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U.K.: Sheep Munch Through $6,300 Worth of Marijuana Dumped In Their Field

SheepEatWeed(Metro.co.uk)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A flock of sheep in England got an unexpected treat last month when they munched on thousands of dollars worth of marijuana dumped in their field.

The animals were happily stumbling about after eating seven bags of cannabis, with a reputed valued of £4,000 (about $6,300 American), reports Nicola Fifield at The Telegraph.

The flock reportedly found the marijuana stash at the edge of Fanny's Farm in Merstham, Surrey.

"My sheep, being inquisitive, had an interesting feast on it," said farm manager Nellie Budd. "They weren't quite on their backs with legs in the air, but they probably had the munchies.

"They haven't had any other side effects, but I'll tell you about the meat next week," Budd added.

"At first I thought it was someone's hedgerow rubbish," Budd said. "I went down to collect the bags so the sheep weren't eating black plastic.

"When I got there I realized it was a form of herbal cannabis plant," Budd said. "They were very strong in scent."

"I have no idea how they got there," Budd said, reports Harry Readhead at Metro.co.uk. "It’s right next to a road and the footpath is quite open."

Uruguay: Presidential Candidate Wants To Roll Back Marijuana Legalization

Uruguay-LuisLacallePou

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Uruguay's leading opposition candidate for President said he would try to repeal much of the country's historic marijuana legalization law which allows the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis if he wins Sunday's election.

The South American nation became the first in the world to officially allow the production and use of cannabis, but almost two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose the experiment which aims to take control of the marijuana trade away from drug gangs, reports Esteban Farat at Thomson Reuters.

But notably, even the candidate in question, Luis Lacalle Pou of the centrist National Party, would still allow home cultivation and cannabis clubs.

"I will keep the law's articles that allow users to grow their own cannabis at home and authorize smoking clubs and repeal the rest, in particular the state's commercialization of the drug," Lacalle Pou said.

"I will send a bill to Parliament to repeal it," he said. "We will need a majority in Parliament, and I will look for support.

Polls show Lacalle Pou trailing the left-wing candidate for the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) party, Tabare Vazquez, who has backed the legalization law.

Photo of Luis Lacalle Pou: Xinhua News Agency/Rex

Spain: Basque Parliament Urges Government To Legalize, Regulate Cannabis Clubs

BasqueMarijuanaFlag

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Basque Parliament on Wednesday urged the Basque Government to legalize and regulate the activity of cannabis clubs, and give legal support to marijuana cultivation for club members' collective consumption.

The Basque Chamber is concluding two years of work on a study of the clubs with adoption of a recommended solution towards regulating them. The recommendations approved "will place Basque Country at the head of the regulation of these places," the group said.

The political parties PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), EH BILDU (Basque Country United) and PSE-EE (Socialist Party of the Basque Country) have all advocated taking steps towards non-confrontational legal existence for the cannabis clubs, and have urged the Basque Government to devise a system which offers regulation, legal guarantees and security for the clubs.

These groups said that until there is such governmental regulation, cannabis clubs should establish their own self-regulation and standards of good practice. Also, it is expected that medicinal and therapeutic uses of cannabis will be excluded from the regulations governing the clubs.

Morocco: Hash-Producing Nation Considers Marijuana Legalization

MoroccanMarijuanaField

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new law being considered in Morocco that would legalize marijuana cultivation for medical and industrial uses, finally bringing the North African Islamic nation's thriving hashish industry into the open.

The proposal, however, faces stiff opposition in this conservative nation, despite a centuries-old tradition of growing cannabis in the north, where the Rif Mountains have long been a center of hash production, reports Paul Schemm of the Associated Press.

Some farmers like Abdelkhalek Benabdallah openly grow marijuana, despite its illegal status. "We are regularly subject to blackmail by the gendarmes," he said as he prepared his September harvest.

The new law could alleviate widespread poverty and unrest; suspicious farmers, accustomed to an adversarial relationship with government authorities, don't believe the government will do anything to help them. The farmers fear that legalization might lower the already cheap price of $8 a kilogram they receive for their product.

"If legalization happened for all of Morocco, we could never compete with the other farmers that have lots of land and the price of cannabis wouldn't be any different from that of carrots," said Mohammed Benabdallah, an activist in the village of Oued Abdel Ghaya.

Israel: Family Doctors Given Temporary License To Prescribe Medical Marijuana

IsraelMedicalCannabisInJars

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Israel's Health Ministry, attempting to deal with a heavy load on pain clinics, has announced that family doctors will temporarily be allowed to write medical marijuana prescriptions for their patients.

The new rules will allow family physicians to write the medicinal cannabis prescriptions under two conditions, reports Ido Efrati at Haaretz: when it is an extension of an existing treatment, and keeping to an existing dosage.

About 18,000 Israelis hold permits for using medical marijuana, with this number expected to grow to 40,000 by 2018. Demand for cannabis in Israel has been growing steadily, and the list of conditions for which it is authorized has also been growing.

Medical marijuana was recently authorized for the treatment of certain types of pediatric epilepsy, as well as in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with the other diseases and conditions for which patients are allowed to use cannabis.

Israeli health authorities have suggested before that family doctors -- who work in health maintenance organization (HMO) clinics -- should be able to write cannabis prescriptions. But the idea has met with fierce opposition in the past, both from some of the doctors themselves and from the HMOs.

Australia: Outrage As Police Conduct Mass Drug Tests, Raid Businesses In Nimbin

NimbinAustraliaDrugRaid

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Local residents in Nimbin, New South Wales, Australia were outraged on Thursday at a town-wide marijuana raid in which drug-detecting dogs searched people for marijuana.

A forensics van was reportedly on hand to perform on-the-spot drug testing, and a number of local businesses were raided, reports Taylor Auerbach at the Daily Telegraph.

Nimbin, a counterculture hippie haven, is still reeling from a devastating fire last month that destroyed four of the town's most historic buildings; locals were very upset with the huge police presence.

"Some people are absolutely disgusted, some people think it's a joke, some people think it's an intrusion," said Mac McMahon of the Nimbin Hemp Embassy. "They're an unwelcome presence in the small community. It's over the top."

"They seem to be carting off tourists and locals who buy a little bit of marijuana off the street," one local resident said.

The raids were part of "Operation Oleary," which police claimed they established "following concerns from the local community." More than 70 police were involved in the raids, with at least eight people being arrested.

Cops confiscated two kilograms of cannabis following raids at a cafe and a bookstore. One police spokesman denied they were performing on-the-spot drug tests.

Global: Drug Policy Alliance Responds To New Report From Global Commission On Drugs

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy on Tuesday released a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event was live-streamed and speakers included Richard Branson, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss and others.

The report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Commissioners, who reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – and now also call for permitting the legal regulation of psychoactive substances. The Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders to ever call for such far-reaching changes.

“When the Commission released its initial report just three years ago, few expected its recommendations to be embraced anytime soon by current presidents," said Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann. "But that’s exactly what happened, with Colombian President Santos and Guatemala President Perez-Molina speaking out boldly, former Mexican President Calderon calling on the United Nations to reassess the prohibitionist approach to drugs, and Uruguayan President Mujica approving the first national law to legally regulate cannabis.

"Meanwhile, one Commission member, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, has opened up the drug policy debate in West Africa, recruiting some of the region’s most distinguished figures," Nadelmann said.

Bermuda: Activist Says 'We've Won,' Claims Cannabis Now Fully Legal

AlanGordon

Activist Alan Gordon Claims Deliberate Crown Non-Intervention in Known Large Religious/Medical Grow Operation Sets “Unacceptable and Unconstitutional” Precedent Which Tramples Others’ Racial and Religious Rights

Cannabis activist Alan Gordon of Bermuda told Hemp News on Monday that an unconstitutional double standard has occurred, in that the Crown is prosecuting Black Rastafarian and atheist cannabis defendants, despite turning a deliberately blind eye to a Gordon’s own Hebrew religious large-scale cultivation and Christian medical-religious distribution of the plant.

Gordon said that in a medical/religious context, he cultivated more than 80 plants this year, approximating 10 pounds of finished cannabis, and distributed it with the Bermuda Police Services’ full prior knowledge. Gordon provided corroborating correspondence, and said the Public Safety Ministry was also told ahead of time -- and yet no apparent action was taken by either agency to effectively stop the cultivation and distribution of the cannabis before it found its way into the community.

“When the Ministry and Police opted not to interfere with my attempt to make Hebrew Biblical medicinal anointing oil (from the recipe in Exodus 30:23) this past grow season, they did so because they assumed Parliament would bring reform so quickly that dealing with it was not worth the trouble and expense,” said Gordon. “But how is prosecuting Black Rastafarians in the public interest, if prosecuting me isn’t?”

Bermuda: Medical Marijuana Patients To Hold Rally; Cite Government For Dishonesty

AlanGordon

Activists plan to engage ruling party in discussion following caucus meeting

Back in January, then-Minister Michael Dunkley told the public that compassionate cannabis permit applications could be filed with his office, with a doctor’s support. This has proven to be untrue, with the Permanent Secretary as well as the Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer denying the program’s very existence./ (Please see below attachments for proof of the license program’s cancellation).

(Article depicting Minister Dunkley’s promise, later secretly broken)

“Gravely ill and dying patients took the Premier at his word, and scurried from doctor to doctor, sapping their final reserves of time and energy, only to find out that Government had secretly cancelled the program, despite taking public credit for their alleged compassion,” Gordon explained.

Gordon called the government’s gambit a “dirty trick” to play on the gravely ill and dying. At least two Bermudian patients have died while waiting for access to medical cannabis, needlessly suffering, according to Gordon.

Patients are now insisting on face-to-face talks with the Premier, outside the formal time-limited caucus meeting guidelines, because, Gordon says: “The time for sound bites and stock answers is over. We want direct, honest talks with follow-up questions because we were lied to, and we don’t trust these guys anymore.”

Global: Cannabis Science Operating Medical Cultivation Programs In Europe, N. America

CannabisScience(cannabinoids)

Cannabis Science, Inc., a United States-based company specializing in marijuana formulation-based drug development and related consulting, on Tuesday provided an updated guidance report on its current pre-clinical drug development programs underway, beginning with scientific cannabis cultivation programs in Europe and North America, testing multiple marijuana strains for multiple critical ailments.

"The company's efforts in Spain complement Cannabis Science's plans in Canada and the company's current, pre-clinical collaboration with the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care on Aging (INRCA) in Italy, where the company is testing toxicity and efficacy of cannabinoid formulations for neurobehavioral diseases including sleep disorders," said Mario S. Lap, director and president of European Operations at Cannabis Science.

The facilities are located in the Alicante region of Spain; the company said it has successfully initiated an agricultural program spanning combined 15 hectares parceled according to seed strains and growth cycles and protocols. The tests focus on production requirements and research framework to conduct scientific testing of the active constituents in the cannabis plant.

The company said it will set those protocols "to multiply optimal results into drug formulation regimens for pre-clinical studies."

Tasmania: Official Refuses To Acknowledge Misleading Statements on Medical Marijuana

JeremyRockliff(TasmanianMinisterForPrimaryIndustry)

Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries Jeremy Rockliff has been exposed for misleading the public over the extent of poppy industry concerns about a medicinal cannabis trial and potential industry in Tasmania, Greens Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said on Wednesday.

“When Mr Rockliff came out on 3rd of July this year in support of the Health Minister’s rejection of a medicinal cannabis trial in Tasmania, he cited concerns expressed by the poppy industry as a reason for the trial’s rejection,” O’Connor said. “We now know, as a result of Right to Information requests of three government agencies, that Mr Rockliff was misrepresenting the industry and using a fallacious argument to support the Health Minister’s unpopular and poorly argued rejection of a medical cannabis trial in Tasmania.”

“Since then, a number of poppy industry leaders -– including Mr Rockliff’s own father -– have stated that they can see no conflict between the existing world class Tasmanian poppy industry and medicinal cannabis in Tasmania, and indeed that there is enormous potential for Tasmania to establish a medicinal cannabis industry building on that strong reputation,” O'Connor said.

“The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has expressed a similar view," O'Connor said. "They can see no issue for the established poppy industry in Tasmania but do see the potential medicinal cannabis has as a regulated crop for Tasmanian farmers.

Saudi Arabia: Four Men Beheaded For Smuggling Marijuana

SaudiArabiaBeheading

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Four men have been beheaded by sword after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into Saudri Arabia, the interior ministry announced on Monday.

The government-run SPA news organization identified the Saudi men as two sets of brothers, Hadi and Awad al-Motleq, and Mufarraj and Ali al-Yami, reports Malta Today.

The four men were beheaded at Najran, a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia, after they were found guilty of smuggling "a large quantity of hashish" into the country. The government didn't say when the executions took place.

The four beheadings raised to 32 the number of executions announced so far this year in Saudi Arabia, according to the AFP news agency. Amnesty International denounced what it called a "disturbing surge" in executions there.

"The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions," Amnesty said, adding that the executions of the two sets of brothers occurred "reportedly on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture."

The latest executions "bring the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks to 17 -- a rate of more than one execution per day," the organization said.

Chile: Housewife Billed As Latin America's First Legal Medical Marijuana Patient

Chile-CeceliaHayderMMJPatient

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 48-year-old woman in Chile has become the first legal medicinal cannabis patient in Latin America after being granted special permission by the Institute for Public Health due to having both systemic lupus and breast cancer.

"I feel like I am burning up inside," Cecilia Hayder said, reports NBC News. "Everything hurts. I don't have the strength to take a step, and I often have to use a wheelchair. My body rejects opiates so cannabis is the only thing that works for me."

Heyder, a mother of two, will be treated with Sativex, extracted from cannabis, with equal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Sativex isn't considered to be psychoactive, as the CBD mediates the effects of the THC. Although she's already permitted to take Sativex, a new law will have to be rushed through Chile's Congress to allow the public health system to pay for it.

That process will take at least two more months; with Sativex costing more than $3,000 monthly, Heyder simply cannot afford the stuff without government help.

"I am very happy and grateful to the parliamentarians, she said. "But I don't see why my case had to become so emblematic for this to change. Too many people have suffered because of this taboo."

Russia: Bees Attack Police Who Were Destroying Marijuana Plot

RussianPoliceStungByBeesAsTheyDestroyMarijuanaPatch

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

I guess it makes sense that bees don't like buzzkills. Russian police suddenly found themselves in a "sting operation" on Tuesday when they were attacked by hundreds of angry bees as they attempted to destroy a marijuana plot close to Kostroma, northwest of Moscow. The officers fled in disorder from the scene.

It turns out that a number of bee hives were cleverly located in the middle of a plot of cannabis, reports RT.com. Many of the officers were stung repeatedly, but none reportedly suffered allergic reactions.

"As part of an operation, the police arrived at the scene to see whether rumors that a large amount of cannabis was growing were true," said Valery Vekhov, one of the officers involved the the raid. "When we got to where the cannabis was growing, there were a number of beehives.

"When we tried to remove the cannabis plants, the bees started to attack us aggressively," Vekhov said. "We had to leave in order to get protective gear from the owner."

The owner of the beehives, who helpfully provided the protective gear so that the cops could go back and destroy the rest of the plants, claimed he didn't know anything about the cannabis, saying it must have grown wild there. Then again, he would say that, since growing cannabis in Russia can get you eight years in prison.

Spain: Cannabis Club Rules Being Drafted In Catalonia; Would Allow Cultivation, Transportation

CataloniaCannabisClubs

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Public Health Agency of Catalonia (a region of Spain) is drafting rules to regulate the cannabis sales associations which have become popular in the region. Cannabis clubs in Catalonia already have more than 165,000 members and take in about five million euros per month, according to published reports.

The ambitious proposal aims to regulate to entire process surrounding the cultivation and transportation of marijuana by cannabis clubs, and access requirements for members, reports Escofet Mumbru Jordi at El Pais Catalonia. One of the main rules is that cannabis club members can only be residents, to end the "cannabis tourism" that is increasingly popular in cities like Barcelona.

Cannabis club members will be required to be at least 21 years old. To regulate cultivation, the rules specify that cannabis production has to be provided upon prior request of partners, i.e., only marijuana which has previously been charged to a specific member may be planted.

Cultivation records will be required, and once a year, crops will be appraised by professional associations. In no event may cannabis clubs acquire marijuana on the black market; that way, the government has records of all legal cannabis production in the market, which is now impossible.

Transportation of cannabis will also be regulated. Drivers must be on staff and must carry documentation proving they are distributing cannabis which belongs to the association.

Australia: Norfolk Island Gives Go Ahead To Grow, Import, Export Medical Marijuana

TasmanHealth(circlelogo)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Tasmanian company has been given the go-ahead to grow, import and export medical marijuana on Norfolk Island, an external territory of Australia which is not part of Australia's taxation or welfare system.

The island's government has given permission to Tasman Health Cannabinoids (THC) to grow medicinal cannabis, with a view to it becoming a multi-billion dollar exporting industry, reports Airlie Ward at ABC News.

While Norfolk Island has historically struggled financially, and, like Tasmania, has been dependent upon assistance from Australia, the island's Health Minister Robin Adams explained that they are ready to turn that around.

"We are open for investment, we are open for business on Norfolk Island," Adams said. "We see this as a great opportunity both for the economy of Norfolk Island whilst providing a much needed medical product for export."

"The Health Minister on Norfolk Island, Robin Adams, has now given us a production license to go ahead and progress to grow on Norfolk, medical cannabinoids," said THC chairman Dr. Mal Washer.

Heavily dependent on tourism to boost its economy, Norfolk Island was hit hard by the global financial crisis. Visitors on the island dropped from 40,000 a year to 20,000.

Australia: Flight Attendant Warns Passengers To Flush Their Drugs Before Landing

JetstarAustraliaAirplane

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Most of us would appreciate such a warning, but an Australian airline on Wednesday is apologizing for a flight attendant's tip to passengers that there were drug-detecting dogs waiting for them at a Sydney airport.

Many of the 210 passengers on a Sunday night Jetstar Australia flight from Canberra were coming home from the "Splendour in the Grass" weekend music festival at Byron Bay, reports Jonathan Pearlman at the Daily Telegraph.

"We have been told there are sniffer dogs and quarantine officers waiting in the domestic terminal," the flight attendant reportedly told passengers via the Airbus A320's public address system. "If you need to dispose of anything you shouldn't have, we suggest you flush it now."

The advice reportedly prompted a rush on the airliner's bathrooms -- one passenger said several others aboard "suddenly made for the toilets with things clenched in their hands" -- and later resulted in expressions of gratitude on social media from some who had been passengers on the flight.

"I was shocked. Why would you tip off people about this?" the ill-tempered passenger complained. "If they have got something illegal, let them get caught."

But the response on Jetstar's Facebook page was overwhelmingly positive.

"What a good Samaritan, Jetstar Australia this guy deserves a promotion," posted Rohit Dwivedi.

Global: US and Canada Higher Than Most Other Countries, When It Comes To Marijuana Use

WorldCannabisUseMap-UN

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United States and Canada should be proud of themselves. According to an annual United Nations report on global drug use, they rank among the highest in the world, when it comes to marijuana use. Nigeria and Australia join the U.S. and Canada as the highest nations on Earth.

Each of the Top 4 marijuana countries has more than 10 percent of its population, ages 15 to 64, admitting to using cannabis, reports Janissa Delzo at the Medical Daily. Western Europe also has high rates of marijuana use, but didn't rank in the top category.

Countries with the lowest rates of cannabis use in the world are Ecuador, Paraguay (ironically, listed as a top cannabis producer), Turkey, and Romania.

Although Mexico has, for decades, exported large amounts of commercial marijuana to the United States, it has a surprisingly low rate of cannabis use, according to the report. The U.N. said that the lower perceived risk of cannabis use in the U.S. has led to an increase in its use, even as global marijuana use has decreased, particularly in Western and Central Europe.

The World Drug Report 2014 reveals the cultivation and production of cannabis remains widespread, with hashish production concentrated in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.

Philippines: 20 Lawmakers Sign On Co-Authors of Medical Marijuana Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

At least 20 lawmakers in the Philippines have signed on as co-authors of a bill which would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora is among the supporters of the bill, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, House Bill 4477, filed by Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, reports Maricel Cruz at the Manila Standard.

"Right now, the bill has been backed by at least 20 lawmakers, and counting," Albano said. "For the record, the measure would not decriminalize the sale and use of marijuana as this is intended for medical purposes. It is just a matter of explaining to them what the bill is all about."

House Minority Leader Zamora said it's time for the Phillippine Congress to open its discussions on the medical benefits of cannabis. "We are in agreement that marijuana for medicinal -- strictly medicinal purposes -- should be examined," he said. "For recreational purposes, that's an entirely different issue."

House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. John Jorge Banal Jr., from Quezon City, said Albano's measure has a chance of being approved in Congress, as it would help patients suffering from serious illnesses that could be helped by medical marijuana.

Pope Says Nope To Dope: Pontiff Opposes Marijuana Legalization

PopeVsDrugs

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's Hail Mary, but hold the Jane, according to Pope Francis, who just proved that there are definite limits to how cool the "Cool New Pope" is willing to be. Could he who is without sin cast out the stoners?

The Pope has been taking social media by storm, bringing the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st Century, and has garnered an enormous amount of good publicity in doing so, reports Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post. But he isn't willing to endorse the legalization of marijuana.

The Pontiff told members of a drug enforcement conference meeting in Rome on Friday that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs "are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects," reports the Associated Press.

"Let me state this in the clearest terms possible," the Pope said. "The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs. Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise." This dude sounds as bad as Nancy Reagan.

Pope Francis has frequently railed against the "evil" of drugs, and has met with recovering addicts on several occasions.

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