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Since the 20th century, most countries have enacted laws affecting the legality of cannabis regarding the cultivation, use, possession, or transfer of cannabis for recreational use. Many jurisdictions have lessened the penalties for possession of small quantities of cannabis, so that it is punished by confiscation or a fine, rather than imprisonment. Punishment focuses more on those who traffic and sell the drug on the black market. Some jurisdictions/drug courts use mandatory treatment programs for young or frequent users with freedom from "narcotic" drugs as goal. A few jurisdictions permit cannabis use for medicinal purposes. There are also changes in a more restrictive direction as in Canada, Denmark, Netherlands or United Kingdom and drug tests, more or less mandatory, are more common than before in many countries. Some countries allow the sale through drug companies.[How to reference and link to summary or text] However, simple possession can carry long jail sentences in some countries, particularly in East Asia, where the sale of cannabis may lead to a sentence of life in prison or even execution.
History[edit | edit source]
Under the name cannabis, 19th century medical practitioners sold the drug, (usually as a tincture) popularizing the word amongst English-speakers. It was rumored that Queen Victoria's menstrual pains were treated with cannabis, because her personal physician, Sir John Russell Reynolds, wrote an article in the first edition of the medical journal The Lancet about the benefits of cannabis. Cannabis users included nineteenth century literary figures Robert Louis Stevenson, and Le Club des Hashishins members Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas Eli Lilly and Company and others sold cannabis tinctures over the counter for a variety of maladies. By the end of the 19th century, its medicinal use began to fall as other drugs like aspirin took over its use as a pain reliever.
In 1894, the Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission commissioned by the UK Secretary of State and the government of India, was instrumental in the decision not to criminalize the drug in those countries. From 1906 different states in the United States started to implement regulations for sales of Cannabis indica. In 1925 a change of the International Opium Convention banned exportation of Indian hemp to countries that have prohibited its use, and requiring importing countries to issue certificates approving the importation and stating that the shipment was required "exclusively for medical or scientific purposes."
In 1937 the F.D. Roosevelt administration crafted 1937 Marihuana Tax Act the first national US law making cannabis possession illegal in the US via an unpayable tax on the drug. Hollywood supported that effort with the release of "misinformation documentaries" such as the iconical Reefer Madness (1937) and Nathanael West wrote about it in his Hollywood novel, The Day of the Locust.
The name marijuana (Mexican Spanish marihuana, mariguana) is associated almost exclusively with the plant's psychoactive use. The term is now well known in English largely due to the efforts of American drug prohibitionists during the 1920s and 1930s, which deliberately used a Mexican name for cannabis in order to turn the populace against the idea that it should be legal, playing upon attitudes towards the nationality. (See 1937 Marihuana Tax Act). Those who demonized the drug by calling it marihuana omitted the fact that the "deadly marihuana" was identical to cannabis indica, which had at the time a reputation for pharmaceutical safety. It must however be noted that cannabis indica in the 1930s had lost most of its former popularity as a medical drug.
Although cannabis has been used for its psychoactive effects since ancient times, it first became well known in the United States during the jazz music scene of the late 1920s and 1930s. Louis Armstrong became a prominent and life-long devotee. Bing Crosby, Gene Krupa, Anita O'Day, and other jazz stars were "vipers", as written about by Mezz Mezzrow in Really the Blues. It was popular in the blues scene as well. In 1948 film star Robert Mitchum was arrested for marijuana and served time in jail. Embraced by Beat generation writers like Alan Ginsberg, it eventually became a prominent part of the 1960s counterculture and human rights movements, used by Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and even John Denver. Anthropologist Margaret Mead testified before Congress advocating marijuana legalization in 1969 and admitted she'd tried it herself.
Some advocate legalization of marijuana, believing that it will reduce illegal trade & associated crime and yield a valuable tax-source. Marijuana is now available as a palliative agent, in Canada, with a medical prescription. Yet 86% of Canadians with HIV/AIDS, eligible for a prescription, continue to obtain marijuana illegally (AIDS Care. 2007 Apr;19(4):500-6.)
By country[edit | edit source]
Australia[edit | edit source]
In the Australian Capital Territory, possession of up to 25 grams, or five plants, is not a criminal offense but carries a $100 fine.[How to reference and link to summary or text] In South Australia possession of small quantities of cannabis is decriminalized attracting fines similar to a parking ticket. However, penalties for cultivation of marijuana have become harsher since the widespread advent of large scale cultivation. There is much confusion on the subject, with many people believing that possession of a certain amount is legal. In Western Australia, possession of up to 30 grams or two plants is accepted for private use. If a person is caught with this amount, they can choose between a $150 fine or an education session. Any amount exceeding this is dealt with in the criminal court In New South Wales and Tasmania, cannabis use is illegal and attracts fines. In Queensland it is a criminal offense to be in possession of any amount of cannabis, people charged must face court and can be convicted. Possession of cannabis or any schedule 1 or 2 drug specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years in Queensland, however jail terms for minor possessions are very rare. Possession of smoking utensils or anything used to smoke cannabis is also a criminal offense in Queensland. However, under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 a person who admits to carrying under 50 grams (and is not committing any other offense) must be offered a drug diversion program. Possession and Cultivation of Cannabis in Victoria is also illegal, under the Drugs, Poisons & Controlled Substances Act 1981. Possession/cultivation of 10 plants is considered to be a traffickable quantity, and possession/cultivation of 100 plants or 25 kilograms is deemed trafficking in a Commercial Quantity.
Bangladesh[edit | edit source]
Cannabis was grown throughout the Bengal region, which is currently split between Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. In both parts of Bengal, cannabis (Bengali language: গাঁজা gãja or গাঞ্জা ganja) has been widely used for centuries. Cannabis was banned in Northern Bangladesh in 1984.
Belgium[edit | edit source]
Individual or solo use by adults has the lowest priority to police and government instances, if the use doesn't cause any problems to their environment. This basically means only the use in public places, possession of more than 3 grams, or the sale of the drug are pursued in court. However, the use in the presence of minors is strictly forbidden. The cultivation of one feminine cannabis plant for personal use is decriminalized.
Canada[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Cannabis legalization in Canada
- A July 13, 2007 decision in Ontario Provincial court has ruled that criminal possession laws for cannabis are unconstitutional (R. v. Long). However, Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said that nothing will change about how the police deal with marijuana possession for the time being.
- Possession of cannabis is legal in Canada according to Justice Edmonson of the Ontario Court of Justice in R. v. Bodnar/Hall/Spasic - "there is no offence known to law which the accused have committed."
- Marijuana was first banned in Canada in 1923 under the Opium and Drug Act. Since 1997 marijuana has been covered by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
- The Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs reviewed Canada's current anti-drug policies and legislation and reported in September 2002 that marijuana is not a gateway drug and should be treated more like tobacco or alcohol than harder drugs.
- The House of Commons Special Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs looked at an overall drug strategy for Canada and issued their report in December 2002. The House committee said that while marijuana is unhealthy, the current criminal penalties for possession and use of small amounts of cannabis are disproportionately harsh. They recommended that the Canadian Ministers of Justice and of Health come up with a strategy to decriminalize the possession and cultivation of not more than thirty grams of cannabis for personal use.
- Various estimates peg this country's cannabis trade at considerably more than $7 billion in annual sales—twice as much as pig farming brings in, and almost three times more than wheat does. Even the mighty cattle industry, at $5.2 billion a year in revenue, lags behind the marijuana business for sheer size. Just as importantly, the report points out, every dollar reaped by government regulation of the pot industry would be a dollar taken away from the criminal gangs that run the industry today. In 2001, Auditor General Sheila Fraser said the federal government was spending close to $500 million a year fighting the drug trade. Roughly 95 per cent of that goes to enforcement and policing, and two-thirds of the country's 50,000 annual drug arrests are for cannabis offences.
In October 2007, Prime Minister Harper announced a new National Anti-Drug Strategy. A proposed Bill would have dealers facing one-year mandatory prison sentences if they’re operating for organized crime purposes, or if violence is involved. Dealers would also face a two-year mandatory jail sentence if they’re selling to youth, or dealing drugs near a school or an area normally frequented by youth. Additionally, people in Canada who run a large marijuana grow operation of at least 500 plants would risk facing a mandatory two-year jail term. Maximum penalties for producing cannabis would increase from 7 to 14 years.
Perhaps the biggest proposed policy change is mandatory six-month sentencing for those growing as little as one marijuana plant for the purposes of trafficking. If the Bill passes, this is certain to be felt by small-time distributors who are not linked to the ring of organized crime, and who usually face no more than a fine if caught.
Currently the Conservative Government holds a minority in Parliament, so the Bill would require support of at least one other political party before it can become law. Previous attempts by past Liberal Governments in the late 1990s and early 2000s to decriminalize marijuana for personal use have failed to become law - this is a distinct policy contrast from the current minority Conservatives who aspire to a more US-style 'War on Drugs'.
Czech Republic[edit | edit source]
In 1938 production and possession (but not the consumption) of drugs became a punishable crime in Czechoslovakia. The law did not distinguish between different types of drugs. Until the Velvet Revolution (1989) narcotics were only a minor problem in Czech society. A law from 1992 stopped criminalization of drug possession for personal use. This changed in 1998, "possession of more than a small amount of drugs" (the amount was not defined) became a criminal offence again. The limits were defined later through internal research by Czech law enforcers making the possession of under 20 grams not a crime.The owner could be fined. Consumption was not punishable. Enforcement of the law was spotty and sometimes inconsistent.
Young people are the most frequent users of marijuana: a poll from 2007 estimated that almost 30% of Czechs under 24 had tried it. In 2007 the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic ruled that mere cultivation of hemp should not be punishable unless production of the drug is proven; an officer from the Czech anti-drug unit was quoted saying that "this decision is irrelevant to our work". As of 2007 several initiatives towards either decriminalization of marijuana or creating a more tolerated category of soft drugs.
Finland[edit | edit source]
Possession, manufacture and use of cannabis products were prohibited by law in Finland in 1972. The parliamentary discussion and the following vote resulted in a stalemate, so the issue was resolved by drawing lots - which resulted in cannabinoid products becoming illegal. In practice, possession or manufacture of cannabis products is considered to be a minor misdemeanor punishable by a minor fine (normally in the range of 60-500 euros). A supreme court decision of 2004 set up a "half a dozen" precedent: Cultivation of up to 6 plants for personal use is subject to the same penalties as personal use. The same applies to distribution and use within a "closed circle of users". However, open distribution is generally punished very severely. Aside from criminal penalties, users are often persecuted by welfare authorities on the pretext of child welfare (if the user has offspring); withdrawal of driving license is also commonplace.
Germany[edit | edit source]
While illegal, possession is generally not fined as long as a certain maximum amount (so called "geringe Menge" = engl. "small amount") is not exceeded. This maximum amount varies between 6 and 15 grams depending on which particular federal state the person is in. The person caught will have the cannabis confiscated. Until 2002 one could have one's driver's license taken away because of cannabis possession, even if driving a car was not involved.
Hong Kong[edit | edit source]
Cannabis is regulated under section 9 of Hong Kong's Chapter 134 Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Cultivation and dealing with cannabis plant is illegal and a fine of $100,000 and to imprisonment for 15 years can be laid by the court. Anyone who supplies the substance without prescription can be fined $10,000 HKD. The penalty for trafficking or manufacturing the substance is a $5,000,000 (HKD) fine and life imprisonment. Possession of the substance for consumption without license from the Department of Health is illegal with a $1,000,000 fine and/or 7 years of jail time.
Ireland[edit | edit source]
The most recent Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order (S.I. No. 69/1998) lists cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol and its derivatives as Schedule 1 drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Acts of 1977 and 1984. As a consequence manufacture, production, preparation, sale, supply, distribution and possession of cannabis is unlawful for any purpose, except under licence from the Minister for Health. The gardaí (Irish police) have a level of discretion when dealing with recreational cannabis users. To procure a conviction any cannabis seized has to be sent for analysis to the Garda Forensic Science Laboratory. This, along with the time needed to process the arrest, means that individual gardaí may decide not to arrest for small amounts, but the drug will be seized and the name and address of the individual will be taken. Possession of cannabis is an arrestable offence and, in 2003, 53 per cent of all drug seizures and 70 per cent of all drug-related prosecutions were for cannabis. Trafficking or possession with intent to supply are serious offences under Irish law.
Upon being brought to court, the penalties for possession are outlined as follows:
- First offence: On summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €381, or on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €635.
- Second offence: On summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €508, or on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €1,269.
- Third or subsequent offence: On summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €1,269 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or to both the fine and the imprisonment, or on conviction on indictment, to a fine of such amount as the court considers appropriate or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both the fine and the imprisonment.
There is no law against possession or sale of cannabis seeds. However, the growing of cannabis, even for medicinal benefits by genuine sufferers, is often treated harshly by the courts. Various movements have been founded to legalize the drug, including an attempt at starting a cannabis legalization political party.
Japan[edit | edit source]
Penalties for possession or use of marijuana in Japan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. Possession of any amount, as little as 0.1 g, is punishable by jail sentence for up to 5 years and/or a fine of up to 30,000,000 Yen. However, the defendant has to stay in police custody for at least a few weeks until a court decision is made.
Mexico[edit | edit source]
On April 29, 2006, the Congress of Mexico passed a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs intended for recreational use (up to 5g for marijuana). The new bill was hoped to relieve cartel-related crime as well as reduce drug-related arrests. A possibly unintended consequence would have been increased tourism. The move caused many in the US government to question Mexico's commitment to the "War on Drugs." However, President Fox sent the legislation back, asking that the decriminalization be removed. This action showed the U.S. government's influence over the Mexican Government's decisions, sparking broad controversy over the bill. On October 14, 2008 a bill was proposed in Mexico City's Congress to legalize the consumption, possession and commerce of Marijuana. The bill states that only a person over 18 can have access to the drug, the places where marijuana is sold cannot also sell alcoholic drinks, and must be at least 1000 meters away from schools. The Government would issue special licences for the distribution of marijuana in special places, similar to the legislation in the Netherlands. The Bill has yet to pass.
Netherlands[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Drug policy of the Netherlands
The possession/purchase of Cannabis is "tolerated" in small amounts. One can purchase cannabis in special shops (called "coffee shops") if one is age eighteen and over. Sale and purchase of cannabis anywhere else is illegal. Outdoor use is forbidden as well. Cultivation and wholesale of cannabis is likewise "tolerated" in small amounts (guidelines here are no more than five plants at home or the possession of 5 grams per adult max.). The tolerance guidelines appear in appendix of the Opium Act. The Opium Act states very clearly that every part of the hemp plant is banned except for the seeds – this is in accordance with many of the international treaties which the Netherlands have signed. It is for this reason Cannabis cannot be legalised in the Netherlands. Thus, it remains illegal but it is "tolerated." A recent court decision allowed a medical cannabis user to avoid legal prosecution for possession of a small number of cannabis plants; however, the state is appealing the decision.
By 2009, 27 coffee shops selling cannabis in Rotterdam, Netherlands, all within 200 meters from schools, must close down. This is nearly half of the coffeeshops that currently operate within its municipality. This is due to a new policy of city mayor Ivo Opstelten and the town council as a result of increased use of soft drugs among pupils.
New Zealand[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Cannabis in New Zealand
Possession of any amount of cannabis is illegal in New Zealand and can result in a fine of up to $500 or even a 3-month prison sentence (though the latter is rarely used). Anyone caught in possession of more than 28 grams of cannabis or 100 cannabis joints is classed as a dealer unless s/he can prove they are not. Cannabis is a class C drug in New Zealand, of which the penalty for dealing can result in a maximum prison sentence of 14 years under the New Zealand Misuse Of Drugs Act 1975. There have been many public campaigns to decriminalise cannabis but so far none have succeeded. It is generally accepted that the usage rate is high and possession in small quantities may not often be prosecuted. In some cases first offences may not always result in convictions.
Portugal[edit | edit source]
Personal consumption limit is 2.5 gram per day of marijuana[How to reference and link to summary or text] and 0.5 gram per day[How to reference and link to summary or text] of hashish. One may possess not more than 10 daily doses, otherwise it may be categorized as trafficking. Consumption still has a penalty that may be a fine or other penalty. Cultivation, even if for personal use, is still totally illegal and cultivation of even one plant is assumed to indicate involvement with trafficking. Possession of seeds is also illegal and despite there being several "head shops" or "grow shops" in Portugal, they are not allowed to sell seeds. It is also true that the number of grow shops has increased over the past few years, which seems to indicate that cultivation for personal use (in Portuguese: auto-cultivo) is becoming a more common practice. There is also a forum, named hortadacouve, formed by people who cultivate for personal use.
It is very common in Portugal to see young people smoking in concerts and other party areas. There has also been, in the last decade, an increase of cafés where it is possible to smoke, although it is never an "open" experience, because there is still a lot of intolerance to public consumption of cannabis as a day to day practice.
Russia[edit | edit source]
Consumption and possession of up to 6 grams (dry weight) of cannabis is punishable by fine or arrest for up to 15 days (KoAP 6.9). Growing in any amount is punishable by prison term (UK 231). Possession of more than 6 grams is punishable by prison term (UK 228).
Spain[edit | edit source]
Personal consumption and home cultivation of cannabis have been decriminalized after much deliberation, but buying or selling remains a criminal offense.
Sweden[edit | edit source]
Cannabis is not seen as a soft drug. Sweden has an official goal of creating a drug-free society by the means of zero tolerance; any possession or consumption is illegal. Upon suspicion of consumption, police are eligible to arrest and take a drug test, which is seen as a cogent proof of consumption. Police officers are trained with Drug Recognition Expert Training program (DRE) in order to recognize the signs and symptoms as to whether a person has come under the influence of some type of drug. The police make about two million breath tests per year, a test for alcohol, and in the same time look for signs of drug use. The punishment for a single small drug use is normally a fine, in some cases it also includes participation in a treatment program or some other type of follow-up by local authorities. There are formalized networks between the police, the social service, the public health and sick care service. Punishment for driving a car while under the influence of drugs is the loss of one's driver's license, and one month or more in prison. If the person is younger than 18, the police or the school must ask permission from the parents before the first drug test. Suspected users of drugs are offered some kind of free drug treatment program, a right supported by law. Cooperation with the treatment program can be mandatory if the user is below 18 or in some cases 20. Under very special circumstances, if the abuse has consequences that pose a serious threat to the life or health of the addict or its surroundings (generally only applicable, in the case of cannabis, on chaotic poly drug users with cannabis as dominating drug), a similar law can be used for those above 18 after a court decision or in very acute cases after a decision by the chairman of the social service in the municipality.
The penalty for sale of cannabis is imprisonment, from 6 months to 10 years, 18 years in exceptional cases. In spite of this, Sweden has few citizens in prison for drug offenses or other offenses; the total is 1 in 1400, compare with 1 in 100 in the USA. Many prisons have internal drug treatment programs for prisoners, often inspired by cognitive behavioral therapy. Sweden has fewer users of cannabis and other drugs than many other comparable countries and is reported as a positive example by UNODC.
Switzerland[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Cannabis in Switzerland
Cannabis is classified as an illegal narcotic in Switzerland. The production, possession, consumption and sale of illegal narcotics, even for personal use, is punishable by a monetary penalty or by imprisonment of up to three years, as are public incitements to the consumption of illegal narcotics.
The enforcement of the prohibition on cannabis is spotty, because around 500,000 Swiss people (or 7% of young people from 15 to 39) are believed to regularly use cannabis. Also, in 1998, some 250 hectares of land were used in Switzerland to grow cannabis, yielding more than 100 tons of narcotics per year. The produce is sold mostly on the street and (in "scent bags" or covertly) through "cannabis shops" clustered in the urban centers. These shops, of which there were about 135 in 1999 and which authorities believe earn about 85-95% of their income with illegal narcotics, are the target of irregular police crackdowns in some cities, while in others they are tolerated to some degree. Overall, enforcement varies substantially depending on the canton. Some tolerate limited public consumption while others periodically attempt to limit it. Nationwide, police registered some 27,000 cannabis-related infractions in 1999.
Turkey[edit | edit source]
Cultivation of cannabis is strictly controlled by government in Turkey. Non-drug usage of cannabis is a common practice in Aegean region of Turkey. Cannabis seeds are used as a spice in many different foods, especially in different breads and other baked goods. Usage of cannabis as a drug is forbidden in Turkey, but persons carrying small amounts of cannabis can be fined, while drug trafficking is punished in long term imprisonment.
United Kingdom[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Cannabis in the United Kingdom
Cultivation and use of cannabis were generally outlawed in 1928. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, in its original form, the plant or herb was classed as a class B drug, but was downgraded to a class C drug in January 2004.
On May 7th 2008, and against the advice of the government's own commissioned report, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced the government’s intention to reclassify cannabis as a class B drug.  In 2008, the UK government commissioned a study into the effects of the downgrading of cannabis from Class B to Class C. Subsequently British prime minister Gordon Brown announced his government would disregard the findings of the committee, which recommended that cannabis should remain a Class C substance.
United States[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Cannabis in the United States
Under federal law, it is illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana, since the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, claiming it has a high potential for abuse and has no acceptable medical use. Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Federal law in the United States preempts conflicting state and local laws. Nevertheless, some states and local governments have established laws attempting to decriminalize cannabis, which has reduced the number of "simple possession" offenders sent to jail, since federal enforcement agents rarely target individuals directly for such relatively minor offenses. Other state and local governments ask law enforcement agencies to limit enforcement of drug laws with respect to cannabis.
Use of capital punishment against the cannabis trade[edit | edit source]
Several countries have either carried out or legislated capital punishment for cannabis trafficking.
|Template:Country data Saudi Arabia||Has been used||An Iraqi man named Mattar bin Bakhit al-Khazaali was convicted of smuggling hashish and was executed in the northern town of Arar, close to the Iraqi border.|
|Template:Country data Indonesia||Has been used||In 1997, the Indonesian government under international pressure[How to reference and link to summary or text] added the death penalty as a punishment for those convicted of drugs in their country. The law has yet to be enforced on any significant, well-established drug dealers. Rather, the trend has been to execute unknown, first time, and clueless alleged drug traffickers, who don't have the cunning, resources, and contacts to persuade the authorities to set them free.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The former Indonesian President, Megawati Sukarnoputri announced Indonesia's intent to implement a fierce war on drugs in 2002. She called for the execution of all drug dealers. "For those who distribute drugs, life sentences and other prison sentences are no longer sufficient," she said. "No sentence is sufficient other than the death sentence." Indonesia's new president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, also proudly supports executions for drug dealers.|
|Template:Country data Malaysia||Has been used||Mustaffa Kamal Abdul Aziz, 38 years old, and Mohd Radi Abdul Majid, 53 years old, were executed at dawn on January 17, 1996, for the trafficking of 1.2 kilograms of cannabis.|
|Template:Country data Philippines||No Longer Used||The Philippines abolished the death penalty on June 24, 2006. The Philippines introduced stronger anti-drug laws, including the death penalty, in 2002. Possession of over 500 grams of marijuana usually earned execution in the Philippines, as did possessing over ten grams of opium, morphine, heroin, ecstasy, or cocaine. Angeles City is often a mecca for Filipino cannabis users and cultivators, although enforcement has been inconsistent..|
|Template:Country data United Arab Emirates||Sentenced||In the United Arab Emirates city of Fujairah, a woman named Lisa Tray was sentenced to death in December 2004, after being found guilty of possessing and dealing hashish. Undercover officers in Fujairah claim they caught Tray with 149 grams of hashish. Her lawyers have appealed the sentence.|
|Template:Country data Thailand||Frequently Used||Death penalty is possible for drug offenses under Thai law. Extra-judicial killings also alleged.|
|Template:Country data Singapore||Frequently Used||Death penalty carried out many times for cannabis trafficking. (July 20, 2004) A convicted drug trafficker, Raman Selvam Renganathan, 39, who stored 2.7 kilograms of cannabis or marijuana in a Singapore flat was hanged in Changi Prison. He was sentenced to death September 1, 2003 after an eight-day trial. (The Straits Times, July 20, 2004).|
|Template:Country data People's Republic of China||Frequently Used||Death penalty is exercised regularly for drug offenses under Chinese law, often in an annual frenzy corresponding to the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking The government does not make precise records public, however Amnesty International estimates that around 500 people are executed there each year for drug offenses. Those executed have typically been convicted of smuggling or trafficking in anything from cannabis to methamphetamine.|
|Template:Country data United States||Never Imposed / Constitutionality Untested||Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, in 1996, proposed to introduce a mandatory death penalty for a second offense of smuggling 50 grams of marijuana into the United States, in the proposed law H.R. 4170. This proposal failed.
Current Federal law (1994 Crime Act) sets the threshold for a possible death sentence for marijuana offenses at 60,000 kilograms or 60,000 plants (including seedlings) regardless of weight. The death penalty is also possible for running a continuing criminal enterprise that distributes marijuana and receives more than $20 million in proceeds in one year, regardless of the weight of marijuana involved.
Non-drug purposes[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Hemp
Hemp is the common name for cannabis and the name most used (in English) when this annual herb is grown for non-drug purposes. These include the industrial purposes for which cultivation licences may be issued in the European Union (EU). When grown for industrial purposes hemp is often called industrial hemp, and a common product is fibre for use in a variety of different ways. Fuel is often a by-product of hemp cultivation.
Hemp may be grown also for food (the seed) but in the UK at least (and probably in other EU countries) cultivation licences are not available for this purpose. Within Defra (the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and the Rural Affairs) hemp is treated as purely a non-food crop, despite the fact that seed can and does appear on the UK market as a perfectly legal food product.
In the UK, at least, the seed and fibre have been always perfectly legal products. Cultivation for non drug purposes was however completely prohibited from 1928 until circa 1998, when Home Office industrial-purpose licenses became available under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
If industrial strains of the herb are intended for legal use within the EU then they are bred to be compliant with regulations which limit potential THC content to 0.2%. (THC content is a measure of the herb's drug potential and can reach 20% or more in drug strains). In Canada the THC limit is 1%.
Millennia of selective breeding have resulted in varieties that look quite different. Also, breeding since circa 1930 has focused quite specifically on producing strains which would perform very poorly as sources of drug material.
Hemp grown for fibre is planted closely, resulting in tall, slender plants with long fibers. Ideally, according to Defra in 2004, the herb should be harvested before it flowers. This early cropping is because fibre quality begins to decline as flowering starts and, incidentally, this cropping also pre-empts the herb’s maturity as potentially a source of drug material. UK licence conditions actually oblige farmers, however, to allow some flowering so that flower material can be tested for its drug potential.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Adult lifetime cannabis use by country
- Annual cannabis use by country
- Cannabis reform at the international level
- Health issues and the effects of cannabis
- Illegal drug trade
- Legal and medical status of cannabis
- Legality of cannabis by country
- Marihuana legalization
- Marihuana usage
- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
- Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Reefer Madness, a 2003 book by Eric Schlosser, detailing the history of marijuana laws in the United States.
- The Emperor Wears No Clothes, a 1985 book by Jack Herer, the Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana.
- For a philosophical approach to the issue of marijuana prohibition, see The Utility of Marijuana Prohibition at http://bradmusil.kramernet.org
References[edit | edit source]
|This article needs additional citations for verification.|
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2008)
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- W.W. WILLOUGHBY: OPIUM AS AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM, BALTIMORE, THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS, 1925
- Gieringer, Dale H. (2006-06-17). The Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California. Contemporary Drug Problems 26 (2). p.13
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- Art. 8 par. 1 lit. d of the Federal Narcotics Law
- Art. 19 of the Federal Narcotics Law
- See the message to Parliament accompanying the government's decriminalization proposal; Federal Official Journal (BBl/FO) 2001 3715, p. 3719/21
- 1999 Cannabis Report of the Federal Narcotics Commission, p. 18.
- Id. at 20.
- Message to Parliament, op.cit., at 3733.
- 1999 Cannabis Report, op.cit., at 47.
- Message to Parliament, op.cit., at 3721.
- The Original Text of the Misuse of Drugs act 1971
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- Still Crazy After All These Years, Part III
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- European laws on possession of cannabis for personal use from EMCDDA
- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
- U.S. should legalize marijuana Argument Diagram at HonestArgument.com
- The cannabis problem: A note on the problem and the history of international action, Bulletin on Narcotics, 1962.
- The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, Marihuana - A Signal of Misunderstanding. 1972
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