As Stoners Celebrate 4/20, Cops Ease Up On Cannabis Arrests

The few, the proud, and the stoned celebrate 4/20.

The few, the proud, and the stoned celebrate 4/20.

As stoners from around the world descended on Colorado to celebrate the unofficial marijuana holiday, 4/20, cops are acting totally chill. At the annual 4/20 Rally at Civic Center Park on Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of tokers gathered for one of the biggest public smoke sessions of the year.

The Denver Police Department did its best not to be buzzkills, according to the Denver Westword, which reports no one was arrested for smoking cheeba in public, which remains against the law in Colorado, one of several states that legalized marijuana for recreational use. Last year, Denver cops arrested 22 people on marijuana-related charges at the 4/20 Rally.

Although they did issue 30 more pot citations than last year’s 130 tickets.

Pot enthusiasts in London’s Hyde Park weren’t as lucky. Police arrested 53 people as pro-pot enthusiasts lit up at the park in call for legalization.

According to The London Evening Standard, “thousands were seen sitting on the grass openly smoking marijuana, comparing the size of their joints and listening to speakers while dozens of police officers hovered nearby.”

Police took 16 of the 53 people arrested into custody. The remaining 21 were released with a summons to appear in court at a later date. A Police spokesman told the British press: “Anyone seen by an officer openly smoking cannabis in Hyde Park or in the Westminster area could be issued with a warning or face arrest.”


Italian Army To Grow Marijuana To Combat Black Market

Mama mia! In a drastic move to curtail medicinal marijuana users from buying pot in the black market, Italy plans to use its military to grow weed for the sick masses.

The Italian government has already set up a high-security compound in Florence to grow cannabis for the national healthcare system in the face of outraged politicians and religious authorities, among them Senator and anti-drug campaigner Carlos Giovanardi.

He’s complained to the Italian press that the move would lead to “a society of zombies” and that “curing sick people does not become an excuse to expand the use of the substance.”

Italy legalized marijuana for medicinal use last year, but it has been slow to catch on because of the stigma associated with being in a staunchly Catholic country. Still, the Italian government has been working to keep the cost of medical marijuana down by cultivating its own cannabis. Officials hope to offer patients safe, legal and affordable pain relief to citizens of a country that strongly opposes drug use.

According to the Independent, the price of pharmacy-bought weed imported from Holland currently costs up to 10 times as much as street prices at around 38 euros per gram. However, Italy’s healthcare system does not cover the cost of pharmacy cannabis so patients who cannot afford it buy marijuana from street dealers.

Uruguay legalized the sale and cultivation of marijuana last year.

Uruguayans Can Now Grow Their Own Marijuana

Uruguay legalized the sale and cultivation of marijuana last year.

Uruguay legalized the sale and cultivation of marijuana last year.

Uruguay keeps taking measures to become the country at the forefront of marijuana legalization, but it’s progressive stance may be short-lived. On Wednesday, the government started allowing residents who want to grow their own marijuana at home to register to do so. Of course, in limited amounts.

In May, a law went into effect that grants citizens or legal residents who are at least 18 the right to grow marijuana for personal use if they register with the government. However, home growers are limited to six female plants and a yield of roughly four pounds per year.

According to the Associated Press, there hasn’t been a mad dash for registrations and interviewed cannabis activist Juan Vaz, who said home growers are leery of trusting the government. Even though Uruguay is the first nation on Earth that legalized the cultivation and sale of marijuana, the country has been slow to roll out its pot industry.

For instance, the law allows people to form growers and users clubs and the sale by pharmacies of 40 grams of pot a month to registered users. Yet no club has started operations and only four have started the application process, the AP reports. Furthermore, President Jose Mujica has said the sale through pharmacies will be postponed until next year.

What little progress has been made could be undone by the upcoming presidential and legislative elections too. The AP said major opposition candidates have signaled that they intend to repeal all or part of the law if they gain the presidency or a majority in the parliament.

Although, Luis Lacalle Pou, the lead opposition candidate, favors keeping the option allowing people to grow marijuana for personal use. He would only do away with the pharmacies.


Canadian Medical Association Declares Smoking Marijuana Bad

jointsmokingComparing smoking marijuana to smoking tobacco, the Canadian Medical Association approved a resolution opposing the smoking of any pot plant material at is annual meeting in Ottawa on Aug. 20. Members of the Canadian Medical Association who lobbied for the resolution noted that marijuana smoke contains many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke, and some toxin levels are several times higher. For example, the level of ammonia is twenty-times higher than in tobacco smoke, said Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Chris Simpson.

“Smoking marijuana may be more harmful than tobacco, with increased levels of tar… and longer, deeper inhalation,” Simpson said.

However, some physicians attending the annual meeting dissented. Dr. Ashley Miller said taking a prohibitionist stance is based on ideology. Miller wanted to see an evidence-based harm reduction policy instead.

Although some companies in the Canadian medical marijuana industry backed the Canadian Medical Association’s resolution. For instance, Bedrocan Cannabis Corp. issued the following statement:

The CMA is quite right to point out that there are particular hazards associated with smoking any plant material, including medicinal cannabis. While some patients, particularly those who use small quantities, choose to smoke medicinal cannabis, the preferred method of delivery is via the use of a vaporizer – a device that heats cannabis to release the cannabinoids (the active ingredients), but does not burn it. There is good clinical evidence to show that vaporized cannabis contains significantly lower levels of toxins and harmful chemicals.

Of course, Bedocran stands to benefit from the vaporizer method since it manufactures the Vapormed Volcano Medic. According to the company, cannabis vapor is absorbed through the lining of the lungs, causing a rapid onset of therapeutic effect, and allows patients to relatively effectively control dosage.

Jimmy Cournoyer, aka "Pot Playboy"

“Pot Playboy” Jimmy Cournoyer Gets 27 Years In The Slammer

Jimmy Cournoyer, aka "Pot Playboy"

Jimmy Cournoyer, aka “Pot Playboy”

Associates knew him by his nicknames “Kosmo” and “Superman.” The media dubbed him the “Pot Playboy.” But on Wednesday, Jimmy Cournoyer became federal inmate 07722-379.  The former Canadian kingpin, who once commanded a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise, was sentenced to 27 years in prison in Brooklyn federal court.

In May 2013, Cournoyer pleaded guilty to a slew of federal charges, including money laundering and conspiracies to manufacture and distribute marijuana and cocaine. The 34-year-old Quebec native, from Laval, just outside Montreal, led a life that could have been the plot to a Kevin Sutter television series. (Sutter is the mastermind behind the mind blowing Shakespearean crime epic Sons of Anarchy). Cournoyer was one of New York’s biggest marijuana suppliers who counted the Bonnano crime family, the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang as business partners. He led a baller lifestyle that included a supermodel girlfriend, a Bugatti Veyron, and parties with Hollywood celebrities.

His empire crumbled in 2012 when he was arrested attempting to enter Mexico. In addition to marijuana he brought into New York from Montreal, Cournoyer also dealt large amounts of cocaine and ecstasy. “His territory — all of North America. His goal — to extend the deadly narcotics trade as far as he could,” the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta Lynch, said after Cournoyer’s plea. Cournoyer also had a $2 million hit fund to punish those who cooperated with the government, and he had tried to threaten witnesses, authorities said. Cournoyer and another indicted co-conspirator, John “Big Man” Venizelos, tried to intimidate a witness by letting him know they had the cash to carry out hits on snitches. According to prosecutors, “Venizelos sent an encrypted message” to a co-conspirator, warning that person “that he/she had better hope that Cournoyer or members of his organization never found out that [the co-conspirator] had spoken with law enforcement agents because Cournoyer has $2 million set aside to pay for the murder of cooperating witnesses.” Another message read: “Seriously bro. I know he has like 2 mil…just to pay guys to handle that once he sentenced,” referring to Cournoyer, according to a court transcript.