• Federal judge blocks Florida’s new law requiring that welfare applicants pass drug test

    The Associated Press
    Monday, October 24, 2011

    A federal judge temporarily blocked Florida’s new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits on Monday, saying it may violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Judge Mary Scriven ruled in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father who sought the benefits while finishing his college degree, but refused to take the test. The judge said there was a good chance plaintiff Luis Lebron would succeed in his challenge to the law based on the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from being unfairly searched.

  • Obama's misguided crackdown on medical marijuana

    Maia Szalavitz
    Time Magazine (US)
    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Why is the U.S. government cracking down on medical marijuana, a $1.7 billion business — and one of the few that seems to be thriving in a moribund economy? In early October, the Justice Department announced that it would be targeting medical-marijuana dispensaries in California. Calling large dispensaries "profiteers" that "hijacked" the state's medical-marijuana law, "motivated not by compassion but by money," California's four U.S. Attorneys announced the arrests of two major dispensary owners and a lawyer they accused of making millions from growing the drug.

  • Medical marijuana - lost in the haze of state law

    San Francisco Chronicle (US)
    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    medical-pot2Californians need to be honest with themselves: The marijuana industry that is flourishing in plain sight is not really about medicine. No question, some patients with HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer and other serious conditions are getting much-needed relief from medical marijuana. But the law is so loosely structured that almost anyone who wants to smoke marijuana or grow it for sale to dispensaries can do so with near impunity - at least from the state - under the voter-passed Proposition 215 of 1996.

  • Editorial: Feds' pot crackdown bad medicine

    Orange County Register (US)
    Friday, October, 21, 2011

    In the design of America's founders, the states are supposed to be centers of democratic experiment. They're not supposed to be uniform. For example, even though alcohol Prohibition ended in 1933, local laws restricting sales exist in 33 states. In Arkansas, more than half of 75 counties prohibit alcohol sales. This design is why it is disturbing to us that the Obama administration has launched a crackdown on medical marijuana, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, the home of the federal government.

  • In a Strange About-Face, the President Tries to Hack Medical Marijuana Off at the Knees

    Ray Stern
    Phoenix New Times (US)
    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    The new federal crackdown on medical marijuana announced on October 7 by California's four U.S. Attorneys sent chills through the industry. It was a stunning reversal by the Obama administration. While legal weed grew to an estimated $10 billion to $100 billion industry — no one's quite sure of the exact figure — activists noticed an alarming undercurrent to the rhetoric: Raids on growers and dispensaries actually increased under President Barack Obama.

  • Budding research may remove stigma around cannabis cultivation

    The Province (Canada)
    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    cannabinoidsTwo Canadian researchers hope their work — mapping the cannabis sativa genome — will get rid of the stigma which they say surrounds the cultivation of hemp and marijuana in Canada. University of Saskatchewan's Jon Page and University of Toronto's Tim Hughes hope other scientists will use their work to develop marijuana as a legitimate medical ingredient, and hemp as a high-quality, fast-growing crop.

  • High time: inside Amsterdam's 'coffee shops'

    The Brisbane Times (Australia)
    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Accessibility has made most Dutch indifferent to smoking weed, and ironically, the Netherlands has one of Europe's lowest rates of cannabis usage. A coalition government, with minority parties wielding disproportional power have targeted coffee shops for reform. While they won't eradicate the tolerance policy, they have proposed a restrictive reform called the Weed Pass, which aims to make coffee shops work on a membership system.

  • Legalizing drugs isn’t the answer

    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Most of us can agree that current drug policy in North America is a disaster. The global war on drugs can’t be won. Locking up addicts in jail is both futile and inhumane. We’re squandering billions on policies that hurt people and don’t work. Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA, thinks our current policies are a disaster. But he also thinks the legalizers are just as misguided as the hard-liners with their fantasies of a drug-free world. His information-packed new book, Drugs and Drug Policy, is full of inconvenient facts that demolish both the hawks and the doves.

  • It's Time For A New Approach To Policies Involving Illegal Drugs

    Rich Danker
    Forbes (US)
    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Should drugs be decriminalized? That this question is still being kicked around after decades of debate through the war on drugs is indicative of how drug policy has hit a wall. No victory was ever declared because drugs remain a scourge on society, with approximately 23 million Americans addicted to illegal and legal substances. This comes against the backdrop of an overcrowded U.S. prison system whose population is one-fifth drug offenders, and recent reforms in Europe oriented toward harm reduction rather than criminal justice. Having failed to eradicate or even make large inroads against drug use and with current policy unsustainable, America is now obligated to come up with a new approach.

  • How hemp got high: Canadian scientists map the cannabis genome

    Physorg
    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Canadian researchers have sequenced the genome of Cannabis sativa, the plant that produces both industrial hemp and marijuana, and in the process revealed the genetic changes that led to the plant's drug-producing properties. Detailed analysis of the two genomes suggests that domestication, cultivation, and breeding of marijuana strains has caused the loss of the enzyme (CBDA synthase), which would otherwise compete for the metabolites used as starting material in THCA production. The article describing the research findings, "The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa," was published in the journal Genome Biology.

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