Observing the world of cannabis
Switzerland: 29 out of 32 recruits were tested THC positive at recruit school
Switzerland: Drug tests in a recruit school in the Wallis Canton yields alarming results – 29 out of 32 recruits were tested THC positive! One person had consumed cocaine, too. In addition, two recruits were convicted of dealing with cannabis. These dealers and the cocaine user were dismissed. The 29 cannabis users only had to pay a monetary fine of 200-500 Franken.
March 31st 2008
USA: Representative Barney Frank says he's going to file a bill when Congress is back in session to legalize "small amounts" of marijuana. Frank made the announcement late Friday on the HBO show "Real Time," hosted by Bill Maher. He told Maher his bill would remove all federal penalties for the possession or use of small amounts of marijuana, but he didn't define "small amounts." Frank said it's time for politicians to catch up with the public. He said locking people up for smoking marijuana is "pretty silly." Frank said he'd filed a similar bill in the Massachusetts state legislature in the 1970s. He said he'd call the federal legislation the "Make Room for Serious Criminals" bill.
The Netherlands: The upcoming smoking ban in Dutch bars and restaurants does not apply to cigarettes made solely of cannabis. Health Minister Ab Klink wrote this in a letter to the Parliament.
USA/Canada: A tentative deal between Marc Emery, Vancouver's Prince of Pot, and the U.S. government over money-laundering and drug charges has been nixed by Ottawa. Emery says the Conservative administration has refused to go along with a proposal that would have seen him spend five years behind bars for selling marijuana seeds through the mail. Under the defunct pact, Emery was to plead guilty on both sides of the border and accept a sentence of 10 years imprisonment on the understanding he would serve half, mostly in Canada. "All that was required for this deal was a rubber stamp from the federal government," Emery told me late Thursday. "They have, instead, rejected the deal without explanation. It is clearly political." The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling cannabis seeds, back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Only a few weeks ago, the B.C. Court of Appeal suggested the proper sentence for someone convicted of selling seeds by mail was a month or two in jail and a year or so on probation. "I'm disappointed," Emery acknowledged. "Not for myself," he added,
"because I've been fighting for freedom for decades and I'm prepared to keep doing it. I'm disappointed for my co-accused. And I'm afraid for this country."
USA: A man charged with illegal cannabis possession needed to use the drug to treat symptoms of his HIV infection, a jury of a Texas court has found. Jurors deliberated less than 15 minutes on 25 March before reaching a not guilty verdict for Tim Stevens, 53. His attorney used the defence that cannabis use was a necessity to treat nausea and vomiting of his client. It is believed that this is the first successful use of the necessity defence in a Texas cannabis case. Texas does not belong to the twelve states of the USA that have legalized the medical use of cannabis. Stevens, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, suffers from nausea and cyclical vomiting syndrome, a condition so severe that it has required hospitalization in the past. He was arrested in October sitting on a front porch of a house smoking cannabis. Among the witnesses for the defence was Dr. Steve Jenison, medical director of the Infectious Diseases Bureau for New Mexico's health department. He testified that Stevens needed to use the cannabis to ease his symptoms
Canada: Canadian doctors have been increasing daily dosages of cannabis for patients using cannabis for medical purposes in recent years, Health Canada reports. The increase in prescribed dosages is noted in a recent report on the views of physicians
regarding the use of cannabis. The study found physicians were unclear about the health ministry's maximum dosage recommendation. For most doctors, the report said, overdose or dosage beyond an "optimal" limit was not a concern or even a consideration. The study found unanimous agreement and even "enthusiastic
support" among doctors for the health ministry to begin supplying dried cannabis to pharmacists trained to dispense it to patients. However, they suggested that the quality be improved and the price be reduced while insuring that medical insurance programs cover the cost. The reporting of the trend follows the health ministry's campaign last summer to keep doses below five grams.
Science: There is increasing evidence that the perturbation of the endocannabinoid system leads to development of epileptic seizures, thus indicating that endocannabinoids play a protective role in suppressing pathologic neuronal excitability. New research shows that the CB1 receptor was downregulated to one third in the hippocampus of patients suffering from epilepsy compared to healthy subjects. (Source: Ludányi A, et al, J Neurosci 2008;28(12):2976-90.)
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