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Israel: Medical Cannabis Could Be Worth More Than Natural Gas

IsraelMedicalCannabisFarmNazareth[Reuters]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Israel's natural gas reserves off its shores are considered a boon for the nation's economy. But the general consensus Thursday at a Thursday conference was that Israel is missing an even bigger opportunity -- in the field of medicinal cannabis.

The conference, on how Israel's farmers could benefit from the global market for medical marijuana, was hosted by the Israel Loss Adjusters Association (ILAA), reports Niv Elis at The Jerusalem Post. The cannabis market in the United States alone stands at $35 billion a year, according to Doron Havkin, chairman of the ILAA.

"Are we able to give up revenues from this market?" Havkin asked, arguing that the government could help Israel's struggling farmers in the Arava by declaring it a closed zone for growing export-oriented medical marijuana. Nearly 6,000 acres of land are waiting for such development, according to Havkin.

The economy would be the biggest beneficiary if Israel grew medical cannabis, according to Dr. Tamir Gadot, CEO of the pro-medical marijuana agricultural association Breath of Life. "The economic potential of growing Big Cannabis is greater than that of the gas," he said.

Dr. Gadot said that the government should recognize that medical marijuana is "a legitimate pharmaceutical industry,"

California: George Zimmer To Keynote At Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo

GeorgeZimmer(MensWearhouse)[SeekingAlpha]

Iconic Entrepreneur & Business Leader to Headline West Coast Event for the Legalized & Medical Marijuana Industry

The Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo in Los Angeles (CWCBExpo in LA) on Monday announced that the iconic founder of Men’s Wearhouse and zTailors, George Zimmer, will be its headline keynote speaker. Taking place September 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, CWCBExpo is a trade show and conference for the legalized and medical marijuana industries.

As a renowned business leader, and one of the early pioneers of Conscious Capitalism’s stakeholder model, Zimmer started what would become the largest men’s tailored clothing company in America. In his role as founder, chairman, CEO and TV spokesperson, he guided Men’s Wearhouse with a workingman’s ethos that valued his employees and his customers equally with his shareholders, creating an enjoyable service-oriented experience.

“I value all stakeholders, not just the shareholders,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer is once again revolutionizing the apparel industry with his new venture that was recently announced, zTailors. Coined the “Uber of Tailoring,” this new concept delivers the time-honored craft of tailoring directly to the consumer for a remarkable, and highly personalized customer experience.

New Zealand: Historic Medical Cannabis Policy Briefing Held With Patient Groups

UnitedPatientsGroupMortar[UPG]

United Patients Group, s medical cannabis information and education site, on Thursday disclosed their participation in a history-making policy briefing held last week in Wellington, New Zealand with key members of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, United In Compassion New Zealand, world-renowned researchers and leading medical cannabis physicians.

United Patients Group will act in an ongoing advisory and consultative capacity to the New Zealand working group in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, to further explore and initiate potential Phase 1 medical trials to examine cannabis as a possible therapeutic treatment in New Zealand.

The esteemed invitation-only panel is made up of experts from across the medical cannabis care pathway and included New Zealand and Australian participants, along with several key experts from the United States, including United Patients Group.

"We are honored to be a part of such a ground-breaking and historic effort and are incredibly impressed that the New Zealand government has listened to its constituents and are making a concerted effort to explore thoughtfully and swiftly the benefits of cannabis for medicinal purposes," said John Malanca, founder of United Patients Group.

Background

Mexico: Drug Trafficker 'El Chapo' Is Folk Hero No. 1

ElChapoTshirt[NewYorkTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In Sinaloa State, Mexico, where Joaquín Guzmán Loera -- better known as El Chapo -- was born, the notorious drug trafficker's spectacular escape through a hidden tunnel under what was supposed to be the most secure prison in Mexico has enhanced his status as an outlaw folk hero.

American officials claim Guzmán has contributed to "the death and destruction of millions of lives across the globe through drug addiction, violence and corruption," yet for many Mexicans, he is a combination of Robin Hood and billionaire, report William Neuman and Azam Ahmed for The New York Times.

El Chapo fought the law, and unlike the Bobby Fuller Four, he won. He beat what many Mexicans view as a corrupt ruling class, and Mexico -- just like America -- loves an outlaw.

“Why do people admire him?” said Adrián Cabrera, a blogger in Culiacán wearing a black T-shirt with a picture of El Chapo. “Because he’s a living legend. He’s like Al Capone. He’s like Lucky Luciano. Like Tony Soprano. Like Scarface. He’s like a character on a television show, except that he’s alive, he’s real.”

Global: One World Cannabis To Offer Alternative Treatment For Chronic Pain

OneWorldCannabis(logo)

OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp., an Israel-based developer of cannabinoid-based therapies targeting a variety of different indications, announced on Wednesday that it "is offering new and alternative hope to patients diagnosed with chronic pain."

The company's wholly owned subsidiary, One World Cannabis Ltd., has already filed two provisional patent applications with the USPTO related to the development of two unique formulations that include cannabis extracts and a new delivery system to treat fibromyalgia and migraines, and has begun researching and developing new cannabis-based therapies to help alleviate the suffering of patients experiencing enduring pain.

The news comes about after the FDA recently announced to increase existing heart attack and stroke warnings for both over-the-counter and prescription non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are typically used to treat chronic pain. The cannabis-based novel treatment employed by One World Cannabis could be an alternative to NSAIDs to treat long-lasting pain and fever from many different long- and short-term medical conditions.

In addition, the cannabis-based treatment will provide physicians, as well as patients, with the ability to control and administrate optimal dosage, thus offering an alternative to current delivery systems that are not acceptable to scientists and physicians, such as smoking marijuana, edibles and oil extracts with no substantial dosage control, according to OWC.

Italy: Parliament Looks At Marijuana Legalization

BenedettoDellaVedova[PraguePot]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A proposal to legalize the recreational use of cannabis has been introduced in the Italian parliament, and has gained the support of more than 200 lawmakers.

The Intergrupo Parlamentare Cannabis Legale, a cross-party committee of lawmakers, agreed on a provisional text to legalize the consumption, growing, production and sale of cannabis under certain conditions. "The text was signed by 218 members of parliament, and not just the usual backers of such measures," reports Antoine Sander at Politico.

The bill would make it legal to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana, to cultivate up to five plants, and to smoke it in private, and would allow its sale in government-licensed shops, reports The Courier Mail of Brisbane.

Cannabis clubs, with a maximum of 50 people, could cultivate marijuana as a group and then share the harvest, with strict prohibitions on selling it to the general public.

Sponsored by Benedetto Della Vedova, a junior minister of foreign affairs, the bill was supported by 217 other members of Italy's two chambers of parliament, which have more than 900 lawmakers in total.

Global: Northsight Inks Option To Acquire Spanish Weed Site LaMarihuana.com

LaMarihuana.com(logo)

LaMarihuana.com gets 1.3 million monthly visits, has 1.2 million Facebook fans, 53,000 Twitter followers

Northsight Capital Inc. on Monday announced it has signed an exclusive option to acquire LaMarihuana.com, which, according to the company, is "considered the Hispanic community’s leading cannabis portal."

LaMarihuana was founded in 2001 in Spain and currently has more than 1.3 million visits monthly, making it the most visited portal worldwide by the Spanish-speaking community. LaMarihuana has more than 1.2 million Facebook fans and 53,000 Twitter followers.

The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2013, was 54 million people, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. LaMarihuana is a full informational site, with daily news, forums, reviews, business directory, chat, seedbanks, and other relevant information for the cannabis industry.

If the acquisition is completed, LaMarihuana will become a part of the Northsight platform and will work in conjunction with www.WeedDepot.com, Northsight’s leading marijuana dispensary website. As part of the acquisition, Northsight will acquire LaMarihuana’s website and content, customer information and all related technology. Northsight announced that it expects that key members of the current LaMarihuana team headquartered in Spain will stay on with Northsight post acquisition.

Uruguay Stands Up To U.N. On Marijuana Legalization

UruguayDrugCzarMiltonRomani[CIDH]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Uruguay has stood up to the United Nations on the issue of marijuana legalization, refusing to back down after several meetings with officials from the international body.

Juan Andrés Roballo, the president of Uruguay's National Drug Board (JND), announced on Thursday that he will present a report before the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights defending the country's legalization and regulation of the cannabis market, reports PanAm Post.

Roballo said he will urge the U.N. to discuss legalization "without taboos," reports El Pais.

"Uruguay has embarked on a different path," Roballo said. "Not only have we made proposals; we have also taken effective, concrete measures in a different sense."

Roballo added that the whole world is watching Uruguay, and emphasized the "special commitment" the country has to run a successful legalization process.

The U.N., meanwhile, claims the legalization law approved by Uruguay "is incompatible with what is stipulated in the 1961 Convention," referencing the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty restricting the production, manufacture, export, import, and distribution of various drugs.

Uruguay's decision to legalize cannabis has "kicked the hornet's nest," according to JND Secretary Milton Romani.

Global: New UN Report Exposes Failure Of War On Drugs But Ignores Causes, Solution

Support.DontPunish.(logo)

Activists in 150 Cities Call for End to Drug War, Including D.C. March from State Department to White House

UN Will Review International Drug Control Policies in 2016

The United Nations 2015 World Drug Report, released Friday, details the failure of and harms caused by the war on drugs, but doesn't grapple with the fact that problems such as alarmingly high overdose rates, control of the trade by organized crime networks and illegal sales funding terrorism are caused by the very prohibition policies the international body still supports.

Also on Friday, activists in more than 150 cities around the world called attention to the failure of the war on drugs, including with a march from the U.S. State Department to the White House to demand that the Obama Administration do more to bring about an end to international prohibition policies and the human rights violations they cause.

The day of action, called "Support, Don't Punish," coincides with the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions. U.S.-based activists are particularly concerned that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to ensure that international aid isn't used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.

Global: June 26 Rally At UN In New York Part of Global Day of Action To End Drug War

Support.DontPunish.(logo)

Actions To Take Place In Over 100 Cities Around The World

Events Offer Alternative Vision To United Nations’ Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

A rally will be held on Friday, June 26 at 1 pm in New York City in front of the United Nations Headquarters as part of the global Support. Don’t Punish campaign, where thousands of activists in over 100 cities around the world will make their voices heard.

The campaign calls on governments to put an end to the expensive and counter-productive War On Drugs. This war has failed to reduce drug use or supply, it costs in excess of $100 billion each year to enforce, it has led to the mass incarceration of the vulnerable and the poor, and it fuels human rights violations and HIV epidemics.

June 26 is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which coincides with the release of the United Nations’ annual World Drug Report. It is also a day which has traditionally been used by governments to ‘celebrate’ drug arrests, seizures and even executions.

The Support. Don’t Punish “Global Day of Action” aims to change the narrative, and to highlight the need for a better approach.

Global: National Cannabis Patients Wall Humanizes Patients In 40 Countries

NationalCannabisPatientsWallBuildingWallsAgainstProhibition

The National Cannabis Patients Wall, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to humanize and change medical marijuana laws founded in 2014 in Tennessee, now reaches 40 countries around the world and has more than 17,000 members, organizers announced on Tuesday.

"We endeavor to help patients find support, encourage and support activism while educating the public about medical cannabis and its advantages, and raising funds to build display walls to represent patients from every state," explained NCPW founder Dana Arvidson of Nashville, Tennesseee.

“The National Cannabis Patient's Wall not only signifies our solidarity as patients in need of a safer and effective alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals, but also the barriers we must overcome, our current State and Federal laws, which keep us from the medicine we desire and need," Arvidson said.

Arvidson said the group, which maintains a prominent social media presence including on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+, aims to help patients in every state and country reverse the prohibition of cannabis this year, "and to end the needless suffering, before more people die."

"We work daily to assist the repeal of marijuana prohibition, opening the door to common sense regulation," Arvidson said.

According to Arvidson, one of the best parts of NCPW is letting patients know they aren't facing illness and often legal persecution all alone.

"We provide patients with a place to gather with others who feel the same way," she said. "It truly helps when a patient knows they are not along in their struggle.

Australia: $33.7 Million Donation For Medical Marijuana Research Inspired By Granddaughter

KatelynLambert[TheDailyTelegraph]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A pair of Australian grandparents on Friday made the biggest-ever donation to medical marijuana research to investigate its use in treating childhood epilepsy and other diseases.

Barry and Joy Lambert's granddaughter Katelyn suffers up to 1,400 seizures a day, and medicinal cannabis could save her life, reports Alicia Wood at The Daily Telegraph. Lambert said he and his wife made the $33.7 million gift after seeing Katelyn respond to cannabis treatments for her debilitating condition, Dravet syndrome.

"Our vision is to make Australia a world leader in researching how to realize the powerful medicinal potential of the cannabis plant," Lambert said. "The experience of our granddaughter, who suffers debilitating epilepsy, has opened our eyes to the extraordinary possibility of cannabinoids treating not only her condition but a range of chronic illnesses that often don’t respond to conventional treatments.

“We believe this investment in the future of Australian science and medicine will provide the much-needed evidence to rapidly advance the use of medicinal cannabinoids in the treatment of childhood epilepsy and other serious illnesses,” Lambert said.

Costa Rica: Ministry of Health Releases Criteria for Pending Medical Marijuana Bill

CostaRicaMap[MercyCenters]

Announcement Followed By First Conference In Central America On Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Reform Initiative Finally Brings Central America Into The Regional Debate

Earlier this month, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health outlined the details for the implementation of a pending bill to research and regulate marijuana for medical and industrial purposes. The bill was introduced by ruling Citizen Action Party legislator Marvin Atencio last year to tax marijuana products and regulate the use of medical marijuana through registration cards for patients provided by the Ministry of Health.

Ten months after Atencios’s proposal, the Ministry of Health released its criteria for the implementation of the bill.

“By taking this issue seriously, Costa Rica is demonstrating compassion for those whose suffering could be alleviated with medical marijuana,” said Hannah Hetzer, policy manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “With so much momentum for drug policy reform building in the Americas, Costa Rica’s medical marijuana initiative brings Central America into a debate that is already strongly underway elsewhere in the region.”

Among the conditions specified by the Ministry are that medical marijuana must be used as a last resort and that recreational use of marijuana will continue to be illegal. Medical marijuana will be distributed through conventional drug stores and will follow the same prescription rules outlined by the Costa Rican Social Security System.

Global: New Program Extends Reach of Medical Cannabis Education to Physicians, Patients

TheMedicalCannabisInstituteBetterTreatmentThroughEducation

The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI) on Wednesday launched its new affiliate program, expanding the reach of its educational programming to new audiences within the patient community, as well as to new global markets in Central and Southern Europe.

The three initial TMCI Affiliates are My Compassion, based in Taylor, Mich.; NeoHerbal, located in Europe; and United Patients Group (UPG) of Greenbrae, Calif.

According to Vicky Mossman, VP of partner development, interest in medical cannabis education is growing rapidly. “While physicians need medical cannabis education, patients and their caregivers are motivated to learn more about medical cannabis science, research and treatment, especially patients suffering from glaucoma, chronic pain, PTSD and cancer,” said Mossman. “Our affiliate program allows TMCI’s educational initiative to reach a broader set of clinicians, patients and caregivers as legalization increases and medical cannabis becomes more mainstream.”

As part of the TMCI program, affiliates serve as education ambassadors for medical cannabis education. The TMCI program provides access to a range of affiliate resources, including the TMCI Affiliate seal and guidelines, as well as print and web materials on the medical cannabis curriculum.

Chile: Hundreds of Thousands Attend Largest Pro-Marijuana Demonstration Ever

ChileLargestProCannabisDemonstrationEver2015

By Mike Bifari
Hemp News

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Santiago, Chile on Sunday to ask for a new law that allows the self-cultivation of marijuana and a change in the drug law in Chile. Estimates of 400,000 marchers are agreed on, but the number of people in Sunday's March range from 250,000 to 500,000, making it the largest pro-cannabis demonstration in history.

The demonstrators marched through the main streets of the Chilean capital to apply for a new drug policy and regulation of cannabis in March '11 Grow Your Rights' organized by Movimental, a civic association working with new drug law policies.

Movimental said that in recent years "the demand for a new drug policy and a new regulation on Cannabis, has achieved a remarkable and majority social legitimacy", which is reflected in the massive participation in the call on Sunday.

Families with children and people of all ages gathered at noon in a peaceful demonstration to demand, he said one of the participants told The Associated Press, "for the freedom of every person, it is a plant, like all others, such as tomatoes, such as avocado. It is a plant, there is nothing illegal, plant something natural."

Many attendees wore references to the marijuana plant, both as crown
tattooed on the body or printed on colorful flag backgrounds. The
march was also attended by people with different types of diseases who
resort to marijuana for medicinal use.

"I have diabetes, hypertension, lupus and now I found something in the

Global: Jamaican Government Calls For UN Drug Policy Reforms

MarkGoldingJamaicaMinisterOfJustice[JamaicaInformationService]

The United Nations' high-level review of global drug polices that's getting underway in New York today has already yielded some exciting results.

Mark Golding, the Jamaican minister of justice, on Thursday morning spoke at the UN debate session and called for the establishment of a Committee of Experts to begin exploring how to revise international drug treaties that threaten to stand in the way of nations' marijuana reforms. (Jamaica recently enacted a law allowing marijuana cultivation and use.)

The proposal is very significant, and is one of the main requests of a group sign-on statement released earlier this week, according to Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. "Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations," the groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, wrote in a sign-on letter released on Tuesday.

Others who spoke out Thursday morning against the ongoing War On Drugs included top officials from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina, among others.

Global: Major Groups Call For UN To Respect Countries That Legalize Marijuana

StopTheDrugWar.org(StopSign)

Human Rights Should Take Priority Over Drug Enforcement, New Letter Says

As the United Nations prepares for the first comprehensive review of global responses to drug problems in nearly two decades, a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations is pushing for the international body to respect countries that move away from prohibition.

"Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations," the groups write in a new letter being released on Tuesday.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are among the signatories. Also notable are a number of organizations devoted to health policy and AIDS services.

The letter's release is timed to a United Nations "High-Level Thematic Debate on the World Drug Problem" taking place in New York on Thursday, May 7, in preparation for a UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) scheduled for April 2016. Advocates believe that countries should take the UNGASS as an opportunity to pursue a range of reforms to global drug policy, including revising provisions of the UN Drug Conventions that threaten to stand in the way of reform.

Global: Justice, Rights Groups Condemn Execution of Nonviolent Drug Offenders By Indonesia

IndonesianDrugExecutions2015

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A number of U.S.-based and international criminal justice reform, human rights and public health groups on Tuesday are joining together to condemn the execution of nonviolent drug offenders by the Indonesian government that just took place.

“Wherever they occur, executions for nonviolent offenses violate human rights,” a sign-on letter from the groups says.

Despite repeated pleas for mercy from family members, citizens, human rights organizations, the United Nations, and governments around the world, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Nigerians Martin Anderson, Raheem Agbaje Salami, Okwuduli Oyatanze, and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, and Indonesian Zainal Abidin faced a firing squad at just past midnight Indonesia-time. Serge Atlaoui from France has been given a temporary reprieve and Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was given a last-minute reprieve.

Global: Original Series 'Four Twentysomethings' Premieres Monday, April 20

FourTwentySomethingsStreaming4.20.15

They toke. They smoke. They joke. They’re “Four Twentysomethings.” Hardworking slackers Robert Kaval, Steven Hugh Nelson, and Steve Scapardine premiere their original series on YouTube on Monday, April 20 at 4:20 a.m. CT. "Please, don’t call it a web series," the ask. "It sounds more professional this way."

Combining the wit and idiocy of all three creators, “Four Twentysomethings” follows four friends in their twenties who work at a marijuana dispensary, which means the title is also the logline. Like “Clerks,” but with weed, the characters talk, complain, and pretty much do anything but actually work.

Sometimes, they put up with the antics of Skater Dave, their stoner friend, or Sonny, the official "Owner and Stoner." Always, they put up with an empty store because the creators couldn’t afford to pay extras.

“This is honestly one of the greatest shows I’ve ever watched, and certainly the best I’ve ever created,” said one of the Steves. “This is also the only show I’ve ever created. Or watched.”

Faint, untrustworthy praise could also be found elsewhere.“Yeah, I guess it’s alright, but I wish he would’ve gone to law school,” said Sheila, the other Steve’s mother. A stranger who walked past me in the coffeehouse said, “What? You want a quote for what?”

Australia: 'Hydro Cannabis' Targeted In Grow Raids

SouthAustraliaHydroCannabis[Yahoo]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 30 people have been charged after police investigating the cultivation of hydroponic cannabis raided 60 properties in South Australia.

The investigation began in May 2014, centering on four hydroponic businesses, reports AAP. It culminated in five days of raids beginning on March 24.

According to police, 37 grow houses were searched, resulting in 31 arrests and the seizure of 711 cannabis plants, 26 kilograms of dried cannabis, two grams of amphetamine and two grams of cocaine.

Also seized were 33 firearms, $91,805 in cash, 12 vehicles and a "large quantity" of hydroponic growing equipment.

The investigation continues, according to assistant police commissioner Paul Dickson on Wednesday.

"This operation will certainly shake up the hydroponics industry and disrupt any criminal activity being undertaken by these individuals," Dickson said.

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