While tourists who travel to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, have coffeeshop access to top-shelf cannabis for about $12.50 per gram, visitors to Copenhagen, Denmark, buy their supply on Christiania’s “Dealer’s Street.” Varieties primarily consist of overpriced Moroccan hash, but there is also some home-grown herb: limp, sparse buds of Jack Herer, White Widow, and Bubble Gum selling for $22.50 per gram. The cheapest deal is seeded, outdoor-grown at $8 per gram.
That may change soon. Part of the city’s plan to legalize cannabis, presented at a March 15, 2013 conference, is to explore importing from two US states that recently legalized adult use of the herb, according to prepared documents from the council. The city proposed a three-year trial, stating, “The legal sale of cannabis will result in decreased gang criminality, more prevention and a better life for average cannabis users”.
Deputy mayor for social affairs Mikkel Warming told the
Read More: Danish capital wants to offer American bud
Daniel Robelo, DPA, DrugPolicy.org
When the people of Colorado and Washington made history by legalizing marijuana, their vote reverberated around the world — especially in Latin America, where it has given new energy to the struggle to end drug prohibition.
Just hours after the election, politicians from across Mexico’s political spectrum demanded that Mexico end the drug war or to legalize marijuana itself. A bill to legally regulate cannabis was introduced into the lower house of congress, while other politicians spoke of holding a national referendum in three years. “The prohibitionist paradigm is a complete failure,” said the bill’s author, Fernando Belaunzaran, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). “All this has done is spur more violence, the business continues … and the country that has paid the highest costs is Mexico.”
It is unclear if newly inaugurated President Enrique Peña Nieto will pursue any substantive reforms. Before
Read More: Legalization in US spurs debate throughout Americas
Cannabis tourism survives Coffeeshop battle in the Netherlands: past the worst
By Derrick Bergman, G0NZ0 Media, VOC*
The struggle against the “wietpas” (weed pass) and the banning of foreigners from Dutch cannabis coffeeshops isn’t over yet, but the worst seems to have passed .
Weed pass was introduced into three southern provinces of the Netherlands on May 1, 2012, with the rest of the country to follow suit on Jan. 1, 2013. As predicted by activists and opposition politicians, the scheme led to chaos, especially in the city of Maastricht. The black market welcomed a stream of foreign customers with open arms. Then, just a week before the pass took effect, the national government resigned and called new elections, held in September. The new government is a coalition of the conservative VVD party and the social democrats of PvdA, who want to regulate and legalize cannabis and abolish weed
Read More: Amsterdam cannabis coffeeshops remain open
Is cannabis a performance-enhancing drug?
That would seem to be the logic behind the one-year suspension of American wrestler Stephany Lee, who qualified for the Olympic team, only to have her dreams of London gold crushed by testing positive for cannabis before the Olympic trials in April. Lee courageously stated that she was a regular toker who always quit using it before competitions, with never a dirty test before. She said she had stopped her use two weeks earlier — “the longest I ever quit before a competition.” Cannabis does not enhance her ability to wrestle, or provide her with a competitive advantage. Certainly an Olympic caliber wrestler experiences pain and other life stressors for which cannabis therapy can be helpful. So why should an athlete be penalized for using a substance far safer than alcohol, caffeine or other legal substances? When cannabis is finally legal, this all will
Read More: Olympian misses games, suspended for a year over cannabis
By Tony Newman, Drug Policy Alliance
The president of Uruguay submitted a proposal to Parliament Aug. 8, 2012 to legalize marijuana under government-controlled regulation and sale. This would make it the first country in the world in which the state sells cannabis directly to its citizens. The proposal, signed by President José Mujica, is part of a package of measures aimed at fighting crime and still requires parliamentary approval.
Despite Uruguay being one of the safest countries in Latin America, it has seen an increase in crime from drug gangs due to its position on a drug-transit route to Europe via West Africa. The aim of the proposal is to remove the profits of cannabis sales from drug gangs, separate the market from those for other illegal drugs, and avoid cannabis consumers’ exposure to drug dealers who also sell coca paste, cocaine, etc. Additionally, the revenue from cannabis sales
Read More: Uruguay legalization bill: A growing Latin America trend
By Derrick Bergman, G0NZ0 Media, VOC
Will Dutch cannabis coffeeshops stay open for foreign visitors after Jan. 1, 2013?
This will be determined by the outcome of the Sept. 12 national elections. Coffeeshops and cannabis activists have campaigned like never before to get out “the stoner vote.”
The elections are the result of the April collapse of The Netherlands’ government. The reactionary ruling coalition introduced a string of repressive measures for coffeeshops. Its so-called weedpass, which would ban all foreign visitors from coffeeshops, is the most notorious of these. In the southern provinces, this rule has been enforced since May 1, with the rest of the country to follow on Jan. 1. Predictably, street dealing and “weed taxis” have increased in the South since the weedpass. Tourists are absent from the coffeeshops, but so are most Dutch visitors who refuse to have their personal information filed in
Read More: Coffeeshops’ fate turns on upcoming Dutch election
By Daniel Garcia, Legal Intern, Sensible Colorado
Colorado voters will decide the fate of Amendment 64 (A-64) on Nov. 6, 2012, a statewide ballot initiative to tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol and allow for cultivation of industrial hemp.
The stakes are high for Colorado, and also for Latin America, the region which has suffered the brunt of the failed US drug policies. Experts agree that the drug gangs ravaging countries like Mexico earn half their revenue due to marijuana prohibition, which in turn funds other criminal activity like gun-running, kidnapping and murder. Having a legal, regulated supply network in Colorado would reduce the profits gangsters earn from dealing illicit marijuana. Instead of money flowing into criminal hands, it would flow to local small businesses that create jobs and provide tax revenue to support local schools and communities.
As a Chicano who has family living in some of
Read More: Colorado and Latin America
By Mike Bifari
Uruguay President ¨Pepe¨ Mujica has called on the national government to legalize marijuana, saying at an Oct. 27, 2011 press conference that he will convince his people to support his legalization project, adding, ¨I’ve been told that this is not a dangerous drug and that it brings happiness.¨
The text submitted to Congress on Aug. 8, 2012 declares that the drug war is a failure and would have government control marijuana imports, production, sale and distribution to create a legal market for people to get cannabis without turning to riskier illegal drugs. Juan Vaz and his wife Laura are two unsung heroes of the cannabis movement in Uruguay. Juan spent more than an year in prison for home-growing charges, only to become a major advocate for the home growers’ movement, while the couple also has been advising the local congress’ Commission for Marijuana Law Reform.
Read More: Uruguay leads move toward state control of legalization
‘Weedpass’ splits the Netherlands in two
By Derrick Bergman, G0NZ0 Media, VOC
The so-called weedpass, aimed at excluding foreigners from cannabis coffeeshops to make them “smaller and easier to control” has been enforced in the South of the Netherlands since May 1, 2012. The new rules are to be enforced in the rest of the country, including Amsterdam, on Jan. 1, 2013. This scheme has split the country in two: the free North and the unfree South.
The move to turn coffeeshops into private clubs that are out-of-bounds for tourists has been controversial from the start. Most people expect the only winners will be illegal dealers, who, of course, will sell to anyone. This prediction has turned to reality in the southern provinces of the Netherlands. In the first week of May, happy street dealers showed bundles of cash and bags of cannabis and other drugs on national
Read More: Dutch protest scheme to ban canna-tourism
By Morgan Fox, Marijuana Policy Project
A Mason-Dixon poll sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project in May 2012 found that 74% of voters nationwide support ending federal interference with medical marijuana laws — higher than the popularity of any political candidate.
Throughout nearly a year of federal crackdowns on medical marijuana providers throughout the nation, and in spite of campaign promises, President Obama has maintained relative silence on the issue. He has simply noted that marijuana is still against federal law, and allowed federal prosecutors in medical-use states to set their own policies. Actions against providers were rationalized by proximity to schools, local zoning ordinance violations, or apparent business success. The inconsistency with which cannabis businesses have been targeted for closure has had local officials, patients and providers begging for some kind of clear policy statement from the top.
At the April 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena,
Read More: Summit of the Americas forces Obama to address drug issues
By Derrick Bergman, (G0NZ0 Media, VOC)
Four festive and magical days marked the opening of the world’s largest cannabis museum in Barcelona, Spain. The Hemp Museum Gallery is a branch of the orginal Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam.
The new museum is located in the famous gothic quarter of Barcelona, within walking distance of the beach and the Ramblas boulevard. Ben Dronkers (Sensi Seeds, Hempflax, Hash Museum) purchased the wonderful 16th-century Palau or Palace Mornau in 2001 and spared no expense or trouble to turn it into a world-class museum. His vast cannabis collection of over 6500 pieces has finally been professionally catalogued and the original Hash Museum in Amsterdam has been thoroughly renovated and upgraded. Hats off to the extended Dronkers family: the results in both cities are spectacular.
The reopening of the Amsterdam museum and the grand opening in Barcelona coincided with the 2012 Cannabis
Read More: World’s largest cannabis museum opened in Barcelona
By Derrick Bergman, G0NZ0 Media, VOC *
Will 2012 be the last year that Dutch coffeeshops can welcome foreign customers? The rules officially changed on the first of January, but it remains unclear whether policies of the right-wing government will prevail.
In typical Dutch fashion, the new scheme is extremely complicated and hard to explain. The goal is to turn all coffeeshops into private clubs, with memberships limited to 2,000 each. Only residents of the Netherlands can obtain a membership. The physical ‘weed pass’ that Minister of Justice and Security Opstelten had announced is no longer mandatory, a ministry spokesperson declared recently.
To implement the new rules, two criteria have been added to the so-called AHOJ-G policy that coffeeshops now have to follow. These new criteria will not be enforced immediately, however. In the three Southern provinces of the Netherlands, enforcement begins May 5, 2012. In the rest of
Read More: New Dutch coffeeshop rules create confusion and anger