prime minister

Canada: Justin Trudeau Makes A Case For Legalizing Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday made a remarkable argument for the legalization of marijuana, basing his points not on economic benefits, but on the same factors many legalization opponents start from -- concern for the safety of children.

"Look, our approach on legalizing marijuana is not about creating a boutique industry or bringing in tax revenue, it's based on two very simple principles," Trudeau said at an economic conference, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

"The first one is, young people have easier access to cannabis now, in Canada, than they do in just about any other countries in the world," Trudeau pointed out. "[Of] 29 different countries studied by the U.N., Canada was number one in terms of underage access to marijuana.

"And whatever you might think or studies seen about cannabis being less harmful than alcohol or even cigarettes, the fact is it is bad for the developing brain and we need to make sure that it’s harder for underage Canadians to access marijuana," Trudeau said. "And that will happen under a controlled and regulated regime.

Japan: First Lady Touts Revival Of Hemp Culture


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Japan's First Lady Akie Abe raised eyebrows this month after telling a Japanese magazine that she's considered becoming a hemp farmer to help revive the traditional culture.

Abe, in an interview with Spa!, was quoted as saying she'd become interested in hemp cultivation and considered applying for a permit to grow the plant after studying its history, reports Jun Hungo at The Wall Street Journal.

"Hemp is a plant of which all of its parts can be used effectively," Abe said. "While it is not yet permitted in Japan, I think it can be put into great practical use for medical purposes as well."

Japan maintains a hard line with its marijuana laws. The Cannabis Control Law enacted in 1948 bans the cultivation, purchase, import and export of marijuana. But before that, hemp was widely grown in Japan and used to make fabric and for use in imperial ceremonies.

There are still legal hemp farms in Japan, but they are rare and require special permits.

Abe said she'd like to revive the Japanese tradition of cultivating hemp. "I've even considered myself to apply for a permit to grow hemp," she said.

The article included a photo of the First Lady visiting a hemp farm in western Japan in August and posing for a photo in the middle of the hemp field.

Photo: Akie Abe/Facebook

Canada To Become First G7 Nation To Legalize Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canada next year will become the first country in the G7 bloc -- the seven largest economies in the world -- to legalize marijuana, the government reaffirmed on Friday.

The move was announced in a speech by Governor General David Johnson, reports Sarah Begley at Time. Johnson said the government would regulate and restrict access to cannabis, but details about those restrictions aren't yet available.

Johnson said getting rid of the "criminal element" of marijuana would help fix a broken system, adding that regulators would learn from recent recreational cannabis legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington.

Newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to legalize cannabis during the recent campaign that swept the Liberals into power.

The previous administration under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper had scaled back the country's medical marijuana program and increased drug penalties in a move mirroring the mandatory minimums adopted by the United States.

Australia: Medical Marijuana Set For National Clinical Trial


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government has thrown its support behind a clinical trial of medical marijuana, with New South Wales Premier Mike Baird revealing that a deal was struck at Friday's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

NSW will lead the collaborative, national trial, with the support of the Commonwealth and other states and territories, reports Simon Thomsen at Business Insider.

The health ministers discussed medicinal cannabis at their meeting, but underlined their continued opposition to the recreational use and legalization of marijuana, claiming it is linked to mental illness.

Premier Baird last month announced that the NSW government had formed a working group to set up the clinical trial, due to report back at the end of this year. "A NSW working group is already driving this reform and we welcome the support of the Commonwealth and the states and territories for the conduct of the trial," Baird said.

“NSW is playing a leadership role but our historic agreement to work collaboratively on this significant issue means we have a far greater chance of success,” Baird said.

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