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Tuesday marked one of the best of times for marijuana reform in the nation’s capital of Washington D.C., and one of the worst of times.
It truly seemed to be a tale of two cities yesterday as the local District council voted 10-1 to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of weed, while right across town federal U.S. lawmakers were battling with the Chief Deputy of the DEA over anti-weed talking points as tired as most of the cranky old men arguing.

AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka
Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, has been working to secure the release of the 14-year-old boy who was arrested for marijuana, among huge media interest

​The arrest of a 14-year-old Australian boy in Bali for marijuana possession has created a media firestorm. The boy will likely be held in “drug rehabilitation” for up to another month while he waits to learn how and when he will go to trial.

The Australian ambassador to Indonesia said the case is his “top priority,” reports The Conversation, and even Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard telephoned the teen in prison on Sunday, assuring him “everything is being done” to secure his release.

Four Twenty Studios

​The administration of marijuana cannabinoids after experiencing a traumatic event blocks the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms in rats, according to a new study published in the medical journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

“We found that there is a ‘window of opportunity’ during which administering synthetic marijuana helps deal with symptoms simulating PTSD in rats,” said Dr. Irit Akirav of the University of Haifa‘s Department of Psychology, which led the study.
In the study, conducted by Dr. Akirav with research student Eti Ganon-Elazar, the researchers set out to investigate how cannabinoids affect the development of PTSD-like symptoms jun rats, whose physiological reactions to traumatic and stressful events is similar to human reactions.

Graphic: Reefer Smoke

​A six-foot marijuana plant decorated as a Christmas tree was confiscated from the home of “an old hippie,” who is now facing a drug possession charge, German police said Wednesday.

In a press release entitled “All you need is love, or how a hippie celebrates Christmas,” police in the western city of Koblenz said they found the big cannabis plant in the living room of the suspect, reports AFP.
“A hippie celebrates Christmas too, just differently,” read the release. “The two-meter-tall marijuana plant had been put in a Christmas tree stand and decorated with a string of lights.” 
“When asked, the hashish fan told the perplexed officers that he had intended to add more decorations to the ‘tree’ and place the presents under it, according to tradition.”
Narcotics detectives stumbled on the unconventional Christmas tree while searching the home of an “old 68er,” a reference to the groups of young students and workers who participated in political protests which swept across Germany in 1968, reports The Local.

Photo: AFP
People pose with a joint during a marijuana legalization rally in Mexico City on Sunday, September 5, 2010.

​With much of the nation in the throes of a bloody drug war against violent cartels, more than 200 people gathered Sunday in a Mexico City park to smoke marijuana and demand its legalization.

The activists braved pouring rain to rally on the popular tourist drag of the Alameda to have a smoke-in protesting marijuana’s illegal status in Mexico, reports AFP.
Mexico is among a handful of Latin American countries that allow for possession of small “personal use” amounts of marijuana and other drugs.
The limit for marijuana is five grams, between an eighth and a quarter-ounce. Amounts greater than than can still get you jailed and/or fined.

Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA
PC Chloe Snell examines what the Brits like calling a “cannabis factory” in a house in East London, 2008

​More than 6,800 cannabis farms — or “factories,” as the sensationalist British press puts it — were discovered by police in the United Kingdom last year.

Almost 20 commercial cannabis growing operations were found by police every day in the past year by authorities, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), making the total for 2009/2010 6,886 — more than double the 3,032 discovered two years ago, and more than eight times the annual average of 800 between 2004 and 2007, reports the U.K. Press Association.

“Jephthath’s Sacrifice” by Maciejowski (c. 1250)
If you sell pot on the Gaza Strip, be careful or you could lose your head.

​Selling pot can now officially get you killed in Gaza City — by the government, that is.

Despite the area’s proud tradition of fine hashish (Blond Lebanese, anyone?) the Hamas-run government of Gaza has approved a law that will allow for the execution of “convicted drug dealers,” its attorney general said today, according to the Associated Press.
The Islamist government ruling Gaza is taking a page from the tired old playbook of drug prohibitionists in America and worldwide — that imposing draconian sentences will reduce drug smuggling and discourage drug use. The policy, in place for close to a century in many parts of the world, has proved to be a colossal failure.
Hamas has cracked down on drugs, saying it has arrested more than 100 drug dealers and users. Dozens of pounds of contraband, mostly marijuana, have been seized.
Blithely undeterred by the facts, Gaza’s attorney general blamed the Israeli government for not punishing potheads severely enough (or killing them quickly enough). If the intent is to prove governments in the Middle East can have drug policies even dumber than those of the United States, then mission accomplished!