​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.

SAFER Campuses Initiative

​With the spring semester beginning at colleges around the nation, the SAFER Campuses Initiative, letting students know marijuana is safer than alcohol, is off to an early start, according to Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER).

Every objective study on marijuana, according to SAFER, has concluded that marijuana is far safer than alcohol. Yet most of the nation’s universities punish students far more harshly for pot than for booze.
“In doing so, they are sending a dangerous message that fosters and perpetuates a ‘culture of alcohol’ on campuses nationwide, and drives students to drink rather than make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead,” SAFER says in a press release.

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Graphic: ABC News/Washington Post
Support for medical marijuana, already high in 1997, his risen to even greater levels in the past dozen years.

​More than eight in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use, according to a new poll. Almost half favor decriminalizing the herb completely.

According to the new ABC News/Washington Post national poll, 81 percent support legalizing cannabis for medicinal use, up from already sizable 69 percent support in 1997.
Support for both medical marijuana and decriminalizing for all adults is far higher than it was a decade ago, reports poll analyst Gary Langer at ABC News.

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.

Pete Holmes
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes: “We’re not going to prosecute marijuana cases anymore”

​Seattle’s new city attorney, keeping a campaign promise, is dismissing all marijuana possession cases, starting with those that were begun under the previous city attorney.

“We’re not going to prosecute marijuana possession cases anymore,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said Thursday. “I meant it when I said it” during the campaign.
Holmes, who defeated incumbent Tom Carr in November, said he dismissed two marijuana cases in his first day on the job, and several others are about to be dismissed, reports Emily Heffter at The Seattle Times.
Unless there are “out of the ordinary circumstances,” Holmes’s office doesn’t intend to file charges for marijuana possession, according to Craig Sims, criminal division chief.

Ganja Girl Veronica Bully makes guys wish they were a bong.

​Poet Allen Ginsberg got it exactly right more than 50 years ago: Pot is Fun.

Even through all the political struggles currently facing the marijuana consumer, it’s important never to lose sight of that essential fact. For many of us, the enjoyment of cannabis is just another way to affirm the joy of being alive.
For those of us who just aren’t into being uptight around such issues, the three B’s — Buds, Bongs, and Babes — are a potent triumvirate of our very favorite, most life-affirming impulses.
One man who understands that well is Mike Smith, who founded the site just a few months ago.
In addition to lots of useful grow tips, HTGB regularly features “Ganja Girls” photos from readers and members of the marijuana community, in which attractive ladies let their hair down and fire their bongs up for freedom.
Mike, 29, told Toke of the Town he has been smoking pot since the age of 14, “with the exception of a six-year break when I joined the Army.”

Photo: Lewis County Herald
Enjoy your high, officers. Now, that’ll be $40,000. Cash or credit?

​A California medical marijuana patient may soon be receiving almost $40,000 from the sheriff’s department for six pounds of unlawfully seized and destroyed cannabis.

Kimberley Marshall, 46, of Los Osos, Calif., has filed a claim for damages against Sheriff Patrick Hedges and the county, alleging the county unjustly seized and destroyed the medicinal pot, reports Matt Fountain of New Times.
If she prevails, Marshall could be the first medical marijuana patient in San Luis Obispo County to be paid for confiscated cannabis.
Marshall, a survivor of liver cancer and other afflictions, seeks $36,000 — $6,000 per pound of confiscated marijuana — plus attorney fees and damages, according to the claim, filed Dec. 23.

Photo: alapoet
Signage at the Seattle Marijuana March, Washington. A solid majority of Washingtonians support legalization, according to a new poll.

​A solid majority, 56 percent, of Washingtonians believe legalizing marijuana is a “good idea,” according to a new poll.
The poll of 500 adults in the state, conducted for Seattle TV station KING 5 by SurveyUSA, asked respondents: “State lawmakers are considering making marijuana possession legal. Do you think legalizing marijuana is a good idea? Or a bad idea?”
Thirty-six percent of respondents described legalizing pot as a “bad idea,” while eight percent weren’t sure. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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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