Global Commission on Drug Policy calls for the legalization of cannabis

A high-level international commission declared the global "war on drugs" a failure and urged nations to consider legalizing cannabis and other drugs to undermine organized crime and protect their citizens' health.

Global Commission on Drug Policy calls for the legalization of 

The Global Commission on Drug Policy called for a new approach to reducing drug abuse to replace the current strategy of strictly criminalizing drugs and incarcerating drug users while battling criminal cartels that control the drug trade. "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," said the report issued by the commission on 2 June.

The study urges "experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs," adding: "This recommendation applies especially to cannabis, but we also encourage other experiments in decriminalization and legal regulation."

USA: Support New Medical Marijuana Bills in Congress

A bipartisan group of US Representatives introduced three new medical marijuan bills.

H.R. 1983 would exempt people complying with state medical marijuana laws from federal arrest and prosecution. H.R. 1984 would protect banks accepting deposits made by medical marijuana dispensaries. And H.R. 1985 would allow the dispensaries to deduct business expenses on their federal taxes like any other business, putting an end to dozens of industry IRS audits already underway.

USA/California - According to a press release by California NORML patients who are 
allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes number 750,000 to 1,125,000 in California, or about 2-2.5 per cent of the population.

Just a tiny fraction of these patients is enlisted in the state's voluntary identification card program, which issued 12,659 cards in 2009-2010. Therefore, California patient numbers must be estimated 
from other sources. Among the most salient are medical cannabis registries in Colorado and Montana, which include 2.5 per cent and 3.0 per cent of the population, respectively.

According to government data, the total number of users in the state, including non-medical ones, amounts to 6.7 per cent of the population within the past 
month, or 11.3 per cent within the past year, slightly higher than the national average in cannabis use (6.0% monthly and 10.4% yearly).

USA/Connecticut; Legislature Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

The Connecticut Senate Saturday narrowly approved a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The vote was an 18-18 tie until Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (D), in her position as president of the Senate, cast the tie-breaking vote to put the measure over the top. Connecticut is about to join the ranks of the decrim states. On Tuesday, it passed the House. It is supported by Gov. Dan Malloy (D), who Saturday urged the House to pass it.

Under current law, the possession of "any usable amount" of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000. The fine jumps to $3,000 for subsequent offenses. The bill, Senate Bill 1014, would make possession of less than a half-ounce of pot a civil infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $150. Fines jump to from $200 to $500 for subsequent violations.

People under 21 would see their drivers' licenses suspended for 60 days, similar to the punishment for minors in possession of alcohol. Under an amendment by marijuana foe Rep. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) and accepted by Democrats, anyone thrice cited for small-time possession would be required to seek drug treatment.

Germany: Sativex expected to be available in pharmacies in July for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis

According to a press release by the Spanish company Almirall and the British company GW Pharmaceuticals the cannabis extract Sativex has been granted regulatory approval by the German authorities for the 
treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in patients who have not responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication. Sativex, which contains about equal amounts of THC (dronabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) is expected to be launched in July 2011.

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

June 10th 2011

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