Browsing: Global


​Patients who use medical marijuana in Israel will soon pay a monthly service charge of about $100 to cover costs, reports Josiah Daniel Ryan of The Jerusalem Post.

The charge is scheduled to begin in a few weeks, according to a source inside Tikkun Olam, the nonprofit organization that produces Israel’s medical marijuana. It will be about NIS 360 monthly, roughly equivalent to $97 American. (At current exchange rates, a shekel is worth about 27 cents American).
In addition, starting Sunday, patients are required to pay a one-time administrative fee of NIS 116 (about $31).
Until Sunday, patients had received free marijuana. But following a wave of publicity caused by media reports, Tikkun Olam has been deluged, with a nearly 500 percent increase in requests for medical cannabis, according to an anonymous source within the organization.

Photo: Luke Parker, Western Leader
New Zealand’s Dakta Green: “Live like it’s legal”

​New Zealand has one of the highest rates of marijuana smoking in the world, and soon those Kush-loving Kiwis will have “cannabis clubs” throughout the country where they can indulge in their pastime.

“Pot dens,” where people can smoke, buy or even formally study the illegal herb, are poised to open throughout the country this year, reports Tamara McLean at Australia’s Brisbane Times.

Graphic: Cannabis Culture
Professor David Nutt: “We’re going to focus on the science”

​An independent group, designed to give “politically neutral” information in the United Kingdom about the risks of drugs, is being launched.

The group is founded by the British government’s former chief drugs adviser, David Nutt, who was sacked last October for criticizing government drug policy and calling cannabis a relatively safe drug.
The Independent Council on Drug Harms, made up of about 20 specialists, will be “very powerful,” according to Nutt, and its goal will be to take over from the government-run Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), reports the BBC.

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Copenhagen’s Christiania section is famed for its “Pusher Street,” where the sale of cannabis and hashish is unofficially tolerated. Now the city is thinking of making it official.

​Denmark is looking at borrowing a page from the Netherlands’ approach to cannabis, as the Copenhagen City Council examines a plan to set up state-licensed marijuana stores to remove the trade from the control of gangs.

But the plan, supported by a majority of the city council, may not have enough support in the Danish Parliament, reports The Copenhagen Post.
The proposal is to run a three-year trial in which stores staffed by healthcare professionals would sell cannabis in small quantities for about 50 kroner per gram, close to the current street price in Denmark’s capitol city.

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Photo: Daily Mail
Professor Les Iversen (left), who has said cannabis is safer than most other drugs, is taking over as interim chairman of the U.K. Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs after Professor David Nutt was sacked for saying — you guessed it! — that cannabis is safer than most other drugs.

​A retired Oxford professor who said marijuana was one of the “safer” drugs has become the United Kingdom’s chief drugs adviser — replacing a professor who was sacked for saying that marijuana is one of the safer drugs.

Pharmacology specialist Les Iversen has replaced David Nutt, who was sacked last October after saying cannabis was less harmful than alcohol and nicotine, and arguing that penalties against the herb had been upgraded to Class B for political reasons, reports James Slack at the Daily Mail.
Professor Iversen, who has served on the committee for five years, seems to share predecessor Nutt’s view that marijuana is just not that dangerous.
And after all, should it be that shocking that the world’s foremost experts on psychoactive drugs would have similar opinions regarding the relative safety of marijuana?


​It’s one of the favorite arguments of the prohibitionists: Smoking pot leads to “the hard stuff,” and that’s why pot should remain just as illegal as, say, heroin.

Trouble is, there’s almost no empirical evidence backing the so-called “gateway theory,” and a new study pokes another hole in the hoary old argument.
The study, based at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, evaluated the gateway theory using cross-national data regarding “consistency and associations of the order of initiation of drug use.”

Photo: Dmcroof
These folks must not be growing pot. Or maybe they just have good insulation.

​If the snow on your roof melts a little faster than that on your neighbors’, you may be getting a visit from the police — at least if you live in Leicestershire, U.K.

Prematurely melting snow can be a clue that the house is being used as a “cannabis factory,” police say, according to the BBC, which in a stoop to yellow journalism called the grow houses “drug dens.”
Officers in Leicestershire are asking residents to turn in their neighbors if their roof-top snow melts too fast. They said marijuana grows were equipped with high-intensity lighting, which generates lots of heat.

Photo: Samsul Said, The Malay Mail
Shahrul Izani is escorted out of the courtroom by police this morning, on his way to Death Row

​A 25-year-old man wept openly in Malaysian High Court court this morning when the judge sentenced him to death for marijuana.

Shahrul Izani Suparman was convicted of possessing 622 grams of cannabis with intent to deliver, reports Azreen Hani of The Malay Mail. Shahrul was 19 years old when he was arrested on Sept. 25, 2003.
According to police, Shahrul tried to get away from them on foot when he was ordered to stop while riding his motorcycle in Klang, Malaysia. Authorities said Shahrul had made a U-turn, and was riding without his lights on.
The marijuana, packed in two separate newspaper wrappings, was found in the motorcycle’s basket. Shahrul was charged under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, which upon conviction carries a death sentence by hanging.


​There are 166 million marijuana users in the world, representing 3.9 percent of Earth’s population between 15 and 64, according to a new study.

The herb is “most used among young people in rich countries,” led by the United States, Australia and New Zealand, followed by Europe, according to the paper, published in medical journal The Lancet on Friday, reports.
The study’s authors grudgingly admit that marijuana’s impact “is probably modest” compared with the burden from legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco. After all, these are scientists, and they do have to acknowledge those troublesome data.
But the scientists fall all over themselves rushing to warn that “cannabis has a long list of suspected adverse health effects,” dutifully toeing the line that “marijuana is dangerous,” while lacking any convincing evidence to prove that claim.

Photo: AFP

​Five Chinese men have been sentenced to death in northern Vietnam for trafficking hashish.

The men were accused of trafficking almost eight tons of hash destined for Canada, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
The hashish came from Pakistan and was about to be shipped to North America through the Vietnamese port of Mong Cai, VNA said.
The Chinese men, ranging in age from 42 to 57, were arrested in May 2008. They were also charged with smuggling almost $180,000 in cash.
Vietnam became known for its high-quality cannabis during its 10-year war with the United States, but the communist government in power since the war ended in 1975 has some of the toughest drug trafficking laws in the world.
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