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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

World News for April 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Police Find a Ton of PotSerbia: Six people have been arrested on charges of trafficking marijuana throughout Europe. Serbian police found over a ton (2000lbs) of cannabis in special compartments hidden in multiple fuel trucks. Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic stated the seizure was the largest in a single haul commending law enforcement for their efforts. The confiscated material is estimated to be worth 4 million euros ($4.3 million US). The marijuana was packaged in Kosovo and was being transported to Western Europe. The Balkans, where the trucks were found, has been a key route for smugglers since the 1990s.


What are the Laws Around the World?EARTH: We know that the marijuana laws in the United States are constantly changing and progressing, but what about other countries? There are many places around the world that have been making progress in the last few years. These progressive countries include: Australia, which became the first continent to legalize medical marijuana, Mexico, who is slowly taking steps toward legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing small amounts of recreational marijuana, and Uruguay, which is pricing recreational marijuana at $1 a gram to combat organized crime and match black market prices. Israel has had legal medical marijuana since 1992 and has since become the global leader in marijuana research, but recently they have begun taking steps to legalize or decriminalize recreational use. The Netherlands have always been known for their lax views on marijuana use, with Amsterdam being the cannabis tourist mecca, but marijuana manufacturing and distributing has never been legal in the country. Lawmakers have recently proposed legalizing cultivation of the drug, something that was never allowed previously. Though many parts of the world are moving forward with their marijuana laws, there are others that have not changed their stance or have increasingly harsh punishments for pot related offenses. Marijuana users in Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Nigeria face 5-12 years of prison time for possession and a possible life sentence for trafficking. In Malaysia and Saudi Arabia possession of marijuana could be a death sentence, especially if there is a suspicion that selling has occurred. Marijuana has long been scrutinized and stigmatized around the world, but finally views are slowly, but surely, changing for the better.

Insomnia InhalerIsrael: CannRx, a U.S. company that develops medial applications for marijuana, is teaming up with iCAN: Israel Cannabis to create the first marijuana inhaler to help users sleep. Many insomnia sufferers find that taking a puff of marijuana before bed helps to get to sleep and sleep through the night. CannRx and iCAN are working to create i.can.sleep, an inhaler that will deliver a stable and controlled dose of cannabis that will last throughout the night. William Levine of CannRx told Forward, “You take a puff of two depending on the dosage and in ten minutes you will be drowsy enough to sleep.” Israel will be giving final approval of medical marijuana exports later in the year.

Evidence Missing: Blame the RatsIndia: Police use a large warehouse at the Nagpur railway station to store confiscated marijuana and bootleg liquor. The illegal substances cannot be destroyed without a court order so the evidence has been piling up. Recently 55.11lbs of marijuana has gone missing from the warehouse. Abhay Panhekar, a senior inspector, claims rats are to blame for the missing cannabis. Panhekar told the Asian Age, “Rats are a huge menace here, they keep nibbling at plastic wrappers containing marijuana and alcohol bottles.” Though the rats could be to blame for the missing marijuana, there also seemed to be 25 plastic bottles containing alcohol that disappeared. The incident is being investigated, and officials say they cannot confirm that theft took place.

Cannabis Cures SoilItaly: Farmers in the Taranto region of Italy were once known for the meat and cheeses they were able to produce from their land. However, in 2008 the government slaughtered every herd in the area after detecting dioxin in the animals. The toxic chemical was coming from Europe’s largest steel plant, located near the affected areas. Farmers are still unable to have animals on the land due to contamination levels. One grower in the area, Vincenzo Fornaro, is aiming to fix the problems with his soil using cannabis. There is little to no THC in the hemp being grown on his farm, but the plant will pull the pollution from the soil with its fast growing roots. The process is known as phytoremediation, and involves the plant storing or transforming the dangerous substance into a nontoxic chemical.  This method was also used after the meltdown at Chernobyl to remove radioactive substances from the area. Fornaro, whose family has raised sheep on his land for generations, hopes that he will be able to bring life back to his home while helping others in the same situation.



Drug Dealer Nabbed at Train StationLuxembourg: After a long, two month investigation 4 people were arrested over a week long period at the end of March. Officers found over 60 cocaine pellets, €5,600 cash, and 4kg (8.82lbs) of marijuana. The investigation came as the result of the train station becoming a major drug trafficking center for the country. The investigation is ongoing, but the arrested suspects will face charges of possession as well as dealing.



Yummy GummiesSpain: The Civil Guard of Torrevieja arrested 27 people in connection with a large grow operation in the city. The suspected cultivators are being charged with crimes against the public health, illicit possession of weapons and belonging to a criminal organization. Officers confiscated 1,122 marijuana plants, 14 kilos (30 pounds) of marijuana, 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) hashish, and more than a quarter liter of cannabis oil. Owners of the operation were claiming to be cultivating industrial hemp, but were instead extracting cannabis oil. The company was creating vape pen oil as well as cannabis-laced gummy bears. The investigation is ongoing.






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