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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

World News - June 2015 - by Rachel Bunting

Marijuana Radio
Canada- One DJ in Canada is changing the way marijuana dispensaries advertise. Justin Wilcomes, better known as DJ Drex, became the first in Canada to pitch medical marijuana on-air when he advertised for the Eden Medicinal Society. Drex does believe that there are people “with a bee in their bonnets about it” but unfortunately those people will have a tough time finding a place to air their grievances.

     There is currently no policy against marijuana ads according to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, but that is because it has never been done before. Executive director for the council, John MacNab, said if the council is petitioned they will probably pass the issue onto another agency such as the Advertising Standards Canada. However, when questioned by The Province, a spokesperson for Advertising Health Standards referred them to Health Canada as did a spokesperson for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, stating, “Health Canada has jurisdiction over the legal production of marijuana and all things weed-related.”

     Health Canada seemed unprepared to answer questions on the issue and took two days to send a statement to The Providence stating, “Health Canada does not license organizations such as compassion clubs or dispensaries to possess, produce or distribute marijuana for medical purposes. Furthermore, Health Canada does not authorize the operation of retail storefronts. These organizations are illegal. The sale and advertising of unauthorized therapeutic products is prohibited under the Food and Drugs Act.”

     Currently individuals in Canada are not able to grow their own medication, instead there are 23 licensed commercial growers established. The licensed growers are able to advertise their product, but may only have the most basic information including brand name, price, and cannabinoid content. Describing the taste or claiming that marijuana relieves pain is strictly prohibited. Drex plans to continue with his advertising while waiting to see what happens next saying, “It’s interesting, there’s no precedent. That’s what is strange about this. No one seems to know what we’re allowed to advertise. But it’s the funnest job in the world, man.”

Medicate Away ...but Don’t Smoke It
Puerto Rico- Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order May 3rd allowing medical marijuana in the territory. He is giving the health secretary of the island three months to outline a report detailing how the order will be carried out, the impact it may have, and what future steps need to be taken. Gov. Padilla is hopeful patients will receive appropriate treatment that offers them new hope. Shortly after the Governor signed the order government officials released a statement saying while medical marijuana will be legal, smoking it will not be. Patients will be able to consume their medication in other ways such as potions or pills. There are many in the marijuana community from the US that don’t believe this will be an effective way to medicate as it is harder to tell what the appropriate dose should be and the effects take longer to kick in with the pill form. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, feel that those suffering from spasms or nausea from chemotherapy will want the immediate relief that comes from smoking the drug. The justice secretary from Puerto Rico says that the Health Department is still finalizing their report and will try to make sure every option is detailed.

Another One Bites the Dust
England- There have been many marijuana busts in England recently, most a factory-like set up with an unthinkable amount of cannabis. Now another large factory-like grow in Manchester, England has landed four people in jail and police continue to search for others that may have been involved. The grow was located in a large mill in Great Lever. After receiving an anonymous tip police raided the building discovering 1,000 plants. A further search produced 500 more plants in a nearby building. There was also a large amount of marijuana that had been harvested and made ready for sale. Three men and a woman were arrested at the scene on suspicion of producing the plant.

German Political Parties Discuss Legal Pot
Germany- The Federal Drug Commissioner for Germany, Marlene Mortler, gave an interview to the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper May 14th shortly after a proposal to make marijuana legal for recreational use in the country. “We don’t need any more legal drugs when we have enough problems with alcohol and tobacco,” Mortler said after hearing the proposal from fellow Christian Democrat Joachim Pfeiffer.

     Pfeiffer, along with Greens party member Dieter Janecek, posed the question of whether making people criminals for the possession and purchase of the plant made any sense. They estimate bringing in around 2 billion euros ($2.28 billion) in tax revenue from a state regulated market, while saving large amounts that was previously used to prosecute the marijuana consumers. However another law maker from the Christian Socialist Union agrees with Mortler stating, “the proposal would be a fatal signal for preventing addiction and protecting children.”

     While the Green Party has been advocating for legalization for a long time adding a new advocate from a different party, Pfeiffer, changes things as a written policy proposal for the parliament requires support from members of at least two political parties to be considered.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Weed amid the Weeds
Germany- Police in Berlin are investigating to find the person that planted marijuana in a public space. A street cleaner in the Kreuzberg district called police May 11th to report several strange looking plants growing outside the Kottbusser Tor subway station. Officers found about 700 cannabis plants growing among the weeds next to the station. They pulled up every plant and have begun their investigation into who may have planted them there.

License to Export!
Australia- Medical Marijuana is still illegal in Australia but an Australian company has just been granted a license to grow and export medical marijuana internationally. Founder of the company AusCann, Troy Langman, told The World Today that he is excited to be the first company in the country with the license but is disappointed at the legality of the drug in his country. He says that he set out with this idea to help the people in the country in which he lives, not that any other country is less deserving, he would just like to be able to help his fellow Australians. The company plans to export its first crop to Canada by the middle of next year then ramp up production from there.

     The Australian Government’s administrator of Norfolk Island still has the power to stop the project from proceeding, as he has done once before, but Langman is confident that this time will be different. Many Australians are frustrated that the medicine is not yet available in their country. Australian Senator and Greens leader, Dr. Richard Di Natale, is currently putting a bill together with fellow party members that is modeled on the best examples of what has worked in other countries and strictly separates how medicinal cannabis would be treated in comparison to recreational. He is hoping to be able to get the bill before the parliament in the coming months. Di Natale says it makes no sense to have a business in the country with the ability to export to other countries without the ability to make the product available to Australians.