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Colombia: medical marijuana legalization challenge to Washington

Posted on December 24th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaFollowing through on a pledge made last month, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Dec. 22 signed a decree broadly legalizing medical marijuana. The new regulation—making it legal to grow, process, import and export cannabis for medical and scientific use—was hailed by Santos as positioning Colombia "at the forefront in the fight against disease." In a line clearly aimed at placating Washington, he also insisted that "the medicinal use of cannabis does not go counter to our international commitments in the field of drug control."

Colombia: countdown to legal medical marijuana

Posted on November 20th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, in an interview with BBC Mundo Nov. 13, said he was ready to issue a decree legalizing medical marijuana, and would act within a matter of days. "It is now scientifically proven that marijuana has a variety of medicinal attributes," he said. "There is great demand, and there are companies in Canada and the United States that are utilizing marijuana for a variety of therapeutic and medicinal treatments." He said the decree would provide a regulatory framework for production, distribution and commercialization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

US to seek extradition of Colombian cocaleros?

Posted on November 20th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

ColombiaAfter 50 years of internal war, Colombia finally seems to be approaching a peace accord with leftist guerillas. But the US Senate is considering legislation that could throw a big obstacle on Colombia's path to peace. The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, sponsored by Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), aims to target every link in the chain of narco-trafficking—right down the impoverished peasants who grow the coca. The bill has unanimously passed the Senate twice before, but has never cleared the House. On Oct. 7, it passed the Senate a third time, and a big push is on to make it law of the land. "Since drug cartels are continually evolving, this legislation ensures that our criminal laws keep pace," said Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

Mexico: high court upholds individual right to cannabis

Posted on November 5th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

MexicoIn a 4-to-1 decision on Nov. 4, the Criminal Chamber of Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the prohibition of consumption and cultivation of cannabis for personal use is unconstitutional, voiding five articles of the country's principal narcotics statute, the General Health Law. The court found that prohibition of cannabis consumption—or of cultivation for non-commercial purposes—violates the right to "free development of the personality," enshrined in Aricle 19 of the Mexican Constitution. The landmark decision only applies to the actual plaintiffs who challenged the prohibition provisions of the General Health Law, but loans weight to legalization proposals being prepared in Mexico's Congress. "They're noting this case and using it in their favor to present a law that will be in agreement and will protect people's rights," Moy Schwartzman, attorney for the plaintiffs, was quoted by AP.

Chile moves towards cannabis decrim

Posted on July 7th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Southern ConeCheers broke out in the public gallery July 7 as Chile's lower-house Chamber of Deputies voted 68-to-39 with five abstentions to decriminalize cannabis—including a provision for cultivation. The reform of the country's anti-drug statute, Law 20.000, would "depenalize" the possession of up to 10 grams (0.35 ounce) and the growing of up to six plants. The bill makes reference to recreational, medical and spiritual use of the herb. To become law, it still has to be studied by a health committee before the Chamber of Deputies votes again on each specific provision. It will next pass to the senate, and then to the desk of President Michelle Bachelet, who is expected to approve it.

Cannabis cultivation decriminalized in Spain?

Posted on July 3rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

SpainThe new "Citizen Safety Law" that took effect in Spain on July 1 is notoriously draconian, making it illegal to march on public buildings, and imposing prohibitive fines for holding any protest without a permit. It also raises the minimum penalty for public cannabis use or possession from 300 to 600 euros, with the maximum penalty set at a whopping 30,000 euros for "grave infractions." But even this is something of a victory, as conservatives had been pressing to raise the minimum to 1,000 euros. And there may be a more surprising bright side.

Delaware governor signs decrim bill into law

Posted on June 20th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

cannabisDelaware's Gov. Jack Markell on June 18 signed into law House Bill 39, decriminalizing possession and use of personal quantities of cannabis. The bill, which was approved by the state senate earlier that day, eliminates criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce. Police may still confiscate the cannabis, however. The penalty for public use is reduced to a $100 civil fine. Selling will remain a criminal offense. Prior to the new legislation, simple possession was a misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in prison and as a $1,150 fine. A statement from the governor's office on the new law said: "The governor remains committed to reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system and refocusing resources where they are needed most and House Bill 39 supports these efforts." The law will take effect in six months. (Jurist, June 20)

New York State push for cannabis justice

Posted on April 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

New YorkBack in March, Connecticut's Supreme Court, the state's highest, ruled that those convicted of past cannabis possession misdemeanors can have the charges erased from their records because the state decriminalized the herb in 2011. The  unanimous ruling came in the case of Nicholas Menditto, who will now have his 2009 possession conviction expunged from his record. (The Joint Blog, March 17; AP, March 16) Last week, reporter Jon Campbell wrote in New York's Village Voice that activists in the Empire State are hoping for a similar outcome. New York was one of the first states to decriminalize, way back in '77, and the cut-off point for an infraction rather than a misdemeanor is a full ounce (as opposed to a half-ounce under the Connecticut law). But New York pot arrests have ironically continued at the highest rate in the country—especially in the Big Apple, under the aggressive policing since the '90s. The loophole that cops used? Cannabis in public view remains illegal—and suspects are basically forced into pulling out their stashes when stopped by cops and ordered to empty their pockets.

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