley man with a Health Canada licence to grow marijuana was busted by the RCMP's green team for stealing hydro and for growing more plants than he was allowed to. This is the fourth such bust Langley police have come across, where the grower is licensed to grow.  This has Langley RCMP's Supt.  Janice Armstrong asking Health Canada to require higher standards both of the growers and the buildings they use.

On May 27, the drug section executed two search warrants for stealing hydro. The first was in the 20400 block of 67B Avenue where one woman was arrested and 800 pot plants seized from the basement. The second warrant was for a grow op in the garage of a Brookswood home.  One man was arrested inside the house and 200 plants were seized. However, the man had a legal right to grow the pot, just not as much as he was growing. He has a medicinal marijuana licence which permits him to legally grow 30 plants. In Canada, there are more than 2,000 people who have medicinal marijuana licences, said Amstrong

Canada II: Supreme Court Clarifies Asset Forfeiture Law, Allows Graduated Sanctions.

In its first review of Canada's asset forfeiture laws, the Canadian Supreme court ruled last Friday that the government could not seize the home of a Vancouver woman who grew marijuana there. In Craig v. Crown, the court decided 5-2 that Judy Ann Craig could keep her home even though she was convicted of growing more than $100,000 worth of marijuana there.

But in two related cases, the high court ruled 4-3 to uphold a partial forfeiture order against a Quebec man and voted unanimously to uphold the seizure of a home belonging to a Surrey, BC, couple who bought it solely to grow marijuana. The trio of decisions means that Canadian judges must weigh the particulars of each case and can issue escalating forfeiture orders depending on the circumstances of each case.

Craig, 57, had no criminal record when she began growing for a friend with AIDS in 1998. But she admitted making about $100,000 a year off her operation and had 186 plants when busted in 2003. Still, she was considered a small-time player with no ties to gangs. She served a one-year probationary sentence and paid a $100,000 fine for unpaid taxes and a victim surcharge of $15,000. Craig's attorney, Howard Rubin, told The Canadian Press that he was thrilled with results. "She's not a career criminal.

She's not a Hell's Angel. She's a lady, 57 years old, who works really hard," he said, adding that she currently worked as a wholesaler. "This was a huge weight on her that has now been relieved. This tool of forfeiture can wind up being really oppressive if it's used against people who have small grow operations, no record and no involvement with organized crime -- which is Ms. Craig."

Canada III: National associations on research into the endocannabinoid system and medical uses of cannabinoids.

According to a press release by the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC) of 3 June the organisation 
has evolved into a federally registered Canadian non-profit organisation dedicated to research and education on cannabinoids.

The CCIC invites to visit the new web site of the association and to apply for membership, which is free. Recently, the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM) has been founded, which according to a press release is a professional medical organization "dedicated to the clinical and scientific understanding of the endoccannabinoid system and the therapeutic application of cannabis and cannabinoids."

USA I: Rhode Island Dispensary Bill Passes House, Now Goes for Final Senate Approval.

Rhode Island is poised to become the first state to expand an existing medical marijuana law to allow for the operation of dispensaries after the House Wednesday gave final approval a bill that would do just that. The bill passed by a whopping -- and veto-proof -- majority of 64-4. The bill, SB 185, now goes back to the Senate for final approval.

The Senate earlier approved its version of the bill by a margin of 35-2 and is expected to easily pass the final version next Tuesday. Gov. Donald Carcieri, no friend to medical marijuana, is likely to veto the bill. But given the overwhelming vote in favor of the bill, an override vote seems destined to succeed. The bill would allow up to three dispensaries to grow and sell marijuana to patients in the state's medical marijuana program. The 2006 bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state -- after the legislature overrode a Carcieri veto -- did not have any provision for providing marijuana for patients.

USA II: Mid-Atlantic Movement as Delaware, New Jersey Bills Win Committee Votes.

Medical marijuana is on the move in the Mid-Atlantic region, as bills to legalize its use passed committee votes in Delaware Wednesday and New Jersey Thursday. The New Jersey bill is well-advanced, having already passed the state Senate, while in Delaware, Wednesday's vote was the first test of legislative sentiment. In New Jersey, the Assembly Health Committee passed the bill, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, on a 7-1 vote, but only after making it dramatically different from and more restrictive than the version passed by the Senate.

At the behest of committee chair Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), who was responding to criticism that the bill's distribution and oversight provisions weren't tight enough, the bill was amended so that only "alternative treatment centers" could grow, process, and distribute medical marijuana. In the version passed by the Senate, patients could also grow their own or have caretakers grow it for them. In this latest version, there is no role for caretakers, because it also provides that only patients may pick up medical marijuana at a dispensary, or have a courier deliver it to them.

"This bill will be the most restrictive in the nation,'' said Sen. Joseph Scutari (D-Union), the bill's original sponsor. The bill may be too restrictive, he added. The bill now heads for a floor vote in the Assembly. It also must go back to the Senate, which must approve the amended version. One day earlier and one state to the south, the Delaware Senate Health and Social Services Committee approved Senate Bill 94, the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, authored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East), the committee chair. That bill would allow people with serious diseases to use medical marijuana with their physician's approval. The bill sets up an ID card system and a dispensary network. Patients could also grow and possess their own medicine, up to 12 plants and six ounces.

The Greenish Warbler

June 9th 2009

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