Marijuana Lessons For Canada: USA vs Portugal vs Netherlands

CANADA: Canada’s new government has promised to legalize marijuana in 2016, but until that happens, you can still get charged for possession, growing or selling marijuana. All these activities are currently illegal and possible penalties, if you get convicted, range from a small fine to getting a criminal record. The case’s outcome depends on whether you have previous convictions, as well as on specific circumstances under which the incident happened: the amount of marijuana found in your possession, whether you were driving under the influence (DUI), and similar. Repeated offenders can be viewed in the eyes of the law as traffickers or home growers and such charges should definitely be taken seriously, as the sentences can be rigorous. Getting a good lawyer is necessary if you want to avoid life-changing consequences of the incident.

Even if cannabis gets legalized, as it is expected, some activities might still present a criminal offense. Nobody expects that smoking weed freely and anywhere will be possible. Marijuana offenses will still exist, but in a different form. Let’s see what the possible legislation changes may bring by looking at three places where this substance has been partially legalized.

Marijuana Lessons for Canada: USA vs Portugal vs Netherlands
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Ruling In Mexico Sets Into Motion Legal Marijuana

MEXICO: The Mexican Supreme Court opened the door to legalizing marijuana on Wednesday, delivering a pointed challenge to the nation’s strict substance abuse laws and adding its weight to the growing debate in Latin America over the costs and consequences of the war against drugs.

The vote by the court’s criminal chamber declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use. While the ruling does not strike down current drug laws, it lays the groundwork for a wave of legal actions that could ultimately rewrite them, proponents of legalization say.

The decision reflects a changing dynamic in Mexico, where for decades the American-backed antidrug campaign has produced much upheaval but few lasting victories. Today, the flow of drugs to the United States continues, along with the political corruption it fuels in Mexico. The country, dispirited by the ceaseless campaign against traffickers, remains engulfed in violence.

Jamaica Government Announces Major Changes To Drug Laws

JAMAICA:  The Justice Minister Mark Golding said the cabinet was supporting a proposal to allow possession of up to two ounces (57 grams) of marijuana, known locally as “ganja.”.

Mr Golding also said marijuana would be decriminalised for religious, medicinal and scientific purposes.

It is expected parliament will approve the changes by September.

“I wish to stress that the proposed changes to the law are not intended to promote or give a stamp of approval to the use of ganja for recreational purposes,” said Mr Golding.

“The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities.”

Jamaica Mulls Legal Marijuana (No, It’s Not Already Legal)

JAMAICA:  This tourist mecca may soon be known as the Colorado of the Caribbean.

Given the ready availability of “ganja” as the locals call it, many outsiders assume marijuana is already legal in Jamaica, but it’s not … yet.

Encouraged by legalized marijuana in Colorado, Washington state and Uruguay — the first country to legalize and regulate the weed — Jamaican farmers and some politicians want to capitalize on what already is a homegrown industry with an international brand.

Dreadlocked Rastafarians and farmers gathered in downtown Kingston in April to launch Jamaica’s Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association. The only thing missing was the smoke. They listened to speakers from Jamaica, the United States and Canada about the benefits of the drug and the need to get on the bandwagon for the marijuana industry.

South Africa Parliament Introduces Bill To Legalize Dagga

SOUTH AFRICA: The Medical Innovation Bill, a bill to legalize Cannabis in South Africa for medical, economic and industrial purposes, was introduced in parliament today.

The bill was submitted by Member of Parliament, Mario GR Oriani-Ambrosini from the Inkatha Freedom Party. The Medical Innovation Bill aims to make provision for innovations in medical treatments by legalizing the use of cannabis for medical, economic and industrial purposes.

Last year Oriani-Ambrosini was diagnosed with stage four, inoperable lung cancer, which forms the background to this bill. People with life-threatening diseases such as cancer are legally denied access to a medicine that they could be growing themselves. Under current legislation, medical practitioners are legally denied the right to prescribe proven to be effective and harmless medication to their patients, which includes cannabis, on the basis that it hasn’t been approved in terms of the legally required double blind clinical studies.

Uruguay Unveils Marijuana Regulation Details

URUGUAY: The Uruguayan government has unveiled long-awaited regulations for its recreational marijuana market — a move that steers the tiny nation of 3.3 million people away from the prohibitionist war on drugs, with its disastrous consequences in Latin America, and toward a drug policy based on improving public health and security. Although Uruguay’s Congress approved the measure in December — becoming the first country in the world to legalize recreational pot use — it was just this week that the government of President José Mujica announced all the details.

The regulations allow three forms of access to marijuana. Uruguayans can purchase up to 40 grams per month – with a limit of 10 grams per week – from registered pharmacies. They can also choose to cultivate up to 6 homegrown plants, with a cap on annual production at 480 grams. Finally, as members of cannabis clubs, Uruguayans will be able to cultivate up to 99 plants per group, with a production cap of 480 grams per member. But smokers must choose one form of acquiring pot, and will be denied access to the drug by the other two means. The law officially takes effect on May 6, the government announced Friday.

The “experiment,” as Mujica has labeled the law, will be closely monitored throughout the hemisphere – from Mexico to Guatemala to Argentina – as a growing list of countries increasingly mull alternatives to a militarized drug policy that has seen governments outgunned by trafficking syndicates, who rake in billions of dollars annually through illicit sales.

 

Medical Cannabis Activist Wants To Import ‘Ganja Oil’ Into Bermuda

BERMUDA:  Medical ganja activist Alan Gordon, in an open letter to Jamaica’s Health Minister copied to The Jamaica Gleaner, asked for a permit to export enough medical ganja oil extract for over 300 Bermuda cancer patients to have 18,000 large doses over a 2-3 month period.

Gordon says that Bermuda’s Cabinet has previously approved import permits from elsewhere on a per-patient basis, but were experiencing trouble with availability, price and quality which Jamaica seems well suited to alleviate.  Gordon also claims people medical tourists have already been quietly coming to Jamaica for illicit cancer treatments with cannabis oil, because it has shown great promise as a tumour-shrinking anti-cancer drug in hundreds of lab and live animal studies, and thousands of humans in the US, Canada, England, Australia, and elsewhere.  Gordon expressed his concern that many patients are too sick to come to Jamaica, and should not be denied access.

Gordon has also specified that the oil must be grown organically by Rastafarians, as a matter of social justice and “fair trade” principles.  Gordon says he is not a Rastafarian but says that after the gravely ill patients, first consideration must be given to Rastafarians as a way of expressing society’s remorse for oppression of Rastafarians under the old laws.

 

Legislators Ask Why Mexicans Should Die Over A Drug The U.S. Is Legalizing

MEXICO:  Two Mexican legislators say they’re sick of cramming their jails full of pot smokers.

Few countries have suffered the consequences of the U.S.-led war on drugs more than Mexico. As the principal supplier of marijuana to the United States, as well as a major transit country for cocaine and other hard drugs, Mexico has seen organized crime flourish within its borders. According to some estimates, as many as 80,000 Mexicans have died since former President Felipe Calderón launched a frontal assault on the country’s drug cartels in 2006, and Mexico has seen its prison population nearly double since the 1990s, largely from prosecuting drug crimes. [Read more…]

Should Philippines Legalize Marijuana As A Cure?

PHILIPPINES:  The recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado has revived debates on whether to allow the use of the substance for medicinal purposes.

While those pushing for its legalization claim that marijuana can provide relief to patients who have tried in vain to seek cure from conventional treatments, some are worried about its impact on public safety.

Malacañang has yet to issue a categorical statement on whether it will back the legalization of marijuana, preferring instead to leave the matter to Congress.

Some lawmakers have bared plans to file a bill legalizing medical marijuana, but it remains uncertain whether it will gain widespread support.

Iligan City Rep. Vincent Belmonte, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Dangerous Drugs, has said that the benefits of medical cannabis “should outweigh the risks from potential abuse.”

 

Caribbean Leaders to Debate Marijuana Legalization

ST VINCENT: Researchers with a Caribbean trade bloc have found that decriminalizing marijuana and exploring its use for medicinal purposes could help boost the region’s sluggish economy.

Caricom leaders are expected to talk about the preliminary report in a two-day summit that begins Monday in St. Vincent. The report was released Friday to The Associated Press.

Activists in Jamaica, St. Lucia and other islands have pushed to legalize marijuana use, but many in the Caribbean still consider it a dangerous drug. Marijuana possession can lead to jail time and stiff fines across the region.