The German cannabis pharmacy has made an example: The first internet pharmacy for therapeutical cannabis in Spain has been established by the non-profit initiative Amigos de Maria. It facilitates the contact between patients and growers through the Internet. Its sole purpose is to improve the quality of life of patients who wish to benefit from the advantages offered by THC. For this initiative, Amigos de Maria has recieved the support of the regional government of the Basque Country and various political parties. See www.amigosdemaria.com. The new "cannabis pharmacy" seeks to facilitate information to patients on the therapeutic use of cannabis and promote the cultivation for personal use by those who can use the plant as a natural medicine. The pharmacy will dispose of a list of patients and another of cannabis growers who will donate part of their harvest essentially for the purpose of pain control. It will establish the contact between both groups. It will not directly administer stocks of cannabis, nor facilitate the transport of it. The sole purpose is to allow the exchange of information that will help patients with cancer, aids, glaucoma, asthma of MS, among many other pathologies, to improve their situation when using cannabis under medical control. The continuous supervision by experts is one of the characteristics that mark the initiative in Alava. Paco, spokesperson of Amigos de María, explains that the organisation has installed various mechanisms to avoid possible manipulation. "Firstly, we carry out interviews with the people who are interested, in order to confirm that they are patients who fulfill the requirements to enter the programme. They undergo a medical test by a doctor, who establishes the dosis they are entitled to, and the way of administration", he notes. There are also procedures to avoid that someone can obtain economic benefits from the initiative. "The growers donate part of their harvest for free, we will make sure that absolutely no sale of cannabis takes place. Altruism is the fundamental element of this programme and we are going to defend it with all means", says Paco.
October 30th 2006
Italy/Switzerland: Governments plan legal use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The Italian government has decided that in the future cannabis may be used for the treatment of pain. The parliament has still to hold a vote on this issue. The measure has "nothing to do with joints" Health Minister Livia Turco stated. The reform can only come into effect after the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved it. The opposition is devided on this question. While the right-wing nationalists accused the government to legalize a soft drug, Chiara Moroni of the party "Forza Italia" of opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi supported the decision of the cabinet. The lawmaker in Switzerland also made a first step to the possibility of a legal use of cannabis products for medical purposes. The Health Committee of the parliament (Nationalrat) has decided with clear majority to suggest to the parliament to change the narcotics law accordingly, said the physician Felix Gutzwiller, president of the parliamentary party FDP and member of the Health Committee, on 24 October in the news of the Swiss television. He therefore assumes that "there will be also a majority in the Nationalrat for the legalization of cannabis as a medicine."
USA: According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws more people were arrested nationwide on marijuana charges lastyear than ever before. In 2005, 786,545 people were arrested on marijuana charges, about 15,000 more than 2004 and more than double than 1990. "These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre in a September NORML press release. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focussing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism." He said a marijuana smoker is arrested about every 40 seconds. About 88 percent of the 786,545 arrested last year were charged with possession, St. Pierre said. According to NORML, marijuana arrests outnumbered the total arrests for all violent crimes, including murder rape and robbery. "Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrests of 18 million Americans," St. Pierre said. "Arresting hundreds of thousands of American who smoke marijuana responsibly needlessly destroys the lives of otherwise law abiding citizens."
In the American federal state Colorado, marijuana sales are a major part of local economy. On Nov. 7, Colorado voters will decide whether to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by any person over 21. According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 13.3 percent of Colorado residents use marijuana. Use spikes between the ages of 18 and 25, a demographic in which fully a third of all Coloradoans are users. Law enforcement officials, users and dealers estimated that the average marijuana user in Colorado Springs purchases/consumes about three ounces annually at a cost of about $1,000. That translates into a yearly retail market of $80 million, derived from the distribution of 1,250 pounds of marijuana every month, or 41 pounds a day.
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