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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 2015 World News - by Rachel Bunting

420 In the Great White North, Eh?
British Columbia- Every year since 1995, Vancouver has held a 4/20 celebration/protest. Similar to Michigan’s legendary Hash Bash, the 4/20 rally sees thousands of like-minded pot-loving individuals come together to protest the restrictions on the plant. The first rally in 1995 had roughly 200 people packed into a small park, listening to music and smoking marijuana openly. Since then the rally has outgrown the park it started in and has had to move to the Vancouver Art Gallery. What started as a gathering of people just wanting to sit and enjoy the herb has turned into a huge marijuana farmers market where people can buy everything from buds to concentrates to clones. The 4/20 protest has live music, many booths with glassware and medibles, plus speakers to educate the crowd about medical marijuana, activism, and political involvement. The crowd this year was around 10,000, peaking with 13,000 at the 4:20 countdown and annual free joint toss. While many city officials would like to see the organizers of the demonstration obtain an official permit for their event, the coordinators maintain the rally is a protest; not an event or festival and therefore they do not need a permit.

Brits Loosen Stance on Weed
Stanway- The attitudes toward marijuana seem to be changing, not just in the United States, but all over the world. In the UK, where marijuana use is still illegal, police raided a flat containing 23 cannabis plants. The 47 year-old man who owned the grow was let off with simply a caution (or warning) about growing in his home. Neighbors, who filed many complaints about the smell emitting from the apartment, were relieved to see police handling the situation, but became discouraged when he was let off with a small warning.  Terry Gardiner, an expert in drug policy, told the Gazette News, “Times have clearly moved on. I would not have thought in my day it would have been a caution. It is only my opinion but there does seem to have been a softening in relation to cannabis. It is still an illegal drug.”

Scottish 420 Celebration!
Glasgow- 420 is recognized globally as the day to celebrate the herb, this is no different for folks from Scotland who gather every year in the city centre to lobby for legalization of their class B drug. Class B drugs in the UK are similar to the US schedule II and III drugs such as amphetamines, codeine, and ketamine, substances in the UK which can carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years. The demonstration had about 250 people, and was organized by the Glasgow Cannabis Social Club, a club for users of cannabis to socialize and interact with like-minded people. There were speakers from its own club as well as speakers from the Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol party (CISTA). Even the former chairman of the Scottish Police Federation stood up to speak, stating the ‘war on drugs is lost…the only way to change that failure is to take control of the situation by legalizing it’. The Glasgow City Council refused to give organizers permission to hold the event but naturally it took place anyway, resulting in only two arrests.

Jamaica Plants 1st Legal Ganja Plant
MONA- Following the recent decriminalization, Jamaican authorities ceremoniously plant a cannabis seedling at the University of the West Indies on April 21st, 2015.

PTSD Treatment Down Under
SYDNEY- A new drop-in center for Aussie veterans will use cannabis as therapy for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Fredericton-based Marijuana for Trauma Inc. is funding the center. Marijuana for Trauma Inc. was started by Fabian Henry, a veteran who developed PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. For three years Henry was prescribed nine pills a day which he mixed with alcohol, he says this made him lead an uncontrollable life. When he found cannabis he stopped all the pills he was prescribed for his PTSD and claims the marijuana is helping him to connect with his children and start to process his trauma. He states that his company does not directly supply marijuana to its clients, but instead works with doctors at the Frederiction clinic who determine if the patient is a candidate for PTSD treatment with marijuana. Marijuana for Trauma Inc. does educate the veterans on the best methods for treatment, whether they should vaporize their medication or use oral ingestion through baked goods. Henry says there are plans to open more locations but in the meantime he is more than willing to pick up veterans and drive them to the open locations for treatment.

Angry Mob Kills Pot Smugglers
Odisha- A mob took justice into their own hands this month when 10 men were found to be smuggling cannabis into their village. Over 100 villagers intercepted four vehicles and began attacking them. Four of the ten men were killed in the attack and all four vehicles burned. When police arrived they detained seventy of the villagers, arrested the remaining six smugglers, recovered the bodies of the dead, and hauled away the quintal (100lbs) of cannabis. Certain states in India have their own laws regarding marijuana but it remains illegal in Odisha, and apparently some villages in the state would like it to stay that way.

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