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Thursday, November 2, 2017

World news for November 2017 - by Kathy Hess

No Cannabis for German Hunters
Germany: Can you smoke cannabis and still have the right to hunt in Germany? The answer would appear to be “no,” currently.

Peter Jakobs a 52-year- old who ingests cannabis to relieve the symptoms of his Bechterew’s disease, successfully passed the hunter’s test last year, but his application for a hunting license was subsequently denied. The responsible county’s authority reasoning states that the applicant is intoxicated after consuming cannabis and is therefore not fit to carry a weapon.

Jakobs then turned to renowned psychotherapist Richard Tank for examination. The Trier psychologist confirmed Jakobs had not only the capability but the reliability to deal with weapons within the meaning of the weapons law.

“There are no performance deficiencies,” Tank concluded. The fact that Jakobs is allowed to drive in spite of his medical cannabis prescription is an additional indication
of his fitness and capacity to responsibly carry a firearm.
In the case of Peter Jakobs, it is much more about whether he is “high” after consuming cannabis. The stress-bearing, perception, and concentration test Jakobs carried out directly after consuming his cannabis medication, certified that he “shows no psychological or physical failure symptoms.”

Both laboratory and clinical research show that THC creates tolerance, which is when one becomes accustomed over time to the effects of the compound. This can take on average six weeks depending on potency and use patterns. Tolerance allows for those who are treating chronic pain to have less unwanted side effects and improved daily function. Jakobs believes that ignoring the expert’s report is “impudent” and accuses the county authorities of treating him “as a drug addict.” He has filed a lawsuit to appeal the decision.

The German Narcotics Act rescheduled cannabis from Appendix 3 to Appendix 1, officially recognizing the medical value of cannabis. Because of this, Jakobs’ complaint has a good chance of being heard and even reaching the highest federal court, if necessary. Jakobs is the first hunting cannabis patient in Germany to complain since the introduction of the cannabis law — the verdict will break ground for similar cases in the future.

Mr. Marijuagi
Japan: A 35-year old janitor living in Osaka was arrested at his home last month for growing and selling marijuana. It’s a fairly rare incident in Japan but what really caught the eye of horticulturists and officials alike were the unique techniques that the man used.

Police found 21 potted plants in the man’s house. Marijuana plants can easily grow to be over 3 ft high but these plants were only around 15 inches. When questioned by police, they learned that the janitor had used bonsai techniques to trim, prune and manicure the plants so that he could maximize his limited apartment space.

In a statement the man said – and I quote – “this is the first time I’ve produced such a great crop.” Yes, around the world, he is now considered the Mr. Miyagi of cannabis.


South of the US Border
Latin America: America is Getting Greener Peru has become the latest country in Latin America to allow the medicinal use of marijuana. The nation’s conservative congress voted 67-5 on October 16th , to approve legislation allowing the drug to be produced, imported and sold.

Lawmakers praised the move as a way to improve the lives of thousands of patients looking to better their quality of life. The legislation has the backing of Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Despite the popular support of medical cannabis, the nation isn’t likely to quickly move to legalize cannabis recreationally. They plan to watch the other nations close by that are moving to legalize recreationally, and observe the pros and cons before moving in that direction, or not.

Chile and Colombia also allow medical marijuana, while Uruguay in 2013 became the first Latin America nation to allow recreational use of the drug.

The VAMOS Party in Costa Rica, has made the campaign promise to usher in a countrywide legal cannabis sector for Costa Ricans and tourists alike, should they be elected into Congress.

“Currently, personal consumption of cannabis is not penalized, however cultivation and distribution are,” said VAMOS party leader Margarita Salas in an interview this month. Salas is a Harvard-educated politician who has been following the sweeping cannabis reform happening in around parts of the world. The current bill only allows for patients with a prescription to ingest cannabis, but Salas intends to change that to any adult who wants to partake.

Although Costa Rica is one of the more progressive countries in Central America, the historically negative stigma surrounding cannabis is what has kept it illegal thus far. Salas added that criminalizing cannabis is “unnecessary meddling by the state in people’s private lives and choices.”

Regardless of whether VAMOS is successful in being voted into Congress in February of 2018, Salas firmly believes that Costa Rica will be the first nation in Central America to legalize. The Costa Rican federal elections are scheduled for Feb. 4, 2018.

Police Officer in The Hague Netherlands Arrested
Netherlands: A police officer from The Hague, capital of the province of South Holland Netherlands, has been sentenced to four years for bribery, attempted burglary and membership of a criminal organization after passing on information about illegal marijuana plantations to others.

Amine A, who is 29 and was arrested last June, has also been banned from working as a civil servant for nine years.  The court found that between 2015 and 2016, Amine had combed police files looking for information about plantations and drugs storage locations which he sold to a friend, Yassine. Yassine is accused of breaking into dozens of addresses he had been given by Amine and emptying them of drugs before police could raid the premises. He was jailed for 3.5 years.

Two of Amine’s brothers were also jailed for three and four months for stealing the marijuana but were found not guilty of membership of a criminal organization.

Evidently Amine had been reprimanded for his close ties to known criminals in Gouda during his training period but had, nevertheless, been cleared to join the force.

UK on the Path to Legalizing
Medical Cannabis

United Kingdom: A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the United Kingdom passed its first reading in Parliament earlier this month, completely unopposed.
The legislation was introduced by Member of Parliament, Paul Flynn (Labour Party) amongst a flood of anticipation. Not coincidentally, on the same day the bill was introduced, a planned protest was executed outside of the Parliament building in London where dozens of cannabis advocates consumed edibles, drank teas, and vaped flower.  Such actions could have landed the protesters in jail for up to five years. There were no arrests.

Despite past apprehension from the UK government on this issue, Flynn very much believes the tide is turning. “I believe there’s been a change. People have seen what’s happening in other parts of the world, and seen the changes that have been made in the law on cannabis, without civilization collapsing and without the sky falling.”

The bill will be headed into its second reading before Parliament this coming February.

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