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Europe: Czech Government Announces Decriminalization Quantities; Law Goes Into Effect on New Year’s Day

The Czech cabinet Monday approved a Justice Ministry proposal that sets personal use quantity limits for illicit drugs under a penal code revision that decriminalizes drug possession in the Czech Republic. The law and its quantity limits will take effect on January 1. The Czech government had approved the decriminalization law late last year, but failed to set precise quantities covered by it, instead leaving it to police and prosecutors to determine what constituted a “larger than small” amount of drugs. The resulting confusion--and the prosecution of some small-scale marijuana growers as drug traffickers--led the government to adopt more precise criteria. Under the new law, possession of less than the following amounts of illicit drugs will not be a criminal offense: Marijuana 15 grams (or five plants) Hashish 5 grams Magic mushrooms 40 pieces Peyote 5 plants LSD 5 tablets Ecstasy 4 tablets Amphetamine 2 grams Methamphetamine 2 grams Heroin 1.5 grams Coca 5 plants Cocaine 1 gram Possession of “larger than a small amount” of marijuana can result in a jail sentence of up to one year. For other illicit drugs, the sentence is two years. Trafficking offenses carry stiffer sentences. Justice Minister Daniela Kovarova said that the ministry had originally proposed decriminalizing the possession of up to two grams of hard drugs, but decided that limits being imposed by courts this year were appropriate. "The government finally decided that it would stick to the current court practice and drafted a table based on these limits," Kovarova said. The Czech Republic now joins Portugal as a European country that has decriminalized drug possession.
Localização: 
Prague
Czech Republic

Europe: Czech Government Decriminalizes Up To Five Marijuana Plants, 15 Grams

Beginning January 1, possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana or up to five marijuana plants will not be a punishable offense in the Czech Republic. Likewise, people will be able to possess up to 40 hallucinogenic mushrooms. The limits were announced Tuesday after they were decided on by the cabinet.

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Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
Late last year, the Czech parliament approved a new penal code that specified no punishment for the possession of "small amounts" of drugs. But the code did not specify just what constituted a "small amount," with the result that police sometimes charged people, especially home pot growers, with more serious offenses. The task of formalizing those limits has been taken up by the Justice Ministry, which submits its proposals to the cabinet.

The ministry has also proposed setting the "small amount" limits for ecstasy at four tablets and for hashish at five grams. Similarly, people could possess up to two grams of methamphetamine without fear of punishment. The cabinet will consider those proposals in two weeks.

Possession of amounts greater than "small amounts," but less than those assumed to indicate drug trafficking, will result of prison sentences of up to one year for marijuana and up to two years for other drugs.

According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction's latest annual report, Czechs are among Europe's leading pot smokers. Among young Czechs (age 16 to 34), 22% toke up at least once a year. The European average was 16%.

Europe: Czech Government Decriminalizes Up To Five Pot Plants, 15 Grams

Beginning January 1, possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana or up to five marijuana plants will not be a punishable offense in the Czech Republic. Likewise, people will be able to possess up to 40 hallucinogenic mushrooms. The limits were announced Tuesday after they were decided on by the cabinet. Late last year, the Czech parliament approved a new penal code that specified no punishment for the possession of “small amounts” of drugs. But the code did not specify just what constituted a “small amount,” with the result that police sometimes charged people, especially home pot growers with more serious offenses. The task of formalizing those limits has been taken up by the Justice Ministry, which submits its proposals to the cabinet. The ministry has also proposed setting the “small amount” limits for ecstasy at four tablets and for hashish at five grams. Similarly, people could possess up to two grams of methamphetamine without fear of punishment. The cabinet will consider those proposals in two weeks. Possession of amounts greater than “small amounts,” but less than those assumed to indicate drug trafficking, will result of prison sentences of up to one year for marijuana and up to two years for other drugs. According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction‘s latest annual report, Czechs are among Europe’s leading pot smokers. Among young Czechs (age 16 to 34), 22% toke up at least once a year. The European average was 16%.
Localização: 
Prague
Czech Republic

Europe: Oslo Police Plan Crackdown on Hash Users, Buyers

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Grønland
Police in Norway's capital, Oslo, have announced a crackdown on hashish buyers as part of a broader crackdown on street drugs sales and use. Hash is peddled by street dealers in neighborhoods including Grønland and Grünerløkka along the Akerselva River, according to online scene reports.

The Scandinavian countries are among Europe's toughest when it comes to drug use and sales. In Norway, penalties for simple drug possession include fines and jail terms of up to six months. For sales, you're looking at two years, 10 years if the offense is "aggravated," 15 years if a "considerable quantity" is involved, and up to 21 years for "very aggravating circumstances."

Under the newly announced crackdown, police are warning that people caught buying hash for their own use face arrest, loss of drivers' license, heavy fines, and even custody rights over their children. Some offenders caught with small amounts of hash have already been fined up to $1,560, according to early reports.

Europe: Hashish Growers Fight Police in "Greece's Colombia"

Three Greek police officers taking part in a raid on a hashish plantation were ambushed and shot by suspected growers armed with AK-47s Sunday night, leaving one officer in critical condition with a head wound. The attack took place in the village of Malades on the Greek island of Crete, about nine miles from Heraklion, the island's largest city.

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Port of Heraklion, Crete
Sunday's shooting is the second serious attack by hash growers against police on the island in seven months. Last November, three police officers were shot and wounded when their convoy was headed to the village of Zoniana, just west of Heraklion. The Greek government responded with a massive police sweep and house-to-house searches. Police arrested 16 people in connection with the ambush and a series of bank robberies, but recovered few of the heavy weapons believed to have been used in that assault.

Crete has a longstanding tradition of gun-ownership, and weapons remain readily available despite police efforts to crack down. Marijuana growing is rife in remote mountain villages on the island. Marijuana growers and dealers routinely take pot-shots at police helicopters or vehicles patrolling their area, prompting the Greek media to refer to the region as a "Greek Colombia" and a "state within a state," according to Agence France-Presse. Local officials in Crete are often accused of protecting growers and traffickers, the agency noted.

As was the case after the Zoniana ambush, Greek police responded this week with another manhunt. Greek Police head Vassilis Tsiatouras ordered a contingent of police from Athens to the scene, including Greek SWAT teams, members of the criminology service, officers of the police drugs squad, and members of the homicide force. In all likelihood, their search will reach the same inconclusive results as before.

"Cannabis Cash 'Funds Islamist Terrorism'"--Here we go again.

The old "drug users fund terrorism" canard is getting new play in Europe this week, where French and Spanish intelligence agencies reported that, as the Guardian (UK) put it, "Cannabis cash 'funds Islamist terrorism'". The report was the result of an investigation launched after the 2004 Madrid train bombings that found the bomb plotters bought their explosives from former miners and paid them in hashish. The intelligence agencies also claimed that the Al Qaeda-linked Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat is using hash sales as part of "a complex network" of financing its terrorist operations. I don't doubt that. People who need money for nefarious schemes typically resort to the black market economy, whether it is drugs, diamonds, oil, or whatever commodity. It is so screamingly obvious that I hesitate to point it out, but pot smokers don't fund terrorism—prohibition does. You don't hear of barley or grapevines or tobacco leaves funding terrorism because they are used to make non-prohibited psychoactive drugs that are integrated into the legal, aboveground economy. If you want to stop Islamic terrorists from using the black market profits from the hash trade to buy bombs, the solution is clear: End the prohibition regime that creates the black market.
Localização: 

Dutch Court Rules That Fisherman Can Write Off Smuggled Drugs

Localização: 
The Hague
Netherlands
Publication/Source: 
Fox News
URL: 
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,261633,00.html

Middle East: After Lebanon War, Israeli Cannabis Prices Spike

During last summer's 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, some Israeli hash smokers called for a boycott of Lebanese hash. Now that hostilities have ceased, however, Israeli hash heads have a new problem: The stuff is just too damned expensive.

According to an article published in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and picked up by various news agencies, supply disruptions during the war and increased border security since then -- not only on the Lebanese border, but also those with the Palestinian Territories and Egypt -- have caused the price of cannabis to spike eight-fold.

Smoking and selling cannabis are illegal but popular activities in Israel.

The report on increased prices came during a briefing on security and drug trafficking at an Israeli village near the Lebanese border. "While we are sitting here, dozens of kilos of drugs are making their way into Israel through the village," an unnamed Israeli security officer told the newspaper. The official also claimed that Hezbollah militants not only smuggle the drugs, but use the commerce to gather intelligence along the border.

The hash shortage and resulting high prices are only aggravated by the security crackdown in Gaza and along the Egyptian border. Conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces to deter arms smuggling into Gaza, the crackdown is putting a damper on the extra-legal cross-border cannabis trade, too.

"We'll need grinders and large bongs"

From CNN.com

Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of marijuana plants 10 feet tall.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover.

Awesome! But it gets better:

"We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those [forests] did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

This sounds like a job for my college buddies. If the problem persists, I’d be willing to assemble a tactical unit with experience disposing of surplus cannabis.

Localização: 
United States

Ghajar: Drugs for terror and intelligence--Internal Security Minister Dichter arrives in half Israeli-half Lebanese village, hears security briefing about dangers posed by village's location

Localização: 
Israel
Publication/Source: 
Ynet News
URL: 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3313528,00.html

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