Drug offences and death penalty…

26 07 2010

Drug dealer on his way to his execution in China Source: deathpenaltynews.blogspot.com

An interesting study was released in April this year about the legitimacy of the death penalty being pronounced for drug offenders:

From Amicus Journal (2010) Issue 21, p 21-28.

This article provides an in-depth analysis of the international law ramifications of applying the death penalty for drug offences.  It reviews the the ‘most serious crimes’ threshold for the lawful application of capital punishment as established in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  It then explores the question of whether drug offences meet this threshold by examining the issue through the lenses of international human rights law, the domestic legislation in retentionist states, international narcotics control law, international refugee law and international criminal law.  The article  concludes that drug offences do not constitute ‘most serious crimes’, and that executions of people for drug offences violates international human rights law.

Read the whole article on: A Most Serious Crime – R Lines 2010





Oakland legalizes Marijuana Farms

26 07 2010

Will this be the future? A project made by Gropech

Oakland’s City Council late Tuesday adopted regulations permitting industrial-scale marijuana farms, a plan that some small farmers argued would squeeze them out of the industry they helped to build.

To address concerns from smaller farmers, the council pledged to create regulations on regulating small- and medium-size marijuana farms this year. Council members and proponents of marijuana cultivation regulation viewed the proposal as smart public policy: It would generate revenue, ensure that fire and building codes are enforced, keep neighborhoods safe from robberies, and further position Oakland as the center of the state’s cannabis economy.

“It’s really important for Oakland to be a vital part of that growth and development for licensed facilities,” said Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan.

Read the rest of this entry »





Veterans Affairs makes exception for Medical Marijuana

26 07 2010

A veteran who grows his own cannabis for medical purpose

The Department of Veterans Affairs will formally allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, a policy clarification that veterans have sought for several years.

A department directive, expected to take effect next week, resolves the conflict in veterans facilities between federal law, which outlaws marijuana, and the 14 states that allow medicinal use of the drug, effectively deferring to the states.

The policy will not permit department doctors to prescribe marijuana. But it will address the concern of many patients who use the drug that they could lose access to their prescription pain medication if caught.

Under department rules, veterans can be denied pain medications if they are found to be using illegal drugs. Until now, the department had no written exception for medical marijuana.

This has led many patients to distrust their doctors, veterans say. With doctors and patients pressing the veterans department for formal guidance, agency officials began drafting a policy last fall.

“When states start legalizing marijuana we are put in a bit of a unique position because as a federal agency, we are beholden to federal law,” said Dr. Robert Jesse, the principal deputy under secretary for health in the veterans department.

At the same time, Dr. Jesse said, “We didn’t want patients who were legally using marijuana to be administratively denied access to pain management programs.” Read the rest of this entry »





Nutrient deficiency: Potassium (K)

23 07 2010

Summary

Potassium is present throughout plants and is required for all water-related transport activities in plants including opening and closing the stomas. Potassium is also responsible for the plants’ strength and quality and it controls countless other processes such as carbohydrate management.
The Romans and Etruscans improved the soil with potassium by burning down the local vegetation and this form of slash-and-burn has been employed throughout the world during the last centuries and has resulted in enormous soil erosion. In the thirties, wood ash mixed with stable manure was frequently used in the Netherlands.
Potassium is a soft, silver-white metal that reacts very violently with water and light in its pure form. 300 million years ago minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium became dissolved in the sea due to soil erosion. The seawater evaporated in large sea basins and the salts crystallised. This created the salt formations in Alsace in south-western Germany. Around the turn of the century only table salt was extracted from these formations and the excess potassium salt was discharged into the Rhine. Because of the increasing use of inorganic fertilizers, other minerals such as magnesium, sulphur (Epsom salts), phosphorus and boron are now extracted from these mines as well as table salt and potassium.

  • In the beginning you see a healthy looking, dark green plant with semi-shiny leaves that later become dull.
  • Plants often have more side shoots than is normal and stems remain thinner.
  • The points of the young leaves get grey edges, later turning rust brown, necrotic and they shrivel and curl up.
  • The leaves turn yellow progressing from the edge towards the veins and necrotic, rust brown spots appear in the leaf.
  • The leaves often turn or curl radially in the top, entire leaves become necrotic and they continue to curl and then fall off (old leaves).
  • If it is a severe deficiency the plant will look dull and unhealthy and flowering will be severely inhibited Read the rest of this entry »




Smoking ban? On tobacco yes, Cannabis… not!

23 07 2010

Forbidden to toke, 50€ fine... could this become a common sign in California?

Finally, someplace gets it right when it comes to smoking.

Medical marijuana will not be subject to the smoking ban adopted by the Sebastopol City Council on Tuesday — at least for the time being.

The council unanimously(!) voted to remove medical marijuana from the proposed ordinance and focus only on the use of tobacco after a series of speakers, several of whom said they used cannabis for medical purposes, expressed fears that the ordinance would interfere with their legal use of pot.

The ordinance had originally included cannabis, as well as a number of other substances, including crack cocaine, reports George Snyder at Sonoma West Times & News.

The council decided to focus on tobacco alone at the suggestion of council member Linda Kelley as a way to allow medical marijuana users to not become entangled in potential legal issues outlined by City Attorney Larry McLaughlin.

In addition, although recreational pot use is not currently legal, that could change with Prop 19, which would legalize cannabis for adults, on the November ballot, McLaughlin said.

By limiting the focus of the smoking ordinance on the effects of nicotine and tobacco smoke, the council was told, the ordinance could sidestep the marijuana issue.

The council could, perhaps in six months or a year, revisit the marijuana exemption to see if complains about pot smoke indicated a problem, suggested council member Larry Robinson, who had long pushed adoption of the smoking ordinance.

“The point is not to infringe on the rights of people in their home, but to protect others in their homes,” Robinson said.

The city had been working since 2008 to make the smoking ordinance more comprehensive, according to City Manager Jack Griffin.

“The city has already established smoking bans in public parks and playgrounds,” Griffin said. “The proposed ordinance significantly increases the city’s smoking regulations to include a number of additional locations, most notably multi-family dwelling units.”

Current regulations focus on outlawing smoking in public places including retail stores, restaurants, banks, offices, theaters, auditoriums and other businesses.

The biggest change in the proposed ordinance would ban smoking in apartments (“multi-family dwelling units”), as well as in unenclosed apartment complex common areas except designated smoking areas.

The ordinance would require each lease or rental agreement in apartment complexes to contain provisions outlining the new rules.

Single-family homes would not be affected by the ordinance.

Source: Toke of the Town





The EU back the ban on coffee shops for tourists

22 07 2010

Its name may be synonymous with European unity ‑ but increasingly its coffee shops are not.

Moves by the Dutch border town of Maastricht to ban foreigners from its marijuana cafes have been upheld by the European court, in a rare contravention of EU laws governing free markets and free movement of people.

In response to what it terms an influx of hordes of weed-seeking tourists, mainly from Belgium and France, Maastricht decided to limit admission to coffee shops to Dutch residents only. Every day, some 4,000 tourists in search of the perfect smoke enter Maastricht, according to the major of the town. Some 70% of the town’s coffee-shop customers come from across the border.

Marc Josemans, owner and chairman of the Association of Official Maastricht Coffee Shops, brought a legal challenge before the Dutch council of state, arguing that a ban contravenes European legislation on free movement and free trade in goods and services within the EU. The council asked the European court of justice for its interpretation of EU law, which it will then employ in its ruling expected at the end of this year.

In his finding, the EU court’s advocate general, Yve Bot, said that narcotics do not count as regular goods because they are against the law. “Narcotics, including cannabis, are not goods like others and their sale does not benefit from the freedoms of movement guaranteed by European Union law, inasmuch as their sale is unlawful,” he said.

He did add however that in cases of their medical or scientific use, marijuana does “come under internal market rules”.

The court said that Maastricht was right to view drug tourism as “a genuine and sufficiently serious threat to public order”, and thus the restriction of foreigners from coffee shops “constitutes a measure necessary to protect the residents of the municipality from trouble”.

The finding concluded by saying that backpackers descending upon the Netherlands for a weekend of exuberance and oblivion endangered the European Union’s security. “Drug tourism, in so far as it conceals, in actual fact, international trade in narcotics and fuels organised criminal activities, threatens even the European Union’s internal security,” it said.

Author: Leigh Phillips

Source: The Guardian





UK: Can the politics bail on scientific advise?

21 07 2010

“All too often governments make political policy choices rather than evidence-based ones. This approach has caused deep consternation among the scientific community in the UK, where a schism now exists between the government and its scientific advisers.
The trouble started last October after David Nutt, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), was sacked for publicly speaking out against the government’s decision to ignore the ACMD’s advice on cannabis.

In November, the scientific community, though understandably angry at the way in which the government had treated a respected scientific adviser, decided to respond in a constructive manner. 90 senior scientists, scientific advisers, and Sense about Science—an independent charity promoting good science for the public—drafted a set of principles on the treatment of scientific advice and sent them to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The principles fall under three themes: academic freedom to express views openly without restriction, independence of operation, and proper consideration of advice by ministers. The code enshrined what scientific advice to government should be—independent of political interference and ideology.
How did the government respond? It redrafted the principles to suit its agenda. Most notably, the government dropped academic freedom as a principle and inserted “trust and respect”. Under this heading it states that: “The government and its scientific advisers should work together to reach a shared position, and neither should act to undermine mutual trust.” However, asking scientific advisers to collude with government to reach a “shared position” on policies would undermine the independence of scientific advice. Essentially, these revisions represent an attempt by government to avoid any future public dissent from its scientific advisers.

The government must now listen to the concerns that have been raised over its version of the principles and revise them accordingly. Doing so will restore the confidence of both the scientific community and the public in ministerial policy making. It will also help to repair the damaged relationship that exists between the government and its scientific advisers.”

This is what the Lancet wrote about the issue in February this year. Since then, a new government has been formed out of a coalition between the Tory (conservatives) and the Lib-Dem.

But yet, nothing has been done to ensure independent scientific advice to be considered by the parliament.

It looks like ex Prime Minister G. Brown left the draft in a secure place or that the new government has other more important issues (?!)

Source: The Lancet








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