Hemp News 33
Submitted by restore on Mon, 12/13/2010 - 21:46
Hemp News No. 33
Compiled byPaul Stanford
The following news wire stories are provided as a public service by Tree Free EcoPaper, makers of hemp (cannabis) paper and other nonwood papers, pulps and fibers. We are happy to announce the introduction of our new USA manufactured paper products, made with European hemp fiber, Tradition Bond. This new paper is the highest quality and most environmentally-sound paper in the world today. Contact us today for a catalog and samples of the USA paper. Tree Free EcoPaper is the oldest and largest supplier of wholesale quantities of hemp paper, in business since 1990. We offer an electronic retail catalog which you can recieve by dropping us an e-mail request. We'll send you samples and our hemp paper wholesale price list if you give us a postal address. You can call us toll-free at 1-800-775-0225 from the U.S. and Canada. Our phone number for calls outside the U.S. is 503-295-6705. Our headquarters is in Portland, Oregon and our various papers are produced in the USA, Europe and Asia. We offer nonwood office and printing paper, note pads, card stock, cover stock, hemp pulp for paper makers, whole hempstalks and 100% hemp bast fiber. Without further ado, please enjoy the news: RTw 06/20/95 Reserchers urge medicinal marijuana legalization CHICAGO, June 20 (Reuter) - A commentary published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association urges that marijuana be legalised for medical conditions ranging from glaucoma to migraine headaches. The move was advocated by Lester Grinspoon, a physician, and James Bakalar, a lawyer, both associated with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Their commentary said more is known about marijuana than about most prescription drugs, it is remakably safe, with no known case of lethal overdose, and far less addictive or subject to abuse than many legal drugs. The AMA itself remains opposed to legalising marijuana but advocates continued research into its medical uses. Marijuana is listed by the government as a Schedule One controlled substance. The Drug Enforcement Administration in 1992 refused to reclassify it so it could be legally prescribed. "Many people know that marijuana is now being used illegally for the nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy," Grinspoon and Bakalar said. "Some know that it lowers intraocular pressure in glaucoma. Patients have found it useful as an anticonvulsant, as a muscle relaxant in spastic disorders, and as an appetite stimulant in the wasting syndrome of human immunodeficiency virus," they added. "It is also being used to relieve phantom limb pain (in amputees), menstrual cramps and other types of chronic pain, including migraine," they said. "It is time for physicians to acknowledge more openly that the present classification is scientifically, legally and morally wrong." REUTER APn 06/22/95 Spotting Pot By MARTHA IRVINE Associated Press Writer PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- An indoor marijuana farmer says his privacy was invaded when authorities used an infrared device to measure heat seeping from the growing-lamps in his attic. "No place is more sacred in America than a person's home," said attorney John Henry Hingson III, who contends his client's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the Oregon National Guard took the readings from a helicopter with a thermal imaging device. Danny Lee Kyllo was arrested in February 1992 and sentenced to 5 1/4 years in prison. He is free while U.S. District Judge Helen Frye considers his appeal this week. The infrared readings were used to obtain a warrant to search Kyllo's home in the coastal town of Florence. Hingson wants Frye to suppress evidence that helped convict Kyllo, including the 128 marijuana plants found growing under heat lamps in his attic and garage. Government experts refuted Hingson's claim that the infrared device can see through walls and detect was is going on behind closed doors. "All it measures is heat escaping. It's like garbage you put on your sidewalk," said Lt. Col. Barrie Vernon, a drug enforcement expert with the Pentagon's National Guard Bureau. The Guard says it has used the technology to find marijuana plants in 20 states. David Allen, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said a judge should give permission for the infrared device to be used. "I don't think it's at all too much to ask that infrared imaging be used under carefully controlled circumstances," he said. The ACLU will file a court brief supporting Kyllo. Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on a similar case in St. Louis. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had determined that detecting heat escaping from a home is not intrusive. If the San Francisco appeals court rules otherwise, attorneys believe, the Supreme Court might be more inclined to consider the matter. AAP 06/22/95 NSW: GOVT SUPPORTS TRIAL OF FIBRE HEMP CROP The Australian Associated Press By Margaret McDonald, AAP State Political Correspondent SYDNEY, June 22 AAP - The New South Wales government has signalled its support for a fibre hemp industry to be trialled in the state. Agriculture Minister Richard Amery has told upper house Democrats MP and avid fibre hemp enthusiast Richard Jones that there was a provision in state legislation for a crop to be trialled under licence for fibre production. Mr Amery said the merits of a hemp industry had received wide coverage in the media but so far no applications had been received by either his department or the Health Department, which both need to approve it. "There is little need at this stage for my further intervention," Mr Amgery said, adding a check through department records under previous coalition minister, Ian Causley, showed no applications in the last 18 months. But Mr Jones, who has worn a fibre hemp suit to parliament to press his case in the past, said the door was now open for businessmen and farmers to apply. He spoke on regional radio programs today appealing for people to step forward and set up a trial crop. Queensland's Harold Good answered the call and faxed details of a six-hectare crop being grown near Byron Bay that he thought might be suitable. Mr Good told AAP that he and a group of about 10 businessmen and farmers already manufactured soaps and lotions under the "Green Earth" brand, which were made from hemp seed oil and distributed to 200 shops Australia-wide. "But the chance to use the same plant for fibre production is exciting," Mr Good said adding it also made practical economic sense. "We know the fibre and paper industries from hemp are there because already clothing made from hemp is imported into our stores. "Isn't it funny that we can sell the clothing but we can't grow the crop." Mr Good said the public should not confuse fibre hemp from its close relative indian hemp, or cannabis. "There is no doubt we're not growing a crop for marijuana smokers. This (fibre) crop would be a waste of time for a smoker. "It's like drinking zero alcohol beer." The NSW National Party state conference in Mudgee last weekend voted to support the trial of a fibre hemp plantation saying the plant contained 0.3 per cent of the psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH). Regular cannabis had 3.0 per cent of TCH and the conference was told a smoker would have to inhale an entire 100 hectare paddock of fibre hemp in one sitting "to get any buzz". During the last session of parliament, TCH was removed from the poisons list (effective June 1, 1995) meaning it can be used for theraputic and pharmaceutical purposes. South Australia and Tasmania are already involved in trialling fibre hemp crops. Today the Victorian government announced it was also considering a trial. The two Upper House Democrats MPs in the South Australian parliament who hold the balance of power, Mike Elliott and Sandra Kanck, three months ago gave the go ahead for legislation approving the trial. NSW Democrats leader Elisabeth Kirkby applauded both her party and the state Labor government for winning the battle to get a fibre hemp industry up and running. "Hemp production will be a valuable addition to agricultural production in NSW," Ms Kirkby said. "The fibre is a superb source of paper and for clothing and the leaves can be used for ethanol production or composted as a source of organic matter." Hemp as a fuel source for diesel and petrol vehicles running on ethanol-blended fuels would also help the environment as it reduced greenhouse emissions by 15 per cent. The Nationals' conference was told firbe hemp was mankind's oldest cultivated crop being used in Egyptian times to make paper. It had three times more fibre than cotton and produced a fabric 26 times stronger than pure cotton. AAP mm/dk/lz AAP 06/23/95 NSW: NIMBIN RALLY AS TENSION RISES OVER POLICE OPERATION The Australian Associated Press SYDNEY, June 23 AAP - A lot of "aggro" existed in Nimbin over a police operation in the north coast town to clean up the drug culture there, a community meeting heard today. The Nimbin community has described as excessive the so-called police Operation Ell Dockin, which has resulted in 10 officers stationed in the town of just 500 people over the past four months. Police said earlier this week they planned to intensify the campaign. A meeting in Nimbin today of 200 farmers, businesspeople and HEMP activists voted unanimously to call for a halt to the escalation of the operation, Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Solicitor David Heilpern (Heilpern) said. The meeting also called on police to focus on the long term health problems of heroin addicts instead of trying for a high arrest count, Mr Heilpern said. Tensions had been running high, with the town's police station set on fire this week and shop windows smashed on two different nights, he said. Protesters had played drums and painted letters down the main street saying "freedom, stop police harassment" during the rally. "The threatened intensification of Operation Ell Dockin is a big stick 1930s solution to a complex health issue," Mr Heilpern said. "The tragic result now is that heroin is cheaper and more available on the streets of Nimbin than cannabis." Of the 195 arrests made so far under Ell Dockin only 22 had been for heroin use, with the rest being for cannabis, he said. "It's a total tragedy that heroin is more easily available. People are going to die," he said. Alcohol-related violence had also noticably increased since the operation, he said. There had never been a problem with cannabis related violence, he said. "It's not surprising there is an enormous amount of community anger about the nature of the operation," he said. The problem of obvious street selling of heroin should be solved through communtiy consultation. People were happy to consult with police, he said. Several attempts to contact Nimbin police today were unsuccessful. AAP rmm/sd/mk/de APn 06/23/95 Asset Seizures By MARCY GORDON Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- Air charter owner Billy Munnerlyn picked up a passenger he thought was a businessman in Little Rock, Ark. When they landed in Ontario, Calif., federal agents seized the passenger's luggage, with $2.7 million inside. And they seized Munnerlyn's plane. The "businessman," unbeknownst to Munnerlyn, was a convicted cocaine dealer, according to Rep. Henry Hyde's account of the incident. Although drug trafficking charges against Munnerlyn were quickly dropped for lack of evidence, the government refused to release the plane that was essential to his Las Vegas air charter service. He eventually had to settle with the government, paying $7,000 to get the plane back, and then discovered that Drug Enforcement Administration agents had caused some $100,000 in damage to it. Munnerlyn declared bankruptcy and is now driving a truck for a living. Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says that is one of many examples of abuses by law enforcement that "will make your blood boil." It and others are detailed in Hyde's new book, "Forfeiting Our Property Rights: Is Your Property Safe From Seizure?" Hyde is proposing legislation to make it easier for people to get back property seized in civil asset forfeitures. "It's particularly obnoxious when your government becomes abusive, because you have no place to turn," he said at a news conference Thursday. Attorney General Janet Reno, asked about the issue at her weekly meeting with reporters, said she was concerned about complaints the Justice Department had received "about abuse in asset forfeiture procedures across the country." Law enforcement officials view asset forfeiture as a good way to separate law breakers from ill-gotten gains, especially in drug cases, while pumping millions into useful purposes such as building prisons. But detractors, including civil libertarians, say some agencies are using forfeitures to gain easy access to money and are stripping innocent citizens of their property without due process. Some critics believe civil asset forfeiture should be abolished altogether, thereby requiring a criminal conviction before the government can seize property. Hyde introduced a similar bill last year which failed in the House. But in Washington's new climate of growing mistrust of government, Hyde said he believes the legislation's prospects are "certainly better than last year." Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, has expressed support for the new proposal. The Clinton administration, meanwhile, is drafting its own asset forfeiture legislation. It is not expected to go as far as Hyde's bill in proposing changes to asset forfeiture laws, said a Justice Department official speaking on condition of anonymity. "We will be working with him (Hyde) in every way we can to address these issues because I think we share a concern," Reno said. "I think he would agree that it is an important tool for law enforcement and that we should work together to do everything we can to eliminate the abuses." Hyde's bill would: --Force the government to prove the seizure was appropriate. --Provide attorneys for poor owners. --Give owners more time to contest forfeitures and enable them to sue the government for mishandling property. --Eliminate the requirement that owners who are contesting a seizure post a bond equivalent to 10 percent of the value of the seized property, to cover court and storage costs should the government win. --Allow owners to get their property back if they take reasonable steps to prevent others from using it for drug transactions. The measure is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. WP 06/24/95 A Penalty Without a Crime THE WAR ON DRUGS has accelerated the government's use of forfeiture powers, which, for the most part, is a healthy development. Criminal forfeiture enables the government to confiscate property used by a convicted felon in furtherance of his crime, or purchased with the proceeds of crime. Drug traffickers, for example, stand to lose not only the boats, small planes and automobiles used to transport drugs but also the homes, investment properties and jewelry they were able to buy with the money their crimes generated. Law enforcement officials are then able to sell these confiscated goods and properties and use the money to fight crime. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year are made available to federal, state and local governments through this process. In addition to criminal forfeiture, however, the government also has the right to invoke civil forfeiture powers to seize property with only a showing of probable cause that a crime has been committed. In these cases there is room for terrible injustice, as Rep. Henry Hyde has pointed out in a recently published book. The forward to that volume begins with the sentence: "The stories in this book will make your blood boil," and that is no exaggeration. Completely innocent people have had property taken without a hearing of any kind and faced a long and expensive legal fight to get it back. The owner of a landscaping business, for example, was stopped at an airport because he fit the profile of a drug courier -- he had paid for his ticket with cash -- and $9,600 in cash that he was carrying was seized. No drugs were found and no charges were brought against the man, but the burden was on him to hire a lawyer, put up a bond of 10 percent of the property taken and prove the seizure was not justified. A Florida scientist acquitted of felonious assault on a policeman with his BMW nevertheless had his car confiscated. The owner of a small air service lost his plane because police discovered his passenger was carrying a large amount of cash. Criminal charges against the pilot were quickly dropped for lack of evidence, but it cost $85,000 in legal fees to get the plane back. Valuable real estate has been seized on the word of a tipster, even though criminal charges were not filed. And in what may be the most egregious case, a Florida sheriff and his men stopped "suspicious" cars on I-95, assumed that anyone carrying more than $100 cash was a drug dealer and confiscated the money -- more than $8 million in a three-year period. Three-quarters of these drivers were not arrested or charged with any crime, and only four of them recovered their money. Rep. Hyde, who is now chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation on Thursday to reform civil forfeiture proceedings. He would put the burden of proof on the government, eliminate the 10 percent bond, provide attorneys for poor claimants, extend deadlines and in general make the process more fair. The problem needs attention, and the Hyde bill deserves support. APn 06/28/95 Sheriff Pleads JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A former sheriff charged with accepting tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to protect marijuana growers from raids has pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice. Joe Newmans, who was Baker County sheriff for 20 years until he lost a 1992 re-election bid, pleaded guilty Tuesday. He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years' probation. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 28. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped charges accusing Newmans of growing and distributing marijuana. Newmans was the last of 30 people to plead guilty or be convicted in connection with the drug probe. He was accused of accepting $70,000 from marijuana smugglers and growers from 1985 to 1993 in exchange for tipping them to airborne searches for marijuana patches. Newmans is the second north Florida sheriff to be prosecuted on drug charges in recent years. In 1993, former Nassau County Sheriff Laurie Ellis was sentenced to 16 years in prison for distributing drugs from his department's property room. RTw 06/29/95 Australia looks to hemp growth for industry By Kevin Morrison SYDNEY, June 30 (Reuter) - Australia is rediscovering hemp, one of the world's oldest crops, but one viewed with suspicion in many quarters as "the weed with its roots in hell." For hemp is cannabis sativa, the spindly annual with serrated leaves that has been grown for millennia for its fibre but is now more famous for the illicit high it gives smokers. Until the 1930s, hemp was widely grown in Australia with the dried fibre from the plant used to make rope, textiles, paper, oilseeds and herbal remedies. But Australian hemp supporters say the U.S. government's imposition of a heavy tax on hemp producers led to the crop's worldwide decline, as the country's Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was later adopted by other Western countries. Hemp crusaders want to revive the crop, despite at times strong opposition, saying a legalised industry could help save Australia's forests and slash its paper import bill. After years of fighting hemp's image problem, their efforts are bearing fruit and state governments are approving trials aimed at examining the viability of a hemp industry after many years of classifying it as an illegal "noxious weed." But the trials will be of a strain of hemp that nobody would want to smoke because it contains only about 0.3 percent of the intoxicating chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), according to hemp supporter, Richard Steggles. Marijuana strains contain three to 15 percent THC and anything below one percent THC is seen as unlikely to give smokers a high, he said. Steggles is president of the Australian Hemp Industries Association (AHIA) and also owns Eco-hemp, Australia's first shop devoted to hemp products. "It's an industry that is going to create jobs," he told Reuters in a recent interview. He said the AHIA has already been in talks with timber and industrial groups, including CSR Ltd, Boral Ltd and James Hardie Industries Ltd, to present ideas about developing a local hemp industry. Hemp is looking more attractive because of the continuing row over Australia's huge woodchip exports and the world shortage of newsprint. Forestry and paper groups are looking for alternative sources of fibre to make paper and are investigating the viability of hemp, he said. He said there was pressure to look for alternative sources of paper because Australia imported A$1.52 billion (US$1.1 billion) worth of paper and related products in the year to June 30, 1994, and exported A$385.50 million ($278.45 million) of woodchips. Conservationists were up in arms earlier this year over the export of native forest woodchips, mainly a waste product of timber logging used for making paper pulp. Australian Newsprint Mills Ltd (ANM), which is half owned by News Corp Ltd and Fletcher Challenge Ltd, the world's second largest newsprint supplier, is working closely with a group trialling hemp in Tasmania. "We are taking a close watching brief on it, helping them occasionally, by sampling some material and keeping ourselves informed," David Quinn, corporate affairs manager at ANM said. "There has been enough interesting information turned up to maintain our interest," he told Reuters in a recent interview. "The political climate is changing, people are demanding that we look at alternative sources of fibre -- the woodchip debate came in at the right time to push it along," said a spokesman for the intensive crops division of the government of Victoria, one of the five states that has approved, or is about to approve, trials. In addition, the federal government's agricultural research arm, the Rural Industries Research Development Corp (RIRDC), is looking at forming a national hemp industry plan. "There has been a ground swell of interest in hemp. I think it has some sort of magic about it, maybe because of its drug usage, but it certainly has got a bit of an aura," Brian Stynes, project manager at RIRDC told Reuters. On a smaller scale, Steggles' shop, Eco-hemp, in the city of Newcastle about 150 km (90 miles) north of Sydney, sells hemp jeans, shirts, dresses, shoes, wallets, stationery kits, belts, soaps, massage oils and lip balms. But Steggles said his shop now has to import all of its hemp material and products, mainly from Hungary and China. Eco-hemp is also developing hemp products for environmental group, Greenpeace Australia, to go on sale in August. REUTER UPn 06/29/95 Marijuana initiative proposed in California SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 29 (UPI) -- Californians would be able to use marijuana, buy the drug in specialty stores and be released from prison if they have been jailed for using the illegal plant under a proposed ballot measure cleared for circulation Thursday. Advocates of legalizing marijuana received the go-ahead from the Secretary of State's Office to try and place the issue before voters next year. The broad measure would allow residents to grow the illegal drug for personal use, block drug tests for marijuana in the business world and allow inmates convicted of using the drug to go free. Jack Herer, sponsor of the initiative and spokesman for Help End Marijuana Prohibition, or HEMP, said the sweeping proposal would help end what he characterized as a useless ban on marijuana use. "Nobody has ever died from pot that wasn't shot by an ignorant cop," Herer said. Under the proposal, residents would be able to grow and use marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. Businesses would receive permission to use the sturdy plant in clothing, paper-making and other ventures. Hemp clothing has become a growing segment of the clothing industry, but producers must turn to other parts of the world to obtain the plant for fabric. Some of the more controversial components of the measure would free up to 35,000 inmates convicted of using marijuana and release another 100,000 convicts from parole for crimes related to the drug, Herer said. Businesses and insurance companies would be barred from testing people for marijuana and individuals would be allowed to set up specialty stores of Amsterdam-style marijuana bars under the proposal. Herer defended marijuana use and said studies have shown that using the drug can be a health benefit. "People that smoke pot live longer than those that use no drugs at all," Herer said. One part of the initiative would allow patients to use marijuana for medicial purposes. Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, is carrying legislation that would allow patients with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis to use marijuana to help alleviate their pain. Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed similar legislation last year. Initiative supporters must gather more than 433,000 valid signatures by Nov. 27 to place the issue before voters. RTna 07/02/95 British children experiment more with drugs LONDON (Reuter) - British youngsters in search of illicit thrills are increasingly turning to narcotics rather than alcohol or cigarettes, a new survey of almost 50,000 teenagers revealed Sunday. According to the survey, marijuana, ecstasy and speed are now a part of life for modern schoolchildren in Britain, in the same way previous generations chose cigarettes, the Sunday Times newspaper said, citing the survey. The report, due for its official launch Monday, was carried out by researchers at Exeter University who questioned around 50,000 teenagers about their attitudes to health. Part of the reason for increased drug use was that teenagers were increasingly worried about their weight and health, the survey said. Many believed drugs would do them less harm than cigarettes or alcohol. It said almost a third of all 15- and 16-year-old boys have smoked marijuana, the newspaper reported. More than a quarter of girls of the same age have also tried the drug. The survey said marijuana use in this age group had trebled since 1989, while the amount of alcohol drunk had risen by only 12 percent. The proportion smoking cigarettes had fallen. It also showed almost one in four 16-year-olds had tried LSD and more than a fifth admitted to trying amphetamines. Other details of the survey reported by Britain's Press Association news agency also showed drugs were well down on the list of teenagers' worries. Worries about jobs topped the list, with fears about school, money, health, friends and AIDS all ranking above concerns about drugs. REUTER APn 07/02/95 Militia Campout ------ 7 p.m.: A cooling rain has passed and militia members form a circle, eating meat from a barbecue smoker. A pony-tailed man in camouflage has the group rapt, describing a raid by sheriff's drug officers at his home a year ago, searching for marijuana: "They didn't find nothing, but yet they destroyed my home, interrogated my kids, took my daughter in the back room by herself, which should never have happened. ... Holding a gun on my kids." He got serious about the militia. "I'm not against anyone," he says. "I'm just to the point that I'm tired of being run over." Listening, some fellow militia members grunt or shake their heads. Randall speaks up, promising retaliation if his own home is invaded. "They better cut their hedgerow down by their driveway, 'cause I'm gonna be hiding in there with a baseball bat." ------ APn 07/03/95 Salinas-Drugs TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- When Carlos Salinas de Gortari was president of Mexico, his brother was south-of-the border connection for traffickers who smuggled tons of marijuana and cocaine into the United States, The Arizona Daily Star reported. Raul Salinas de Gortari -- imprisoned in Mexico on charges of masterminding last year's assassination of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 man in the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party and his ex-brother-in-law -- denied the report: "I have never had ties with drug traffickers." The paper quoted an unidentified source who claimed to have been part of the ring as saying he once met with Salinas for five hours in Denver to discuss the operation. In June, Newsweek quoted unnamed U.S. and Mexican officials as saying Raul Salinas and Juan Garcia Abrego, reputed head of a Mexican drug cartel, met frequently during his brother's presidential term, which ended Dec. 1. Raul Salinas denied ever having any contact with Garcia. [circa 07/03/95] Plombon Rep. Dave Plombon, D-Stanley, Monday denied he had violated his probation by drinking at several Madison bars. Plombom faces an administrative hearing. He is on probation on a marijuana possession conviction. The terms of his probation prohibit him from drinking or even entering a bar. The lawmaker currently is jailed in Chippewa County. RTw 07/04/95 Bonn horrified at cannabis-from-chemist proposal BONN, July 4 (Reuter) - The German government reacted with horror on Tuesday to an official study group's proposal that soft drugs such as cannabis should be sold by chemists, side by side with medicines. The group, set up by Germany's federal states, suggested the move as a way of partly legalising the drugs and separating them from the market for "hard drugs" considered far more addictive and damaging to health, such as heroin and cocaine. But the federal government in Bonn staunchly opposes any attempt to liberalise drugs policy. "It's irresponsible and quite nonsensical to lift hashish and marijuana onto the same level as medicines by selling them in chemists' shops, so suggesting they are harmless," the government's expert on drugs policy, Eduard Lintner, said in a statement. "Germany would become a mecca for drug users and provide an even more lucrative market to international dealers." The policy split runs along political lines between the centre-left Social Democrat-led regional states, which favour a more liberal policy, and the conservatives, also in government in Bonn, who want all kinds of drugs to remain taboo. Heide Moser, the health minister in SPD-led Schleswig- Holstein who chaired the study group, called cannabis products such as marijuana leaves and hashish resin "recreational drugs requiring regulation." Germany's supreme court ruled last year that possession of small amounts of cannabis products for personal use should no longer be punished, and Schleswig-Holstein has been gradually pushing back the limits of what this means. Last year a court there ruled that possession of up to four kg (8.8 pounds) of hashish should be treated as a misdemeanour rather than a crime, basing the amount on a calculation of its narcotic effect compared to that of alcohol or nicotine. Government estimates put the number of hashish and marijuana users at up to eight million in a country of 80 million people.
Compiled by Paul Stanford