USA: Historic Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Introduced

Led by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) a bipartisan group of US representatives Thursday introduced the first bill ever to legalize marijuana at the federal level. The bill would leave it to the states to decide whether to legalize it at the state level.

If the bill were to become law, marijuana would then be treated like alcohol, where states decide whether to ban it and/or what restrictions to place on it.

USA: Historic Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Introduced.

Other cosponsors of the bill include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The bill does not reschedule marijuana, which is currently Schedule I, the most serious classification under the Controlled Substances Act; it removes it from the act altogether.

France: 63% of French people against the legalization of soft drugs

Nearly two in three French people oppose the legalization of soft drugs, according to a poll Ifop Southwest Sunday. The survey published on Saturday, 63% of respondents opposed the legalization of substances such as cannabis. A third (36%) is favorable.

The proportion is reversed among respondents younger than 35 years, 51% favor decriminalization (against 49%). The debate was revived this week by the publication of a report by parliamentary socialists favor decriminalization, which the Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, spoke against.

The survey was conducted on 16 and 17 June on a sample of 955 individuals, representative of the French population aged 18 and over.

India: India Court Nixes Mandatory Death Penalty for Drug Offenses, convicted hashish smuggler saved from death

In a decision handed down last Thursday, the Bombay High Court struck down the mandatory death penalty for some drug offenses as unconstitutional. It becomes the first court anywhere in the world to do so, according to the Indian Harm Reduction Network (IHRN), which petitioned the court for the ruling.

The Bombay High Court is one of 22 regional high courts and has jurisdiction over the states of Maharashtra and Goa. It the equivalent of a US federal court of appeals. Section 31A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act imposed a mandatory death sentence for a second offense of drug trafficking or possession of more than a specified amount of drugs. Now, courts in Maharastra and Goa can still impose the death penalty for those drug offenses, but they are not required to.

The decision came in the case of Ghulam Mohammed Malik, a Kashmiri man sentenced to death by the Special NDPS Court in Mumbai in February. He had been convicted of a second offense of smuggling charas (cannabis resin).

USA: Police shut down Tacoma Washington Hempfest booths, angering vendors

Police shut down several Tacoma Washington Hempfest booths Saturday, angering vendors who said they were following the rules of city permits while offering items that head shops usually sell without hassle.

Officers arrived as booths were set up for the marijuana-themed festival in Wright Park.  They handed out 13 tickets for drug paraphernalia and marijuana possession to vendors, police said, and seized pipes and bongs as evidence.

"They're picking on us.  They don't want Hempfest back," organizer Cat Jeter said, calling the ticketed vendors "people who operate in the light of day in this city every single day."

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

June 28th 2011

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