USA: Federal government intends to close cannabis dispensaries in California
On 7 October federal attorneys announced an ending of what they call California's massive commercial marijuana trade, including medical cannabis dispensaries they say are often fronts for illegal for-profit drug distribution. They outlined a range of actions including civil forfeiture lawsuits against property owners involved in drug trafficking, written warnings to landlords of storefronts illegally selling cannabis and criminal prosecution of other cannabis offenses.
USA: Federal government intends to close cannabis dispensaries in California.
Representatives of the California Medical Association representing 35,000 physicians adopted the new stance at its annual meeting on 14 October in Anaheim. The CMA acknowledges health risks associated with cannabis use and proposes regulation similar to alcohol and tobacco, but the association says the consequences of criminalization outweigh the dangers.
The prosecutors said California's medical cannabis law had given cover for large-scale commercial operations to engage in drug trafficking across state lines, with thousands of pounds of marijuana worth tens of millions of dollars flowing across the country from California. "That is not what the California voters intended or authorized, and it is illegal under California law," said Andre Birotte, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.
Federal prosecutors should be careful not to overreach in their crackdown on California´s cannabis dispensaries, the state attorney general said on 20 October. The law passed 15 years ago by California voters has ambiguities that must be resolved either by the state Legislature or the courts, state Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. However, Harris said she was worried that "an overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California." She urged federal authorities to make sure their enforcement efforts are focused on significant traffickers of illegal drugs.
The situation of dispensaries in different states that allow the medical use of cannabis is often very different from each other. Thus, the biggest difference to Rhode Island is that the licensing of dispensaries in California is not regulated, while state law in Rhode Island permits the opening of just three dispensaries in the smallest state of the USA. "It´s a completely different world," said JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. "It´s apples and oranges. The face of the patients has gotten lost in California."
The Netherlands: Bedromedical BV, a new Dutch company, has officially been launched by 1 October.
The aim of the company is to bring administration of medicinal cannabis in its natural form as a registered drug on the market. Bedromedical BV is a joint venture between Bedrocan BV and Zorginnovaties Nederland BV (Healthcare Innovations Netherlands). Bedrocan BV is contracted by the Dutch Health Ministry for the cultivation and production of medical cannabis.
Bedromedical has the first prototype of a dosage unit in combination with an optimized delivery device (vaporizer) already completed. Clinical trials are expected to start within two years.
USA: Gallup Poll Support for Marijuana Legalization at 50% for First Time
Support for marijuana legalization in the US continues to climb, with the Gallup Poll reporting Monday that a record high 50% of Americans now approve of freeing the weed. That's up from 30% in 2000, 40% in 2009, and 46% last year. But pot legalization remains a divisive subject. Nearly half -- 46% -- of respondents opposed legalization, with only 4% either undecided or not answering the question. When Gallup first began asking the marijuana legalization question in 1969, only 12% approved and 84% opposed.
Approval figures hovered in the mid-twenties from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s before beginning the current upward climb. In line with other national polls, the current Gallup poll found support for legalization strongest among liberals (69%), 18-29-year-olds (62%), and moderates, Democrats, and independents (57%). Men (54%) and 30-49-year-olds (56%) also showed majority support for legalization.
Those demographic groups least like to favor marijuana legalization were people over 65 (31%), conservatives (34%), Republicans (35%), and women (46%). Geographically, marijuana legalization had majority support in the West (55%), the Midwest (54%), and the East (51%). The only region not showing majority support for legalization was the South, where only 44% approved.:
USA: California's largest association of physicians is calling for the legalization of cannabis.
The CMA wants the White House to reclassify cannabis to facilitate further research on its medical potential.
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