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​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, canada.com 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.

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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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KING5
“Anti-drug advocate”/obnoxiously smug yuppie Steve Danishek spouts ignorance and intolerance on cue for reporter Eric Schudiske

​For the past nine years on Christmas Day, 5th Avenue and James Street in Seattle has been at the crossroads of the controversy over marijuana legalization.

As they’ve done every year in the 21st Century, protesters outside King County Jail held a pro-marijuana vigil, maintaining non-violent drug offenders should be home for the holidays, reports Eric Schudiske of King 5 News.
“We just think that otherwise law-abiding Americans should find alternatives to incarceration for marijuana use,” said Vivian McPeak, organizer of the vigil.
McPeak remains optimistic about the prospects for positive change. “We believe very strongly that we’re in the last decade of marijuana criminalization,” he said.

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Photo: www.comptonsunshine.com
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…

​Sometimes the Grinch wears a badge, man.

Police confiscated around 20 pounds of marijuana from a car this week, some in boxes wrapped as Christmas gifts, according to The Associated Press.
A Highway Patrol spokesman said troopers found the cannabis in a vehicle stopped for speeding on Interstate 44 near Joplin, Missouri.
Two California women in the car unwisely gave troopers permission to search the vehicle.
(Quick tip: Never, ever consent to a search. Make them get a warrant. They won’t “go easier on you” if you give up your rights.)
Both were charged after officers found the 20 pounds of weed, and were actually pretty fortunate to be released on just $1,000 bond Tuesday with only one pot-related count each.

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​A northern Michigan woman who was in the process of being evicted by Jan. 1 for legally growing and using medical marijuana has been given a holiday reprieve.

Lori Montroy, 49, of Elk Rapids had been told she must be out of her apartment by the end of the year, or face eviction proceedings in Antrim County court.
The Gardner Group, which manages the building, said the process has been suspended and Montroy’s case will be reviewed after Jan. 4, according to the Associated Press.
Montroy has terminal brain cancer of the type that killed U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, but the Gardner Group says the federal government considers it illegal.

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Photo: www.thenightmareblog.com

​A Colorado newspaper has published an extraordinary, ringing endorsement for the state’s booming marijuana industry.

Wednesday’s edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette contained the editorial “Pot, the nonproblem,” which called medical marijuana “the least-important, most-imitation crisis in years.”
“Colorado voters approved medical marijuana 10 years ago,” the editorial points out. “It’s in the state constitution, which trumps local authority. A constitution restricts the powers of government, and the Colorado constitution specifically prohibits government from impeding  the sale of medical marijuana.”
“That leaves room only for the reasonable time, place and manner restrictions applied to other businesses,” the Gazette editorialized. “It’s really that simple.”

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Graphic: Reality Catcher

​A terminally ill woman in Michigan is being evicted from her apartment for legally using medical marijuana to treat the painful symptoms of her advanced brain cancer.

Lori Montroy, 49, of Elk Rapids, Mich., is facing eviction by the Gardner Group of Michigan, the company that manages her apartment complex.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan is coming to the aid of the woman. The ACLU wrote a letter Tuesday on behalf of Montroy.
“No one deserves to be put out in the cold for legally treating the crippling pain, nausea and weakness caused by brain cancer,” said Dan Korobkin, staff attorney for ACLU of Michigan. “We believe that the landlord’s decision was not motivated by malice but rather a misconception of the law.”

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Photo: www.treehugger.com
Industrial hemp contains almost no THC, and is useless for getting high. It is, however, extremely useful for food, fiber, and fuel.

​Two North Dakota farmers who say they should be allowed to grow industrial hemp won’t be allowed to do so anytime soon.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit by the farmers, who received North Dakota’s first state licenses to grow hemp nearly three years ago, reports James MacPherson of The Associated Press.
The men, Wayne Hauge and David Monson, never received required approval from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to grow the crop, which is considered a Schedule I drug under federal law.
The farmers sued the DEA, and their case has been before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for more than a year after U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed it.


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Photo: Westword
Full Spectrum Laboratories: Finally, a more detailed analysis of marijuana than, “That’s good shit, man!”

​One of the biggest question marks with the medical marijuana industry is the lack of quality control. As Joel Warner points out at Westword, it’s difficult to know just how potent herbal medicines and edibles are until you use them.

Full Spectrum Laboratories to the rescue. The four-month-old Denver company is making a business of analyzing medical marijuana samples.
Dispensaries are delivering small samples (about 500 milligrams) of the pot they’re getting from growers to Full Spectrum, which uses high-performance liquid chromatography to determine their potency. The tests reveal amounts of THC and other cannabinoids, the active ingredients of cannabis.
The service costs $120 per test, or $60 per test for 40 or more samples.
“Dispensaries are getting all this really cool stuff, but it turns out 80 percent of the edibles aren’t being made properly, so it’s not as active as it could be,” said Bob Winnicki, Full Spectrum’s 35-year-old co-owner.

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Photo: Westword
Attorneys Bob Hoban (left) and Rob Corry, joined by patients, speak at a news conference about the CannaMart lawsuit.

​Breaking Update: Judge delays any decision until after Christmas

Medical marijuana advocates say today’s court hearing in Centennial, Colo., could set a big precedent for the future of the state’s booming medical marijuana industry, reports Gene Davis at Denver Daily News.

In October, the City of Centennial revoked the business license of CannaMart after learning the place was a medical marijuana dispensary. Two caregivers and three patients from CannaMart then sued the city, trying to have the decision overturned.
The case could, according to Davis, become a landmark decision on whether Colorado cities can use home rule authority to ban dispensaries from operating within city limits, despite approval of medical marijuana in a voter initiative in 2000.
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