The Netherlands: Maastricht coffeeshops to sell only to Dutch, Belgian and German people

From October 1, only Dutch, Belgian and German people will be allowed to enter the coffeshops of Maastricht and buy cannabis products there.

The Netherlands: Maastricht coffeeshops to sell only to Dutch, Belgian and German people.

This restriction wasn’t imposed by the local authorities, but conceived by the coffeeshops owners themselves. Marc Josemans, chairman of the Maastricht association of coffeeshop owners, said they did so to get the overburdening flood of drug tourists and the respective negative consequences under control, with, allegedly, particularly French cannabis smokers having caused a lot of disturbance and other problems.

Josemans believes that this new coffeeshop entry policy in Maastricht is in accordance with Dutch law. The Maastricht decision heralds the complete ban of foreigners in coffeeshops which the Dutch government intends to enforce in 2012.

Dutch Passion does not discriminate. Everybody is welcome to our seed shop in Maastricht!

Israel: Cabinet approves medical marijuana guidelines

The Israeli cabinet Sunday gave its approval to medical marijuana guidelines that will govern the supply of marijuana for medical and research purposes. In so doing, it explicitly agreed that marijuana does indeed have medical uses. "The cabinet today approved arrangements and supervision regarding the supply of cannabis for medical and research uses," said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman.

"This is in recognition that the medical use of cannabis is necessary in certain cases. The Health Ministry will -- in coordination with the Israel Police and the Israel Anti-Drug Authority -- oversee the foregoing and will also be responsible for supplies from imports and local cultivation." The cabinet move comes on the heels of the Health Ministry's decision last week to deal with supply problems by setting up a unit within the department to grow medical marijuana. That unit will begin operating in January 2012.

The Health Ministry also decided that the country's medical marijuana supply should be domestically produced. Israeli police had lobbied for medical marijuana to be imported instead, in a bid to reduce diversion. Israel currently has about 6,000 medical marijuana patients, but the program is so popular that there are estimates that number could rise to 40,000 by 2016. Medical marijuana for existing patients is currently provided by private Israeli growers.

New Zealand: Synthetic marijuana to be banned this week

In a shift from an April decision to regulate rather than prohibit synthetic cannabinoids, the government of New Zealand's ruling National Party has moved instead to ban them by the end of this week.

It is rushing to amend the Misuse of Drugs Amendments Bill to criminalize some 43 fake weed products currently on store shelves. The move will create an emergency 12-month ban while the government crafts a detailed response to the Law Commission's May report on psychoactive substances, which noted that under current New Zealand laws, "a psychoactive substance can be manufactured, imported, and sold without restriction until it is proven harmful and is either regulated or prohibited."

The commission called for that burden of proof to be reversed, so that the industry would be required to prove its products are safe.

USA: Massachusetts medical marijuana initiative filed

A medical marijuana initiative could be headed for the November 2012 ballot in Massachusetts. An advocacy group called the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance announced Tuesday that it had filed an initiative petition that would allow seriously ill patients to register with the state and be protected from arrest for using marijuana as a medicine.

People with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other debilitating conditions could join a patient registry upon receiving a written recommendation from a physician. They would obtain their medicine from state-regulated nonprofit treatment centers. The state Department of Health would oversee the program. The group handed in the 10 signatures needed to begin the petition process Tuesday, one day ahead of the August 3 deadline to make the 2012 ballot.

"Our goal is the legislature, but there is a possibility they won't act before May of 2012," said Taylor, who helped lead the successful 2008 ballot drive to decriminalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. "What's the hurt in moving forward and having all avenues available to us?" Taylor asked. “Regardless of what happens, we now have options."

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

August 9th 2011

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