If the government eases the condonance policy or restricts it, the illegal growing will continue, according to public civil servants of the Ministry of Health and Safety & Justice.

The public civil servants looked at three scenario’s for future Dutch cannabis policy. In the first scenario sales and growing will be regulated, in the second the current condonance policy will be eased from coffeeshops towards growing weed. The last scenario the sales and the growing will be forbidden totally. Wit hall the scenario’s the public civil servants expect a minor effect on the illegal growing of weed. Under the current situation only a small part of the illegal grown harvest gets to the coffeeshops, the main part is targeted for export, and that market is not about to change.

Last February the Dutch parliament voted for the condoning of growing weed, but according tot he public civil servants that scenario will bring the most insecurities, because it doesn’t coincide with new legislation. According to the public civil servants if the cannabis growing would be regulated or legalised that would mean extra work, e.g every harvest (seven to eight times on a yearly basis) (?) would have to be quality-checked, and growers and sellers would have to keep up a strict administration.

Source may 10: trouw.nl

Daily dose of cannabis could reverse brain’s decline in old age, according to a study at the University of Bonn.

Regular low doses of THC dramatically boosted memory and learning in older mice. The discovery has raised hopes for a treatment that improves brain function in old age without inducing the behavioural effects well known to recreational users of the drug. To investigate whether it works in humans, the scientists plan to launch a clinical trial later this year.

Research on cannabis use by adolescents has found compelling evidence that regular, heavy use can impair the memory. But the impact of the drug on older people’s brains has been far less well studied. The boost in brain function in the German study was linked to an apparent restoration of gene expression in the brain to more youthful levels.

The German researchers believe that the drug works by stimulating what is known as the endocannabinoid system, a biochemical pathway that becomes less active with age in mice, humans and other animals. The discovery opens up a whole new scope for chemistry of the endocannabinoid system, as a potential target for new avenues of research, which could include illnesses like dementia.

Source may 8: theguardian.com

The first shipment of medicinal cannabis arrived in Perth earlier this month, but weed’s history in Australia stemmed from the arrival of the First Fleet.

At Joseph Bank’s request, hemp boarded the first Fleet as cargo ‘for commerce’. His hope was to produce hemp commercially for the new colony.  According to Dr John Jiggens, Britain was deep in the hemp trade. Banks saw the settlement of Australia as a way of expanding Britain’s hemp trade:

“ The implications of Britain´s need for hemp made the hemp trade a strategic target in times of war, as this brief overview of the Hemp Question shows. Although the strategy of reliance on Russian hemp was risky, it was the basis of empire. Without the Russian hemp trade, the British Empire would never have been as great. Great as Great Britain became, its empire dangled by that ribbon of hempen trade that wound its way through the narrow and dangerous passages of the Baltic Sea.¨

Jiggens believes the original plan for New South Wales was to develop a new hemp colony, the resettlement of convicts was just an elaborate cover. In those days, cannabis wasn’t about marijuana; it was all about hemp. The long-stem fibres of the plant were used for sails, cables and rigging. For a first-rate warship, hemp was of great importance. Hemp was to them, as oil is to us today.

So was the real reason for colonising New South Wales to create a potential hemp colony?

Banks played a major role in the plan to colonise New South Wales. Banks, as we know, had an interest in hemp and may have seen New South Wales as a potential hemp colony. Even publishing a file called Hemp 1764-1810.  Historian K.M Dallas suggested that the ‘the dumping of convicts view’ was way too simple an explanation for colonisation of Australia and that there were hidden reasons.

This may have included Bank’s hemp replacement plans. At the height of the French Revolution wars in 1797 Banks was appointed to the Privy Council of Trade. A crucial time for France, Banks was put in charge of hemp policies within the British Empire. His file: Hemp 1764-1810 was full of his papers on hemp trade, growth and economic trade.

The British experimented with hemp colonies in India, but due to an error in cannabis taxonomy, they were unaware that they were trying to turn “dope into rope.” Ganga (the plant they were growing in India) is not a fibre crop it’s a crop that produces the drug marijuana. Banks seeing the intoxicating the drug has supplied it to the poet Coleridge. Not only was Banks a substantial cultivator of the drug cannabis, he was also the first recorded drug dealer in Britain and Australia.

Cannabis was enjoyed recreationally and medicinally in Australia and the western world until the 1930s when the drug was demonised as “an evil sex drug that causes its victims to behave like raving sex maniacs.”

Surprisingly the campaign against the ‘sex drug’ didn’t stop demand or use. And now more than 100 years after its arrival in Australia, it is (somewhat) legal again. I guess you could say Joseph Banks really blazed the way forward…

Source: May 4 – National Geographic

Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalisation in America. The petition draws attention to an article by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, whose findings highlight the substantial cost-savings our government could incur if it were to tax and regulate marijuana, rather than needlessly spending billions of dollars enforcing its prohibition.

Miron predicts that legalising marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement, in addition to generating $2.4 billion annually if taxed like most consumer goods, or $6 billion per year if taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco. The economists signing the petition note that the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition are just one of many factors to be considered, but declare it essential that these findings become a serious part of the national decriminalisation discussion.

The advantages of marijuana legalisation extend far beyond an opportunity to make a dent in our federal deficit. The criminalisation of marijuana is one of the many fights in the War on Drugs that has failed miserably. And while it’s tempting to associate only the harder, “scarier” drugs with this botched crusade, the fact remains that marijuana prohibition is very much a part of the battle. The federal government has even classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance (its most serious category of substances), placing it in a more dangerous category than cocaine. More than 800,000 people are arrested for marijuana use and possession each year, and 46 percent of all drug prosecutions across the country are for marijuana possession. Yet this costly and time-consuming targeting of marijuana users by law enforcement and lawmakers has done little to quell use of the drug.

The criminalisation of marijuana has not only resulted in a startlingly high number of arrests, it also reflects the devastating disparate racial impact of the War on Drugs. Despite ample evidence that marijuana is used more frequently by white people, Blacks and Latinos account for a grossly disproportionate percentage of the 800,000 people arrested annually for marijuana use and possession. These convictions hinder one’s ability to find or keep employment, vote or gain access to affordable housing. The fact that these hard-to-shake consequences – bad enough as they are — are suffered more frequently by a demographic that uses marijuana less makes our current policies toward marijuana all the more unfair, unwise and unacceptable.

Our marijuana policies have proven ineffective, expensive and discriminatory. Our courtrooms, jails and prisons remain crowded with nonviolent drug offenders. And yet, the government persists in its costly, racist and counterproductive criminalisation of marijuana. We learned our lesson decades ago with alcohol prohibition; it is long overdue for us to do the same with marijuana prohibition. In the face of Miron’s new report, and its support from hundreds of economists, we are hopeful that not only will the national conversation surrounding marijuana change, but so will our disastrous policies.

Source: April 26 – ACLU