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  • D.C. hosts nation’s biggest legal marijuana giveaway

    Proponents say that a crop from amateur growers could increase supply and reduce the market for illegal street sales
    Washington Post (US)
    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    With D.C. police officers looking on, hundreds of city residents lined up and then walked away from an Adams Morgan restaurant carrying baggies containing marijuana seeds. Taking advantage of a ballot measure approved last fall by voters that legalized possession of the plant, the unprecedented giveaway scattered what organizers said were thousands of pot seeds to cultivate in homes and apartments across the nation’s capital. (See also: Hundreds now have marijuana seeds. But can they grow it?Can Washington’s gift economy in marijuana work?)

  • Critical updates needed in state marijuana laws

    The Legislature must act on new marijuana laws or risk the legalization measure dying on the vine
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Washington's experiment with legal recreational marijuana is "teetering on the brink" of a market failure. That is the candid assessment of Hayden Woodard, a state-licensed grower in Dallesport who hasn’t given himself a paycheck in a year. A stream of state-licensed marijuana operators recently testified in Olympia about how overregulation and unequal competition from unregulated medical-marijuana dispensaries are jeopardizing Initiative 502, the landmark legalization measure passed in 2012. (See also: Lawmakers propose bill to allow growing recreational pot at home)

  • Is marijuana a gateway drug?

    The gateway theory seems reasonable enough at first
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    In the past few years, the number of monthly marijuana users in America has steadily risen, from 14.4m in 2007 to 18.9m in 2012. If marijuana were a gateway to harder drugs, one might expect those drugs to become more popular too. Yet during the same period, consumption of most other substances actually fell. The number of monthly cocaine users dipped from 2.1m to 1.7m and the number of people using methamphetamine fell from 530,000 to 440,000. Heroin use has been going up, but the gateway drug there seems to be prescription painkillers.

  • Belgium: Allotments for cannabis smokers

    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Cannabis is by far the most frequently consumed illegal drug in Europe, although producing it privately is illegal in the EU. Right outside the gates of the European Union, in Belgium, Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) are being founded, organizations that are a bit like allotment associations for adult cannabis smokers. Plants are grown and harvested in strictly secret locations. Every club member gets one of the plants from a harvest, and pays an annual fee for it.

  • Chabat calls for amnesty for cannabis farmers

    Chabat’s party had already proposed a draft law to decriminalize and regulate the cultivation of cannabis
    Morocco World News
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Hamid Chabat, Secretary General of the Istiqlal Party, one of Morocco's major opposition political parties, has again called for amnesty for cannabis growers in the north of the kingdom. He said that nearly 80,000 cannabis growers are released on bail and risk going back to prison at any moment because of their involvement in the cultivation of cannabis, while "corrupt and money launderers enjoy amnesty." He added that the majority of these small growers lack identity documents and cannot exercise their voting rights.

  • State pushes forward to legalize marijuana

    Some legislators would rather write the proposed law themselves rather than have activists do it
    The Boston Globe (US)
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Legislators in Massachusetts are working on a marijuana legalization proposal, in part as an effort to short-circuit an expected 2016 ballot push. Advocates have long planned an initiative petition to legalize the recreational use of the drug for adults, and political analysts have expected that measure to pass in the next presidential election year. But some lawmakers are balking at the prospect of activists unilaterally writing a law that would have such a profound effect on the state. The legislators would rather write the proposed law themselves, allow for lots of public input, and have final say on the scope and details.

  • The rise of cannabis farms in Switzerland

    Indoor cannabis cultivation is on the rise in Switzerland. Many are professionally-run operations
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    The cultivation, trade and consumption of high volumes of cannabis with more then 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a prosecutable offence in Switzerland. Despite this, the federal police estimates that 75% of the cannabis is produced domestically. This is reflected in the fact that the number and size of indoor cannabis plantations are on the rise. In 2014 around 3,000 were discovered by federal police. Of these around 1,000 were highly organised ventures with more than 100 plants and professional equipment.

  • Italy: Motion to legalize cannabis receives bi-partisan support

    Turin became the first major city to vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana
    Herald-Tribune (US)
    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Lawmakers in Italy are pushing forward a planned bill to legalize cannabis, according to the ANSA news agency and the International Business Times. The proposal, introduced by Sen. Benedetto Della Vedova, is being backed by 60 politicians, mostly from the ruling center-left Democratic Party but with some support from the right. Della Vedova said that "in view of the failure of prohibitionism" the group will draft a "pragmatic, non-ideological" bill regulating the use of the weed, thereby siphoning profits away from organized crime.

  • The cannabis question

    Walid Jumblatt’s call for the legalization of cannabis cultivation fits into a global trend, from the USA to Uruguay
    Now (Lebanon)
    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Given the dynamics of politics in Lebanon, Jumblatt’s call in and of itself is unlikely to provide the gravitas for an effective change in the legislation. Smoking cannabis is not something we learned from the ‘corrupt’ West. Consumption of psychoactive substances is a long-established tradition in the Near East, including Lebanon. Cannabis cultivation in the Bekaa Valley can be traced back to Roman times, according to some sources. Treating personal consumption of cannabis as a minor offense would allow a better allocation of law enforcement resources towards more serious crime.

  • Can Washington’s gift economy in marijuana work?

    Supporters of the Washington approach hope the city will enjoy the benefits of legalization without creating a well-organized commercial machine
    The New York Times (US)
    Friday, March 20, 2015

    In Washington DC it’s now legal to possess marijuana, to grow it, to smoke it and to give it away. But you’re not allowed to trade in it. You can give your neighbor up to an ounce, but if he gives you money or even bakes you a pie in exchange, that’s illegal. The District of Columbia has legalized marijuana — but is trying not to create a market in marijuana. It’s aiming for a gift economy. The district’s lawmakers aren’t happy about the process, but maybe they should be pleased about the outcome.

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