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New York: Activists To Call For Drug Policy Reform June 23 At Brooklyn Detention Center

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‘Support. Don’t Punish’ Actions a Counter-Demonstration to United Nations ‘Anti-Drug Day’, Often Used by Governments to Tout Punitive Policies

NYC Action: Rally at Brooklyn House of Detention

Activists will gather at 8 pm on Thursday, June 23, in front of the Brooklyn House of Detention and hold a rally as The Illuminator projects images and videos of people from all walks of life who use or have used drugs – fathers, teachers, friends, nurses – as part of the Support. Don’t Punish Global Day of Action.

This annual day of action is designed to tell a different story on the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Governments around the world often choose to use this day to celebrate their contributions to the global ‘War On Drugs’. In the past, some governments have even commemorated it by holding executions or public beatings of drug offenders.

For example, from 2009 to 2014, China unveiled executions and other harsh punishments in the lead-up to the International Day Against Drug Abuse and in 2008, Indonesia cited the day as it resumed executions after a four-year hiatus.

Germany: True Leaf Brings 'True Hemp' Pet Treats To Europe

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True Leaf collaborates with Pet Horizons to unveil product for European distribution at Interzoo®, world’s leading pet supply show

With successful US and Canada launches under its belt, True Leaf International Ltd. on Tuesday announced it will soon offer its True Hemp pet treats for sale in Europe, unveiling the product – ready for sale – at the upcoming Interzoo pet supply exhibition May 26 - May 29, in Nuremberg, Germany.

Interzoo®, the world’s largest bi-annual exhibition of supplies for pets, including dogs, cats, horses and birds is renowned for showcasing innovation in the industry. In 2014, more than 37,000 visitors caught up with the latest in pet care at over 1,700 exhibitors from more than 60 countries.

True Leaf’s product line, already available in North America, appears to be well positioned for the European market.

“Europeans have always had an appreciation for high-quality natural products,” said Darcy Bomford, True Leaf CEO. “In addition, hemp has been grown in some regions of Europe for generations and we’re excited to use European hemp as a key component of our product lines.”

The company announced it has "already seen interest in the product line leading up to the show and expects significant demand as it rolls out across the European Union."

Oregon: 17th Annual Cannabis March & Rally Today In Portland

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On Saturday, May 7, 2016, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the 17th Annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally that begins at 12:00pm, with a scheduled cannabis freedom march beginning at 4pm through downtown, accompanied by police escort.

Musicians Garcia Birthday Band, The Hill Dogs, Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, Bad Habitat, Justin James Bridges and John Cornett & Friends have joined the lineup for the rally. There will be several guest speakers, including Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Oregon Rep. Tobias Read (District 27), Portland Mayoral Candidate Jessie Sponberg and Clackamas County Commissioner 3 Candidate Jenifer Valley. There will also be several non-profit organization booths.

We march to stand in solidarity for cannabis consumer rights. While marijuana may be legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law. We march to effect change on the federal level. We march for the right of employees to use marijuana in their off hours, just as employees can consume alcohol in their off hours. We march so renters can consume marijuana in their own homes without fear of eviction.

Global Commission on Drug Policy 'Profoundly Disappointed' With UN

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy on Thursday announced it is "profoundly disappointed" with the adopted outcome document agreed at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on "the world drug problem." According to Commissioners, the document does not acknowledge the comprehensive failure of the current drug control regime to reduce drug supply and demand.

"Nor does the outcome document account for the damaging effects of outdated policies on violence and corruption as well as on population health, human rights and wellbeing," the statement from the Commission reads. "By reaffirming that the three international conventions are the 'cornerstone of global drug policy,' the document sustains an unacceptable and outdated legal status quo."

"UNGASS has not seriously addressed the critical flaws of international drug policy," the statement reads. "It does not call for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of drug users. It does not urge states to abolish capital punishment for drug-related offences. It does not call on the World Health Organization (WHO) to revisit the scheduling system of drugs. It does not advocate for harm reduction and treatment strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness. Finally it does not offer proposals to regulate drugs and put governments – rather than criminals – in control.

Global: Blumenauer Says UN Drug Policy Should Be More Just and Compassionate

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U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) this week joined leaders from around the world in New York at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. Rep. Blumenauer attended the opening day’s events as a Congressional observer.

“There is no better time than now for world leaders to gather to reevaluate international drug policy," Blumenauer said. "The War on Drugs has failed. Instead of escalating the horrific violence of this war, we need a more just and compassionate approach that focuses on public health and harm reduction, rather than punishing drug users.

“I was encouraged to hear a number of countries leading the charge for a different approach, in particular from those countries that have changed or are considering changing their policies surrounding the treatment of marijuana," Blumenauer said. "It was also very promising to hear Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, representing a nation that has experienced horrific violence as a result of the War on Drugs, announce his support for legalizing medical marijuana in Mexico and a call to change a paradigm of prohibitionism that has not yielded results.

Global: Medical Cannabis Institute Launches Online Curriculum For Nurses

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI) on Thursday announced today that it has been rebranded as TMCI Global (TMCI). The change, according to the company, reflects the Institute’s mission to become the hub for international cannabinoid professional education reaching healthcare professional around the world.

“Our newly designed and branded website continues to serve the global healthcare community, but now we have expanded our content, functionality and deepened our author contributor and affiliate programs so that TMCI Global can provide the best online medical cannabis learning experience for healthcare professionals,” said Vicky Mossman, VP Partner Development at Scitent, the parent company for TMCI Global.

As part of the new website unveiling, TMCI launched Medical Cannabis Curriculum for Nurses, the first comprehensive online medical cannabis curriculum for nurses. The program, at $369, has 8 hours' credit available for Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours, according to TMCI.

Global: World Leaders Call For Decriminalization and Regulation of Drugs

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Former Presidents of Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland together with Sir Richard Branson, US Former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker and members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy call for reducing the harms caused by failed drug policy

On Thursday, April 21 – the last day of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs – several members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy will hold a press conference in New York. The Global Commission will evaluate the outcome of the UN meeting and call for concrete steps to ensure more effective drug policy reform in the years ahead.

The UNGASS is taking place in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such gathering of governments in 18 years.

"Globally, we’re wasting too much money and precious resources on criminalizing people and sending them to jail when we should be spending this money on helping people - through proper medical care and education,” said Global Commission Member Sir Richard Branson. “From the perspective of an investor, the war on drugs has failed to deliver any returns. If it were one of my businesses, I would have shut it down many many years ago."

Global: Iceland Tops The World In Marijuana Use; U.S. Comes In #2

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization has been a political issue in the United States for some time, and while it remains illegal in most states, others have softened their stance in recent years.

Colorado and Washington both passed initiatives by popular vote to decriminalize and legalize cannabis in 2012. In 2014, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., followed suit.

Many states including Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Ohio have flirted with legalization for a few election cycles, with buzz growing.

The United States isn't the only country where people use marijuana legally or illicitly. In fact, it isn’t even the country with the highest reported marijuana use.

To determine the countries with the highest marijuana use, HealthGrove used data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which covers reported use of cannabis for each country in the last year. Although HealthGrove included the most recent data available, the year collected varies by country.

"We've ranked the list from least to most reported usage, and provide legality information for each country," according to HealthGrove.

Iceland tops the list. The Top 5 is rounded out by the United States, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Canada.

Global: UN Orders Security To Confiscate Open Letter Calling For End To Drug War

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Letter Signed by Over 1,000 Leaders and Celebrities, Distributed by Performers Dressed in Prohibition Era Costumes, Seized from Attendees Entering the UN

Hillary Clinton Latest to Sign Letter, Joining Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, More Than a Dozen Former Heads of State, and Hundreds of Other Legislators, Cabinet Ministers, Former UN Officials, and Celebrities

On the opening day of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) gathered more than 60 performers dressed in costumes from the era of U.S. alcohol prohibition to greet attendees at the entrance to the United Nations and hand them copies of the “Post-Prohibition Times,” a newspaper printout of a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to set the stage “for real reform of global drug control policy.”

UN Security was apparently ordered to confiscate the letter, and attendees were ordered to hand over their copies upon entering the building. According to a number of participants in the UN Special Session, they were told that the document was not allowed in the building.

Global: Leaders Call For Decriminalization, Regulation Of Drugs During Historic UN Session

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On Thursday April 21 – the last day of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs – several members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy will hold a press conference in New York. The Global Commission will evaluate the outcome of the UN meeting and call for concrete steps to ensure more effective drug policy reform in the years ahead. The UNGASS is taking place in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such gathering of governments in 18 years.

"Globally, we’re wasting too much money and precious resources on criminalizing people and sending them to jail when we should be spending this money on helping people - through proper medical care and education,” said Global Commission Member Sir Richard Branson. “From the perspective of an investor, the war on drugs has failed to deliver any returns. If it were one of my businesses, I would have shut it down many many years ago."

Commissioner and former President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss also notes that "many countries are already successfully adopting innovative harm reduction and treatment strategies such as needle exchange, substitution therapies, heroin prescription and safe consumption rooms.” She adds that “for these efforts to be truly effective, governments must decriminalize the use of drugs for personal use.”

Global: More Than 1,000 Leaders Issue Worldwide Call For End To Disastrous Drug War

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“Humankind cannot afford a 21st century drug policy as ineffective and counter-productive as the last century’s,” Letter Says

On the eve of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, world leaders and activists have signed a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to set the stage “for real reform of global drug control policy.”

The unprecedented list of signatories includes a range of people from Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders to businessmen Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, Barry Diller, actors Michael Douglas and Woody Harrelson, Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, singers John Legend and Mary J. Blige, activists Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gloria Steinem and Michelle Alexander, as well as distinguished legislators, cabinet ministers, and former UN officials.

“The drug control regime that emerged during the last century,” the letter says, “has proven disastrous for global health, security and human rights. Focused overwhelmingly on criminalization and punishment, it created a vast illicit market that has enriched criminal organizations, corrupted governments, triggered explosive violence, distorted economic markets and undermined basic moral values.

Israel: Australian Premier Visits, Learns About Israeli Cannabis Scene

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Israel-Cannabis.com's co-founder, CEO Saul Kaye met this week with Australian Premier Mike Baird and the Australian trade mission currently in Israel. Kaye highlighted iCAN's involvement in medical cannabis clinical trials and plant based research via iCAN's partnership with Breath of Life (BOL) Pharma. The two companies recently partnered to form the first private Cannabis R&D center in Israel.

"As a company in Israel with two Australian founders, I was especially honored to have the opportunity to present our initiatives in front of Premier Mike Baird and the Australian mission," Kaye said. "The mission visit comes fresh off our CannaTech global innovation summit as we are looking to collaborate on research and development initiatives to advance medical cannabis and further Australia's entrance into a responsible medical cannabis program."

Baird, the Premier of Australia's New South Wales district which encompasses Sydney and has a population of about 7.7 million inhabitants, is one of Australia's leading proponents of legalizing medical cannabis in his country and could be on the cusp of leading historic legal reform as clinical trials have begun.

Global: Canadian, Mexican Lawmakers and Advocates Discuss Marijuana Law Reforms

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US Cannabis Legalization Emboldens International Moves, Which Spur Further American Efforts

Just weeks ahead of the highest-level review of the global War On Drugs in nearly two decades, national legislators and activists from Canada and Mexico will join on Wednesday with US-based drug policy reformers to discuss the countries' moves moves away from prohibition-based marijuana laws.

"With the governments of both Canada and Mexico preparing to enact major reforms to their marijuana policies, these moves will have a major impact on the debate here in the US," said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org. "This is especially true with the special session of the United Nations coming up in just a few weeks, where world leaders will have the opportunity to discuss the failure of current prohibition-based drug policies and chart more effective ways forward."

Legislators and advocates will join in Wednesday's discussion, including:
• Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Member of Canada's House of Commons, who argued for legalization at a recent UN/Inter-Parliamentary Union debate on marijuana
• Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández, Mexican senator, who also spoke in favor of legalization at the UN/Inter-Parliamentary Union debate
• David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org
• Donald MacPherson, executive director of Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
• Aram Barra, program officer for Transform Drug Policy Foundation and México Unido Contra la Delincuencia

Global: Canada To Advocate Marijuana Legalization At UN Drug Conference

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The long awaited, much anticipated UN General Assembly's Special Session on Drugs will happen April 19-21 at the UN Headquarters in New York City, and Canada is expecting to advocate for abandoning the organization's longstanding prohibition of marijuana.

Just a month before the important UN drug conference begins, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Hilary Geller, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna this month, said the new Canadian Liberal government headed by Justin Trudeau will be moving away from American War On Drugs policies, as pointed out by Lanny Swerdlow at the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project (MAPP),

The Canadian government plans not only to legalize marijuana, but also to open for safe-injection sites for intravenous drug users and to promote other harm-reduction policies.

Attendees at that conference, made up of government and non-governmental organization officials from around the world, "erupted in applause" mid-way through Geller's address and gave a prolonged ovation.

Geller's presentation was at odds with the policies of the former Canadian government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Drug War policies closely followed those of the United States, including implementing mandatory-minimum prison sentences and boosting police narcotics enforcement.

North America: 'No More Drug War' Caravan Departs From Central America On Way To U.N.

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Caravan to Hold Events in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States Culminating at UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in New York on April 19-21

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs, which will be taking place in New York City from April 19 to April 21, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice started its journey in Honduras on March 28 (see Caravan schedule). The Caravan is a far-reaching initiative brought together by civic organizations, social movements, and victims of human rights violations from multiple countries demanding an end to the drug war to create alternatives to prohibitionist policies that fuel violence and illicit drug trafficking.

The Caravan will visit some of the places most affected by militarization, organized crime and mass incarceration, bringing to public attention the voices of victims, migrants, indigenous and farming communities, women, youths and human rights defenders.

The goal is to promote an honest and diverse discussion of drug policy with a focus on the social costs of prohibition and the Drug War, as well as alternatives based on human rights, public health and reducing violence.

Global: 'No More Drug War' Caravan Departs From Central America To The UN

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Caravan to Hold Events in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States Culminating at UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in New York on April 19-21

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs, which will be taking place in New York City from April 19 to April 21, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice will be starting its journey in Honduras on Monday, March 28 (see Caravan schedule).

The Caravan is a far-reaching initiative brought together by civic organizations, social movements, and victims of human rights violations from multiple countries demanding an end to the Drug War to create alternatives to prohibitionist policies that fuel violence and illicit drug trafficking.

The Caravan will visit some of the places most affected by militarization, organized crime and mass incarceration, bringing to public attention the voices of victims, migrants, indigenous and farming communities, women, youths and human rights defenders.

The goal is to promote an honest and diverse discussion of drug policy with a focus on the social costs of prohibition and the Drug War, as well as alternatives based on human rights, public health and reducing violence.

Uruguay: Cannabis Sales Stuck In Limbo Two Years After Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than two years after Uruguay became the first nation in the modern world to legalize and regulate marijuana, citizens are still waiting to buy the first legal cannabis at pharmacies.

Although Uruguay legalized in December 2013, the government has yet to implement a plan for mainstream cannabis commercialization, reports Ladan Cher at Foreign Policy, because they argue they can't rush such a complicated task. What was initially ballyhooed as the world's first controlled experiment of a nationwide marijuana economy is now stuck in limbo.

Uruguay has, rather than serving as a model for other countries hoping to legalize, become a cautionary tale about the difficulties which can be encountered on the way to creating a legal cannabis market.

The legalization law, passed with the support of groups like Regulación Responsable, permits Uruguayans who registered with the government to get cannabis in one of three ways: growing it at home, joining cannabis clubs (in which members grow a collective garden), or buying it from pharmacies.

But pharmacy sales are still unavailable, leaving only the 6,000 Uruguayans who grow their own plants with legal access to marijuana.

India: Study Shows Hemp Has Shielded Ellora Caves From Decay For 1,500 Years

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Archaeologists say they've discovered the reason India's famous Ellora Caves haven't decayed over the 1,500 years they've existed. The reason is hemp.

"The use of hemp helped the caves and most of the paintings remain intact at the 6th century Unesco World Heritage site," according to a study conducted by Manager Rajdeo Singh, a former archaeological chemist of the Archaeological Survey of India's science branch, and M M Sardesai, who teaches botany at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University. The study was published in the March 10 issue of the journal Current Science.

"Cannabis sativa, popularly known as ganja or bhang, was found mixed in the clay and lime plaster at Ellora," Singh writes in the study. "This was confirmed by technologies such as scanning of the electron microscope, Fourier transform, infra-red spectroscopy and stereo-microscopic studies.

"Hemp samples were collected from areas in Jalna district near Aurangabad and also from the outskirts of Delhi," Singh wrote. "These specimens were matched with the samples found in cave number 12 of Ellora. There was no disparity. In the sample collected from the Ellora cave, we found 10 percent share of cannabis sativa in the mix of mud or clay plaster. This is the reason why no insect activity is found at Ellora," Singh wrote in his study.

Global: Marijuana-Based Drug Found To Reduce Epileptic Seizures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first major clinical trial of an experimental drug derived from marijuana has shown that Epidiolex reduces epileptic seizures, the product's developer announced on Monday.

The shares of Big Pharma giant GW Pharmaceuticals more than doubled on Monday after the announcement.

GW said Epidiolex achieved the main goal of the trial, reducing convulsive seizures when compared with a placebo in patients with Dravet syndrome, a rare, severe form of epilepsy, reports Andrew Pollack at The New York Times.

If Epidiolex wins regulatory approval, as expected, it would be the first prescription drug that is extracted from marijuana. Marinol (Dronabinol), the THC capsules prescribed for nausea and appetite, use synthetic rather than plant-derived THC.

Epidiolex is a liquid containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.

As many as one-third of the nearly 500,000 American children with epilepsy aren't sufficiently helped by existing Big Pharma drugs, according to GW. Parents of these children have, in desperation, tried medicinal cannabis extracts prepared by medical marijuana dispensaries.

Uruguay: Wide World of Cannabis Explores First Country To Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis and pop culture media platform Merry Jane is investigating cannabis globally in their new original series, "Wide World of Cannabis," which premieres Wednesday.

The first episode, "Uruguay Part 1," travels to South America to explore the first country in the world to completely legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana.

"This is just the start of Merry Jane's deep dive into cannabis use around the world," publicist Katie Jang told us on Wednesday.

Merry Jane was recently launched by entertainment icon Snoop Dogg and media entrepreneur Ted Chung.

The website, including partners Seth Rogen, Guy Oseary and Miley Cyrus, features the latest news on cannabis, business and entertainment, as well as a location mapping service for dispensaries, and an encyclopedia of all things cannabis.

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