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Jamaica: Ganja Law Now In Effect; Up To 2 Ounces Marijuana Decriminalized

JamaicaGanjaOneLove[FuxArt.de]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Jamaica's governor general has given his assent to the so-called "Ganja Law," the bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act, making possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a ticketable offense rather than an arrestable one.

Justice Minister Mark Golding made the disclosure yesterday, just over a month after the Jamaican House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the legislation now being called the Ganja Law, reports the Jamaica Observer.

"My understanding is that the GG has now assented to the Bill and the signed Bill is now on its way back to Parliament," Golding told ganja advocates who were anxious that the amendments become law as soon as possible.

The House passed the bill on February 24, and it was expected to be signed into law about a week later. Golding didn't say what caused the apparent delay in the Bill returning to Parliament from King's House.

During the 30-day wait, there was speculation among some marijuana advocates that Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, might have been having difficulties giving his assent to the amendments.

The Act is highlighted by a provision making possession of two ounces or less of ganja a ticketable offense. Other provisions could pave the way for establishment of a legal ganja industry that advocates believe could reduce poverty in Jamaica.

Indonesia: Police Burn 3 Tons Of Marijuana, Accidentally Get Entire Town High

IndonesianPoliceBurn3TonsMarijuanaGetEntireTownHigh[Malesbanget.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Police in Palmerah, Indonesia, a sub-district of West Jakarta, accidentally got an entire town stoned when they burned a 3.3-ton pile of marijuana.

A number of residents and journalists in the Indonesian neighborhood reported feeling disoriented, dizzy and stoned when heavy plumes of smoke wafted through their streets, reports Dangerous Minds.

Some of the police wore masks as they first set the cannabis ablaze, but neglected to mention to onlookers and residents in the surrounding community that the smoke could affect them, too.

Photo: Malesbanget.com

Israel: Galilee Farmers Want To Grow Cannabis; Government Says No

IsraeliMedicalCannabis

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Israeli farmers in Galilee want to grow medical marijuana, but Israel's government, so far, hasn't budged in forbidding such a practice.

At present, only eight farmers in Israel have permission to grow cannabis, reports Idan Cohen at Jerusalem Online. The government opposes increasing the number of cannabis licenses, but disappointed farmers want to increase their profits.

Galilee farmers are especially interested in exporting marijuana overseas. "The State of Israel is preventing the export of Israeli cannabis, which could bring millions of dollars to the state and the farmers; I am not sure why they delay it," said Dubi Amitay, president of the Israeli Farmers Association.

Negev farmers, in January, also asked permission to grow medical marijuana. Several farmers from the Eshkol Regional Council, near Gaza, asked the government to let them grow cannabis for medicinal purposes, and to give them priority due to their losses during Operation Protective Edge, when Israeli forces attacked the Gaza Strip.

Despite their request, and raising public awareness to their cause, the farmers were not successful. The government not only refuses to expand the licensing program; it also refuses to reveal the exact location of its existing licensed cannabis farms.

Photo of Israeli medical cannabis: Channel 2 News

Global: Partnership To Develop Cannabinoid Therapies For Ocular Allergies

InMedPharmaceuticals(logo)

InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Tuesday announced it has formed an exclusive strategic collaboration with the University of Debrecen, Hungary, to develop novel phytocannabinoid-based therapies (plant-based cannabinoids) to treat ocular allergic symptoms.

The collaboration will leverage InMed's proprietary Intelligent Cannabinoid Drug Design Platform (IDP) and will be led by one of the world's leading cannabinoid researchers, Dr. Tamas Biro, MD, PhD, DSc. Dr. Biro has extensive research experience in studying the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the closely related transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in various human diseases.

Under the discovery and development collaboration InMed's IDP Platform will be used to identify cannabinoid- and non-cannabinoid-based phytochemicals for ocular therapies focused on reducing various pro-inflammatory cytokines in in vitro and in vivo models.

"We have accumulated significant experience and expertise in developing cannabinoids to treat ocular disease, which forms the basis of this strategic collaboration," said Dr. Sazzad Hossain, chief scientific officer of InMed. "As we prepare to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials of our lead phytocannabinoid-based drug candidate CTI-085 for glaucoma, we look forward to expanding our ophthalmic therapy pipeline by developing ocular anti-allergic drugs, where we expect Dr. Biro's 18 years of experience in this specialty field to be invaluable."

Global: Groups From 13 Countries Form New International Cannabis Patient Coalition

InternationalMedicalCannabisPatientCoalitionIMCPC(logo)

Coalition ratifies declaration this past week in Prague, urging the UN to reclassify cannabis plant for medical use

Medical cannabis patients from 13 countries, including those represented by U.S. advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), established the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC) this past week while at the "Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Policy, Research and Medical Practice" conference in Prague from March 4-7. IMCPC member countries include Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.

The first action of the IMCPC was to ratify a declaration urging the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs to either reclassify cannabis for medical use, convene a UN Special Convention on Cannabis, or simply exclude cannabis from the UN Single Convention on Narcotics. The IMCPC declaration will be delivered to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna this week by Pavel Bem, the Czech representative for the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Jamaica: Cannabis Global Initiative To Assist Marijuana Companies Entering New Market

CGICannabisGlobalInitiativeDenver,ColoradoKingston,Jamaica

Legislation to make provisions for ganja reform was approved by the Jamaican Cabinet and tabled in the Senate in January 2015. This Bill, the Dangerous Drugs Act 2015, and popularly called the Ganja Bill, opened the door to the emergence of new financial and commercial opportunities for companies who want to do business in Jamaica.

As advisors for cannabis reform to the country of Jamaica, the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI) says it is now offering "a full suite of services to assist companies wanting to be among the first to do legal cannabis business in the Caribbean," and has opened a second office in Kingston.

With the opening of its second office and CGI's longstanding relationships with the Jamaican government, policy stakeholders and the growing community, CGI is prepared to advise companies with placing their products and/or services in the first Caribbean country to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. TessMaria Leon, director of Client Services for CGI's Caribbean team, heads CGI's Kingston office.

"We've created a robust offering to ensure the best companies are being represented and positioned correctly to do business in the Caribbean," says CGI President Wanda James. "CGI has created a number of packages with several levels of service designed to introduce cannabis-related businesses to Jamaican culture, lifestyle and business infrastructure."

Israel: 'We Can Become A Cannabis Superpower,' Says Green Leaf Party

IsraelGreenLeaf(AlehYarok)PartyFlag

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Running up to the March 17 elections, Israel's Green Leaf Party on Wednesday announced a comprehensive economic study showing higher than expected revenues of about NIS 3 billion per year for the state if the cannabis market is regulated by law.

The study, conducted by the head of military budgets, Elad Daudi, an expert military economist, is based on data from a study published by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, along with data from Colorado, reports Israel's Cannabis Magazine.

The new study shows economic benefits both from stopping prosecution of marijuana consumers, and from the expected tax to the state treasury which would result from a legal cannabis market. According to the study, NIS 700 million would be saved by the state on enforcement expenditures, courts, arrests, etc., with at least NIS 2.2 billion from revenues from all taxes.

Further, those amounts don't include the expected revenues once the new market is fully reopened. The cannabis industry is expected to quickly product about 10,000 new jobs. The exportation of medical cannabis overseas alone is expected to result in NIS 2 billion per year in state revenues.

Jamaica Receives Warning On Marijuana Legalization From U.S. Government

WilliamRBrownfield

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With marijuana legalization gaining momentum in Jamaica, the United States federal government has indicated it is uncomfortable with the idea.

Such a move could increase the flow of ganja from Jamaica to the U.S., according to William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, reports Arlene Martin-Wilkins of the Jamaica Observer.

Brownfield was responding to a question about last Friday's tabling of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2015 in the Jamaican Senate, which would decriminalize marijuana for medical, religious, and personal uses. The possession of small amounts of ganja -- two ounces or less -- would become a non-arrestable offense.

"With or without the legalization of ganja, the decriminalization of ganja, the importation of ganja into the U.S. remains against the law and the issue then is how much impact will legalization or decriminalization have on that," Brownfield told reporters on Tuesday. "And, I can assure you that, from the U.S. side, we will continue to pursue maximum efforts to prevent any import in the United States and we will request and expect complete co-operation from law enforcement authorities of the Government of Jamaica in eliminating this sort of trafficking."

Lebanon: Hashish Growers Say They're Ready To Join Fight Against ISIS

LebaneseHashFactory(RebeccaCollard-PRI)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hashish growers in Lebanon's cannabis-rich Bekaa Valley say they are ready to join the fight against Islamic militant group ISIS.

The Lebanese army and the hash growers -- who formerly trained their weapons on each other -- now have a common enemy, because ISIS has been targeting marijuana crops in Syria, reports Rebecca Collard at PRI. The group recently posted a video online of ISIS militants destroying shoulder-tall stalks of cannabis near the city of Aleppo.

With the Bekaa Valley hashish factory of Ali Nasri Shamas in Bouday, Lebanon, just 30 minutes from the Syrian border, that's a big concern. Many area residents fear the wild-eyed jihadis, known for their practice of beheading opponents in online videos, are coming to the valley.

But Shamas said he's ready if they do. "This is for ISIS and [the Al-Qaeda-affiliated] Nusra Front," he said, showing off a two-foot long machete.

That's not the extent of his arsenal, in case you're wondering. He also has mounted machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, all originally bought to defend his crops from the Lebanese army -- but now ready to be turned against ISIS.

When ISIS militants attacked a border village between Bouday and the Syrian border back in October, hash farmers joined in to defend it. "When we heard they were attacking Brital, I joined the other men going to defend the village," said one man who asked to be called Abbas.

Israel: Green Leaf Party Offers Marijuana (In The Future) For Campaign Donations (Now)

IsraelGreenLeaf(AlehYarok)PartyFlag

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One political party in Israel is offering marijuana for campaign donations. The only catch is, it's marijuana in the future for campaign donations now.

The gimmick, launched in a YouTube video on Saturday, helped the Green Leaf (Aleh Yarok) party get more than NIS 100,000 ($25,000 US) in donations this week, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Donors who give campaign donations are promised they will receive cannabis if and when the day comes that the plant is legalized in Israel.

The party on Monday morning opened a Headstart fundraising campaign with a range of options for donors. The page includes a sliding scale of hypothetical amounts of marijuana along with corresponding contribution levels.

A donation of NIS 50 ($12.50) entitles the donor to a savings bond redeemable for one gram of marijuana, once it's legalized. That's significantly less than the black market street value of weed in Israel, where it runs NIS 80 to 100 ($20 to $25 US) a gram. By Wednesday, all 56 available for that donation had been purchased.

Uruguay: 1,200 Marijuana Growers Authorized

JulioCalzada(UruguayDrugCzar2014PhotoByPaulStanford)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A year after marijuana legalization in Uruguay, the small South American country of 3.3 million people has registered 1,200 cannabis growers, the head of the National Drugs Board, Julio Calzada, announced on Monday.

"It is encouraging to have 1,200 growers after three or four months since the law came into effect," Calzada said, adding that implementation is progressing "on a clear path, carefully and under control," reports EFE.

"Roughly 500" cannabis clubs have registered with the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis, Calzada estimated. Each club can have up to 45 members and can cultivate up to 99 marijuana plants.

Calzada believes most marijuana users won't grow their own, and won't become club members. Instead he believes they'll just buy their weed through authorized pharmacies, which is still in the works.

President-Elect Tabare Vazquez, who will take office in March, said his government will abide by the law allowing cultivation and sale of marijuana through pharmacies, but left open the possibility of introducing changes in the regulations.

"We will abide by this law and we will have a very strict monitoring to see how it works," said Vazquez, a medical doctor. "If the need arises to amend the law, we will send a bill to parliament to be debated."

Brazil: Health Agency To Study CBD-Only Medical Marijuana Law

CBD(Cannabidiol)ForEpilepsy

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Brazil will soon study the possibility of legalizing the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a marijuana derivative, to treat people suffering from severe seizures.

The country's Health Surveillance Agency, ANVISA, announced that the "reclassification" of the cannabinoid CBD -- which is illegal in Brazil -- will be discussed starting next month, reports the Associated Press.

The statement came on Friday, one day after about 40 people protested in the capital city of Brasilia to demand the legalization of CBD.

Some Brazilians resort to an underground network of illegal cannabis farmers in Rio de Janeiro that extract the CBD and donate it. That network supplies Margaret de Brito with the oil she gives her five-year-old daughter Sofia, who was born with a genetic mutation that causes seizures.

"They won't even let you pay the shipping," Brito said of the clandestine growers' group.

Her daughter's seizures have decreased dramatically since starting the treatment more than a year ago, and she's been able to stop taking another medication that made her drowsy, Brito said.

The Federal Medical Council, which regulates the medical profession in Brazil, earlier this month authorized neurologists and psychiatrists to prescribe CBD to treat epileptic children and teenagers who don't respond to conventional pharmaceuticals. (You'd think a non-toxic alternative would be the first line of treatment, not the last resort!)

France: THC-Free Marijuana Vape Pen Hitting The Market

KanaVape(ProductShot)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Electronic cigarettes containing extracts of marijuana -- but no psychoactive THC -- are about to hit the market in France any day now. The e-cigs contain cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), which give relaxing and pain-killing effects, according to the manufacturer.

Three young French entrepreneurs are launching the product, which launches before the end of December, and they claim it will be entirely legal, reports The Local.

"KanaVape brings you many of the benefits of cannabinoids without the psychotic effect of THC," claims the website of the product, due to go on sale this month in France.

"Vape pens" which allow consumers to inhale cannabis or tobacco vapor are increasingly popular in the United States. But they've been rare in Europe until now.

"By using only hemp with 5 percent CBD (Cannabidiol) and no THC, KanaVape provides you with a unique cannabinoids excperience," the company claims. "Cannabidiol is a non-psychotic cannabinoid, it will not make you 'high' but will help you relax." (Note the not-very-subtle substitution of the word "psychotic" for the proper term, "psychoactive," perhaps to demonize THC and make it seem more threatening -- a favorite, albeit quite deceptive, marketing strategy for "CBD-only" purveyors.)

CBD-rich hemp, which is grown legally to make products such as oil, rope, cloth, paper, and fuel, will be used to make the vapor mix.

Israel: Company Submits First 2 Proprietary Medical Cannabis Strains For Registration

BreedIT(logo)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

BreedIT Corp., through its Israeli subsidiary, BreedIT Ltd., on Tuesday announced that its joint venture, KanaboSeed Ltd., has submitted applications for the registration of two new cannabis strains to the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development Plant Breeders' Rights Council.

The new varieties of marijuana are the first to be developed by the KanaboSeed organization since the venture was formed in August of this year. Characterized by phenotypic and genotypic traits, the strains were cultivated to achieve CBD-to-THC ratios identified by the company's Scientific Advisory Board as likely to be effective in the management of particular medical conditions.

"We formed KanaboSeed to leverage the horticultural expertise of Seach Ltd., a licensed Israeli medical cannabis grower, with the technical and research capabilities of BreedIT Ltd., as well as our iBreedIT software platform," said Dr. Oded Sagee, CEO of BreedIT Ltd. ":Working together we are able develop and evaluate new strains relatively quickly, thereby reducing the timeline from research to market.

"These two registration applications are just the first for what we anticipate will be a line of new potential cannabis varieties that KanaboSeed is developing to address specific medical uses," Dr. Sagee said. "We intend to capitalize on the commercialization of new varieties, as allowed by the laws and regulations, in Israel and other countries where regulation permits the use of medical cannabis."

Argentina: Thousands Call For Marijuana Legalization In Huge Protest

ArgentinaMarijuanaProtestBuenosAires2014(RT.com)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Thousands of Argentinians on Thursday gathered outside Congress in Buenos Aires to demand the legalization of marijuana.

Protesters openly smoked cannabis and urged the government to join a public debate on marijuana, citing Uruguay, which this year led the world by becoming the first modern nation to announce it will sell government-grown weed.

Meanwhile, in the United States, voters in four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) have approved measures which legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults.

Video of the protest from RT.com: http://rt.com/in-motion/211759-argentina-marijuana-decriminalisation-rally/

Uruguay: Presidential Election Safeguards Marijuana Legalization

UruguayFlagMarijuana

Frente Amplio Candidate Tabaré Vázquez Wins, Promises He Will Implement The Law

Frente Amplio (Broad Front) candidate Tabaré Vázquez defeated opposition candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou in a Sunday presidential run-off election in Uruguay by 53.6 to 41.1 percent. The vote that had major implications for the future of Uruguay’s historic marijuana regulation.

While Vázquez has promised to continue implementing marijuana regulation, National Party opposition candidate Lacalle Pou had said that if he were to become president, he would repeal major parts of the law, including government-regulated sales to adults – the most distinguishing feature of the Uruguayan initiative.

“Sunday’s presidential election result safeguards Uruguay’s historic marijuana legalization,” said Hannah Hetzer, policy manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The Uruguayan people determinedly chose the presidential candidate who will continue the country’s progressive policies, including the roll out of the world’s first national legally regulated marijuana market.”

Global: Online Screening of Classic Reggae Movie 'Countryman' Set For Dec. 5

Countryman(Boomshots)

Next Friday, December 5, Palm Pictures will revive the great tradition of "midnight movies" with an exclusive online screening of the legendary reggae classic Countryman. Directed by Dickie Jobson, the film is a 1982 cult classic, featuring classic tracks from Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Toots and The Maytals.

Preceding the movie screening, at 11:30 pm on Friday 12/5, the film's co-star Carl Bradshaw will live-chat from Jamaica via Google Hangouts On Air with veteran reggae journalist Rob Kenner. The live chat with Bradshaw and the special "Midnight Movie Streaming" will be broadcast live via Google Hangouts here.

Countryman, a real life Jamaican fisherman and mystic, played himself in the 90-minute art house film. His feats of skill and daring in that movie made him an “ital” (natural) Rasta superhero and were an accurate reflection of his way of life.

The film's depictions of ganja use only serve to further endear it to a devoted cult audience.

Island Records founder and Countryman Executive Producer Chris Blackwell recalls, “He was a unique character, able to live in the jungle. We decided to do a film with him because you could never find a movie star who could wrestle with alligators and run through swamps the way he did.

"Countryman was an amazing person, always positive and full of humor," Blackwell ssaid. "Being of African and Indian descent, he embodied the Jamaican motto, ‘Out of Many, One People.’”

Bermuda: New Study Shows Gordon Right, Government Wrong On Medical Marijuana

AlanGordonInGarden

OBA Error Makes Pain Patients Suffer Delayed Relief

Just weeks after Attorney General Trevor Moniz announced that Marinol (synthetic pure THC pills), and not herbal cannabis, would be allowed for medicinal use in Bermuda, a new Harvard study has confirmed the complaints of activist Alan Gordon -- Marinol simply does not work as well as real inhaled cannabis for pain management, because the former takes 60-90 minutes to reach peak effect, whereas real cannabis effects are achieved much more quickly.

Gordon said this allows patients not to overdose on herbal cannabis, whereas Marinol overdoses are common.

The activist, who has dogged the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) incessantly on the cannabis issue, feels that due to a cultural war between government and Rastafarian ideals, government has gone to great lengths to ignore his perspectives at any length, even if that means the OBA is running roughshod over scientific facts and punishing patients.

“Patients have known for decades that Marinol doesn’t dissolve properly, and other studies have shown the same thing, over and over again since the 1990s,” said Gordon from Rhode Island early Monday morning, where he is lawfully assisting cancer patients grow their own medicine.

Global: Oxford Dictionary Names ‘Vape’ 2014 Word of the Year

VapeElectronicCigarette(Watchdog.org)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Oxford Dictionary has named “vape” 2014’s Word of the Year.

Oxford defines the verb as “to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device,” reports Lori Grisham at USA Today. It was added to the dictionary in August.

Vape can also be used as a noun for the e-cig, and for the act of inhaling itself, according to Oxford.

“You are 30 times more likely to come across the word vape that you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year,” Oxford said of the decision.

Runners-up for Word of the Year included “budtender,” a person whose job it is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.

Photo: Watchdog.org

Washington: Marr Announces He's Leaving (Marijuana) Liquor Board

ChrisMarr(WSLCB)

Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) member and former State Senator Chris Marr will leave the regulatory panel in January 2015, the former Spokane auto dealer has announced.

In a prepared statement to Governor Jay Inslee, fellow board members and Board Executive Director Rick Garza, Marr thanked them all for their hard work over the last two years during which Washington undertook the implementation of I-502, the legalization of recreational use of cannabis, reports Jim Boldt at Cannabis Wire.

Marr said he will pursue a career in lobbying. He leaves the Board at probably its second most important juncture, the real possibility of legislative action to mend the medical marijuana (MMJ) law and blend it with the state’s new recreational use law.

In addition to Marr’s leaving, LCB chair Sharon Foster’s term on the Board is up in January and rumors are she will not ask for reappointment. This would leave the Board with an institutional knowledge shortage, according to Cannabis Wire, and only one remaining member, Ruthann Kurose, who worked through the problematic implementation of the recreational use law, I-502.

Those involved in cannabis policy in Washington mention former state Rep. Lynn Kessler and former state Senator Tracey Eide as possible candidates for either or both slots.

Marr's statement is below:

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