DRUG WAR BRIEFS: Canada and White Collar Pot

November 17- The Calgary Sun reports: The first batch of marijuana grown by a private company under a Health Canada contract was useless for clinical trials and had to be burned, Health Minister Anne McLellan said yesterday.

Prairie Plant Systems Inc. received a five-year, $5-million contract to grow marijuana in an abandoned copper mine in Flin Flon, Man., but McLellan said their first batch was not uniform.

Prairie Plant Systems was unable to receive a supply of standardized marijuana seeds from the U.S., McLellan said, so the company turned to the RCMP, which supplied seeds that were seized in various raids.

"From the first harvest it was very clear- my people did the tests here- that there were all sorts of marijuana. Plants from different stocks with rates of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, that varied from plant to plant. All of it had to be burned," McLellan said.

November 17- The Boston Globe reports: One is a retired judge who says he has never smoked marijuana in his life. Another is an economist who says he last touched the drug decades ago, in college, and didn't like it. Yet another is a lawyer who acknowledges that he "absolutely" smokes pot. James W. Dolan, Jeffrey Miron, and Michael Cutler are the white-collar public face of the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, a newly formed group that helped put a nonbinding initiative to decriminalize marijuana on the ballot in 19 legislative districts across the state.

The initiative, which proposed making possession of a small amount of marijuana a civil offense - punishable by a $100 fine similar to a parking ticket - passed everywhere it appeared on the ballot, including nine districts in Greater Boston. Bolstered by a Boston University study that calculated the state could save $24 million if the initiative were enacted, the measure passed with roughly 70 percent approval of voters in four districts that include parts of Brookline, Jamaica Plain, and Roslindale.

"My constituents told me in overwhelming numbers that they support the decriminalization of less than an ounce of marijuana," Shannon, a Democrat from Somerville, told the Criminal Justice Committee in March 2001.

November 19- The Ottawa Citizen reports: A special parliamentary committee will recommend that Canada hire a national drug czar- similar to that in the U.S.- to tackle the country's multibillion-dollar problem of illegal drugs.

The committee on non-medical use of drugs will also recommend that Canada relax its laws against marijuana possession and that the government sanction sites in which addicts can safely inject drugs.

November 19- Fox News Network reports: Backers of drug reform policy say White House officials overstepped their bounds by using taxpayer funds to actively campaign against statewide ballot initiatives in the last election.

One group says the federal government might have broken the law and is considering a lawsuit to bring to light what they say are unethical activities by the White House.

Bruce Mirkin, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said any formal suit would target the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Drug Czar John Walters, who made trips to Ohio, Nevada and Arizona in the last year to lobby against state ballot initiatives there.

When told about the Marijuana Policy Project's interest in bringing legal charges against his office for campaigning, (Drug Czar John) Walters said, "That's fine, if that's how they want to spend their resources - if there's anything the government has plenty of, it's lawyers."

November 20- Irv Rosenfeld marks his twentieth anniversary of receiving medical marijuana from the federal government, as one of seven living patients grandfathered into a now defunct Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program.

In a press release, he states: I have had a very successful career as an award-winning stockbroker and a rewarding, high quality of life. That life would have been utterly impossible without my use of this medicine. I would have been unable to serve my clients and contribute to my community and the economy. Indeed, I would have been an enormous economic drain, consuming vast quantities of medical resources -- if I were to have survived this many years.

I suffer from multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis, a variant of the syndrome pseudo hypo parathyroidism. To treat this rare condition, I have had to smoke 10-12 Cannabis cigarettes daily for thirty-one years (the last twenty years exclusively supplied by Uncle Sam).

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