Israel: Medical cannabis distribution centre raided by the police in 
Tel Aviv

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post the police raided a distribution centre for cannabis in Tel Aviv on 15 December. Police say they suspect that a significant amount of the drug was given to criminal organizations that had acquired fake prescriptions. Dozens of disabled and terminally ill people protested outside the 
storefront on Rehov Ibn Gvirol run by Tikkun Olam, on 19 December against the raid.

Israel: Medical cannabis distribution centre raided by the police in
Tel Aviv.

Police arrested two managers of the storefront and held them for questioning for several hours, on suspicion of illegal drug trafficking. Shai Meir, spokesman for Tikkun Olam, the nation´s largest medical cannabis supplier, told reporters at the 
organization´s headquarters in a north Tel Aviv apartment that police 
actions against the clinic and its patients mainly harmed those seeking medical treatment.

"The bottom line is that the only ones who have suffered as a result of these police actions are the patients," Meir said. Dozens of patients, many of them in wheelchairs, claimed to receive their monthly doses at a makeshift drug counter set up in the apartment´s backyard on Sunday. Many of the patients were not able to receive their cannabis after Tikkun Olam closed its doors following the 
police raid, and by Sunday afternoon the courtyard was full of patients showing their prescriptions and identification cards.

Spain: Cannabis clubs

The number of member-only cannabis clubs is rising in Spain as users exploit the law, which allows consumption of cannabis in private. The 
spacious Paracuellos de Jarama club in a small town near Madrid, situated in a former restaurant, is equipped with a bar, kitchen, billiard tables and TV screens.

The association's president, Pedro Álvaro Zamora said: "This is not Amsterdam, this is not a coffee shop. This is our association's club house and it is a private place." It is the most sophisticated of up to 40 cannabis clubs that have sprung up in garages and back rooms around Spain since cannabis users worked out that laws making it illegal to consume in public did not apply to private, member-only, clubs.

USA: New Mexico

Changes of the medical cannabis program of New Mexico were announced, including fees for producers of cannabis of between 5,000 and 30,000 US Dollars (about 3,700 - 22,000 Euros).

The Health Department also agreed to license eight new growers, boosting the state total to 25 and to allow growers to produce 150 mature plants and seedlings. Under earlier regulations, the limit was 95 plants.

USA: Colorado

For Colorado tougher, new rules are intended for the medical use of 
cannabis. It is expected that the new rules will be adopted early this year and does not need approval by lawmakers.

Colorado will dictate how growers can raise cannabis plants and how the drug can be sold to the state's 116,000 patients who are allowed to use cannabis.

Marijuana Bust No Longer Automatic Arrest in New Orleans
In a bid to reduce congestion in the city's criminal courts, the New Orleans City Council voted last Thursday to make marijuana possession, prostitution, and two other minor crimes municipal offenses. That gives police the option to issue a summons instead of making an arrest. Up until now, pot possession and the other offenses have only been addressed by state laws, which required police to arrest and book offenders.

With the offenses now municipal, police are no longer required to make arrests, saving the city the expense of booking, housing and feeding jailed pot smokers. The move will also reduce the caseload of judges and prosecutors, who also handle serious felonies. "These ordinances will contribute significantly to the city's efforts to promote greater efficiency and equity in our criminal justice system, particularly for our police officers, the District Attorney's office and in the criminal court," said Councilwoman Susan Guidry, co-chair of the council's Criminal Justice Committee.

The Netherlands - Joint Effort: Dutch Utilities Help Police Smoke Out Pot Farmers.

Volt-hungry pot farms have been stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of electricity a year. The problem has gotten so bad that one firm has blown a fuse. Stedin Netbeheer BV, a grid operator with 1.8 million customers, is now sending employees on raids with armed police officers, using sophisticated grid analysis to unearth pot plantations.

Last month, it launched an anonymous hot line and mailed out 30,000
scratch-and-sniff cards that smell like fresh cannabis. "People have this image of a nice hippie smoking," says Wolter Meijer, the company's top antifraud official. "The reality is danger and crime." Growing weed indoors requires water, carbon-dioxide generators and intense light and heat, which leads to hundreds of accidental fires a

Heavy electricity use is big red flag for investigators, so cultivators try to avoid detection by tapping into the grid before the meter. That costs Stedin $15 million a year. From all over Holland, it turns out. There are an estimated 40,000 marijuana plantations in the country. Every year, 5,000 are destroyed, and 5,000 pop back up, police say.

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

January 12th 2011

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