USA: 7.9 million arrests for marijuana since 2000

Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released today.

The arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency and is nearly identical to the total number of cannabis-related arrests reported in 2009. According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (52 percent) of all drug arrests in the United States.

An estimated 46 percent of all drug arrests are for offenses related to marijuana possession. "Today, as in past years, the so-called 'drug war' remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana possession offenders, a disproportionate percentage of whom are ethnic minorities," NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a prepared statement. "It makes no sense to continue to waste law enforcements' time and taxpayers' dollars to arrest and prosecute Americans for their use of a substance that poses far fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco."

Of those charged with marijuana law violations, 750,591 (88 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only. The remaining 103,247 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses. Overall, law enforcement agents nationwide arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, surpassing arrests for all other crimes. Since 2000, law enforcement have reported making an estimated 7.9 million arrests for marijuana violations.

USA: NYPD Commissioner Directs Police to Stop Improper Marijuana Arrests

NYPD Commission Ray Kelly issued an internal order this week commanding officers to follow existing New York State law by ending arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana

As long as the marijuana was never in public view. The order does not change the law itself - but simply instructs officers to comport with the law. This could result in tens of thousands fewer marijuana arrests annually in New York City. The announcement comes on the heels of growing pressure on the NYPD. A campaign led by the Drug Policy Alliance, the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, and VOCAL has gained the support of City Council members and state legislators. DPA issued a series of reports prepared by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project that highlight the cost and scale of the arrests. Their latest report, released in March, found that arrests for marijuana possession cost New York City taxpayers approximately $75 million each year.

USA: Washington State Democrats Endorse Marijuana Legalization

The Washington state Democratic Central Committee Saturday endorsed a marijuana legalization initiative, throwing the party's weight behind the effort to put the measure on the ballot for the November 2012 election.

The Central Committee voted 75-43 for a resolution supporting Initiative 502, which would legalize the possession of marijuana by adults and allow for its sale through pot-only stores regulated by the state liquor control authority. Initiative sponsors New Approach Washington estimate that marijuana legalization under its model would generate more than $200 a million a year in tax revenues, with more than half of that earmarked for public health programs.

Canada: New marijuana guidelines target safer use, similar to alcohol usage recommendations introduced In '90s New guidelines were published this week that promote safer use of marijuana.

The low-risk use guidelines, which are similar to alcohol guidelines introduced in the 1990s, are set to be published in the September/October issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health and offer safer usage practices for those who choose to use the drug. 

The study's lead author says that while it will take some time for the guidelines to ingrain themselves into public thinking, they are necessary because of the prevalence of marijuana use in Canada.

Czech Republic: Government wants to make herbal cannabis available for patients through pharmacies

The Czech Ministry of Health has indicated that it will take cannabis
off the list of banned substances and allow it to be prescribed by doctors for medicinal purposes.

"By the end of this year we will submit to parliament an amended law on addictive substances which will move marihuana from the list of banned substances to the list of those which can be prescribed," Deputy Health Minister Martin Plísek pledged, according to a newspaper report of 14 September. Signs are increasing that more and more Czechs are growing the plant at home in the face of the ban on legal prescription.

Ministry experts still have to work out how a Czech regime for legalized sales of medicinal cannabis could be organized. Minister Plísek said at a conference on the issue on 13 September that he would prefer to see drugs imported for Czech use rather than to grow it in the country to minimize abuse. "We must take steps to ensure that there is no massive abuse without a doctor´s prescription," he added.

Israel: Marijuana administered in a timely fashion could block the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in rats, a new study conducted at Haifa University has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at the university's psychology department and published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal, found that rats that were treated with marijuana within 24 hours of a traumatic experience, successfully avoided any symptoms of PTSD.

"There is a critical 'window of time' after trauma, during which synthetic marijuana can help prevent symptoms similar to PTSD in rats," said Dr.  Irit Akirav who led the stu

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

September 26th 2011

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