USA: The federal government will no longer prosecute patients 
who use cannabis for medicinal purposes in states where it is legal

USA: The federal government will no longer prosecute patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes in states where it is legal People who use cannabis for medical purposes and those who distribute it to them should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said on 19 
October in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.

USA: The federal government will no longer prosecute patients 
who use cannabis for medicinal purposes in states where it is legal

In a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the states that allow the use of medical cannabis, the department said that it was committed to the "efficient and rational use" of its resources and that prosecuting patients and distributors who are in "clear and unambiguous compliance" with state laws did not meet that standard.  "It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement accompanying the memo, "but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal."

Graham Boyd, director of the Drug Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, called the Justice Department's move "an enormous step in the right direction and, no doubt, a great relief to the thousands of Americans who benefit from the medical use of marijuana." Mr. Boyd predicted that states and cities "will have a strong incentive to create regulated, safe and sensible means of getting marijuana to patients who need it."

USA: A majority of citizens in western states support the legalization and taxation of cannabis.

According to a representative poll the support for legalizing cannabis reaches a new high and a majority in the West favours taxing cannabis sales to boost state revenues. Gallup's October crime poll finds 44 per cent of Americans in favour of making cannabis legal and 54 per cent opposed. U.S. public support for legalizing cannabis was fixed in the 25 per cent range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but acceptance jumped to 31 per cent in 2000 and has continued to grow throughout this decade.

On the website of Gallup this development is presented with a graph. Public opinion on legalization of cannabis has been changing this decade, and is now most tolerant. If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1 to 2 per cent per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favour legalization of the drug in as little as four years. Results of the poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,013 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted in October 2009.

Romania: In Opinion Poll, Romanians Reject Marijuana Legalization

Last month, a Romanian presidential committee recommended decriminalizing the possession of "soft" drugs, implementing needle exchange programs, and legalizing prostitution. A poll this month suggests the committee and President Traian Băsescu have some work to do in winning over the Romanian public -- at least on the drugs issue. According to a poll conducted by eResearch Corporation, an Angus-Reid affiliate, only 34% of Romanians agree with decriminalization, while 59% oppose it.

"Drug abuse needs to be discouraged, but with the adequate difference made between soft drugs and hard drugs, especially the ones injected such as heroin, which have devastating negative effects," the report said. But the report also called for "disincrimination (sic) of drug consumption - but not of trafficking - to bring consumers to the surface." According to another eResearch poll, Romanians are going for bringing sex work in from the cold. That poll found that 56% supported legalizing prostitution, while only 37% opposed it.

The Netherlands: Police cracks down on 19 cannabis grow sites in Kasteelburt/Heerlen, 18 people arrested.

Marijuana worth of several hundred thousand Euros was confiscated, also chemicals for the production of amphetamine. Reason for the razzia was that the local electric power company had reported massive electricity steals in August. Also, the Kasteelburt district is known as a place were commercial cannabis cultivation is widespread.

With 250 cops, 47 of the 128 houses of Kasteelburt were searched at the same time. The whole district had been sealed off before the razzia started which is possible due to a special emergency decree. Peter Tams of the local police said “Every month, we go one or two times to Kasteelburt to take action against illegal cannabis grow sites”.  


Canada/British Columbia: Thousands of plants seized in summer busts 

The Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment of the RCMP was very active during the summer, seizing thousands of marijuana plants.  The Regional Detachment General Investigation Section led an intensive investigation into the outdoor marijuana grow operation industry in the West Kootenay/Boundary.

Assisted by officers from throughout the Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment as well as the RCMP helicopter from Kelowna, the investigative team seized 14,130 marijuana plants from 88 sites throughout the region.  "There were a number in the Grand Forks/Boundary area," Inspector Nick Romanchuk said. The RCMP estimates that these seizures prevented approximately 11,500 pounds ( 5,216 kg ) of marijuana bud from entering the illegal market, and that the street value of the seized marijuana if sold in individual cigarette quantities would equate to approximately $77.5 million.

World: Cannabis use

An estimated 166 million people worldwide have either tried cannabis or are active users of the drug despite scientific research showing its adverse effects on health, two researchers in Australia said.

The figure, taken from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), means one in every 25 people between the ages 15 and 64 in 2006 had had some experience with the drug, the researchers wrote in a paper published in The Lancet.

USA: California - The ban of the city of Los Angeles on new medical cannabis dispensaries is invalid

The ban of the city of Los Angeles on new medical cannabis dispensaries is invalid, a judge said on 19 October in a decision that undermines the city's 4-month-old drive to shut down hundreds of the stores.

The judge issued an injunction banning enforcement of the moratorium against Green Oasis, a dispensary in Playa Vista that had challenged the ban. But city officials acknowledged the ruling would effectively block current efforts to enforce the ban against other dispensaries.

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

October 26th 2009

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