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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

World News: August 2015 - by Rachel Bunting

World News for August, 2015
 
Give an Inch, They Take a Mile
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Currently marijuana is illegal throughout all of Australia, however like in the US, the penalties for possession and use vary from state to state. 
South Australia was the first state in the country to decriminalize cannabis offenses in 1987. Residents in the state found with up to 100 grams of cannabis, 20 grams of hash, one non-hydroponic plant, or marijuana paraphernalia can be fined $50 to $150 and will be given 60 days to pay. This policy seems fairly lax and quite easy to follow, smokers could have plenty of marijuana with a pretty minimal risk. However, two men from SA decided 100 grams and one plant with such a small risk attached wasn’t enough. They decided to risk jail time instead by being found with 245 hydroponically grown plants as well as 10,000 grams of the dried flower. Not only were they charged with possession but also with trafficking the drugs. They are currently waiting to be given a trial for their crime.



Not Just a US Dream
CHILE: The lower house of Congress approved a bill this month, which would allow Chileans to grow small amounts of marijuana for medical, recreational, or spiritual use. Last October a Chilean municipality began planting the country’s first medical marijuana as part of the government approved pilot plan for medical marijuana. Other than the small government pilot program, which was the first in Latin America, marijuana is illegal in Chile and punishable by up to 5 years for possession or use, and up to 15 years in prison for transporting. Michelle Bachelet, head of the administration and inaugurated in 2014, is trying to keep her government’s proposals in line with the public health concerns and empirical research. Health Minister Helia Molina stated that marijuana will most likely be taken off the list of hard drugs during this administration. But some lawmakers are criticizing the new bill claiming it will encourage drug use, but the bill must still pass through the health commission and senate before it will be able to go into effect.


Morocco’s Leader Says ‘No’ to Legalization
MOROCCO: Abdelilah Benkirane, leader of the Moroccan Government, spoke at the House of Representative’s monthly session stating there is no evidence at all that cannabis can be used for pharmaceutical and medical purposes. He believes legalizing marijuana is not a solution and assured the House that authorities have been providing alternative choices to citizens living in areas where cannabis is being grown. There are currently two parties opposing Benkirane, pushing for the legalization of cannabis throughout the country. 


Big Haul in Algeria
ALGERIA: All narcotics are stringently forbidden in Algeria, a law that is strictly enforced by officers who are cracking down on drug trafficking in their country. Being the largest country in Africa by area, the southern region of the country is known as the route most frequently used to transport drugs from Morocco to Europe. The Coast Guard in this area intercepted a stunning 1,707kg (3,763lbs) this month as well as 1,818 gallons of fuel. While law enforcement in the area is working diligently to clean up their country, there seems to always be more smugglers waiting in the wings. 


British Stoners Can’t Tell Hemp and Marijuana Apart
WEST SUSSEX: A hemp farmer in West Sussex is furious over the crops he has lost, nearly 5% or £10,000, in a little over a week. While hemp appears similar to cannabis, it has none of the psychoactive properties associated with the drug. A group of vandals discovered Nathaniel Loxley’s eight acres of hemp and, thinking it was a high-inducing marijuana plant, posted the location of the farm online. This online post has led to dozens of people sneaking onto Loxley’s farm to try to get high, leaving trampled plants and paraphernalia in their wake. Police have arrested three people on suspicion of stealing industrial hemp, but there are dozens more who haven’t been caught. Loxley, who is in his first year of growing the hemp, said, “It’s quite disappointing, it’s done a fair bit of damage by ripping out plants and putting a path through the crop where they’ve walked.” He is hoping to harvest the crop in the next few weeks before any more damage can be done.


Can Marijuana Heal Bones?
ISRAEL: Scientists in Israel exploring the medicinal uses of marijuana claim their research indicates a compound in the plant could help heal bone fractures. The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that when patients with broken bones received the non-psychoactive CBD oil the fractures healed faster and stronger. One of the lead researchers on the project stated that the CBD enhances the maturation of the collagenous matrix, providing the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue. He claims that the CBD alone does this and makes the bones stronger and will be harder to break in the future. The study used two groups of rats with mid-femoral fractures, the first group was given CBD alone while the other group was administered CBD with THC. The researchers were able to conclude the CBD alone was the effective treatment. They explained that humans are already equipped with a naturally occurring endocannabinoid system, thus preparing the body to be responsive to cannabinoids, even from an outside source such as cannabis. Many studies done in recent years show the potential for CBD to do everything from controlling blood sugar to curing cancer. Lead researcher, Yankel Gabet, says, “The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point.” Yet the federal government disagrees, still classifying the drug as one of the most dangerous with no accepted medical use.


 

 

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