75% of European Smokers Prefer Spliffs

Smoking a spliff in America usually constitutes a mixture of cannabis and tobacco in a joint. You can trace the spliff back to European countries where cannabis was less available and therefore needed to conserve the little pot they did have. Over thousands of people were interviewed and asked about their preferred method of smoking (including adding tobacco), frequency and motives for smoking. The results were extremely interesting.diferent smoking

In the U.S., only 8 percent of people said they smoked a mixture of cannabis and tobacco, this was the lowest percentage across 27 countries involved in the survey. Canada (17%) and Mexico (9%) were just ahead of the U.S. Other western hemisphere countries like Brazil, Columbia, and Argentina all came in under 15 percent. When you jump across the atlantic the numbers skyrocket by almost 10 times. Italy the leader in the world for rolling fat spliffs, coming in at a whopping 94 percent. That means for all you purist out there, even the finest cannabis doesn’t survive a little spicing up. With countries like Greece, Denmark, and Switzerland all coming in over 90 percent, the numbers don’t lie, the mixture of cannabis and tobacco is the preferred method of Europeans.CAli Weeeeed

There a few different factors to these extreme differences between the Western and Eastern hemisphere. The availability of cannabis this side of the Atlantic is far more accessible. The American marijuana marketplace, in particular, is far more advanced then other countries, and if you have taken the right steps you can just about buy weed any where in the United States, legal or not. Our growing conditions and our availability to land make parts of the U.S. ideal for marijuana cultivation. In Europe the seasons are harsher and more extreme and the scarcity of land make it difficult to find optimal growing conditions. Many international marijuana markets are based off hashish coming from the middle east. Flower that takes have the time and doesn’t need to be perfect is manufactured into concentrate which is easier to smoke when mixed with tobacco. Adding tobacco to your joint also acts as a cutting agent that reduces the potency of your joint, and on average Europeans smoke far more cigarettes than Americans which would make sense to the inclination to adding tobacco to their joints.

In Europe, the seasons are harsher and more extreme and the scarcity of land makes it difficult to find optimal growing conditions. Many international marijuana markets are based off hashish coming from the middle east. Adding tobacco to your joint also acts as a cutting agent that reduces the potency of your joint, and on average Europeans smoke far more cigarettes than Americans, which would make sense to the inclination to adding tobacco to their joints.
If we could start to look for more medical based cutting herbs to mix with our cannabis instead of tobacco, maybe we could rid tobacco from the social landscape for good. Probably not, but it would be nice to have alternative to putting cancerous properties in our joints.

Israel Legalizes Vaporizing Weed in Public

Israel has around 30,000 medical marijuana patients. Until now, those patients had only one place they could consume medical marijuana: their homes.

A recent change to law, however, now allows Israelites to vaporize and eat edibles wherever they go. While patients can’t smoke weed in public, they’ll at least be able to medicate on the move:

The Health Ministry’s medical marijuana unit said that the restrictions caused unnecessary bureaucracy, for example if a patient with a permit went on vacation or changed address, he or she had to apply to the unit for a change in the permit.

“We felt that a lot of bureaucracy was created over nothing,” the head of the cannabis unit, Yuval Landschaft, told Haaretz. [Haaretz]

 

The only question: why can’t people smoke joints in designated medical areas–in Israel and beyond? Just like there are bars with outdoor patios, the world and people who need weed truly need a spot they can hang out and smoke a joint outside.

Vaping oils is chill–but smoking weed is still the main (and best) method of consumption in the game.

Argentina Legalized Medical Marijuana

Last week, Argentina’s Senate voted unanimously in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. Argentina now joins Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile on South American’s growing list of nations with medical marijuana.

The best part? Anyone who qualifies for medical marijuana in Argentina gets the medicine free of charge. That’s a first of its kind. While Canada and Germany offer health insurance for medical marijuana, I’ve never heard of a country simply giving the stuff away until now.

But before that happens, the Nation’s Ministry of Health must formulate a nationwide list of patients (suffering with diseases like epilepsy and autism) who may receive this medical cannabis.

Sadly, the new bill won’t let Argentinians grow pot at home. That’s still viewed as a crime that can land you in jail for up to 15 years. The government, for now, will handle the weed-growing duties:

The government will oversee cultivation and production of multiple varieties of marijuana-based products for both medical use and research via the National Agency of Public Laboratories. Until the law is fully implemented, the Ministry of Health is permitted to import marijuana products to satisfy demand. [Drug Policy]

It’s unclear where Argentina will import these products from…but perhaps neighboring Uruguay is the early favorite.

Like we recently saw in South Africa, this change in policy was the direct result of citizens demanding change. Argentina’s campaign to legalize came via a petition by 136 families with ill children that need marijuana as medicine.

Up next for Argentina? A full-fledged push for legal marijuana that allows home cultivation.

The High Court of South Africa Just Legalized Marijuana

In the middle of the night (our time), South Africa just BODY SLAMMED the rest of the world with a marijuana power play. Canada? Uruguay? …America (sigh)? Step aside…there’s a new prince of pot in town.

The “Dagga Party” (South African for weed) has been pleading for cannabis decriminalization for some time. Yesterday, they went to the HIGH Court and appealed that the Criminal Prohibition of Dagga Act was unconstitutional.

And yeah, they actually won–thanks to the clearly HIGH Court  ruling “it is an infringement to ban the use of dagga by adults in private homes.” The court also determined that Parliament (that sounds nationwide) has 24 months to change its Drug Trafficking Act and Medicines Control Act to reflect this ruling.

While unclear (I can’t figure out at all) if this ruling applies to all of South Africa, Seth Africans in the Western Cape (Cape Town) are about to get very lit and are allowed to grow weed in their homes:

Of course, things like this usually aren’t simple as 1-2-3, legalize the tree:

Still…it sure sounds like this High Court has the clout to get this done and the South African twitter-sphere is booming this morning.

Other nations — and activists — need take note. If it’s possible for South Africa citizens to win this kind of constitutional rights case, why not your country?

 

Canadians Can Legally Grow Weed at Home Starting July 1, 2018

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your nation’s political leader make good on his campaign promises? Wouldn’t it be sweet if your President said one thing and actually did that thing?

Yup: it’s times like these it’s good to be a Canadian. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (essentially Canada’s president) has made good on his word to legalize Canada in 2017: Canada will have legal weed by Canada Day on July 1, 2018.

Canada’s official legalization bill could be introduced as soon as April 10 or perhaps on 4/20, the worldwide stoner high holiday. The bill wouldn’t go into effect till next year.

A Canadian task force for legalization has been working on this proposed bill all year, and that bill will finally see the light of day. According to a CBC report, that bill will look a little like this:

Ottawa will secure the country’s marijuana supply and license producers. The national age limit to purchase the drug will be set at 18, but provinces will be able to set it higher.

Provinces will also control price, along with how marijuana is bought and sold. [The Star]

Any Canadians 18 and up can grow up to four plants of weed at home. Moreover, the bill follows that task force’s 80 recommendations, some of which include:

  • The production of cannabis and its derivative products should be regulated by the Federal Government, in a similar fashion to how the Federal Government presently regulates the production of medical cannabis.
  • This is generally perceived as a big win for the 36 currently licensed producers of medical cannabis in Canada that have gone through the rigorous approval process under the existing medical cannabis regime, which has proven to be a barrier to entry into the medical cannabis market.
  • The recommended minimum age for purchasing cannabis be set at 18.
  • Personal cultivation should be limited to four plants per residence, with a height limit of 100 cm per plant.The amount of non-medical cannabis that individuals are permitted to carry on their person in a public place should be limited to 30 grams.
  • Any promotion or marketing that is allowed should be restricted in a similar fashion as with tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical products.
  • Access via both retail distribution and mail-order system should be allowed.

Last 4/20, Canada said it would get legalization going by this spring. For once, marijuana progress is happening on time.

Germany Now Has Medical Marijuana–and It’s Covered By Health Insurance

As promised a little under a year ago, Germany now has an active medical marijuana program!

German doctors can now prescribe medical marijuana to patients in need. And the German doctors are stoked about this move that makes them a European medical marijuana haven.

But now doctors can simply write their patients a prescription if, for example, they suffer from chronic pain or a serious loss of appetite due to an illness. Health insurance providers also now must cover the costs of cannabis treatments.

That’s a breakthrough. Can you imagine how much money you’d save if your health insurance covered your pot-smoking habits? Easily thousands of dollars a year. This is very unusual in any country–America especially–and makes Germany a really special medical marijuana country immediately.

To oversee the new distribution and control of medical marijuana, a new Cannabis Agency has been established under the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).

German politicians said the law was intended for those with serious illnesses – like multiple sclerosis or cancer patients suffering the effects of chemotherapy – but it is still not exactly defined as to what kinds of patients can be prescribed the drug. [The Local]

Oddly, Germany imports all of their medical marijuana at this time. But the nation is exploring handing out grow licenses and cultivating cannabis in-house.

Prior to this decision–and last April–Germany began handing out the nation’s first grow licenses to patients that were approved for the program.

Israel Officially Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

As expected, Israel has decriminalized cannabis for personal use bringing perhaps some peace to the Middle East.

The government voted in favor of the new measure yesterday and as soon as Israel’s parliament, no one in Israel will go to jail for smoking a doobie:

According to the new policy, which must still be ratified by parliament, people caught smoking marijuana would be fined rather than arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly with the drug.

Selling and growing marijuana would remain criminal offences in Israel.

“Israel cannot shut its eyes to the changes being made across the world in respect to marijuana consumption and its effects,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said in a statement. [NBC]

Israel has long been a force in the national medical marijuana scene and serves upwards of 25,000 patients. Home to tons of medical cannabis research and now a lenient policy towards cannabis, Israel is trending high.

Israel to Decriminalize Cannabis for Personal Use

Israel, a medical marijuana research hotbed and worldwide leader in cannabis culture (for real), announced the nation will take another progressive step by decriminalizing personal marijuana use.

Earlier today, Israel’s Public Security Minister, Glad Erdan, stated he supports a panel’s recommendation that the nation should shift away from “criminal prosecution” and towards “administrative fines and educational campaigns.”

Under the new policy, getting caught smoking weed in public would only result in a 1,000 shekel fine (0r $265). Minors would be entered into treatment programs if caught smoking the stuff in public.

This plan has been underway for some time, and while Israel’s cabinet still needs to approve the measure, the Security Minister’s support and the surrounding makes this effort sound like a sure thing. With Israel a growing medical marijuana nation and one with plans to export medical cannabis, the loosening of outdates cannabis laws is a natural decision.

If you’ve never been to Israel, know this: they’ve got some good weed out there. On Birthright (pictured above), I went eight crazy nights without smoking weed. Finally, on our last stop in Tel Aviv, I found some gas through a mutual friend’s plug. The strain didn’t have a name, but it did have crystals, it did have a chem nose to it–and this little amount did get me and three friends absolutely blitzed on a beach in Tel Aviv:

israeli weed looks like THIS

Canada Will Have Legal Weed in 2017…Regulated By the Federal Government

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to be making good (slowly but surely) on his promise to legalize cannabis in Canada in 2017.

Last month, the nation’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation published a report with 80 recommendations to the Federal Government on the nation’s legalization. Canada’s Parliament will then meet this spring to talk about those recommendations and hopefully soon thereafter.

While there’s not yet a distinct date for when Canada’s citizens (and tourists!) should be able to start buying regulated legal weed by the end of the year–or at least early next year (this licensing and regulatory process always takes longer than said)–which means Canada will be the world’s first fully legal country (Uruguay only has medical legalized nationally).

Here are some of those key recommendations, courtesy of Minds.com:

  • The production of cannabis and its derivative products should be regulated by the Federal Government, in a similar fashion to how the Federal Government presently regulates the production of medical cannabis.
  • This is generally perceived as a big win for the 36 currently licensed producers of medical cannabis in Canada that have gone through the rigorous approval process under the existing medical cannabis regime, which has proven to be a barrier to entry into the medical cannabis market.
  • The recommended minimum age for purchasing cannabis be set at 18.
  • Personal cultivation should be limited to four plants per residence, with a height limit of 100 cm per plant.The amount of non-medical cannabis that individuals are permitted to carry on their person in a public place should be limited to 30 grams.
  • Any promotion or marketing that is allowed should be restricted in a similar fashion as with tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical products.
  • Access via both retail distribution and mail-order system should be allowed.

Sure, there’s a not lot to like here. 30 grams isn’t enough of a limit. Four plants per home isn’t enough for home growers to really do their thing legally. The entry point for new businesses will go thru the government which makes it tough for John Dank who grows the fire to get into this industry. That’s good for the current medical system (mail only) who should have a leg up on competition.

But it does look a lot like Colorado’s program and it’s certainly progress. Still, having the Federal Government and not provinces regulate their own policies is a far stretch. This will be a strict program, and it’ll be one that’s extremely difficult for new businesses to enter

 

Unlike most American states (except California), the big coup for Canadians is, I guess, that they can also have legal weed delivered to their homes (like the medical patients do currently) and enter legal dispensaries.

While having a government control who grows legal weed and not a more welcoming industry is a buzzkill, most Canadians should still be pretty stoked they’re apart of the first country to go full legal.

Your move, President Trump…

Mexico’s Senate Votes Yes to Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Mexico’s Senate voted 98-7 in favor of a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for the nation. The bill, introduced by President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier this year, now must pass a lower house vote.

That vote should mirror the Senate’s, and, soon enough, both of America’s direct neighbors will have national medical marijuana. Like Canada, Mexico aims to eventually outright legalize and decriminalize cannabis–but this step is the first to open the door for further reform.

This vote has been a long time coming. Mexico has been planning to legalize medical marijuana for the last year and already allows (four) specially licensed individuals to grow their own medicine.

The bill would allow for Mexicans to consume both THC (psychoactive) and CBD (non-psychoactive) while legalizing research of the drug in Mexico.

While blessed to be in Colorado, it’s also frustrating living in America where over half of our states have legal weed and people still get thrown into jail for the stuff because there’s zero federal law for medical marijuana or decriminalization.

The Trump administration is unlikely to make this change, but hopefully North American pressures sandwiching us with more progress can facilitate something.

Albania is Still the Cannabis Capital of Europe

Albania? No offense to Albanians, but can you even name 3 facts about Albania?

  1. It’s located right above Greece in southeast Europe.
  2. It’s one of the poorest countries in all of Europe
  3. It grows more marijuana than any country in Europe

Now that we know 3 facts about Albania, let’s delve deeper…

Some experts speculate that the small Baltic country produces over a 1000 tons of outdoor weed per year. Experts also say that this comes out to over 500 billion dollars annually. Mind blowing figures, without a doubt. And nearly none of the harvest stays put in Albania. The bulk of the product heads south to Greece or a short boat ride away, across the Adriatic Sea to Italy.

 

albania

Albania

 

The village of Lazarat, once dubbed “The Cannabis Capital of Europe” and yet only numbers in the thousands, had a harsh encounter with law enforcement a couple of years ago, where 800 policemen had an almost week-long battle with entrenched local residents. In the end, there were less than 200 arrests and a senior police director made a claim of chopping down over 1 million pot plants.

 

1473836809hashashii

Doing What They Do

 

But it was too little too late as the nations’s citizens seemed set on being in the business of green gold. Villages like Tirana and many more have joined the party in their attempt to get paid. In fact, there are areas where virtually every single person is in some way tied in to the marijuana grow and trade. Mountainous, hard-to-reach, extremely rural regions that are very difficult to keep track of or enforce. Humboldt County eat your heart out.

 

marijuana-fields

The Fields of Lazarat

 

Why is this country so adamant on cultivating the wacky tobacky? A kilo of cannabis that is worth between 100 and 200 euros locally will get about 1500 in Italy. It’s a no brainer. And because of Albania’s troubled history–an iron-fisted regime, the fall of communism, and the rapid rise of organized crime–the country is extremely poor. So any person who has the opportunity to make many times more than they would otherwise is certainly willing to give it a go. Unfortunately for these honest hard workers doing much of the grunt work, the government has levied stiff penalties for having any dealings with weed whatsoever. Grow a plant? Go to jail. Travel with a plant? Go to jail. Smoke a plant? Go to jail.  The War on Drugs is alive and well.

Even so, Albania shows no signs of slowing down its remarkable cannabis-based economy, which actually provides approximately half its gross domestic product. It can’t slow down, and it can’t stop. Its people need the cash–at least for now.

 

 

Thailand Plans to Decriminalize Marijuana

Southeast Asia is one of the worst pockets of the world to get caught with marijuana (or any drug). In many of these nations like Thailand and Malaysia, trafficking drugs carries a harsh death penalty.

But that punishment isn’t slowing down drug consumption nor trafficking, so Thailand’s Justice Minister has a new plan: label marijuana as a herb and let people consume the plant medically.

It doesn’t sound like all-out legalization, but the Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya sounds like he’s bent on decriminalizing cannabis (and Kratom!):

Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya is standing firm in his aim to remove krathom and marijuana from the narcotic drugs list and treat them as medicinal herbs.

He believes the move is necessary because the government has failed to curb them. He reiterated his stance yesterday when he met officials and civic groups from 14 southern provinces in Songkhla.

The meeting was called because crackdowns in Thailand are believed to have forced people to buy the illicit plants from Malaysia, according to a source.Gen Paiboon said the strict law against consuming krathom and marijuana has proved unsuccessful, so it is time to “rewrite the law, making krathom and marijuana herbs”.

“But the law must make clear a legal way to use them,” he said, adding that successfully eradicating these plants will not end drug problems. [Bangkok Post]

One day soon, Thailand could be the rare tropical, Southeast destination that doesn’t horrify tourists from consuming or buying weed. Hopefully there won’t be any horror “locked up abroad stories” featuring prisoners stuck in this judicial system.

And hopefully if they make a sequel of The Beach, Leo’s character is at the forefront of this progress.