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White House Lifts Research Restrictions on Medical Marijuana [High Times]

Uncle Sam is finally offering researchers a more assessable approach to studying the medicinal benefits of marijuana. On Monday, the Obama Administration announced that it would no longer force the scientific community to endure some of the bureaucratic red tape that has prevented many of them from studying the potential health benefits of the herb for nearly 20 years.


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Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, if anything alcohol is

Because if we're to, as Obama put it, "follow the science not the ideology" with regards to marijuana and have some hope of getting it decriminalised/legalised on a wider scale in the world, we must continue to dispel the myths surrounding it.


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Experts say Canada out of step internationally, Parliamentary marijuana debate long overdue

Fueled by a “great misunderstanding” of cannabis laws among Canadians, the country is moving in the opposite direction from what’s happening internationally with making possession charges more lax, and a Parliamentary debate on marijuana is “overdue,” say experts.

“In Germany, in Spain and Italy, Portugal, they actually decriminalized all forms of drug possession,” University of Toronto criminology and sociology professor Patricia Erickson said, calling Canada “retrograde” when it comes to cannabis. “Europe has moved ahead, Australia has moved ahead—ahead in the sense of playing down the significance of simple possession and in counterpoint adopting a more public health oriented approach.”

Prof. Erickson said Canadian cannabis possession laws have not changed since 1969, when a fine was added as an option to jail time and or probation and it’s time to look at them again. “In my view after 40 years in this area, it’s really overdue to have a proper debate in Parliament. We’ve never had that,” she said. “There’s been various legislative proposals tabled and committee discussion, but there’s never actually been a debate in Parliament about the laws governing illicit drugs in Canada.”

Anyone who’s been in Ottawa on April 20 has likely witnessed the thick cloud of smoke ascending up from the Parliament Hill lawns in the late afternoon, and witnessing hundreds of people toking up right under the watchful eyes of the RCMP, and could be forgiven for thinking cannabis laws in Canada are lax.


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Ireland plans to legalize medicinal marijana in 2013

The Irish Independent has learned that the Department of Health is bringing in legislation to legalise medicinal cannabis.

The move follows applications from drugs companies to sell cannabis-based medicines in Ireland.

However, a spokesperson for the department stressed that the change would not apply to recreational use of the drug.

Many countries allow medicinal cannabis for the treatment of illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.

Irish law rules out even medicinal cannabis, except for research, but the Government has taken a different approach from the previous administration, when former health minister Mary Harney was reluctant to loosen controls.

Recently resigned junior health minister Roisin Shortall said last year she was examining proposals to make cannabis-based medicines available.

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It’s legal! Colorado voters pass pot legalization Amendment 64

Voters passed Amendment 64, allowing for the legal, recreational use of marijuana, according to 9NEWS Political Analyst Floyd Ciruli.

Amendment 64 will allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It also would allow people to grow as many as six marijuana plants in private, secure areas.

More than 300 Colorado doctors offered their names in support of Amendment 64. However, the state's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics urged a "no" vote. Supporters say alcohol does far worse things than marijuana.


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Colorado: Boulder weeds out its medical marijuana industry

Boulder officials have rejected more than one-third of the applications from people seeking to run medical marijuana dispensaries or growing operations in the city, slowing the pace of what once was seen as a Wild West-style rush for riches.

Ten months after the initial 119 business-license applications were turned in by Boulder's November deadline -- set when the City Council last year approved sweeping new regulations for the budding industry -- 40 medical marijuana companies have licenses to operate.

So far, 41 of those 119 applications, from existing businesses that had opened prior to adoption of the new rules, have been rejected for reasons that include zoning problems, incomplete paperwork and -- in about half of the cases -- the sometimes extensive criminal records of owners, operators and investors.

City officials say the vast majority of the 38 applications that remain in their queue have passed their initial background checks and are well on their way to being awarded business licenses.

Read the rest of this article at Daily Camera

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Israeli government approves guidelines for medical marijuana

A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's media adviser said "the Health Ministry will – in coordination with the Israel Police and the Israel Anti-Drug Authority – oversee the foregoing and will also be responsible for supplies from imports and local cultivation."

Of approximately 6,000 Israelis currently being treated with medical cannabis (aka medical marijuana), most suffer from chronic pain and terminal illnesses. The therapeutic potential of cannabis has been known for many years and is recognized by the Health Ministry.

Read the rest of the story here...

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Two billion year old meteorite from Mars contained marijuana

A meteorite from the planet Mars is giving scientists their first glimpse of extraterrestrial life–and it is shocking everyone. The meteorite sports a fossilized marijuana leaf, as well as some dried plant material. The estimated age of the fossil is almost 2-billion years old.

The strange, greenish meteorite was discovered in Antarctica, about 20 years ago. The martian rock has the scientific name of RUustoned-420-iEyEam, and is about the size of a football. Bored NASA astronomers decided just recently to split the meteorite in half. and take a look inside.

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Canada: Ontario closer than ever to legalization of marijuana

Ontario is one step closer to the legalization of marijuana after the Ontario Superior Court struck down two key parts of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that prohibit the possession and production of pot.

The court declared the rules that govern medical marijuana access and the prohibitions laid out in sections 4 and 7 of the Act “constitutionally invalid and of no force and effect” on Monday, effectively paving the way for legalization.

If the government does not respond within 90 days with a successful delay or re-regulation of marijuana, the drug will be legal to possess and produce in Ontario, where the decision is binding.

The ruling stemmed from the constitutional challenge of Matthew Mernagh, a man who relies on medical marijuana to ease pain brought on by fibromyalgia, scoliosis, seizures and depression.

Continue reading at the National Post

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Medical marijuana is becoming a lucrative business in Hawaii

Legal users soared to more than 8,000 over the past decade from 255 in 2001, the program's first year.

$38 million a year, with patients consuming an average of 1 ounce per month at a street price of $400.

It's a burgeoning business for doctors, who charge as much as $300 to certify medical marijuana patients. The consultation typically lasts an hour and often is not covered by medical insurance.

There were 175 physicians licensed to certify medical marijuana patients as of June, up from 35 in 2001, according to the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the state Department of Public Safety.

The state charges a $25 processing fee for a medical marijuana certificate. Patients are required to be certified annually.

Hawaii's medical marijuana law allows patients with a debilitating condition — such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, severe pain or nausea — to use the drug if they are certified by a physician registered with the state. It is still illegal to buy marijuana, but patients can grow it legally.

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Marijuana and the democracy disconnect – big gap between politics and reality

There is always a gap between what a political system stands for and the reality of everyday life under that system. Ours is government that ostensibly stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A government of, by, and for the people. Yet, when it comes to marijuana, democratic principles take a back seat to fear, ignorance, and political expediency.

Look at New York, Montana, and the federal government for recent examples of how governments ignore or actively subvert the will of the people.

In his first run for elected office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted to smoking and enjoying marijuana. His exercise of liberty, his pursuit of happiness obviously did nothing to damage his chances for election--any more than it hurt the presidential candidacies of Bill Clinton (and running mate, Al Gore), George Bush, or Barack Obama.

Continue reading at The Huffington Post

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