Newsbrief: Cannabis Tolerance Showing Up in India 9/26/03

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A pair of press reports from India suggest that a US-style war against cannabis is unlikely in the world's most populous democracy. In a story last week from Hyderabad, the capital of south-central Andra Pradesh state, the Times of India reported that "marijuana -- "ganja" or "bhang" in common parlance -- has come out of the closet. No more a clandestine trade, pan and cigarette shops are passe, the stuff is now openly sold from houses too. The reason: they have the tacit approval of the local cops and even some politicians. "In fact, a close relative of a minister too peddles ganja," the Times noted with a wink and a nod.

The intrepid Times recounted easily scoring on the street, although some of the sales pitches may stretch the truth. "It's a cure for core diseases," offered one seller dressed as a sadhu (holy man). "Take this medicine twice a day, and you will live for 130 years. A sadhu at Bolarum who used to take it lived that long," he told the Times man.

If they're winking at pot in Hyderabad, the voice of the Indian business class isn't too alarmed. In an article on Dutch medical marijuana last week in the Business Standard, the Indian version of the Wall Street Journal, the Standard praised Holland's "laissez-faire attitude" as beneficial to the Dutch and for leading the way to reform for all of Europe. India should follow the Dutch lead, the Standard suggested. "Decriminalization could be similarly beneficial to India, where scarce policing resources could be concentrated on chasing more dangerous substances such as heroin or RDX. Decriminalization would enable research into the medical properties of cannabis and help India cope with the flood of HIV cases that will emerge over the next few years."

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Issue #304, 9/26/03 Editorial: Patients vs. Prosecutors | Pain Doctor Arrests Provoke Backlash -- Group Urges FDA to Stop Cooperating With Justice Department | Cheryl Miller Memorial Project Does DC | Hawaii Meth Mania: Drug Summit, Media Push Target "Ice" | Playing It Smart: Sensible Seattle and the Winning of I-75 | Newsbrief: Dr. Hurwitz Indicted, Jailed in Campaign Against Pain Doctors | Newsbrief: MAPS-Sponsored Ecstasy Research Wins Final FDA Approval | Newsbrief: Rio de Janeiro Jails Stuffed With Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: UN Warns Stimulants "Public Enemy Number One," Cites Flawed Science, Attacks "Liberalization" | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Cannabis Tolerance Showing Up in India | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Appeal BC Marijuana Legalization Ruling | Newsbrief: Drug War Sparking Death Squad Killings Again in Philippines | Newsbrief: Ashcroft Says No Plea Bargains in Latest Bid to Send America to Prison Forever | Newsbrief: Mandatory Minimum Sentences Unfair, Says Supreme Court Justice | This Week in History | Current Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, Plan Colombia, HEA, Ashcroft's Attack on Judicial Discretion | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Errata: Last Week's Corrupt Cops Story | The Reformer's Calendar

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